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Title: The early struggle of black internationalism : intellectual interchanges among American and French black writers during the interwar period
Author: Gaetan, Maret
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 6294
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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The thesis focuses on the interchanges which took place during the interwar period between the American and the French black communities. It explores the role of national and transnational frames of reference in the definition of the New Negro movement during the 1920s as well as in its reception by French black intellectuals during the 1930s. Black internationalism during the interwar period can be seen as a circuit of interconnections which resulted in multifaceted and shifting identifications encompassing national and transnational affiliations as well as, sometimes, a cosmopolitan sense of belonging. My work explores the difficulties and successes that the writers under consideration encountered at the time in their attempts to communicate with fellow black people across socio-cultural boundaries. Although, during the interwar period, the perspective shifted from a preeminence of local paradigms to an emphasis on diasporic views of the black race, the national and the transnational, understood as sites of social positioning, cultural self-definition, and political agency, remained inextricably intermingled. All the examples presented in the thesis show that literature, often understood as a national category, does not exist in a vacuum. It is constantly formed and informed through transnational exchanges. The American Harlem Renaissance depended on external sources of inspiration to come to existence. Not restricted to the United States, it then spread across territorialized borders and, in turn, affected the French black community, becoming a major influence in the emergence of Négritude. The thesis successively explores five defining instances of black internationalism: René Maran's Batouala (1921), Alain Locke's The New Negro (1925), black Parisian newspapers from the mid-1920s to the early 1930s, Claude McKay's Banjo (1928), and the early theorization of Négritude. Through the use of Glissant's notion of detour, theorized in Le Discours antillais (1981), this thesis frames 'black internationalism' as a shifting web of negotiations expanding between national and transnational spaces.
Supervisor: Pratt, Lloyd ; Mendelssohn, Michèle Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: African American Literature ; Rene´ Maran