With contributions from activists, artists, and scholars, Afro Asia is a groundbreaking collection of writing on the historical alliances, cultural connections, and shared political strategies linking African Americans and Asian Americans. Bringing together autobiography, poetry, scholarly criticism, and other genres, this volume represents an activist vanguard in the cultural struggle against oppression.
Afro Asia opens with analyses of historical connections between people of African and of Asian descent. An account of nineteenth-century Chinese laborers who fought against slavery and colonialism in Cuba appears alongside an exploration of African Americans’ reactions to and experiences of the Korean “conflict.” Contributors examine the fertile period of Afro-Asian exchange that began around the time of the 1955 Bandung Conference, the first meeting of leaders from Asian and African nations in the postcolonial era. One assesses the relationship of two important 1960s Asian American activists to Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. Mao Ze Dong’s 1963 and 1968 statements in support of black liberation are juxtaposed with an overview of the influence of Maoism on African American leftists.
Turning to the arts, Ishmael Reed provides a brief account of how he met and helped several Asian American writers. A Vietnamese American spoken-word artist describes the impact of black hip-hop culture on working-class urban Asian American youth. Fred Ho interviews Bill Cole, an African American jazz musician who plays Asian double-reed instruments. This pioneering collection closes with an array of creative writing, including poetry, memoir, and a dialogue about identity and friendship that two writers, one Japanese American and the other African American, have performed around the United States.
Contributors: Betsy Esch, Diane C. Fujino, royal hartigan, Kim Hewitt, Cheryl Higashida, Fred Ho, Everett Hoagland, Robin D. G. Kelley, Bill V. Mullen, David Mura, Ishle Park, Alexs Pate, Thien-bao Thuc Phi, Ishmael Reed, Kalamu Ya Salaam, Maya Almachar Santos, JoYin C. Shih, Ron Wheeler, Daniel Widener, Lisa Yun
Bill V. Mullen University of Minnesota Press, 2004 Library of Congress E185.615.M75 2004 | Dewey Decimal 305.896073
Reveals a century of political solidarity uniting Asians and African Americans
As early as 1914, in his pivotal essay “The World Problem of the Color Line,” W. E. B. Du Bois was charting a search for Afro-Asian solidarity and for an international anticolonialism. In Afro-Orientalism, Bill Mullen traces the tradition of revolutionary thought and writing developed by African American and Asian American artists and intellectuals in response to Du Bois’s challenge.
Afro-Orientalism unfolds here as a distinctive strand of cultural and political work that contests the longstanding, dominant discourse about race and nation first fully named in Edward Said’s Orientalism. Mullen tracks Afro-Asian engagement with U.S. imperialism—including writings by Richard Wright, Grace and James Boggs, Robert F. Williams, and Fred Ho—and companion struggles against racism and capitalism around the globe. To this end, he offers Afro-Orientalism as an antidote to essentialist, race-based, or narrow conceptions of ethnic studies and postcolonial studies, calling on scholars in these fields to re-imagine their critical enterprises as mutually constituting and politically interdependent.
In his 1952 book In Battle for Peace, published when W. E. B. Du Bois was eighty-three years old, the brilliant black scholar announced that he was a “citizen of the world.” Citizen of the World chronicles selected chapters of Du Bois’s final three decades between the 1930s and 1960s. It maps his extraordinarily active and productive latter years to social, cultural, and political transformations across the globe.
From his birth in 1868 until his death in 1963, Du Bois sought the liberation of black people in the United States and across the world through intellectual and political labor. His tireless efforts documented and demonstrated connections between freedom for African-descended people abroad and black freedom at home.
In concert with growing scholarship on his twilight years, the essays in this volume assert the fundamental importance of considering Du Bois’s later decades not as a life in decline that descended into blind ideological allegiance to socialism and communism but as the life of a productive, generative intellectual who responded rationally, imaginatively, and radically to massive mid-century changes around the world, and who remained committed to freedom’s realization until his final hour.