The Urban Grounds of Anti-Imperialism and Feminism in Interwar Paris
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Nebraska Press
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
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Every twist and encounter in my journey through archives and libraries has shaped my work in significant ways. When I first arrived, Paris was in the grip of prolonged strikes. Not only was it far more difficult to navigate public transportation with two large bags, but the Archives Nationales, where I would have started my research, were closed....
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On May 6, 1931, a black man walked up the steps of a brand new metro station in Paris.1 The Métro Dorée station was built as part of the French government’s bid to lure what would eventually be 8 million visitors to the event known as the Colonial Exposition. Analogous to a world’s fair, the Colonial Exposition was a project to showcase France’s colonial empire both to its own citizens and to other nations....
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1. Josephine Baker: Colonial Woman
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When Josephine Baker finished her first performance in Paris in the 1925 show La Revue N�gre, critics and audiences did not know what to make of her. The confusion they felt was perhaps best summarized by the series of questions the theater critic and author Pierre de R�gnier asked in the epigraph above. The show was conceived of in the United States for a European audience and featured an all-black...
2. Dancing Dissidents & Dissident Dancers: The Urban Topography of Race
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In the late 1920s Malagasy corporal Bernardin Rakoto, serving in the French army at Bastion 89 near Paris, was perceived by authorities as exerting a negative influence on his subordinates by politically proselytizing them. Just as vexing was the fact that he had a white French mistress who was the mother of his child. While recording the latter information, Agent Joé commented with disapproval: “Of course...
3. A Black Colony?: Race and the Origins of Anti-Imperialism
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Black workers sought unity in race. The problem was that they did not all agree upon what it meant to be black. One of the most persistent underlying tensions within black, anti-imperial organizations was the question of who, truly, was a fully committed member. On the surface, differences of opinion often had to do with perceptions of race...
4. Reverse Exoticism & Masculinity: The Cultural Politics of Race Relations
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In November 1932 the communist cell of the newly formed Union des Travailleurs Nègres (UTN) met and discussed how to sell the organization to black men in Paris. The politics of race and antiimperialism had created a core, political black colony, but there was an entire sociocultural dimension to colonial Paris that still needed to be affected. Hence, one member argued that above all they should not “immediately impose communist politics upon members. They...
5. In Black & White: Women, La Depeche Africaine, and the Print Culture of the Diaspora
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In the fall of 1935 the black Martinican woman Paulette Nardal arrived at the Union des Travailleurs Nègres (UTN) headquarters. She picked up a pen, not, as was her habit by then, to craft an elegant, pithy, and feminine depiction of the black woman’s experience in Paris. Instead she committed her ink to dozens of envelopes, helping the UTN mail its newspaper, Le Cri des Nègres. That particular edition caught her eye because it decried Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia. Yet how did Paulette Nardal, ...
6. "These Men's Minor Transgressions": White Frenchwomen on Colonialism and Feminism
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In 1930, in one of several articles she wrote for La Dépêche Africaine, Marguerite Winter-Frappié de Montbenoît responded to the métis question, an ongoing debate involving anthropologists, government officials, and others regarding the legal, social, and “scientific” ramifications of being métis. As the president of la Française Créole—The French Creole, a Paris-based organization that since at least 1909 had been providing opportunities for social gatherings for French men and women from the old colonies, including La Réunion, Martinique...
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The 1927 letterhead of the Ligue de D�fense de la Race N�gre (LDRN) included an image of a black woman who stands strong, tall, and bare-breasted upon a globe. One foot placed firmly on North and West Africa, and the other trampling portions of the United States, she raises her right arm aloft, bearing a torch. Europe appears miniscule on the map, almost hidden behind her leg and the striped cloth, or pagne, girding her waist...
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pp. 305- 321
Page Count: 654
Illustrations: 6 illustrations, 4 tables
Publication Year: 2010
Series Title: France Overseas