Shadowing the White Man’s Burden
U.S. Imperialism and the Problem of the Color Line
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: NYU Press
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A number of people and institutions helped me complete this book. Thanks to Eric Zinner at New York University Press; Shelley Streeby and the other anonymous reader who offered suggestions; and the series editors, David Kazanjian, Elizabeth McHenry, and Priscilla Wald, with special thanks to Priscilla for believing in my work. Grants ...
Introduction: Writing Race on the World’s Stage
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In a 1901 essay for the Overland Monthly titled “Red, Black and Yellow,” John T. Bramhall noted a timely coincidence marking the 1899 publication of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The White Man’s Burden.” Originally subtitled “The United States and the Philippines” and published in a popular U.S. magazine, Kipling’s poem urged Americans to take up the ...
Part I: Reading Kipling in America
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In the joke above, Kipling’s poem has overstepped its bounds when it enters the Senate halls, but as I demonstrate in this section, the poem was indeed “worked about” in Congress and throughout the culture at large. On the reception of “The White Man’s Burden” in the United States, little has been written that goes beyond general assertions about its ...
1. The Burden of Whiteness
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This particular question is one that literary critics today seldom puzzle over—when Kipling scholars write about this poem, they generally treat it as one of Kipling’s simpler works, important as a reference point for comparison with the author’s other works but not complex enough to merit its own analysis.2 In short, literary critics seem inclined to agree with the ...
2. The White Man’s Burden or the Leopard’s Spots?: Dixon's Political Conundrum
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Thomas Dixon’s first novel, The Leopard’s Spots: A Romance of the White Man’s Burden—1865–1900, surprised publishers by becoming an instant success. Published late in 1901, it topped Bookman’s monthly best-seller lists for over a year, leading to a rapid depletion of its first printing of fifteen thousand copies.1 Reprinted every year for the next half decade, ...
Part II: The Black Cosmopolite
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In William Huntington Wilson’s short story “The Return of the Sergeant” (1900), inhabitants of the South Carolina village Possum Hollow inflate with pride only to be crushed by disappointment. Their downfall is rendered comic with minstrel-style humor: Possum Hollow’s solely African American inhabitants glory in one of their young men returning ...
3. The Plain Citizen of Black Orientalism: Frank R. Steward’s Filipino American War Fiction
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In 1903, the Colored American Magazine (CAM) featured a story about Micaela Flores of Manila, a Filipina who had recently taken second place in the “Popular School Teacher Contest” conducted by her city’s newspaper. The brief profile tells Flores’s story as an example of Filipino nationalism under the U.S. occupation. By winning second place, the ...
4. Pauline Hopkins’s “International Policy”: Cosmopolitan Perspective at the Colored American Magazine
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When Reuel Briggs, the protagonist of Pauline Hopkins’s serially published novel Of One Blood, Or, The Hidden Self (1902–3), catches his first glimpse of Africa, the coast of Tripoli appears as a “low lying spectral band of shore,” its “nudity” covered only by the “fallow mantle of the desert.” Ghostly and naked, the land evokes in Reuel a feeling of sadness ...
Part III: Pacific Expansion and Transnational Fictions of Race
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On Friday, September 29, 1899, Admiral George Dewey’s flagship the U.S.S. Olympia steamed into New York harbor in a grand naval procession. He and his crew were returning to the United States for the first time since they defeated the Spanish Pacific squadron a year and half earlier, a resounding victory that won the port of Manila and made ...
5. How the Irish Became Japanese: Winnifred Eaton’s Transnational Racial Reconstructions
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In Winnifred Eaton’s 1906 novel A Japanese Blossom, war becomes a crucial testing ground for racial differences and similarities. The novel tells the story of Kiyo Kurakawa, a Japanese widower who returns to Japan from the United States with his new wife, Mrs. Ellen Kurakawa, an Anglo-American widow. Together with her two children, ...
6. American Indians,Asiatics, and Anglo-Saxons: Ranald MacDonald’s Japan Story of Adventure
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In 1847, a twenty-four-year-old half-Chinook Indian, half-Scot named Ranald MacDonald signed onto the crew of the Plymouth, a whaling ship out of New York. He was about to act on a plan that had been forming in his mind since he left his apprenticeship at a bank in Ontario three years earlier. His plan was this: when the ship was full and ready to ...
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I began thinking about this book after an experience I had engaging freshmen writers in a discussion about historical perspective. I had shown my class a segment from the Schoolhouse Rock! educational series titled “Elbow Room,” an animated musical short that narrates American westward expansion as a result of the naturalized need for space.1 I ...
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About the Author
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Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2010