This article analyzes the proceedings of the First Congress of Black Writers within the context of the global Cold War, teasing out the contradictory political agendas that subtended this foundational event for black writing and African literature. It treats the First Congress as a spectacle designed by Alioune Diop, founder and editor of Présence Africaine, in order to create before the Cold War world an image of a unified black collectivity: a (geo) political impact that Diop envisioned for his conference ostensibly limited to discussions of culture. The article explores the rhetorical strategies by which Diop maintained an image of consensus among a caucus of delegates who were in fact deeply divided politically. It discusses Diop's invocation of the 1955 Bandung Conference, his deliberately broad definition of culture, and his deployment of liberal human rights discourse as consensual strategies that cohere to project an image of a transatlantic black civic culture already independent and sovereign in all but name.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 1-18
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.