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Escape from New YorkThe New Negro Renaissance beyond Harlem$
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Davarian L. Baldwin and Minkah Makalani

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780816677382

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816677382.001.0001

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The Conjunctural Field of New Negro Studies

The Conjunctural Field of New Negro Studies

(p.401) 17 The Conjunctural Field of New Negro Studies
Escape from New York

Michelle Ann Stephens

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter argues that the discourse of the New Negro and the experiences of New Negro men and women form a global ensemble of relations linked under the tropological sign of the New Negro and played out on the conjunctural field of the New Negro movement as a historical formation. In his 1988 essay “The Trope of a New Negro and the Reconstruction of the Image of the Black,” Henry Louis Gates Jr. explains his notion of the trope of a New Negro. Gates argues that the New Negro was engaged primarily in a politics of visual re-presentation, and that the New Negro movement began in 1895, well before the peak of the Harlem Renaissance in the mid-1920s, and entailing a shift from politics to aesthetics. This book describes a period of organic, historical development and crisis, occurring within the context of a U.S. empire rather than nation, that has two intrawar dynamics or waves. The first begins with the Spanish-American War in 1898 and culminates with the end of World War I. The second picks up in the years leading to World War II, the intrawar years of the Jazz Age and the Depression.

Keywords:   politics, New Negro, Henry Louis Gates Jr., New Negro movement, Harlem Renaissance, aesthetics, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Jazz Age

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