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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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Cuban Negrismo, Mexican Indigenismo: Contesting Neocolonialism in the New Negro Movement

Cuban Negrismo, Mexican Indigenismo: Contesting Neocolonialism in the New Negro Movement

(p.53) 2 Cuban Negrismo, Mexican Indigenismo: Contesting Neocolonialism in the New Negro Movement
Escape from New York

David Luis-Brown

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines the New Negro movement’s relationships with two other movements in the Americas in the 1920s and their campaign for a recognition of the rights and cultural achievements of blacks and indigenous groups: Cuba’s Negrismo and Mexico’s Indigenismo. Using a comparative and transnational approach to these nationalisms, the chapter analyzes their sedimented histories in order to elucidate their broader significance and shared political projects. Each of these three nationalisms featured primitivism, a cultural discourse that sought to explain racial identities and hierarchies as well as geopolitical inequalities by contrasting primitive and modern cultures to varying degrees. The chapter uses primitivism in a counterintuitive manner, focusing on its deployment as a distinctly transnational discourse that could be used in critiques of U.S. neocolonialism and in assessing transnational formations of culture under the shadow of neocolonial capitalism. It replaces the common disparaging notion of primitivism with a historically grounded analysis to provide a more nuanced account of the politics of 1920s primitivist nationalisms.

Keywords:   blacks, New Negro, Cuba, Negrismo, Mexico, Indigenismo, nationalism, primitivism, neocolonialism, capitalism

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