West of Harlem: African American Writers and the Borderlands - CultureAmerica (Hardback)Emily Lutenski (author)
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Tapping literary, biographical, historical, and visual sources, Emily Lutenski tells the New Negro movement's western story. Hughes's move to Mexico opens a window on African American transnational experiences. Thurman's engagement with Salt Lake City offers an unexpected perspective on African American sexual politics. Arna Bontemps's Los Angeles, constructed in conjunction with Louisiana, provides a new vision of the Spanish borderlands. Lesser-known writer Anita Scott Coleman imagines black Western autonomy through domesticity. The experience of others-like Toomer, invited to socialite Mabel Dodge Luhan's circle of artists in Taos-present a more pluralistic view of the West. It was this place, with its transnational and multiracial mix of Native Americans, Latina/os, Anglos, and African-Americans, which buttressed Toomer's idea of a "new American race."
Turning the lens elsewhere, Lutenski also explores how Latina/o, Asian American, and Native American western writers understood and represented African Americans in the early twentieth-century borderlands. The result is a new, unusually nuanced and unexpectedly complex view of key figures of the Harlem Renaissance and the borderlands cultures that influenced their art in surprising and important ways.
Publisher: University Press of Kansas
Number of pages: 344
Weight: 662 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
"From Anita Scott Coleman's New Mexican homesteads to Arna Bontemps's imagined Los Angeles to Langston Hughes's Mexican wanderings, Lutenski shows us how we must go West to go to Harlem. Accessible to a wide range of readers and creative in its framing and approach to sources, it's a terrific book."--Flannery Burke, author of From Greenwich Village to Taos: Primitivism and Place at Mabel Dodge Luhan's
"A high quality of archival recovery and historical contextualization lies at the heart of West of Harlem. Lutenski ends with a coda reminding scholars that the borderlands is a multiethnic place that holds Americans, Native Americans, Anglo-Americans, Asian Americans, and also African Americans. West of Harlem highlights the productive impact of the grating between the borderlands West and African American literary production."--Journal of American History
"In West of Harlem, Emily Lutenski brings heretofore marginalized or erased black modernist experiences to the center. [She] joins the growing ranks of scholars who would disrupt, challenge, and outright refuse monolithic racial and cultural narratives."--American Studies
"In addition to introducing a new geographic rubric that invigorates African American literary studies and is, in turn, animated by a range of scholarly traditions--most notably, modernism, feminism, and Chicana and Chicano studies--Lutenski's study reveals the unacknowledged provincialism of some of the foundational studies on race and region within African American literary studies."--Western Historical Quarterly
"Expertly written and researched, enjoyable to read, relevant across specializations and disciplines."--American Historical Review
"A fresh way of seeing and reading these [Harlem Renaissance] writers as they define their identities in the spacious, diverse borderlands."--Kansas History
"Broad in scope, original, and fascinating in its content."--Choice
"This book should be considered by anyone who wishes to attain a working understanding of the broader connections between the Harlem Renaissance and the African American experience in the West."--New Mexico Historical Review
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