5 to 7pm
Our Totalitarian Critics: Desegregation, Decolonization, and the Cold War
Vaughn Rasberry, Stanford University
During the early years of the Cold War, U.S. officials sought to recruit African Americans into the contest against the Communist sphere. The postwar era, these officials insisted, constituted a global struggle between the forces of democratic freedom and totalitarian slavery. An array of black writers, however, rejected this opposition and manipulated the discourse of anti-totalitarianism toward their own emancipatory ends. Taking this rejection as a starting point, this chapter of my book sketches an alternative intellectual history of this concept with racial discourse–embodied in the postwar era by the parallel processes of desegregation and decolonization–at its core.
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