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Jazz InternationalismLiterary Afro-Modernism and the Cultural Politics of Black Music$
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John Lowney

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041334

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041334.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

“Harlem Jazzing”

“Harlem Jazzing”

Claude McKay, Home to Harlem, and Jazz Internationalism

(p.27) 1 “Harlem Jazzing”
Jazz Internationalism

John Lowney

University of Illinois Press

The first chapter concentrates on the fiction of Claude McKay, which explicitly locates jazz expression within intellectual debates about black internationalism. Beginning with consideration of McKay’s Marxist theorizing of black music, this chapter emphasizes the cultural politics of McKay’s first novel, Home to Harlem, which represents “Jazz Age” Harlem as a site of African diasporic interculturalism. Banjo, which had an enormous influence on the Francophone négritude movement in West Africa and the Caribbean, similarly defines Marseilles as an international site of displaced black migrant workers whose common language is the blues and jazz. As novels that reconsider the cultural politics of the Harlem Renaissance from a radical black internationalist perspective, Home to Harlem and Banjo interrogate the commercialization of black cultural expression as they explore the critical possibilities of jazz for the marginalized perspectives of black workers, including cultural workers.

Keywords:   McKay, Claude, Home to Harlem: Banjo, jazz, black internationalism, Marxism, Harlem Renaissance

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