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Cold War Africa and China: The Afro-Asian Writers' Bureau and the Rise of Postcolonial Literature

  • Author(s): Yoon, Duncan
  • Advisor(s): Thomas, Dominic
  • et al.

This dissertation argues for an alternative history of postcolonial literature anchored in the cultural exchanges of Africa and Asia. The project claims a strong, but tenuous Africa-China imaginary emerged during 1960s decolonization through the Afro-Asian Writers' Bureau founded in 1957. Analysis of their anthologies of world literature reveals an early crystallization of a postcolonial aesthetic rooted in Afro-Asian expressions of solidarity. As a result, the Bureau's Sino-Soviet split in 1966 would magnify Africa as a contested ground of "literary" realpolitik. This dissertation locates the emergence of postcolonial literature outside of a colony's relationship to a colonial metropole. Also, it reexamines Cold War literary networks from a postcolonial perspective. African engagement with Chinese literary theory thereby yields a provocative South-to-South vector of decolonization's aesthetic history.

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