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The Black Pacific: U.S. Empire, the Colored American Magazine, and José Rizal's Noli Me Tangere in Translation
  • Wednesday, March 27, 2024 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm

FBH Grad Lounge

Abstract: The transnational turn in American literary studies has forged new epistemologies and approaches for thinking about post-national cultural forms while centering empire and imperialism in the development of U.S. culture. My talk reviews these critical conversations and takes up the recent concept of the Black Pacific to examine how the redefinition of the U.S. as an empire-state rather than as a nation-state has transformed the study of race and comparative racialization in the long nineteenth century. In so doing, my talk considers some lesser-studied Black American writings on and responses to the Philippine-American War as part of an emerging Black American discourse on the Pacific, as Asia became more geopolitically significant to the U.S. The essay pays particular attention to publications from the era’s most influential Black literary magazine, the Boston-based Colored American Magazine. Specifically, it examines the complex Black American reception history of José Rizal’s landmark novel of Filipino nationalism, Noli Me Tangere (1887), which was translated from Spanish into English and published in the U.S. as two dramatically different abridged novels in 1900.