R. J. Boutelle, "The Race for America: Black Internationalism in the Age of Manifest Destiny" (UNC Press, 2023)

13 Apr 2024 • 67 min • EN
67 min
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As Manifest Destiny took hold in the national consciousness, what did it mean for African Americans who were excluded from its ambitions for an expanding American empire that would shepherd the Western Hemisphere into a new era of civilization and prosperity?  In The Race for America: Black Internationalism in the Age of Manifest Destiny (UNC Press, 2023), R. J. Boutelle explores how Black intellectuals like Daniel Peterson, James McCune Smith, Mary Ann Shadd, Henry Bibb, and Martin Delany engaged this cultural mythology to theorize and practice Black internationalism. He uncovers how their strategies for challenging Manifest Destiny's white nationalist ideology and expansionist political agenda constituted a form of disidentification—a deconstructing and reassembling of this discourse that marshals Black experiences as racialized subjects to imagine novel geopolitical mythologies and projects to compete with Manifest Destiny. Employing Black internationalist, hemispheric, and diasporic frameworks to examine the emigrationist and solidarity projects that African Americans proposed as alternatives to Manifest Destiny, Boutelle attends to sites integral to US aspirations of hemispheric dominion: Liberia, Nicaragua, Canada, and Cuba. In doing so, Boutelle offers a searing history of how internalized fantasies of American exceptionalism burdened the Black geopolitical imagination that encouraged settler-colonial and imperialist projects in the Americas and West Africa. Omari Averette-Phillips is a doctoral student in the Department of History at UC Davis. He can be reached at omariaverette@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/intellectual-history

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