Cross-Cultural Harlem: Reimagining Race and Place (Paperback)

Cross-Cultural Harlem: Reimagining Race and Place By Sandhya Shukla Cover Image

Cross-Cultural Harlem: Reimagining Race and Place (Paperback)


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Over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Harlem has been the capital of both Black America and a global African diaspora, an early home for Italian and Jewish immigrant communities, an important Puerto Rican neighborhood, and a representative site of gentrification. How do we understand the power of a place with so many claims and identifications? Drawing on fiction, sociology, political speech, autobiography, and performance, Sandhya Shukla develops a living theory of Harlem, in which peoples of different backgrounds collide, interact, and borrow from each other, even while Blackness remains crucial.

Cross-Cultural Harlem reveals a dynamic of exchange that provokes a rethinking of spaces such as Black Harlem, El Barrio, and Italian Harlem. Cross-cultural encounters among African Americans, West Indians, Puerto Ricans, Jews, and Italians provide a story of multiplicity that challenges the framework of territorial enclaves. Shukla illuminates the historical processes that have shaped the diversity of Harlem, examining the many dimensions of its Blackness--Southern, African, Caribbean, Puerto Rican, and more--as well as how white ethnicities have been constructed. Considering literary and historical examples such as Langston Hughes's short story "Spanish Blood," the career of the Italian American left-wing Harlem congressman Vito Marcantonio, and the autobiography of Puerto Rican-Cuban writer Piri Thomas, Shukla argues that cosmopolitanism and racial belonging need not be seen as contradictory. Cross-Cultural Harlem offers a vision of sustained dialogue to respond to the challenges of urban transformations and to affirm the future of Harlem as actual place and global symbol.
Sandhya Shukla is associate professor of English and American Studies at the University of Virginia, where she is also an affiliate faculty member of the Carter G. Woodson Institute of African American and African Studies. She is the author of India Abroad: Diasporic Cultures of Postwar America and England (2003) and a coeditor of Imagining Our Americas: Toward a Transnational Frame (2007).
Product Details ISBN: 9780231208475
ISBN-10: 0231208472
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: June 4th, 2024
Pages: 312
Language: English