W.E.B. Du Bois on Asia

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Crossing the world color line. Edited by Bill Mullen and Cathryn J. Merla-Watson

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W.E.B. Du Bois on Asia was done in collaboration with Cathryn J. Merla-Watson, a talented Professor Mexican-American Studies at The University of Texas Rio-Grande Valley. The book is a collection of Du Bois’s essays, journalism, and memoir on the Asian world, including accounts of his trips to China and Japan. Du Bois’s support for Pan-Asia is generally much less known, and studied, than his support for Pan-Africa, though he saw the two in dialectical relation. This book tells that story.

After Japan's defeat of Russia in the 1904 territorial war, W. E. B. Du Bois declared, "The Color Line in civilization has been crossed in modern times as it was in the great past. The awakening of the yellow races is certain. That the awakening of the brown and black races will follow in time, no unprejudiced student of history can doubt."

Du Bois's lifelong certitude that Asia would play a central role in determining the fates of races, nations, and world systems of power has not until now been made fully available. W. E. B. Du Bois on Asia captures in unprecedented detail Du Bois's first-person experiences of and responses to Indian nationalism, the war between China and Japan, the life of Mahatma Gandhi, colonialism in Malaysia and Burma, and the promise of China's Communist Revolution. It also provides critical understanding of Du Bois's obsession with the eternal relationship between Asia and Africa dating from antiquity to the postcolonial era.

The Du Bois of this collection emerges as a forerunner of postcolonialist thought, a lifelong internationalist, and the most important African American reader of Asia's place in the making of the modern world.

 

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