MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Emily Wilcox’s review of Arise, Africa! Roar China!: Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century, by Gao Yunxiang. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/wilcox-2/. My thanks to our literary studies book review editor, Nicholas Kaldis, for ushering the review to publication.
Kirk Denton, MCLC
Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century
By Gao Yunxiang
Reviewed by Emily Wilcox
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright February, 2023)
Gao Yunxiang’s new monograph Arise, Africa! Roar, China! Black and Chinese Citizens of the World in the Twentieth Century explores Sino-African American relations during the mid-twentieth century through five interconnected case studies: W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson, Liu Liangmo 劉良模, Sylvia Si-lan Chen Leyda 陳茜[錫,西]蘭, and Langston Hughes. Drawing extensively on archival sources in the United States, published sources in Chinese, English, and Russian, and writings by these individuals, their family members, and their biographers, Gao documents how Chinese and African Americans interacted and collaborated with one other in diverse ways between the 1930s and the 1970s. Moving beyond a state-to-state understanding of international engagement, Gao examines how personal relationships and opportunities for travel and translation that developed in this period enabled forms of intellectual and artistic work and political activism, producing new mutual understandings and forms of transnational belonging across the Pacific.
Departing somewhat from recent scholarship that emphasizes the limitations of Afro-Asian discourse and its imagined intimacies, as well as work that focuses on one side of the China-African American interactions during this period, Gao seeks to document historical instances of connection and engagement through an approach that places equal emphasis on both Chinese and US source materials. As Gao asserts in the final paragraph of her book: Continue reading