Evan Friss

Penny M. Von Eschen

Race Against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937-1957

What is Eschenís central thesis? 

What do we make of Eschenís periodization?

Does Eschen adequately define the terms of her argument?  Do we have a good sense of what ďliberalĒ and ďthe leftĒ meant over the course of her study?  What is a Diaspora identity and is that a useful term?

Why was the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 so critical?

Are we convinced that in the early 1940s a widespread anti-colonial alliance existed and, that by late 1940s it had disappeared? 

Does Eschen give too much weight to the CAA and to Alphaeus Hunton or is she providing a corrective to the existing literature?

What was significant about Dumbarton Oakes?

How did India fit into the anticolonialism debates?  South Africa?

How did the relationship, or at least the perceived relationship, between colonialism, capitalism, and racism shift during the Cold War era?

Is Eschenís treatment of the NAACP fair?  How does her analysis add to Klarmanís discussion of the NAACP?

How did the Pan-African Congresses and the Nigerian labor strikes galvanize anticolonialist sentiments?

What were the main reasons behind the decline of anti-colonialism alliances?  In what ways did the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan facilitate this change?

Did the weakening of an anti-colonialist agenda actually strengthen the domestic civil rights agenda?  If so, was it then a necessary evil?

How did the black press react to the Korean War?  Why was it significant?

What caused the declining influence of Robeson and Dubois?  Who marginalized them?  Were they simply getting too old and out of touch with mainstream political thought?

Over the course of Eschenís study how does the role of Africa shift in the minds of African-Americans?

How does Eschenís analysis of the rise of Cold War liberalism fit with Brinkleyís argument in the End of Reform?

What is Eschenís take on the Truman administration vis-ŗ-vis civil rights at home and abroad?

Does Eschenís discussion of Cold War liberalism, the Truman administrationís civil rights agenda, and the propaganda machine (i.e. Louis Armstrong) allow for a different interpretation (at least from Klarman and McMahon) of Brown?

Are we satisfied, methodologically, with Eschenís approach?

How does the black press elucidate changing trends in colonialist, capitalist, and democratic ideologies?  Does Eschen overuse or imply too much from newspapers?  Do the individual newspapers need further contextualization and differentiation?

Does Eschenís use of political cartoons and photographs add to her argument?  Was more textual analysis needed?

Does Eschenís emphasis on black intellectuals allow for, or obviate, a fuller understanding of the African-American population in general?  Are intellectual ideologies transferred into the mainstream?  How can historians deal with this problem?

How does Race Against Empire speak to Jianís Maoís China, Gaddisí Cold War, and Lefflerís Preponderance of Power?