Jim Crow in the Soviet Union

Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters 36.1 (2013): 125-141

19 Pages Posted: 26 May 2013 Last revised: 15 Dec 2015

See all articles by Rebecca Gould

Rebecca Gould

Professor, Islamic World & Comparative Literature, College of Arts & Law, University of Birmingham; Harvard University - Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies

Date Written: February 9, 2013

Abstract

In 1932, the African-American poet Langston Hughes journeyed to Uzbekistan in search of the social equality that a Jim Crow America had systematically denied to peoples of African descent. This essay documents what Hughes found upon his arrival in Soviet Central Asia alongside the ethnic discrimination he failed to document. Concentrating on the disjunctures between the ideal of racial harmony and the lived experience of discrimination in Hughes’ milieu as well as in contemporary Siberia and America, and on the tensions between being a native in a foreign land and a foreigner in one’s country, I ponder the gaps between the racial identities society asks us to believe in and the racial identities that we live.

Keywords: race, Soviet, discrimination, native tongue, Marxism, Uzbek, Russian, postcolonial, interracial relationships

Suggested Citation

Gould, Rebecca Ruth, Jim Crow in the Soviet Union (February 9, 2013). Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters 36.1 (2013): 125-141 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2214378

Rebecca Ruth Gould (Contact Author)

Professor, Islamic World & Comparative Literature, College of Arts & Law, University of Birmingham ( email )

College of Arts and Law
Birmingham, UK, Birmingham B15 2TT
United Kingdom
https://rrgould.hcommons.org/ (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/rebeccagould

Harvard University - Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies ( email )

1730 Cambridge Street, 3rd Floor
Cambridge, 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://daviscenter.fas.harvard.edu/about-us/people/rebecca-gould

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