In Search of Brightest Africa: Reimagining the Dark Continent in American Culture, 1884-1936 by Jeannette JonesIn Search of Brightest Africa: Reimagining the Dark Continent in American Culture, 1884-1936 by Jeannette Jones

In Search of Brightest Africa: Reimagining the Dark Continent in American Culture, 1884-1936

byJeannette Jones

Paperback | November 1, 2011

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In the decades between the Berlin Conference that partitioned Africa and the opening of the African Hall at the American Museum of Natural History, Americans in several fields and from many backgrounds argued that Africa had something to teach them. Jeannette Eileen Jones traces the history of the idea of Africa with an eye to recovering the emergence of a belief in "Brightest Africa"-a tradition that runs through American cultural and intellectual history with equal force to its "Dark Continent" counterpart.

Jones skillfully weaves disparate strands of turn-of-the-century society and culture to expose a vivid trend of cultural engagement that involved both critique and activism. Filmmakers spoke out against the depiction of "savage" Africa in the mass media while also initiating a countertradition of ethnographic documentaries. Early environmentalists celebrated Africa as a pristine continent while lamenting that its unsullied landscape was "vanishing." New Negro political thinkers also wanted to "save" Africa but saw its fragility in terms of imperiled human promise. Jones illuminates both the optimism about Africa underlying these concerns and the racist and colonial interests these agents often nevertheless served. The book contributes to a growing literature on the ongoing role of global exchange in shaping the African American experience as well as debates about the cultural place of Africa in American thought.

Jeannette Eileen Jones is an associate professor of history and ethnic studies at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
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Title:In Search of Brightest Africa: Reimagining the Dark Continent in American Culture, 1884-1936Format:PaperbackDimensions:260 pages, 9 × 5.98 × 0.78 inPublished:November 1, 2011Publisher:University Of Georgia PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0820340294

ISBN - 13:9780820340296

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Table of Contents

Contents
Preface: What Is Africa to Me?
Acknowledgments
Introduction: In Search of Brightest Africa
One. A Cry from Africa: Victorians, New Women, New Negroes, and Moderns Confront the Dark Continent
Two. To Bunco a Yankee: America and the Congo Question
Three. Written on the Wall: Pan-African Dreams of African Empires and Republics
Four. To Capture a Vanishing World: Naturalist-Environmentalist Discourses and Displays of Africa
Five. Reel Africa: American Filmmaking and Criticism in Defense of Africa
Conclusion: The Wonders of Africa Brought to America
Chronology of Events
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

[T]here is much to commend in Jones's book. . . .[She] has accomplished an important project for the intellectual history of African Americans.

- Lamin Sanneh - Journal of American History