A World to Win

Bill V. Mullen

in The Oxford Handbook of Propaganda Studies

Published in print December 2013 | ISBN: 9780199764419
Published online April 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

A World to Win

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  • Literature
  • Literary Theory and Cultural Studies
  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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This chapter examines the function of propaganda in African American literature of the twentieth century. The chapter argues that African American writers have understood the function of writing as inherently propagandistic in order to counter the reach and effects of White supremacist thought. The chapter explores the history of the term "propaganda" in generative debate about Black group solidarity and the meaning of Black nationalism. It also argues that considerations of propaganda have been fundamental to the creation of Black internationalist and transnational thought. The chapter pays special attention to the conception of propaganda in the work of W. E. B. Du Bois, who helped launch debate about the meaning of the term during the Harlem Renaissance, and redefined it in his later work in a manner consistent with his development of a socialist conception of democracy.

Keywords: propaganda; African American literature; White supremacist; Black nationalism; Black internationalism; transnationalism; W. E. B. Du Bois; Harlem Renaissance; socialist

Article.  9185 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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