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6 - Globalism’s Prehistory: Technologies of Modernism

from Part I - Genealogies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2021

Debjani Ganguly
Affiliation:
University of Virginia
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Summary

This essay considers modernist internationalism and formal mutation in light of the globalized media ecology brought about by imperialism’s capitalist monopoly of the world-system. Since imperialism and colonialism constituted the first ever properly global system of control and circulation, modernism’s global imaginary and technical innovations cannot be understood outside of a world economic and technological frame. Building on scholarly narratives of modernism’s global vision and its metropolitan incorporation of the colonial periphery/“other,” this article shows how new media technology allowed for the rounding of the world and the advent of new literary forms such as the montage. Media discussed include cinema, photography, magazines, and the phonograph, while poets considered include but are not limited to Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Blaise Cendrars.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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