Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 November 2022
This chapter explores Hughes’s historic visit to Shanghai in 1933 and his encounter with the reverberating Shanghai jazz scene in the interwar era. It situates Hughes’s account of his trip in I Wonder as I Wander (1956) during the Bandung period, examining Hughes’s subsequent response to Afro-Asian engagements with the language of jazz. Against the overarching premise of Afro-Asian solidarity, music in Hughes’s work becomes an alternative site of politics, simultaneously conveying Bandung-era optimism and the limits of Afro-Asian solidarity underpinned by the nation-state and its racial categories. Music in Hughes’s world as practice metaphorically sensitizes the many nuances of interracial dynamics, that is, Sino-Japanese tension, in ways that necessitate reconfiguration of the global color line.
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