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Deferred Dreams, Defiant StrugglesCritical Perspectives on Blackness, Belonging, and Civil Rights$
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Violet Showers Johnson, Gundolf Graml, and Patricia Williams Lessane

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786940339

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786940339.001.0001

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Josephine Baker’s Routes and Roots: Mobility, Belonging, and Activism in the Atlantic World

Josephine Baker’s Routes and Roots: Mobility, Belonging, and Activism in the Atlantic World

(p.11) 2 Josephine Baker’s Routes and Roots: Mobility, Belonging, and Activism in the Atlantic World
Deferred Dreams, Defiant Struggles

Katharina Gerund

Liverpool University Press

Chapter uses research paradigms from mobility studies, black diaspora studies, and transnational American studies, in order to create a nuanced picture of the many facets of Josephine Baker’s career as an artist and activist. It discusses Baker’s often neglected role as an activist for the French Resistance and in the US Civil Rights Movement, as well as her self-fashioning as a mother, head of state, and humanitarian at Les Milandes: a 15th century château where Baker established her Rainbow Tribe. The chapter considers how Baker’s changing positionalities, mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in different social contexts, and experiences of displacement and exile, partially determined her political work and how she was simultaneously constructed by these discourses. Baker is cast as a “revolutionary diva” who does not simply belong on the margins of current debates around transnational affiliations and cosmopolitanisms, cultural mobilities and immobilities, and political activism in the black diaspora.

Keywords:   Josephine Baker, Mobility, Activism, Atlantic World, Belonging, French resistance, Transnational identity, Civil Rights Movement, Black diaspora, Les Milandes

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