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Exhibitions/ Siah Armajani: Follow This Line/ Red-Black Thread Reading List

Siah Armajani: Follow This Line

February 20–June 2, 2019

Red-Black Thread Reading List

The following publications are drawn from Slavs and Tatars' research for Red-Black Thread and are presented in Sacco and Vanzetti Reading Room #3 (1988) as part of Siah Armajani: Follow This Line at The Met Breuer, New York.

Red-Black Thread looks at the construction of race, namely black identity, from the perspective of Russia, the Soviet Union, and a communist intellectual tradition. The sources and materials in the reading list aim to widen the vista to include the social, intellectual, and psychological impact of Russian and Soviet ideology on the formation of African-American identity. From the African heritage of the founder of modern Russian literature, Alexander Pushkin, to the idea of black internationalism, Red-Black Thread allows us to approach two subjects perceived as disparate and often studied in isolation—namely Russia and blackness—together, in a bear hug of contaminated critical analysis. We can't imagine a more fitting space to activate Red-Black Thread than Siah Armajani's Sacco and Vanzetti Reading Room #3 (1988), whose titular identity and function are so intertwined with the history and practice of social justice.

—Slavs and Tatars


Adi, Hakim. Pan-Africanism and Communism: The Communist International, Africa and the Diaspora 1919–1939. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2013.

Alexandrov, Vladimir. The Black Russian. New York: Grove Atlantic, 2013.

Baldwin, Kate A. Beyond the Color Line and the Iron Curtain: Reading Encounters between Black and Red, 1922–1963. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002.

Blakely, Allison. Russia and the Negro: Blacks in Russian History and Thought. Washington, DC: Howard University Press, 1984.

Carew, Joy Gleeson. Blacks, Reds, and Russians: Sojourners in Search of the Soviet Promise. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 20\10.

Conermann, Stephan, and Michael Kemper, eds. The Heritage of Soviet Oriental Studies. London: Routledge, 2011.

Cvetkovski, Roland, and Alexis Hofmeister. An Empire of Others: Creating Ethnographic Knowledge in Imperial Russia and the USSR. Budapest: Central European University Press, 2014.

Davies, Carole Boyce. Left of Karl Marx: The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007.

Frazier, Robeson Taj. The East Is Black: Cold War China in the Black Radical Imagination. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2015.

Gilyard, Keith. Louise Thompson Patterson: A Life of Struggle for Justice. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017.

Gnammankou, Dieudonné. Abraham Hanibal: Prince of Logone, Pushkin's African Ancestor. Translated by Edyth Watt. London: Books of Africa, 2015.

Haywood, Harry. Black Bolshevik: Autobiography of an Afro-American Communist. Chicago: Liberator, 1978.

Hirsch, Francine. Empire of Nations: Ethnographic Knowledge and the Making of the Soviet Union. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005.

Horne, Gerald. Black and Red: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Afro- American Response to the Cold War, 1944–1963. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986.

Hughes, Langston. I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey. 1956. 2nd ed. New York: Hill & Wang, 2015.

———. A Negro Looks at Soviet Central Asia. Moscow: Cooperative Publishing Society of Foreign Workers in the USSR, 1934.

Hutchings, Stephen, and Vera Tolz. Nation, Ethnicity, and Race on Russian Television. New York: Routledge, 2015.

Hutchinson, Earl Ofari. Blacks and Reds: Race and Class in Conflict, 1919–1990. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1995.

Jackson, Jeanne-Marie. South African Literature's Russian Soul. London: Bloomsbury, 2015.

Jeśman, Czesław. The Russians in Ethiopia. London: Chatto & Windus, 1958.

Khanga, Yelena. Soul to Soul: A Black Russian Jewish Woman's Search for Her Roots. New York: W. W. Norton, 1994.

La Guma, Alex. A Soviet Journey: A Critical Annotated Edition. Edited by Christopher J. Lee. London: Lexington, 2017.

Lee, Steven S. The Ethnic Avant-garde: Minority Cultures and World Revolution. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015.

Lewis, Sarah. Black Sea/Black Atlantic: Frederick Douglass, the Circassian Beauties, and American Racial Formation in the Wake of the Civil War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, forthcoming.

Lorde, Audre. "Notes from a Trip to Russia." In Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Trumansburg, NY: Crossing Press, 1984.

Martin, Terry. The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923–1939. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001.

Mastyugina, Tatiana, and Lev Perepelkin. An Ethnic History of Russia: Pre-Revolutionary Times to the Present. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1996.

Matusevich, Maxim. Africa in Russia, Russia in Africa: Three Centuries of Encounters. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2007.

———. No Easy Row for a Russian Hoe: Ideology and Pragmatism in Nigerian-Soviet Relations, 1960–1991. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2003.

Maxwell, William J. New Negro, Old Left. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.

McDuffie, Erik S. Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

McKay, Claude. The Negroes in America. Edited by Alan L. McLeod. Translated by Robert J. Winter. Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1979.

———. The Passion of Claude McKay: Selected Poetry and Prose, 1912–1948. New York: Schocken, 1973.

———. Trial by Lynching: Stories about Negro Life in America. Mysore, India: Centre for Commonwealth Literature and Research, 1989.

Nash, Mark, ed. Red Africa: Affective Communities and the Cold War. London: Black Dog, 2016.

Nepomnyashchy, Catharine Theimer, Nicole Svobodny, and Ludmilla A. Trigos, eds. Under the Sky of My Africa: Alexander Pushkin and Blackness. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2006.

Peterson, Dale E. Up from Bondage: The Literatures of Russian and African American Soul. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

Popescu, Monica, Cedric Tolliver, and Julie Tolliver, eds. "Alternative Solidarities: Black Diasporas and Cultural Alliances during the Cold War." Special issue, Journal of Postcolonial Writing 50, no. 4 (2014).

Ragar, Cheryl R., and John Edgar Tidwell. Montage of a Dream: The Art and Life of Langston Hughes. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2007.

Ram, Harsha. The Imperial Sublime: A Russian Poetics of Empire. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2003.

Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, David. Russian Orientalism: Asia in the Russian Mind from Peter the Great to the Emigration. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010.

Smethurst, James Edward. The New Red Negro: The Literary Left and African American Poetry, 1930–1946. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Smith, Homer. Black Man in Red Russia. Chicago: Johnson, 1964.

Solomon, Mark I. The Cry Was Unity: Communists and African Americans, 1917–1936. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1998.

Tolz, Vera. Russia's Own Orient: The Politics of Identity and Oriental Studies in the Late Imperial and Early Soviet Periods. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Wolff, Larry. Inventing Eastern Europe: The Map of Civilization on the Mind of the Enlightenment. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994.

Woods, Jeff. Black Struggle, Red Scare: Segregation and Anti-Communism in the South, 1948–1968. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2004.

Zakharov, Nikolay. Race and Racism in Russia: Mapping Global Racisms. New York: Springer, 2015.


Killens, John Oliver. Great Black Russian: A Novel on the Life and Times of Alexander Pushkin. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1989.

McKay, Claude. Amiable with Big Teeth. New York: Penguin, 2017.

Turgenev, Andrei. Negry v nevole. 1803. Translation of August von Kotzebue's play Die Negersklaven (1796).

Russian-Language Publications

Anisimov, Yulian, ed. Afrika v Amerike. Moscow: Gosudarst vennoeizdatelʹ stvo khdozhestvennoĭ literatury, 1933. Soviet anthology of African American poetry.

Balesin, A. S., ed. Evrotsentrizm i afrotsentrizm nakanune XXI veka: Afrikanistika v mirovom kontekste. Moscow: Institut vseobschey istorii RAN, 2000.

Gorodnov, Valentin. Komintern i Afrika. Saint Petersburg, Russia: Dokumenty, 2003.

Gorokhov, Viktor. Robson. Moscow: Sovietskii Pisatel', 1953.

McKay, Claude. Negry v Amerike. Moscow, 2012.

———. Sudom lincha; rasskazy o zhizni negrov v Severnoĭ Amerike. Moscow: Ogonek, 1925.

Zimianin, Vladimir. Pol Robson. Moscow: Maladaia Gvardiia, 1985.


Blakely, Allison. "Foreword: Contested Blackness in Red Russia." In "African Americans in Early Soviet Culture," special issue, Russian Review 75 (July 2016): 359–367.

Kiaer, Christina. "African Americans in Soviet Socialist Realism: The Case of Aleksandr Deineka." In "African Americans in Early Soviet Culture," special issue, Russian Review 75 (July 2016): 402–433.

Lemon, Alaina. "Without a 'Concept'? Race as Discursive Practice." Slavic Review 61 (Spring 2002): 54–61.

Lewis, Sarah. "The Hidden Past of Sochi." New Yorker, February 19, 2014.

Moore, David Chioni. "Local Color, Global 'Color': Langston Hughes, the Black Atlantic, and Soviet Central Asia, 1932." Research in African Literatures 27 (Winter 1996): 49–70.

Popescu, Monica. "On the Margins of the Black Atlantic: Angola, the Second World, and the Cold War." In "Africa and the Black Atlantic," special issue, Research in African Literatures 45, no. 33 (2014): 91–109.

Subotic, Jelena, and Srdjan Vucetic. "Performing Solidarity: Whiteness and Status-Seeking in the Non-aligned World." Journal of International Relations and Development, August 2017, 1–22.

Weiner, Amir. "Nothing but Certainty." Slavic Review 61 (Spring 2002): 44–53.

Weitz, Eric D. "Racial Politics without the Concept of Race: Re-evaluating Soviet Ethnic and National Purges." Slavic Review 61 (Spring 2002): 1–29.

Wilson, Jennifer. "Queer Harlem, Queer Tashkent: Langston Hughes's 'Boy Dancers of Uzbekistan.'" Slavic Review 76 (Fall 2017): 637–646.

Siah Armajani (Iranian-American, born Tehran, 1939). Details from Dictionary for Building, 1974–75. Mixed media. Collection MAMCO, Geneva