ABSTRACT

This article examines the Afro-Asian Writers’ Association’s (AAWA) magazine, Lotus, as an example of the cultural discourse of Afro-Asianism and the logistical and political challenges of institutionalizing a Third World literary canon within the broader context of Cold War alliances. The author's focus on the magazine’s conceptual vocabulary and its internal mechanisms reveals how anticolonial writers and cultural actors brought their own different (often, competing) versions of Marxism and varying degrees of alignment with Soviet-style socialism to the project of cultural decolonization and contributed to a global socialist order. Concerns of literary form, political liberation, and the context of noncommercial patronage shaped an all-encompassing cumulative aesthetic that was not always aligned with Moscow mandates. Her reading of the Lotus archive also draws out the frictions between various geopolitical pivots of the Afro-Asian—a focus on nation, civilization, race, and the larger socialist internationalism—to contribute to studies of the political entanglements between postcolonial and postsocialist studies that can offer insights into current geopolitical predicaments, especially for regions that continue to suffer from new and old forms of occupation and imperialism.

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