Race, Class, and the Limits of the Analogical Imagination: Pier Paolo Pasolini’s African America


Pier Paolo Pasolini’s tireless opposition to neocapitalism throughout the 1960s and early ‘70s took “Africa” as the allegory and instantiation of political resistance tout court – a fact not surprising given the number of countries which began wresting back their sovereignty from European colonizers during these years. Yet there is another dimension of Africanness – bound up with the continent’s history yet simultaneously alien to it – that figures prominently in Pasolini’s aesthetics throughout the period: the African-American community and its particular cultural and counter-cultural expressions. By virtue of the United States’ fraught racial politics, sprawling ghettoes, and imperialist ambitions, the country figured prominently into Pasolini’s “third-world” imaginary in a variety of media and genres – representations relatively overlooked in his influential oeuvre, and which this article examines in detail.

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