Radical Sensations

World Movements, Violence, and Visual Culture

Radical Sensations

Book Pages: 368 Illustrations: 88 illustrations Published: February 2013

Author: Shelley Streeby

American Studies, Chicanx and Latinx Studies, Cultural Studies

The significant anarchist, black, and socialist world-movements that emerged in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth adapted discourses of sentiment and sensation and used the era's new forms of visual culture to move people to participate in projects of social, political, and economic transformation. Drawing attention to the vast archive of images and texts created by radicals prior to the 1930s, Shelley Streeby analyzes representations of violence and of abuses of state power in response to the Haymarket police riot, of the trial and execution of the Chicago anarchists, and of the mistreatment and imprisonment of Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magón and other members of the Partido Liberal Mexicano. She considers radicals' reactions to and depictions of U.S. imperialism, state violence against the Yaqui Indians in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the failure of the United States to enact laws against lynching, and the harsh repression of radicals that accelerated after the United States entered the First World War. By focusing on the adaptation and critique of sentiment, sensation, and visual culture by radical world-movements in the period between the Haymarket riots of 1886 and the deportation of Marcus Garvey in 1927, Streeby sheds new light on the ways that these movements reached across national boundaries, criticized state power, and envisioned alternative worlds.


“Provocative and insightful. . . .” — Paul Buhle, Journal of American History

Radical Sensations is a work of astonishing complexity, a cultural history that gives us a portrait into a bridge period of Hemispheric eras, one that must piece together nineteenth-century physical expansion to later twentieth-century articulations….” — Samantha Pinto, American Literature

"[Streeby's] unique approach and nuanced use of visual and print sources make this book a must-read for all labor historians."  — David M. Struthers, Labor

"Radical Sensations is superb scholarship in every way. It engages many emerging currents in contemporary scholarship but has the field of transnational radicalism between 1886 and 1927 all to itself. Among its many contributions, a singularly important one is Shelley Streeby's explanation of why culture counts and how history happens. Part of politics is the production and management of affect. Streeby shows how sentiment and sensation became the lingua franca of American politics in the nineteenth century, with mixed results for radical social movements. The very discourses of sentiment and sensationalism that enabled some radical critiques to gain traction with the masses hobbled others by letting sympathy substitute for social justice." — George Lipsitz, author of How Racism Takes Place

"This is a brilliantly conceived book, filled with novel insights into the ways that new media and visual technologies intersected with and enabled what Shelley Streeby aptly terms 'the proliferation of rival world visions and internationalisms’ of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth. Radical Sensations is the book that I have been waiting to teach in courses on U.S. history or transnational methodology." — Penny M. Von Eschen, author of Race against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937–1957


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Shelley Streeby is Professor of Ethnic Studies and Literature at the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of American Sensations: Class, Empire, and the Production of Popular Culture and a coeditor of Empire and the Literature of Sensation: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century Popular Fiction.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Illustrations ix

Preface and Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction. Sentiment, Sensation, Visual Culture, and Radical World Movements, 1886–1927 1

Part I. Global Haymarkket

1. Looking at State Violence: Lucy Parsons, Jos&eacute Martí, and Haymarket 35

2. From Haymarket to the Mexican Revolution: Anarchists, Socialists, Wobblies, and Magonistas 71

Part II. Revolutionary US-Mexico Borderlands

3. Sensational Socialism, the Horrors of the Porfiriato, and Mexico's Civil Wars 111

4. The End(s) of Barbarous Mexico on the Boundaries of Revolutionary Internationalism 151

Part III. Black Radical New York City

5. Sensational Counter-Sensationalisms: Black Radicals Struggle Over Mass Culture 173

6. Archiving Black Transnational Modernity: Scrapbooks, Stereopticons, and Social Movements 193

7. "Wanted—A Colored International": Hubert H. Harrison, Marcus Garvey, and Modern Media 229

Epilogue. Deportation Scenes 251

Notes 269

Bibliography 305

Index 323
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5291-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5280-8
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