Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Great War and the Culture of the New Negro$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Mark Whalan

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813032061

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813032061.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

The Great War and the New Negro Politics of Gender

The Great War and the New Negro Politics of Gender

(p.110) 4 The Great War and the New Negro Politics of Gender
The Great War and the Culture of the New Negro

Mark Whalan

University Press of Florida

This chapter evaluates how the Great War modified the perceptions of gender. This chapter looks into the changing perceptions of gender that dominated during wartime. During the war period, the figure of a black officer trained at Des Moines became the symbol of New Negro masculinity and this was used in the New Negro literature of the 1920s. This New Negro masculinity was associated with patriarchal authority, Victorian gentility, and traditional ideas of martial heroism. These new forms of masculinity were often celebrated and subjected to subtle criticism in the literature of the 1920s. The most notable of these were Edward Christopher Williams's The Letters of Davy Carr, Walter White's The Fire in the Flint, and Nella Larsen's Passing. In contrast, several narratives also attempted to revise and broaden the masculinist articulations of the New Negro. These new articulations of the New Negro and black subjectivity were not only observed in literary representations and literature, this new black subjectivity also had an impact on the system of mass testing the physiology and IQs of soldier draftees. This new data garnered from these tests was much debated in the 1920s. The debate centered on issues of the racial basis of scientific methodology and the capacity of this new technology and science to quantify racial identity. Debates on the link between race and intelligence and the data garnered by these tests were used by anthropologists as basis for their claim of the emergence of a new and distinct African American physiology which paved the way for the emergence of the so-called “brown America”. Anthropologists and African American writer alike presumed and suggested the emergence of the cultural shift of the New Negro Renaissance, and this was largely connected to physiological changes that were observed during the 1920s.

Keywords:   Great War, perceptions of gender, gender, New Negro masculinity, 1920s, New Negro, masculinity, black subjectivity, New Negro Renaissance

Florida Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .