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PRINT September 1991

AFRO-MODERNISM

ORWELL GOT IT WRONG—it’s not 1984 but 1992 that will give us a Europe reunited on a scale last seen in the time of the Roman Empire. Those worrying over the possibility of act II in a play of world imperialism may be heartened to remember that when the Romans built their roads, they had no idea that those very avenues of commerce and command would accelerate the spread of Christianity, a revolutionary force within their midst. Similarly, could the vaporizing of Europe’s borders next year usher in an age of transnational popular art and music, undermining claimed cultural superiorities? Pouring Kongo, Dahomey, and Yorubaland into Portuguese America, for example, brought into being the subversive pleasures called Brazilian popular culture, especially forró and samba.1 What happens when the more than 1½ million Africans and black Antilleans in Paris, the hundreds of thousands of black Caribbeans

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