Following his 1895 worldwide lecture tour, which took him to many of the outposts of the British Empire, Mark Twain grew increasingly hostile to the processes of European colonization and American imperialism. This manifest first with biting satire of “civilization” and “the human race” in the book based on that lecture tour, Following The Equator (1897), then in increasingly vitriolic criticisms of colonial governments and imperial wars in his private correspondence, and finally climaxed with a public campaign against the violent, hypocritical march of Western Empire in published works like “To The Person Sitting In Darkness” (1901) and “King Leopold’s Soliloquy” (1905), as well as planned works like “The Secret History of Eddypus, World-Empire” and “The Stupendous Procession,” left unfinished when Twain died in 1910, but made available in the collection Fables of Man (1972) from the Mark Twain Project, which you can now read online.
Twain’s account is strikingly compatible with that of Raoul Peck in his new HBO documentary series, Exterminate All The Brutes, released last month.
On a new episode of the American Vandal Podcast, Matt Seybold discusses the film with three scholars with very different backgrounds, personal and professional, all of whom are both enthusiastic and, at times, unsettled by Peck’s grand narrative of racialized violence, genocide, and conquest on a global scale.
Sheri-Marie Harrison is Associate Professor of English at University of Missouri. Her first book was Jamaica’s Difficult Subjects: Negotiating Sovereignty in Anglophone Caribbean Literature & Criticism (Ohio State UP, 2014). She has since published broadly on Caribbean literature and cinema, mass culture of the African Diaspora, and transnational gothic traditions. During season one of The American Vandal Podcast, she spoke with Dr. Seybold about HBO’s Lovecraft Country in the contexts of her essays on “New Black Gothic” and “Global Horror.” Dr. Harrison has also since launched her own podcast, The Sheri Show.
Andrew Hoberek is Catherine Paine Middlebush Professor of English and Chair of Languages, Literatures, & Cultures at University of Missouri. His books include Considering Watchmen: Poetics, Property, Politics (Rutgers UP, 2015) and The Twilight of the Middle Class: Post-World War II American Fiction & White-Collar Work (Princeton UP, 2005). He also edited The Cambridge Companion to John F. Kennedy (Cambridge UP, 2015) and was longtime editor of the Comics Section at Los Angeles Review of Books.
Ignacio Sánchez Prado is the Jarvis Thurston & Mona Van Duyn Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also is Director of Undergraduate Studies in Latin American Studies, and a Professor of Spanish, Latin American Studies, and Film & Media Studies. He is author of numerous works of scholarship in both Spanish and English, including Screening Neoliberalism: Transforming Mexican Cinema, 1988-2012 (Vanderbilt UP, 2014) and Strategic Occidentalism: On Mexican Fiction, The Neoliberal Book Market, & The Question of World LIterature (Northwestern UP, 2018). He has written extensively on prose fiction, critical theory, film, and, most recently, food. Recent publications of note include a review essay of Harold Bloom’s late works, “On Cosmopolitanism & the Love of Literature” in Los Angeles Review of Books and “Enrique Olvera & the Sociopolitical Aesthetics of Neoliberal Culinary Art” from Post45‘s cluster on “The 7 Neoliberal Arts” which also features Dr. Harrison on audiobooks.
Our episode concludes with Dr. Prado making an impassioned case for increased engagement with global cinema from U.S. audiences. He specifically recommends two streaming services – MUBI and The Criterion Channel – both of which have free trial subscriptions and showcase several of the films mentioned in the episode and included in the episode bibliography below.
We hope you enjoy!
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Memories of Underdevelopment (1968)
Añulika Agina, “Netflix & The Transnationalization of Nollywood” (Post45, 4.13.2021)
Santiago Álvarez, Now! (1965)
Bartolome de las Casas, Bartolome de las Casas & The Defense of Amerindian Rights: A Brief History with Documents (U Alabama P, 2020)
Michelle Chihara, “Kingmakers: True Detective & The HBO Brand” (Los Angeles Review of Books, 6.21.2015)
Lee Isaac Chung, Minari (2020)
Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You (HBO, 2020)
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1899)
Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now (1979)
Sophia Coppola, The Virgin Suicides (1999)
Marlene L. Daut, “All The Devils Are Here” (Lapham’s Quarterly, 10.14.2020)
Marlene L. Daut, Tropics of Haiti: Race & the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865 (Liverpool UP, 2015)
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Blood On The Border: A Memoir of the Contra War (1981)
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of The United States (Beacon, 2014)
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, The Miskito Indians of Nicaragua (Minority Rights, 1988)
Octavio Getino & Fernando Solanas, The Hour of the Furnaces (1968)
Jean-Luc Godard, Tout Va Bien (1972)
Francisco Goldman, The Art of Political Murder (Grove Atlantic, 2007)
Sara Gomez, De Cierta Manera (One Way or Another) (1977)
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (PBS, 2019)
Groupe Dziga Vertov, Le Vent d’Est (The Wind From The East) (1970)
Werner Herzog, Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
Werner Herzog, Fitzcarraldo (1982)
Werner Herzog, My Best Fiend (1999)
Werner Herzog, Nomad: In The Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin (2019)
Jeffrey Insko, History, Abolition, & The Ever-Present Now in Antebellum American Writing (2019)
C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture & The San Domingo Revolution (1938)
Shaka King, Judas & The Black Messiah (HBO, 2021)
Anna Kornbluh, “Immediacy: On Style Lately” (UIC Faculty Lecture, 2.4.2021)
Sven Lindqvist, Exterminate All The Brutes (1992)
Valeria Luiselli, Lost Children Archive (Penguin Random House, 2019)
Joshua Lund, Werner Herzog: American Nomadic (U Illinois P, 2020)
Louis Malle, Viva Maria! (1965)
Achille Mbembe, Necropolitics (2019)
Charles Mingus, “Haitian Fight Song” from The Clown (Atlantic, 1957)
Raoul Peck, Exterminate All The Brutes (HBO, 2021)
Raoul Peck, I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
Gillo Pontecorvo, Burn! (1969)
Issa Rae, Insecure (HBO, 2016-)
João Moreira Salles, No Intenso Agora (In The Intense Now) (2017)
Agnès Varda, Black Panthers (1968)
Agnès Varda, Salut les Cubains (1963)
Michael Szalay, “HBO’s Flexible Gold” Representations (Spring 2014)
Paul Taylor, The Art of Political Murder (HBO, 2020)
Pablo Trapero, White Elephant (2012)
Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing The Past: Power & The Production of History (Beacon, 1995)
Bunny Wailer, “Dreamland” from Blackheart Man (Solomonic, 1976)
Wim Wenders, Until The End of The World (1991)
Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (Penguin Random House, 2020)
George Yancey, “Dear White America” (New York Times, 12.24.2015)
Robert Young, Alambrista! (1977)
Chloe Zhao, Nomadland (2020)
Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States (Harper & Row, 1980)