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Khary O. Polk, "Contagions of Empire: Scientific Racism, Sexuality, and Black Military Workers Abroad, 1898-1948" (UNC Press, 2020): Polk examines how the shifting views of Black military through the first half of the 20th century, as the U.S. increased its global empire and warfare...

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Khary O. Polk, "Contagions of Empire: Scientific Racism, Sexuality, and Black Military Workers Abroad, 1898-1948" (UNC Press, 2020): Polk examines how the shifting views of Black military through the first half of the 20th century, as the U.S. increased its global empire and warfare...

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Khary Oronde Polk is the author of Contagions of Empire: Scientific Racism, Sexuality, and Black Military Workers Abroad, 1898-1948, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2020. Contagions of Empire examines how the shifting views of Black military through the first half of the 20th century, as the U.S. increased its global empire and warfare. At once viewed as both contagious and immune, Black workers attempted to navigate the complex pathways that were left open in the military, even as they were seen as simultaneously integral and threatening to both the U.S. military and nation state. Polk’s work shows not just how scientific racism developed during this period and how U.S. militarism expanded, but how the Black community responded at each step.
Khary Oronde Polk is an Associate Professor of Black Studies and Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies at Amherst College.
Derek Litvak is a Ph.D. student in the department of history at the University of Maryland.
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