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Josephine Baker invoked islands in her music, and embodied them—in all of their variety—in dozens of unique performances. She costumed and presented herself as a fixture of the oceanic colonial world, of those places where people and power came together outside of the metropole and outside of the nation-state. Looking closely at two of her films from the late 1920s and early 1930s, this essay offers Baker’s interest in islands and archipelagos as an intentional, provocative disruption of the hegemony of nation time and imperial time.

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