PJAS 12 Spring-4

Piotr Skurowski
Looking Back, 2018-1916: The Cosmopolitan Idea in Randolph Bourne’s ‘Transnational America”
Polish Journal for American Studies, vol. 12 (Spring 2018) pp. 43-54


This article re-examines the classic 1916 text by Randolph Bourne, considered a forerunner of today’s multiculturalism, to demonstrate how Bourne’s cosmopolitanism (defined as transnationalism) related to the ideological and intellectual currents of the Progressive Era, and how it registers with today’s readers’ different sensibilities (vis-a-vis issues like race, ethnicity and democracy) as well as some of the new theoretical perspectives on cosmopolitanism and transnationalism. While the article argues for an unceasing relevancy of Bourne’s text, it also identifies the problems today’s readers may have with it, most importantly with the author’s Eurocentrism as well as the exceptionalist underpinnings of his argument.

Keywords: Cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism, transnationalism, Progressivism, American exceptionalism, Eurocentrism

DOI: 10.7311/PJAS.12/1/2018.04

Full Article