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The Buddha in the MachineArt, Technology, and the Meeting of East and West$
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R. John Williams

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300194470

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300194470.001.0001

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Mastering the Machine

Mastering the Machine

Technology and the Racial Logic of Jack London's Asia

(p.45) 3. Mastering the Machine
The Buddha in the Machine

R. John Williams

Yale University Press

This chapter argues that one of Jack London's most consistent concerns throughout his career was the place of the machine in modern life, and his engagements with the discourses of racial formation and socialism (and his complicated attempts to both reproduce and transcend them) are consistent with this technologically deterministic concern. London's vision of Asia/Pacific, in other words, was as much a product of his hopes and fears about modern technology as it was of any rigid, biological theories of racial difference. Indeed, when viewed through the prism of his concerns about the role of technology in late nineteenth- and early twentieth- century capitalism, London's seemingly contradictory characterizations of various Asian/Pacific people become much more coherent (if still firmly rooted in a racialized, Eurocentric worldview).

Keywords:   Jack London, Pacific Rim, Russo-Japanese War, 1893 Chicago World's Fair, American socialism, antimodernism, yellow peril, surfing, utopianism, Jung

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