This special issue brings together some of the most dynamic current scholarship addressing race and ethnicity in the medieval and early modern periods. The contents include: "The Difference the Middle Ages Makes: Color and Race before the Modern World" by Thomas Hahn "Medieval and Modern Concepts of Race and Ethnicity" by Robert Bartlett "Black Servant, Black Demon: Color Ideology in the Ashburnham Pentateuch" by Dorothy Hoogland Verkerk "Pagans are wrong and Christians are right: Alterity, Gender, and Nation in the Chanson de Roland" by Sharon Kinoshita "On Saracen Enjoyment: Some Fantasies of Race in Late Medieval France and England" by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen "Medieval Travel Writing and the Question of Race" by Linda Lomperis "Why ‘Race’?" by William Chester Jordan
The contributors to Race and Performance after Repetition explore how theater and performance studies account for the complex relationship between race and time. Pointing out that repetition has been the primary point of reference for understanding both the complex temporality of theater and the historical persistence of race, they identify and pursue critical alternatives to the conceptualization, organization, measurement, and politics of race in performance. The contributors examine theater, performance art, music, sports, dance, photography, and other forms of performance in topics that range from the movement of boxer Joe Louis to George C. Wolfe's 2016 reimagining of the 1921 all-black musical comedy Shuffle Along to the relationship between dance, mourning, and black adolescence in Flying Lotus's music video “Never Catch Me.” Proposing a spectrum of coexisting racial temporalities that are not tethered to repetition, this collection reconsiders central theories in performance studies in order to find new understandings of race.
Contributors. Joshua Chambers-Letson, Soyica Diggs Colbert, Nicholas Fesette, Patricia Herrera, Jasmine Elizabeth Johnson, Douglas A. Jones Jr., Mario LaMothe, Daphne P. Lei, Jisha Menon, Tavia Nyong’o, Tina Post, Elizabeth W. Son, Shane Vogel, Catherine M. Young, Katherine Zien
Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality has been one of the most influential books of the last two decades. It has had an enormous impact on cultural studies and work across many disciplines on gender, sexuality, and the body. Bringing a new set of questions to this key work, Ann Laura Stoler examines volume one of History of Sexuality in an unexplored light. She asks why there has been such a muted engagement with this work among students of colonialism for whom issues of sexuality and power are so essential. Why is the colonial context absent from Foucault’s history of a European sexual discourse that for him defined the bourgeois self? In Race and the Education of Desire, Stoler challenges Foucault’s tunnel vision of the West and his marginalization of empire. She also argues that this first volume of History of Sexuality contains a suggestive if not studied treatment of race. Drawing on Foucault’s little-known 1976 College de France lectures, Stoler addresses his treatment of the relationship between biopower, bourgeois sexuality, and what he identified as “racisms of the state.” In this critical and historically grounded analysis based on cultural theory and her own extensive research in Dutch and French colonial archives, Stoler suggests how Foucault’s insights have in the past constrained—and in the future may help shape—the ways we trace the genealogies of race. Race and the Education of Desire will revise current notions of the connections between European and colonial historiography and between the European bourgeois order and the colonial treatment of sexuality. Arguing that a history of European nineteenth-century sexuality must also be a history of race, it will change the way we think about Foucault.
Although in recent years scholars have explored the cultural construction of masculinity, they have largely ignored the ways in which masculinity intersects with other categories of identity, particularly those of race and ethnicity. The essays in Race and the Subject of Masculinities address this concern and focus on the social construction of masculinity—black, white, ethnic, gay, and straight—in terms of the often complex and dynamic relationships among these inseparable categories. Discussing a wide range of subjects including the inherent homoeroticism of martial-arts cinema, the relationship between working-class ideologies and Elvis impersonators, the emergence of a gay, black masculine aesthetic in the works of James Van der Zee and Robert Mapplethorpe, and the comedy of Richard Pryor, Race and the Subject of Masculinities provides a variety of opportunities for thinking about how race, sexuality, and "manhood" are reinforced and reconstituted in today’s society. Editors Harry Stecopoulos and Michael Uebel have gathered together essays that make clear how the formation of masculine identity is never as obvious as it might seem to be. Examining personas as varied as Eddie Murphy, Bruce Lee, Tarzan, Malcolm X, and Andre Gidé, these essays draw on feminist critique and queer theory to demonstrate how cross-identification through performance and spectatorship among men of different races and cultural backgrounds has served to redefine masculinity in contemporary culture. By taking seriously the role of race in the making of men, Race and the Subject of Masculinities offers an important challenge to the new studies of masculinity.
Contributors. Herman Beavers, Jonathan Dollimore, Richard Dyer, Robin D. G. Kelly, Christopher Looby, Leerom Medovoi, Eric Lott, Deborah E. McDowell, José E. Muñoz, Harry Stecopoulos, Yvonne Tasker, Michael Uebel, Gayle Wald, Robyn Wiegman
In Race Becomes Tomorrow Gerald M. Sider weaves together stories from his civil rights activism, his youth, and his experiences as an anthropologist to investigate the dynamic ways race has been constructed and lived in America since the 1960s. Tacking between past and present, Sider describes how political power, economic control, and racism inject chaos into the lives of ordinary people, especially African Americans, with surprising consequences. In addition to recounting his years working on voter registration in rural North Carolina, Sider makes connections between numerous issues, from sharecropping and deindustrialization to the recessions of the 1970s and 2008, the rise of migrant farm labor, and contemporary living-wage campaigns. Sider's stories—whether about cockroach races in immigrant homes, degrading labor conditions, or the claims and failures of police violence—provide numerous entry points into gaining a deeper understanding of how race and power both are and cannot be lived. They demonstrate that race is produced and exists in unpredictability, and that the transition from yesterday to tomorrow is anything but certain.
Traditionalism is the primary mode by which conservatives rewrite history and reshape cultural memory. Traditionalism can be not only a reactionary, even hostile, act; in many instances, it can push back or outright erase the profound contributions of individual actors, social movements, and historic events that expose traditionalism's often illegitimate claims to political or ethical superiority. This issue of RHR is intended as an intervention into the politics of traditionalism. The articles, interviews, and reviews in this special issue help us to historicize the ways in which cultural memories are formed, challenged, and often erased for the sake of political expediency. They also demonstrate how appeals to cultural memory or national mythology can be used to transform the narratives of nationhood.
Contributors. Adina Back, Eliza Jane Reilly, Jarod H. Roll, Gary Wilder, Lewis Siegelbaum, R. J. Lambrose
How do race and nature work as terrains of power? From eighteenth-century claims that climate determined character to twentieth-century medical debates about the racial dimensions of genetic disease, concepts of race and nature are integrally connected, woven into notions of body, landscape, and nation. Yet rarely are these complex entanglements explored in relation to the contemporary cultural politics of difference. This volume takes up that challenge. Distinguished contributors chart the traffic between race and nature across sites including rainforests, colonies, and courtrooms.
Synthesizing a number of fields—anthropology, cultural studies, and critical race, feminist, and postcolonial theory—this collection analyzes diverse historical, cultural, and spatial locations. Contributors draw on thinkers such as Fanon, Foucault, and Gramsci to investigate themes ranging from exclusionary notions of whiteness and wilderness in North America to linguistic purity in Germany. Some essayists focus on the racialized violence of imperial rule and evolutionary science and the biopolitics of race and class in the Guatemalan civil war. Others examine how race and nature are fused in biogenetic discourse—in the emergence of “racial diseases” such as sickle cell anemia, in a case of mistaken in vitro fertilization in which a white couple gave birth to a black child, and even in the world of North American dog breeding. Several essays tackle the politics of representation surrounding environmental justice movements, transnational sex tourism, and indigenous struggles for land and resource rights in Indonesia and Brazil. Contributors. Bruce Braun, Giovanna Di Chiro, Paul Gilroy, Steven Gregory, Donna Haraway, Jake Kosek, Tania Murray Li, Uli Linke, Zine Magubane, Donald S. Moore, Diane Nelson, Anand Pandian, Alcida Rita Ramos, Keith Wailoo, Robyn Wiegman
In The Race of Sound Nina Sun Eidsheim traces the ways in which sonic attributes that might seem natural, such as the voice and its qualities, are socially produced. Eidsheim illustrates how listeners measure race through sound and locate racial subjectivities in vocal timbre—the color or tone of a voice. Eidsheim examines singers Marian Anderson, Billie Holiday, and Jimmy Scott as well as the vocal synthesis technology Vocaloid to show how listeners carry a series of assumptions about the nature of the voice and to whom it belongs. Outlining how the voice is linked to ideas of racial essentialism and authenticity, Eidsheim untangles the relationship between race, gender, vocal technique, and timbre while addressing an undertheorized space of racial and ethnic performance. In so doing, she advances our knowledge of the cultural-historical formation of the timbral politics of difference and the ways that comprehending voice remains central to understanding human experience, all the while advocating for a form of listening that would allow us to hear singers in a self-reflexive, denaturalized way.
Race on the Line is the first book to address the convergence of race, gender, and technology in the telephone industry. Venus Green—a former Bell System employee and current labor historian—presents a hundred year history of telephone operators and their work processes, from the invention of the telephone in 1876 to the period immediately before the break-up of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company in 1984. Green shows how, as technology changed from a manual process to a computerized one, sexual and racial stereotypes enabled management to manipulate both the workers and the workplace. More than a simple story of the impact of technology, Race on the Line combines oral history, personal experience, and archival research to weave a complicated history of how skill is constructed and how its meanings change within a rapidly expanding industry. Green discusses how women faced an environment where male union leaders displayed economic as well as gender biases and where racism served as a persistent system of division. Separated into chronological sections, the study moves from the early years when the Bell company gave both male and female workers opportunities to advance; to the era of the “white lady” image of the company, when African American women were excluded from the industry and feminist working-class consciousness among white women was consequently inhibited; to the computer era, a time when black women had waged a successful struggle to integrate the telephone operating system but faced technological displacement and unrewarding work. An important study of working-class American women during the twentieth century, this book will appeal to a wide audience, particularly students and scholars with interest in women’s history, labor history, African American history, the history of technology, and business history.
Race, Place, and Medicine examines the impact of a group of nineteenth-century Brazilian physicians who became known posthumously as the Bahian Tropicalista School of Medicine. Julyan G. Peard explores how this group of obscure clinicians became participants in an international debate as they helped change the scientific framework and practices of doctors in Brazil. Peard shows how the Tropicalistas adapted Western medicine and challenged the Brazilian medical status quo in order to find new answers to the old question of whether the diseases of warm climates were distinct from those of temperate Europe. They carried out innovative research on parasitology, herpetology, and tropical disorders, providing evidence that countered European assumptions about Brazilian racial and cultural inferiority. In the face of European fatalism about health care in the tropics, the Tropicalistas forged a distinctive medicine based on their beliefs that public health would improve only if large social issues—such as slavery and abolition—were addressed and that the delivery of health care should encompass groups hitherto outside the doctors’ sphere, especially women. But the Tropicalistas’ agenda, which included biting social critiques and broad demands for the extension of health measures to all of Brazil’s people, was not sustained. Race, Place, and Medicine shows how imported models of tropical medicine—constructed by colonial nations for their own needs—downplayed the connection between socioeconomic factors and tropical disorders. This study of a neglected episode in Latin American history will interest Brazilianists, as well as scholars of Latin American, medical, and scientific history.
If sociologist and cultural critic W. E. B. Du Bois proved prophetic about the twentieth century and its color lines, the beginning of the twenty-first century has given rise to divergent pronouncements about the potential of race relations and racial discourse in American society. Older categories of black victims and white victimizers hardly seem up to the task of making social sense out of today’s complex racial issues. Racial Americana explores new modes of racial theorizing that provide a more nuanced framework for understanding the social facts that underpin race (as belief system, as common sense, and as biological mythmaking), examining what those underpinnings forewarn about the future of social difference in the United States.
Imagining America’s racialist future, the diverse contributors to this special issue—anthropologists, sociologists, historians, poets, and literary critics—offer their conceptualizations of race today, discuss how racial ideology has changed through the years, and explain its continuing ability to morph according to geopolitical, cultural, and economic strictures. Essays focus on how notions of race have helped constitute varied definitions of Americanness in the past and the present; offer critiques and recuperations of antiessentialist efforts; excavate the affective links between racism and patriotism after September 11; examine how race and gender intersect in the lives of African American jazz musicians; and determine what Du Bois's earlier arguments say about contemporary representations of “Latinidad.”
Contributors. Elizabeth Alexander, Amiri Baraka, Tess Chakkalakal, Theodore A. Harris, John Hartigan Jr., Sharon P. Holland, John L. Jackson Jr., Marcyliena Morgan, Vijay Prashad, Don Robotham, Nichole T. Rustin, Brackette F. Williams
Racial Castration, the first book to bring together the fields of Asian American studies and psychoanalytic theory, explores the role of sexuality in racial formation and the place of race in sexual identity. David L. Eng examines images—literary, visual, and filmic—that configure past as well as contemporary perceptions of Asian American men as emasculated, homosexualized, or queer. Eng juxtaposes theortical discussions of Freud, Lacan, and Fanon with critical readings of works by Frank Chin, Maxine Hong Kingston, Lonny Kaneko, David Henry Hwang, Louie Chu, David Wong Louie, Ang Lee, and R. Zamora Linmark. While situating these literary and cultural productions in relation to both psychoanalytic theory and historical events of particular significance for Asian Americans, Eng presents a sustained analysis of dreamwork and photography, the mirror stage and the primal scene, and fetishism and hysteria. In the process, he offers startlingly new interpretations of Asian American masculinity in its connections to immigration exclusion, the building of the transcontinental railroad, the wartime internment of Japanese Americans, multiculturalism, and the model minority myth. After demonstrating the many ways in which Asian American males are haunted and constrained by enduring domestic norms of sexuality and race, Eng analyzes the relationship between Asian American male subjectivity and the larger transnational Asian diaspora. Challenging more conventional understandings of diaspora as organized by race, he instead reconceptualizes it in terms of sexuality and queerness.
In Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation critic David L. Eng and psychotherapist Shinhee Han draw on case histories from the mid-1990s to the present to explore the social and psychic predicaments of Asian American young adults from Generation X to Generation Y. Combining critical race theory with several strands of psychoanalytic thought, they develop the concepts of racial melancholia and racial dissociation to investigate changing processes of loss associated with immigration, displacement, diaspora, and assimilation. These case studies of first- and second-generation Asian Americans deal with a range of difficulties, from depression, suicide, and the politics of coming out to broader issues of the model minority stereotype, transnational adoption, parachute children, colorblind discourses in the United States, and the rise of Asia under globalization. Throughout, Eng and Han link psychoanalysis to larger structural and historical phenomena, illuminating how the study of psychic processes of individuals can inform investigations of race, sexuality, and immigration while creating a more sustained conversation about the social lives of Asian Americans and Asians in the diaspora.
Bringing together U.S. and Brazilian scholars, as well as Afro-Brazilian political activists, Racial Politics in Contemporary Brazil represents a significant advance in understanding the complexities of racial difference in contemporary Brazilian society. While previous scholarship on this subject has been largely confined to quantitative and statistical research, editor Michael Hanchard presents a qualitative perspective from a variety of disciplines, including history, sociology, political science, and cultural theory. The contributors to Racial Politics in Contemporary Brazil examine such topics as the legacy of slavery and its abolition, the historical impact of social movements, race-related violence, and the role of Afro-Brazilian activists in negotiating the cultural politics surrounding the issue of Brazilian national identity. These essays also provide comparisons of racial discrimination in the United States and Brazil, as well as an analysis of residential segregation in urban centers and its affect on the mobilization of blacks and browns. With a focus on racialized constructions of class and gender and sexuality, Racial Politics in Contemporary Brazil reorients the direction of Brazilian studies, providing new insights into Brazilian culture, politics, and race relations. This volume will be of importance to a wide cross section of scholars engaged with Brazil in particular, and Latin American studies in general. It will also appeal to those invested in the larger issues of political and social movements centered on the issue of race. Contributors. Benedita da Silva, Nelson do Valle Silva, Ivanir dos Santos, Richard Graham, Michael Hanchard, Carlos Hasenbalg, Peggy A. Lovell, Michael Mitchell, Tereza Santos, Edward Telles, Howard Winant
Since the 1970s there has been a dramatic rise in the Indian population in Brazil as increasing numbers of pardos (individuals of mixed African, European, and indigenous descent) have chosen to identify themselves as Indians. In Racial Revolutions—the first book-length study of racial formation in Brazil that centers on Indianness—Jonathan W. Warren draws on extensive fieldwork and numerous interviews to illuminate the discursive and material forces responsible for this resurgence in the population. The growing number of pardos who claim Indian identity represents a radical shift in the direction of Brazilian racial formation. For centuries, the predominant trend had been for Indians to shed tribal identities in favor of non-Indian ones. Warren argues that many factors—including the reduction of state-sponsored anti-Indian violence, intervention from the Catholic church, and shifts in anthropological thinking about ethnicity—have prompted a reversal of racial aspirations and reimaginings of Indianness. Challenging the current emphasis on blackness in Brazilian antiracist scholarship and activism, Warren demonstrates that Indians in Brazil recognize and oppose racism far more than any other ethnic group. Racial Revolutions fills a number of voids in Latin American scholarship on the politics of race, cultural geography, ethnography, social movements, nation building, and state violence.
Designated a John Hope Franklin Center book by the John Hope Franklin Seminar Group on Race, Religion, and Globalization.
Moving beyond the black-white binary that has long framed racial discourse in the United States, the contributors to this collection examine how the experiences of Latinos and Asians intersect in the formation of the U.S. nation-state. They analyze the political and social processes that have racialized Latinos and Asians while highlighting the productive ways that these communities challenge and transform the identities imposed on them. Each essay addresses the sociopolitical predicaments of both Latinos and Asians, bringing their experiences to light in relation to one another.
Several contributors illuminate ways that Latinos and Asians were historically racialized: by U.S. occupiers of Puerto Rico and the Philippines at the end of the nineteenth century, by public health discourses and practices in early-twentieth-century Los Angeles, by anthropologists collecting physical data—height, weight, head measurements—from Chinese Americans to show how the American environment affected “foreign” body types in the 1930s, and by Los Angeles public officials seeking to explain the alleged criminal propensities of Mexican American youth during the 1940s. Other contributors focus on the coalitions and tensions between Latinos and Asians in the context of the fight to integrate public schools and debates over political redistricting. One addresses masculinity, race, and U.S. imperialism in the literary works of Junot Díaz and Chang-rae Lee. Another looks at the passions, identifications, and charges of betrayal aroused by the sensationalized cases of Elián González, the young Cuban boy rescued off the shore of Florida, and Wen Ho Lee, the Los Alamos physicist accused of spying on the United States. Throughout this volume contributors interrogate many of the assumptions that underlie American and ethnic studies even as they signal the need for a research agenda that expands the purview of both fields.
Contributors. Nicholas De Genova, Victor Jew, Andrea Levine, Natalia Molina, Gary Y. Okihiro, Crystal Parikh, Greg Robinson, Toni Robinson, Leland T. Saito
Racially Writing the Republic investigates the central role of race in the construction and transformation of American national identity from the Revolutionary War era to the height of the civil rights movement. Drawing on political theory, American studies, critical race theory, and gender studies, the contributors to this collection highlight the assumptions of white (and often male) supremacy underlying the thought and actions of major U.S. political and social leaders. At the same time, they examine how nonwhite writers and activists have struggled against racism and for the full realization of America’s political ideals. The essays are arranged chronologically by subject, and, with one exception, each essay is focused on a single figure, from George Washington to James Baldwin.
The contributors analyze Thomas Jefferson’s legacy in light of his sexual relationship with his slave, Sally Hemings; the way that Samuel Gompers, the first president of the American Federation of Labor, rallied his organization against Chinese immigrant workers; and the eugenicist origins of the early-twentieth-century birth-control movement led by Margaret Sanger. They draw attention to the writing of Sarah Winnemucca, a Northern Piute and one of the first published Native American authors; the anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells-Barnett; the Filipino American writer Carlos Bulosan; and the playwright Lorraine Hansberry, who linked civil rights struggles in the United States to anticolonial efforts abroad. Other figures considered include Alexis de Tocqueville and his traveling companion Gustave de Beaumont, Juan Nepomuceno Cortina (who fought against Anglo American expansion in what is now Texas), Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and W. E. B. Du Bois. In the afterword, George Lipsitz reflects on U.S. racial politics since 1965.
Contributors. Bruce Baum, Cari M. Carpenter, Gary Gerstle, Duchess Harris, Catherine A. Holland, Allan Punzalan Isaac, Laura Janara, Ben Keppel, George Lipsitz, Gwendolyn Mink, Joel Olson, Dorothy Roberts, Patricia A. Schechter, John Kuo Wei Tchen, Jerry Thompson
In Racism and Cultural Studies E. San Juan Jr. offers a historical-materialist critique of practices in multiculturalism and cultural studies. Rejecting contemporary theories of inclusion as affirmations of the capitalist status quo, San Juan envisions a future of politically equal and economically empowered citizens through the democratization of power and the socialization of property. Calling U.S. nationalism the new “opium of the masses,” he argues that U.S. nationalism is where racist ideas and practices are formed, refined, and reproduced as common sense and consensus. Individual chapters engage the themes of ethnicity versus racism, gender inequality, sexuality, and the politics of identity configured with the discourse of postcoloniality and postmodernism. Questions of institutional racism, social justice, democratization, and international power relations between the center and the periphery are explored and analyzed. San Juan fashions a critique of dominant disciplinary approaches in the humanities and social sciences and contends that “the racism question” functions as a catalyst and point of departure for cultural critiques based on a radical democratic vision. He also asks urgent questions regarding globalization and the future of socialist transformation of “third world” peoples and others who face oppression. As one of the most notable cultural theorists in the United States today, San Juan presents a provocative challenge to the academy and other disciplinary institutions. His intervention will surely compel the attention of all engaged in intellectual exchanges where race/ethnicity serves as an urgent focus of concern.
Roopali Mukherjee, Sarah Banet-Weiser, and Herman Gray, editors Duke University Press, 2019 Library of Congress E184.A1R334 2019
With the election of Barack Obama, the idea that American society had become postracial—that is, race was no longer a main factor in influencing and structuring people's lives—took hold in public consciousness, increasingly accepted by many. The contributors to Racism Postrace examine the concept of postrace and its powerful history and allure, showing how proclamations of a postracial society further normalize racism and obscure structural antiblackness. They trace expressions of postrace over and through a wide variety of cultural texts, events, and people, from sports (LeBron James's move to Miami), music (Pharrell Williams's “Happy”), and television (The Voice and HGTV) to public policy debates, academic disputes, and technology industries. Outlining how postrace ideologies confound struggles for racial justice and equality, the contributors open up new critical avenues for understanding the powerful cultural, discursive, and material conditions that render postrace the racial project of our time.
Contributors. Inna Arzumanova, Sarah Banet-Weiser, Aymer Jean Christian, Kevin Fellezs, Roderick A. Ferguson, Herman Gray, Eva C. Hageman, Daniel Martinez HoSang, Victoria E. Johnson, Joseph Lowndes, Roopali Mukherjee, Safiya Umoja Noble, Radhika Parameswaran, Sarah T. Roberts, Catherine R. Squires, Brandi Thompson Summers, Karen Tongson, Cynthia A. Young
In Racist Love Leslie Bow traces the ways in which Asian Americans become objects of anxiety and desire. Conceptualizing these feelings as “racist love,” she explores how race is abstracted and then projected onto Asianized objects. Bow shows how anthropomorphic objects and images such as cartoon animals in children’s books, home décor and cute tchotchkes, contemporary visual art, and artificially intelligent robots function as repositories of seemingly positive feelings and attachment to Asianness. At the same time, Bow demonstrates that these Asianized proxies reveal how fetishistic attraction and pleasure serve as a source of anti-Asian bias and violence. By outlining how attraction to popular representations of Asianness cloaks racial resentment and fears of globalization, Bow provides a new means of understanding the ambivalence surrounding Asians in the United States while offering a theory of the psychological, affective, and symbolic dynamics of racist love in contemporary America.
In Radiant Infrastructures Rahul Mukherjee explores how the media coverage of nuclear power plants and cellular phone antennas in India—what he calls radiant infrastructures—creates environmental publics: groups of activists, scientists, and policy makers who use media to influence public opinion. In documentaries, lifestyle television shows, newspapers, and Bollywood films, and through other forms of media (including radiation-sensing technologies), these publics articulate contesting views about the relationships between modernity, wireless signals, and nuclear power. From testimonies of cancer patients who live close to cell towers to power plant operators working to contain information about radiation leaks and health risks, discussions in the media show how radiant infrastructures are at once harbingers of optimism about India's development and emitters of potentially carcinogenic radiation. In tracing these dynamics, Mukherjee expands understandings of the relationship between media and infrastructure and how people make sense of their everyday encounters with technology and the environment.
In Radiation and Revolution political theorist and anticapitalist activist Sabu Kohso uses the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster to illuminate the relationship between nuclear power, capitalism, and the nation-state. Combining an activist's commitment to changing the world with a theorist's determination to grasp the world in its complexity, Kohso outlines how the disaster is not just a pivotal event in postwar Japan; it represents the epitome of the capitalist-state mode of development that continues to devastate the planet's environment. Throughout, he captures the lived experiences of the disaster's victims, shows how the Japanese government's insistence on nuclear power embodies the constitution of its regime under the influence of US global strategy, and considers the future of a radioactive planet driven by nuclearized capitalism. As Kohso demonstrates, nuclear power is not a mere source of energy—it has become the organizing principle of the global order and the most effective way to simultaneously accumulate profit and govern the populace. For those who aspire to a world free from domination by capitalist nation-states, Kohso argues, the abolition of nuclear energy and weaponry is imperative.
Following the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster in 2011 many concerned citizens—particularly mothers—were unconvinced by the Japanese government’s assurances that the country’s food supply was safe. They took matters into their own hands, collecting their own scientific data that revealed radiation-contaminated food. In Radiation Brain Moms and Citizen Scientists Aya Hirata Kimura shows how, instead of being praised for their concern about their communities’ health and safety, they faced stiff social sanctions, which dismissed their results by attributing them to the work of irrational and rumor-spreading women who lacked scientific knowledge. These citizen scientists were unsuccessful at gaining political traction, as they were constrained by neoliberal and traditional gender ideologies that dictated how private citizens—especially women—should act. By highlighting the challenges these citizen scientists faced, Kimura provides insights into the complicated relationship between science, foodways, gender, and politics in post-Fukushima Japan and beyond.
On March 1, 1954, the US military detonated “Castle Bravo,” its most powerful nuclear bomb, at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Two days later, the US military evacuated the Marshallese to a nearby atoll where they became part of a classified study, without their consent, on the effects of radiation on humans. In Radiation Sounds Jessica A. Schwartz examines the seventy-five years of Marshallese music developed in response to US nuclear militarism on their homeland. Schwartz shows how Marshallese singing draws on religious, cultural, and political practices to make heard the deleterious effects of US nuclear violence. Schwartz also points to the literal silencing of Marshallese voices and throats compromised by radiation as well as the United States’ silencing of information about the human radiation study. By foregrounding the centrality of the aural and sensorial in understanding nuclear testing’s long-term effects, Schwartz offers new modes of understanding the relationships between the voice, sound, militarism, indigeneity, and geopolitics.
Hi'iliei Hobart and Tamara Kneese, special issue editors Duke University Press
Care has re-entered the zeitgeist. In the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, #selfcare exploded across media platforms. Beyond this popular focus on self-care rituals, care has also emerged as a driving force within new collective movements. Situating discussions of care within a historical trajectory of feminist, queer, and Black activism, contributors to this special issue consider how individuals and communities receive and provide care in order to survive in environments that challenge their very existence. They explore how trans activists find resilience and vitality through coalitional labor; argue that social movements should expand mutual aid strategies, focusing on solidarity over charity; discuss a neoliberal university wellness culture that seeks to patch up structural care deficits with quick fixes like meditation apps and yoga classes; and more. As the traditionally undervalued labor of caring becomes recognized as a key element of survival, contributors show how radical care provides a roadmap for not only enduring precarious worlds but also envisioning new futures. In the face of state-sanctioned violence, economic crisis, and impending ecological collapse, collective care offers a way forward.
In “Radical Histories of Sanctuary,” contributors explore both contemporary and historical invocations of “sanctuary,” paying particular attention to its genealogies in social movements against state violence. Expanding the scope of sanctuary, they address not only immigrant activism but also topics such as indigenous strategies of survival in the Americas, gay liberation in rural spaces, and urban housing for refugees. The essays contest liberal conventions of sanctuary that shore up the very forms of power and subjugation they seek to dismantle: from immigrant movements affirming the distinction between “good” and “bad” immigrants to gay liberation movements for police reform that fail to address the fundamental violence of policing. Examining both the liberatory potential of sanctuary and its limits, the contributors argue for intersectional strategies of resistance that connect the struggles of disparate groups against repressive and violent power.
Contributors. Rachel Ida Buff, Caleb Duarte, Treva Ellison, Jason Ezell, Carla Hung, Kyle B. T. Lambelet, Sunaina Maira, Rachel McIntire, A. Naomi Paik, Jason Ruiz, Rebecca M. Schreiber, Aimee Villarreal, Elliot Young
In this revisionary study, Barbara Foley challenges prevalent myths about left-wing culture in the Depression-era U.S. Focusing on a broad range of proletarian novels and little-known archival material, the author recaptures an important literature and rewrites a segment of American cultural history long obscured and distorted by the anti-Communist bias of contemporaries and critics. Josephine Herbst, William Attaway, Jack Conroy, Thomas Bell and Tillie Olsen, are among the radical writers whose work Foley reexamines. Her fresh approach to the U.S. radicals' debates over experimentalism, the relation of art to propaganda, and the nature of proletarian literature recasts the relation of writers to the organized left. Her grasp of the left's positions on the "Negro question" and the "woman question" enables a nuanced analysis of the relation of class to race and gender in the proletarian novel. Moreover, examining the articulation of political doctrine in different novelistic modes, Foley develops a model for discussing the interplay between politics and literary conventions and genres. Radical Representations recovers a literature of theoretical and artistic value meriting renewed attention form those interested in American literature, American studies, the U. S. left, and cultural studies generally.
The significant anarchist, black, and socialist world-movements that emerged in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth adapted discourses of sentiment and sensation and used the era's new forms of visual culture to move people to participate in projects of social, political, and economic transformation. Drawing attention to the vast archive of images and texts created by radicals prior to the 1930s, Shelley Streeby analyzes representations of violence and of abuses of state power in response to the Haymarket police riot, of the trial and execution of the Chicago anarchists, and of the mistreatment and imprisonment of Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magón and other members of the Partido Liberal Mexicano. She considers radicals' reactions to and depictions of U.S. imperialism, state violence against the Yaqui Indians in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the failure of the United States to enact laws against lynching, and the harsh repression of radicals that accelerated after the United States entered the First World War. By focusing on the adaptation and critique of sentiment, sensation, and visual culture by radical world-movements in the period between the Haymarket riots of 1886 and the deportation of Marcus Garvey in 1927, Streeby sheds new light on the ways that these movements reached across national boundaries, criticized state power, and envisioned alternative worlds.
When it was first published, Radical Tragedy was hailed as a groundbreaking reassessment of the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. An engaged reading of the past with compelling contemporary significance, Radical Tragedy remains a landmark study of Renaissance drama. The third edition of this critically acclaimed work includes a new foreword by Terry Eagleton and an extensive new introduction by the author.
This issue of Meridians looks at the expansive domains of transnational feminism, considering its relationship to different regions, historical periods, fields, and methodologies. Through scholarship and creative writing, contributors showcase populations often overlooked in transnational feminist scholarship, including Africa and its diaspora and indigenous people in the Americas and the Pacific. Understanding that transnational feminism emerges from multiple locales across the Global South and North, this group of contributors, working in exceptionally diverse locations, investigates settler colonialism, racialization, globalization, militarization, decoloniality, and anti-authoritarian movements as gendered political and economic projects.Working with manifestos, archives, oral histories, poetry, visual media, and ethnographies from across four continents, the contributors offer a radically expanded vision for transnational feminism.
Contributors. Elisabeth Armstrong, Maile Arvin, Maylei Blackwell, Laura Briggs, Ginetta E. B. Candelario, Ching-In Chen, Tara Daly, Nathan H. Dize, Deema Kaedbey, Nancy Kang, Rosamond S. King, Karen J. Leong, Brooke Lober, Neda Maghbouleh, Melissa A. Milkie, Nadine Naber, Laila Omar, Ito Peng, Robyn C. Spencer, Stanlie James, Evelyne Trouillot, Denisse D. Velázquez, Mandira Venkat, Judy Tzu-Chun Wu
The radicalisms are broadly defined by a resistance to oppression and economic exploitation, as well as by a commitment to social justice and human rights. The transition refers to the various sociohistorical processes that have influenced the practice of politics during the last twenty-five years or so: changes in political structures, in geopolitical alignments, in the organization of the economy, in ideological commitments, and, more generally, in the culture of politics.
In Rage and Carnage in the Name of God, Abiodun Alao examines the emergence of a culture of religious violence in postindependence Nigeria, where Christianity, Islam, and traditional religions have all been associated with violence. He investigates the root causes and historical evolution of Nigeria’s religious violence, locating it in the forced coming together of disparate ethnic groups under colonial rule, which planted the seeds of discord that religion, elites, and domestic politics exploit. Alao discusses the histories of Christianity, Islam, and traditional religions in the territory that became Nigeria, the effects of colonization on the role of religion, the development of Islamic radicalization and its relation to Christian violence, the activities of Boko Haram, and how religious violence intermixes with politics and governance. In so doing, he uses religious violence as a way to more fully understand intergroup relations in contemporary Nigeria.
Congolese logging camps are places where mud, rain, fuel smugglers, and village roadblocks slow down multinational timber firms; where workers wage wars against trees while evading company surveillance deep in the forest; where labor compounds trigger disturbing colonial memories; and where blunt racism, logger machismo, and homoerotic desires reproduce violence. In Rainforest Capitalism Thomas Hendriks examines the rowdy world of industrial timber production in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to theorize racialized and gendered power dynamics in capitalist extraction. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork among Congolese workers and European company managers as well as traders, farmers, smugglers, and barkeepers, Hendriks shows how logging is deeply tied to feelings of existential vulnerability in the face of larger forces, structures, and histories. These feelings, Hendriks contends, reveal a precarious side of power in an environment where companies, workers, and local residents frequently find themselves out of control. An ethnography of complicity, ecstasis, and paranoia, Rainforest Capitalism queers assumptions of corporate strength and opens up new ways to understand the complexities and contradictions of capitalist extraction.
Raising the Dead is a groundbreaking, interdisciplinary exploration of death’s relation to subjectivity in twentieth-century American literature and culture. Sharon Patricia Holland contends that black subjectivity in particular is connected intimately to death. For Holland, travelling through “the space of death” gives us, as cultural readers, a nuanced and appropriate metaphor for understanding what is at stake when bodies, discourses, and communities collide. Holland argues that the presence of blacks, Native Americans, women, queers, and other “minorities” in society is, like death, “almost unspeakable.” She gives voice to—or raises—the dead through her examination of works such as the movie Menace II Society, Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead, Randall Kenan’s A Visitation of Spirits, and the work of the all-white, male, feminist hip-hop band Consolidated. In challenging established methods of literary investigation by putting often-disparate voices in dialogue with each other, Holland forges connections among African-American literature and culture, queer and feminist theory. Raising the Dead will be of interest to students and scholars of American culture, African-American literature, literary theory, gender studies, queer theory, and cultural studies.
While Ralph Ellison is perhaps best known for his novel Invisible Man, he was also a significant twentieth-century intellectual, having authored numerous essays and papers that shaped thought on subjects from jazz to liberalism. Ralph Ellison: The Next Fifty Years gathers outstanding scholars in the fields of American and African American studies to engage Ellison’s theoretical and critical writings.
Several essays in this collection focus on an area of Ellison’s thinking that has yet to be adequately scrutinized—his study of, and writing about, music, specifically jazz and the blues. Although not a systematic philosopher of music, Ellison exhibited the seriousness and rigor associated with the critical musical writings of Theodor Adorno and Edward Said. Other essays in this special issue examine salient questions raised by Ellison’s work, including the nature of the connection between the novel and the democratic mind, Vietnam and the crisis of liberal society, and the problematic of modernism and freedom. Ralph Ellison addresses the ways in which Ellison’s writings about art were also efforts to think about and discuss political agency.
Contributors. Jonathan Arac, Kevin Bell, Adam Gussow, Ronald A. T. Judy, Robert O’Meally, Donald E. Pease, Barry Shank, Hortense Spillers, Kenneth Warren, Alexander G. Weheliye, John Wright
In Rancière’s Sentiments Davide Panagia explores Jacques Rancière’s aesthetics of politics as it informs his radical democratic theory of participation. Attending to diverse practices of everyday living and doing—of form, style, and scenography—in Rancière’s writings, Panagia characterizes Rancière as a sentimental thinker for whom the aesthetic is indistinguishable from the political. Rather than providing prescriptions for political judgment and action, Rancière focuses on how sensibilities and perceptions constitute dynamic relations between persons and the worlds they create. Panagia traces this approach by examining Rancière’s modernist sensibilities, his theory of radical mediation, the influence of Gustave Flaubert on Rancière’s literary voice, and how Rancière juxtaposes seemingly incompatible objects and phenomena to create moments of sensorial disorientation. The power of Rancière’s work, Panagia demonstrates, lies in its ability to leave readers with a disjunctive sensibility of the world and what political thinking is and can be.
McKenzie Wark Duke University Press, 2023 Library of Congress HM646.W34 2023
What is an art of life for what feels like the end of a world? In Raving McKenzie Wark takes readers into the undisclosed locations of New York’s thriving underground queer and trans rave scene. Techno, first and always a Black music, invites fresh sonic and temporal possibilities for this era of diminishing futures. Raving to techno is an art and a technique at which queer and trans bodies might be particularly adept but which is for anyone who lets the beat seduce them. Extending the rave’s sensations, situations, fog, lasers, drugs, and pounding sound systems onto the page, Wark invokes a trans practice of raving as a timely aesthetic for dancing in the ruins of this collapsing capital.
Raw Material analyzes how Victorians used the pathology of disease to express deep-seated anxieties about a rapidly industrializing England’s relationship to the material world. Drawing on medicine, literature, political economy, sociology, anthropology, and popular advertising, Erin O’Connor explores “the industrial logic of disease,” the dynamic that coupled pathology and production in Victorian thinking about cultural processes in general, and about disease in particular. O’Connor focuses on how four particularly troubling physical conditions were represented in a variety of literature. She begins by exploring how Asiatic cholera, which reached epidemic proportions on four separate occasions between 1832 and 1865, was thought to represent the dangers of cultural contamination and dissolution. The next two chapters concentrate on the problems breast cancer and amputation posed for understanding gender. After discussing how breast cancer was believed to be caused by the female body’s intolerance to urban life, O'Connor turns to men’s bodies, examining how new prosthetic technology allowed dismembered soldiers and industrial workers to reconstruct themselves as productive members of society. The final chapter explores how freak shows displayed gross deformity as the stuff of a new and improved individuality. Complicating an understanding of the Victorian body as both a stable and stabilizing structure, she elaborates how Victorians used disease as a messy, often strategically unintelligible way of articulating the uncertainties of chaotic change. Over the course of the century, O’Connor shows, the disfiguring process of disease became a way of symbolically transfiguring the self. While cholera, cancer, limb loss, and deformity incapacitated and even killed people, their dramatic symptoms provided opportunities for imaginatively adapting to a world where it was increasingly difficult to determine not only what it meant to be human but also what it meant to be alive. Raw Material will interest an audience of students and scholars of Victorian literature, cultural history, and the history of medicine.
The contributors to Reactivating Elements examine chemicals as they mix with soil, air, water, and fire to shape Earth's troubled ecologies today. They invoke the elements with all their ambivalences as chemical categories, material substances, social forms, forces and energies, cosmological entities, and epistemic objects. Engaging with the nonlinear historical significance of elemental thought across fields—chemistry, the biosciences, engineering, physics, science and technology studies, the environmental humanities, ecocriticism, and cultural studies—the contributors examine the relationship between chemistry and ecology, probe the logics that render wind as energy, excavate affective histories of ubiquitous substances such as plastics and radioactive elements, and chart the damage wrought by petrochemical industrialization. Throughout, the volume illuminates how elements become entangled with power and control, coloniality, racism, and extractive productivism while exploring alternative paths to environmental destruction. In so doing, it rethinks the relationship between the elements and the elemental, human and more-than-human worlds, today’s damaged ecosystems and other ecologies to come.
Contributors. Patrick Bresnihan, Tim Choy, Joseph Dumit, Cori Hayden, Stefan Helmreich, Joseph Masco, Michelle Murphy, Natasha Myers, Dimitris Papadopoulos, María Puig de la Bellacasa, Astrid Schrader, Isabelle Stengers
An intricate text filled to the brim with connotations of desire, home, and childhood—nests, food, beds, birds, fairies, bits of string, ribbon, goodnight kisses, appetites sated and denied—Reading Boyishly is a story of mothers and sons, loss and longing, writing and photography. In this homage to four boyish men and one boy—J. M. Barrie, Roland Barthes, Marcel Proust, D. W. Winnicott, and the young photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue—Carol Mavor embraces what some have anxiously labeled an over-attachment to the mother. Here, the maternal is a cord (unsevered) to the night-light of boyish reading.
To “read boyishly” is to covet the mother’s body as a home both lost and never lost, to desire her as only a son can, as only a body that longs for, but will never become Mother, can. Nostalgia (from the Greek nostos = return to native land, and algos = suffering or grief) is at the heart of the labor of boyish reading, which suffers in its love affair with the mother. The writers and the photographer that Mavor lovingly considers are boyish readers par excellence: Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up; Barthes, the “professor of desire” who lived with or near his mother until her death; Proust, the modernist master of nostalgia; Winnicott, therapist to “good enough” mothers; and Lartigue, the child photographer whose images invoke ghostlike memories of a past that is at once comforting and painful.
Drawing attention to the interplay between writing and vision, Reading Boyishly is stuffed full with more than 200 images. At once delicate and powerful, the book is a meditation on the threads that unite mothers and sons and on the writers and artists who create from those threads art that captures an irretrievable past.
With its steel guitars, Opry stars, and honky-tonk bars, country music is an American original. The most popular music in America today, it’s also big business. Amazing, then, that country music has been so little studied by critics, given its predominance in American culture. Reading Country Music acknowledges the significance of country music as part of an authentic American heritage and turns a loving, critical eye toward understanding the sweep of this peculiarly American phenomenon. Bringing together a wide range of scholars and critics from literature, communications, history, sociology, art, and music, this anthology looks at everything from the inner workings of the country music industry to the iconography of certain stars to the development of distinctive styles within the country music genre. Essays include a look at the shift from "hard-core" to "soft-shell" country music in recent years; Johnny Cash as lesbian icon; gender, class, and region in Dolly Parton’s star image; and bluegrass’s gothic tradition. Originally published as a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, this expanded book edition includes new articles on the spirituality of Willie Nelson, the legacy and tradition of stringed music, and the revival of Stephen Foster’s blackface musical, among others.
Contributors. Mary A. Bufwack, Don Cusic, Curtis W. Ellison, Mark Fenster, Vivien Green Fryd, Teresa Goddu, T. Walter Herbert, Christine Kreyling, Michael Kurek, Amy Schrager Lang, Charmaine Lanham, Bill Malone, Christopher Metress, Jocelyn Neal, Teresa Ortega, Richard A. Peterson, Ronnie Pugh, John W. Rumble, David Sanjek, Cecelia Tichi, Pamela Wilson, Charles K. Wolfe
In response to trends in criticism in recent decades, this special issue of Modern Language Quarterly contains new essays by prominent literary critics reasserts and refreshes the crucial importance of studying form for a productive understanding of complex issues that have frequently been oversimplified.
It includes Heather Dubrow, answering New Historicist accounts of country house ideology, J. Paul Hunter reclaiming attention to eighteenth-century couplet structures, and Garrett Stewart arguing for the comprehensive import of the local syntactic forms in syllepsis in Dickens. Ronald Levao recovers the ethical urgency behind stylistic individuation in Milton; Frances Ferguson reveals the ideology of character within Austen’s free indirect discourse; Franco Moretti traces the history of the clue as formal device in detective fiction; and Robert Kaufman shows how formal dynamics derived from Kant and Adorno animate some of the most disruptive contemporary poetry. The history of formalism is the topic of Catherine Gallagher’s meditation on the dialogue of form and time since Percy Shelley and of Virgil Nemoianu’s account of the political vicissitudes of form in the twentieth century. These wide-ranging critical interventions are introduced by Susan Wolfson’s reflections on form today and by Ellen Rooney’s polemical appeal to cultural theorists not to defeat their purposes by neglecting form.
Contributors. Heather Dubrow, Frances Ferguson, Catherine Gallagher, J. Paul Hunter, Robert Kaufman, Ronald Levao, Franco Moretti, Virgil Nemoianu, Ellen Rooney, Garrett Stewart
Reading for Realism presents a new approach to U.S. literary history that is based on the analysis of dominant reading practices rather than on the production of texts. Nancy Glazener’s focus is the realist novel, the most influential literary form of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—a form she contends was only made possible by changes in the expectations of readers about pleasure and literary value. By tracing readers’ collaboration in the production of literary forms, Reading for Realism turns nineteenth-century controversies about the realist, romance, and sentimental novels into episodes in the history of readership. It also shows how works of fiction by Rebecca Harding Davis, Henry James, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and others participated in the debates about literary classification and reading that, in turn, created and shaped their audiences. Combining reception theory with a materialist analysis of the social formations in which realist reading practices circulated, Glazener’s study reveals the elitist underpinnings of literary realism. At the book’s center is the Atlantic group of magazines, whose influence was part of the cultural machinery of the Northeastern urban bourgeoisie and crucial to the development of literary realism in America. Glazener shows how the promotion of realism by this group of publications also meant a consolidation of privilege—primarily in terms of class, gender, race, and region—for the audience it served. Thus American realism, so often portrayed as a quintessentially populist form, actually served to enforce existing structures of class and power.
Lauren Berlant, editor Duke University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3569.E316Z943 2019
Over the course of her long career, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick became one of the most important voices in queer theory, and her calls for reparative criticism and reading practices grounded in affect and performance have transformed understandings of affect, intimacy, politics, and identity. With marked tenderness, the contributors to Reading Sedgwick reflect on Sedgwick's many critical inventions, from her elucidation of poetry's close relation to criticism and development of new versions of queer performativity to highlighting the power of writing to engender new forms of life. As the essays in Reading Sedgwick demonstrate, Sedgwick's work is not only an ongoing vital force in queer theory and affect theory; it can help us build a more positive world in the midst of the bleak contemporary moment.
Contributors. Lauren Berlant, Kathryn Bond Stockton, Judith Butler, Lee Edelman, Jason Edwards, Ramzi Fawaz, Denis Flannery, Jane Gallop, Jonathan Goldberg, Meridith Kruse, Michael Moon, José Esteban Muñoz, Chris Nealon, Andrew Parker, H. A. Sedgwick, Karin Sellberg, Michael D. Snediker, Melissa Solomon, Robyn Wiegman
In Reading the Figural, or, Philosophy after the New Media D. N. Rodowick applies the concept of “the figural” to a variety of philosophical and aesthetic issues. Inspired by the aesthetic philosophy of Jean-François Lyotard, the figural defines a semiotic regime where the distinction between linguistic and plastic representation breaks down. This opposition, which has been the philosophical foundation of aesthetics since the eighteenth century, has been explicitly challenged by the new electronic, televisual, and digital media. Rodowick—one of the foremost film theorists writing today—contemplates this challenge, describing and critiquing the new regime of signs and new ways of thinking that such media have inaugurated. To fully comprehend the emergence of the figural requires a genealogical critique of the aesthetic, Rodowick claims. Seeking allies in this effort to deconstruct the opposition of word and image and to create new concepts for comprehending the figural, he journeys through a range of philosophical writings: Thierry Kuntzel and Marie-Claire Ropars-Wuilleumier on film theory; Jacques Derrida on the deconstruction of the aesthetic; Siegfried Kracauer and Walter Benjamin on the historical image as a utopian force in photography and film; and Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault on the emergence of the figural as both a semiotic regime and a new stratagem of power coincident with the appearance of digital phenomena and of societies of control. Scholars of philosophy, film theory, cultural criticism, new media, and art history will be interested in the original and sophisticated insights found in this book.
The decade following the American defeat in Vietnam has been filled with doubts about American politics and values, confusion over the lessons of the war, and anger about the physical and psychological suffering that occurred during the war as well as thereafter. In the years since the U.S. withdrawal, our need to make sense of Vietnam has prompted an outpouring of thinking and writing, from scholarly reappraisals of American foreign policy to highly personal accounts of participants. On the tenth anniversary of the final U. S. withdrawal, the Asia Society sponsored a conference on the Vietnam experience in American literature at which leading writers, critics, publishers, commentators, and academics wrestled with this phenomenon. Drawing on the synergy of this conference, Timothy J. Lomperis has produced an original work that focuses on the growing body of literature—including novels, personal accounts, and oral histories—which describes the experiences of American soldiers in Vietnam as well as the experience of veterans upon their return home.
Nancy L. Green offers a critical and lively look at New York’s Seventh Avenue and the Parisian Sentier in this first comparative study of the two historical centers of the women’s garment industry. Torn between mass production and "art," this industry is one of the few manufactauring sectors left in the service-centered cities of today. Ready-to-Wear and Ready-to-Work tells the story of urban growth, the politics of labor, and the relationships among the many immigrant groups who have come to work the sewing machines over the last century. Green focuses on issues of fashion and fabrication as they involve both the production and consumption of clothing. Traditionally, much of the urban garment industry has been organized around small workshops and flexible homework, and Green emphasizes the effect this labor organization had on the men and mostly women who have sewn the garments. Whether considering the immigrant Jews, Italians, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Chinese in New York or the Chinese-Cambodians, Turks, Armenians, and Russian, Polish, and Tunisian Jews in Paris, she outlines similarities of social experience in the shops and the unions, while allowing the voices of the workers, in all their diversity to be heard. A provocative examination of gender and ethnicity, historical conflict and consensus, and notions of class and cultural difference, Ready-to-Wear and Ready-to-Work breaks new ground in the methodology of comparative history.
In Lockhart, Texas, a rural working-class town just south of Austin, country music is a way of life. Conversation slips easily into song, and the songs are full of conversation. Anthropologist and musician Aaron A. Fox spent years in Lockhart making research notes, music, and friends. In Real Country, he provides an intimate, in-depth ethnography of the community and its music. Showing that country music is deeply embedded in the textures of working-class life, Fox argues that it is the cultural and intellectual property of working-class people and not only of the Nashville-based music industry or the stars whose lives figure so prominently in popular and scholarly writing about the genre.
Fox spent hundreds of hours observing, recording, and participating in talk and music-making in homes, beer joints, and garage jam sessions. He renders the everyday life of Lockhart’s working-class community in detail, right down to the ice cold beer, the battered guitars, and the technical skills of such local musical legends as Randy Meyer and Larry “Hoppy” Hopkins. Throughout, Fox focuses on the human voice. His analyses of conversations, interviews, songs, and vocal techniques show how feeling and experience are expressed, and how local understandings of place, memory, musical aesthetics, working-class social history, race, and gender are shared. In Real Country, working-class Texans re-imagine their past and give voice to the struggles and satisfactions of their lives in the present through music.
During the Great Depression, people from across the political spectrum sought to ground American identity in the rural know-how of “the folk.” At the same time, certain writers, filmmakers, and intellectuals combined documentary and satire into a hybrid genre that revealed the folk as an anxious product of corporate capitalism, rather than an antidote to commercial culture. In Real Folks, Sonnet Retman analyzes the invention of the folk as figures of authenticity in the political culture of the 1930s, as well as the critiques that emerged in response. Diverse artists and intellectuals—including the novelists George Schuyler and Nathanael West, the filmmaker Preston Sturges, and the anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston—illuminated the fabrication and exploitation of folk authenticity in New Deal and commercial narratives. They skewered the racist populisms that prevented interracial working-class solidarity, prophesized the patriotic function of the folk for the nation-state in crisis, and made their readers and viewers feel self-conscious about the desire for authenticity. By illuminating the subversive satirical energy of the 1930s, Retman identifies a rich cultural tradition overshadowed until now by the scholarly focus on Depression-era social realism.
Project Blowed is a legendary hiphop workshop based in Los Angeles. It began in 1994 when a group of youths moved their already renowned open-mic nights from the Good Life, a Crenshaw district health food store, to the KAOS Network, an arts center in Leimert Park. The local freestyle of articulate, rapid-fire, extemporaneous delivery, the juxtaposition of meaningful words and sounds, and the way that MCs followed one another without missing a beat, quickly became known throughout the LA underground. Leimert Park has long been a center of African American culture and arts in Los Angeles, and Project Blowed inspired youth throughout the city to consider the neighborhood the epicenter of their own cultural movement. The Real Hiphop is an in-depth account of the language and culture of Project Blowed, based on the seven years Marcyliena Morgan spent observing the workshop and the KAOS Network. Morgan is a leading scholar of hiphop, and throughout the volume her ethnographic analysis of the LA underground opens up into a broader examination of the artistic and cultural value of hiphop.
Morgan intersperses her observations with excerpts from interviews and transcripts of freestyle lyrics. Providing a thorough linguistic interpretation of the music, she teases out the cultural antecedents and ideologies embedded in the language, emphases, and wordplay. She discusses the artistic skills and cultural knowledge MCs must acquire to rock the mic, the socialization of hiphop culture’s core and long-term members, and the persistent focus on skills, competition, and evaluation. She brings attention to adults who provided material and moral support to sustain underground hiphop, identifies the ways that women choose to participate in Project Blowed, and vividly renders the dynamics of the workshop’s famous lyrical battles.
The crooner Rudy Vallée's soft, intimate, and sensual vocal delivery simultaneously captivated millions of adoring fans and drew harsh criticism from those threatened by his sensitive masculinity. Although Vallée and other crooners reflected the gender fluidity of late-1920s popular culture, their challenge to the Depression era's more conservative masculine norms led cultural authorities to stigmatize them as gender and sexual deviants. In Real Men Don't Sing Allison McCracken outlines crooning's history from its origins in minstrelsy through its development as the microphone sound most associated with white recording artists, band singers, and radio stars. She charts early crooners’ rise and fall between 1925 and 1934, contrasting Rudy Vallée with Bing Crosby to demonstrate how attempts to contain crooners created and dictated standards of white masculinity for male singers. Unlike Vallée, Crosby survived the crooner backlash by adapting his voice and persona to adhere to white middle-class masculine norms. The effects of these norms are felt to this day, as critics continue to question the masculinity of youthful, romantic white male singers. Crooners, McCracken shows, not only were the first pop stars: their short-lived yet massive popularity fundamentally changed American culture.
In addition to being one of the United States' largest pork producers, North Carolina is home to a developing niche market of pasture-raised pork. In Real Pigs Brad Weiss traces the desire for "authentic" local foods in the Piedmont region of central North Carolina as he follows farmers, butchers, and chefs through the process of breeding, raising, butchering, selling, and preparing pigs raised on pasture for consumption. Drawing on his experience working on Piedmont pig farms and at farmers’ markets, Weiss explores the history, values, social relations, and practices that drive the pasture-raised pork market. He shows how pigs in the Piedmont become imbued with notions of authenticity, illuminating the ways the region's residents understand local notions of place and culture. Full of anecdotes and interviews with the market's primary figures, Real Pigs reminds us that what we eat and why have implications that resonate throughout the wider social, cultural, and historical world.
The contributors to this volume were recruited by editor James T. Fisher on the basis of writing talent and a passion for sports equal to his own. These scholars and critics from such disciplines as history, English, comparative literature, and theology look to the sidelines of their academic lives to break new ground in sportswriting. But they are neither competing for turf in sports journalism nor aiming to establish an academic area such as “sports studies”—the prospect of which, says Fisher, “is not pleasant to behold.” Instead, they write about boxing, for example, in terms of living and working (out) in the college town where Larry Holmes grew up and now owns a gym; about how the religious implications of Sunday-afternoon sports in seventeenth-century England became the key to a Cambridge theology student’s understanding of the fall of Archbishop Laud and Charles I; about baseball as Cuba’s national pastime—and what that means to a Cuban professor of literature at Yale. Indeed, questions of meaning, mediation, and the mediation of the media are repeatedly raised here as contributors explore the historical, social, cultural, and personal experience of sports as an index of identity. Real Sports features a historian’s analysis of sports as a nexus between Indian and Euro-American cultures; a critique of sports talk radio and the ethic of the fan; and a literary critic’s celebration of the Midwest, complete with swamps, shopping centers, and “the Spartan green of the Big Ten.” Also explored is today’s father-son generation gap, between fathers who root for their home teams and sons whose place is six feet from the TV set, “where every team is the home team.”
Contributors. Patrick Allitt, Philip Deloria, Ann Fabian, James T. Fisher, Roberto González Echevarría, Pamela Haag, Michael Oriard, Kenneth Parker, Stephen Rachman, Carlo Rotella
Presented as the authentic testimony of the disenfranchised, the colonized, and the oppressed, testimonio has in the last two decades emerged as one of the most significant genres of Latin America’s post-boom literature. In the political battles that have taken place around the formation of the canon, the testimonio holds a special place: no other single genre of literature has taken up such a large part of current debate. Initially hailed in the 1970s as a genuine form of resistance literature, testimonio has since undergone a significant change in its critical reception. The essays in The Real Thing analyze the testimonio, its history, and its place in contemporary consciousness. Although the literature of testimony arose on the margins of institutional power and its ends were in large part political change, the canonization of testimonio by the academic Left has moved it from margin to center, ironically bringing about the institutionalization of its transgressive and counter-hegemonic qualities. Discussing Latin American works ranging from Salvadorian writer Roque Dalton’s Miguel Marmol to I . . . Rigoberta Menchu, a work that earned its author a Nobel Prize, this collection explores how critical writing about testimonio has turned into discourse about the institution of academia, the canon, postmodernism and postcolonialism, and the status of Latin American studies generally.
Contributors. John Beverley, Santiago Colás, Georg M. Gugelberger, Barbara Harlow, Fredric Jameson, Alberto Moreiras, Margaret Randall, Javier Sanjines, Elzbieta Sklodowska, Doris Sommer, Gareth Williams, George Yúdice, Marc Zimmerman
This essay collection focuses on the gendered dimensions of reality television in both the United States and Great Britain. Through close readings of a wide range of reality programming, from Finding Sarah and Sister Wives to Ghost Adventures and Deadliest Warrior, the contributors think through questions of femininity and masculinity, as they relate to the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality. They connect the genre's combination of real people and surreal experiences, of authenticity and artifice, to the production of identity and norms of citizenship, the commodification of selfhood, and the naturalization of regimes of power. Whether assessing the Kardashian family brand, portrayals of hoarders, or big-family programs such as 19 Kids and Counting, the contributors analyze reality television as a relevant site for the production and performance of gender. In the process, they illuminate the larger neoliberal and postfeminist contexts in which reality TV is produced, promoted, watched, and experienced.
Contributors. David Greven, Dana Heller, Su Holmes, Deborah Jermyn, Misha Kavka, Amanda Ann Klein, Susan Lepselter, Diane Negra, Laurie Ouellette, Gareth Palmer, Kirsten Pike, Maria Pramaggiore, Kimberly Springer, Rebecca Stephens, Lindsay Steenberg, Brenda R. Weber
Reason and Democracy
Thomas A. Spragens Jr. Duke University Press, 1990 Library of Congress JC423.S75 1990 | Dewey Decimal 321.8
Reason and Democracy breaks new ground in providing a plausible philosophical basis for the communitarian view of a healthy democracy as the rational pursuit of common purposes by free and equal citizens. Thomas A. Spragens Jr. argues that the most persistent paradigms of Western political rationality originated in classical philosophy, took their modern expression in the philosophies of Kant and Mill, and terminated in Max Weber’s pairing of purely technical rationality with arbitrary ends. Drawing on recent work in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of language, combined with appropriate analogies in political thought and action, Spragens maintains that it is possible to discern the outlines of a philosophically cogent and morally beneficial concept of rational practice on the part of a political community. This possibility, he contends, provides a philosophical basis for liberal democratic politics that is superior to utilitarian and deontological accounts.
In Reattachment Theory Lee Wallace argues that homosexuality—far from being the threat to “traditional” marriage that same-sex marriage opponents have asserted—is so integral to its reimagining that all marriage is gay marriage. Drawing on the history of marriage, Stanley Cavell's analysis of Hollywood comedies of remarriage, and readings of recent gay and lesbian films, Wallace shows that queer experiments in domesticity have reshaped the affective and erotic horizons of heterosexual marriage and its defining principles: fidelity, exclusivity, and endurance. Wallace analyzes a series of films—Dorothy Arzner's Craig's Wife (1936); Tom Ford's A Single Man (2009); Lisa Cholodenko's High Art (1998), Laurel Canyon (2002), and The Kids Are All Right (2010); and Andrew Haigh's Weekend (2011) and 45 Years (2015)—that, she contends, do not simply reflect social and legal changes; they fundamentally alter our sense of what sexual attachment involves as both a social and a romantic form.
During the Great Depression, California became a wellspring for some of the era's most inventive and imaginative political movements. In response to the global catastrophe, the multiracial laboring populations who formed the basis of California's economy gave rise to an oppositional culture that challenged the modes of racialism, nationalism, and rationalism that had guided modernization during preceding decades. In Rebel Imaginaries Elizabeth E. Sine tells the story of that oppositional culture's emergence, revealing how aggrieved Californians asserted political visions that embraced difference, fostered a sense of shared vulnerability, and underscored the interconnectedness and interdependence of global struggles for human dignity. From the Imperial Valley's agricultural fields to Hollywood, seemingly disparate communities of African American, Native American, Mexican, Filipinx, Asian, and White working-class people were linked by their myriad struggles against Depression-era capitalism and patterns of inequality and marginalization. In tracing the diverse coalition of those involved in labor strikes, citizenship and immigration reform, and articulating and imagining freedom through artistic practice, Sine demonstrates that the era's social movements were far more heterogeneous, multivalent, and contested than previously understood.
Holden Caulfield, the beat writers, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and James Dean—these and other avatars of youthful rebellion were much more than entertainment. As Leerom Medovoi shows, they were often embraced and hotly debated at the dawn of the Cold War era because they stood for dissent and defiance at a time when the ideological production of the United States as leader of the “free world” required emancipatory figures who could represent America’s geopolitical claims. Medovoi argues that the “bad boy” became a guarantor of the country’s anti-authoritarian, democratic self-image: a kindred spirit to the freedom-seeking nations of the rapidly decolonizing third world and a counterpoint to the repressive conformity attributed to both the Soviet Union abroad and America’s burgeoning suburbs at home.
Alongside the young rebel, the contemporary concept of identity emerged in the 1950s. It was in that decade that “identity” was first used to define collective selves in the politicized manner that is recognizable today: in terms such as “national identity” and “racial identity.” Medovoi traces the rapid absorption of identity themes across many facets of postwar American culture, including beat literature, the young adult novel, the Hollywood teen film, early rock ‘n’ roll, black drama, and “bad girl” narratives. He demonstrates that youth culture especially began to exhibit telltale motifs of teen, racial, sexual, gender, and generational revolt that would burst into political prominence during the ensuing decades, bequeathing to the progressive wing of contemporary American political culture a potent but ambiguous legacy of identity politics.
Globalization is usually thought of as the worldwide spread of Western—particularly American—popular culture. Yet if one nation stands out in the dissemination of pop culture in East and Southeast Asia, it is Japan. Pokémon, anime, pop music, television dramas such as Tokyo Love Story and Long Vacation—the export of Japanese media and culture is big business. In Recentering Globalization, Koichi Iwabuchi explores how Japanese popular culture circulates in Asia. He situates the rise of Japan’s cultural power in light of decentering globalization processes and demonstrates how Japan’s extensive cultural interactions with the other parts of Asia complicate its sense of being "in but above" or "similar but superior to" the region.
Iwabuchi has conducted extensive interviews with producers, promoters, and consumers of popular culture in Japan and East Asia. Drawing upon this research, he analyzes Japan’s "localizing" strategy of repackaging Western pop culture for Asian consumption and the ways Japanese popular culture arouses regional cultural resonances. He considers how transnational cultural flows are experienced differently in various geographic areas by looking at bilateral cultural flows in East Asia. He shows how Japanese popular music and television dramas are promoted and understood in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and how "Asian" popular culture (especially Hong Kong’s) is received in Japan.
Rich in empirical detail and theoretical insight, Recentering Globalization is a significant contribution to thinking about cultural globalization and transnationalism, particularly in the context of East Asian cultural studies.
Following the 1996 treaty ending decades of civil war, how are Guatemalans reckoning with genocide, especially since almost everyone contributed in some way to the violence? Meaning “to count, figure up” and “to settle rewards and punishments,” reckoning promises accounting and accountability. Yet as Diane M. Nelson shows, the means by which the war was waged, especially as they related to race and gender, unsettled the very premises of knowing and being. Symptomatic are the stories of duplicity pervasive in postwar Guatemala, as the left, the Mayan people, and the state were each said to have “two faces.” Drawing on more than twenty years of research in Guatemala, Nelson explores how postwar struggles to reckon with traumatic experience illuminate the assumptions of identity more generally.
Nelson brings together stories of human rights activism, Mayan identity struggles, coerced participation in massacres, and popular entertainment—including traditional dances, horror films, and carnivals—with analyses of mass-grave exhumations, official apologies, and reparations. She discusses the stereotype of the Two-Faced Indian as colonial discourse revivified by anti-guerrilla counterinsurgency and by the claims of duplicity leveled against the Nobel laureate Rigoberta Menchú, and she explores how duplicity may in turn function as a survival strategy for some. Nelson examines suspicions that state power is also two-faced, from the left’s fears of a clandestine para-state behind the democratic façade, to the right’s conviction that NGOs threaten Guatemalan sovereignty. Her comparison of antimalaria and antisubversive campaigns suggests biopolitical ways that the state is two-faced, simultaneously giving and taking life. Reckoning is a view from the ground up of how Guatemalans are finding creative ways forward, turning ledger books, technoscience, and even gory horror movies into tools for making sense of violence, loss, and the future.
Reckoning with Pinochet is the first comprehensive account of how Chile came to terms with General Augusto Pinochet’s legacy of human rights atrocities. An icon among Latin America’s “dirty war” dictators, Pinochet had ruled with extreme violence while building a loyal social base. Hero to some and criminal to others, the general cast a long shadow over Chile’s future. Steve J. Stern recounts the full history of Chile’s democratic reckoning, from the negotiations in 1989 to chart a post-dictatorship transition; through Pinochet’s arrest in London in 1998; the thirtieth anniversary, in 2003, of the coup that overthrew President Salvador Allende; and Pinochet’s death in 2006. He shows how transnational events and networks shaped Chile’s battles over memory, and how the Chilean case contributed to shifts in the world culture of human rights.
Stern’s analysis integrates policymaking by elites, grassroots efforts by human rights victims and activists, and inside accounts of the truth commissions and courts where top-down and bottom-up initiatives met. Interpreting solemn presidential speeches, raucous street protests, interviews, journalism, humor, cinema, and other sources, he describes the slow, imperfect, but surprisingly forceful advance of efforts to revive democratic values through public memory struggles, despite the power still wielded by the military and a conservative social base including the investor class. Over time, resourceful civil-society activists and select state actors won hard-fought, if limited, gains. As a result, Chileans were able to face the unwelcome past more honestly, launch the world’s first truth commission to examine torture, ensnare high-level perpetrators in the web of criminal justice, and build a public culture of human rights. Stern provides an important conceptualization of collective memory in the wake of national trauma in this magisterial work of history.
In Reckoning with Slavery Jennifer L. Morgan draws on the lived experiences of enslaved African women in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to reveal the contours of early modern notions of trade, race, and commodification in the Black Atlantic. From capture to transport to sale to childbirth, these women were demographically counted as commodities during the Middle Passage, vulnerable to rape, separated from their kin at slave markets, and subject to laws that enslaved their children upon birth. In this way, they were central to the binding of reproductive labor with kinship, racial hierarchy, and the economics of slavery. Throughout this groundbreaking study, Morgan demonstrates that the development of Western notions of value and race occurred simultaneously. In so doing, she illustrates how racial capitalism denied the enslaved their kinship and affective ties while simultaneously relying on kinship to reproduce and enforce slavery through enslaved female bodies.
The recent fiction of Spanish America has been widely acclaimed for its experimental and revolutionary qualities. In Reclaiming the Author, Lucille Kerr studies the sources of power of this newly emergent literature in her detailed examination of the critical concept of "the author." Kerr considers how Spanish American narratives raise questions about authorial identity and activity through the different figures of the author they propose. These author-figures, she maintains, both complement and contradict notions of authority that exist outside of the world of fiction. By focusing on works by well-known Spanish American authors—Cortazar, Donoso, Fuentes, Poniatowska, Puig, and Vargas Llosa—Kerr shows how the Spanish Americans have formed a radical poetics of the author. Her readings demonstrate how exemplary Spanish American texts, such as Rayuela, Terra nostra, and El hablador, call into question the author as a unitary or uniform, and therefore unproblematical, figure. Individually and together, Kerr's readings reclaim "the author" as a complex critical concept encompassing diverse, conflicting, even competitive roles.
In Reclaiming the Discarded Kathleen M. Millar offers an evocative ethnography of Jardim Gramacho, a sprawling garbage dump on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, where roughly two thousand self-employed workers known as catadores collect recyclable materials. While the figure of the scavenger sifting through garbage seems iconic of wageless life today, Millar shows how the work of reclaiming recyclables is more than a survival strategy or an informal labor practice. Rather, the stories of catadores show how this work is inseparable from conceptions of the good life and from human struggles to realize these visions within precarious conditions of urban poverty. By approaching the work of catadores as highly generative, Millar calls into question the category of informality, common conceptions of garbage, and the continued normativity of wage labor. In so doing, she illuminates how waste lies at the heart of relations of inequality and projects of social transformation.
Reclaiming the Political in Latin American History is a collection that embraces a new social and cultural history of Latin America that is not divorced from politics and other arenas of power. True to the intellectual vision of Brazilian historian Emilia Viotti da Costa, one of Latin America’s most distinguished scholars, the contributors actively revisit the political—as both a theme of historical analysis and a stance for historical practice—to investigate the ways in which power, agency, and Latin American identity have been transformed over the past few decades. Taking careful stock of the state of historical writing on Latin America, the volume delineates current historiographical frontiers and suggests a series of new approaches that focus on several pivotal themes: the construction of historical narratives and memory; the articulation of class, race, gender, sexuality, and generation; and the historian’s involvement in the making of history. Although the book represents a view of the Latin American political that comes primarily from the North, the influence of Viotti da Costa powerfully marks the contributors’ engagement with Latin America’s past. Featuring a keynote essay by Viotti da Costa herself, the volume’s lively North-South encounter embodies incipient trends of hemispheric intellectual convergence. Contributors. Jeffrey L. Gould, Greg Grandin, Daniel James, Gilbert M. Joseph, Thomas Miller Klubock, Mary Ann Mahony, Florencia E. Mallon, Diana Paton, Steve J. Stern, Heidi Tinsman, Emilia Viotti da Costa, Barbara Weinstein
Ilan Stavans and Joshua Ellison Duke University Press, 2015 Library of Congress G156.S73 2015
Based on a controversial opinion piece originally published in the New York Times, Reclaiming Travel is a provocative meditation on the meaning of travel from ancient times to the twenty-first century. Ilan Stavans and Joshua Ellison seek to understand why we travel and what has come to be missing from our contemporary understanding of travel. Engaging with canonical and contemporary texts, they explore the differences between travel and tourism, the relationship between travel and memory, the genre of travel writing, and the power of mapmaking, Stavans and Ellison call for a rethinking of the art of travel, which they define as a transformative quest that gives us deeper access to ourselves.
Tourism, Stavans and Ellison argue, is inauthentic, choreographed, sterile, shallow, and rooted in colonialism. They critique theme parks and kitsch tourism, such as the shantytown hotels in South Africa where guests stay in shacks made of corrugated metal and cardboard yet have plenty of food, water and space. Tourists, they assert, are merely content with escapism, thrill seeking, or obsessively snapping photographs. Resisting simple moralizing, the authors also remind us that people don’t divide neatly into crude categories like travelers and tourists. They provoke us to reflect on the opportunities and perils in our own habits.
In this powerful manifesto, Stavans and Ellison argue that travel should be an art through which our restlessness finds expression—a search for meaning not only in our own lives but also in the lives of others. It is not about the destination; rather, travel is about loss, disorientation, and discovering our place in the universe.
Truth, Christopher Norris reminds us, is very much out of fashion at the moment whether at the hands of politicians, media pundits, or purveyors of postmodern wisdom in cultural and literary studies. Across a range of disciplines the idea has taken hold that truth-talk is either redundant or the product of epistemic might. Questions of truth and falsehood are always internal to some specific language-game; history is just another kind of fiction; philosophy is only a kind of writing; law is a wholly rhetorical practice. In Reclaiming Truth, Norris critiques these fashionable trends of thought and mounts a specific challenge to cultural relativist doctrines in epistemology, philosophy of science, ethics, and political theory. Norris presents his case in a series of closely argued chapters that take issue with the relativist position. He attempts to rehabilitate the value of truth in philosophy of science by restoring a lost distinction between concept and metaphor and argues that theoretical discourse, so far from being an inconsequential activity, has very real consequences, particularly in ethics and politics. This debate has become skewed, he suggests, through the widespread and typically postmodern idea that truth-claims must always go along with a presumptive or authoritarian bid to silence opposing views. On the contrary, there is nothing as dogmatic—or as silencing—as a relativism that acknowledges no shared truth conditions for valid or responsible discourse. Norris also offers a timely reassessment of several thinkers—Althusser and Derrida among them—whose reception history has been distorted by the vagaries of short-term intellectual fashion. Reclaiming Truth will be welcomed by readers concerned with the uses and abuses of theory at a time when such questions are in urgent need of sustained and serious debate.
In Recognition Odysseys, Brian Klopotek explores the complicated relationship between federal tribal recognition policy and American Indian racial and tribal identities. He does so by comparing the experiences of three central Louisiana tribes that have petitioned for federal acknowledgment: the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe (recognized in 1981), the Jena Band of Choctaws (recognized in 1995), and the Clifton-Choctaws (currently seeking recognition). Though recognition has acquired a transformational aura, seemingly able to lift tribes from poverty and cultural decay to wealth and revitalization, these three cases reveal a more complex reality.
Klopotek describes the varied effects of the recognition process on the social and political structures, community cohesion, cultural revitalization projects, identity, and economic health of each tribe. He emphasizes that recognition policy is not the only racial project affecting Louisiana tribes. For the Tunica-Biloxis, the Jena Band of Choctaws, and the Clifton-Choctaws, discourses around blackness and whiteness have shaped the boundaries of Indian identity in ways that have only begun to be explored. Klopotek urges scholars and officials from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to acknowledge the multiple discourses and viewpoints influencing tribal identities. At the same time, he puts tribal recognition in broader perspective. Indigenous struggles began long before the BIA existed, and they will continue long after it renders any particular recognition decision.
This special issue of Radical History Review aims to revitalize African diaspora studies by shifting current emphases within the field. The contributors rethink current understandings of African and diaspora as a dispersal of Africans from the African continent via the Atlantic slave trade and offer reconceptualizations of dominant paradigms, such as home, origins, migrations, politics, blackness, African, Africa, African-descended, and Americanness.
The contributors draw on perspectives from political science, history, cultural studies, art history, anthropology, feminist theory, sexuality and queer studies, and Caribbean and African American studies. The collection addresses transnational discourses of race, gender, and sexuality in African diaspora politics, African diaspora experiences on the African continent, the politics of African-descended peoples in Europe, and creative uses of the discourses of memory and diaspora to support political organizing and local struggles. Essays on Venezuelans, Bolivians, and Mexicans address the status of race in the study of African-descended populations and cultures in Latin America. The issue also includes two essays that showcase African diasporic art and curatorial practices in the United States, the Caribbean, and the United Kingdom.
Contributors: Erica Ball, Anthony Bogues, Lisa Brock, Sara Busdiecker, Prudence Cumberbatch,Jacqueline Francis, Anita González, Amoaba Gooden, Dayo Gore, Laura A. Harris, Christopher J. Lee, Kevin Mumford, Melina Pappademos, Cristóbal Valencia Ramírez, Rochelle Rowe, Theresa Runstedtler, Michelle Ann Stephens, Tyler Stovall, Deborah Thomas, Leon Wainwright, Cadence Wynter, Paul Tiyambe Zeleza
In bringing together a geographically and temporally broad range of interdisciplinary historical scholarship, this issue of Radical History Review offers an expansive examination of gender, violence, and the state. Through analyses of New York penitentiaries, anarchists in early twentieth-century Japan, and militarism in the 1990s, contributors reconsider how historical conceptions of masculinity and femininity inform the persistence of and punishments for gendered violence. The contributors to a section on violence and activism challenge the efficacy of state solutions to gendered violence in a contemporary U.S. context, highlighting alternatives posited by radical feminist and queer activists. In five case studies drawn from South Africa, India, Ireland, East Asia, and Nigeria, contributors analyze the archive's role in shaping current attitudes toward gender, violence, and the state, as well as its lasting imprint on future quests for restitution or reconciliation. This issue also features a visual essay on the "false positives" killings in Colombia and an exploration of Zanale Muholi’s postapartheid activist photography.
Contributors: Lisa Arellano, Erica L. Ball, Josh Cerretti, Jonathan Culleton, Amanda Frisken, Raphael Ginsberg, Deana Heath, Efeoghene Igor, Catherine Jacquet, Jessie Kindig, Benjamin N. Lawrance, Jen Manion, Xhercis Méndez, Luis Morán, Claudia Salamanca, Tomoko Seto, Carla Tsampiras, Jennifer Yeager
Challenging the standard periodization of American literary history, Reconstituting the American Renaissance reinterprets the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman and the relationship of these two authors to each other. Jay Grossman argues that issues of political representation—involving vexed questions of who shall speak and for whom—lie at the heart of American political and literary discourse from the revolutionary era through the Civil War. By taking the mid-nineteenth-century period, traditionally understood as marking the advent of literary writing in the United States, and restoring to it the ways in which Emerson and Whitman engaged with eighteenth-century controversies, rhetorics, and languages about political representation, Grossman departs significantly from arguments that have traditionally separated American writing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Reconstituting the American Renaissance describes how Emerson and Whitman came into the period of their greatest productivity with different conceptions of the functions and political efficacy of the word in the world. It challenges Emerson’s position as Whitman’s necessary precursor and offers a cultural history that emphasizes the two writers’ differences in social class, cultural experience, and political perspective. In their writings between 1830 and 1855, the book finds contrasting conceptions of the relations between the “representative man” and the constituencies to whom, and for whom, he speaks. Reconstituting the American Renaissance opens up the canonical relationship between Emerson and Whitman and multiplies the historical and discursive contexts for understanding their published and unpublished works.
The South has long played a central role in America’s national imagination—the site of the trauma of slavery and of a vast nostalgia industry, alternatively the nation’s moral other and its moral center. Reconstructing Dixie explores how ideas about the South function within American culture. Narratives of the region often cohere around such tropes as southern hospitality and the southern (white) lady. Tara McPherson argues that these discursive constructions tend to conceal and disavow hard historical truths, particularly regarding race relations and the ways racial inequities underwrite southern femininity. Advocating conceptions of the South less mythologized and more tethered to complex realities, McPherson seeks to bring into view that which is repeatedly obscured—the South’s history of both racial injustice and cross-racial alliance.
Illuminating crucial connections between understandings of race, gender, and place on the one hand and narrative and images on the other, McPherson reads a number of representations of the South produced from the 1930s to the present. These are drawn from fiction, film, television, southern studies scholarship, popular journalism, music, tourist sites, the internet, and autobiography. She examines modes of affect or ways of "feeling southern" to reveal how these feelings, along with the narratives and images she discusses, sanction particular racial logics. A wide-ranging cultural studies critique, Reconstructing Dixie calls for vibrant new ways of thinking about the South and for a revamped and reinvigorated southern studies.
Reconstructing Dixie will appeal to scholars in American, southern, and cultural studies, and to those in African American, media, and women’s studies.
Was slavery over when slaves gained formal emancipation? Was it over when the social, economic, and political situation for African Americans no longer mimicked the conditions of slavery? If the Thirteenth Amendment abolished it in 1865, why did most of the disputed points during the Reconstruction debates of 1866–75 concern issues of slavery? In this book Pamela Brandwein examines the post–Civil War struggle between competing political and legal interpretations of slavery and Reconstruction to reveal how accepted historical truth was established. Delving into the circumstances, assumptions, and rhetoric that shaped the “official” story of Reconstruction, Brandwein describes precisely how a dominant interpretation of events ultimately emerged and what its implications have been for twentieth-century judicial decisions, particularly for Supreme Court rulings on civil rights. While analyzing interpretive disputes about slavery, Brandwein offers a detailed rescoring of post–Civil War legislative and constitutional history, including analysis of the original understanding of the Fourteenth Amendment. She identifies the perspectives on Reconstruction that were endorsed or rejected by the Supreme Court. Explaining what it meant—theoretically and practically—to resolve Reconstruction debates with a particular definition of slavery, Brandwein recounts how the Northern Democratic definition of “ending” slavery was not the only definition, just the one that prevailed. Using a familiar historical moment to do new interpretive work, she outlines a sociology of constitutional law, showing how subjective narrative construction can solidify into opaque institutional memory.
Recording is central to the musical lives of contemporary powwow singers yet, until now, their aesthetic practices when recording have been virtually ignored in the study of Native American expressive cultures. Recording Culture is an exploration of the Aboriginal music industry and the powwow social world that supports it. For twelve years, Christopher A. Scales attended powwows—large intertribal gatherings of Native American singer-drummers, dancers, and spectators—across the northern Plains. For part of that time, he worked as a sound engineer for Arbor Records, a large Aboriginal music label based in Winnipeg, Canada. Drawing on his ethnographic research at powwow grounds and in recording studios, Scales examines the ways that powwow drum groups have utilized recording technology in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the unique aesthetic principles of recorded powwow music, and the relationships between drum groups and the Native music labels and recording studios. Turning to "competition powwows," popular weekend-long singing and dancing contests, Scales analyzes their role in shaping the repertoire and aesthetics of drum groups in and out of the recording studio. He argues that the rise of competition powwows has been critical to the development of the powwow recording industry. Recording Culture includes a CD featuring powwow music composed by Gabriel Desrosiers and performed by the Northern Wind Singers.
John Cage's disdain for records was legendary. He repeatedly spoke of the ways in which recorded music was antithetical to his work. In Records Ruin the Landscape, David Grubbs argues that, following Cage, new genres in experimental and avant-garde music in the 1960s were particularly ill suited to be represented in the form of a recording. These activities include indeterminate music, long-duration minimalism, text scores, happenings, live electronic music, free jazz, and free improvisation. How could these proudly evanescent performance practices have been adequately represented on an LP?
In their day, few of these works circulated in recorded form. By contrast, contemporary listeners can encounter this music not only through a flood of LP and CD releases of archival recordings but also in even greater volume through Internet file sharing and online resources. Present-day listeners are coming to know that era's experimental music through the recorded artifacts of composers and musicians who largely disavowed recordings. In Records Ruin the Landscape, Grubbs surveys a musical landscape marked by altered listening practices.
The popularity of television in postwar suburban America had a devastating effect on the traditional Hollywood studio system. Yet many aging Hollywood stars used television to revive their fading careers. In Recycled Stars, Mary R. Desjardins examines the recirculation, ownership, and control of female film stars and their images in television, print, and new media. Female stardom, she argues, is central to understanding both the anxieties and the pleasures that these figures evoke in their audiences’ psyches through patterns of fame, decline, and return. From Gloria Swanson, Loretta Young, Ida Lupino, and Lucille Ball, who found new careers in early television, to Maureen O’Hara’s high-profile 1957 lawsuit against the scandal magazine Confidential, to the reappropriation of iconic star images by experimental filmmakers, video artists, and fans, this book explores the contours of female stars’ resilience as they struggled to create new contexts for their waning images across emerging media.
In Red Hangover Kristen Ghodsee examines the legacies of twentieth-century communism twenty-five years after the Berlin Wall fell. Ghodsee's essays and short stories reflect on the lived experience of postsocialism and how many ordinary men and women across Eastern Europe suffered from the massive social and economic upheavals in their lives after 1989. Ghodsee shows how recent major crises—from the Russian annexation of Crimea and the Syrian Civil War to the rise of Islamic State and the influx of migrants in Europe—are linked to mistakes made after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc when fantasies about the triumph of free markets and liberal democracy blinded Western leaders to the human costs of "regime change." Just as the communist ideal has become permanently tainted by its association with the worst excesses of twentieth-century Eastern European regimes, today the democratic ideal is increasingly sullied by its links to the ravages of neoliberalism. An accessible introduction to the history of European state socialism and postcommunism, Red Hangover reveals how the events of 1989 continue to shape the world today.
In lucid narrative prose, Sean Kicummah Teuton studies the stirring literature of “Red Power,” an era of Native American organizing that began in 1969 and expanded into the 1970s. Teuton challenges the claim that Red Power thinking relied on romantic longings for a pure Indigenous past and culture. He shows instead that the movement engaged historical memory and oral tradition to produce more enabling knowledge of American Indian lives and possibilities. Looking to the era’s moments and literature, he develops an alternative, “tribal realist” critical perspective to allow for more nuanced analyses of Native writing. In this approach, “knowledge” is not the unattainable product of disinterested observation. Rather it is the achievement of communally mediated, self-reflexive work openly engaged with the world, and as such it is revisable. For this tribal realist position, Teuton enlarges the concepts of Indigenous identity and tribal experience as intertwined sources of insight into a shared world.
While engaging a wide spectrum of Native American writing, Teuton focuses on three of the most canonized and, he contends, most misread novels of the era—N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn (1968), James Welch’s Winter in the Blood (1974), and Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony (1977). Through his readings, he demonstrates the utility of tribal realism as an interpretive framework to explain social transformations in Indian Country during the Red Power era and today. Such transformations, Teuton maintains, were forged through a process of political awakening that grew from Indians’ rethought experience with tribal lands and oral traditions, the body and imprisonment, in literature and in life.
In her forties, Erica Rand bought a pair of figure skates to vary her workout routine. Within a few years, the college professor was immersed in adult figure skating. Here, in short, incisive essays, she describes the pleasures to be found in the rink, as well as the exclusionary practices that make those pleasures less accessible to some than to others. Throughout the book, Rand situates herself as a queer femme, describing her mixed feelings about participating in a sport with heterosexual story lines and rigid standards for gender-appropriate costumes and moves. She chronicles her experiences competing in the Gay Games and at the annual U.S. Adult National Figure Skating Championship, or "Adult Nationals"; Aided by her comparative study of roller derby and women's hockey, including a brief attempt to play hockey herself, she addresses matters such as skate color conventions, judging systems, racial and sexual norms, transgender issues in sports, and the economics of athletic participation and risk taking. Mixing sharp critique with genuine appreciation and delight, Rand suggests ways to make figure skating more inclusive, while portraying the unlikely friendships facilitated by sports and the sheer elation of gliding on ice.
This compelling ethnography of women working in Bulgaria’s popular sea and ski resorts challenges the idea that women have consistently fared worse than men in Eastern Europe’s transition from socialism to a market economy. For decades western European tourists have flocked to Bulgaria’s beautiful beaches and mountains; tourism is today one of the few successful—and expanding—sectors of the country’s economy. Even at the highest levels of management, employment in the tourism industry has long been dominated by women. Kristen Ghodsee explains why this is and how women working in the industry have successfully negotiated their way through Bulgaria’s capitalist transformation while the fortunes of most of the population have plummeted. She highlights how, prior to 1989, the communist planners sought to create full employment for all at the same time that they steered women into the service sector. The women given jobs in tourism obtained higher educations, foreign language skills, and experiences working with Westerners, all of which positioned them to take advantage of the institutional changes eventually brought about by privatization.
Interspersed throughout The Red Riviera are vivid examinations of the lives of Bulgarian women, including a waitress, a tour operator, a chef, a maid, a receptionist, and a travel agent. Through these women’s stories, Ghodsee describes their employment prior to 1989 and after. She considers the postsocialist forces that have shaped the tourist industry over the past fifteen years: the emergence of a new democratic state, the small but increasing interest of foreign investors and transnational corporations, and the proliferation of ngos. Ghodsee suggests that many of the ngos, by insisting that Bulgarian women are necessarily disenfranchised, ignore their significant professional successes.
Red Tape presents a major new theory of the state developed by the renowned anthropologist Akhil Gupta. Seeking to understand the chronic and widespread poverty in India, the world's fourth largest economy, Gupta conceives of the relation between the state in India and the poor as one of structural violence. Every year this violence kills between two and three million people, especially women and girls, and lower-caste and indigenous peoples. Yet India's poor are not disenfranchised; they actively participate in the democratic project. Nor is the state indifferent to the plight of the poor; it sponsors many poverty amelioration programs.
Gupta conducted ethnographic research among officials charged with coordinating development programs in rural Uttar Pradesh. Drawing on that research, he offers insightful analyses of corruption; the significance of writing and written records; and governmentality, or the expansion of bureaucracies. Those analyses underlie his argument that care is arbitrary in its consequences, and that arbitrariness is systematically produced by the very mechanisms that are meant to ameliorate social suffering. What must be explained is not only why government programs aimed at providing nutrition, employment, housing, healthcare, and education to poor people do not succeed in their objectives, but also why, when they do succeed, they do so unevenly and erratically.
Red, White & Black is a provocative critique of socially engaged films and related critical discourse. Offering an unflinching account of race and representation, Frank B. Wilderson III asks whether such films accurately represent the structure of U.S. racial antagonisms. That structure, he argues, is based on three essential subject positions: that of the White (the “settler,” “master,” and “human”), the Red (the “savage” and “half-human”), and the Black (the “slave” and “non-human”). Wilderson contends that for Blacks, slavery is ontological, an inseparable element of their being. From the beginning of the European slave trade until now, Blacks have had symbolic value as fungible flesh, as the non-human (or anti-human) against which Whites have defined themselves as human. Just as slavery is the existential basis of the Black subject position, genocide is essential to the ontology of the Indian. Both positions are foundational to the existence of (White) humanity.
Wilderson provides detailed readings of two films by Black directors, Antwone Fisher (Denzel Washington) and Bush Mama (Haile Gerima); one by an Indian director, Skins (Chris Eyre); and one by a White director, Monster’s Ball (Marc Foster). These films present Red and Black people beleaguered by problems such as homelessness and the repercussions of incarceration. They portray social turmoil in terms of conflict, as problems that can be solved (at least theoretically, if not in the given narratives). Wilderson maintains that at the narrative level, they fail to recognize that the turmoil is based not in conflict, but in fundamentally irreconcilable racial antagonisms. Yet, as he explains, those antagonisms are unintentionally disclosed in the films’ non-narrative strategies, in decisions regarding matters such as lighting, camera angles, and sound.
An exceptional resource, this comprehensive reader brings together primary and secondary documents related to efforts to redress historical wrongs against African Americans. These varied efforts are often grouped together under the rubric “reparations movement,” and they are united in their goal of “repairing” the injustices that have followed from the long history of slavery and Jim Crow. Yet, as this collection reveals, there is a broad range of opinions as to the form that repair might take. Some advocates of redress call for apologies; others for official acknowledgment of wrongdoing; and still others for more tangible reparations: monetary compensation, government investment in disenfranchised communities, the restitution of lost property and rights, and repatriation.
Written by activists and scholars of law, political science, African American studies, philosophy, economics, and history, the twenty-six essays include both previously published articles and pieces written specifically for this volume. Essays theorize the historical and legal bases of claims for redress; examine the history, strengths, and limitations of the reparations movement; and explore its relation to human rights and social justice movements in the United States and abroad. Other essays evaluate the movement’s primary strategies: legislation, litigation, and mobilization. While all of the contributors support the campaign for redress in one way or another, some of them engage with arguments against reparations.
Among the fifty-three primary documents included in the volume are federal, state, and municipal acts and resolutions; declarations and statements from organizations including the Black Panther Party and the NAACP; legal briefs and opinions; and findings and directives related to the provision of redress, from the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 to the mandate for the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States is a thorough assessment of the past, present, and future of the modern reparations movement.
Contributors. Richard F. America, Sam Anderson, Martha Biondi, Boris L. Bittker, James Bolner, Roy L. Brooks, Michael K. Brown, Robert S. Browne, Martin Carnoy, Chiquita Collins, J. Angelo Corlett, Elliott Currie, William A. Darity, Jr., Adrienne Davis, Michael C. Dawson, Troy Duster, Dania Frank, Robert Fullinwider, Charles P. Henry, Gerald C. Horne, Robert Johnson, Jr., Robin D. G. Kelley, Jeffrey R. Kerr-Ritchie, Theodore Kornweibel, Jr., David Lyons, Michael T. Martin, Douglas S. Massey , Muntu Matsimela , C. J. Munford, Yusuf Nuruddin, Charles J. Ogletree Jr., Melvin L. Oliver, David B. Oppenheimer, Rovana Popoff, Thomas M. Shapiro, Marjorie M. Shultz, Alan Singer, David Wellman, David R. Williams, Eric K. Yamamoto, Marilyn Yaquinto
Reel World explores what happens to life when everything begins to look and feel like cinema. Drawing on years of fieldwork with Tamil filmmakers, artists, musicians, and craftsmen in the south Indian movie studios of "Kollywood," Anand Pandian examines how ordinary moments become elements of a cinematic world. With inventive, experimental, and sometimes comical zeal, Pandian pursues the sensory richness of cinematic experience and the adventure of a writing true to these sensations. Thinking with the visceral power of sound and image, his stories also broach deeply philosophical themes such as desire, time, wonder, and imagination. In a spirit devoted to the turbulence and uncertainty of genesis, Reel World brings into focus an ecology of creative process: the many forces, feelings, beings, and things that infuse human endeavors with transformative potential.
In Re-enchanting Modernity Mayfair Yang examines the resurgence of religious and ritual life after decades of enforced secularization in the coastal area of Wenzhou, China. Drawing on twenty-five years of ethnographic fieldwork, Yang shows how the local practices of popular religion, Daoism, and Buddhism are based in community-oriented grassroots organizations that create spaces for relative local autonomy and self-governance. Central to Wenzhou's religious civil society is what Yang calls a "ritual economy," in which an ethos of generosity is expressed through donations to temples, clerics, ritual events, and charities in exchange for spiritual gain. With these investments in transcendent realms, Yang adopts Georges Bataille's notion of "ritual expenditures" to challenge the idea that rural Wenzhou's economic development can be described in terms of Max Weber's notion of a "Protestant Ethic". Instead, Yang suggests that Wenzhou's ritual economy forges an alternate path to capitalist modernity.
Reissued as a companion edition to Trying to Give Ease: Tommie Bass and the Story of Herbal Medicine, this illustrated reference guide covers over 700 medicinal plants, of which more than 150 are readily obtainable in health food stores and other outlets. Based on the Appalachian herbal practice of the late A. L. "Tommie" Bass, each account of a plant includes the herbalist’s comment, an assessment of the plant’s efficacy, and current information on its chemical constituents and pharmacological effects. Unlike most herbal guides, this is a comprehensive, fully documented reference work that interweaves scientific evaluation with folkloric use.
In Refiguring Spain, Marsha Kinder has gathered a collection of new essays that explore the central role played by film, television, newspapers, and art museums in redefining Spain’s national/cultural identity and its position in the world economy during the post-Franco era. By emphasizing issues of historical recuperation, gender and sexuality, and the marketing of Spain’s peaceful political transformation, the contributors demonstrate that Spanish cinema and other forms of Spanish media culture created new national stereotypes and strengthened the nation’s place in the global market and on the global stage. These essays consider a diverse array of texts, ranging from recent films by Almodóvar, Saura, Erice, Miró, Bigas Luna, Gutiérrez Aragón, and Eloy de la Iglesia to media coverage of the 1993 elections. Francoist cinema and other popular media are examined in light of strategies used to redefine Spain’s cultural identity. The importance of the documentary, the appropriation of Hollywood film, and the significance of gender and sexuality in Spanish cinema are also discussed, as is the discourse of the Spanish media star—whether involving film celebrities like Rita Hayworth and Antonio Banderas or historical figures such as Cervantes. The volume concludes with an investigation of larger issues of government policy in relation to film and media, including a discussion of the financing of Spanish cinema and an exploration of the political dynamics of regional television and art museums. Drawing on a wide range of critical discourses, including feminist, postcolonial, and queer theory, political economy, cultural history, and museum studies, Refiguring Spain is the first comprehensive anthology on Spanish cinema in the English language.
Contributors. Peter Besas, Marvin D’Lugo, Selma Reuben Holo, Dona M. Kercher, Marsha Kinder, Jaume Martí-Olivella, Richard Maxwell, Hilary L. Neroni, Paul Julian Smith, Roland B. Tolentino, Stephen Tropiano, Kathleen M. Vernon, Iñaki Zabaleta
A young couple poses before a painted backdrop depicting a modern building set in a volcanic landscape; a college student grabs his camera as he heads to a political demonstration; a man poses stiffly for his identity photograph; amateur photographers look for picturesque images in a rural village; an old woman leafs through a family album. In Refracted Visions, Karen Strassler argues that popular photographic practices such as these have played a crucial role in the making of modern national subjects in postcolonial Java. Contending that photographic genres cultivate distinctive ways of seeing and positioning oneself and others within the affective, ideological, and temporal location of Indonesia, she examines genres ranging from state identification photos to pictures documenting family rituals. Oriented to projects of selfhood, memory, and social affiliation, popular photographs recast national iconographies in an intimate register. They convey the longings of Indonesian national modernity: nostalgia for rural idylls and “tradition,” desires for the trappings of modernity and affluence, dreams of historical agency, and hopes for political authenticity. Yet photography also brings people into contact with ideas and images that transcend and at times undermine a strictly national frame. Photography’s primary practitioners in the postcolonial era have been Chinese Indonesians. Acting as cultural brokers who translate global and colonial imageries into national idioms, these members of a transnational minority have helped shape the visual contours of Indonesian belonging even as their own place within the nation remains tenuous. Refracted Visions illuminates the ways that everyday photographic practices generate visual habits that in turn give rise to political subjects and communities.
In Refrains for Moving Bodies, Derek P. McCormack explores the kinds of experiments with experience that can take place in the affective spaces generated when bodies move. Drawing out new connections between thinkers including Henri Lefebvre, William James, John Dewey, Gregory Bateson, Félix Guattari, and Gilles Deleuze, McCormack argues for a critically affirmative experimentalism responsive to the opportunities such spaces provide for rethinking and remaking maps of experience. Foregrounding the rhythmic and atmospheric qualities of these spaces, he demonstrates the particular value of Deleuze and Guattari's concept of the "refrain" for thinking and diagramming affect, bodies, and space-times together in creative ways, putting this concept to work to animate empirical encounters with practices and technologies as varied as dance therapy, choreography, radio sports commentary, and music video. What emerges are geographies of experimental participation that perform and disclose inventive ways of thinking within the myriad spaces where the affective capacities of bodies are modulated through moving.
In Reframing Bodies, Roger Hallas illuminates the capacities of film and video to bear witness to the cultural, political, and psychological imperatives of the AIDS crisis. He explains how queer films and videos made in response to the AIDS epidemics in North America, Europe, Australia, and South Africa challenge longstanding assumptions about both historical trauma and the politics of gay visibility. Drawing on a wide range of works, including activist tapes, found footage films, autobiographical videos, documentary portraits, museum installations, and even film musicals, Hallas reveals how such “queer AIDS media” simultaneously express both immediacy and historical consciousness. Queer AIDS media are neither mere ideological critiques of the dominant media representation of homosexuality and AIDS nor corrective attempts to produce “positive images” of people living with HIV/AIDS. Rather, they perform complex, mediated acts of bearing witness to the individual and collective trauma of AIDS.
Challenging the entrenched media politics of who gets to speak, how, and to whom, Hallas offers a bold reconsideration of the intersubjective relations that connect filmmakers, subjects, and viewers. He explains how queer testimony reframes AIDS witnesses and their speech through its striking combination of direct address and aesthetic experimentation. In addition, Hallas engages recent historical changes and media transformations that have not only displaced queer AIDS media from activism to the archive, but also created new witnessing dynamics through the logics of the database and the remix. Reframing Bodies provides new insight into the work of Gregg Bordowitz, John Greyson, Derek Jarman, Matthias Müller, and Marlon Riggs, and offers critical consideration of important but often overlooked filmmakers, including Jim Hubbard, Jack Lewis, and Stuart Marshall.
In virtually every aspect of human behavior, ritual, language, and art, perceptions are organized through the act of framing. In the writing of Benito Perez Galdós, Spain's most prolific and innovative nineteenth-century novelist, Hazel Gold finds this principle insistently at work. By exploring Galdós's methods of structuring and evaluating literary and historical experience, Gold illuminates the novelist's art and uncovers the far-reaching narratological, social, and epistemological implications of his framing strategies. A close look at Galdós's novels reveals the artist at pains to contain and interpret what he perceived to be the distinctive and often disheartening experience of bourgeois liberalism of his day. At the same time, he can be seen here undermining or negating the accepted conventions of realist fiction. Looking beyond text to context, Gold examines the ways in which Galdós's work itself has been framed by readers and critics in accordance with changing allegiances to contemporary literary theory and the canon. The highly ambiguous status of the frame in Galdós's fictions confirms the author's own signal position as a writer poised at the limits between realism and modernity. Gold's work will command the interest of students of Spanish and comparative literature, narrative theory, and the novel, as well as all those for whom realism and representation are at issue.
For three decades, award-winning independent filmmaker Todd Haynes, who emerged in the early 1990s as a foundational figure in New Queer Cinema, has gained critical recognition for his outsider perspective. Today, Haynes is widely known for bringing women’s stories to the screen. Analyzing Haynes’s films including Safe (1995), Velvet Goldmine (1998), Far from Heaven (2002), and Carol (2015), as well as his unauthorized Karen Carpenter biopic, Superstar (1987), and the television miniseries Mildred Pierce (2011), the contributors to Reframing Todd Haynes reassess his work in light of his long-standing feminist commitments and his exceptional career as a director of women’s films. They present multiple perspectives on Haynes’s film and television work and on his role as an artist-activist who draws on academic theorizations of gender and cinema. The volume illustrates the influence of feminist theory on Haynes’s aesthetic vision, most evident in his persistent interest in the political and formal possibilities afforded by the genre of the woman’s film. The contributors contend that no consideration of Haynes’s work can afford to ignore the crucial place of feminism within it.
Contributors. Danielle Bouchard, Nick Davis, Jigna Desai, Mary R. Desjardins, Patrick Flanery, Theresa L. Geller, Rebecca M. Gordon, Jess Issacharoff, Lynne Joyrich, Bridget Kies, Julia Leyda, David E. Maynard, Noah A. Tsika, Patricia White, Sharon Willis
In A Regarded Self Kaiama L. Glover champions unruly female protagonists who adamantly refuse the constraints of coercive communities. Reading novels by Marie Chauvet, Maryse Condé, René Depestre, Marlon James, and Jamaica Kincaid, Glover shows how these authors' women characters enact practices of freedom that privilege the self in ways unmediated and unrestricted by group affiliation. The women of these texts offend, disturb, and reorder the world around them. They challenge the primacy of the community over the individual and propose provocative forms of subjecthood. Highlighting the style and the stakes of these women's radical ethics of self-regard, Glover reframes Caribbean literary studies in ways that critique the moral principles, politicized perspectives, and established critical frameworks that so often govern contemporary reading practices. She asks readers and critics of postcolonial literature to question their own gendered expectations and to embrace less constrictive modes of theorization.
In this innovative historical examination of the American movie audience, Eric Smoodin focuses on reactions to the films of Frank Capra. Best known for his Hollywood features—including It Happened One Night, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington—Capra also directed educational films, military films, and documentaries. Based on his analysis of the reception of a broad range of Capra’s films, Smoodin considers the preferences and attitudes toward Hollywood of the people who watched movies during the “Golden Age” of studio production, from 1930 to 1960.
Drawing on archival sources including fan letters, exhibitor reports, military and prison records, government and corporate documents, and trade journals, Smoodin explains how the venues where Capra’s films were seen and the strategies used to promote the films affected audience response and how, in turn, audience response shaped film production. He analyzes issues of foreign censorship and government intervention in the making of The Bitter Tea of General Yen; the response of high school students to It Happened One Night; fan engagement with the overtly political discourse of Meet John Doe and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; San Quentin prisoners’ reaction to a special screening of It’s a Wonderful Life; and at&t’s involvement in Capra’s later documentary work for the Bell Science Series. He also looks at the reception of Capra’s series Why We Fight, used by the American military to train recruits and re-educate German prisoners of war. Illuminating the role of the famous director and his films in American culture, Regarding Frank Capra signals new directions for significant research on film reception and promotion.
Raquel Z. Rivera, Wayne Marshall, and Deborah Pacini Hernandez, eds. Duke University Press, 2009 Library of Congress ML3532.5.R44 2009 | Dewey Decimal 781.64
A hybrid of reggae and rap, reggaeton is a music with Spanish-language lyrics and Caribbean aesthetics that has taken Latin America, the United States, and the world by storm. Superstars—including Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, and Ivy Queen—garner international attention, while aspiring performers use digital technologies to create and circulate their own tracks. Reggaeton brings together critical assessments of this wildly popular genre. Journalists, scholars, and artists delve into reggaeton’s local roots and its transnational dissemination; they parse the genre’s aesthetics, particularly in relation to those of hip-hop; and they explore the debates about race, nation, gender, and sexuality generated by the music and its associated cultural practices, from dance to fashion.
The collection opens with an in-depth exploration of the social and sonic currents that coalesced into reggaeton in Puerto Rico during the 1990s. Contributors consider reggaeton in relation to that island, Panama, Jamaica, and New York; Cuban society, Miami’s hip-hop scene, and Dominican identity; and other genres including reggae en español, underground, and dancehall reggae. The reggaeton artist Tego Calderón provides a powerful indictment of racism in Latin America, while the hip-hop artist Welmo Romero Joseph discusses the development of reggaeton in Puerto Rico and his refusal to embrace the upstart genre. The collection features interviews with the DJ/rapper El General and the reggae performer Renato, as well as a translation of “Chamaco’s Corner,” the poem that served as the introduction to Daddy Yankee’s debut album. Among the volume’s striking images are photographs from Miguel Luciano’s series Pure Plantainum, a meditation on identity politics in the bling-bling era, and photos taken by the reggaeton videographer Kacho López during the making of the documentary Bling’d: Blood, Diamonds, and Hip-Hop.
Contributors. Geoff Baker, Tego Calderón, Carolina Caycedo, Jose Davila, Jan Fairley, Juan Flores, Gallego (José Raúl González), Félix Jiménez, Kacho López, Miguel Luciano, Wayne Marshall, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Alfredo Nieves Moreno, Ifeoma C. K. Nwankwo, Deborah Pacini Hernandez, Raquel Z. Rivera, Welmo Romero Joseph, Christoph Twickel, Alexandra T. Vazquez
With the urbanization of eighteenth-century English society, moral philosophers became preoccupied with the difference between individual and crowd behavior. In so doing, they set the stage for a form of political thought divorced from traditional moral reflection. In Regulating Confusion Thomas Reinert places Samuel Johnson in the context of this development and investigates Johnson’s relation to an emerging modernity. Ambivalent about the disruption, confusion, perplexity, and boundless variety apparent in the London of his day, Johnson was committed to the conventions of moral reflection but also troubled by the pressure to adopt the perspective of the crowd and the language of social theory. Regulating Confusion explores the consequences of his ambivalence and his attempt to order the chaos. It discusses his critique of moral generalizations, concept of moral reflection as a symbolic gesture, and account of what happens to the notion of character when individuals, having lost the support of moral convention, become faces in a crowd. Reflecting generally on the relationship between skepticism and political ideology, Reinert also discusses Johnson’s political skepticism and the forms of speculation and action it authorized. Challenging prevalent psychologizing and humanistic interpretations, Regulating Confusion leaves behind the re-emergent view of Johnson as a reactionary ideologue and presents him in a theoretically sophisticated context. It offers his style of skepticism as a model of poise in the face of confusion about the nature of political truth and personal responsibility and demonstrates his value as a resource for students of culture struggling with contemporary debates about the relationship between literature and politics.
A major contribution to the nascent anthropology of urban environments, Reigning the River illuminates the complexities of river restoration in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital and one of the fastest-growing cities in South Asia. In this rich ethnography, Anne M. Rademacher explores the ways that urban riverscape improvement involved multiple actors, each constructing ideals of restoration through contested histories and ideologies of belonging. She examines competing understandings of river restoration, particularly among bureaucrats in state and conservation-development agencies, cultural heritage activists, and advocates for the security of tens of thousands of rural-to-urban migrants settled along the exposed riverbed.
Rademacher conducted research during a volatile period in Nepal’s political history. As clashes between Maoist revolutionaries and the government intensified, the riverscape became a site of competing claims to a capital city that increasingly functioned as a last refuge from war-related violence. In this time of intense flux, efforts to ensure, create, or imagine ecological stability intersected with aspirations for political stability. Throughout her analysis, Rademacher emphasizes ecology as an important site of dislocation, entitlement, and cultural meaning.
Reimagining Political Ecology
Aletta Biersack and James B. Greenberg, eds. Duke University Press, 2006 Library of Congress JA75.8.R43 2006 | Dewey Decimal 304.2
Reimagining Political Ecology is a state-of-the-art collection of ethnographies grounded in political ecology. When political ecology first emerged as a distinct field in the early 1970s, it was rooted in the neo-Marxism of world system theory. This collection showcases second-generation political ecology, which retains the Marxist interest in capitalism as a global structure but which is also heavily influenced by poststructuralism, feminism, practice theory, and cultural studies. As these essays illustrate, contemporary political ecology moves beyond binary thinking, focusing instead on the interchanges between nature and culture, the symbolic and the material, and the local and the global.
Aletta Biersack’s introduction takes stock of where political ecology has been, assesses the field’s strengths, and sets forth a bold research agenda for the future. Two essays offer wide-ranging critiques of modernist ecology, with its artificial dichotomy between nature and culture, faith in the scientific management of nature, and related tendency to dismiss local knowledge. The remaining eight essays are case studies of particular constructions and appropriations of nature and the complex politics that come into play regionally, nationally, and internationally when nature is brought within the human sphere. Written by some of the leading thinkers in environmental anthropology, these rich ethnographies are based in locales around the world: in Belize, Papua New Guinea, the Gulf of California, Iceland, Finland, the Peruvian Amazon, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Collectively, they demonstrate that political ecology speaks to concerns shared by geographers, sociologists, political scientists, historians, and anthropologists alike. And they model the kind of work that this volume identifies as the future of political ecology: place-based “ethnographies of nature” keenly attuned to the conjunctural effects of globalization.
Contributors. Eeva Berglund, Aletta Biersack, J. Peter Brosius, Michael R. Dove, James B. Greenberg, Søren Hvalkof, J. Stephen Lansing, Gísli Pálsson, Joel Robbins, Vernon L. Scarborough, John W. Schoenfelder, Richard Wilk