Unprecedented in scope and detail, Brothers and Strangers is a vivid history of how the mythic Africa of the black American imagination ran into the realities of Africa the place. In the 1920s, Marcus Garvey—convinced that freedom from oppression was not possible for blacks in the Americas—led the last great African American emigrationist movement. His U.S.-based Universal Negro Improvement Association worked with the Liberian government to create a homeland for African Americans. Ibrahim Sundiata explores the paradox at the core of this project: Liberia, the chosen destination, was itself racked by class and ethnic divisions and—like other nations in colonial Africa—marred by labor abuse.
In an account based on extensive archival research, including work in the Liberian National Archives, Sundiata explains how Garvey’s plan collapsed when faced with opposition from the Liberian elite, opposition that belied his vision of a unified Black World. In 1930 the League of Nations investigated labor conditions and, damningly, the United States, land of lynching and Jim Crow, accused Liberia of promoting “conditions analogous to slavery.” Subsequently various plans were put forward for a League Mandate or an American administration to put down slavery and “modernize” the country. Threatened with a loss of its independence, the Liberian government turned to its “brothers beyond the sea” for support. A varied group of white and black anti-imperialists, among them W. E. B. Du Bois, took up the country’s cause. In revealing the struggle of conscience that bedeviled many in the black world in the past, Sundiata casts light on a human rights predicament which, he points out, continues in twenty-first-century African nations as disparate as Sudan, Mauritania, and the Ivory Coast.
Brothers and Strangers traces the history of German Jewish attitudes, policies, and stereotypical images toward Eastern European Jews, demonstrating the ways in which the historic rupture between Eastern and Western Jewry developed as a function of modernism and its imperatives. By the 1880s, most German Jews had inherited and used such negative images to symbolize rejection of their own ghetto past and to emphasize the contrast between modern “enlightened” Jewry and its “half-Asian” counterpart. Moreover, stereotypes of the ghetto and the Eastern Jew figured prominently in the growth and disposition of German anti-Semitism. Not everyone shared these negative preconceptions, however, and over the years a competing post-liberal image emerged of the Ostjude as cultural hero. Brothers and Strangers examines the genesis, development, and consequences of these changing forces in their often complex cultural, political, and intellectual contexts.
Peshkin examines the role played by ethnicity in the daily life of a town he calls "Riverview" and its only high school. Immersing himself in the daily life of halls and classrooms of Riverview's high school and the streets of its neighborhoods, Peshkin coaxes from both young and old their own reflections on the town's early days, on the period of ethnic strife sparked by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and on the way they see Riverview today.
"Peshkin strikes a hopeful chord, revealing what social encounters among ethnic groups—at their best—can be like in America."—Education Digest
Natural disasters, the effects of climate change, and political upheavals and war have driven tens of millions of people from their homes and spurred intense debates about how governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) should respond with long-term resettlement strategies. Many resettlement efforts have focused primarily on providing infrastructure and have done little to help displaced people and communities rebuild social structure, which has led to resettlement failures throughout the world. So what does it take to transform a resettlement into a successful community?
This book offers the first long-term comparative study of social outcomes through a case study of two Honduran resettlements built for survivors of Hurricane Mitch (1998) by two different NGOs. Although residents of each arrived from the same affected neighborhoods and have similar demographics, twelve years later one resettlement wrestles with high crime, low participation, and low social capital, while the other maintains low crime, a high degree of social cohesion, participation, and general social health. Using a multi-method approach of household surveys, interviews, ethnography, and analysis of NGO and community documents, Ryan Alaniz demonstrates that these divergent resettlement trajectories can be traced back to the type and quality of support provided by external organizations and the creation of a healthy, cohesive community culture. His findings offer important lessons and strategies that can be utilized in other places and in future resettlement policy to achieve the most effective and positive results.
Killing Time with Strangers
W. S. Penn University of Arizona Press, 2000 Library of Congress PS501.S85 vol. 45 | Dewey Decimal 810.80054
Young Pal needs help with his dreaming.
Palimony Blue Larue, a mixblood growing up in a small California town, suffers from a painful shyness and wants more than anything to be liked. That's why Mary Blue, his Nez Perce mother, has dreamed the weyekin, the spirit guide, to help her bring into the world the one lasting love her son needs to overcome the diffidence that runs so deep in his blood. The magical (and not totally competent) weyekin pops in and out of Pal's life at the most unexpected times—and in the most unlikely guises—but seems to have difficulty setting him on the right path. Is there any hope for Palimony Blue?
Don't ask his father, La Vent Larue; La Vent is past hope, past help, a city zoning planner and a pawn in the mayor's development plans who ends up crazy and in jail after he shoots the mayor in the—well, never mind. Better to ask Pal's mother, who summons the weyekin when she isn't working on a cradle board for Pal and his inevitable bride. And while you're at it, ask the women in Pal's life: Sally the preacher's daughter, Brandy the waitressing flautist, Tara the spoiled socialite. And be sure to ask Amanda, if you can catch her. If you can dream her.
Using comic vision to address serious concerns of living, Penn has written a freewheeling novel that will surpass most readers' expectations of "ethnic fiction." Instead of the usual polemics, it's marked by a sense of humor and a playfulness of language that springs directly from Native American oral tradition.
What more can be said about a book that has to be read to the end in order to get to the beginning? That Killing Time with Strangers is unlike any novel you have read before? Or perhaps that it is agonizingly familiar, giving us glimpses of a young man finding his precarious way in life? But when the power of dreaming is unleashed, time becomes negotiable and life's joys and sorrows go up for grabs. And as sure as yellow butterflies will morph into Post-It notes, you will know you have experienced a new and utterly captivating way of looking at the world.
Once again, Tom Lutz takes us to seldom-traveled corners of the world—the small towns of western Madagascar, the terraced rice fields in northern Luzon, the scattered homesteads on the Mongolian steppe, the hilltop churches on Micronesian islands, the riverside docks of Dhaka, Ethiopian weddings in Gondar, funeral pyres in Nepal, traditionalist karaoke bars in Bhutan—to bring us random reports of human kindness.
You may never visit these places, but Tom Lutz will do it for you. And while global media may serve up a steady diet of division, violence, oppression, hatred, and strife, The Kindness of Strangers shows that people the world over are much more likely to meet strangers with interest, empathy, welcome, and compassion.
In The Kindness of Strangers, John Boswell argues persuasively that child abandonment was a common and morally acceptable practice from antiquity until the Renaissance. Using a wide variety of sources, including drama and mythological-literary texts as well as demographics, Boswell examines the evidence that parents of all classes gave up unwanted children, "exposing" them in public places, donating them to the church, or delivering them in later centuries to foundling hospitals. The Kindness of Strangers presents a startling history of the abandoned child that helps to illustrate the changing meaning of family.
In Myself and Strangers, John Graves, the highly regarded author of Goodbye to a River and other classic works, recalls the decade-long apprenticeship in which he found his voice as a writer. He recounts his wanderings from Texas to Mexico, New York, and Spain, where, like Hemingway, he hoped to find the material with which to write books that mattered. With characteristic honesty, Graves admits the false starts and dead ends that dogged much of his writing, along with the exhilaration he felt when the words finally flowed. He frankly describes both the pleasures and the restlessness of expatriate life in Europe after World War II—as well as his surprising discovery, when family obligations eventually called him home to Texas, that the years away had prepared him to embrace his native land as the fit subject matter for his writing. For anyone seeking the springs that fed John Graves' best-loved books, this memoir of apprenticeship will be genuinely rewarding.
How important are foreign affairs in the grand scheme of civilization? Do defenses against the invasion of strangers influence the evolution of culture? Drawing on decades of experience in government as well as in the academy, William R. Polk offers a uniquely informed, comprehensive view of foreign relations. Bridging academic disciplines he treats foreign affairs as they occur in the real world. Instead of separating diplomacy, intelligence and espionage, defense and warfare, trade and aid, intervention and law from one another, he shows how they interact and together form a whole pattern with which we must deal if we are to move safely into the 21st century. But Neighbors and Strangers is not just a guide to the future; Polk draws upon all recorded history, and indeed upon studies of animal and primitive social behavior, and from the entire world for vivid examples to illuminate for the general reader the underlying principles and consistencies that characterize relations with foreigners.
Indeed, going deeper into the human experience, Polk documents "fear of the foreigner" as a visceral response so deep-seated and so pervasive that it transcends human memory, individual experience and even logical analysis. More generally, he shows that the tension created by having to live as neighbors with those who, in the definition of contemporaries, were irredeemably alien has been one of the major causes of the rise of civilizations.
Accessible and engaging, Neighbors and Strangers is a revelatory look at how foreign affairs are a profound reflection of human nature.
Of Gods & Strangers
Tina Chang Four Way Books, 2011 Library of Congress PS3603.H3574O4 2011 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
A meditation on history and the imagination that bears witness to acts of genocide and to natural disasters in Ethiopia, Haiti, and Sri Lanka, Of Gods & Strangers interweaves lyrical, arresting accounts of our contemporary world with stories of “Empress Dowager” Tzu Hsi, last empress of China (1861-1908). An urgent reminder that poetry can offer us a social consciousness—“in my locked mouth an urge”—Of Gods & Strangers deftly traces the human dimensions of the “great modern machine,” looking to recover the present and its people through the past’s “faulty memory.”
Sex with Strangers
Michael Lowenthal University of Wisconsin Press, 2021 Library of Congress PS3562.O894S49 2021 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
A fiercely honest exploration of the risks and rewards of contemporary relationships—and hookups—Sex with Strangers embraces the dizzying power of attraction across the spectrum of passion and infatuation. In this fearless collection, lust and loneliness drive a diverse cast of queer and straight characters into sometimes precarious entanglements.
Recognizing that any partner is unknowable on some level, Michael Lowenthal writes about how intimacy can make strangers of us all. A newly ordained priest struggles with guilt and longing when he runs into his ex-girlfriend. A woman weighs the cost of protecting her daughter from a man they both adore. A teenage busboy has a jolting brush with a famous musician. A young man tries to salvage a long-distance relationship while caring for his mentor, an erotic writer dying of AIDS.
In edgy, disquieting stories, Lowenthal traces the paths that attraction and erotic encounters take, baffling and rueful as often as electrifying. This fraught and funny volume forces us to grapple with our own subconscious desires and question how well we can ever really know ourselves.
Strangers: A Book of Poems
David Ferry University of Chicago Press, 1984 Library of Congress PS3511.E74S8 1983 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
"David Ferry must have had something up his sleeve when he called his book "Strangers," because his is a poetry of intimacy and familiarity. More than that, Mr. Ferry's short, sparse lyrics are as perfectly and simply composed as Japanese haiku—a rare accomplishment in poetry written in English."—Andy Brumer, New York Times Book Review
"Strangers is a remarkably good book for a reader sufficiently attentive to hear its quiet power, to let it work in its distinctive way."—Boston Globe
"The poems of David Ferry's Strangers are in fact one book, and it is a splendid one. There is the same austere and poignant voice throughout, asking the unanswerable things, speaking of all that is withheld from us, confronting the unknownness that dwells even in the familiar and dear. Painful and touching, the book offers a distinctive vision which is at the same time inescapably true."—Richard Wilbur
Strangers and Kin is the history of adoption, a quintessentially American institution in its buoyant optimism, generous spirit, and confidence in social engineering. An adoptive mother herself, Barbara Melosh tells the story of how married couples without children sought to care for and nurture other people's children as their own. It says much about the American experience of family across the twentieth century and our shifting notions of kinship and assimilation. Above all, it speaks of real people striving to make families out of strangers.
In the early twentieth century, childless adults confronted orphanages reluctant to entrust their wards to the kindness of strangers. By the 1930s, however, the recently formed profession of social work claimed a new expertise--the science and art of child placement--and adoption became codified in law. It flourished in the United States, reflecting our ethnic diversity, pluralist ideals, and pragmatic approach to family. Then, in the 1960s, as the sexual revolution reshaped marriage, motherhood, and women's work, adoption became a less attractive option and the number of adoptive families precipitously declined. Taking this history into the early twenty-first century, Melosh offers unflinching insight to the contemporary debates that swirl around adoption: the challenges to adoption secrecy; the ethics and geopolitics of international adoption; and the conflicts over transracial adoption.
This gripping history is told through poignant stories of individuals, garnered from case records long inaccessible to others, and captures the profound losses and joys that make adoption a lifelong process.
Berlin in the 1920s was a cosmopolitan hub where for a brief, vibrant moment German-Jewish writers crossed paths with Hebrew and Yiddish migrant writers. Working against the prevailing tendency to view German and East European Jewish cultures as separate fields of study, Strangers in Berlin is the first book to present Jewish literature in the Weimar Republic as the product of the dynamic encounter between East and West. Whether they were native to Germany or sojourners from abroad, Jewish writers responded to their exclusion from rising nationalist movements by cultivating their own images of homeland in verse, and they did so in three languages: German, Hebrew, and Yiddish.
Author Rachel Seelig portrays Berlin during the Weimar Republic as a “threshold” between exile and homeland in which national and artistic commitments were reexamined, reclaimed, and rebuilt. In the pulsating yet precarious capital of Germany’s first fledgling democracy, the collision of East and West engendered a broad spectrum of poetic styles and Jewish national identities.
How should Western democracies respond to the many millions of people who want to settle in their societies? Economists and human rights advocates tend to downplay the considerable cultural and demographic impact of immigration on host societies. Seeking to balance the rights of immigrants with the legitimate concerns of citizens, Strangers in Our Midst brings a bracing dose of realism to this debate. David Miller defends the right of democratic states to control their borders and decide upon the future size, shape, and cultural make-up of their populations.
“A cool dissection of some of the main moral issues surrounding immigration and worth reading for its introductory chapter alone. Moreover, unlike many progressive intellectuals, Miller gives due weight to the rights and preferences of existing citizens and does not believe an immigrant has an automatic right to enter a country…Full of balanced judgments and tragic dilemmas.” —David Goodhart, Evening Standard
“A lean and judicious defense of national interest…In Miller’s view, controlling immigration is one way for a country to control its public expenditures, and such control is essential to democracy.” —Kelefa Sanneh, New Yorker
Invasive nonindigenous species -- plants and animals that have been introduced to an ecosystem from someplace else -- are wreaking havoc around the globe. Because they did not co-evolve with species already in the ecosystem, they can profoundly disturb species interactions and ecosystem function.The state of Florida has one of the most severe exotic species problems in the country; as much as a quarter of many taxa in Florida are nonnative, and millions of acres of land and water are dominated by nonindigenous species. Strangers in Paradise provides an in-depth examination of the Florida experience and of the ongoing efforts to eradicate or manage introduced species. Chapters consider: natural disturbance and the spread of nonindigenous species case studies of insects, freshwater invertebrates, fishes, amphibians and reptiles, birds, marine invertebrates and algae, and mammals methods of managing nonindigenous species including ecological restoration, eradication, "maintenance control," and biological control management on public lands the regulatory framework including the role of the federal government as well as state authorities and responsibilities Strangers in Paradise is the first comprehensive volume to address a large, diverse region and the full range of nonindigenous species, the problems they cause, and the methods and impediments to dealing with them. Throughout, contributors emphasize solutions and relate the situation in Florida to problems faced by other states, making the book an important guide for anyone involved with control and management of invasive species.
In a culture deeply divided along ethnic lines, the idea that the relationship between blacks and Jews was once thought special—indeed, critical to the cause of civil rights—might seem strange. Yet the importance of blacks for Jews and Jews for blacks in conceiving of themselves as Americans, when both remained outsiders to the privileges of full citizenship, is a matter of voluminous but perplexing record. It is this record, written across the annals of American history and literature, culture and society, that Eric Sundquist investigates. A monumental work of literary criticism and cultural history, Strangers in the Land draws upon politics, sociology, law, religion, and popular culture to illuminate a vital, highly conflicted interethnic partnership over the course of a century.
Sundquist explores how reactions to several interlocking issues—the biblical Exodus, the Holocaust, Zionism, and the state of Israel—became critical to black–Jewish relations. He charts volatile debates over social justice and liberalism, anti-Semitism and racism, through extended analyses of fiction by Bernard Malamud, Paule Marshall, Harper Lee, and William Melvin Kelley, as well as the juxtaposition of authors such as Saul Bellow and John A. Williams, Lori Segal and Anna Deavere Smith, Julius Lester and Philip Roth. Engaging a wide range of thinkers and writers on race, civil rights, the Holocaust, slavery, and related topics, and cutting across disciplines to set works of literature in historical context, Strangers in the Land offers an encyclopedic account of questions central to modern American culture.
Higham's work stands as the seminal work in the history of American nativism. The work is a careful, well-documented study of nationalism and ethnic prejudice, and chronicles the power and violence of these two ideas in American society from 1860 to 1925. He significantly moves beyond previous treatments of nativism, both in chronology and in interpretive sophistication. Higham defines nativism as a defensive type of nationalism or an intense opposition to an internal minority on the grounds of the group's foreign connections. By defining nativism as a set of attitudes or a state of mind, he sets the course for his book as tracing "trace an emotionally charged impulse" rather than "an actual social process or condition." As he argues that the ideological content of nativism remained consistent, he uses emotional intensity as a measure to trace in detail public opinion from the relative calm following the Civil War to the Johnson-Reed act of 1924 that severely limited European immigration.
Strangers in the Land is, then, a history of public opinion, whose purpose is to show how nativism evolved in society and in action. Higham seeks to explain what could inflame xenophobia and who resisted it. He saw his work as part of a renewed interest in the study of nationalism following the national upheavals in the wake of the McCarthy hearings. Surely Higham's mentor at the University of Wisconsin, intellectual historian Merle Curti, influenced Higham's approach in seeking to examine the power of nationalism as an idea. Also influential was the intellectual climate of the 1950s with its of distrust of ideology and distain of prejudice. Higham admits being repelled by the nationalist delusions of the Cold War, again helping to explain why his study concentrates on seeking some explanation for the irrational and violent outbreaks. The book thus focuses on points of conflict, "antagonisms that belong within ideologies of passionate national consciousness." For example, Higham's explains the 100 percent American movement in terms of progressive ideals and the desire of Americans to shape immigrants into a particular ideal of "Americanness" through education and assimilation. This intellectual construct eventually gave way to the racial thinking to which Higham assigns much influence in the efforts to restrict immigration. Ideology is also central to his chapter on the history of the idea of racism in which he argues that Anglo-Saxon nationalism, literary naturalism and a nascent understanding of genetics combined to bring forth arguments for immigration restriction to preserve the racial purity of the American people. Thus, key for Higham's argument is the power of ideas in shaping individual behavior and thereby shaping history.
This text is an absolute must-read for anyone seeking to understand American nativism and the darker side of nationalism.
During World War I, Britain and France imported workers from their colonies to labor behind the front lines. The single largest group of support labor came not from imperial colonies, however, but from China. Xu Guoqi tells the remarkable story of the 140,000 Chinese men recruited for the Allied war effort.
These laborers, mostly illiterate peasants from north China, came voluntarily and worked in Europe longer than any other group. Xu explores China’s reasons for sending its citizens to help the British and French (and, later, the Americans), the backgrounds of the workers, their difficult transit to Europe—across the Pacific, through Canada, and over the Atlantic—and their experiences with the Allied armies. It was the first encounter with Westerners for most of these Chinese peasants, and Xu also considers the story from their perspective: how they understood this distant war, the racism and suspicion they faced, and their attempts to hold on to their culture so far from home.
In recovering this fascinating lost story, Xu highlights the Chinese contribution to World War I and illuminates the essential role these unsung laborers played in modern China’s search for a new national identity on the global stage.
"Know thyself," a precept as old as Socrates, is still good advice. But is introspection the best path to self-knowledge? What are we trying to discover, anyway? In an eye-opening tour of the unconscious, as contemporary psychological science has redefined it, Timothy D. Wilson introduces us to a hidden mental world of judgments, feelings, and motives that introspection may never show us.
This is not your psychoanalyst's unconscious. The adaptive unconscious that empirical psychology has revealed, and that Wilson describes, is much more than a repository of primitive drives and conflict-ridden memories. It is a set of pervasive, sophisticated mental processes that size up our worlds, set goals, and initiate action, all while we are consciously thinking about something else.
If we don't know ourselves—our potentials, feelings, or motives—it is most often, Wilson tells us, because we have developed a plausible story about ourselves that is out of touch with our adaptive unconscious. Citing evidence that too much introspection can actually do damage, Wilson makes the case for better ways of discovering our unconscious selves. If you want to know who you are or what you feel or what you're like, Wilson advises, pay attention to what you actually do and what other people think about you. Showing us an unconscious more powerful than Freud's, and even more pervasive in our daily life, Strangers to Ourselves marks a revolution in how we know ourselves.
Leonard Plotnicov offers a fascinating study of the urbanization of tribal Africans. His study is based on extensive interviews with residents of Jos, Nigeria over a two-year period. The participants come from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds, and Plotnicov portrays the difficulties associated with assimilation into a Westernized society.
In 1992, the voters of Colorado passed a ballot initiative amending the state constitution to prevent the state or any local government from adopting any law or policy that protected a person with a homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation from discrimination. This amendment was immediately challenged in the courts as a denial of equal protection of the laws under the United States Constitution. This litigation ultimately led to a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court invalidating the Colorado ballot initiative. Suzanne Goldberg, an attorney involved in the case from the beginning on behalf of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Lisa Keen, a journalist who covered the initiative campaign and litigation, tell the story of this case, providing an inside view of this complex and important litigation.
Starting with the background of the initiative, the authors tell us about the debates over strategy, the court proceedings, and the impact of each stage of the litigation on the parties involved. The authors explore the meaning of legal protection for gay people and the arguments for and against the Colorado initiative.
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the development of civil rights protections for gay people and the evolution of what it means to be gay in contemporary American society and politics. In addition, it is a rich story well told, and will be of interest to the general reader and scholars working on issues of civil rights, majority-minority relations, and the meaning of equal rights in a democratic society.
Suzanne Goldberg is an attorney with the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. Lisa Keen is Senior Editor at the Washington Blade newspaper.
Talking to Strangers
Patricia Dobler University of Wisconsin Press, 1986 Library of Congress PS3554.O177T3 1986 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
In her first book of poems, Patricia Dobler records her memories of the Ohio mill town where she grew up in the 1950s. but the poems range over time and the memories of others, as well: her immigrant Hungarian grandparents, her parent's tensions during hard times (”Years spilled on the kitchen table, / picked over like beans or old bills”), the dangers, losses, and occasional triumphs of hard-working men and women.
"Don't talk to strangers" is the advice long given to children by parents of all classes and races. Today it has blossomed into a fundamental precept of civic education, reflecting interracial distrust, personal and political alienation, and a profound suspicion of others. In this powerful and eloquent essay, Danielle Allen, a 2002 MacArthur Fellow, takes this maxim back to Little Rock, rooting out the seeds of distrust to replace them with "a citizenship of political friendship."
Returning to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954 and to the famous photograph of Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, being cursed by fellow "citizen" Hazel Bryan, Allen argues that we have yet to complete the transition to political friendship that this moment offered. By combining brief readings of philosophers and political theorists with personal reflections on race politics in Chicago, Allen proposes strikingly practical techniques of citizenship. These tools of political friendship, Allen contends, can help us become more trustworthy to others and overcome the fossilized distrust among us.
Sacrifice is the key concept that bridges citizenship and trust, according to Allen. She uncovers the ordinary, daily sacrifices citizens make to keep democracy working—and offers methods for recognizing and reciprocating those sacrifices. Trenchant, incisive, and ultimately hopeful, Talking to Strangers is nothing less than a manifesto for a revitalized democratic citizenry.