How and when does there come to be an “anthropology of the alien?” This set of essays, written for the eighth J. Lloyd Eaton Conference on Fantasy and Science Fiction, is concerned with the significance of that question. “[Anthropology] is the science that must designate the alien ifit is to redefine a place for itself in the universe,” according to the Introduction.
The idea of the alien is not new. In the Renaissance, Montaigne’s purpose in describing an alien encounter was excorporation—mankind was the “savage” because the artificial devices of nature controlled him. Shakespeare’s version of the alien encounter was incorporation; his character of Caliban is brought to the artificial, political world of man and incorporated into the body politic
“The essays in this volume . . . show, in their general orientation, that the tribe of
Shakespeare still, in literary studies at least, outnumbers that of Montaigne.” These essays show the interrelation of the excorporating possibilities to the internal soundings of the alien encounter within the human mind and form.
This book is divided into three parts: “Searchings: The Quest for the Alien” includes “The Aliens in Our Mind,” by Larry Niven; “Effing the Ineffable,” by Gregory Benford; “Border Patrols,” by Michael Beehler; “Alien Aliens,” by Pascal Ducommun; and “Metamorphoses of the Dragon,” by George E. Slusser.
“Sightings: The Aliens among Us” includes “Discriminating among Friends,” by John Huntington; “Sex, Superman, Sociobiology,” by Joseph D. Miller; “Cowboys and Telepaths,” by Eric S. Rabkin; “Robots,” by Noel Perrin; “Aliens in the Supermarket,” by George R. Guffey; and “Aliens ‘R’ U.S.,” by Zoe Sofia.
“Soundings: Man as the Alien” includes “H. G. Wells’ Familiar Aliens,” by John R. Reed; “Inspiration and Possession,” by Clayton Koelb; “Cybernauts in Cyberspace,” by David Porush; “The Human Alien,” by Leighton Brett Cooke; “From Astarte to Barbie,” by Frank McConnell; and “An Indication of Monsters;” by Colin Greenland.
A provocative counterhistory-and a bold new approach-to notions of citizenship.
What does it mean to be political? Every age has based its answer on citizenship, bequeathing us such indelible images as that of the Greek citizen exercising his rights and obligations in the agora, the Roman citizen conducting himself in the forum, medieval citizens receiving their charter before the guildhall. Being Political disrupts these images by approaching citizenship as otherness, presenting a powerful critique of universalistic and orientalist interpretations of the origins of citizenship and a persuasive alternative history of the present struggles over citizenship.
Who were the strangers and outsiders of citizenship? What strategies and technologies were invented for constituting those forms of otherness? Focusing on these questions, rather than on the images conveyed by history's victors, Being Political offers a series of genealogies of citizenship as otherness. Engin F. Isin invokes the city as a "difference machine," recovering slaves, peasants, artisans, prostitutes, vagabonds, savages, flextimers, and squeegee men in the streets of the polis, civitas, metropolis, and cosmopolis. The result is a challenge to think in bolder terms about citizenship at a time when the nature of citizenship is an increasingly open question.
Engin F. Isin is associate professor in the Division of Social Science at York University in Toronto.
Are Milton’s Paradise Lost, Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defense program, our culture’s fascination with UFOs and alien abductions, and Louis Farrakhan’s views on racial Armageddon somehow linked? In Children of Ezekiel Michael Lieb reveals the connections between these phenomena and the way culture has persistently related the divine to the technological. In a work of special interest at the approach of the millennium, Lieb traces these and other diverse cultural moments—all descended from the prophet Ezekiel’s vision of a fiery divine chariot in the sky—from antiquity to the present, across high and low culture, to reveal the pervasive impact of this visionary experience on the modern world. Beginning with the merkabah chariot literature of Hebrew and Gnostic mysticism, Lieb shows how religiously inspired people concerned with annihilating their heretical enemies seized on Ezekiel’s vision as revealing the technologically superior instrument of God’s righteous anger. He describes how many who seek to know the unknowable that is the power of God conceive it in technological terms—and how that power is associated with political aims and a heralding of the end of time. For Milton, Ezekiel’s chariot becomes the vehicle in which the Son of God does battle with the rebellious angels. In the modern age, it may take the form of a locomotive, tank, airplane, missile, or UFO. Technology itself is seen as a divine gift and an embodiment of God in the temporal world. As Lieb demonstrates, the impetus to produce modern technology arises not merely from the desire for profit or military might but also from religious-spiritual motives. Including discussions of conservative evangelical Christian movements, Reagan’s ballistic shooting gallery in the sky, and the Nation of Islam’s vision of the “mother plane” as the vehicle of retribution in the war against racial oppression, Children of Ezekiel will enthrall readers who have been captivated, either through religious belief or intellectual interests, by a common thread uniting millennial religious beliefs, racial conflict, and political and militaristic aspirations.
The American West erupted in anti-Chinese violence in 1885. Following the massacre of Chinese miners in Wyoming Territory, communities throughout California and the Pacific Northwest harassed, assaulted, and expelled thousands of Chinese immigrants. Beth Lew-Williams shows how American immigration policies incited this violence and how the violence, in turn, provoked new exclusionary policies. Ultimately, Lew-Williams argues, Chinese expulsion and exclusion produced the concept of the “alien” in modern America.
The Chinese Must Go begins in the 1850s, before federal border control established strict divisions between citizens and aliens. Across decades of felling trees and laying tracks in the American West, Chinese workers faced escalating racial conflict and unrest. In response, Congress passed the Chinese Restriction Act of 1882 and made its first attempt to bar immigrants based on race and class. When this unprecedented experiment in federal border control failed to slow Chinese migration, vigilantes attempted to take the matter into their own hands. Fearing the spread of mob violence, U.S. policymakers redoubled their efforts to keep the Chinese out, overhauling U.S. immigration law and transforming diplomatic relations with China.
By locating the origins of the modern American alien in this violent era, Lew-Williams recasts the significance of Chinese exclusion in U.S. history. As The Chinese Must Go makes clear, anti-Chinese law and violence continues to have consequences for today’s immigrants. The present resurgence of xenophobia builds mightily upon past fears of the “heathen Chinaman.”
When Jessa Crispin was thirty, she burned her settled Chicago life to the ground and took off for Berlin with a pair of suitcases and no plan beyond leaving. Half a decade later, she’s still on the road, in search not so much of a home as of understanding, a way of being in the world that demands neither constant struggle nor complete surrender.
The Dead Ladies Project is an account of that journey—but it’s also much, much more. Fascinated by exile, Crispin travels an itinerary of key locations in its literary map, of places that have drawn writers who needed to break free from their origins and start afresh. As she reflects on William James struggling through despair in Berlin, Nora Barnacle dependant on and dependable for James Joyce in Trieste, Maud Gonne fomenting revolution and fostering myth in Dublin, or Igor Stravinsky starting over from nothing in Switzerland, Crispin interweaves biography, incisive literary analysis, and personal experience into a rich meditation on the complicated interactions of place, personality, and society that can make escape and reinvention such an attractive, even intoxicating proposition.
Personal and profane, funny and fervent, The Dead Ladies Project ranges from the nineteenth century to the present, from historical figures to brand-new hangovers, in search, ultimately, of an answer to a bedrock question: How does a person decide how to live their life?
Central to contemporary debates in the United States on migration and migrant policy is the idea of citizenship, and—as apparent in the continued debate over Arizona’s immigration law SB 1070—this issue remains a focal point of contention, with a key concern being whether there should be a path to citizenship for “undocumented” migrants. In Disenchanting Citizenship, Luis F. B. Plascencia examines two interrelated issues: U.S. citizenship and the Mexican migrants’ position in the United States.
The book explores the meaning of U.S. citizenship through the experience of a unique group of Mexican migrants who were granted Temporary Status under the “legalization” provisions of the 1986 IRCA, attained Lawful Permanent Residency, and later became U.S. citizens. Plascencia integrates an extensive and multifaceted collection of interviews, ethnographic fieldwork, ethno-historical research, and public policy analysis in examining efforts that promote the acquisition of citizenship, the teaching of citizenship classes, and naturalization ceremonies. Ultimately, he unearths citizenship’s root as a Janus-faced construct that encompasses a simultaneous process of inclusion and exclusion. This notion of citizenship is mapped on to the migrant experience, arguing that the acquisition of citizenship can lead to disenchantment with the very status desired. In the end, Plascencia expands our understanding of the dynamics of U.S. citizenship as a form of membership and belonging.
In this wide-ranging consideration of intellectual diasporas, historian Peter Burke questions what distinctive contribution to knowledge exiles and expatriates have made. The answer may be summed up in one word: deprovincialization. Historically, the encounter between scholars from different cultures was an education for both parties, exposing them to research opportunities and alternative ways of thinking. Deprovincialization was in part the result of mediation, as many émigrés informed people in their “hostland” about the culture of the native land, and vice versa. The detachment of the exiles, who sometimes viewed both homeland and hostland through foreign eyes, allowed them to notice what scholars in both countries had missed. Yet at the same time, the engagement between two styles of thought, one associated with the exiles and the other with their hosts, sometimes resulted in creative hybridization, for example, between German theory and Anglo-American empiricism. This timely appraisal is brimming with anecdotes and fascinating findings about the intellectual assets that exiles and immigrants bring to their new country, even in the shadow of personal loss.
The Law of the Other is an account of the English doctrine of the "mixed jury". Constable's excavation of the historical, rhetorical, and theoretical foundations of modern law recasts our legal and sociological understandings of the American jury and our contemporary conceptions of law, citizenship, and truth.
The "mixed jury" doctrine allowed resident foreigners to have law suits against English natives tried before juries composed half of natives and half of aliens like themselves. As she traces the transformations in this doctrine from the Middle Ages to its abolition in 1870, Constable also reveals the emergence of a world where law rooted in actual practices and customs of communities is replaced by law determined by officials, where juries no longer strive to speak the truth but to ascertain the facts.
In many Western countries, rights that once belonged solely to citizens are being extended to immigrants, a trend that challenges the nature and basis of citizenship at a time when nation-states are fortifying their boundaries through restirictive border controls and expressions of nationalist ideologies. In this book, Yasemin Soysal compares the different ways European nations incorporate immigrants, how these policies evolved, and how they are influenced by international human rights discourse.
Soysal focuses on postwar international migration, paying particular attention to "guestworkers." Taking an in-depth look at France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, she identifies three major patterns that reflect the varying emphasis particular states place on individual versus corporate groups as the basis for incorporation. She finds that the global expansion and intensification of human rights discourse puts nation-states under increasing outside pressure to extend membership rights to aliens, resulting in an increasingly blurred line between citizen and noncitizen. Finally, she suggests a possible accommodation to these shifts: specifically, a model of post-national membership that derives its legitimacy from universal personhood, rather than national belonging.
This fresh approach to the study of citizenship, rights, and immigration will be invaluable to anyone involved in issues of human rights, international migration, and transnational cultural interactions, as well as to those who study the contemporary transformation of the nation-state, nationalism, and globalization.
Microchips. Genetic modification of plants. Cloning. Advances in technology promise to shape our lives more profoundly than ever before. Exciting new discoveries in reproductive, genetic, and information technologies all serve to call into question the immutability of the boundaries between humans, animals, and machines. The category of the “posthuman” reflects the implications of such new technologies on contemporary culture, especially in their capacity to reconfigure the human body and to challenge our most fundamental understandings of human nature.
Elaine L. Graham explores these issues as they are expressed within popular culture and the creative arts. From the myth of Prometheus and the Gothic horror of Frankenstein’s monster to contemporary postmodern science fiction, a gallery of fantastic creatures haunts Western myth, religion, and literature. They serve to connect contemporary debates with enduring concerns about the potential—and the limits—of human creativity.
This book breaks new ground in drawing together a wide range of literature on new technologies and their ethical implications. In her explorations of the monstrous and the cyborg, Graham covers the Jewish legend of the golem, the Human Genome Project, Star Trek: Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Donna Haraway’s cyborg writing, andmany other related topics. This book will interest students in cultural studies, literature, ethics, religion, information technology, and the life sciences.