The Hispanic Malcolm X. Writer. Activist. Civil rights attorney. Obese, dark-skinned, and angry. Man with a surplus of personality. Man of vision. All the above describe Oscar "Zeta" Acosta. El Paso-born, Acosta became a leading figure in the Chicano rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, winning landmark decisions in civil rights cases as an attorney. As a tireless writer and activist, he had a profound influence on his contemporaries. He seemed to be everywhere at once, knowing everyone in "el movimiento" and involving himself in many of its key moments. Tumultuous and prone to excess, he is the Samoan in Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In 1974, after a last phone call to his son, Acosta disappeared in the Mexican state of Mazatlán.
Hailed as "a fine, learned homage" (Kirkus), "a kaleidoscopic portrait" (Booklist), and "a game of mirrors" (The Washington Post), Bandido is a veritable tour de force. Through interviews and Acosta's writings (published and unpublished), Ilan Stavans reconstructs--even reinvents--the man behind the myth. Part biographical appraisal, part reflection on the legacy of the Civil Rights era, Bandido is an opportunity to understand the challenges and pitfalls Latinos face in finding a place of their own in America.
Histories of New England typically frame the region’s Indigenous populations in terms of effects felt from European colonialism: the ravages of epidemics and warfare, the restrictions of reservation life, and the influences of European-introduced ideas, customs, and materials. Much less attention is given to how Algonquian peoples actively used and transformed European things, endured imposed hardships, and negotiated their own identities. In Becoming Brothertown, Craig N. Cipolla searches for a deeper understanding of Native American history.
Covering the eighteenth century to the present, the book explores the emergence of the Brothertown Indians, a "new" community of Native peoples formed in direct response to colonialism and guided by the vision of Samson Occom, a Mohegan Indian and ordained Presbyterian minister. Breaking away from their home settlements of coastal New England during the late eighteenth century, members of various tribes migrated to Oneida Country in central New York State in hopes of escaping East Coast land politics and the corrupting influences of colonial culture. In the nineteenth century, the new community relocated once again, this time to present-day Wisconsin, where the Brothertown Indian Nation remains centered today.
Cipolla combines historical archaeology, gravestone studies, and discourse analysis to tell the story of the Brothertown Indians. The book develops a pragmatic approach to the study of colonialism while adding an archaeological perspective on Brothertown history, filling a crucial gap in the regional archaeological literature.
Magnus Course blends convincing historical analysis with sophisticated contemporary theory in this superb ethnography of the Mapuche people of southern Chile. Based on many years of ethnographic fieldwork, Becoming Mapuche takes readers to the indigenous reserves where many Mapuche have been forced to live since the beginning of the twentieth century. In addition to accounts of the intimacies of everyday kinship and friendship, Course also offers the first complete ethnographic analyses of the major social events of contemporary rural Mapuche life--eluwün funerals, the ritual sport of palin, and the great ngillatun fertility ritual. The volume includes a glossary of terms in Mapudungun.
Vietnamese refugees fleeing the fall of South Vietnam faced a paradox. The same guilt-ridden America that only reluctantly accepted them expected, and rewarded, expressions of gratitude for their rescue. Meanwhile, their status as refugees ”as opposed to willing immigrants ”profoundly influenced their cultural identity. Phuong Tran Nguyen examines the phenomenon of refugee nationalism among Vietnamese Americans in Southern California. Here, the residents of Little Saigon keep alive nostalgia for the old regime and, by extension, their claim to a lost statehood. Their refugee nationalism is less a refusal to assimilate than a mode of becoming, in essence, a distinct group of refugee Americans. Nguyen examines the factors that encouraged them to adopt this identity. His analysis also moves beyond the familiar rescue narrative to chart the intimate yet contentious relationship these Vietnamese Americans have with their adopted homeland. Nguyen sets their plight within the context of the Cold War, an era when Americans sought to atone for broken promises but also saw themselves as providing a sanctuary for people everywhere fleeing communism.
As the nation tried to absorb the shock of the 9/11 attacks, Muslim Americans were caught up in an unprecedented wave of backlash violence. Public discussion revealed that widespread misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Islam persisted, despite the striking diversity of the Muslim community.
Letting the voices of 140 ordinary Muslim American men and women describe their experiences, Lori Peek's path-breaking book, Behind the Backlash presents moving accounts of prejudice and exclusion. Muslims speak of being subjected to harassment before the attacks, and recount the discrimination they encountered afterwards. Peek also explains the struggles of young Muslim adults to solidify their community and define their identity during a time of national crisis.
Behind the Backlash seeks to explain why blame and scapegoating occur after a catastrophe. Peek sets the twenty-first century experience of Muslim Americans, who were vilified and victimized, in the context of larger sociological and psychological processes. Peek’s book will be of interest to those in disaster research studies, sociology of religion, and race and ethnic relations.
Sondra Jones traces the metamorphosis of the Ute people from a society of small, interrelated bands of mobile hunter-gatherers to sovereign, dependent nations—modern tribes who run extensive business enterprises and government services. Weaving together the history of all Ute groups—in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico—the narrative describes their traditional culture, including the many facets that have continued to define them as a people. Jones emphasizes how the Utes adapted over four centuries and details events, conflicts, trade, and social interactions with non-Utes and non-Indians. Being and Becoming Ute examines the effects of boarding—and public—school education; colonial wars and commerce with Hispanic and American settlers; modern world wars and other international conflicts; battles over federally instigated termination, tribal identity, and membership; and the development of economic enterprises and political power. The book also explores the concerns of the modern Ute world, including social and medical issues, transformed religion, and the fight to maintain Ute identity in the twenty-first century.
Neither a portrait of a people frozen in a past time and place nor a tragedy in which vanishing Indians sank into oppressed oblivion, the history of the Ute people is dynamic and evolving. While it includes misfortune, injustice, and struggle, it reveals the adaptability and resilience of an American Indian people.
Winner, Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Book Award (American Society for Ethnohistory)
Comanches have engaged Euro-Americans' curiosity for three centuries. Their relations with Spanish, French, and Anglo-Americans on the southern Plains have become a highly resonant part of the mythology of the American West. Yet we know relatively little about the community that Comanches have shared and continue to construct in southwestern Oklahoma. Morris W. Foster has written the first study of Comanches' history that identifies continuities in their intracommunity organization from the initial period of European contact to the present day. Those continuities are based on shared participation in public social occasions such as powwows, peyote gatherings, and church meetings Foster explains how these occasions are used to regulate social organization and how they have been modified by Comanches to adapt them to changing political and economic relations with Euro-Americans. Using a model of community derived from sociolinguistics, Foster argues that Comanches have remained a distinctive people by organizing their face-to-face relations with one another in ways that maintain Comanche-Comanche lines of communication and regulate a shared sense of appropriate behavior. His book offers readers a significant reinterpretation of traditional anthropological and historical views of Comanche social organization.
Everyone “knows” the Maasai as proud pastoralists who once dominated the Rift Valley from northern Kenya to central Tanzania.
But many people who identity themselves as Maasai, or who speak Maa, are not pastoralist at all, but farmers and hunters. Over time many different people have “become” something else. And what it means to be Maasai has changed radically over the past several centuries and is still changing today.
This collection by historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and linguists examines how Maasai identity has been created, evoked, contested, and transformed from the time of their earliest settlement in Kenya to the present, as well as raising questions about the nature of ethnicity generally.
Between Foreign and Family explores the impact of inconsistent rules of ethnic inclusion and exclusion on the economic and social lives of Korean Americans and Korean Chinese living in Seoul. These actors are part of a growing number of return migrants, members of an ethnic diaspora who migrate “back” to the ancestral homeland from which their families emigrated. Drawing on ethnographic observations and interview data, Helene K. Lee highlights the “logics of transnationalism” that shape the relationships between these return migrants and their employers, co-workers, friends, family, and the South Korean state.
While Koreanness marks these return migrants as outsiders who never truly feel at home in the United States and China, it simultaneously traps them into a liminal space in which they are neither fully family, nor fully foreign in South Korea. Return migration reveals how ethnic identity construction is not an indisputable and universal fact defined by blood and ancestry, but a contested and uneven process informed by the interplay of ethnicity, nationality, citizenship, gender, and history.
This ground-breaking collection of new interviews, critical essays, and commentary explores South Asian identity and culture. Sensitive to the false homogeneity implied by "South Asian," "diaspora," "postcolonial," and "Asian American," the contributors attempt to unpack these terms. By examining the social, economic, and historical particularities of people who live "between the lines"—on and between borders—they reinstate questions of power and privilege, agency and resistance. As South Asians living in the United States and Canada, each to some degree must reflect on the interaction of the personal "I," the collective "we," and the world beyond.
The South Asian scholars gathered together in this volume speak from a variety of theoretical perspectives; in the essays and interviews that cross the boundaries of conventional academic disciplines, they engage in intense, sometimes contentious, debate.
Contributors: Meena Alexander, Gauri Viswanathan, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Amritjit Singh, M. G. Vassanji, Sohail Inayatullah, Ranita Chatterjee, Benita Mehta, Sanjoy Majumder, Mahasveta Barua, Sukeshi Kamra, Samir Dayal, Pushpa Naidu Parekh, Indrani Mitra, Huma Ibrahim, Amitava Kumar, Shantanu DuttaAhmed, Uma Parameswaran.
In the series Asian American History and Culture, edited by Sucheng Chan, David Palumbo-Liu, Michael Omi, K. Scott Wong, and Linda Trinh Võ.
Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora traces the production and circulation of discourses about "the Middle East" across various cultural sites, against the historical backdrop of cross-Atlantic Mahjar flows. The book highlights the fraught and ambivalent situation of Arabs/Muslims in the Americas, where they are at once celebrated and demonized, integrated and marginalized, simultaneously invisible and spectacularly visible. The essays cover such themes as Arab hip-hop's transnational imaginary; gender/sexuality and the Muslim digital diaspora; patriotic drama and the media's War on Terror; the global negotiation of the Prophet Mohammad cartoons controversy; the Latin American paradoxes of Turcophobia/Turcophilia; the ambiguities of the bellydancing fad; French and American commodification of Rumi spirituality; the reception of Iranian memoirs as cultural domestication; and the politics of translation of Turkish novels into English. Taken together, the essays analyze the hegemonic discourses that position "the Middle East" as a consumable exoticized object, while also developing complex understandings of self-representation in literature, cinema/TV, music, performance, visual culture, and digital spaces. Charting the shifting significations of differing and overlapping forms of Orientalism, the volume addresses Middle Eastern diasporic practices from a transnational perspective that brings postcolonial cultural studies methods to bear on Arab American studies, Middle Eastern studies, and Latin American studies. Between the Middle East and the Americas disentangles the conventional separation of regions, moving beyond the binarist notion of "here" and "there" to imaginatively reveal the thorough interconnectedness of cultural geographies.
The concept of “indigenous” has been entwined with notions of exoticism and alterity throughout Mexico’s history. In Beyond Alterity, authors from across disciplines question the persistent association between indigenous people and radical difference, and demonstrate that alterity is often the product of specific political contexts.
Although previous studies have usually focused on the most visible aspects of differences—cosmovision, language, customs, resistance—the contributors to this volume show that emphasizing difference prevents researchers from seeing all the social phenomena where alterity is not obvious. Those phenomena are equally or even more constitutive of social life and include property relations (especially individual or private ones), participation in national projects, and the use of national languages.
The category of “indigenous” has commonly been used as if it were an objective term referring to an already given social subject. Beyond Alterity shows how this usage overlooks the fact that the social markers of differentiation (language, race or ethnic group, phenotype) are historical and therefore unstable. In opposition to any reification of geographical, cultural, or social boundaries, this volume shows that people who (self-)identify as indigenous share a multitude of practices with the rest of society and that the association between indigenous identification and alterity is the product of a specific political history.
Beyond Alterity is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding indigenous identity, race, and Mexican history and politics.
Michael T. Ducey
Paul K. Eiss
José Luis Escalona-Victoria
Vivette García Deister
Paula López Caballero
Diana Lynn Schwartz
Asian Underground music—a fusion of South Asian genres with western breakbeats created for the dance club scene by DJs and musicians of Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi descent—went mainstream in the U.K. in the late 1990s. Its success was unprecedented: British bhangra, a blend of Punjabi folk music with hip-hop musical elements, was enormously popular among South Asian communities but had yet to become mainstream. For many, the widespread attention to Asian Underground music signaled the emergence of a supposedly new, tolerant, and multicultural Britain that could finally accept South Asians. Interweaving ethnography and theory, Falu Bakrania examines the social life of British Asian musical culture to reveal a more complex and contradictory story of South Asian belonging in Britain. Analyzing the production of bhangra and Asian Underground music by male artists and its consumption by female club-goers, Bakrania shows that gender, sexuality, and class intersected in ways that profoundly shaped how young people interpreted “British” and “Asian” identity and negotiated, sometimes violently, contests about ethnic authenticity, sexual morality, individual expression, and political empowerment.
Garifuna live in Central America, primarily Honduras, and the United States. Identified as Black by others and by themselves, they also claim indigenous status and rights in Latin America. Examining this set of paradoxes, Mark Anderson shows how, on the one hand, Garifuna embrace discourses of tradition, roots, and a paradigm of ethnic political struggle. On the other hand, Garifuna often affirm blackness through assertions of African roots and affiliations with Blacks elsewhere, drawing particularly on popular images of U.S. blackness embodied by hip-hop music and culture.
Black and Indigenous explores the politics of race and culture among Garifuna in Honduras as a window into the active relations among multiculturalism, consumption, and neoliberalism in the Americas. Based on ethnographic work, Anderson questions perspectives that view indigeneity and blackness, nativist attachments and diasporic affiliations, as mutually exclusive paradigms of representation, being, and belonging.
As Anderson reveals, within contemporary struggles of race, ethnicity, and culture, indigeneity serves as a normative model for collective rights, while blackness confers a status of subaltern cosmopolitanism. Indigeneity and blackness, he concludes, operate as unstable, often ambivalent, and sometimes overlapping modes through which people both represent themselves and negotiate oppression.
Black behind the Ears is an innovative historical and ethnographic examination of Dominican identity formation in the Dominican Republic and the United States. For much of the Dominican Republic’s history, the national body has been defined as “not black,” even as black ancestry has been grudgingly acknowledged. Rejecting simplistic explanations, Ginetta E. B. Candelario suggests that it is not a desire for whiteness that guides Dominican identity discourses and displays. Instead, it is an ideal norm of what it means to be both indigenous to the Republic (indios) and “Hispanic.” Both indigeneity and Hispanicity have operated as vehicles for asserting Dominican sovereignty in the context of the historically triangulated dynamics of Spanish colonialism, Haitian unification efforts, and U.S. imperialism. Candelario shows how the legacy of that history is manifest in contemporary Dominican identity discourses and displays, whether in the national historiography, the national museum’s exhibits, or ideas about women’s beauty. Dominican beauty culture is crucial to efforts to identify as “indios” because, as an easily altered bodily feature, hair texture trumps skin color, facial features, and ancestry in defining Dominicans as indios.
Candelario draws on her participant observation in a Dominican beauty shop in Washington Heights, a New York City neighborhood with the oldest and largest Dominican community outside the Republic, and on interviews with Dominicans in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Santo Domingo. She also analyzes museum archives and displays in the Museo del Hombre Dominicano and the Smithsonian Institution as well as nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century European and American travel narratives.
In The Black Shoals Tiffany Lethabo King uses the shoal—an offshore geologic formation that is neither land nor sea—as metaphor, mode of critique, and methodology to theorize the encounter between Black studies and Native studies. King conceptualizes the shoal as a space where Black and Native literary traditions, politics, theory, critique, and art meet in productive, shifting, and contentious ways. These interactions, which often foreground Black and Native discourses of conquest and critiques of humanism, offer alternative insights into understanding how slavery, anti-Blackness, and Indigenous genocide structure white supremacy. Among texts and topics, King examines eighteenth-century British mappings of humanness, Nativeness, and Blackness; Black feminist depictions of Black and Native erotics; Black fungibility as a critique of discourses of labor exploitation; and Black art that rewrites conceptions of the human. In outlining the convergences and disjunctions between Black and Native thought and aesthetics, King identifies the potential to create new epistemologies, lines of critical inquiry, and creative practices.
In this sophisticated study of power and resistance, Jean Comaroff analyzes the changing predicament of the Barolong boo Ratshidi, a people on the margins of the South African state. Like others on the fringes of the modern world system, the Tshidi struggle to construct a viable order of signs and practices through which they act upon the forces that engulf them. Their dissenting Churches of Zion have provided an effective medium for reconstructing a sense of history and identity, one that protests the terms of colonial and post-colonial society and culture.
The Border Crossed Us explores efforts to restrict and expand notions of US citizenship as they relate specifically to the US-Mexico border and Latina/o identity.
Borders and citizenship go hand in hand. Borders define a nation as a territorial entity and create the parameters for national belonging. But the relationship between borders and citizenship breeds perpetual anxiety over the purported sanctity of the border, the security of a nation, and the integrity of civic identity.
In The Border Crossed Us, Josue David Cisneros addresses these themes as they relate to the US-Mexico border, arguing that issues ranging from the Mexican-American War of 1846–1848 to contemporary debates about Latina/o immigration and border security are negotiated rhetorically through public discourse. He explores these rhetorical battles through case studies of specific Latina/o struggles for civil rights and citizenship, including debates about Mexican American citizenship in the 1849 California Constitutional Convention, 1960s Chicana/o civil rights movements, and modern-day immigrant activism.
Cisneros posits that borders—both geographic and civic—have crossed and recrossed Latina/o communities throughout history (the book’s title derives from the popular activist chant, “We didn’t cross the border; the border crossed us!”) and that Latina/os in the United States have long contributed to, struggled with, and sought to cross or challenge the borders of belonging, including race, culture, language, and gender.
The Border Crossed Us illuminates the enduring significance and evolution of US borders and citizenship, and provides programmatic and theoretical suggestions for the continued study of these critical issues.
The U.S.-Mexico border region is home to anthropologist Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez. Into these pages he pours nearly half a century of searching and finding answers to the Mexican experience in the southwestern United States. He describes and analyzes the process, as generation upon generation of Mexicans moved north and attempted to create an identity or sense of cultural space and place. In today’s border fences he also sees barriers to how Mexicans understand themselves and how they are fundamentally understood. From prehistory to the present, Vélez-Ibáñez traces the intense bumping among Native Americans, Spaniards, and Mexicans, as Mesoamerican populations and ideas moved northward. He demonstrates how cultural glue is constantly replenished by strengthening family ties that reach across both sides of the border. The author describes ways in which Mexicans have resisted and accommodated the dominant culture by creating communities and by forming labor unions, voluntary associations, and cultural movements. He analyzes the distribution of sadness, or overrepresentation of Mexicans in poverty, crime, illness, and war, and shows how that sadness is balanced by creative expressions of literature and art, especially mural art, in the ongoing search for space and place. Here is a book for the nineties and beyond, a book that relates to NAFTA, to complex questions of immigration, and to the expanding population of Mexicans in the U.S.-Mexico border region and other parts of the country. An important new volume for social science, humanities, and Latin American scholars, Border Visions will also attract general readers for its robust narrative and autobiographical edge. For all readers, the book points to new ways of seeing borders, whether they are visible walls of brick and stone or less visible, infinitely more powerful barriers of the mind.
D. R. Howland explores China’s representations of Japan in the changing world of the late nineteenth century and, in so doing, examines the cultural and social borders between the two neighbors. Looking at Chinese accounts of Japan written during the 1870s and 1880s, he undertakes an unprecedented analysis of the main genres the Chinese used to portray Japan—the travel diary, poetry, and the geographical treatise. In his discussion of the practice of “brushtalk,” in which Chinese scholars communicated with the Japanese by exchanging ideographs, Howland further shows how the Chinese viewed the communication of their language and its dominant modes—history and poetry—as the textual and cultural basis of a shared civilization between the two societies. With Japan’s decision in the 1870s to modernize and westernize, China’s relationship with Japan underwent a crucial change—one that resulted in its decisive separation from Chinese civilization and, according to Howland, a destabilization of China’s worldview. His examination of the ways in which Chinese perceptions of Japan altered in the 1880s reveals the crucial choice faced by the Chinese of whether to interact with Japan as “kin,” based on geographical proximity and the existence of common cultural threads, or as a “barbarian,” an alien force molded by European influence. By probing China’s poetic and expository modes of portraying Japan, Borders of Chinese Civilization exposes the changing world of the nineteenth century and China’s comprehension of it. This broadly appealing work will engage scholars in the fields of Asian studies, Chinese literature, history, and geography, as well as those interested in theoretical reflections on travel or modernism.
The dramatic growth of the Internet in recent years has provided opportunities for a host of relationships and communities—forged across great distances and even time—that would have seemed unimaginable only a short while ago.
In Building Diaspora, Emily Noelle Ignacio explores how Filipinos have used these subtle, cyber, but very real social connections to construct and reinforce a sense of national, ethnic, and racial identity with distant others. Through an extensive analysis of newsgroup debates, listserves, and website postings, she illustrates the significant ways that computer-mediated communication has contributed to solidifying what can credibly be called a Filipino diaspora. Lively cyber-discussions on topics including Eurocentrism, Orientalism, patriarchy, gender issues, language, and "mail-order-brides" have helped Filipinos better understand and articulate their postcolonial situation as well as their relationship with other national and ethnic communities around the world. Significant attention is given to the complicated history of Philippine-American relations, including the ways Filipinos are racialized as a result of their political and economic subjugation to U.S. interests.
As Filipinos and many other ethnic groups continue to migrate globally, Building Diaspora makes an important contribution to our changing understanding of "homeland." The author makes the powerful argument that while home is being further removed from geographic place, it is being increasingly territorialized in space.