When more than twenty million immigrants arrived in the United States between 1880 and 1920, the government attempted to classify them according to prevailing ideas about race and nationality. But this proved hard to do. Ideas about racial or national difference were slippery, contested, and yet consequential—were “Hebrews” a “race,” a “religion,” or a “people”? As Joel Perlmann shows, a self-appointed pair of officials created the government’s 1897 List of Races and Peoples, which shaped exclusionary immigration laws, the wording of the U.S. Census, and federal studies that informed social policy. Its categories served to maintain old divisions and establish new ones.
Across the five decades ending in the 1920s, American immigration policy built increasingly upon the belief that some groups of immigrants were desirable, others not. Perlmanntraces how the debates over this policy institutionalized race distinctions—between whites and nonwhites, but also among whites—in immigration laws that lasted four decades.
Despite a gradual shift among social scientists from “race” to “ethnic group” after the 1920s, the diffusion of this key concept among government officials and the public remained limited until the end of the 1960s. Taking up dramatic changes to racial and ethnic classification since then, America Classifies the Immigrants concentrates on three crucial reforms to the American Census: the introduction of Hispanic origin and ancestry (1980), the recognition of mixed racial origins (2000), and a rethinking of the connections between race and ethnic group (proposed for 2020).
Located on the shore of Lake Superior near the Iron Range of Minnesota and, for much of its history, the site of vast steel, lumber, and shipping industries, Duluth has been home to people who worked tirelessly in the rail yards, grain elevators, and harbor. Here, for the first time, By the Ore Docks presents a compelling, full-length history of the people who built this port city and struggled for both the growth of the city and the rights of their fellow workers.
In By the Ore Docks, Richard Hudelson and Carl Ross trace seventy years in the lives of Duluth’s multi-ethnic working class—Scandinavians, Finns, Italians, Poles, Irish, Jews, and African Americans—and chronicle, along with the events of the times, the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, religious traditions, and communities. But they also tell the dramatic story of how a populist worker’s coalition challenged the “legitimate American” business interests of the city, including the major corporation U.S. Steel.
From the Knights of Labor in the 1880s to the Industrial Workers of the World, the AFL and CIO, and the Democratic Farmer-Labor party, radical organizations and their immigrant visionaries put Duluth on the national map as a center in the fight for worker’s rights—a struggle inflamed by major strikes in the copper and iron mines.
By the Ore Docks is at once an important history of Duluth and a story of its working people, common laborers as well as union activists like Ernie Pearson, journalist Irene Paull, and Communist party gubernatorial candidate Sam Davis. Hudelson and Ross reveal tension between Duluth’s ethnic groups, while also highlighting the ability of the people to overcome those differences and shape the legacy of the city’s unsettled and remarkable past.
Richard Hudelson is professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Superior. He is the author of, among other works, Marxism and Philosophy in the Twentieth Century and The Rise and Fall of Communism.
Carl Ross (1913–2004) was a labor activist and the author of The Finn Factor in American Labor, Culture, and Society. He was director of the Twentieth-Century Radicalism in Minnesota Project of the Minnesota Historical Society.
Challenging the dominant view of Hawai’i as a “melting pot paradise”—a place of ethnic tolerance and equality—Jonathan Okamura examines how ethnic inequality is structured and maintained in island society. He finds that ethnicity, not race or class, signifies difference for Hawaii’s people and therefore structures their social relations. In Hawai’i, residents attribute greater social significance to the presumed cultural differences between ethnicities than to more obvious physical differences, such as skin color.
According to Okamura, ethnicity regulates disparities in access to resources, rewards, and privileges among ethnic groups, as he demonstrates in his analysis of socioeconomic and educational inequalities in the state. He shows that socially and economically dominant ethnic groups—Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, and Whites—have stigmatized and subjugated the islands’ other ethnic groups—especially Native Hawaiians, Filipino Americans, and Samoans. He demonstrates how ethnic stereotypes have been deployed against ethnic minorities and how these groups have contested their subordinate political and economic status by articulating new identities for themselves.
For the past five centuries, indigenous and African American communities throughout the Americas have sought to maintain and recreate enduring identities under conditions of radical change and discontinuity. The essays in this groundbreaking volume document this cultural activity—this ethnogenesis—within and against the broader contexts of domination; the authors simultaneously encompass the entanglements of local communities in the webs of national and global power relations as well as people's unique abilities to gain control over their history and identity.
By defining ethnogenesis as the synthesis of people's cultural and political struggles, History, Power, and Identity breaks out of the implicit contrast between isolated local cultures and dynamic global history. From the northeastern plains of North America to Amazonia, colonial and independent states in the Americas interacted with vast multilingual and multicultural networks, resulting in the historical emergence of new ethnic identities and the disappearance of many earlier ones. The importance of African, indigenous American, and European religions, myths, and symbols, as historical cornerstones in the building of new ethnic identities, emerges as one of the central themes of this convincing collection.
The first anthology of its kind, Humor Me is a celebration of humor by authors from diverse cultures. Sixteen of today's most exciting writers—among them Sherman Alexie, Gish Jen, Charles Johnson, and Lucille Clifton—are represented in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, drama, cartoons, and graphic narratives. Whether using satire, parody, or farce, these writers explore the universal themes of love, family, sex, and race, and they do so in their own edgy, subversive, and sometimes skewed ways.
In Sherman Alexie's short story “Assimilation,” a Coeur d’Alene woman wants to cheat on her white husband with an Indian man, any Indian man—or, as Alexie puts it, “an indigenous stranger.” In Sandra Tsing Loh's essay “Daddy Dearest,” the author cringes when an old friend asks if her father still wears his underwear backward and does the Chinese snake dance on Pacific Coast Highway.
Nothing in Humor Me is taboo, as Erika Lopez proves in her illustrated tale of one environmentally conscious woman's attempt to subvert the tampon industry. Jim Northrup even takes on that American institution Jeopardy! in his satire “Shinnob Jep,” describing a game that quizzes its contestants on Native American trivia, including the categories “Trick or Treaties” and “Rez Cars.” From low-brow to high-brow, from belly laughs to the cerebral, Humor Me places internationally renowned writers such as Charles Johnson and Gish Jen alongside rising stars Paisley Rekdal and Michele Serros and a host of newcomers, including Aimee Nezhukumatathil and Daniel Chacón.
Many people think of Jews as victims of a particular sort of racism, not as active participants in the development of racial thinking in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Yet many Jews did take up racial discourse and used it to analyze Judaism, Jewish history, and the contemporary condition of world Jewry. Race discourse generated by Jews was in part apologetic, a response to racial antisemitism; however, it also served other political and ideological needs. Focusing primarily on works written at the height of the racial hygiene and eugenics movements in Europe and North America, this diverse anthology shows how Jewish scholars and popular writers in Europe, North America, and Palestine developed racial interpretations of Judaism and Jewish history, thereby raising fascinating and thorny issues about the nature and history of racial discourse in Europe and America. Designed for class adoption, the volume contains annotations and an introduction by the editor.
Let It Be Broke
Ed Pavlic Four Way Books, 2020 Library of Congress PS3616.A9575A6 2020 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
The poems in Ed Pavlić’s Let It Be Broke are ignited by sonic memories—from Chaka Khan on the radio to his teenaged daughter singing “Stay” at a local café—that spark a journey into personal and ontological questions. Pavlić’s lyric lines are equal parts introspection and inter-spection, a term he coins for the shared rumination that encourages some collective deep thinking about the arbitrary boundaries that perpetuate racial and geographic segregation and the power of words to transcend those differences. In an epiphanic moment, Pavlić recalls a quote shared by a former teacher as “a hammer made of written words,” and how he held “onto those words / as if they were steel bars and I was dangling over some bright black deepness.”
Mongrel Nation surveys the history of the United Kingdom’s African, Asian, and Caribbean populations from 1948 to the present, working at the juncture of cultural studies, literary criticism, and postcolonial theory. Ashley Dawson argues that during the past fifty years Asian and black intellectuals from Sam Selvon to Zadie Smith have continually challenged the United Kingdom’s exclusionary definitions of citizenship, using innovative forms of cultural expression to reconfigure definitions of belonging in the postcolonial age. By examining popular culture and exploring topics such as the nexus of race and gender, the growth of transnational politics, and the clash between first- and second-generation immigrants, Dawson broadens and enlivens the field of postcolonial studies.
Mongrel Nation gives readers a broad landscape from which to view the shifting currents of politics, literature, and culture in postcolonial Britain. At a time when the contradictions of expansionist braggadocio again dominate the world stage, Mongrel Nation usefully illuminates the legacy of imperialism and suggests that creative voices of resistance can never be silenced.Dawson
“Elegant, eloquent, and full of imaginative insight, Mongrel Nation is a refreshing, engaged, and informative addition to post-colonial and diasporic literary scholarship.”
—Hazel V. Carby, Yale University
“Eloquent and strong, insightful and historically precise, lively and engaging, Mongrel Nation is an expansive history of twentieth-century internationalist encounters that provides a broader landscape from which to understand currents, shifts, and historical junctures that shaped the international postcolonial imagination.”
—May Joseph, Pratt Institute
Ashley Dawson is Associate Professor of English at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island. He is coeditor of the forthcoming Exceptional State: Contemporary U.S. Culture and the New Imperialism.
What constitutes a people? Persistent Peoples draws on enduring groups from around the world to identify and analyze the phenomenon of cultural enclavement. While race, homeland, or language are often considered to be determining factors, the authors of these original articles demonstrate a more basic common denominator: a continuity of common identity in resistance to absorption by a dominant surrounding culture.
William Y. Adams
George Pierre Castile
N. Ross Crumrine
Charles J. Erasmus
Frederick J. E. Gorman
Vera M. Green
William B. Griffen
Robert C. Harman
Mark P. Leone
Janet R. Moone
John van Willigen
Two decades after the publication of his prize-winning book, The Politics of Cultural Pluralism, Crawford Young and a distinguished panel of contributors assess the changing impact of cultural pluralism on political processes around the world, specifically in the former Soviet Union, China, United States, India, Ethiopia, and Guatemala. The result is an arresting look at the dissolution of the nation-state system as we have known it.
Crawford Young opens with an overview of the dramatic rise in the political significance of cultural pluralism and of scholars’ changing understanding of what drives and shapes ethnic identification. Mark Beissinger brilliantly explains the demise of the last great empire-state, the USSR, while Edward Friedman notes growing challenges to the apparent cultural homogeneity of China. Nader Entessar suggests intriguing contrasts in Azeri identity politics in Iran and the ex-USSR. Ronald Schmidt and Noel Kent explore the language and racial dimensions of the rising multicultural currents in the United States. Douglas Spitz shows the extent of the decline of the old secular vision of India of the independence generation; Alan LeBaron traces the recent emergence of an assertive Mayan identity among a submerged populace in Guatemala, long thought to be destined for Ladinoization. A case study of the diversity and uncertain future of Ethiopia dramatically emerges from four contrasting contributions: Tekle Woldemikael looks at the potential cultural tensions in Eritrea, Solomon Gashaw offers a central Ethiopian nationalist perspective, Herbert Lewis reflects the perspectives of a restless and disaffected periphery, and James Quirin provides an arresting explanation of the construction of identity amongst the Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews). Virginia Sapiro steps back from specific regions, offering an original analysis of the interaction between cultural pluralism and gender.
For many years, America cherished its image as a Golden Door for the world’s oppressed. But during the Progressive Era, mounting racial hostility along with new national legislation that imposed strict restrictions on immigration began to show the nation in a different light. The literature of this period reflects the controversy and uncertainty that abounded regarding the meaning of “American.” Literary output participated in debates about restriction, assimilation, and whether the idea of the “Melting Pot” was worth preserving. Writers advocated—and also challenged—what emerged as a radical new way of understanding the nation’s ethnic and racial identity: cultural pluralism.
From these debates came such novels as Willa Cather’s My Ántonia and Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Henry James, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Carl Sandburg added to the diversity of viewpoints of native born Americans while equally divergent immigrant perspectives were represented by writers such as Anzia Yezierska, Kahlil Gibran, and Claude McKay. This anthology presents the writing of these authors, among others less well known, to show the many ways literature participated in shaping the face of immigration. The volume also includes an introduction, annotations, a timeline, and historical documents that contextualize the literature.
Do your ears burn whenever you eat hot chile peppers? Does your face immediately flush when you drink alcohol? Does your stomach groan if you are exposed to raw milk or green fava beans? If so, you are probably among the one-third of the world's human population that is sensitive to certain foods due to your genes' interactions with them.
Formerly misunderstood as "genetic disorders," many of these sensitivities are now considered to be adaptations that our ancestors evolved in response to the dietary choices and diseases they faced over millennia in particular landscapes. They are liabilities only when we are "out of place," on globalized diets depleted of certain chemicals that triggered adaptive responses in our ancestors.
In Why Some Like It Hot, an award-winning natural historian takes us on a culinary odyssey to solve the puzzles posed by "the ghosts of evolution" hidden within every culture and its traditional cuisine. As we travel with Nabhan from Java and Bali to Crete and Sardinia, to Hawaii and Mexico, we learn how various ethnic cuisines formerly protected their traditional consumers from both infectious and nutrition-related diseases. We also bear witness to the tragic consequences of the loss of traditional foods, from adult-onset diabetes running rampant among 100 million indigenous peoples to the historic rise in heart disease among individuals of northern European descent.
In this, the most insightful and far-reaching book of his career, Nabhan offers us a view of genes, diets, ethnicity, and place that will forever change the way we understand human health and cultural diversity. This book marks the dawning of evolutionary gastronomy in a way that may save and enrich millions of lives.