Dead Subjects is an impassioned call for scholars in critical race and ethnic studies to engage with Lacanian psychoanalytic theory. Antonio Viego argues that Lacanian theory has the potential to begin rectifying the deeply flawed way that ethnic and racialized subjects have been conceptualized in North America since the mid-twentieth century. Viego contends that the accounts of human subjectivity that dominate the humanities and social sciences and influence U.S. legal thought derive from American ego psychology. Examining ego psychology in the United States during its formative years following World War II, Viego shows how its distinctly American misinterpretation of Freudian theory was driven by a faith in the possibility of rendering the human subject whole, complete, and transparent. Viego traces how this theory of the subject gained traction in the United States, passing into most forms of North American psychology, law, civil rights discourse, ethnic studies, and the broader culture.
Viego argues that the repeated themes of wholeness, completeness, and transparency with respect to ethnic and racialized subjectivity are fundamentally problematic as these themes ultimately lend themselves to the project of managing and controlling ethnic and racialized subjects by positing them as fully knowable, calculable sums: as dead subjects. He asserts that the refusal of critical race and ethnic studies scholars to read ethnic and racialized subjects in a Lacanian framework—as divided subjects, split in language—contributes to a racist discourse. Focusing on theoretical, historical, and literary work in Latino studies, he mines the implicit connection between Latino studies’ theory of the “border subject” and Lacan’s theory of the “barred subject” in language to argue that Latino studies is poised to craft a critical multiculturalist, anti-racist Lacanian account of subjectivity while adding historical texture and specificity to Lacanian theory.
An incisive new look at the black diaspora, examining the true roots of antiblackness and its destructive effects on all of society
Thanks to movements like Black Lives Matter, Western society’s chronic discrimination against black individuals has become front-page news. Yet, there is little awareness of the systemic factors that make such a distinct form of dehumanization possible. In both the United States and Brazil—two leading nations of the black diaspora—a very necessary acknowledgment of black suffering is nonetheless undercut by denial of the pervasive antiblackness that still exists throughout these societies.
In The Denial of Antiblackness, João H. Costa Vargas examines how antiblackness affects society as a whole through analyses of recent protests against police killings of black individuals in both the United States and Brazil, as well as the everyday dynamics of incarceration, residential segregation, and poverty. With multisite ethnography ranging from a juvenile prison in Austin, Texas, to grassroots organizing in Los Angeles and Black social movements in Brazil, Vargas finds the common factors that have perpetuated antiblackness, regardless of context. Ultimately, he asks why the denial of antiblackness persists, whom this narrative serves, and what political realities it makes possible.
Rafael Campo Duke University Press, 1999 Library of Congress PS3553.A4883D58 1999 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
A major new work from one of America’s most acclaimed younger poets, Rafael Campo’s Diva appears at the intersection of confession and confinement, hyperbole and humility. In his masterful third collection, Campo explores further the epic themes of his Cuban heritage and America’s newness, his work as a doctor caring for AIDS patients and his identity as a gay man. At once relishing and resisting the poetic traditions of formal English verse, Diva showcases Campo moving deftly between received forms and free verse. In each poem the sound of words is transformed into the highest of arts, the act of performance into the exercise of power, and the most profound abjection into the sweet promise of divinity. Culminating with his new and daring translations of Federico García Lorca’s sonetos—the great Spanish poet’s most homoerotically explicit and formally accomplished poems—Campo’s music instills in the reader an exalted understanding of beauty, suffering, and, ultimately, the human capacity for empathy.
From reviews of Campo’s previous poetry: “Extraordinary meditations on illness and the healing power of words.”—Lambda Literary Foundation
“Read Campo to enter the bloodstream of a man who, with a haunting clarity of vision, shares his memories, his anguish, his healing love.”—Cortney Davis, Literature and Medicine
“Riveting, provocative, and refreshing—[this volume] is a gift to the clinician who is trying to re-invoke in his or her students the humility, compassion, and deep caring that brought us all into medicine in the first place.”—Dr. Sandra L. Bertman, Annals of Internal Medicine
“[Campo] listens to the sounds the body makes, but what he hears is poetry.”—Zoë Ingalls, Chronicle of Higher Education
“Powerful and accessible.”—Jonathan Jackson, Washington Blade
“Bemused, indelible, and heartbreaking.”—Marilyn Hacker, Out
“[Campo’s] private corral of disparate words twist, torque, collide with gorgeous creative imperative.”—Nomi Eve, Independent Weekly
Diversity, despite what we say, disturbs us. In the U.S., we debate linguistic rights, the need for an official language, and educational policies for language minority students. On the one hand, we believe in the rights of individuals, including (at least in the academy) the right to one’s own language. On the other hand, we sponsor a single common language, monolingual and standard, for full participation and communication in both the academy and in U.S. society.
In Diverse by Design, Christopher Schroeder reports on an institutional case study conducted at an officially designated Hispanic-Serving Institution. He gives particular attention to a cohort of Latino students in a special admissions program, to document their experience of a program designed to help students surmount the “obstacle” that ethnolinguistic diversity is perceived to be.
Ultimately, Schroeder argues for reframing multilingualism and multiculturalism, not as obstacles, but as intellectual resources to exploit. While diversity might disturb us, we can overcome its challenges by a more expansive sense of social identity. In an increasingly globalized society, literacy ideologies are ever more critical to educational equity, and to human lives.
Two brothers bury a statue of Saint Jude for their grieving nana. A Griffith Park astronomer makes his own discovery at an East L.A. wedding. A young man springs his Cherokee-obsessed grandfather from the confines of senility. The common thread? Each is weaving their way through the challenging field of play that is living and loving in Los Angeles.
In Dodger Blue Will Fill Your Soul, Bryan Allen Fierro brings to life the people and places that form the fragile heart of the East Los Angeles community. In the title story, a father’s love of Dodger baseball is matched only by the disconnect he must bridge with his young son. In another story, a young widower remembers his wedding day with his father-in-law. The boys and men in this collection challenge masculine stereotypes, while the girls and women defy gender roles. Hope and faith in their own community defines the characters, and propels them toward an awareness of their own personal responsibility to themselves and to their families, even as they eschew those closest to them in pursuit of a different future.
Dodger Blue Will Fill Your Soul is a tour de force—the first collection of an authentic new voice examining community with humor, hope, and brutal honesty.
Throughout the “New South,” relationships based on race, class, social status, gender, and citizenship are being upended by the recent influx of Latina/o residents. Doing Good examines these issues as they play out in the microcosm of a community health center in North Carolina that previously had served mostly African American clients but now serves predominantly Latina/o clients. Drawing on eighteen months of experience as a participant- observer in the clinic and in-depth interviews with clinic staff at all levels, Natalia Deeb-Sossa provides an informative and fascinating view of how changing demographics are profoundly affecting the new social order.
Deeb-Sossa argues persuasively that “moral identities” have been constructed by clinic staff. The high-status staff—nearly all of whom are white—see themselves as heroic workers. Mid- and lower-status Latina staff feel like they are guardians of people who are especially needy and deserving of protection. In contrast, the moral identity of African American staffers had previously been established in response to serving “their people.” Their response to the evolving clientele has been to create a self-image of superiority by characterizing Latina/o clients as “immoral,” “lazy,” “working the system,” having no regard for rules or discipline, and being irresponsible parents.
All of the health-care workers want to be seen as “doing good.” But they fail to see how, in constructing and maintaining their own moral identity in response to their personal views and stereotypes, they have come to treat each other and their clients in ways that contradict their ideals.