For Native peoples of California, the abalone found along the state’s coast have remarkably complex significance as food, spirit, narrative symbol, tradable commodity, and material with which to make adornment and sacred regalia. The large mollusks also represent contemporary struggles surrounding cultural identity and political sovereignty. Abalone Tales, a collaborative ethnography, presents different perspectives on the multifaceted material and symbolic relationships between abalone and the Ohlone, Pomo, Karuk, Hupa, and Wiyot peoples of California. The research agenda, analyses, and writing strategies were determined through collaborative relationships between the anthropologist Les W. Field and Native individuals and communities. Several of these individuals contributed written texts or oral stories for inclusion in the book.
Tales about abalone and their historical and contemporary meanings are related by Field and his coauthors, who include the chair and other members of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe; a Point Arena Pomo elder; the chair of the Wiyot tribe and her sister; several Hupa Indians; and a Karuk scholar, artist, and performer. Reflecting the divergent perspectives of various Native groups and people, the stories and analyses belie any presumption of a single, unified indigenous understanding of abalone. At the same time, they shed light on abalone’s role in cultural revitalization, struggles over territory, tribal appeals for federal recognition, and connections among California’s Native groups. While California’s abalone are in danger of extinction, their symbolic power appears to surpass even the environmental crises affecting the state’s vulnerable coastline.
Do people of differing ethnicities, cultures, and races view medicine and bioethics differently? And, if they do, should they? Are doctors and researchers taking environmental perspectives into account when dealing with patients? If so, is it done effectively and properly?
In African American Bioethics, Lawrence J. Prograis Jr. and Edmund D. Pellegrino bring together medical practitioners, researchers, and theorists to assess one fundamental question: Is there a distinctive African American bioethics?
The book's contributors resoundingly answer yes—yet their responses vary. They discuss the continuing African American experience with bioethics in the context of religion and tradition, work, health, and U.S. society at large—finding enough commonality to craft a deep and compelling case for locating a black bioethical framework within the broader practice, yet recognizing profound nuances within that framework.
As a more recent addition to the study of bioethics, cultural considerations have been playing catch-up for nearly two decades. African American Bioethics does much to advance the field by exploring how medicine and ethics accommodate differing cultural and racial norms, suggesting profound implications for growing minority groups in the United States.
Indigenous people and African descendants in Latin America and the Caribbean have long been affected by a social hierarchy established by elites, through which some groups were racialized and others were normalized. Far from being “racial paradises” populated by an amalgamated “cosmic race” of mulattos and mestizos, Latin America and the Caribbean have long been sites of shifting exploitative strategies and ideologies, ranging from scientific racism and eugenics to the more sophisticated official denial of racism and ethnic difference. This book, among the first to focus on African descendants in the region, brings together diverse reflections from scholars, activists, and funding agency representatives working to end racism and promote human rights in the Americas. By focusing on the ways racism inhibits agency among African descendants and the ways African-descendant groups position themselves in order to overcome obstacles, this interdisciplinary book provides a multi-faceted analysis of one of the gravest contemporary problems in the Americas.
Camcorder AIDS activism is a prime example of a new form of political expression—an outburst of committed, low-budget, community-produced, political video work made possible by new accessible technologies. As Alexandra Juhasz looks at this phenomenon—why and how video has become the medium for so much AIDS activism—she also tries to make sense of the bigger picture: How is this work different from mainstream television? How does it alter what we think of the media’s form and function? The result is an eloquent and vital assessment of the role media activism plays in the development of community identity and self-empowerment.
An AIDS videomaker herself, Juhasz writes from the standpoint of an AIDS activist and blends feminist film critique with her own experience. She offers a detailed description of alternative AIDS video, including her own work on the Women’s AIDS Video Enterprise (WAVE). Along with WAVE, Juhasz discusses amateur video tapes of ACT UP demonstrations, safer sex videos produced by Gay Men’s Health Crisis, public access programming, and PBS documentaries, as well as network television productions.
From its close-up look at camcorder AIDS activism to its critical account of mainstream representations, AIDS TV offers a better understanding of the media, politics, identity, and community in the face of AIDS. It will challenge and encourage those who hope to change the course of this crisis both in the ‘real world’ and in the world of representation.
Splashed against the tumultuous Clinton years and framed by the clash between gay political might and anti-gay activism, All the Rage presents the first authoritative guide to the new gay visibility. From the public outing of Ellen DeGeneres to the vicious murder of Matthew Shepard, gay lives and images have moved onto the center stage of American public life. Lesbians and gay men are indeed everywhere, from television sitcoms to Budweiser ads, from the White House to the Magic Kingdom. Combining personal stories with incisive analysis, Suzanna Danuta Walters chronicles this historic moment in our culture, arguing that we live in a time when gays are seen, but not necessarily known.
Many consider the new gay visibility a sign of social acceptance, while others charge that it is mere window dressing, obscuring the dogged persistence of discrimination. Walters moves beyond these positions and instead argues that these realities coexist: gays are simultaneously depicted as the sign of social decay and the chic flavor of the month. Taking on the common wisdom that visibility means progress, All the Rage maps the terrain on which gays are accepted as witty accessories in movies, gain access to political power, and yet still fall into constrictive stereotypes. Walters warns us with clarity and wit of the pitfalls of equating visibility with full integration into the fabric of American society. From the playful TV fantasies of lesbian weddings on Friends to the very real obstacles confronting gay marriage, from the award-winning comedy Will & Grace to Bible-thumping radio superhost Dr. Laura, All the Rage takes on naive celebrants and jaded naysayers alike. With a sophisticated mix of caution and optimism, it provides an illuminating guide through these exciting, controversial times.
Fakery, authenticity, and identity in American literature and culture at the turn of the 20th century
Focusing on texts written between 1880 and 1930, Mary McAleer Balkun explores the concept of the “counterfeit,” both in terms of material goods and invented identities, and the ways that the acquisition of objects came to define individuals in American culture and literature. Counterfeiting is, in one sense, about the creation of something that appears authentic—an invented self, a museum display, a forged work of art. But the counterfeit can also be a means by which the authentic is measured, thereby creating our conception of the true or real.
When counterfeiting is applied to individual identities, it fosters fluidity in social boundaries and the games of social climbing and passing that have come to be representative of American culture: the Horatio Alger story, the con man or huckster, the social climber, the ethnically ambiguous.
Balkun provides new readings of traditional texts such as The Great Gatsby, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The House of Mirth, as well as readings of less-studied texts, such as Walt Whitman’s Specimen Days and Nella Larsen’s Passing. In each of these texts, Balkun locates the presence of manufactured identities and counterfeit figures, demonstrating that where authenticity and consumerism intersect, the self becomes but another commodity to be promoted, sold, and eventually consumed.
Portraits. We know what they are, but why do we make them? Americans have been celebrating themselves in portraits since the arrival of the first itinerant portrait painters to the colonies. They created images to commemorate loved ones, glorify the famous, establish our national myths, and honor our shared heroes. Whether painting in oil, carving in stone, casting in bronze, capturing on film, or calculating in binary code, we spend considerable time creating, contemplating, and collecting our likenesses. In this sumptuously illustrated book, Richard H. Saunders explores our collective understanding of portraiture, its history in America, how it shapes our individual and national identity, and why we make portraits—whether for propaganda and public influence or for personal and private appreciation. American Faces is a rich and fascinating view of ourselves.
American Heathens is the first in-depth ethnographic study about the largely misunderstood practice of American Heathenry (Germanic Paganism). Jennifer Snook—who has been Pagan since her early teens and a Heathen since eighteen—traces the development and trajectory of Heathenry as a new religious movement in America, one in which all identities are political and all politics matter.
Snook explores the complexities of pagan reconstruction and racial, ethnic and gender identity in today’s divisive political climate. She considers the impact of social media on Heathen collectivities, and offers a glimpse of the world of Heathen meanings, rituals, and philosophy.
In American Heathens, Snook presents the stories and perspectives of modern practitioners in engaging detail. She treats Heathens as members of a religious movement, rather than simply a subculture reenacting myths and stories of enchantment. Her book shrewdly addresses how people construct ethnicity in a reconstructionist (historically-minded) faith system with no central authority.
"Displays the full range of informed, thoughtful opinion on the place of Jews in the American politics of identity."
---David A. Hollinger, Preston Hotchkis Professor of American History, University of California, Berkeley
"A fascinating anthology whose essays crystallize the most salient features of American Jewish life in the second half of the twentieth century."
---Beth S. Wenger, Katz Family Associate Professor of American Jewish History and Director of the Jewish Studies Program, University of Pennsylvania
"A wonderful collection of important essays, indispensable for understanding the searing conflicts over faith, familial, and political commitments marking American Jewry's journey through the paradoxes of the post-Holocaust era."
---Michael E. Staub, Professor of English, Baruch College, CUNY, and author of Torn at the Roots: The Crisis of Jewish Liberalism in Postwar America
"This provocative anthology offers fascinating essays on Jewish culture, politics, religion, feminism, and much more. It is a must-read for all those interested in the intersection of Jewish life and identity politics in the modern period."
---Joyce Antler, Samuel Lane Professor of American Jewish History and Culture, Brandeis University
"This collection of essays invites the reader to engage with some of the best writing and thinking about American Jewish life by some of the finest scholars in the field. Deborah Moore's introduction offers an important framework to understand not only the essays, but the academic and political contexts in which they are rooted."
---Riv-Ellen Prell, Professor and Chair, American Studies, University of Minnesota, and editor of Women Remaking American Judaism
This collection of essays explores changes among American Jews in their self-understanding during the last half of the 20th century.
Written by scholars who grew up after World War II and the Holocaust who participated in political struggles in the 1960s and 1970s and who articulated many of the formative concepts of modern Jewish studies, this anthology provides a window into an era of social change. These men and women are among the leading scholars of Jewish history, society and culture.
The volume is organized around contested themes in American Jewish life: the Holocaust and World War II, religious pluralism and authenticity, intermarriage and Jewish continuity. Thus, it offers one of the few opportunities for students to learn about these debates from participant scholars.
The book includes a dozen photographs of contemporary Jewish experience in the United States by acclaimed Jewish photographer Bill Aron. Like the scholars of the essays, Aron participated in struggles within the Jewish community and the Jewish counterculture in the 1970s and 1980s. His images reflect shifting perspectives toward spirituality, community, feminism, and memory culture.
The essays reflect several layers of identity politics. On one level, they interrogate the recent past of American Jews, starting with their experiences of World War II. Without the flourishing of identity politics and the white ethnic revival, many questions about American Jewish history might never have been explored. Those who adopted identity politics often saw Jews as an ethnic group in the United States, one connected both to other Americans and to Jews throughout the world and in the past. On another level, these essays express ideas nourished in universities during the turbulent 1970s and 1980s. Those years marked the expansion of Jewish studies as a field in the United States and the establishment of American Jewish studies as an area of specialization. Taken together they reveal the varied sources of American Jewish studies. Finally, one must note that in many cases these essays anticipate major books on the subject. Reading them now reveals how ideas took shape within the political pressures of the moment.
These articles teach us not only about their subject but also about how issues were framed and debated during what might be called our fin de siecle, the end of the twentieth century and beginning of the twenty-first. The authors of these articles include several, most notably Arthur Green, Alvin Rosenfield, and the late Egon Mayer, who collectively could be thought of as the founding fathers of this new generation of Jewish scholars. Green in theology, Rosenfield in literature, and Mayer in sociology influenced younger academics such as Arnold Eisen. A slightly different relationship exists among the historians. Several come to their subject though the study of American history, including Hasia Diner, Stephen Whitfield, and Jonathan Sarna, while others approach through the portal of Jewish history, such as Paula Hyman and Jeffrey Gurock.
The only comprehensive and up-to-date look at Reform Judaism, this book analyzes the forces currently challenging the Reform movement, now the largest Jewish denomination in the United States.
To distinguish itself from Orthodox and Conservative Judaism, the Reform movement tries to be an egalitarian, open, and innovative version of the faith true to the spirit of the tradition but nonetheless fully compatible with modern secular life. Promoting itself in this way, Reform Judaism has been tremendously successful in recruiting a variety of people—intermarried families, feminists, gays and lesbians, and interracial families among others—who resist more traditional forms of worship.
As an unintended result of this success, the movement now struggles with an identity crisis brought on by its liberal theology, which teaches that each Jew is free to practice Judaism more or less as he or she pleases. In the absence of the authority that comes from a theology based on a commanding, all-powerful God, can Reform Judaism continue to thrive? Can it be broadly inclusive and still be uniquely and authentically Jewish?
Taking this question as his point of departure, Dana Evan Kaplan provides a broad overview of the American Reform movement and its history, theology, and politics. He then takes a hard look at the challenges the movement faces as it attempts to reinvent itself in the new millennium. In so doing, Kaplan gives the reader a sense of where Reform Judaism has come from, where it stands on the major issues, and where it may be going.
Addressing the issues that have confronted the movement—including the ordination of women, acceptance of homosexuality, the problem of assimilation, the question of rabbinic officiation at intermarriages, the struggle for acceptance in Israel, and Jewish education and others—Kaplan sheds light on the connection between Reform ideology and cultural realities. He unflinchingly, yet optimistically, assesses the movement’s future and cautions that stormy weather may be ahead.
Abolitionist, women's rights activist, and social reformer, Angelina Grimké (1805-79) was among the first women in American history to seize the public stage in pursuit of radical social reform. "I will lift up my voice like a trumpet," she proclaimed, "and show this people their transgressions." And when she did lift her voice in public, on behalf of the public, she found that, in creating herself, she might transform the world. In the process, Grimké crossed the wires of race, gender, and power, and produced explosions that lit up the world of antebellum reform. Among the most remarkable features of Angelina Grimké's rhetorical career was her ability to stage public contests for the soul of America—bringing opposing ideas together to give them voice, depth, and range to create new and more compelling visions of social change. Angelina Grimké: Rhetoric, Identity, and the Radical Imagination is the first full-length study to explore the rhetorical legacy of this most unusual advocate for human rights. Stephen Browne examines her epistolary and oratorical art and argues that rhetoric gave Grimké a means to fashion not only her message but her very identity as a moral force.
In turn-of-the-century Vienna, Karl Kraus created a bold new style of media criticism, penning incisive satires that elicited both admiration and outrage. Kraus’s spectacularly hostile critiques often focused on his fellow Jewish journalists, which brought him a reputation as the quintessential self-hating Jew. The Anti-Journalist overturns this view with unprecedented force and sophistication, showing how Kraus’s criticisms form the center of a radical model of German-Jewish self-fashioning, and how that model developed in concert with Kraus’s modernist journalistic style.
Paul Reitter’s study of Kraus’s writings situates them in the context of fin-de-siècle German-Jewish intellectual society. He argues that rather than stemming from anti-Semitism, Kraus’s attacks constituted an innovative critique of mainstream German-Jewish strategies for assimilation. Marshalling three of the most daring German-Jewish authors—Kafka, Scholem, and Benjamin—Reitter explains their admiration for Kraus’s project and demonstrates his influence on their own notions of cultural authenticity.
The Anti-Journalist is at once a new interpretation of a fascinating modernist oeuvre and a heady exploration of an important stage in the history of German-Jewish thinking about identity.
The Pacific coast and southern highlands of Chiapas and Guatemala is a region significant to debates about the origins of social complexity, interaction, and colonialism. The area, however, has received uneven attention and much of what we know is largely restricted to the Preclassic period. This theoretically eclectic volume presents greater temporal coverage, is geographically unified, and engages some of the most important questions of each period through a discussion of the archaeology of identity.
Chapters range from traditional assessments of identity to discussion of practice and relational personhood; all share a concern for how archaeology and ethnohistory provide opportunities and challenges in the reconstruction of identities. The region is one with a multifaceted history of interactions between local populations and those from other parts of Mesoamerica. Linguistic diversity, landscape, and artistic representations have added to the complexities of understanding identity formation here. Rather than providing a unified voice on the issues, Archaeology and Identity on the Pacific Coast and Southern Highlands of Mesoamerica is a dialogue presented through case studies, one that will hopefully encourage future research in this complex and little understood region of Mesoamerica.
On August 13, 1961, under the cover of darkness, East German authorities sealed the border between East and West Berlin using a hastily constructed barbed wire fence. Over the next twenty-eight years of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall grew to become an ever-present physical and psychological divider in this capital city and a powerful symbol of Cold War tensions. Similarly, stark polarities arose in nearly every aspect of public and private life, including the built environment.
In Architecture, Politics, and Identity in Divided Berlin Emily Pugh provides an original comparative analysis of selected works of architecture and urban planning in both halves of Berlin during the Wall era, revealing the importance of these structures to the formation of political, cultural, and social identities. Pugh uncovers the roles played by organizations such as the Foundation for Prussian Cultural Heritage and the Building Academy in conveying the political narrative of their respective states through constructed spaces. She also provides an overview of earlier notable architectural works, to show the precursors for design aesthetics in Berlin at large, and considers projects in the post-Wall period, to demonstrate the ongoing effects of the Cold War.
Overall, Pugh offers a compelling case study of a divided city poised between powerful contending political and ideological forces, and she highlights the effort expended by each side to influence public opinion in Europe and around the World through the manipulation of the built environment.
What binds together Jews of Israel and the United States? Amid the hope and frustration generated by the Middle East peace process, the meaning of Jewish statehood is more vigorously contested than ever before. A secular democratic Israel, responsive to Western liberal values, is prepared to make peace with the Palestinians by sacrificing its own historic homeland. But a covenantal Israel, which draws its Jewish identity from divine promise and the biblical narrative, refuses to surrender to modern imperatives. As the very nature of Jewish statehood has become ever more polarized, American Jewish life has been profoundly affected by this fateful Zionist contradiction.
In Are We One? Jerold S. Auerbach presents a surprising new interpretation of this contemporary Jewish dilemma. The modern Jewish impulse to embrace Western values, he writes, exacts a terrible price. He offers a critical reassessment of Zionism, a challenging analysis of the sources of the identification of American Jews with Israel—and a gloomy prognosis of the future of Jewish life, both in Israel and the United States.
In a ringing indictment that is sure to spark controversy, he states that the eagerness of secular Israelis to import American culture reflects their sweeping rejection of Jewish and Zionist values. Indeed, the diminishing number of Israelis who actually remain faithful to Jewish religious and historical imperatives are denigrated as fundamentalist zealots by Israeli and American Jews alike. Present-day Israel now exhibits such Jewish self-loathing, he states, that it has depleted its own ability to inspire world Jewry.
In a groundbreaking book that draws upon original historical analysis and extensive personal experience in Israel, Auerbach invites readers to consider the debilitating consequences of an adulterated Jewish identity in Israel and in the United States for the very future of Judaism.
In Cherokee Asegi udanto refers to people who either fall outside of men’s and women’s roles or who mix men’s and women’s roles. Asegi, which translates as “strange,” is also used by some Cherokees as a term similar to “queer.” For author Qwo-Li Driskill, asegi provides a means by which to reread Cherokee history in order to listen for those stories rendered “strange” by colonial heteropatriarchy.
As the first full-length work of scholarship to develop a tribally specific Indigenous Queer or Two-Spirit critique, Asegi Stories examines gender and sexuality in Cherokee cultural memory, how they shape the present, and how they can influence the future.
The theoretical and methodological underpinnings of Asegi Stories derive from activist, artistic, and intellectual genealogies, referred to as “dissent lines” by Maori scholar Linda Tuhiwai Smith. Driskill intertwines Cherokee and other Indigenous traditions, women of color feminisms, grassroots activisms, queer and Trans studies and politics, rhetoric, Native studies, and decolonial politics. Drawing from oral histories and archival documents in order to articulate Cherokee-centered Two-Spirit critiques, Driskill contributes to the larger intertribal movements for social justice.
For years critics have held that literary modernism was both apolitical and solipsistic. While the former charge began to give way with the recession of New Criticism, the latter has grown in strength as a lead-in to the claim that postmodernism is apolitical and solipsistic. Against this backdrop, Kevin Bell surveys fiction by Conrad, Woolf, Faulkner, West, Ellison, and Himes to show that modernism is a sharply philosophical archive. In Ashes Taken for Fire, he argues that modernism exposes cultural identities such as blackness as mere strategies of conforming the self into belonging. Bell’s examination pursues the question of nonidentity through sound, silence, and gesture, treating these as technologies of reading the contradictions, breakdowns, and erasures that constitute subjectivity. His analysis of these texts reveals that the aesthetic investigations they perform undo the logic of cultural identity, devastating such reductive rubrics as “race” or “gender.”Ashes Taken for Fire explores the experience of blackness in both its chromatic/ocular and “racial” registers. For while blackness operates as a standard figural expression for disorientation, its presumably “voided” character is reprojected in this work as an immanent force of possibility and experimentation.Kevin Bell is assistant professor of English and comparative literary studies at Northwestern University.
Leading experts in the analysis of ethnicity and indigenous rights explore the questions of why and how the circumstances of indigenous peoples are improving in some places of the world, while their human rights continue to be abused in others. Drawing on case studies from Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas, chapters explore how political organization, natural resource management, economic development, and conflicting definitions over cultural, linguistic, religious, and territorial identity have informed indigenous strategies for empowerment.
Combining rich ethnographic descriptions with clear theoretical analyses, At the Risk of Being Heard considers the paradoxical challenges and opportunities confronting indigenous peoples at the dawn of the twenty-first century. In the face of state-sanctioned violence, indigenous peoples encounter considerable risks when asserting their rights, especially to self-determination. Yet, if they remain silent or absent from new arenas of power, hiding in marginalized homelands or cultural practices, they risk being invisible to those allies that would aid them in their struggles for survival.
At the Risk of Being Heard offers needed insights for individuals working on issues of governance, sustainable development, resource management, globalization, and indigenous affairs. It will undoubtedly appeal to undergraduate and graduate students in anthropology, sociology, history, political science, peace studies, and to those students in courses that explore relationships among postcolonial states, indigenous peoples, and human rights.
Bartholomew Dean is Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Kansas. Jerome M. Levi is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Carleton College.