The effect of immigration on individual lives is not short lived. Those who stay in an adopted country permanently go through a continual process of adjustment and learning both about their new country-and about themselves. The four women profiled in Carol Kelley's poignant Accidental Immigrants and the Search for Home challenge immigrant stereotypes as their lives are transformed by moving to new countries for reasons of marriage, education, or career--not economics or politics.
The intimate stories of these "accidental" immigrants broaden conventional notions of home. From a Maori woman who moves to Norway to the daughter of an Iranian diplomat now living in France, Kelley weaves together these stories of the personal and emotional effects of immigration with interdisciplinary discussions drawn from anthropology and psychology. Ultimately, she reveals how the lifelong process of immigration affects each woman's sense of identity and belonging and contributes to better understanding today's globalized society.
In recent years, different family types have begun demanding recognition to an unprecedented extent. Despite notable changes to our cultural and academic landscapes, however, adoptive families remain overlooked. According to census data, about two and a half percent of children in the United States are adopted. But mere numbers do not begin to indicate the profound impact that these families have on cultural definitions of kinship.
Adoptive Families in a Diverse Society brings together twenty-one prominent scholars to explore the experience, practice, and policy of adoption in North America. While much existing literature tends to stress the potential problems inherent in non-biological kinship, the essays in this volume consider adoptive family life in a broad and balanced context.
Essays explore our current fascination with genetics, showing how our intense belief that we are produced, shaped, and controlled by our genes has affected the authenticity and value that we credit to adoptive parent/child relations. Other essays look at identity development, community attitudes toward adoption, gay adoptive fathers’ experiences, the ways in which single mother adoptive families create kinship, and the ways in which cultural assumptions about race and class operate in the system.
Bringing new perspectives to the topics of kinship, identity, and belonging, this path-breaking book expands more than our understandings of adoptive family life; it urges us to rethink the limits and possibilities of diversity and assimilation in American society.
Menacing, nerve-racking, uncomfortably intrusive, the high school reunion has become a dreaded encounter with past and present for many Americans. It is a moment of both heightened self-awareness and public presentation, insisting that we account for ourselves, not merely to our own satisfaction, but to the satisfaction of others as well. For sociologist Vinitzky-Seroussi, the high school reunion presents an ideal forum in which to explore the ongoing construction of identity in American society, and, perhaps, to ascertain just how we have managed to make sense of our lives, from then to now.
As autobiographical occasions, reunions prompt us to examine our own life narratives, the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and how we have come to be that person. But at the same time, they can threaten the integrity of those very stories, subjecting them to the scrutiny of others whose memories of the past and ourselves may be altogether different from our own. Reunions, then, engender a fragile community held together by the resources of a shared past, yet imperiled by the tensions of competing histories. Inevitably—for both those who attend and those who choose not to—the reunion forces a kind of biographical confrontation, an unavoidable and often pivotal engagement between a carefully constructed personal identity and the socially prevalent standards of success and accomplishment.
Though many see in today's culture the gradual demise of personal identity, Vinitzky-Seroussi's carefully researched study reveals something quite different— After Pomp and Circumstance explores a struggle we all experience: the desire to resolve the tension between public conceptions and internal understandings, to maintain a sense of continuity between past and present lives, and to lay claim to both an integrated self and a unified life history.
In Against the Closet, Aliyyah I. Abdur-Rahman interrogates and challenges cultural theorists' interpretations of sexual transgression in African American literature. She argues that, from the mid-nineteenth century through the twentieth, black writers used depictions of erotic transgression to contest popular theories of identity, pathology, national belonging, and racial difference in American culture. Connecting metaphors of sexual transgression to specific historical periods, Abdur-Rahman explains how tropes such as sadomasochism and incest illuminated the psychodynamics of particular racial injuries and suggested forms of social repair and political redress from the time of slavery, through post-Reconstruction and the civil rights and black power movements, to the late twentieth century.
Abdur-Rahman brings black feminist, psychoanalytic, critical race, and poststructuralist theories to bear on literary genres from slave narratives to science fiction. Analyzing works by African American writers, including Frederick Douglass, Pauline Hopkins, Harriet Jacobs, James Baldwin, and Octavia Butler, she shows how literary representations of transgressive sexuality expressed the longings of African Americans for individual and collective freedom. Abdur-Rahman contends that those representations were fundamental to the development of African American forms of literary expression and modes of political intervention and cultural self-fashioning.
Aged by Culture
Margaret Morganroth Gullette University of Chicago Press, 2003 Library of Congress HQ1061.G863 2004 | Dewey Decimal 305.26
Americans enjoy longer lives and better health, yet we are becoming increasingly obsessed with trying to stay young. What drives the fear of turning 30, the boom in anti-aging products, the wars between generations? What men and women of all ages have in common is that we are being insidiously aged by the culture in which we live.
In this illuminating book, Margaret Morganroth Gullette reveals that aging doesn't start in our chromosomes, but in midlife downsizing, the erosion of workplace seniority, threats to Social Security, or media portrayals of "aging Xers" and "greedy" Baby Boomers. To combat the forces aging us prematurely, Gullette invites us to change our attitudes, our life storytelling, and our society. Part intimate autobiography, part startling cultural expose, this book does for age what gender and race studies have done for their categories. Aged by Culture is an impassioned manifesto against the pernicious ideologies that steal hope from every stage of our lives.
This extraordinary volume explores the modern melding of cultures, languages, and traditions on the European continent and the human consequences of the rapidly shifting borders in the new era of the European Union. Twenty contributors, from a British-based Iraqi Jewish sociologist to a Romanian playwright in New York, relate their fascinating life experiences that span countries and continents and the multiple identities that they have cultivated during their life journeys. Alter Ego is a compelling volume that probes deeply into the modern European experience and allows a host of voices to share the joys, challenges, and frustrations of living across multiple cultures.
In The Andes Imagined, Jorge Coronado not only examines but also recasts the indigenismo movement of the early 1900s. Coronado departs from the common critical conception of indigenismo as rooted in novels and short stories, and instead analyzes an expansive range of work in poetry, essays, letters, newspaper writing, and photography. He uses this evidence to show how the movement's artists and intellectuals mobilize the figure of the Indian to address larger questions about becoming modern, and he focuses on the contradictions at the heart of indigenismo as a cultural, social, and political movement.
By breaking down these different perspectives, Coronado reveals an underlying current in which intellectuals and artists frequently deployed their indigenous subject in order to imagine new forms of political inclusion. He suggests that these deployments rendered particular variants of modernity and make indigenismo representational practices a privileged site for the examination of the region's cultural negotiation of modernization. His analysis reveals a paradox whereby the un-modern indio becomes the symbol for the modern itself.
The Andes Imagined offers an original and broadly based engagement with indigenismo and its intellectual contributions, both in relation to early twentieth-century Andean thought and to larger questions of theorizing modernity.
“The truth is rarely pure and never simple,” declares Algernon early in Act One of The Importance of Being Earnest, and were it either, modern literature would be “a complete impossibility.” It is a moment of sly, winking self-regard on the part of the playwright, for The Importance is itself the sort of complex modern literary work in which the truth is neither pure nor simple. Wilde’s greatest play is full of subtexts, disguises, concealments, and double entendres. Continuing the important cultural work he began in his award-winning uncensored edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Nicholas Frankel shows that The Importance needs to be understood in relation to its author’s homosexuality and the climate of sexual repression that led to his imprisonment just months after it opened at London’s St. James’s Theatre on Valentine’s Day 1895.
In a facing-page edition designed with students, teachers, actors, and dramaturges in mind, The Annotated Importance of Being Earnest provides running commentary on the play to enhance understanding and enjoyment. The introductory essay and notes illuminate literary, biographical, and historical allusions, tying the play closely to its author’s personal life and sexual identity. Frankel reveals that many of the play’s wittiest lines were incorporated nearly four years after its first production, when the author, living in Paris as an exiled and impoverished criminal, oversaw publication of the first book edition. This newly edited text is accompanied by numerous illustrations.
Thomas Aquinas and Jean-Paul Sartre are usually identified with completely different philosophical traditions: intellectualism and voluntarism. In this original study, Stephen Wang shows, instead, that there are some profound similarities in their understanding of freedom and human 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.
"This diverse collection, like Asian America itself, adds up to something far more vibrant than the sum of its voices."
-Eric Liu, author of The Accidental Asian
"There's fury, dignity, and self-awareness in these essays. I found the voices to be energetic and the ideas exciting."
-Diana Son, playwright (Stop Kiss) and co-producer (Law & Order: Criminal Intent)
This refreshing and timely collection of coming-of-age essays, edited and written by young Asian Americans, powerfully captures the joys and struggles of their evolving identities as one of the fastest-growing groups in the nation and poignantly depicts the many oft-conflicting ties they feel to both American and Asian cultures. The essays also highlight the vast cultural diversity within the category of Asian American, yet ultimately reveal how these young people are truly American in their ideals and dreams.
Asian American X is more than a book on identity; it is required reading both for young Asian Americans who seek to understand themselves and their social group, and for all who are interested in keeping abreast of the changing American social terrain.