Following its creation as a country in 1861, Italy experienced a wave of dueling that led commentators to bemoan a national “duellomania” evidenced by the sad spectacle of a duel a day. Pamphlets with titles like “Down with the Duel” and “The Shame of the Duel” all communicated the passion of those who could not believe that a people supposedly just returned to the path of progress and civilization had wholeheartedly embraced such a “barbaric” custom. Yet these critics were consistently countered by sober-minded men of rank and influence who felt that the duel was necessary for the very health of the new nation.
Steven C. Hughes argues that this extraordinary increase in chivalric combat occurred because the duel played an important role in the formation, consolidation, and functioning of united Italy. The code of honor that lay at the heart of the dueling ethic offered a common model and bond of masculine identity for those patriotic elites who, having created a country of great variety and contrast for often contradictory motives, had to then deal with the consequences. Thus dueling became an iconic weapon of struggle during the Risorgimento, and, as Italy performed poorly on the stage of great power politics, it continued to offer images of martial valor and manly discipline. It also enhanced the social and political power of the new national elites, whose monopoly over chivalric honor helped reinforce the disenfranchisement of the masses. Eventually, the duel fed into the hypermasculinity and cult of violence that marked the early fascist movement, but in the end it would prove too individualistic in its definition of honor to stand up to the emerging totalitarian state. Although Mussolini would himself fight five duels at the start of his career, the duel would disappear along with the liberal regime that had embraced it.
Reasserts the centrality of Jewish culture to contemporary discussions of diaspora.
Diaspora: the scattering of a people, often described as a condition of helplessness and a pathology to be overcome. It can also be, as Jonathan Boyarin and Daniel Boyarin assert in this provocative work, a unique source of power and strength. Focusing on Jewish experience, Powers of Diaspora forcefully argues that diasporic communities exercise a distinct form of cultural power in order to maintain themselves.
With reference to rabbinic culture and contemporary Jewish ethnography, the authors evoke the cultural strategies of Jewish diaspora-of regeneration through statelessness-that should prove increasingly relevant to the dilemmas and possibilities of the "new diasporas" born in the midst and in the aftermath of the modern world-system. Their work exposes the various methods by which peoples in diaspora "legislate" distinctive ways of life and establish formal communal structures, thus creating fluid yet effective boundaries between themselves and the others who surround them, and critiques the internal power dynamics that can sometimes result.
Powers of Diaspora strongly reasserts the place of Jewish culture in contemporary discussions of diaspora, where the cultural politics of postcolonialism have remarginalized Jewish experience; at the same time, it brings insights from studies of other diasporas to bear on the study of Jews. In challenging the equation of diaspora with powerlessness, the book questions the modern nation-state ideal and suggests that diasporic cultural formations offer important clues toward an alternative means of relating culture to polity.
Jonathan Boyarin is an attorney and an independent scholar in the fields of anthropology and Jewish cultural studies. His books include Storm from Paradise: The Politics of Jewish Memory (1992), Palestine and Jewish History: Criticism at the Borders of Ethnography (1996), and Thinking in Jewish (1996). Daniel Boyarin is Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture in the departments of Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include Carnal Israel (1993), A Radical Jew (1994), and Unheroic Conduct (1997). These authors also coedited Jews and Other Differences (1997).
Don Sabo Temple University Press, 2001 Library of Congress HV6089.P74 2001 | Dewey Decimal 365.60973
This book explores the frightening ways in which our prisons mirror the worst aspects of society-wide gender relations. It is part of the growing research on men and masculinities. The collection is unusual in that it contributions from activists, academics, and prisoners.
The opening section, which features an essay by Angela Davis, focuses on the historical roots of the prison system, cultural practices surrounding gender and punishment, and the current expansion of corrections into the "prison-industrial complex."
The next section examines the dominant or subservient roles that men play in prison and the connections between this hierarchy and male violence. Another section looks at the spectrum of intimate relations behind bars, from rape to friendship, and another at physical and mental health.
The last section is about efforts to reform prisons and prison masculinities, including support groups for men. It features an essay about prospects for post-release success in the community written by a man who, after doing time in Soledad and San Quentin, went on to get a doctorate in counseling.
The contributions from prisoners include an essay on enforced celibacy by Mumia Abu-Jamal, as well as fiction and poetry on prison health policy, violence, and intimacy. The creative contributions were selected from the more than 200 submissions received from prisoners.
In Prisons, Race, and Masculinity, Peter Caster demonstrates the centrality of imprisonment in American culture, illustrating how incarceration, an institution inseparable from race, has shaped and continues to shape U.S. history and literature in the starkest expression of what W. E. B. DuBois famously termed “the problem of the color line.”
A prison official in 1888 declared that it was the freeing of slaves that actually created prisons: “we had to establish means for their control. Hence came the penitentiary.” Such rampant racism co ntributed to the criminalization of black masculinity in the cultural imagination, shaping not only the identity of prisoners (collectively and individually) but also America’s national character. Caster analyzes the representations of imprisonment in books, films, and performances, alternating between history and fiction to describe how racism influenced imprisonment during the decline of lynching in the 1930s, the political radicalism in the late 1960s, and the unprecedented prison expansion through the 1980s and 1990s. Offering new interpretations of familiar works by William Faulkner, Eldridge Cleaver, and Norman Mailer, Caster also engages recent films such as American History X, The Hurricane, and The Farm: Life Inside Angola Prison alongside prison history chronicled in the transcripts of the American Correctional Association. This book offers a compelling account of how imprisonment has functioned as racial containment, a matter critical to U.S. history and literary study.
What can neighborhood baseball tell us about class and gender cultures, urban change, and the ways that communities value public space? Through a close exploration of a boys’ baseball league in a gentrifying neighborhood of Philadelphia, sociologist Sherri Grasmuck reveals the accommodations and tensions that characterize multicultural encounters in contemporary American public life. Based on years of ethnographic observation and interviews with children, parents, and coaches, Protecting Home offers an analysis of the factors that account for racial accommodation in a space that was previously known for racial conflict and exclusion. Grasmuck argues that the institutional arrangements and social characteristics of children’s baseball create a cooperative environment for the negotiation of social, cultural, and class differences.
Chapters explore coaching styles, parental involvement, institutional politics, parent-child relations, and children’s experiences. Grasmuck identifies differences in the ways that the mostly white, working-class “old-timers” and the racially diverse, professional newcomers relate to the neighborhood. These distinctions reflect a competing sense of cultural values related to individual responsibility toward public space, group solidarity, appropriate masculine identities, and how best to promote children’s interests—a contrast between “hierarchical communalism” and “child-centered individualism.”
Through an innovative combination of narrative approaches, this book succeeds both in capturing the immediacy of boys’ interaction at the playing field and in contributing to sophisticated theoretical debates in urban studies, the sociology of childhood, and masculinity studies.