We Are Left without a Father Here is a transnational history of working people's struggles and a gendered analysis of populism and colonialism in mid-twentieth-century Puerto Rico. At its core are the thousands of agricultural workers who, at the behest of the Puerto Rican government, migrated to Michigan in 1950 to work in the state's sugar beet fields. The men expected to earn enough income to finally become successful breadwinners and fathers. To their dismay, the men encountered abysmal working conditions and pay. The migrant workers in Michigan and their wives in Puerto Rico soon exploded in protest. Chronicling the protests, the surprising alliances that they created, and the Puerto Rican government's response, Eileen J. Suárez Findlay explains that notions of fatherhood and domesticity were central to Puerto Rican populist politics. Patriarchal ideals shaped citizens' understandings of themselves, their relationship to Puerto Rican leaders and the state, as well as the meanings they ascribed to U.S. colonialism. Findlay argues that the motivations and strategies for transnational labor migrations, colonial policies, and worker solidarities are all deeply gendered.
Ranging from the novels of James Fenimore Cooper to Louis L'Amour, and from classic films like Stagecoach to spaghetti Westerns like A Fistful of Dollars, Mitchell shows how Westerns helped assuage a series of crises in American culture. This landmark study shows that the Western owes its perennial appeal not to unchanging conventions but to the deftness with which it responds to the obsessions and fears of its audience. And no obsession, Lee Mitchell argues, has figured more prominently in the Western than what it means to be a man.
"Elegantly written. . . . provocative . . . characterized by [Mitchell's] own tendency to shoot from the hip."—J. Hoberman, London Review of Books
"[Mitchell's] book would be worth reading just for the way he relates Benjamin Spock's Baby and Child to the postwar Western."—The Observer
"Integrating a careful handling of historical context with a keen eye for textual nuances, Mitchell reconstructs the Western's aesthetic tradition of the 19th century."—Aaron M. Wehner, San Francisco Review
Rafael L. Ramírez presents an insightful examination of Puerto Rican culture and the ways in which Puerto Rican masculinity is constructed.
What It Means to Be a Man begins with a discussion of machismo set in the context of the social construction of masculinity. Ramírez presents his interpretation of what it means to be a Puerto Rican man, discussing the attributes and demands of masculinity, and pointing out the ways in which strength, competition, and sexuality are joined with power and pleasure. He examines the erotic relationships between men as part of the expressions of masculinity, and analyzes how the homosexual experience reproduces the dominant masculine ideology. Finally, Ramírez draws on the literature of the recent men's movements, offering Puerto Rican men the possibility of constructing a new masculinity, liberated from power games, to provide them with a chance to not only be better understood by others, but also to better understand themselves and their place in society.
White Men Aren't
Thomas DiPiero Duke University Press, 2002 Library of Congress HQ1090.D567 2002 | Dewey Decimal 305.31
Psychoanalytic theory has traditionally taken sexual difference to be the fundamental organizing principle of human subjectivity. White Men Aren’t contests that assumption, arguing that other forms of difference—particularly race—are equally important to the formation of identity. Thomas DiPiero shows how whiteness and masculinity respond to various, complex cultural phenomena through a process akin to hysteria and how differences traditionally termed “racial” organize psychic, social, and political life as thoroughly as sexual difference does. White masculinity is fraught with anxiety, according to DiPiero, because it hinges on the unstable construction of white men’s cultural hegemony. White men must always struggle against the loss of position and the fear of insufficiency—against the specter of what they are not.
Drawing on the writings of Freud, Lacan, Butler, Foucault, and Kaja Silverman, as well as on biology, anthropology, and legal sources, Thomas DiPiero contends that psychoanalytic theory has not only failed to account for the role of race in structuring identity, it has in many ways deliberately ignored it. Reading a wide variety of texts—from classical works such as Oedipus Rex and The Iliad to contemporary films including Boyz 'n' the Hood and Grand Canyon—DiPiero reveals how the anxiety of white masculine identity pervades a surprising range of Western thought, including such ostensibly race-neutral phenomena as Englightenment forms of reason.
With Blood in Their Eyes
Thomas Cobb University of Arizona Press, 2012 Library of Congress PS3553.O194W58 2012 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Winner, Spur Award for Best Western Long Novel (Western Writers of America) and Southwest Book Award (Border Regional Library Association)
On February 10, 1918, John Power woke to the sound of bells and horses’ hooves. He was sharing a cabin near the family mine with his brother Tom and their father Jeff; hired man Tom Sisson was also nearby. Then gunfire erupted, and so began the day when the Power brothers engaged the Graham County Sheriff’s Department in the bloodiest shootout in Arizona history.
Now Thomas Cobb, author of Crazy Heart and Shavetail, has taken up the story in this powerful and meticulously researched nonfiction novel. What seems at first a simple tale of crime and pursuit takes on much greater meaning and complexity as the story traces the past lives of the main characters and interconnects them—all leading back to the deadly confrontation that begins the book. Cobb cunningly weaves the story of the Power brothers’ escape with flashbacks of the boys’ father’s life and his struggle to make a living ranching, logging, and mining in the West around the turn of the century. Deftly drawn characters and cleverly concealed motivations work seamlessly to blend a compelling family history with a desperate story of the brothers as they attempt to escape.
Grappling with themes of loyalty, masculinity, technology, and honor, this sweeping saga reveals the passion and brutality of frontier life in Arizona a hundred years ago. Richly authentic and beautifully written, With Blood in Their Eyes breathes dramatic new life into this nearly forgotten episode of the American West.
Working Out Egypt is both a rich cultural history of the formation of an Egyptian national subject in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth and a compelling critique of modern Middle Eastern historiography. Wilson Chacko Jacob describes how Egyptian men of a class akin to the cultural bourgeoisie (the effendiyya) struggled to escape from the long shadow cast by colonial depictions of the East as degenerate, feminine, and temporally behind an active and virile Europe. He argues that during British colonial rule (1882–1936), attempts to create a distinctively modern and Egyptian self free from the colonial gaze led to the formation of an ambivalent, performative subjectivity that he calls “effendi masculinity.” Jacob traces effendi masculinity as it took hold during the interwar years, in realms from scouting and competitive sports to sex talk and fashion, considering its gendered performativity in relation to a late-nineteenth-century British discourse on masculinity and empire and an explicitly nationalist discourse on Egyptian masculinity. He contends that as an assemblage of colonial modernity, effendi masculinity was simultaneously local and global, national and international, and particular and universal. Until recently, modern Egyptian history has not allowed for such paradoxes; instead, Egyptian modernity has been narrated in the temporal and spatial terms of a separate Western modernity.