On street corners throughout the country, men stand or sit together patiently while they wait for someone looking to hire un buen trabajador (a good worker). These day laborers are visible symbols of the changing nature of work—and the demographics of workers—in the United States.
Carolyn Pinedo-Turnovsky spent nearly three years visiting with African American men and Latino immigrant men who looked for work as day laborers at a Brooklyn street intersection. Her fascinating ethnography, Daily Labors, considers these immigrants and citizens as active participants in their social and economic life. They not only work for wages but also labor daily to institute change, create knowledge, and contribute new meanings to shape their social world.
Daily Labors reveals how ideologies about race, gender, nation, and legal status operate on the corner and the vulnerabilities, discrimination, and exploitation workers face in this labor market. Pinedo-Turnovsky shows how workers market themselves to conform to employers’ preconceptions of a “good worker” and how this performance paradoxically leads to a more precarious workplace experience. Ultimately, she sheds light on belonging, community, and what a “good day laborer” for these workers really is.
This long overdue biography elevates Jane Matilda Bolin to her rightful place in American history as an activist, integrationist, jurist, and outspoken public figure in the political and professional milieu of New York City before the onset of the modern Civil Rights movement. When Bolin was appointed to New York City's domestic relations court in 1939 for the first of four ten-year terms, she became the nation's first African American woman judge. Drawing on archival materials as well as a meeting with Bolin in 2002, historian Jacqueline A. McLeod reveals how Bolin parlayed her judicial position to impact significant reforms of the legal and social service system in New York. Beginning with Bolin's childhood and educational experiences at Wellesley and Yale, Daughter of the Empire State chronicles Bolin's relatively quick rise through the ranks of a profession that routinely excluded both women and African Americans. McLeod links Bolin's activist leanings and integrationist zeal to her involvement in the NAACP and details her work as a critic and reformer of domestic relations courts and juvenile placement facilities.
A Death in Harlem: A Novel
Karla FC Holloway Northwestern University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3608.O49417D43 2019 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
In A Death in Harlem, famed scholar Karla FC Holloway weaves a mystery in the bon vivant world of the Harlem Renaissance. Taking as her point of departure the tantalizingly ambiguous “death by misadventure” at the climax of Nella Larsen’s Passing, Holloway accompanies readers to the sunlit boulevards and shaded sidestreets of Jazz Age New York. A murder there will test the mettle, resourcefulness, and intuition of Harlem’s first “colored” policeman, Weldon Haynie Thomas.
Clear glass towers rising in Manhattan belie a city where people are often not what they seem. For some here, identity is a performance of passing—passing for another race, for another class, for someone safe to trust. Thomas’s investigation illuminates the societies and secret societies, the intricate code of manners, the world of letters, and the broad social currents of 1920s Harlem.
A Death in Harlem is an exquisitely crafted, briskly paced, and impeccably stylish journey back to a time still remembered as a peak of American glamour. It introduces Holloway as a fresh voice in storytelling, and Weldon Haynie Thomas as an endearing and unforgettable detective.
The High Line, an innovative promenade created on a disused elevated railway in Manhattan, is one of the world’s most iconic new urban landmarks. Since the opening of its first section in 2009, this unique greenway has exceeded all expectations in terms of attracting visitors, investment, and property development to Manhattan’s West Side. Frequently celebrated as a monument to community-led activism, adaptive re-use of urban infrastructure, and innovative ecological design, the High Line is being used as a model for numerous urban redevelopment plans proliferating worldwide.
Deconstructing the High Line is the first book to analyze the High Line from multiple perspectives, critically assessing its aesthetic, economic, ecological, symbolic, and social impacts. Including several essays by planners and architects directly involved in the High Line’s design, this volume also brings together a diverse range of scholars from the fields of urban studies, geography, anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies. Together, they offer insights into the project’s remarkable success, while also giving serious consideration to the critical charge that the High Line is “Disney World on the Hudson,” a project that has merely greened, sanitized, and gentrified an urban neighborhood while displacing longstanding residents and businesses.
Deconstructing the High Line is not just for New Yorkers, but for anyone interested in larger issues of public space, neoliberal redevelopment, creative design practice, and urban renewal.
“The American Negro,” Arthur Schomburg wrote in 1925, “must remake his past in order to make his future.” Many Harlem Renaissance figures agreed that reframing the black folk inheritance could play a major role in imagining a new future of racial equality and artistic freedom. In Deep River Paul Allen Anderson focuses on the role of African American folk music in the Renaissance aesthetic and in political debates about racial performance, social memory, and national identity. Deep River elucidates how spirituals, African American concert music, the blues, and jazz became symbolic sites of social memory and anticipation during the Harlem Renaissance. Anderson traces the roots of this period’s debates about music to the American and European tours of the Fisk Jubilee Singers in the 1870s and to W. E. B. Du Bois’s influential writings at the turn of the century about folk culture and its bearing on racial progress and national identity. He details how musical idioms spoke to contrasting visions of New Negro art, folk authenticity, and modernist cosmopolitanism in the works of Du Bois, Alain Locke, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Sterling Brown, Roland Hayes, Paul Robeson, Carl Van Vechten, and others. In addition to revisiting the place of music in the culture wars of the 1920s, Deep River provides fresh perspectives on the aesthetics of race and the politics of music in Popular Front and Swing Era music criticism, African American critical theory, and contemporary musicology. Deep River offers a sophisticated historical account of American racial ideologies and their function in music criticism and modernist thought. It will interest general readers as well as students of African American studies, American studies, intellectual history, musicology, and literature.
Scholars have labeled Madison Grant everything from the “nation’s most influential racist” to the “greatest conservationist that ever lived.” His life illuminates early twentieth-century America as it was heading toward the American Century, and his legacy is still very much with us today, from the speeches of immigrant-bashing politicians to the international efforts to arrest climate change. This insightful biography shows how Grant worked side-by-side with figures such as Theodore Roosevelt to found the Bronx Zoo, preserve the California redwoods, and save the American bison from extinction. But Grant was also the leader of the eugenics movement in the United States. He popularized the infamous notions that the blond-haired, blue-eyed Nordics were the “master race” and that the state should eliminate members of inferior races who were of no value to the community. Grant’s behind-the-scenes machinations convinced Congress to enact the immigration restriction legislation of the 1920s, and his influence led many states to ban interracial marriage and sterilize thousands of “unworthy” citizens. Although most of the relevant archival materials on Madison Grant have mysteriously disappeared over the decades, Jonathan Spiro has devoted many years to reconstructing the hitherto concealed events of Grant’s life. His astonishing feat of detective work reveals how the founder of the Bronx Zoo wound up writing the book that Adolf Hitler declared was his “bible.”
Situated on Broadway between Fourteenth and Seventeenth Streets, Union Square occupies a central place in both the geography and the history of New York City. Though this compact space was originally designed in 1830 to beautify a residential neighborhood and boost property values, by the early days of the Civil War, New Yorkers had transformed Union Square into a gathering place for political debate and protest. As public use of the square changed, so, too, did its design. When Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux redesigned the park in the late nineteenth century, they sought to enhance its potential as a space for the orderly expression of public sentiment. A few decades later, anarchists and Communist activists, including Emma Goldman, turned Union Square into a regular gathering place where they would advocate for radical change. In response, a series of city administrations and business groups sought to quash this unruly form of dissidence by remaking the square into a new kind of patriotic space. As Joanna Merwood-Salisbury shows us in Design for the Crowd, the history of Union Square illustrates ongoing debates over the proper organization of urban space—and competing images of the public that uses it.
In this sweeping history of an iconic urban square, Merwood-Salisbury gives us a review of American political activism, philosophies of urban design, and the many ways in which a seemingly stable landmark can change through public engagement and design.
Published with the support of Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.
She sports a nose-ring and duppata (a scarf worn by South Asian women) along with the latest fashion in slinky club wear; he's decked out in Tommy gear. Their moves on the crowded dance floor, blending Indian film dance with break-dancing, attract no particular attention. They are just two of the hundreds of hip young people who flock to the desi (i.e., South Asian) party scene that flourishes in the Big Apple.
New York City, long the destination for immigrants and migrants, today is home to the largest Indian American population in the United States. Coming of age in a city remarkable for its diversity and cultural innovation, Indian American and other South Asian youth draw on their ethnic traditions and the city's resources to create a vibrant subculture. Some of the city's hottest clubs host regular bhangra parties, weekly events where young South Asians congregate to dance to music that mixes rap beats with Hindi film music, bhangra (North Indian and Pakistani in origin), reggae, techno, and other popular styles. Many of these young people also are active in community and campus organizations that stage performances of "ethnic cultures."
In this book Sunaina Maira explores the world of second-generation Indian American youth to learn how they manage the contradictions of gender roles and sexuality, how they handle their "model minority" status and expectations for class mobility in a society that still racializes everyone in terms of black or white. Maira's deft analysis illuminates the ways in which these young people bridge ethnic authenticity and American "cool."
Distant Islands is a modern narrative history of the Japanese American community in New York City between America's centennial year and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Often overshadowed in historical literature by the Japanese diaspora on the West Coast, this community, which dates back to the 1870s, has its own fascinating history.
The New York Japanese American community was a composite of several micro communities divided along status, class, geographic, and religious lines. Using a wealth of primary sources—oral histories, memoirs, newspapers, government documents, photographs, and more—Daniel H. Inouye tells the stories of the business and professional elites, mid-sized merchants, small business owners, working-class families, menial laborers, and students that made up these communities. The book presents new knowledge about the history of Japanese immigrants in the United States and makes a novel and persuasive argument about the primacy of class and status stratification and relatively weak ethnic cohesion and solidarity in New York City, compared to the pervading understanding of nikkei on the West Coast. While a few prior studies have identified social stratification in other nikkei communities, this book presents the first full exploration of the subject and additionally draws parallels to divisions in German American communities.
Distant Islands is a unique and nuanced historical account of an American ethnic community that reveals the common humanity of pioneering Japanese New Yorkers despite diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and life stories. It will be of interest to general readers, students, and scholars interested in Asian American studies, immigration and ethnic studies, sociology, and history.
Winner- Honorable Mention, 2018 Immigration and Ethnic History Society First Book Award
“Many memories, many myths”—this is how Wendy Doniger begins the story of her parents’ origins in Europe and sharply bifurcated life in America. Recalling their contrasting attitudes toward Judaism and religion in general—and acknowledging the mythologized narratives that keep bubbling up in those recollections—Doniger tells the story of their childhoods, their unusual marriage, their life in the post–World War II Jewish enclave of Great Neck, New York, and her own complex relationship with each of them.
In this important new anthology, Venetria K. Patton and Maureen Honey bring together a comprehensive selection of texts from the Harlem Renaissance-a key period in the literary and cultural history of the United States. The collection revolutionizes our way of viewing this era, since it redresses the ongoing emphasis on the male writers of this time. Double-Take offers a unique, balanced collection of writers-men and women, gay and straight, familiar and obscure. Arranged by author, rather than by genre, this anthology includes works from major Harlem Renaissance figures as well as often-overlooked essayists, poets, dramatists, and artists.
The editors have included works from a wide variety of genres-poetry, short stories, drama, and essays-allowing readers to understand the true interdisciplinary quality of this cultural movement. Biographical sketches of the authors are provided and most of the pieces are included in their entirety. Double-Take also includes artwork and illustrations, many of which are from original journals and have never before been reprinted. Significantly, Double-Take is the first Harlem Renaissance title to include song lyrics to illustrate the interrelation of various art forms.
Did you know that for every human on earth, there are about one million ants? They are among the longest-lived insects—with some ant queens passing the thirty-year mark—as well as some of the strongest. Fans of both the city and countryside alike, ants decompose dead wood, turn over soil (in some places more than earthworms), and even help plant forests by distributing seeds. But while fewer than thirty of the nearly one thousand ant species living in North America are true pests, we cringe when we see them marching across our kitchen floors.
No longer! In this witty, accessible, and beautifully illustrated guide, Eleanor Spicer Rice, Alex Wild, and Rob Dunn metamorphose creepy-crawly revulsion into myrmecological wonder. Emerging from Dunn’s ambitious citizen science project Your Wild Life (an initiative based at North Carolina State University), Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants of New York City provides an eye-opening entomological overview of the natural history of New York’s species most noted by project participants—and even offers insight into the ant denizens of the city’s subways and Central Park. Exploring species from the honeyrump ant to the Japanese crazy ant, and featuring Wild’s stunning photography as well as tips on keeping ant farms in your home, this guide will be a tremendous resource for teachers, students, and scientists alike. But more than this, it will transform the way New Yorkers perceive the environment around them by deepening their understanding of its littlest inhabitants, inspiring everyone to find their inner naturalist, get outside, and crawl across the dirt—magnifying glass in hand.
Winner, 2017 American Theater and Drama Society John W. Frick Book Award
Winner, 2017 ASTR Barnard Hewitt Award for Outstanding Research in Theater History
Hillary Miller’s Drop Dead: Performance in Crisis, 1970s New York offers a fascinating and comprehensive exploration of how the city’s financial crisis shaped theater and performance practices in this turbulent decade and beyond.
New York City’s performing arts community suffered greatly from a severe reduction in grants in the mid-1970s. A scholar and playwright, Miller skillfully synthesizes economics, urban planning, tourism, and immigration to create a map of the interconnected urban landscape and to contextualize the struggle for resources. She reviews how numerous theater professionals, including Ellen Stewart of La MaMa E.T.C. and Julie Bovasso, Vinnette Carroll, and Joseph Papp of The Public Theater, developed innovative responses to survive the crisis.
Combining theater history and close readings of productions, each of Miller’s chapters is a case study focusing on a company, a production, or an element of New York’s theater infrastructure. Her expansive survey visits Broadway, Off-, Off-Off-, Coney Island, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, community theater, and other locations to bring into focus the large-scale changes wrought by the financial realignments of the day.
Nuanced, multifaceted, and engaging, Miller’s lively account of the financial crisis and resulting transformation of the performing arts community offers an essential chronicle of the decade and demonstrates its importance in understanding our present moment.
Copublished with the National Gallery of Art in celebration of Virginia Dwan’s gift to the Gallery of her extraordinary personal collection, Dwan Gallery explores her remarkable career. Dwan is one of the most influential figures in the history of twentieth-century American art. Her eponymously named galleries, the first established in a Los Angeles storefront in 1959, followed by a second in New York in 1965, became a beacon for influential postwar American and European artists. She sponsored the debut show for Yves Klein in the United States, and she championed such artists as Franz Kline, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Sol LeWitt, and Ad Reinhardt. Her Los Angeles gallery featured abstract expressionism, neo-Dada, and pop, while the New York branch became associated with the emerging movements of minimalism and conceptualism. At the same time, the gallery’s influence expanded to remote locations in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, where Dwan sponsored such iconic earthworks as Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, Michael Heizer’s Double Negative, and Walter De Maria’s Lightning Field. Though Dwan was a major force in the art world of the sixties and seventies, her story and the history of her gallery have been largely unexplored—until now.
Alongside lush full-color images of one hundred leading artworks, the book deepens our understanding of the artistic exchanges Dwan facilitated during this age of mobility, when air travel and the interstate highway system linked the two coasts and transformed the making of art and the sites of its exhibition. James Meyer, the curator of the exhibition and the foremost authority on minimal art, contributes an essay that is a sophisticated and broad-ranging analysis of Dwan’s legacy.
Honoring Dwan’s significant influence and impact on postwar art, Dwan Gallery is a rich and informative collection that will be treasured by fans of contemporary art.