Accent on Privilege looks at the complexities of immigration, asking how native and immigrant construct race, gender, class and national identity. Katharine Jones investigates how white English immigrants live in the United States and how they use their status as privileged foreigners to gain the upper hand with Americans. Their privilege, she finds, is created by both American Anglophilia and the ways they perform their identities as "proper" English women and men in their host country. Jones looks at the cultural aspects of this performance: how English people play up their accents, "stiff upper lip," sense of humor and fashion—even the way they drink beer.
The political and cultural ties between England and the US act as a backdrop for the identity negotiations of these English people, many of whom do not even consider themselves to be immigrants. This unique exploration of the workings of white privilege offers an important new understanding of the paradoxes of how class, gender, and race are formed in the US and, by implication, in the UK.
Anthropologists usually think of domesticity as the activities related to the home and the family. Such activities have complex meanings associated with the sense of space, work, gender, and power. The contributors to this interdisciplinary collection of papers examine how indigenous African notions of domesticity interact with Western notions to transform the meaning of such activities. They explore the interactions of notions of domesticity in a number of settings in the twentieth century and the kinds of personal troubles and public issues these interactions have provoked. They also demonstrate that domesticity, as it emerged in Africa through the colonial encounter, was culturally constructed, and they show how ideologies of work, space, and gender interact with broader political-economic processes.
In her introduction, Hansen explains how the meaning of domesticity has changed and been contested in the West, specifies which of these shifting meanings are relevant in the African context, and summarizes the historical processes that have affected African ideologies of domesticity.
In seventeenth-century France, aristocratic women were valued by their families as commodities to be married off in exchange for money, social advantage, or military alliance. Once married, they became legally subservient to their husbands. The duchesse de Montpensier—a first cousin of Louis XIV—was one of very few exceptions, thanks to the vast wealth she inherited from her mother, who died shortly after Montpensier was born. She was also one of the few politically powerful women in France at the time to have been an accomplished writer.
In the daring letters presented in this bilingual edition, Montpensier condemns the alliance system of marriage, proposing instead to found a republic that she would govern, "a corner of the world in which . . . women are their own mistresses," and where marriage and even courtship would be outlawed. Her pastoral utopia would provide medical care and vocational training for the poor, and all the homes would have libraries and studies, so that each woman would have a "room of her own" in which to write books.
Joan DeJean's lively introduction and accessible translation of Montpensier's letters—four previously unpublished—allow us unprecedented access to the courageous voice of this extraordinary woman.
What do ordinary citizens really think about issues of gender equality and gender roles? Combining data from both telephone surveys and in-depth focus groups, Ambition and Accommodation provides the most detailed portrait to date of how Americans, in particular American women, think they are faring in today's society.
By juxtaposing the voices of women and men from all walks of life, Sigel finds that women's perceptions of gender relations are complex and often contradictory. Although most women see gender discrimination pervading nearly all social interactions—private as well as public—they do not invariably feel that they personally have been its victims. They want to see discrimination ended, but believe that men do not necessarily share this goal. Women are torn, according to Sigel, between the desire to improve their positions relative to men and the desire to avoid open conflict with them. Their desire not to jeopardize their relations with men, Sigel holds, helps explain women's willingness to accommodate a less-than-egalitarian situation by, for example, taking on the second shift at home or by working harder than men on the job. Sigel concludes that, although men and women agree on the principle of gender equality, definitions as well as practice differ by gender.
This complex picture of how women, while not always content with the status quo, have chosen to accommodate to the world they must face every day is certain to provoke considerable debate.
In this brilliantly combative study, Robyn Wiegman challenges contemporary clichés about race and gender, a formulation that is itself a cliché in need of questioning. As part of what she calls her "feminist disloyalty," she turns a critical, even skeptical, eye on current debates about multiculturalism and "difference" while simultaneously exposing the many ways in which white racial supremacy has been reconfigured since the institutional demise of segregation. Most of all, she examines the hypocrisy and contradictoriness of over a century of narratives that posit Anglo-Americans as heroic agents of racism’s decline. Whether assessing Uncle Tom’s Cabin, lynching, Leslie Fiedler’s racialist mapping of the American novel, the Black Power movement of the 60s, 80s buddy films, or the novels of Richard Wright and Toni Morrison, Wiegman unflinchingly confronts the paradoxes of both racism and antiracist agendas, including those advanced from a feminist perspective. American Anatomies takes the long view: What epistemological frameworks allowed the West, from the Renaissance forward, to schematize racial and gender differences and to create social hierarchies based on these differences? How have those epistemological regimes changed—and not changed—over time? Where are we now? With painstaking care, political passion, and intellectual daring, Wiegman analyzes the biological and cultural bases of racial and gender bias in order to reinvigorate the discussion of identity politics. She concludes that, for very different reasons, identity proves to be dangerous to minority and majority alike.
American Girls and Global Responsibility brings together insights from Cold War culture studies, girls’ studies, and the history of gender and militarization to shed new light on how age and gender work together to form categories of citizenship.
Jennifer Helgren argues that a new internationalist girl citizenship took root in the country in the years following World War II in youth organizations such as Camp Fire Girls, Girl Scouts, YWCA Y-Teens, schools, and even magazines like Seventeen. She shows the particular ways that girls’ identities and roles were configured, and reveals the links between internationalist youth culture, mainstream U.S. educational goals, and the U.S. government in creating and marketing that internationalist girl, thus shaping the girls’ sense of responsibilities as citizens.
Ancient Greek Love Magic
Christopher A. FARAONE Harvard University Press, 1999 Library of Congress BF1591.F37 1999 | Dewey Decimal 133.4420938
The ancient Greeks commonly resorted to magic spells to attract and keep lovers--as numerous allusions in Greek literature and recently discovered "voodoo dolls," magical papyri, gemstones, and curse tablets attest. Surveying and analyzing these various texts and artifacts, Christopher Faraone reveals that gender is the crucial factor in understanding love spells. There are, he argues, two distinct types of love magic: the curselike charms used primarily by men to torture unwilling women with fiery and maddening passion until they surrender sexually; and the binding spells and debilitating potions generally used by women to sedate angry or philandering husbands and make them more affectionate.
Faraone's lucid analysis of these spells also yields a number of insights about the construction of gender in antiquity, for example, the "femininity" of socially inferior males and the "maleness" of autonomous prostitutes. Most significantly, his findings challenge the widespread modern view that all Greek men considered women to be naturally lascivious. Faraone reveals the existence of an alternate male understanding of the female as "naturally" moderate and chaste, who uses love magic to pacify and control the "naturally" angry and passionate male. This fascinating study of magical practices and their implications for perceptions of male and female sexuality offers an unusual look at ancient Greek religion and society.
In Animacies, Mel Y. Chen draws on recent debates about sexuality, race, and affect to examine how matter that is considered insensate, immobile, or deathly animates cultural lives. Toward that end, Chen investigates the blurry division between the living and the dead, or that which is beyond the human or animal. Within the field of linguistics, animacy has been described variously as a quality of agency, awareness, mobility, sentience, or liveness. Chen turns to cognitive linguistics to stress how language habitually differentiates the animate and the inanimate. Expanding this construct, Chen argues that animacy undergirds much that is pressing and indeed volatile in contemporary culture, from animal rights debates to biosecurity concerns.
Chen's book is the first to bring the concept of animacy together with queer of color scholarship, critical animal studies, and disability theory. Through analyses of dehumanizing insults, the meanings of queerness, animal protagonists in recent Asian/American art and film, the lead in toys panic in 2007, and the social lives of environmental illness, Animacies illuminates a hierarchical politics infused by race, sexuality, and ability. In this groundbreaking book, Chen rethinks the criteria governing agency and receptivity, health and toxicity, productivity and stillness—and demonstrates how attention to the affective charge of matter challenges commonsense orderings of the world.
"Good fish get dull but sex is always fun." So say the Mehinaku people of Brazil. But Thomas Gregor shows that sex brings a supreme ambiguity to the villagers' lives. In their elaborate rituals—especially those practiced by the men in their secret societies—the Mehinaku give expression to a system of symbols reminiscent of psychosexual neuroses identified by Freud: castration anxiety, Oedipal conflict, fantasies of loss of strength through sex, and a host of others. "If we look carefully," writes Gregor, "we will see reflections of our own sexual nature in the life ways of an Amazonian people." The book is illustrated with Mehinaku drawings of ritual texts and myths, as well as with photographs of the villagers taking part in both everyday and ceremonial activities.