What is the role of the senses in how we understand the world? Cognitive sociology has long addressed the way we perceive or imagine boundaries in our ordinary lives, but Asia Friedman pushes this question further still. How, she asks, did we come to blind ourselves to sex sameness?
Drawing on more than sixty interviews with two decidedly different populations—the blind and the transgendered—Blind to Sameness answers provocative questions about the relationships between sex differences, biology, and visual perception. Both groups speak from unique perspectives that magnify the social construction of dominant visual conceptions of sex, allowing Friedman to examine the visual construction of the sexed body and highlighting the processes of social perception underlying our everyday experience of male and female bodies. The result is a notable contribution to the sociologies of gender, culture, and cognition that will revolutionize the way we think about sex.
The Perfect Servant reevaluates the place of eunuchs in Byzantium. Kathryn Ringrose uses the modern concept of gender as a social construct to identify eunuchs as a distinct gender and to illustrate how gender was defined in the Byzantine world. At the same time she explores the changing role of the eunuch in Byzantium from 600 to 1100.
Accepted for generations as a legitimate and functional part of Byzantine civilization, eunuchs were prominent in both the imperial court and the church. They were distinctive in physical appearance, dress, and manner and were considered uniquely suited for important roles in Byzantine life. Transcending conventional notions of male and female, eunuchs lived outside of normal patterns of procreation and inheritance and were assigned a unique capacity for mediating across social and spiritual boundaries. This allowed them to perform tasks from which prominent men and women were constrained, making them, in essence, perfect servants.
Written with precision and meticulously researched, The Perfect Servant will immediately take its place as a major study on Byzantium and the history of gender.
Kaplan redefines American realism as a genre more engaged with a society in flux than with one merely reflective of the status quo. She reads realistic narrative as a symbolic act of imagining and controlling the social upheavals of early modern capitalism, particularly class conflict and the development of mass culture. Brilliant analyses of works by Howells, Wharton, and Dreiser illuminate the narrative process by which realism constructs a social world of conflict and change.
"[Kaplan] offers some enthralling readings of major novels by Howells, Wharton, and Dreiser. It is a book which should be read by anyone interested in the American novel."—Tony Tanner, Modern Language Review
"Kaplan has made an important contribution to our understanding of American realism. This is a book that deserves wide attention."—June Howard, American Literature
The British created a system wherein the social identity of civil servants clearly influenced their position on official matters. This privileged class set the tone for major policy decisions affecting all members of society. Savage addresses this social construction of power by analyzing the social origins and career patterns of higher-level civil servants as a backdrop for investigating the way four different social service ministries formulated policies between the two World Wars: the Board of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Labour, and the Ministry of Health.
Travelling Facts explores the production and distribution of facts : their life cycles as well as the material networks through which they travel. Acknowledging that facts are fallible and originate primarily in isolated laboratories and field sites, the volume includes discussions about how facts are reassembled into practical knowledge, how they translate locally, and what lessons may be learned from those who attempt to regulate fact production and circulation in the face of the marked acceleration and expansion of digital technologies worldwide.
"This book begins the innovative and necessary analysis of how whiteness--as a racial category, a 'standpoint' for thinking about race, a terrain of 'unmarked' cultural practices which include material and discursive dimensions, and a collective and individual identity--was socially constructed. Frankenberg's thesis is that race shapes white women's lives through a system of racial privilege, and analyzes racism and challenges to it in white women's experiences. Her analysis is smart, insightful, and convincing. This book is compelling, engagingly written, and should prove very useful in the classroom, as well as a model for further qualitative research for those interested in social stratification, multiculturalism, American society, or social change." --Contemporary Sociology
"Ruth Frankenberg's study of white women makes a major contribution to our understanding of the complex intertwining of race, gender, sexuality, and class. Drawing on recent writing which views 'race' as a fluid social, political, and historical construct, Frankenberg explores white women's lived experience of 'race,' and specifically 'whiteness.' White Women, Race Matters is an engaging, well-written text which should be invaluable for advanced undergraduate courses or graduate courses in race, women's studies, or qualitative methodology. Should be read by everyone interested in contemporary racial politics." --Race, Sex, and Class
"Although other scholars and journalists have lately focused on 'whiteness,' Frankenberg's project is unique because she sees white women's lives 'as the sites both for the reproduction of racism and for challenges to it.' White Woman, Race Matters provides a webbed explanation of the position of white women in American culture, rooted in the failings and blindness of the feminist movement around race." --Afterimage
"Frankenberg seeks a way out of the dilemma of seeing whites and non-whites as 'different' or as 'similar' under the skin, an approach that ignores the history of racism. Frankenberg's project is to reveal White constructions of race. She analyzes life history interviews with thirty White, California women to discern how each one's 'articulation of whiteness' results in seeing White beliefs and behavior as normative and 'American.' With few recommendations about how to change contemporary racial discourse, Frankenberg nevertheless enlarges our understanding of its persistent perniciousness." --American Studies International
"A valuable contribution to understanding the effect of race and racism in white women's lives." --Race Traitor
"She wants to understand how racial identity is socially constructed for white Americans, and how their understanding of that identity is both a given and changeable. This reflects her desire to help construct a feminism that will be effectively antiracist. Through her interviews with and analysis of white woman who are widely diverse in age, class, family situation, sexual orientation, political values and experiences, Frankenberg's study forms a complex treatment of a subject neglected by social scientists, and only recently addressed by white novelists, poets, and cultural critics. The epilogue, 'Racism, Antiracism, and the Meaning of Whiteness', is the most compressed, intense, and useful discussion of race that I have seen written by a white woman." --Canadian Review of American Studies
"Frankenberg's books offers its readers not only definitions of whiteness, but unceasingly intelligent and thought-provoking analyses of how those definitions are derived, maintained and articulated." --Minnesota Review
"This book makes a major contribution to the scholarship on race, class, and gender. Frankenberg's exploration of the ways whiteness is lived, experienced and discussed confirms the importance of race in U.S. society and demonstrates how all kinds of social relations, even those that appear neutral, are, in fact, racialized." --Bonnie Thornton Dill, University of Maryland
Winner of a 1995 Jessie Bernard Book Award
Named an Outstanding Book by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights
During the Rubella Syndrome epidemic of the 1960s, many children were born deaf, blind, and mentally disabled. David Goode has devoted his life and career to understanding such people's world, a world without words, but not, the author confirms, one without communication. This book is the result of his studies of two children with congenital deaf-blindness and mental retardation.
Goode spent countless hours observing, teaching, and playing with Christina, who had been institutionalized since age six, and Bianca, who remained in the care of her parents. He also observed the girls' parents, school, and medical environments, exploring the unique communication practices—sometimes so subtle they are imperceptible to outsiders—that family and health care workers create to facilitate innumerable every day situations. A World Without Words presents moving and convincing evidence that human beings both with and without formal language can understand and communicate with each other in many ways.
Through various experiments in such unconventional forms of communication as playing guitar, mimicking, and body movements like jumping, swinging, and rocking, Goode established an understanding of these children on their own terms. He discovered a spectrum of non-formal language through which these children create their own set of symbols within their own reality, and accommodate and maximize the sensory resources they do have. Ultimately, he suggests, it is impractical to attempt to interpret these children's behaviors using ideas about normal behavior of the hearing and seeing world.