Many schools of thought assert that Western culture has never been more politically apathetic. Tim Jordan's Activism! refutes this claim. In his powerful polemic, Jordan shows how acts of civil disobedience have come to dominate the political landscape. Because we inhabit such a quickly changing, high-tech and fragmented culture, the single-issue political movements and stable, conservative authorities of the past are continually being questioned. Traditional political battles have been replaced by the popular, collective practices of a new political activism. From Europe to the USA, from Australia to South America, from the Left to the Right, Jordan introduces us to the citizens who make up d-i-y culture: eco-activists, animal liberators, neo-fascists, ravers, anti-abortionists, squatters, hunt saboteurs and hacktivists. In his view, activism comprises a new ethics of living for the 21st century.
In After the Public Turn, author Frank Farmer argues that counterpublics and the people who make counterpublics—“citizen bricoleurs”—deserve a more prominent role in our scholarship and in our classrooms. Encouraging students to understand and consider resistant or oppositional discourse is a viable route toward mature participation as citizens in a democracy.
Farmer examines two very different kinds of publics, cultural and disciplinary, and discusses two counterpublics within those broad categories: zine discourses and certain academic discourses. By juxtaposing these two significantly different kinds of publics, Farmer suggests that each discursive world can be seen, in its own distinct way, as a counterpublic, an oppositional social formation that has a stake in widening or altering public life as we know it.
Drawing on major figures in rhetoric and cultural theory, Farmer builds his argument about composition teaching and its relation to the public sphere, leading to a more sophisticated understanding of public life and a deeper sense of what democratic citizenship means for our time.
The New Deal era is hard to define with precision—in time or in ideology. Some historians use New Deal to designate the intense period of domestic reform legislation of the first Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration, 1933–37. Others confine discussion of the era to the legislation of 1933, and identify another wave of legislation in 1935 as a Second New Deal. Most of the essays in this book focus on the prewar period, with glimpses that look forward to the rhetoric of the approach to and engagement in World War II.
A forthright look at the future of the discipline in the wake of immense social changes.
What becomes of "national knowledge" in our age of globalization? If dramatic changes in technology, commerce, and social relations are undermining familiar connections between culture and place, what happens to legacies of learning that put the nation at the center of the study of history, culture, language, politics, and geography? In short, what remains of American Studies? At a critical moment, this book offers a richly textured historical perspective on where our notions of national knowledge-and our sense of American Studies-have come from and where they may lead in a future of new ideas about culture and community.
The America that seems to be disappearing before our very eyes is, George Lipsitz argues, actually the cumulative creation of yesterday's struggles over identity, culture, and power. With examples from statistics and history, poster designs and music lyrics, Lipsitz shows how American Studies has been shaped by the social movements of the 1930s, 1960s, and 1980s. His analysis reveals the sedimented history of social movement contestation contained in contemporary popular music, visual art, and cinema.
Finally, Lipsitz identifies the ways in which the globalization of commerce and culture are producing radically new understandings of politics, performance, consumption, knowledge, and nostalgia; the changing realities present not so much a danger as a clear challenge to a still-evolving American Studies--a challenge that this book helps us to confront wisely, flexibly, and effectively.
George Lipsitz is professor of ethnic studies at the University of California, San Diego, where he serves as director of the Thurgood Marshall Institute. He is the author of many books, including Time Passages, The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics (1998), and Dangerous Crossroads: Popular Music, Postmodernism, and the Poetics of Place (1997). He also edited Stan Weir's Singlejack Solidarity (2004).
Anti-Imperialist Modernism excavates how U.S. cross-border, multi-ethnic anti-imperialist movements at mid-century shaped what we understand as cultural modernism and the historical period of the Great Depression. The book demonstrates how U.S. multiethnic cultural movements, located in political parties, small journals, labor unions, and struggles for racial liberation, helped construct a common sense of international solidarity that critiqued ideas of nationalism and essentialized racial identity. The book thus moves beyond accounts that have tended to view the pre-war “Popular Front” through tropes of national belonging or an abandonment of the cosmopolitanism of previous decades. Impressive archival research brings to light the ways in which a transnational vision of modernism and modernity was fashioned through anti-colonial networks of North/South solidarity.
Chapters examine farmworker photographers in California’s central valley, a Nez Perce intellectual traveling to the Soviet Union, imaginations of the Haitian Revolution, the memory of the U.S.–Mexico War, and U.S. radical writers traveling to Cuba. The last chapter examines how the Cold War foreclosed these movements within a nationalist framework, when activists and intellectuals had to suppress the transnational nature of their movements, often rewriting the cultural past to conform to a patriotic narrative of national belonging.
Oscar Chamosa brings forth the compelling story of an important but often overlooked component of the formation of popular nationalism in Latin America: the development of the Argentine folklore movement in the first part of the twentieth century. This movement involved academicians studying the culture of small farmers and herders of mixed indigenous and Spanish descent in the distant valleys of the Argentine northwest, as well as artists and musicians who took on the role of reinterpreting these local cultures for urban audiences of mostly European descent.
Oscar Chamosa combines intellectual history with ethnographic and sociocultural analysis to reconstruct the process by which mestizo culture—in Argentina called criollo culture—came to occupy the center of national folklore in a country that portrayed itself as the only white nation in South America. The author finds that the conservative plantation owners—the “sugar elites”—who exploited the criollo peasants sponsored the folklore movement that romanticized them as the archetypes of nationhood. Ironically, many of the composers and folk singers who participated in the landowner-sponsored movement adhered to revolutionary and reformist ideologies and denounced the exploitation to which those criollo peasants were subjected. Chamosa argues that, rather than debilitating the movement, these opposing and contradictory ideologies permitted its triumph and explain, in part, the enduring romanticizing of rural life and criollo culture, essential components of Argentine nationalism.
The book not only reveals the political motivations of culture in Argentina and Latin America but also has implications for understanding the articulation of local culture with national politics and entertainment markets that characterizes contemporary cultural processes worldwide today.
Art and Social Movements offers a comparative, cross-border analysis of the role of visual artists in three social movements from the late 1960s through the early 1990s: the 1968 student movement and related activist art collectives in Mexico City, a Zapotec indigenous struggle in Oaxaca, and the Chicano movement in California. Based on extensive archival research and interviews, Edward J. McCaughan explores how artists helped to shape the identities and visions of a generation of Mexican and Chicano activists by creating new visual discourses.
McCaughan argues that the social power of activist artists emanates from their ability to provoke people to see, think, and act in innovative ways. Artists, he claims, help to create visual languages and spaces through which activists can imagine and perform new collective identities and forms of meaningful citizenship. The artists' work that he discusses remains vital today—in movements demanding fuller democratic rights and social justice for working people, women, ethnic communities, immigrants, and sexual minorities throughout Mexico and the United States. Integrating insights from scholarship on the cultural politics of representation with structural analyses of specific historical contexts, McCaughan expands our understanding of social movements.
There are two Indias: the caste and class elite who hold all power and make up 10 to 15 percent of the population, and everyone else. Averting the Apocalypse is about everyone else. Arthur Bonner, a former New York Times reporter with long experience as a foreign correspondent in Asia, conducted interviews over many months while traveling almost 20,000 miles within India seeking out the underclass and social activists who together are beginning to mobilize for social change at the bottom of Indian society. Working in areas torn by violence, Bonner offers a terrifyingly accurate portrait of a society bloodied by decades of unequal social structure and the absence of a civil society and political mechanism capable of responding to the exploitation of the poor and weak. Bonner finds that India’s inability or refusal to address its debilitating social structure may be the precursor to an apocalyptic social upheaval unless heed is paid to the social movements that his first-hand investigation reveals.