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.
From the 1920s—a decade marked by racism and nativism—through World War II, hundreds of thousands of Americans took part in a vibrant campaign to overcome racial, ethnic, and religious prejudices. They celebrated the “cultural gifts” that immigrant and minority groups brought to society, learning that ethnic identity could be compatible with American ideals.Diana Selig tells the neglected story of the cultural gifts movement, which flourished between the world wars. Progressive activists encouraged pluralism in homes, schools, and churches across the country. Countering racist trends and the melting-pot theory of Americanization, they championed the idea of diversity. They incorporated new thinking about child development, race, and culture into grassroots programs—yet they were unable to address the entrenched forms of discrimination and disfranchisement faced by African Americans in particular. This failure to grasp the deep social and economic roots of prejudice ultimately limited the movement’s power.In depicting a vision for an inclusive American identity from a diverse citizenry, Americans All is a timely reminder of the debates over difference and unity that remain at the heart of American society.
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.
Articulating Dissent analyses the new communicative strategies of coalition protest movements and how these impact on a mainstream media unaccustomed to fractured articulations of dissent.
Pollyanna Ruiz shows how coalition protest movements against austerity, war and globalisation build upon the communicative strategies of older single issue campaigns such as the anti-criminal justice bill protests and the women’s peace movement. She argues that such protest groups are dismissed in the mainstream for not articulating a ‘unified position’ and explores the way in which contemporary protesters stemming from different traditions maintain solidarity.
Articulating Dissent investigates the ways in which this diversity, so inherent in coalition protest, affects the movement of ideas from the political margins to the mainstream. In doing so this book offers an insightful and original analysis of the protest coalition as a developing political form.
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