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Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the United States

Edited and with an introduction by Paul DiMaggio and Patricia Fernandez-Kelly

Publication Year: 2010

Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the United States is the first book to provide a comprehensive and lively analysis of the contributions of artists from America's newest immigrant communities-Africa, the Middle East, China, India, Southeast Asia, Central America, and Mexico. Adding significantly to our understanding of both the arts and immigration, multidisciplinary scholars explore tensions that artists face in forging careers in a new world and navigating between their home communities and the larger society.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Series: Rutgers Series - The Public Life of the


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pp. vii-viii

We are deeply grateful to the Rockefeller Foundation, whose grant made possible the conference upon which this volume is based, and to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts, for their support for the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, directed by Stanley Katz, and cosponsorship of this conference. Thanks also to the Princeton University Center for Migration and ...

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1. Introduction: The Diversity and Mobility of Immigrant Arts

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pp. 1-22

Over the past three decades, the dramatic rise in immigration from Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean has greatly expanded the palette of cultural practices and styles to which people in the United States have access. Once considered exotic, the foods of Japan, India, and Mexico have become as American as the hamburger. Salsa music and reggae are now as familiar in many parts of the ...

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2. Migrants and the Transformation of Philadelphia’s Cultural Economy

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pp. 23-51

Assimilation is the problem of the twenty-first century. The number of international migrations has nearly doubled in the past quarter century from 99 million in 1980 to 190 million in 2005 (United Nations 2006). The issue of how to bridge the chasms that separate the world’s peoples in general and those that separate migrant from host populations confronts an ever-expanding share of the world’s nations. ...

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3. A Howl to the Heavens: Art in the Life of First- and Second-Generation Cuban Americans

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pp. 52-71

In a review of Phillip Roth’s prolific contribution to American literature, the critic Claudia Roth Pierpont observes about the central character in Roth’s most notorious book that Alexander Portnoy’s onanistic hold to the flesh is “literally, in rebellion against the life that is being forced upon him . . . a fiercely comic shtick that is also a howl to the heavens” (Pierpont 2006, 82). The same may be said about much ...

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4. Inside and Outside the Box: The Politics of Arab American Identity and Artistic Representations

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pp. 72-88

Arab American identity is strongly rooted in the political realities and social identity constructions of the homeland. For decades homeland attachments have shaped Arab American identity; thus, it is not surprising that Arab American arts have traditionally relied on the cultural and folkloric elements of social ties and other relationships to the homeland. As with other ethnic groups, however, an ...

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5. Desis in and out of the House: South Asian Youth Culture in the United States Before and After 9/11

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pp. 89-108

South Asian immigrants in the United States are generally associated with popular culture and artistic expressions that are considered exotic, colorful, and traditional. There has long been a particular market in the United States for elite forms of South Asian culture, such as classical music and dance, performed by maestros at “high culture” venues and favored by world music aficionados as well as upper-middle- ...

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6. The Intimate Circle: Finding Common ground in Mariachi and Norte

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pp. 109-124

Stepping into Tijuana’s from the cold of the New England seaport street, pushing in through the swinging doors into a warm and golden Mexican hacienda, we are greeted in Spanish by a petite woman with long black hair and a menu in her hand. She seats us next to a Latino family out for a Saturday night dinner; kids scramble on and off the laps of their parents and stop to take in the music as it passes by. It is, ...

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7. GenerAsians Learn Chinese: The Asian American youth Generation and New Class Formations

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pp. 125-154

Today’s Asian American youth generation is still haunted by the immigrant experience, and its material conditions continue to shape Asian American youth.1 As George Lipsitz has argued, the ideological dominance of the nation-state in area studies (including American studies) has “poorly prepared us for the ways in which culture functions as a social force or the ways in which aesthetic forms draw their ...

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8. Unfinished Journey: Mexican Migration Through the Visual Arts

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pp. 155-175

In this chapter I focus on the visual record surrounding Mexican immigration to the United States, including photographs, posters, drawings, paintings, prints, installations, and performances. I draw primarily on work produced in the United States by Mexican and Chicano artists to construct a comprehensive account of the unique experience of Mexican migrants over the last century. Two objectives frame ...

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9. Immigrant Art as Liminal Expression: The Case of Central Americans

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pp. 176-196

One of the first interviews I ever conducted with immigrants in the United States was with Rosario, a woman in her early twenties I met in San Francisco. She was born into a poor rural family in central El Salvador and started working as a housekeeper in San Salvador, the capital city, right after finishing sixth grade, from the time she was twelve years old. When we met, she seemed soft-spoken and pensive, ...

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10. Negotiating Memories of War: Arts in Vietnamese American Communities

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pp. 197-213

By most accounts, Vietnam was the site of one of the most brutal and destructive wars between Western imperial powers and the people of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Thirty years (1945–1975) of warfare destruction, coupled with another twenty years of postwar U.S. trade and aid economic embargo, cost Vietnam at least three million lives, shattered its economy and society, left the country among ...

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11. Miracles on the Border: The Votive Art of Mexican Migrants to the United States

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pp. 214-228

In recent decades the volume of migration between Mexico and the United States has risen dramatically and transnational movement has emerged as a major force binding the two countries. Although Mexican immigration has been the subject of many statistical studies (see Durand and Massey 1992 and Massey et al. 1994 for reviews), it has been less common to examine it from the viewpoint of the migrants ...

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12. Visual Culture and Visual Piety in Little Haiti: The Sea, the Tree, and the Refugee

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pp. 229-272

Religious images, none more so than the Virgin Mary and Saint James the Greater, abound in Haiti and its diaspora. They constitute public expressions of one of the world’s most original and vibrant national and now transnational artistic cultures. Whether in the mountains of Haiti or the streets of Miami’s Little Haiti, however, their meanings vary and are contested among Haitian believers. ...

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 277-292

E-ISBN-13: 9780813550411
E-ISBN-10: 0813550416
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813547572
Print-ISBN-10: 0813547571

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 10 photographs, 2 figures, 10 tables
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Rutgers Series - The Public Life of the
Series Editor Byline: Ruth Ann Stewart, Margaret Wyszominski, Joni Maya Cherbo See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 778455369
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the United States

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
  • United States -- Social life and customs -- 21st century.
  • Arts and society -- United States -- History -- 21st century.
  • Arts and society -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • Immigrants -- United States -- Social life and customs -- 21st century.
  • Immigrants -- United States -- Social life and customs -- 20th century.
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