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Cosmopolitanism and Solidarity

Studies in Ethnoracial, Religious, and Professional Affiliation in the United States

David A. Hollinger

Publication Year: 2006

    "Who are we?" is the question at the core of these fascinating essays from one of the nation's leading intellectual historians. With old identities increasingly destabilized throughout the world—the result of demographic migration, declining empires, and the quickening integration of the global capitalist economy and its attendant communications systems—David A. Hollinger argues that the problem of group solidarity is emerging as one of the central challenges of the twenty-first century.  
    Building on many of the topics in his highly acclaimed earlier work, these essays treat a number of contentious issues, many of them deeply embedded in America's past and present political polarization. Essays include "Amalgamation and Hypodescent," "Enough Already: Universities Do Not Need More Christianity," "Cultural Relativism," "Why Are Jews Preeminent in Science and Scholarship: The Veblen Thesis Reconsidered," and "The One Drop Rule and the One Hate Rule." Hollinger is at his best in his judicious approach to America's controversial history of race, ethnicity, and religion, and he offers his own thoughtful prescriptions as Americans and others throughout the world struggle with the pressing questions of identity and solidarity.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xxv

Just who belongs together with whom, and for what purposes, and on what authority? The answers to these basic issues in affiliation are not as obvious as they once seemed. Ascribed and taken-for-granted identities are being disrupted by a multitude of social...

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1. Amalgamation and Hypodescent: The Question of Ethnoracial Mixture in the History of the United States

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pp. 3-38

In the middle of a July night in 1958, a couple living in a small town in Virginia were awakened when a party of local police officers walked into their bedroom and arrested them for a felony violation of Virginia’s miscegenation statute. The couple had been...

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2. The One Drop Rule and the One Hate Rule

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pp. 39-56

Two portentous practices within the public discussion of “race” in the United States since the late 1960s are rarely analyzed together. One is the method by which we decide which individuals are “black.” The other is our habit of conflating the mistreatment...

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3. The Historian’s Use of the United States and Vice Versa

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pp. 57-76

Nations can easily turn historians into tools. When David Potter etched this point into the collective mind of historians in 1962, he assumed that nations, for better or for worse, would remain the central subject of historians. Potter paused at the start of...

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4. Money and Academic Freedom a Half-Century after McCarthyism: Universities amid the Force Fields of Capital

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pp. 77-105

In 1971 Lewis Powell, then a prominent lawyer in Richmond, Virginia, not yet nominated by President Nixon for the Supreme Court, outlined a plan for neutralizing liberal and radical professors without running afoul of the academic freedom of individual...

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5. Enough Already: Universities Do Not Need More Christianity

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pp. 106-119

Universities have reason to be proud of having created, within the most Christian of all industrialized societies of the North Atlantic West, a rare space in which ideas identified as Christian are...

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6. The Enlightenment and the Genealogy of Cultural Conflict in the United States

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pp. 120-134

In 1969, Charlie Manson and his band committed the stylized murders for which they are still remembered. Several months after these grisly events, a faculty colleague of mine at SUNY Buffalo, where he and I had just begun our teaching careers, said to...

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7. Why Are Jews Preeminent in Science and Scholarship? The Veblen Thesis Reconsidered

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pp. 135-153

Why were one-third of the German citizens who won Nobel Prizes between 1901 and 1940 born into that tiny fraction of the German population that was of Jewish descent? Why have Jews been demographically overrepresented by factors of six and even...

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8. Rich, Powerful, and Smart: Jewish Overrepresentation Should Be Explained Instead of Avoided or Mystified

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pp. 154-165

In the closing scene of Philip Roth’s The Human Stain (New York, 2000) two white men, one a Jew and one who might be called a “poor white,” confront one another while standing on a sheet of white ice beneath which is an expanse of blackness...

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9. Cultural Relativism

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pp. 166-184

Of prominent concepts that owe their credibility and popularity to social science, “cultural relativism” is unusual for having received so little clarification from social scientists. The concept is properly associated with a group of anthropologists who...


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pp. 187-208


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pp. 209-213

E-ISBN-13: 9780299216634
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299216603

Publication Year: 2006