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Race in Translation

Culture Wars around the Postcolonial Atlantic

By Ella Shohat

Publication Year: 2012

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright PAge

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

in the long process of gestation of this book—going back to its first conceptualization realized in an essay (“Travelling Multiculturalism: French Intellectuals and the U.S. Culture Wars”) published in Black Renaissance Noire in 2001—we have received the support of many friends, colleagues, and institutions. We would like to thank...

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pp. xiii

race in translation: Culture Wars around the Postcolonial Atlantic is at once a report from various fronts in the race/colonial debates, a mapping of the germane literature in several languages, and an argument about the politics of the cross-border flow of ideas. Against the backdrop of an Atlantic space shaped by the conquest...

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1 The Atlantic Enlightenment

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pp. 1-25

the entire atlantic world was shaped by 1492 and what is euphemistically called the “encounter,” which engendered not only a catastrophe for indigenous peoples but also a crisis in European thinking. The clash of Europe and indigene provoked a multifaceted reflection on utopia (Thomas More) and dystopia (Bartolomé...

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2 A Tale of Three Republics

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pp. 26-60

having sketched out the larger Atlantic seascape as the backdrop to our discussion, we now examine the long-term strands of historical connection between the United States, Brazil, and France as three national zones positioned both similarly and differently toward the race/colonial question. Our trilateral focus is on (1) a “paradigmatic...

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3 The Seismic Shift and the Decolonization of Knowledge

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pp. 61-92

central 20th-century events—world War II, the Jewish Holocaust, and Third World independence struggles—all simultaneously delegitimized the West as axiomatic center of reference and affirmed the rights of non-European peoples emerging from the yoke of colonialism. Although resistance to colonialism has existed...

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4 Identity Politics and the Right/Left Convergence

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pp. 93-131

predictably, conservatives in many countries were not enthusiastic about the “seismic shift” manifested in these decolonizing projects. In the United States, the right accused multicultural “identity politics” of causing racial “balkanization” and “ethnic separatism.” In a faux populist attack stagemanaged by elite circles in...

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5 France, the United States, and the Culture Wars

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pp. 132-174

as we noted in chapter 3, France and the Francophone zones formed key sites in the postwar paradigm shift in thinking about race and colonialism, with May 1968 forming the high-water mark of Third Worldism. While de Gaulle pursued his independent path between the United States and the Soviet Union, the left mounted...

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6 Brazil, the United States, and the Culture Wars

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pp. 175-208

the post–world war ii period in Brazil was a time of relative democratization after the demise in 1945 of Vargas’s authoritarian New State first installed in 1937. Internationally, the defeat of Nazism led to the global discrediting of fascist racism. After 1945, the chauvinistic right-wing movement called “Integralism” was on the...

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7 From Affirmative Action to Interrogating Whiteness

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pp. 209-243

this chapter addresses, within a larger Atlantic context, two issues that might at first glance seem to be only vaguely related: Affirmative Action and whiteness studies. While the former represents concrete remedial measures, the latter forms part of an innovative academic trend. Yet the two issues are linked in that they address two forms of white privilege, one social and material, the other subjective...

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8 French Intellectuals and the Postcolonial

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pp. 244-269

it is in france, one of the key sites of Enlightenment thinking, that the contemporary debates are most explicitly seen as continuous with early debates around Les Lumières and the Revolution. Both the popular media and high-profile public intellectuals portray the conflict as one between universal secular Enlightenment and...

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9 The Transnational Traffic of Ideas

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pp. 270-300

in this chapter, we theorize the multidirectional traffic of ideas concerning race/coloniality across the three zones through an analysis of a quadrille of readings whereby intellectuals from one country engage with intellectuals from a second country who make claims about a third country. We also sketch out the history of U.S. and...


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pp. 301-334


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pp. 335-362

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About the Authors

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pp. 363

robert stam is University Professor at New York University. Among his many publications are François Truffaut and Friends: Modernism, Sexuality, and Film Adaptation (2006); Literature through Film: Realism, Magic, and the Art of Adaptation (2005); Literature...

E-ISBN-13: 9780814723920
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814798379
Print-ISBN-10: 0814798373

Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Race.
  • Culture.
  • Postcolonialism -- Atlantic Ocean Region.
  • Multiculturalism -- Atlantic Ocean Region.
  • Ethnicity -- Atlantic Ocean Region.
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