University of Minnesota Press

A Quadrant Book

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

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A Quadrant Book

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The Tourist State

Performing Leisure, Liberalism, and Race in New Zealand

Margaret Werry

No longer the dreary sheep farm at the end of the world, the New Zealand of the new millennium is a hot global ticket, heralded for its bicultural dynamism, laid-back lifestyle, and scenery extraordinary enough to pass for Tolkien’s Middle Earth. How this image was crafted is the story The Tourist State tells. In a series of narratives that address the embodied dimensions of biopolitics and explore the collision of race, performance, and the cultural poetics of the state, Margaret Werry exposes the real drama behind the new New Zealand, revealing how a nation was sold to the world—and to itself.

The story stretches back to the so-called Liberal Era at the beginning of the twentieth century, in which the young settler colony touted itself as the social laboratory of the world. Focusing on where tourism and liberal governmentality coincide, The Tourist State takes us from military diplomacy at the dawn of the American Pacific to the exotic blandishments of Broadway and Coney Island, from landscape preservation to health reform and town planning, from blockbuster film to knowledge economy policy.

Weaving together interpretive history, performance ethnography, and cultural criticism, Werry offers new ways to think about race and indigeneity—and about the role of human agency in state-making.

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Zoo Renewal

White Flight and the Animal Ghetto

Lisa Uddin

Why do we feel bad at the zoo? In a fascinating counterhistory of American zoos in the 1960s and 1970s, Lisa Uddin revisits the familiar narrative of zoo reform, from naked cages to more naturalistic enclosures. She argues that reform belongs to the story of cities and feelings toward many of their human inhabitants. 

In Zoo Renewal, Uddin demonstrates how efforts to make the zoo more natural and a haven for particular species reflected white fears about the American city—and, pointedly, how the shame many visitors felt in observing confined animals drew on broader anxieties about race and urban life. Examining the campaign against cages, renovations at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and the San Diego Zoo, and the cases of a rare female white Bengal tiger and a collection of southern white rhinoceroses, Uddin unpacks episodes that challenge assumptions that zoos are about other worlds and other creatures and expand the history of U.S. urbanism.

Uddin shows how the drive to protect endangered species and to ensure larger, safer zoos was shaped by struggles over urban decay, suburban growth, and the dilemmas of postwar American whiteness. In so doing, Zoo Renewal ultimately reveals how feeling bad, or good, at the zoo is connected to our feelings about American cities and their residents.


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