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Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies

Vol. 1 (1999) through current issue

Diaspora is dedicated to the multidisciplinary study of the history, culture, social structure, politics and economics of both the traditional diasporas – Armenian, Greek, and Jewish – and those transnational dispersions which in the past three decades have chosen to identify themselves as ‘diasporas.’ These encompass groups ranging from the African-American to the Ukrainian-Canadian, from the Caribbean-British to the new East and South Asian diasporas.

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differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies

Vol. 10, no. 3 (1998) - vol. 15 (2004)

differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies first appeared in 1989 at the moment of a critical encounter--a head-on collision, one might say--of theories of difference (primarily Continental) and the politics of diversity (primarily American). In the ensuing years, the journal has established a critical forum where the problematic of differences is explored in texts ranging from the literary and the visual to the political and social. differences highlights theoretical debates across the disciplines that address the ways concepts and categories of difference--notably but not exclusively gender--operate within culture.

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The Dinner Party

Judy Chicago and the Power of Popular Feminism, 1970-2007

Jane F. Gerhard

Judy Chicago's monumental art installation The Dinner Party was an immediate sensation when it debuted in 1979, and today it is considered the most popular work of art to emerge from the second-wave feminist movement. Jane F. Gerhard examines the piece's popularity to understand how ideas about feminism migrated from activist and intellectual circles into the American mainstream in the last three decades of the twentieth century.

More than most social movements, feminism was transmitted and understood through culture—art installations, Ms. Magazine, All in the Family, and thousands of other cultural artifacts. But the phenomenon of cultural feminism came under extraordinary criticism in the late 1970s and 1980s Gerhard analyzes these divisions over whether cultural feminism was sufficiently activist in light of the shifting line separating liberalism from radicalism in post-1970s America. She concludes with a chapter on the 1990s, when The Dinner Party emerged as a target in political struggles over public funding for the arts, even as academic feminists denounced the piece for its alleged essentialism.

The path that The Dinner Party traveled—from inception (1973) to completion (1979) to tour (1979-1989) to the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum (2007)—sheds light on the history of American feminism since 1970 and on the ways popular feminism in particular can illuminate important trends and transformations in the broader culture.

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Dionysus in Literature

Essays on Literary Madness

Edited by Branimir M. Rieger

In this anthology, outstanding authorities present their assessments of literary madness in a variety of topics and approaches. The entire collection of essays presents intriguing aspects of the Dionysian element in literature.

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Dislocalism

The Crisis fo Globalization and the Remobilizing of Americanism

Notwithstanding its now extensive, trans-disciplinary bibliography, the full reality of globalization remains less well understood than commonly thought. As an objective, secular phenomenon, globalization has continued to be obscured by ideological and rhetorical strategies that travel under the same name but posit it as simply the abstract-universal other of the local. Dislocalism: The Crisis of Globalization and the Remobilizing of Americanism makes such strategies and the global/local binary they reinforce into objects of critical analysis. Taking her title from a new theoretical concept at the heart of this critique, Sarika Chandra argues that the historically dominant position of the United States in the global order takes on a uniquely urgent and problematic form: globalization is experienced not only as external to the American “nation of nations” but also as something internal to it. Through close study of four discrete intellectual/cultural arenas from the 1980s to the present—management theory, the literature of immigration, travel writing, and narratives of the culinary exotic—Chandra further argues that an Americanized imperative to globalize results in a repositioning of the local to maintain national and institutional boundaries. To “dislocalize” becomes, simultaneously, to “dislocalize.” By mapping out the deeper, often hidden discursive ambiguities and historical specificities of an Americanized globalization, Dislocalism effectively redefines and re-orients the fields of American literary and cultural studies.

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Disney TV

J. P. Telotte

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company's network television series Disneyland/The Wonderful World of Color. The series, part of Walt Disney's quest to re-create American entertainment, premiered October 27, 1954 on ABC and was the longest-lived program in television history. Over the years, Walt Disney's visions have evolved into family-oriented cinema, television, theme parks. From the lovable Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to magical places like Frontierland, Disneyland/The Wonderful World of Color generated some of the most popular fads of the era. In Disney TV, J. P. Telotte examines the history of the Disney television series while placing it in context—the film industry's reaction to television in the post-World War II era, the Disney Studios’ place in the American entertainment industry, and Walt Disney’s dream to create the modern theme park. Telotte’s guiding principle in this examination is to illustrate how Disney changed the relationship between cinema and television and, perhaps more importantly, how it affected American culture. The conciseness of Telotte's book is a major advantage over other leading Disney scholarship. Detailed, without including minutia, Telotte provides the reader with the key issues that surrounded the development of the Disney phenomenon. This book will attract a wide array of readers--scholars of television, media, and film studies, popular culture students, and all those touched by the magic of Disney.

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Displacing Desire

Travel and Popular Culture in China

Beth E. Notar

Why do millions of people from around the world flock to Dali, a small borderland town in the Himalayan foothills of southwest China? "Lonely planeteers"— American, European, and Israeli backpackers named for the guidebook they carry—trek halfway across the globe to "get off the beaten track," yet converge here to drink coffee, eat banana pancakes, and share music from home. Coastal Chinese who are prospering in the phenomenal economic growth of China’s reform era travel thousands of miles to sing songs and dress up as their favorite characters from a revolutionary-era movie musical. Overseas Chinese from Southeast Asia as well as a new generation of mainland youth follow in the footsteps of heroes and villains from Hong Kong martial arts novels, seeking an experience of a Buddhist "wild, wild, West" at a martial arts theme park dubbed "Hollywood East," or "Daliwood." Inspired by representations in popular culture that engender fantasies of the exotic, these tourists, Western and Chinese, journey to Dali, Yunnan, in search of an imagined place where they can indulge their craving for authenticity, display their status in the present, and act out their nostalgia for the past. Based on more than a decade of ethnographic research, Beth Notar explores struggles over place as people in Dali attempt to represent their historical identity and define their future. Displacing Desire takes representation into the realm of practice to consider the ways in which those who are represented must contend with their image in popular culture and the material after-effects of representations even decades after their original production. It contributes to an exploration of travel as performance of nostalgia, fantasy, and status. More specifically it contributes to an understanding of the growth of consumer culture in China, examining what China’s modernization process and market economy mean for different social actors in their struggles over power and place.

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Dissecting Stephen King

From the Gothic to Literary Naturalism

Heidi Strengell

    In a thoughtful, well-informed study exploring fiction from throughout Stephen King's immense oeuvre, Heidi Strengell shows how this popular writer enriches his unique brand of horror by building on the traditions of his literary heritage. Tapping into the wellsprings of the gothic to reveal contemporary phobias, King invokes the abnormal and repressed sexuality of the vampire, the hubris of Frankenstein, the split identity of the werewolf, the domestic melodrama of the ghost tale. Drawing on myths and fairy tales, he creates characters who, like the heroic Roland the Gunslinger and the villainous Randall Flagg, may either reinforce or subvert the reader's childlike faith in society. And in the manner of the naturalist tradition, he reinforces a tension between the free will of the individual and the daunting hand of fate.
    Ultimately, Strengell shows how King shatters our illusions of safety and control: "King places his decent and basically good characters at the mercy of indifferent forces, survival depending on their moral strength and the responsibility they may take for their fellow men."

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Dissonant Identities

The Rock'n'Roll Scene in Austin, Texas

Barry Shank

Music of the bars and clubs of Austin, Texas has long been recognized as defining one of a dozen or more musical "scenes" across the country. In Dissonant Identities, Barry Shank, himself a musician who played and lived in the Texas capital, studies the history of its popular music, its cultural and economic context, and also the broader ramifications of that music as a signifying practice capable of transforming identities.

While his focus is primarily on progressive country and rock, Shank also writes about traditional country, blues, rock, disco, ethnic, and folk musics. Using empirical detail and an expansive theoretical framework, he shows how Austin became the site for "a productive contestation between two forces: the fierce desire to remake oneself through musical practice, and the equally powerful struggle to affirm the value of that practice in the complexly structured late-capitalist marketplace."

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The DNA Mystique

The Gene as a Cultural Icon

Dorothy Nelkin and M. Susan Lindee

The DNA Mystique is a wake-up call to all who would dismiss America's love affair with 'the gene' as a merely eccentric obsession. --In These Times "Nelkin and Lindee are to be warmly congratulated for opening up this intriguing field [of genetics in popular culture] to further study." --Nature The DNA Mystique suggests that the gene in popular culture draws on scientific ideas but is not constrained by the technical definition of the gene as a section of DNA that codes for a protein. In highlighting DNA as it appears in soap operas, comic books, advertising, and other expressions of mass culture, the authors propose that these domains provide critical insights into science itself. With a new introduction and conclusion, this edition will continue to be an engaging, accessible, and provocative text for the sociology, anthropology, and bioethics classroom, as well as stimulating reading for those generally interested in science and culture.

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