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Remapping Race in Suburban California
U.S. suburbs are typically imagined to be predominantly white communities, but this is increasingly untrue in many parts of the country. Examining a multiracial suburb that is decidedly nonwhite, Wendy Cheng unpacks questions of how identity—especially racial identity—is shaped by place. She offers an in-depth portrait, enriched by nearly seventy interviews, of the San Gabriel Valley, not far from downtown Los Angeles, where approximately 60 percent of residents are Asian American and more than 30 percent are Latino. At first glance, the cities of the San Gabriel Valley look like stereotypical suburbs, but almost no one who lives there is white.
The Changs Next Door to the Díazes reveals how a distinct culture is being fashioned in, and simultaneously reshaping, an environment of strip malls, multifamily housing, and faux Mediterranean tract homes. Informed by her interviews as well as extensive analysis of three episodic case studies, Cheng argues that people’s daily experiences—in neighborhoods, schools, civic organizations, and public space—deeply influence their racial consciousness. In the San Gabriel Valley, racial ideologies are being reformulated by these encounters. Cheng views everyday landscapes as crucial terrains through which racial hierarchies are learned, instantiated, and transformed. She terms the process “regional racial formation,” through which locally accepted racial orders and hierarchies complicate and often challenge prevailing notions of race.
There is a place-specific state of mind here, Cheng finds. Understanding the processes of racial formation in the San Gabriel Valley in the contemporary moment is important in itself but also has larger value as a model for considering the spatial dimensions of racial formation and the significant demographic shifts taking place across the national landscape.
The Global Evolution of a New South City
This textbook provides a unique and thorough look at the application of chemical biomarkers to aquatic ecosystems. Defining a chemical biomarker as a compound that can be linked to particular sources of organic matter identified in the sediment record, the book indicates that the application of these biomarkers for an understanding of aquatic ecosystems consists of a biogeochemical approach that has been quite successful but underused. This book offers a wide-ranging guide to the broad diversity of these chemical biomarkers, is the first to be structured around the compounds themselves, and examines them in a connected and comprehensive way.
This timely book is appropriate for advanced undergraduate and graduate students seeking training in this area; researchers in biochemistry, organic geochemistry, and biogeochemistry; researchers working on aspects of organic cycling in aquatic ecosystems; and paleoceanographers, petroleum geologists, and ecologists.
What follows from that simple act is a chronicle of Lane’s deepening knowledge of the place where he’ll likely finish out his life. An accomplished hiker and paddler, Lane discovers, within a mile of his home, a variety of coexistent landscapes--ancient and modern, natural and manmade. There is, of course, the creek with its granite shoals, floodplain, and surrounding woods. The circle also encompasses an eight-thousand-year-old cache of Native American artifacts, graves of a dozen British soldiers killed in 1780, an eighteenth-century ironworks site, remnants of two cotton plantations, a hundred-year-old country club, a sewer plant, and a smattering of mid- to late twentieth-century subdivisions.
Lane’s explorations intensify his bonds to family, friends, and colleagues as they sharpen his sense of place. By looking more deeply at what lies close to home, both the ordinary and the remarkable, Lane shows us how whole new worlds can open up.
Identity Politics in Urban Spaces
Cities have long been associated with diversity and tolerance, but from Jerusalem to Belfast to the Basque Country, many of the most intractable conflicts of the past century have played out in urban spaces. The contributors to this interdisciplinary volume examine the interrelationships of ethnic, racial, religious, or other identity conflicts and larger battles over sovereignty and governance. Under what conditions do identity conflicts undermine the legitimacy and power of nation-states, empires, or urban authorities? Does the urban built environment play a role in remedying or exacerbating such conflicts? Employing comparative analysis, these case studies from the Middle East, Europe, and South and Southeast Asia advance our understanding of the origins and nature of urban conflict.
The Political Transnationalism of El Migrante
Michael Peter Smith and Matt Bakker spent five years carrying out ethnographic field research in multiple communities in the Mexican states of Zacatecas and Guanajuato and various cities in California, particularly metropolitan Los Angeles. Combining the information they gathered there with political-economic and institutional analysis, the five extended case studies in Citizenship across Borders offer a new way of looking at the emergent dynamics of transnational community development and electoral politics on both sides of the border.
Smith and Bakker highlight the continuing significance of territorial identifications and state policies-particularly those of the sending state-in cultivating and sustaining transnational connections and practices. In so doing, they contextualize and make sense of the complex interplay of identity and loyalty in the lives of transnational migrant activists. In contrast to high-profile warnings of the dangers to national cultures and political institutions brought about by long-distance nationalism and dual citizenship, Citizenship across Borders demonstrates that, far from undermining loyalty and diminishing engagement in U.S. political life, the practice of dual citizenship by Mexican migrants actually provides a sense of empowerment that fosters migrants' active civic engagement in American as well as Mexican politics.
In the summer of 2005, distinguished geographer Yi-Fu Tuan ventured to China to speak at an international architectural conference, returning for the first time to the place he had left as a child sixty-four years before. He traveled from Beijing to Shanghai, addressing college audiences, floating down the Yangtze River on a riverboat, and visiting his former home in Chongqing.
In this enchanting volume, Tuan’s childhood memories and musings on the places encountered during this homecoming are interspersed with new lectures, engaging overarching principles of human geography as well as the changing Chinese landscape. Throughout, Tuan’s interactions with his hosts, with his colleague’s children, and even with a garrulous tour guide, offer insights into one who has spent his life studying place, culture, and self.
At the beginning of his trip, Tuan wondered if he would be a stranger among people who looked like him. By its end, he reevaluates his own self-definition as a hyphenated American and sheds new light on human identity’s complex roots in history, geography, and language.
Yi-Fu Tuan is author of Cosmos and Hearth, Dear Colleague, and Space and Place, all from Minnesota. He retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998.
Landscape, Power, and Working-Class Communities
Mapping Peru in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
Landscape is never static, but changes continuously when seen in relation to human occupation, movement, labor, and discourse. Contested Territory explores the ways in which Peru’s early colonial landscapes were experienced and portrayed, especially by the Spanish conquerors but also by their conquered subjects. It focuses on the role played by indigenous groups in shaping the Spanish experiences of landscapes, the diverse geographical images of Peru and ways in which these were constructed and contested, and what this can tell us about the nature of colonial relations in post-conquest Peru. This exceptional study, which draws from archival records and sources such as cartographies, offers a richly nuanced view of the complexity of colonial relations. It will be read with appreciation by those interested in Spanish history, geography, and colonialism.
Power Relations and the Urban Built Environment
In the British colonial city of Singapore, municipal authorities and Asian communities faced off over numerous issue. As the city expanded, disputes arose in connection with sanitation, housing, street names, control over pedestrian “five-foot-ways”, and sacred spaces such as burial grounds. Brenda Yeoh’s Contesting Space in Colonial Singapore details these conflicts and how they shaped the city. The British administration structured the private and public environments of the city with an eye toward shaping human behaviour, following scientific principles and the lessons of urban planning in other parts of the world. For the Asian communities, Singapore was the place where they lived according to their own values, priorities and resources. The two perceptions of the city frequently clashed, and the author reads the cityscape of Singapore as the result of this contest between discipline and resistance. Drawing on meticulous research and a theoretically sophisticated use of cultural and social geography, post-colonial historical discourse, and social theory, the author offers a compelling picture of a critical stage in Singapore's past. It is an important contribution to the study of colonial cities and an indispensable resource for understanding the shape of modern Singapore.