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Essays on Chicano Literary History, Genre, and Borders
Once relegated to the borders of literature—neither Mexican nor truly American—Chicana/o writers have always been in the vanguard of change, articulating the multicultural ethnicities, shifting identities, border realities, and even postmodern anxieties and hostilities that already characterize the twenty-first century. Indeed, it is Chicana/o writers’ very in-between-ness that makes them authentic spokespersons for an America that is becoming increasingly Mexican/Latin American and for a Mexico that is ever more Americanized. In this pioneering study, Héctor Calderón looks at seven Chicana and Chicano writers whose narratives constitute what he terms an American Mexican literature. Drawing on the concept of “Greater Mexican” culture first articulated by Américo Paredes, Calderón explores how the works of Paredes, Rudolfo Anaya, Tomás Rivera, Oscar Zeta Acosta, Cherríe Moraga, Rolando Hinojosa, and Sandra Cisneros derive from Mexican literary traditions and genres that reach all the way back to the colonial era. His readings cover a wide span of time (1892–2001), from the invention of the Spanish Southwest in the nineteenth century to the América Mexicana that is currently emerging on both sides of the border. In addition to his own readings of the works, Calderón also includes the writers’ perspectives on their place in American/Mexican literature through excerpts from their personal papers and interviews, correspondence, and e-mail exchanges he conducted with most of them.
Legislators' Beliefs about Distributive Fairness
Narratives of Justice offers a provocative, contemporary look at the timeless questions of justice and fairness. Using face-to-face interviews, Grant Reeher plumbs the minds of legislators for their beliefs about distributive justice and attempts to discover the ways in which those beliefs influence their behavior. The book calls into question many notions of American political ideology and, in particular, the idea of an "American exceptionalism" regarding views from the political left, and the dominance in the United States of a "liberal tradition." Political philosophers have amassed a large body of work on justice and fairness from a theoretical perspective, but there is comparatively little empirical work on the subject. The work that does exist concentrates on the beliefs of the public. We know very little concerning the beliefs about justice held by political elites. This work offers a window into the beliefs of legislators, a group for which such an inquiry is rarely undertaken. The book is based on a set of extended, in-depth interviews with the members of the Connecticut State Senate as well as a year of close observation of the Senate in action. The interviews averaged four hours in length and covered a variety of topics related to fairness. Through this material, Reeher employs a narrative-based framework to understand the patterns in the senators' interview responses, and develops a typology of the senator's narratives. These narratives vary in both content and form, and as a whole present a surprising range of views. Narratives of Justice will be of interest to those concerned with justice, political ideologies, and political beliefs, as well as state and local politics and, more generally, American politics. Its wide research and thorough documentation make it a useful guide to the literature within and beyond political science concerning beliefs, ideologies, legislative behavior, and qualitative research methods. Grant Reeher is Assistant Professor, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Department of Political Science, Syracuse University, and currently a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research, University of Michigan.
Beyond the Holocaust
As a boy studying Torah, Isaac Neuman learned to seek the spiritual lessons hidden in everyday life. Likewise, in this narrative of occupation and holocaust, he uncovers a core of human decency and spiritual strength that inhumanity, starvation, and even death failed to extinguish._x000B_Unlike many Holocaust memoirs that focus on physical suffering and endurance, The Narrow Bridge follows a spiritual journey. Neuman describes the world of Polish Jewry before and during the Holocaust, recreating the strong religious and secular personalities of his childhood and early youth in Zdunska Wola, Poland: the outcast butcher, Haskel Traskalawski; the savvy criminal-turned-entrepreneur Nochem Ellia; the trusted Dr. Lemberg, liaison to the German occupation government; and Neuman's beloved teacher, Reb Mendel. Through their stories, Neuman reveals the workings of a community tested to the limits of faith and human dignity. _x000B_With his brother Yossel, Neuman was transported to the Poznan area, first to the Yunikowo work camp in May 1941, then on to St. Martin's Cemetery camp, where they removed gold jewelry and fillings from exhumed corpses. A string of concentration camps followed, each more oppressive than the last: FÃ¼rstenfelde, Auschwitz, FÃ¼nfteichen, Gross Rosen, Mauthausen, Wels, and Ebensee. In the midst of these horrors, the brothers kept their feet on the "narrow bridge" of life by holding to their faith, their memories, and each other. In the end, only Isaac survived._x000B_The Narrow Bridge celebrates symbolic victories of faith over brute force. The execution of Zdunska Wola's Jewish spiritual and intellectual leaders is trumped by an act of breathtaking courage and conviction. A secret Passover Seder is cobbled together from hoarded bits of wax, piecemeal prayers, and matzoh baked in delousing ovens. A dying fellow inmate gives Neuman his warm coat as they both lie freezing on the ground._x000B_Such rituals of faith and acts of kindness, combined with boyhood memories and a sense of spiritual responsibility, sustained Neuman through the Holocaust and helped him to reconstruct his life after the war. His story is a powerful testimony to an unquenchable faith and a spirit tried by fire._x000B__x000B__x000B__x000B_
No. 6 (2003) through current issue
Cofounded in 1998 by the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University and the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues provides an international, interdisciplinary academic forum the only one of its kind for the innovative work being done in the many areas of research that comprise the field of Jewish women's and gender studies. It regularly includes articles on literature, text studies, anthropology, theology, contemporary thought, sociology, the arts, and more. It aims to create communication channels within the Jewish women's and gender studies community, to bring the fruits of that community's work to a wider audience, and to enhance their educational, political, and cultural impact on the Jewish world and beyond. In addition, each issue of Nashim highlights the new voices that seek to redefine the place of women in the Jewish tradition and Jewish learning in ways that incorporate female creativity and spirituality.
Immigrant Settlement, Urban Transformation, and Social Belonging
Beginning in the 1990s, the geography of Latino migration to and within the United States started to shift. Immigrants from Central and South America increasingly bypassed the traditional gateway cities to settle in small cities, towns, and rural areas throughout the nation, particularly in the South. One popular new destination – Nashville, Tennessee – saw its Hispanic population increase by over 400 percent between 1990 and 2000. Nashville, like many other such new immigrant destinations, had little to no history of incorporating immigrants into local life. How did Nashville, as a city and society, respond to immigrant settlement? How did Latino immigrants come to understand their place in Nashville in the midst of this remarkable demographic change? In Nashville in the New Millennium, geographer Jamie Winders offers one of the first extended studies of the cultural, racial, and institutional politics of immigrant incorporation in a new urban destination. Moving from schools to neighborhoods to Nashville’s wider civic institutions, Nashville in the New Millennium details how Nashville’s long-term residents and its new immigrants experienced daily life as it transformed into a multicultural city with a new cosmopolitanism. Using an impressive array of methods, including archival work, interviews, and participant observation, Winders offers a fine-grained analysis of the importance of historical context, collective memories and shared social spaces in the process of immigrant incorporation. Lacking a shared memory of immigrant settlement, Nashville’s long-term residents turned to local history to explain and interpret a new Latino presence. A site where Latino day laborers gathered, for example, became a flashpoint in Nashville’s politics of immigration in part because the area had once been a popular gathering place for area teenagers in the 1960s and 1970s. Teachers also drew from local historical memories, particularly the busing era, to make sense of their newly multicultural student body. They struggled, however, to help immigrant students relate to the region’s complicated racial past, especially during history lessons on the Jim Crow era and the Civil Rights movement. When Winders turns to life in Nashville’s neighborhoods, she finds that many Latino immigrants opted to be quiet in public, partly in response to negative stereotypes of Hispanics across Nashville. Long-term residents, however, viewed this silence as evidence of a failure to adapt to local norms of being neighborly. Filled with voices from both long-term residents and Latino immigrants, Nashville in the New Millennium offers an intimate portrait of the changing geography of immigrant settlement in America. It provides a comprehensive picture of Latino migration’s impact on race relations in the country and is an especially valuable contribution to the study of race and ethnicity in the South.
Racial Etiquette and the Struggle for Social Justice in a Southern City
The Evolution of a Texas German Slave Plantation
In the 1840s an organization of German noblemen, the Mainzner Adelsverein, attempted to settle thousands of German emigrants on the Texas frontier. Nassau Plantation, located near modern-day Round Top, Texas, in northern Fayette County, was a significant part of this story. James C. Kearney has studied a wealth of original source material (much of it in German) to illuminate the history of the plantation and the larger goals and motivation of the Adelsverein. This new study highlights the problematic relationship of German emigrants to slavery. Few today realize that the society’s original colonization plan included ownership and operation of slave plantations. Ironically, the German settlements the society later established became hotbeds of anti-slavery and anti-secessionist sentiment. Several notable personalities graced the plantation, including Carl Prince of Solms-Braunfels, Johann Otto Freiherr von Meusebach, botanist F. Lindheimer, and the renowned naturalist Dr. Ferdinand Roemer. Dramatic events also occurred at the plantation, including a deadly shootout, a successful escape by two slaves (documented in an unprecedented way), and litigation over ownership that wound its way to both the Texas Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
In August 1831, in Southampton County, Virginia, Nat Turner led a bloody uprising that took the lives of some fifty-five white people—men, women, and children—shocking the South. Nearly as many black people, all told, perished in the rebellion and its aftermath. Nat Turner and the Rising in Southampton County presents important new evidence about the violence and the community in which it took place, shedding light on the insurgents and victims and reinterpreting the most important account of that event, The Confessions of Nat Turner. Drawing upon largely untapped sources, David F. Allmendinger Jr. reconstructs the lives of key individuals who were drawn into the uprising and shows how the history of certain white families and their slaves—reaching back into the eighteenth century—shaped the course of the rebellion. Never before has anyone so patiently examined the extensive private and public sources relating to Southampton as does Allmendinger in this remarkable work. He argues that the plan of rebellion originated in the mind of a single individual, Nat Turner, who concluded between 1822 and 1826 that his own masters intended to continue holding slaves into the next generation. Turner specifically chose to attack households to which he and his followers had connections. The book also offers a close analysis of his Confessions and the influence of Thomas R. Gray, who wrote down the original text in November 1831. The author draws new conclusions about Turner and Gray, their different motives, the authenticity of the confession, and the introduction of terror as a tactic, both in the rebellion and in its most revealing document. Students of slavery, the Old South, and African American history will find in Nat Turner and the Rising in Southampton County an outstanding example of painstaking research and imaginative family and community history.
A Life in Native and African American Music
Natalie Curtis Burlin (1876–1921) was born to a wealthy New York City family and initially trained for a career as a classical concert pianist. But in 1903, she left her family and training behind to study, collect, and popularize the music of American Indians in the Southwest and African Americans at the Hampton Institute in the belief that the music of these groups could help forge a distinctive American identity in a time of dramatic social change. Michelle Wick Patterson examines the life, work, and legacy of Curtis at the turn of the century. The influence of increased industrialization, urbanization, immigration, and shaken social mores motivated Curtis to emphasize Native and African American contributions to the antimodernist discourse of this period. Additionally, Curtis’s work in the field and her actions with informants reflect the impact of the changing status of women in public life, marriage, and the professions as well as new ideas regarding race and culture. Many of the people who touched Curtis’s life were among the intellectual, political, and artistic leaders of their time, including Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Lummis, Franz Boas, George Foster Peabody, and others. This well-researched and richly textured portrait of Curtis illuminates the life and contributions of an important early ethnomusicologist, meticulously portraying her within the social, intellectual, and political developments of the day.
Philosophers are accustomed to thinking about human existence as finite and deathbound. Anne O'Byrne focuses instead on birth as a way to make sense of being alive. Building on the work of Heidegger, Dilthey, Arendt, and Nancy, O'Byrne discusses how the world becomes ours and how meaning emerges from our relations to generations past and to come. Themes such as creation, time, inheritance, birth and action, embodiment, biological determinism, and cloning anchor this sensitive and powerful analysis. O'Byrne's thinking advances and deepens important discussions at the intersections of feminism, continental philosophy, philosophy of religion, and social and political thought.