In this rich ethnographic study, Kelly D. Alley sheds light on debates about water uses, wastewater management, and the meanings of waste and sacred power. On the Banks of the Ganga analyzes the human predicaments that result from the accumulation and disposal of waste by tracing how citizens of India interpret the impact of wastewater flows on a sacred river and on their own cultural practices.
Alley investigates ethno-semantic, discursive, and institutional data to flesh out the interplay between religious, scientific, and official discourses about the river Ganga. Using a new outward layering methodology, she points out that anthropological analysis must separate the historical and discursive strands of the debates concerning waste and sacred purity in order to reveal the cultural complexities that surround the Ganga. Ultimately, she addresses a deeply rooted cultural paradox: if the Ganga river is considered sacred by Hindus across India, then why do the people allow it to become polluted?
Examining areas of contemporary concern such as water usage and urban waste management in the most populated river basin in the world, this book will appeal to anthropologists and readers in religious, environmental, and Asian studies, as well as geography and law.
Kelly D. Alley is Associate Professor and Director of Anthropology at Auburn University. In addition to being a prolific writer, she has conducted research on public culture and environmental issues in northern India for over a decade. Alley is currently overseeing a project to ameliorate river pollution problems in India.
Scripting the Black Masculine Body traces the origins of Black body politics in the United States and its contemporary manifestations in popular cultural productions. From early blackface cinema through contemporary portrayals of the Black body in hip-hop music and film, Ronald L. Jackson II examines how African American identities have been socially constructed, constituted, and publicly understood, and argues that popular music artists and film producers often are complicit with Black body stereotypes. Jackson offers a communicative perspective on body politics through a blend of social scientific and humanities approaches and offers possibilities for the liberation of the Black body from its current ineffectual and paralyzing representations.
Minnesota is often associated with its Scandinavian heritage, but in fact Germans are the largest single immigrant group in Minnesota history and were the largest ancestry group in the 2000 census. Author Kathleen Neils Conzen tells the story of German Americans and their profound influence on Minnesota history and culture.
Conzen recounts their triumphs and struggles over the last 150 years in a clear and concise narrative. Landing in poverty, Germans transformed acres of wilderness into productive farms and brought to America their love of art, music, and sociability. Immigrants came to America intent on creating, in the words of one agent, "an earthly paradise of this Minnesota" and "a new Germany" soon rose in Stearns County. Conzen explores not only the well-known enclaves in Brown and Stearns Counties but also looks at the smaller communities of Winona, on the Iron Range, and along the North Shore, as well as in the Twin Cities.
In recent times, a renewed interest in German heritage can be seen in towns like New Ulm, home to the thirty-two-foot statue of Hermann the German, hero of the wars against the ancient Roman legions, and Heritagefest, the ethnic heritage festival that occurs every summer.
As W. E. B. DuBois famously prophesied in The Souls of Black Folk, the fiction of the color line has been of urgent concern in defining a certain twentieth-century U.S. racial "order." Yet the very arbitrariness of this line also gives rise to opportunities for racial "passing," a practice through which subjects appropriate the terms of racial discourse. To erode race's authority, Gayle Wald argues, we must understand how race defines and yet fails to represent identity. She thus uses cultural narratives of passing to illuminate both the contradictions of race and the deployment of such contradictions for a variety of needs, interests, and desires.
Wald begins her reading of twentieth-century passing narratives by analyzing works by African American writers James Weldon Johnson, Jessie Fauset, and Nella Larsen, showing how they use the "passing plot" to explore the negotiation of identity, agency, and freedom within the context of their protagonists' restricted choices. She then examines the 1946 autobiography Really the Blues, which details the transformation of Milton Mesirow, middle-class son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, into Mezz Mezzrow, jazz musician and self-described "voluntary Negro." Turning to the 1949 films Pinky and
Lost Boundaries, which imagine African American citizenship within class-specific protocols of race and gender, she interrogates the complicated representation of racial passing in a visual medium. Her investigation of "post-passing" testimonials in postwar African American magazines, which strove to foster black consumerism while constructing "positive" images of black achievement and affluence in the postwar years, focuses on neglected texts within the archives of black popular culture. Finally, after a look at liberal contradictions of John Howard Griffin's 1961 auto-ethnography Black Like Me, Wald concludes with an epilogue that considers the idea of passing in the context of the recent discourse of "color blindness."
Wald's analysis of the moral, political, and theoretical dimensions of racial passing makes Crossing the Line important reading as we approach the twenty-first century. Her engaging and dynamic book will be of particular interest to scholars of American studies, African American studies, cultural studies, and literary criticism.
It's just called history, asserts Inga Muscio in her newest book. In fact, the controversial author continues, the so-called history we learn in school is no more than a brand, developed by white men who, often unjustly, won the right to spin their stories as hard facts. With Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil, it's Muscio's turn and she's taking it in order to hip the masses to the truth about the American history they think they know. Whose country is it? Has democracy ever really existed? Why does our culture celebrate certain figures and ignore others? Do schools teach kids to perpetuate white supremacist ideologies? Muscio delves deep to answer these questions, marveling at how personal history is to everyone, while challenging people to expand their thinking on America's past and encouraging them to consider how their own histories might read.
When Thomas Gossett's Race: The History of an Idea in America appeared in 1963, it explored the impact of race theory on American letters in a way that anticipated the investigation of race and culture being conducted today. Bold, rigorous, and broad in scope, Gossett's book quickly established itself as a critical resource to younger scholars seeking a candid, theoretically sophisticated treatment of race in American cultural history.Here, reprinted without change, is Gossett's classic study, making available to a new generation of scholars a lucid, accessibly written volume that ranges from colonial race theory and its European antecedents, through eighteenth- and nineteenth- century race pseudoscience, to the racialist dimension of American thought and literature emerging against backgrounds such as Anglo- Saxonism, westward expansion, Social Darwinism, xenophobia, World War I, and modern racial theory. Featuring a new afterword by the author, an introduction by series editors Shelley Fisher Fishkin and Arnold Rampersad, and a bibliographic essay by Maghan Keita, this indispensable book, whose first edition helped change the way scholars discussed race, will richly reward scholars of American Studies, American Literature, and African-American Studies.