Our America

Author: Walter Benn Michaels
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822320647
Size: 36.40 MB
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Arguing that the contemporary commitment to the importance of cultural identity has renovated rather than replaced an earlier commitment to racial identity, Walter Benn Michaels asserts that the idea of culture, far from constituting a challenge to racism, is actually a form of racism. Our America offers both a provocative reinterpretation of the role of identity in modernism and a sustained critique of the role of identity in postmodernism. “We have a great desire to be supremely American,” Calvin Coolidge wrote in 1924. That desire, Michaels tells us, is at the very heart of American modernism, giving form and substance to a cultural movement that would in turn redefine America’s cultural and collective identity—ultimately along racial lines. A provocative reinterpretation of American modernism, Our America also offers a new way of understanding current debates over the meaning of race, identity, multiculturalism, and pluralism. Michaels contends that the aesthetic movement of modernism and the social movement of nativism came together in the 1920s in their commitment to resolve the meaning of identity—linguistic, national, cultural, and racial. Just as the Johnson Immigration Act of 1924, which excluded aliens, and the Indian Citizenship Act of the same year, which honored the truly native, reconceptualized national identity, so the major texts of American writers such as Cather, Faulkner, Hurston, and Williams reinvented identity as an object of pathos—something that can be lost or found, defended or betrayed. Our America is both a history and a critique of this invention, tracing its development from the white supremacism of the Progressive period through the cultural pluralism of the Twenties. Michaels’s sustained rereading of the texts of the period—the canonical, the popular, and the less familiar—exposes recurring concerns such as the reconception of the image of the Indian as a symbol of racial purity and national origins, the relation between World War I and race, contradictory appeals to the family as a model for the nation, and anxieties about reproduction that subliminally tie whiteness and national identity to incest, sterility, and impotence.

Faulkner In The Twenty First Century

Author: Robert W. Hamblin
Publisher: Univ. Press of Mississippi
ISBN: 9781604730425
Size: 14.64 MB
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Where will the study of William Faulkner's writings take scholars in the new century? What critical roads remain unexplored? "Faulkner in the Twenty-first Century" presents the thoughts of ten noted Faulkner scholars who spoke at the twenty-seventh annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference at the University of Mississippi. Theresa M. Towner attacks the traditional classification of Faulkner's works as major and minor and argues that this causes the neglect of other significant works and characters. Michael Kreyling uses photographs of Faulkner to analyze the interrelationships of Faulkner's texts with the politics and culture of Mississippi. Barbara Ladd and Deborah Cohn invoke the relevance of Faulkner's works to the other South, postcolonial Latin America. Also approaching Faulkner from a postcolonial perspective, Annette Trefzer looks at his contradictory treatment of Native Americans. Within the tragic fates of such characters as Quentin Compson, Gail Hightower, and Rosa Coldfield, Leigh Ann Duck finds an inability to cope with painful memories. Patrick O'Donnell examines the use of the future tense and Faulkner's growing skepticism of history as a linear progression. To postmodern critics who denigrate The Fire and the Hearth, Karl F. Zender offers a rebuttal. Walter Benn Michaels contends that in Faulkner's South, and indeed the United States as a whole, the question of racial identification tends to overpower all other issues. Faulkner's recurring interest in frontier life and values inspires Robert W. Hamblin's piece. Robert W. Hamblin is a professor of English and the director of the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University. Ann J. Abadie is associate director at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.

The Humanities And The Dream Of America

Author: Geoffrey Galt Harpham
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226316998
Size: 39.30 MB
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In this bracing and original book, Geoffrey Galt Harpham argues that today’s humanities are an invention of the American academy in the years following World War II, when they were first conceived as an expression of American culture and an instrument of American national interests. The humanities portray a “dream of America” in two senses: they represent an aspiration of Americans since the first days of the Republic for a state so secure and prosperous that people could enjoy and appreciate culture for its own sake; and they embody in academic terms an idealized conception of the American national character. Although they are struggling to retain their status in America, the concept of the humanities has spread to other parts of the world and remains one of America's most distinctive and valuable contributions to higher education. The Humanities and the Dream of America explores a number of linked problems that have emerged in recent years: the role, at once inspiring and disturbing, played by philology in the formation of the humanities; the reasons for the humanities’ perpetual state of “crisis”; the shaping role of philanthropy in the humanities; and the new possibilities for literary study offered by the subject of pleasure. Framed by essays that draw on Harpham’s pedagogical experiences abroad and as a lecturer at the U.S. Air Force Academy, as well as his vantage as director of the National Humanities Center, this book provides an essential perspective on the history, ideology, and future of this important topic.

Faulkner

Author: Eric J. Sundquist
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
ISBN: 9780801831645
Size: 61.73 MB
Format: PDF
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Library Journal

Author:
Publisher:
ISBN:
Size: 69.52 MB
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Includes, beginning Sept. 15, 1954 (and on the 15th of each month, Sept.-May) a special section: School library journal, ISSN 0000-0035, (called Junior libraries, 1954-May 1961). Also issued separately.

The Beauty Of A Social Problem

Author: Walter Benn Michaels
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022621026X
Size: 73.40 MB
Format: PDF
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Bertolt Brecht once worried that our sympathy for the victims of a social problem can make the problem’s “beauty and attraction” invisible. In The Beauty of a Social Problem, Walter Benn Michaels explores the effort to overcome this difficulty through a study of several contemporary artist-photographers whose work speaks to questions of political economy. Although he discusses well-known figures like Walker Evans and Jeff Wall, Michaels’s focus is on a group of younger artists, including Viktoria Binschtok, Phil Chang, Liz Deschenes, and Arthur Ou. All born after 1965, they have always lived in a world where, on the one hand, artistic ambition has been synonymous with the critique of autonomous form and intentional meaning, while, on the other, the struggle between capital and labor has essentially been won by capital. Contending that the aesthetic and political conditions are connected, Michaels argues that these artists’ new commitment to form and meaning is a way for them to depict the conditions that have taken US economic inequality from its lowest level, in 1968, to its highest level today. As Michaels demonstrates, these works of art, unimaginable without the postmodern critique of autonomy and intentionality, end up departing and dissenting from that critique in continually interesting and innovative ways.

Countering The Counterculture

Author: Manuel Luis Martinez
Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Press
ISBN: 9780299192839
Size: 26.55 MB
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Rebelling against bourgeois vacuity and taking their countercultural critique on the road, the Beat writers and artists have long symbolized a spirit of freedom and radical democracy. Manuel Martinez offers an eye-opening challenge to this characterization of the Beats, juxtaposing them against Chicano nationalists like Raul Salinas, Jose Montoya, Luis Valdez, and Oscar Acosta and Mexican migrant writers in the United States, like Tomas Rivera and Ernesto Galarza. In an innovative rereading of American radical politics and culture of the 1950s and 1960s, Martinez uncovers reactionary, neoromantic, and sometimes racist strains in the Beats’ vision of freedom, and he brings to the fore the complex stances of Latinos on participant democracy and progressive culture. He analyzes the ways that Beats, Chicanos, and migrant writers conceived of and articulated social and political perspectives. He contends that both the Beats’ extreme individualism and the Chicano nationalists’ narrow vision of citizenship are betrayals of the democratic ideal, but that the migrant writers presented a distinctly radical and inclusive vision of democracy that was truly countercultural.

Creative Composites

Author: Lauren Kroiz
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520272498
Size: 78.15 MB
Format: PDF, Docs
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“Creative Composites provides an intelligent, rigorous account of several under-examined figures who gathered around the photographer Alfred Stieglitz and played important roles in the first American avant-garde. Drawing on rich archival sources, Lauren Kroiz revisits the cultural debates of the period and constructs an intricate and convincing comparative analysis of the role that gender, race and ethnicity, and cultural nationalism played in the construction of American modernism. This important historical and interpretive text represents a much-needed contribution not only to the history of American art but also to American social and cultural history.”—Marcia Brennan, author of Curating Consciousness: Mysticism and the Modern Museum “Describing the associations between immigrant critics and artists enmeshed in the New York art world in the early twentieth century, Kroiz skillfully demonstrates that American modernism reached beyond its European influences and was a deeply hybrid enterprise with multiple, global, and overlapping roots. Kroiz is sure-footed when seriously addressing works of art and marvelous at working through the issues around the ethnic identities of many of the key figures. Illuminating a crucial and oft-overlooked aspect of the history of American modernism—this peripatetic and shifting multiculturalism—Creative Composites is a timely, deeply researched text that highlights the wealth of mixed ancestry in our cultural heritage.”—Jessica May, author of American Modern: Documentary Photography by Abbott, Evans, and Bourke-White