Loose Canons

Author: Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198024514
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Multiculturalism. It has been the subject of cover stories in Time and Newsweek, as well as numerous articles in newspapers and magazines around America. It has sparked heated jeremiads by George Will, Dinesh D'Sousa, and Roger Kimball. It moved William F. Buckley to rail against Stanley Fish and Catherine Stimpson on "Firing Line." It is arguably the most hotly debated topic in America today--and justly so. For whether one speaks of tensions between Hasidim and African-Americans in Crown Heights, or violent mass protests against Moscow in ethnic republics such as Armenia, or outright war between Serbs and Bosnians in the former Yugoslavia, it is clear that the clash of cultures is a worldwide problem, deeply felt, passionately expressed, always on the verge of violent explosion. Problems of this magnitude inevitably frame the discussion of "multiculturalism" and "cultural diversity" in the American classroom as well. In Loose Canons, one of America's leading literary and cultural critics, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., offers a broad, illuminating look at this highly contentious issue. Gates agrees that our world is deeply divided by nationalism, racism, and sexism, and argues that the only way to transcend these divisions--to forge a civic culture that respects both differences and similarities--is through education that respects both the diversity and commonalities of human culture. His is a plea for cultural and intercultural understanding. (You can't understand the world, he observes, if you exclude 90 percent of the world's cultural heritage.) We feel his ideas most strongly voiced in the concluding essay in the volume, "Trading on the Margin." Avoiding the stridency of both the Right and the Left, Gates concludes that the society we have made simply won't survive without the values of tolerance, and cultural tolerance comes to nothing without cultural understanding. Henry Louis Gates is one of the most visible and outspoken figures on the academic scene, the subject of a cover story in The New York Times Sunday Magazine and a major profile in The Boston Globe, and a much sought-after commentator. And as one of America's foremost advocates of African-American Studies (he is head of the department at Harvard), he has reflected upon the varied meanings of multiculturalism throughout his professional career, long before it became a national controversy. What we find in these pages, then, is the fruit of years of reflection on culture, racism, and the "American identity," and a deep commitment to broadening the literary and cultural horizons of all Americans.

Debating the Canon

Author: L. Morrissey
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 1137049162
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Over the past two decades, the debate over the 'Great Books' has been one of the key public controversies concerning the cultural content of higher education. Debating the Canon provides a primary-source overview of these ongoing arguments. Many of these contributions to this debate have achieved 'canonical' status themselves; through the focus on the canon, the full spectrum of approaches to literary studies can be seen in the essays. Therefore, this collection places the recent debate within a larger context of literary criticism's development of a canon, going back to the eighteenth century.

Cultural Wars in American Politics

Author: Rhys H. Williams
Publisher: Transaction Publishers
ISBN: 9780202365312
Format: PDF
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That contemporary American politics is divided into two differing ideological, moral, and lifestyle groups - a divide so severe as to constitute a "cultural war" - is a widely-held popular belief. The most systematic academic version of the culture wars claim has appeared in two influential books by sociologist James Davison Hunter, the earlier dating from 1991. Hunter's formulation of the myth serves the contributors to this volume as a point of departure. They add more measured analyses to the rhetorical overstatement in Hunter's claim, assessing its accuracy with a broad range of evidence based on individual attitudes, subcultural values, political party dynamics, and culture-wide ideological currents. On every level of analysis, the contributors find that Hunter's bipolar axis obscures the variety of ways in which culture actually functions in current politics. That variety receives the nuanced treatment it deserves in this collection. Examining the full range of sources of cultural politics and offering competing models for understanding the current ideological landscape, this volume will be useful in a variety of classroom and seminar settings, from political sociology and social movements to contemporary American culture and the sociology of religion.

The American Culture Wars

Author: James L. Nolan (Jr.)
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
ISBN: 9780813916972
Format: PDF
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Even though the majority of Americans hold moderate views on issues such as abortion, homosexual rights, funding for the arts and public broadcasting, and multicultural education, extremists tend to dominate public debate. James Davidson Hunter explained this polarization of American politics and political discourse and popularized the term culture wars in his best-selling book Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America. The eleven contributors to The American Culture Wars analyse these and other heatedly contested issues. In addition, they examine new developments in the culture wars. Together the chapters of this book illuminate current cultural conflicts and offer clues as to where the next American culture wars may be waged.

In My Father s House

Author: Kwame Anthony Appiah
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199879257
Format: PDF, Docs
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The beating of Rodney King and the resulting riots in South Central Los Angeles. The violent clash between Hasidim and African-Americans in Crown Heights. The boats of Haitian refugees being turned away from the Land of Opportunity. These are among the many racially-charged images that have burst across our television screens in the last year alone, images that show that for all our complacent beliefs in a melting-pot society, race is as much of a problem as ever in America. In this vastly important, widely-acclaimed volume, Kwame Anthony Appiah, a Ghanaian philosopher who now teaches at Harvard, explores, in his words, "the possibilities and pitfalls of an African identity in the late twentieth century." In the process he sheds new light on what it means to be an African-American, on the many preconceptions that have muddled discussions of race, Africa, and Afrocentrism since the end of the nineteenth century, and, in the end, to move beyond the idea of race. In My Father's House is especially wide-ranging, covering everything from Pan Africanism, to the works of early African-American intellectuals such as Alexander Crummell and W.E.B. Du Bois, to the ways in which African identity influences African literature. In his discussion of the latter subject, Appiah demonstrates how attempts to construct a uniquely African literature have ignored not only the inescapable influences that centuries of contact with the West have imposed, but also the multicultural nature of Africa itself. Emphasizing this last point is Appiah's eloquent title essay which offers a fitting finale to the volume. In a moving first-person account of his father's death and funeral in Ghana, Appiah offers a brilliant metaphor for the tension between Africa's aspirations to modernity and its desire to draw on its ancient cultural roots. During the Los Angeles riots, Rodney King appeared on television to make his now famous plea: "People, can we all get along?" In this beautiful, elegantly written volume, Appiah steers us along a path toward answering a question of the utmost importance to us all.

Call and Response

Author: Henry Louis Gates
Publisher: W. W. Norton
ISBN: 9780393975789
Format: PDF
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Class-tested by Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his groundbreaking course, Call and Response is an innovative core reader for African American Studies.

The Uses of Literature in Modern Japan

Author: Sari Kawana
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1350024899
Format: PDF, ePub
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The Uses of Literature in Modern Japan explores the varying uses of literature in Japan from the late Meiji period to the present, considering how creators, conveyors, and consumers of literary content have treated texts and their authors as cultural resources to be packaged, promoted, and preserved. As the printed word became a crucial form of entertainment and edification for an increasingly literate public in early 20th-century Japan, literature came to assume a variety of new uses. Touching upon a wide array of sources, Sari Kawana traces the ways in which literary works have morphed into different variants, ranging from textual (compilations, textbooks) and visual (film, manga, other media) to virtual and real world, through innovative publishing and reading practices. She takes up themes such as the materiality of texts, the role of publishers and advertising campaigns, the interplay between literature and other media, and the creation and dissemination of larger cultural fantasies tied to literary consumption. She stresses the agency and creativity with which readers engaged literary works, from divergent readings of propaganda literature to inventive adaptations of canonical texts in adjacent media, culminating in the practice of literary tourism. Moving beyond close reading of texts to look at their historical context, the book will appeal not only to scholars of modern Japanese literature but also those studying the history of the book and modern Japanese cultural history.

Marked Men

Author: Sally Robinson
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023150036X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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White men still hold most of the political and economic cards in the United States; yet stories about wounded and traumatized men dominate popular culture. Why are white men jumping on the victim bandwagon? Examining novels by Philip Roth, John Updike, James Dickey, John Irving, and Pat Conroy and such films as Deliverance, Misery, and Dead Poets Society—as well as other writings, including The Closing of the American Mind—Sally Robinson argues that white men are tempted by the possibilities of pain and the surprisingly pleasurable tensions that come from living in crisis.