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Academic Roundup: Spring

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I’m starting a new section that will be updated quarterly. Basically it’s a review on all scholarly journals that deal with issues of race and ethnicity in the United States, North America, as well as other parts of the world. I will be highlighting some of the more interesting articles that I’ve read or find interesting and will read. Usually most scholarly journals come out quarterly so this Academic Roundup will also come out quarterly. This is just a quick synopsis on some articles that have come out during this Spring quarter of 2007. You can find most of these journals in your main local library if any of these articles seem to interest you:

American Indian Quarterly Volume 31:

Atalay, Sonya. “Indigenous Archaeology as Decolonizing Practice.”: 280-310

This article discusses the author’s view on indigenous archaeology. The author states that archaeology includes the study of artifacts and other aspects of material culture but is more importantly about understanding people’s daily lives, their sense of place in the world, the food they ate, their art, their spirituality, and their political and social organization. She said archaeology is one of many tools utilized for understanding the past. However, when placed in its proper historical context, it is clear that the discipline of archaeology was built around and relies upon Western knowledge systems and methodologies, and its practice has a strongly colonial history.

Byrd, Jodi A. “‘Living My Native Life Deadly.”: 310-332.

The article discusses controversy surrounding the remarks of Native American Ward Churchill after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, which Churchill characterized as a penalty befitting “little Eichmanns.” Not long after Churchill’s remarks a school shooting incident occurred involving Native American neo-Nazi Jeff Weise. The author examines how U.S. media framed these stories and the relation of the discourse to 19th century stereotypes of Indians as savages and the language of Manifest Destiny. Finally, Churchill’s rhetoric is viewed in the context of American anxieties about indigenous peoples and genocide.

Dejong, David H. “‘Unless They Are Kept Alive.”: 256-282.

The article discusses the mortality rates among Native American students in U.S. government-run Indian schools during 1878-1918. The students were susceptible to contagious diseases in boarding schools often far from home. The schools were federal attempts to assimilate Native Americans and prepare them for citizenship, a task made difficult by the Indians’ attachment to their sacred homelands. Richard Henry Pratt, founder of the Carlyle (Pennsylvania) Indian School embraced the notion that Indian children could be assimilated in one generation, while Samuel Chapman Armstrong, founder of the Hampton Institute, held that it would take many generations owing to Indians’ moral and social superiority to white Americans. The assimilation sought largely failed owing to Indian children’s health.

McBeath, Jerry and Carl E. Shepro. “The Effects of Environmental Change on an Artic Native Community.”: 44-65.

The article reports on how global warming has effected an Inupiat Eskimo village on the Alaska North Slope. Interviews were conducted with 40 subsistence hunters and fishers, each of whom had been living in that style for at least 15 years. The article presents the results of this survey, in particular the changes in weather and climate the hunters and fishers had noted and any changes in number of kind of animal seen. The article also presents ideas the hunters and fishers had about the causes of any changes they noticed. Four common factors were: oil and gas exploration and development, climate change, toxic spills and contamination, and natural climate cycles.

Ethnic and Racial Studies Volume 30:

Kendhammer, Brandon. “DuBois the Pan-Africanist and the Development of African Nationalism.”: 51-71.

While W.E.B. DuBois’s importance as a political activist and writer is well-documented, a ‘DuBoisian’ political theory has proved illusory. I argue that the key to change and continuity in DuBois’s work is his pan-Africanism, which he used to develop a broad theory of anti-colonial nationalism. This reading of his legacy emphasizes DuBois’s singular role in shaping anti-colonial discourse in the postwar era, especially in Africa, as well as in theorizing African nationalism and the African diaspora. It also allows us to understand the contradiction of the early, liberal DuBois’s views on race and his later preoccupation with Communism. I suggest that across both positions, DuBois’s actual political arguments remained over-determined by his positionality within the colonial world, producing a set of anti-colonial arguments that while rooted in the economic exploitation of the colonies, appeal to liberal universalizing standards of progress and modernity.

Silberman, Roxane, et. al. “Segmented Assimilation in France? Discrimination in the Labour Market Against the Second Generation.”: 1-27.

We test ideas about segmented assimilation that have developed in the U.S. context on the second generation in France. Using data from the Génération 98 survey of school leavers, we are able to investigate ethnic differences in the processes of labour-market entry. We find that groups who come from former French colonies and/or are dominated by Muslims are substantially, if not severely, disadvantaged. By and large, they enter the labour market with educational credentials that are on average below those of the native French, but their much higher levels of unemployment cannot be explained by educational differences. They believe that they have suffered from discrimination in the hiring process, and their reports have a strong plausibility. Yet the mechanisms driving segmented assimilation that have been adduced in the U.S. context are of problematic relevance to France. For instance, many respondents believe that ethnic markers such as names are more responsible than skin color for the discrimination they face. The analysis suggests that the discussion of incorporation concepts in the U.S. would benefit from the inclusion of other immigration societies.

Treacher, Amal. “Postcolonial Subjectivity: Masculinity, Shame, and Memory.”: 281-299.

Egypt in 1952 was poised to overthrow the past and make a fresh and vigorous future. The revolutionary coup instigated and led by a group of Army Officers succeeded in overthrowing the monarchy and severely undermining British rule and influence. The hopes following this dramatic event were not borne out as the early successes did not lead to a more dynamic future. Instead, corruption continued, the economy declined, industry did not flourish, and an adequate welfare system was not put in place. There are various explanations for this state of affairs, and while these are valid and provide answers, they do not adequately address postcolonial subjectivity. Postcolonial masculine subjectivity is fraught, endures and has to be endured. This article will focus on shame and remembering/forgetting as states of mind, and silence as a response, in order to explore how a colonized past led to the wish for a different future while simultaneously inhibiting a different future to be made.

Journal of Asian American Studies Volume 10:

Bow, Leslie. “Racial Interstitiality and the Anxieties of the “Partly Colored”: Representations of Asians under Jim Crow.”: 1-30.

This article analyzes the implications of the James Loewen’s thesis that Chinese Americans in Mississippi elevated their caste status under Jim Crow from “colored” to “near white.” Analyzing academic, popular cultural, and visual depictions of the Chinese and other Asian Americans in the segregated South, the article uncovers the jarring moments that attend the claim of status rise—here, of Asian “near-whiteness.” More specifically, it argues that there is always an excess to the Asian community’s “successful” disassociation from African Americans and its own “partly colored” past. The work develops a concept of racial interstitiality as a model for comparative Ethnic Studies and for reconsidering the black-white binary that frames American race relations.

Journal of Black Psychology Volume 33:

Jones, Janine M. “Exposure to Chronic Community Violence.”: 125-149.

In many African American communities, violence and poverty are often part of daily living. As a result, children are at risk for difficulties in all aspect of their lives, particularly their emotional well-being. This study explored the relationship between exposure to chronic community violence and the development of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), a constellation of symptoms that occur as a result of repeated exposure to traumas, in the context of specific African American cultural beliefs and values that are used as coping mechanisms. It was anticipated that the coping mechanisms would act as stress moderators, or buffers, to the development of symptoms of C-PTSD. Participants in the study included 71 African American children between the ages of 9 and 11 years who lived in a high-crime, high-poverty community in Houston, Texas. The results indicated that formal kinship and spirituality, along with high levels of combined supports, demonstrated buffering effects on exposure to violence.

Journal of Black Studies Volume 37:

Bonds, Michael. “Looking Beyond the Numbers.”: 581-601.

This study obtained Black business owners’ experiences in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, via qualitative methods. The same issues (racism, loan denial, etc.) that quantitative analyses of Black businesses found existed in this study. However, this study’s findings departed from previous Black business studies by providing insights into the human side of Black business owners by allowing them to provide insights into their daily challenges (inability to work with other Black businesses and lack of support from African American customers). And it found that Milwaukee’s Black business owners were pessimistic about Black business opportunities over time and relative to African American businesses in other cities.

Tuckel, Peter. “Social, Economic, and Residential Diversity Within Hartford’s African American Community at the Begining of the Great Migration.”: 710-736.

Scant attention has been paid to the social and economic diversity within the African American community in particular cities at the beginning stage of the Great Migration. This article examines the variation in characteristics of African Americans from different places of birth at the onset of the Great Migration living in one city, Hartford, Connecticut. The article focuses on three major attributes of African Americans with differing geographic backgrounds residing in Hartford during this time period: (a) their socioeconomic status, (b) their settlement patterns within the city, and (c) the extent of their civic participation. The article reveals sizable differences along these three dimensions among African Americans of differing geographic origins.

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies Volume 33:

Castles, Stephen. “Twenty-First-Century Migration as a Challenge to Sociology.”: 351-371.

International migration is, by definition, a social phenomenon that crosses national borders and affects two or more nation-states. Its analysis requires theories and methodologies capable of transcending the national gaze. This applies more than ever in the current epoch of global migratory flows and growing South-North mobility. Sociology claims to be based on the work of scholars from around the world and to have theories and methods valid for all societies. It should therefore have an important role in the development of global migration studies. Yet national approaches, deriving from historical projects of nation-building, have often been dominant. Moreover, the study of migration has been peripheral in national scientific discourses and hierarchies. This has often led to the diverging dual roles of the sociology of migration either as an administrative tool based on micro-analyses of ‘social problems’, or as a form of social critique cut off from actual struggles in institutions, workplaces and neighbourhoods. This article argues for a global sociology of migration, devoted to analysis of migration as part of the social transformations associated with globalisation, and based on global networks of scholars.

Mckay, Steven C. “Filipino Sea Men: Constructing Masculinities in an Ethnic Labour Niche.”: 617-633.

The article analyses the emergence and contemporary reproduction of the Filipino ethnic niche in global seafaring and the construction of a Filipino seafarer identity. Drawing on secondary literature and in-depth interviews, it focuses on the intimate link between patterns of labour-market and workplace segmentation, the making of multiple masculinities, and shifting processes and prestige of labour migration. The paper documents the role of the Philippine state in promoting and regulating the seafaring niche and in crafting narratives of heroism and masculinity to reinforce it. Then, focusing on seafarers themselves, it shows how the construction of exemplary styles of masculinity at home, despite subordinate racial and class positions both onboard and in the labour market, helps Filipino seamen endure the harshness of workplace conditions, while at the same time defend and reproduce their gendered ethnic niche.

Latino Studies Volume 5:

Alvarez, Luis L.A. “From Zoot Suits to Hip Hop: Towards a Relational Chicana/o Studies.”: 53-75.

This article traces cultural exchange between Chicana/o and Latina/o, African American, and Asian American youth since World War II, including analyses of zoot suit, civil rights movement art, and hip hop cultures. Drawing on theories of zapatismo as critical cultural practice, I explore how the cultural poetics of racialized youth functioned as a struggle for dignity. Rather than dismiss different youth cultures as too disjointed for any kind of productive dialog, I propose that we listen to what each might teach us about addressing crises of resources and domination in the academy. If Chicana/o, Latina/o, and Ethnic Studies are at crossroads in how they respond to increased funding cutbacks, battles over affirmative action, and the intellectual saliency of “new” fields like Borderlands Studies, I argue that a relational approach to Chicana/o youth culture provides clues to retool the theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical arsenal of these fields to regenerate them as a site of social struggle.

González, M. Alfredo M.G. “Latinos on DA Down Low: The Limitations of Sexual Identity in Puplic Health.”: 25-52.

Tying HIV prevention to sexual identity has been an effective public health strategy. However, HIV infection among young Latino/a and African Americans continues to mount. “On the down low,” a youth term for secretive or undercover, has become a code for the furtive same-sex sexual practices of young men who reject Gay or bisexual identities. This phenomenon received the attention of African Americans but Latino communities have largely, ignored it. Based on ethnographic observations in a Hip Hop club in New York City, and on postings in cyberspace, this paper documents the presence of Latino youth in “down low” networks. It asks whether the historical and political construction of ethno-racial identities in forms emerging sexual practices and identities, begging a review of established HIV prevention efforts.

Rodriquez, Victor M. V.R. “Fluid Borders: Latino Power, Identity and Politics in Los Angeles.”: 137-141.

This article traces cultural exchange between Chicana/o and Latina/o, African American, and Asian American youth since World War II, including analyses of zoot suit, civil rights movement art, and hip hop cultures. Drawing on theories of zapatismo as critical cultural practice, I explore how the cultural poetics of racialized youth functioned as a struggle for dignity. Rather than dismiss different youth cultures as too disjointed for any kind of productive dialog, I propose that we listen to what each might teach us about addressing crises of resources and domination in the academy. If Chicana/o, Latina/o, and Ethnic Studies are at crossroads in how they respond to increased funding cutbacks, battles over affirmative action, and the intellectual saliency of “new” fields like Borderlands Studies, I argue that a relational approach to Chicana/o youth culture provides clues to retool the theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical arsenal of these fields to regenerate them as a site of social struggle.

Race & Society Volume 7:

Almanzar, Nelson A. Pichardo and Cedric Herring. “Sacrificing for the Cause: Another Look at High-Risk/Cost Activism.”: 113-129.

Building on research into the question of high-risk/cost activism, we examine how social structural location mediated participation in two types of high-risk/cost political activism (sit-ins and voter registration) during the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960s. Using data from the 1961–1962 Negro Political Participation Study (which includes representative samples of African American college students and voting age adults in the former Confederacy), we use logistic regression analysis to determine whether participation in high-risk/cost activism varied by social structural location. The results indicate that the particular characteristics that act as biographical constraints vary by subpopulation and may facilitate participation depending on the relationship of the goals of the movement to the individual’s social structural location. Additionally, the evaluation of the peculiar
risks and costs associated with a specific event is also influenced by one’s social structural location. We conclude by arguing for an expanding the concept of biographical availability to include other indicators of social structural location such as skin color, social class, and military veteran status.

Kraus, Nell. “The Significance of Race in Urban Politics: The Limitations of Regemie Theory.”: 95-111.

Regime theory, the dominant paradigm in the study of urban politics, maintains that cities are governed by informal arrangements consisting of public and private sector elites. Because economic growth is the main policy objective of regimes, research has tended to focus on mayoral coalition building and development policy. Thus much less attention has been paid to policies that more directly impact residential neighborhoods and more fully illustrate the role of race, such as housing and education. This paper suggests that regime theory sharply limits the subjects for inquiry, and in the process, substantially understates the role of race and racism in urban political outcomes. Further, the lack of explicit discussion of race has prevented scholars of urban politics from participating in debates which have become central to the larger field of urban studies involving residential segregation and concentrated poverty. Thus, other explanations of concentrated poverty, emphasizing either economic or demographic trends, or the alleged failure of national social welfare policies, have become increasingly accepted. In this paper, I examine the politics of housing, education, urban renewal, and highway construction in Buffalo, New York, over the past several decades. This analysis is intended to illustrate the powerful influence of race in urban politics as well as the role that local policy making has played in the formation of residential segregation and concentrated poverty.

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One Comment
  1. Monday, April 30, 2007 1:39 pm

    Dear Macha,

    I’m commenting here because you’re linked to from prominent feminist blogs.

    Next week I am compiling a list of links to blog posts, submitted to me by people all over the internet, for the 37th issue of a roundup called the Carnival of Feminists.

    If, in the last week or two or three, you’ve bookmarked an entry on someone’s blog and that entry pertains to feminism (or the author considers her/his work to be “feminist” or “pro-feminist,” please submit it by May 1 [that’s tomorrow–sorry for the short notice!] through http://blogcarnival.com/bc/submit_126.html

    You can see the finished compilation on May 2 at http://kitkatscritique.blogspot.com/

    Sincerely,
    Katie of KitKat’s Critique

    P.S. Feel free to submit posts you wrote yourself!

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