Wednesday, April 29, 2009


1. Durham, Meenakshi. "Myths of Race and Beauty in Teen Magazines: A Semiological Analysis" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Sheraton New York, New York City, NY, Online . 2009-04-29
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Race and beauty are mutually implicated concepts in Western culture. Feminist scholarship posits beauty as a social construction that is also a marker of power in terms of race and class. This study examines constructions of race in relation to beauty in the top-circulating magazine for adolescent girls, Seventeen. “Teen magazines”—fashion and beauty magazines aimed at adolescent female readers—are an important factor in girls’ socialization. Using semiology and myth analysis, this study examines the ways in which beauty is “activated” through the use of multiracialism. It was found that in these magazines, race was a consumer option, devoid of history or social meaning. In a sense the magazine’s texts and images represent a Utopian future in which racial differences and the attendant social discriminations are nonexistent. In addition, the myriad crosscultural hybrdizations that mark youth culture today was absent.

Rhetoric and Poetics

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, University of California, Irvine, USA

Editorial Board Details.
The Journal of Asian Studies (JAS) has played a defining role in the field of Asian studies for over 65 years. JAS publishes the very best empirical and multidisciplinary work on Asia, spanning the arts, history, literature, the social sciences, and cultural studies. Experts around the world turn to this quarterly journal for the latest in-depth scholarship on Asia's past and present, for its extensive book reviews, and for its state-of-the-field essays on established and emerging topics. With coverage reaching from South and Southeast Asia to China, Inner Asia, and Northeast Asia, JAS welcomes broad comparative and transnational studies as well as essays emanating from fine-grained historical, cultural, political, or literary research and interpretation. The journal also publishes clusters of papers representing new and vibrant discussions on specific themes and issues.

Published Quarterly

Published for the Association for Asian Studies

ISSN: 0021-9118
EISSN: 1752-0401

Reproduction of Race and Racial Ideologies

The Canadian Journal of Sociology
Volume 31, Number 3, Summer 2006
E-ISSN: 1710-1123 Print ISSN: 0318-6431

DOI: 10.1353/cjs.2006.0061

Reuter, Shelley.
The Genuine Jewish Type: Racial Ideology and Anti-Immigrationism in Early Medical Writing about Tay-Sachs Disease
The Canadian Journal of Sociology - Volume 31, Number 3, Summer 2006, pp. 291-323

University of Toronto Press

This article presents a critical, genealogical analysis of the discourse of Tay-Sachs disease (TSD), a genetic metabolic disorder historically perceived as exclusive, or nearly exclusive, to Jews. Drawing on medical case reports from the period between 1881 (when the disease was first observed) and 1943, i.e., the early years of the Second World War, the study examines how Tay-Sachs was discursively constructed as a Jewish disease. In particular, the study provides an analysis of TSD in the context of anti-immigrationism, especially in 1910s and 1920s US, when both eugenics and Jewish emigration from Eastern Europe were on the rise. The argument illustrates the reification of Jews as "raced" in and through this disease, demonstrating that knowledge about Tay-Sachs (and other group-specific genetic diseases) needs to be examined in socio-cultural terms alongside existing biological accounts.

Résumé: Cette étude retrace la généalogie du discours sur la maladie de Tay-Sachs, un désordre génétique du métabolisme, historiquement conçu comme exclusif aux juifs ou pratiquement exclusif à ceux-ci. Elle en propose une critique. Fondée sur l'analyse de rapports médicaux allant de 1881 (date à la quelle la maladie a d'abord été identifiée) à fin 1943, c'est-à-dire les premières années de la seconde guerre mondiale, cette étude décrit comment les discours prononcés autour de la maladie de Tay-Sachs en ont fait un problème juif. Elle se penche en particulier sur le contexte anti-immigration des décennies 1910 et 1920 aux États-Unis alors que l'eugénisme et l'émigration en provenance de l'Europe de l'Est prenaient de l'essor. Elle tente d'établir comment les juifs furent réifiés en tant que « race » à travers et grâce à cette maladie, et montre comment le savoir relatif à la Tay-Sachs (ou à toute autre maladie génétique spécifique à un groupe) relève tout autant de termes socio-culturels que des données biologiques existantes.

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Reuter, Shelley. "The Genuine Jewish Type: Racial Ideology and Anti-Immigrationism in Early Medical Writing about Tay-Sachs Disease." The Canadian Journal of Sociology 31.3 (2006): 291-323. Project MUSE. [Library name], [City], [State abbreviation]. 29 Apr. 2009 .


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Reuter, Shelley. (2006). The genuine jewish type: Racial ideology and anti-immigrationism in early medical writing about tay-sachs disease. The Canadian Journal of Sociology 31(3), 291-323. Retrieved April 29, 2009, from Project MUSE database.


Always review your references for accuracy and make any necessary corrections before using. Pay special attention to personal names, capitalization, and dates. Consult your library or click here for more information on citing sources.


Reuter, Shelley. "The Genuine Jewish Type: Racial Ideology and Anti-Immigrationism in Early Medical Writing about Tay-Sachs Disease." The Canadian Journal of Sociology 31, no. 3 (2006): 291-323. (accessed April 29, 2009).


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T1 - The Genuine Jewish Type: Racial Ideology and Anti-Immigrationism in Early Medical Writing about Tay-Sachs Disease
A1 - Reuter, Shelley.
JF - The Canadian Journal of Sociology
VL - 31
IS - 3
SP - 291
EP - 323
Y1 - 2006
PB - University of Toronto Press
SN - 1710-1123
UR -
N1 - Volume 31, Number 3, Summer 2006
ER -


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Poetry and Poetics

The Truth Interview, with Kim Rosenfield

Part interview, part portal, and all poetry, the "Truth Interview" was commissioned for the website of feminist poetics How2. Requires a java-enabled browser, the latest Shockwave plug-in, and a lot of clicking. Features various settings of Rosenfield's sequence "Verbali," as well as poetry by Sianne Ngai, Stephen Rodefer and others.


Rosenfield saunters into the bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, drapes a pashmina over the back of a chair, orders a strawberry milkshake, fires up the first of several Marlboros, and delivers the facts.

Global Note or How I Write a Poem:

The poem's words are always interrupting my activities of daily living. Like when I'm buying cigarettes, walking the dog, waiting to be fitted for my NASA costumes, browsing the stacks of major metropolitan libraries, shopping for underwear on 14th Street, reading the instructions for my paraffin hand softening mitts, reading poems, overhearing conversations-- just being out and about and the poem starts to get written into notes in my head. But the final version of 'writing a poem' comes really with the public reading of it, then I know it's really been written.

Read Alert: Look in the Mirror: (Questions # 8 & 9)

I'm always in living conflict around a reading as I'm working out problems of the text in conjunction to that particular reading. I have a background in theater, so I tend to go for the dramatic, but no full body waxes. I'm also really frustrated with how formal and dull the presentation of experimental poetry can get even though the work is so exciting. The work usually can't show its full potential in a dull reading, unless the intention is to be dull, and that's always interesting. I'm glad poets are starting to think more about presentation and how to get the work across in all forms. I'm not talking costumes by Bob Mackie, but just a subtle intonation, or speeded-up passage, or pause, or sigh, or fumbling. I've been interested in how to speak texts not necessarily meant for orality since way back. Maybe since I first heard the Torah read aloud...

For my Senior Thesis in college, I "performed" Roland Barthes' essay, Steak and Chips, a text not meant to be heard aloud. I worked very closely 'choreographing" the language. For a while in the late 80's I worked with a choreographer Amy White and we used found texts and made performances from these olds books like "The Use of Electricity in the Home" and such. A few years ago, Sally Silvers & I wrote a collaboration "Orphan Deposit Box" and worked out how to perform that together. She's a friggin' genius.... and she and Bruce Andrews really rock when they put text and movement together or not together as often is the case. I like that texts can be scrims or oncoming freight trains, or whatever you want them to be. They can be all that they can be.

I think I'm just naturally making my writing more performative as I go.

For my performance with Dirk Rowntree (former Debris drummer, graphic designer, photographer, art maven) at Double Happiness Dirk and I started preparing months in advance by drinking martinis at Minetta Tavern. We then talked about what constituted the usual factors of a poetry reading, and how we really were bored by that. We talked about the space and materials, packaging, PR, and not really wanting to do the old "Can everyone in the back hear me? Ahem. Tap Tap Tap" on the microphone kind of thing. So it's natural that being audible wasn't that important, in fact I wanted people to be able to go in and out of the text, as if they were falling asleep at the opera, which is a beautiful way to hear things sometimes.

I also passed out product info. and beauty tip sheets before the reading to welcome everyone personally to the bar. I was trying to get non poet bar patrons to stay as well and have this kind of Moonie inclusivity as these scenes are so, you know, the opposite. They were really excited to be included in whatever was going on. I agree with Nada Gorden when she says that poets should have party favors at readings or something like that. I think we should have merchandising that includes, mugs, pens, banners, t-shirts, and perfume samples. I wish we had funding to make all this possible. For me a reading is really like a bringing together of everything, like a wedding. It's a BIG AFFAIR minus the caterer, but you've got to think about the invites and guest list, the gown, dinner, and dancing all the time. That kind of thinking of the whole- of- it creates a necessary ambiance for me in my reading work ( Question #9). The lists in my poems are just ways to glue it all together, which is fundamentally, what technology can do for us. And we need technology to seal-in fresh culture. Otherwise we do get a little scanty and bottled up about the pro-em.

Dichotomies Checklist: (Questions # 1, 2 & 4)

1) Science vs. Superstition or Impersonal Modern Beliefs vs. Rational Science. Check.
2) Objective Views of the Self vs. Societal Views of the Self. Check. Double Check.
4) Statements of Truth vs. Statements of Falsity. Check.

Ready for Takeoff:

What to Wear: (Question # 2)

Are you referring to the poem Sarafem? I don't know which poem you mean, but those aspects exist in all my poems (objective vs. societal views of self). Pasting the poem into Vogue magazine was more organizational at first, but then it became important to me how the poems looked on the pages and how it changed the meaning of the intentions of each page. It also helped with pacing during the reading as I had to find the poems during the reading, so I got to play a little hide-and-seek with myself which became my activity while Dirk was playing "emulsion guitar" with Kodak film strips. My nose also was really running, so I had a whole Kleenex using that people thought was meant to look like I was a Cokehead.

That was the practical side of using a fashion mag for the reading, but obviously I'm acutely aware of how the language of beauty and perfection under the guise of guidance marks and reformulates culture. Beware of anyone offering solutions is really what I mean. Science can work in much the same way. Both genders are affected by fashion although women are more targeted and men are more part of the fallout.

I don't think consciously of writing for a specifically female audience but am very much concerned with the portrayal of women throughout history then and now-- the now part being my bordering obsession with popular media and culture. This all comes through in my work. I've had a few good men tell me "Excelsior Reflector" (in Good Morning-- Midnight-- Roof Books) appeals more to women but I'm not even sure what they mean. Because there's a mini fashion show in it? I don't know. Frankly, men rule the fashion world, look at Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, YSL, but there I go again...

How to Pack:

In regards to question # 3, we all are ontologically insecure, not just women. I hope the critique of this is pan-gendered, pan-cultural, and pan-historical, not just limited to the French babes of the Nouvelle Vague, although I love that period in film and am so happy that look is coming back!

My work raises issues women and feminism chronically have to contend with but I do hope also that it isn't delineated solely by those struggles and can be absorbed or connected to on other levels also.

Don't Forget: (Question # 4)

I think Americans are obsessed with getting "the truth" out of people or catching them in their own truth. It's the Temptation Islanding of the Real World. Surveillance, web cams-- the more technological we become, the more we want to share our "truth." It's very odd. I think that's the latent content of the "soothing but mischievous" style you must be responding to when I read.

I hope this quality doesn't come through when I'm with my clients, I'd be out of business! Or maybe I'd be rich! I think the world operates on the polarity of soothing yet mischievous, and has historically for some time. Look at Ronald Reagan and the Iran Contra scandal.

Carry-On Comfort: (Question # 5)

When I'm writing a poem, I don't have to comfort or soothe or watch what I say or wonder what impact what I've said has on someone, or maintain professional ethics and standards as I must in my therapy work. In writing I become my own therapist in relation to being a therapist and don't always have to have one eye on the wheel and one eye on the road (Eugene Gendlin) or something like that. Maybe I'm even more like my therapist's therapist's therapist or more like therapist's software. But making poems for me operates in this Cubist or prismatic seeing everything at once or a little of something for the moment world the way therapy sessions can too.

I don't see Language writing as aggressive or impersonal. I actually find it very relaxing.

I'm going to order another strawberry milkshake, would you like anything?

(Question # 7)

Brian, you don't think my poems are funny?

(Question # 11)

Jesus Christ + Giotto.

(Question # 10)

The contrasting vocal mixes are coming from the source material and the way I have to work now, having a child & no time, which is totally interrupted and chaotic, catch as catch can, piecemeal, on the fly, faster then a speeding bullet... I think you get the picture. It's not a conscious plan to manipulate the audience, it's just how the pieces flow together or don't given the frame I have to work with. Honest. Just a little quiet quilting bee of language. As opposed to a Brechtian kaffe-klatsch.

(Question # 12)

I would respond to this criticism by saying "welcome to the modern world."

(Question # 13)

My 15-year-old ingenue goals were to never marry, never have children, and to become rich and famous. I've failed miserably on all fronts, thank god.

(Question # 14)
I wish to protect my family from the intrusions of the media.

(Question # 15)

In the last 5 years poets seem to be dressing a little better.

I think all the new web technology is really interesting for poets. It forces us to have to do a little more PR on ourselves and think more in terms of product. The poem begins to take on a more flexible role and that is really good. I can't wait until I have time to figure out what's up with all the boys who are really heavily into their cyber life, and that includes you, my dear.

In recent trends I'm really glad fashion is picking up the Victorian influence and I hope we can all start riding in carriages again.

A goal is to form a girl group with Yedda Morrison when we're both in our 50's.

One last thought,

All this will become clear when you buy my book Good Morning--Midnight-- from Roof Books in the Fall.

Medieval Studies

Institute for Medieval StudiesUniversity of Leeds
About the Institute

The Leeds MA Programme in Medieval Studies provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the advanced study of European culture. Teaching draws from a community of scholars whose range spans Europe, from Iceland to Africa and the Middle East, and from late antiquity to the Renaissance.

For PhD research, notable strengths include liturgy and music; the Mediterranean and Islam; Crusades, medieval warfare, and battlefield archaeology; cultural history of the post-Roman period; Anglo-Saxon art, architecture, and culture; mission, monasticism, ecclesiastical history, and church archaeology; cartography; European languages and their literatures; historical topography and settlement; art and architectural history and critical theory.

Leeds's University Library is one of the largest research libraries in the UK, with over 2.7 million books, a fine journal collection, and extensive holdings in all areas of medieval studies, with a rich and expanding store of manuscripts and rare books. The nearby archive and library of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society also have large medieval holdings.

The Institute is home to the International Medieval Congress, Europe's largest annual gathering of medievalists, and the International Medieval Bibliography, the world's leading interdisciplinary bibliography of the Middle Ages. Together, these unique enterprises enable you to gain practical as well as academic experience, whilst links with publishers, museums, and research projects provide opportunities for internships and work experience. Collaboration with the Royal Armouries enriches teaching and research on chivalry, arms, armour, tournaments and medieval warfare. For students and lovers of landscape and architecture, Yorkshire's matchless countryside, medieval castles, churches and abbeys are near to hand.

Mass Culture

an ARTSJOURNAL weblog | ArtsJournal Home | AJ Blog Central

Douglas McLennan's blog
Rethinking Mass Culture
We're consumed by the idea of mass culture. Since television (and before it, radio) brought the immediacy of produced culture into our living rooms, we've treated the power of a massive aggregated audience with awe. That something is popular enough to attain common currency means it has power. Mass culture pervades everything. Writers place a character or location by dropping pop culture references. Advertisers trade on the familiarity of mass culture icons to sell us things. The so-called "traditional arts" try to justify their contemporary relevance in relationship to the "mass" taste.

Our base definition of success is the mass culture definition. If something finds a mass audience then it is successful. Mass culture is expected to make money, even obscene amounts of money. Success is defined not by achievement of excellence but by the size of audience and how much money that audience makes for you.

I'm not, by the way, dumping on mass culture. Just because something is popular doesn't mean it isn't excellent, and I'm an enthusiastic consumer of mass culture myself. This isn't another high/low culture debate. Not at all.

But I do think that some of the assumptions we make about the intrinsic power of mass culture no longer hold true. Much has been written about pop culture breaking down into niches. But even as we acknowledge the fragmenting of audience, we have been reluctant to re-examine our assumptions about the power of mass culture and how it works. The very strategies that make something successful in a mass culture model may work against that success in a niche market model.

To take newspapers as an example: If the average reading level is eighth grade, in a mass-culture model you want to write to that level and hope you capture the largest demographic segment. And you hope that those below the level will give you a chance. In fact, you aggressively court this group by trying to prove your accessibility. As for the group reading above the level: your strategy for success is "where else are they going to go?" Your paper is probably the only/best/major source of news in your community.

Newspapers have not traditionally been mass market. In fact they were the classic niche subsidy model. The genius of newspapers was that they aggregated lots of mini-content - comics, bridge columns, stock tables, crossword puzzles, the arts, business, sports - and built enough of a combined audience to subsidize the content that otherwise would not have paid for itself.

I don't know a single journalist who got in the business because they wanted to make sure Garfield or Dear Abby got delivered every day, but the fact is that the content that journalists think counts most - coverage of city hall, foreign reporting, investigations - does not have a big enough audience to pay for itself on its own.

Yet somewhere along the way, this idea of niche aggregation slipped away from the local paper and was replaced by the sense that every story ought to be comprehensible by every reader. The problem: in a culture that increasingly offers more and more choice and allows people to get more precisely what they want, when they want, and how they want it, a generalized product that doesn't specifically satisfy anyone finds its audience erode away. The more general, the more broad, the more "mass culture" a newspaper tries to become, the faster its readers look elsewhere.

The very things you see newspapers doing to try to bring in new readers - Britney Spears on the cover, pandering to pop culture trends, sensationalist news stories that offer more heat than light - are the things that while they might have worked 20 years ago, don't today. That's because the celebutantes get better dish at TMZ and the Live at 5 guys do better fire and missing kids.

On websites, the celeb stuff gets more traffic, true, but these are "drive-by" clicks that don't build a readership. Not that there shouldn't be celebs in a newspaper, but they're not the solution to building a bigger audience.

Tomorrow: Just how big is that audience for celebrities?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Music semiology
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Music semiology (semiotics), the semiology of music, is the study of signs as they pertain to music on a variety of levels. Following Roman Jakobson, V. Kofi Agawu adopts the idea of musical semiosis being introversive or extroversive--that is, musical signs within a text and without. "Topics," or various musical conventions (such as horn calls, dance forms, and styles), have been treated suggestively by Agawu, among others. The notion of gesture is beginning to play a large role in musico-semiotic enquiry.

"There are strong arguments that music inhabits a semiological realm which, on both ontogenetic and phylogenetic levels, has developmental priority over verbal language." (Middleton 1990, p.172) See Nattiez (1976, 1987, 1989), Stefani (1973, 1986), Baroni (1983), and Semiotica (66: 1–3 (1987)).
Writers on music semiology include Kofi Agawu (on topical theory, Schenkerian analysis), Robert Hatten (on topic, gesture), Raymond Monelle (on topic, musical meaning), Jean-Jacques Nattiez (on introversive taxonomic analysis and ethnomusicological applications), Anthony Newcomb (on narrativity), and Eero Tarasti (generally considered the founder of musical semiotics).

Roland Barthes, himself a semiotician and skilled amateur pianist, wrote about music in Image-Music-Text, The Responsibilities of Form, and Eiffel Tower, though he did not consider music to be a semiotic system.

Signs, meanings in music, happen essentially through the connotations of sounds, and through the social construction, appropriation and amplification of certain meanings associated with these connotations. The work of Philip Tagg (Ten Little Tunes, Fernando the Flute) provides one of the most complete and systematic analysis of the relation between musical structures and connotations in western and especially popular, television and film music. The work of Leonard Meyer in Style and Music theorizes the relationship between ideologies and musical structures and the phenomenons of style change, and focuses on romanticism as a case study.


Music semiology
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Music semiology (semiotics), the semiology of music, is the study of signs as they pertain to music on a variety of levels. Following Roman Jakobson, V. Kofi Agawu adopts the idea of musical semiosis being introversive or extroversive--that is, musical signs within a text and without. "Topics," or various musical conventions (such as horn calls, dance forms, and styles), have been treated suggestively by Agawu, among others. The notion of gesture is beginning to play a large role in musico-semiotic enquiry.

"There are strong arguments that music inhabits a semiological realm which, on both ontogenetic and phylogenetic levels, has developmental priority over verbal language." (Middleton 1990, p.172) See Nattiez (1976, 1987, 1989), Stefani (1973, 1986), Baroni (1983), and Semiotica (66: 1–3 (1987)).
Writers on music semiology include Kofi Agawu (on topical theory, Schenkerian analysis), Robert Hatten (on topic, gesture), Raymond Monelle (on topic, musical meaning), Jean-Jacques Nattiez (on introversive taxonomic analysis and ethnomusicological applications), Anthony Newcomb (on narrativity), and Eero Tarasti (generally considered the founder of musical semiotics).

Roland Barthes, himself a semiotician and skilled amateur pianist, wrote about music in Image-Music-Text, The Responsibilities of Form, and Eiffel Tower, though he did not consider music to be a semiotic system.

Signs, meanings in music, happen essentially through the connotations of sounds, and through the social construction, appropriation and amplification of certain meanings associated with these connotations. The work of Philip Tagg (Ten Little Tunes, Fernando the Flute) provides one of the most complete and systematic analysis of the relation between musical structures and connotations in western and especially popular, television and film music. The work of Leonard Meyer in Style and Music theorizes the relationship between ideologies and musical structures and the phenomenons of style change, and focuses on romanticism as a case study.

Rhetoric and Poetics

Rhetoric And Poetics In Antiquity
This book offers a counter-traditional account of the history of both rhetoric and poetics. In reply to traditional rhetorical histories, which view "rhetoric" primarily as an art of practical civic oratory, the book argues in four extended essays that epideictic-poetic eloquence was central, even fundamental, to the rhetorical tradition in antiquity. In essence, Jeffrey Walker's study accomplishes what in the world of rhetoric studies amounts to a revolution: he demonstrates that in antiquity rhetoric and poetry could not be viewed separately.

Reproduction of Race and Racial Ideologies

General Issues


Dyer-Witheford, Nick. Cyber-Marx. Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High-Technology Capitalism. University of Illinois Press, Urbana [etc.] 1999. x, 344 pp. $49.95. (Paper: $21.95).
In this analysis of the consequences of the new information technology for the capitalist political economy and the conflict between capital and labour, Professor Dyer-Witheford aims to show "[...] how the information age, far from transcending the historic conflict between capital and its laboring subjects, constitutes the latest battleground in their encounter". Criticizing the concepts of postmodernism and postfordism, drawing on theories of "autonomist Marxism" and building on Marx's own concept of "general intellect", he argues that information technology also offers new opportunities for realizing Marx's ideal of common sharing of wealth and creating a twenty-first-century communism.

Espaces temporalités stratifications. Exercices sur les réseaux sociaux. Sous la dir. de Maurizio Gribaudi. [Recherches d'histoire et de sciences sociales/Studies in History and the Social Sciences, vol. 84.] Éditions de l'École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris 1998. 347 pp. 200.00.
The nine contributions in this volume offer empirical studies of contemporary social networks and personal ties on a local, microlevel in Paris, Naples, Turin, Cagliari, Athens, Helsinki, St Petersburg, and Madrid. Based on the theoretical background of structural analysis and the work of Max Gluckman, all studies were conducted with common survey forms. The aim was for respondents to render as intricate an account as possible of the multitude of their social contacts and relations over a given period of time. The contributors explore these surveys to share new insights about how personal ties and individual social networks aggregate into the larger social and spatial network of an urban society.

Grassby, Richard. The Idea of Capitalism before the Industrial Revolution. [Critical Issues in History.] Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Lanham [etc.] 1999. ix, 87 pp. $50.00. (Paper: $14.95.)
In this concise textbook Professor Grassby gives a general overview of the origins and development of the idea of capitalism and re-examines the historical debates about its meaning and definitions, its rise in the industrial period and the mythical meaning it has acquired over time. His argument revolves around the need to locate a general definition of capitalism in terms of the market economy and the historical growth of financial markets and consumerism within each society.

Kapital.doc. Das Kapital (Bd. 1) von Marx in Schaubildern mit Kommentaren. [Von] Elmar Altvater, Rolf Hecker, Michael Heinrich [und] Petra Schaper-Rinkel. Westfälisches Dampfboot, Münster 1999. 342 pp. [1 cd-rom encl. System requirements: Windows 95 or higher, Netscape Communicator 4.07 or other browser.] DM 48.00.
See Michael R. Krätke's review in this volume, pp. 82-84.

Marxism and Social Science. Ed. by Andrew Gamble, David Marsh and Tony Tant. University of Illinois Press, Urbana [etc.] 1999. ix, 381 pp. $42.50. (Paper: $19.95.)
In the light of the widely proclaimed crisis or even end of Marxism, the fourteen essays in this volume aim to assess its relevance and contribution to modern social science. The first five contributions address the engagement of Marxism with feminism (Stevi Jackson), regulation theory (Michael Kenny), postmodernism (Glyn Daly) and New Right Theory (Andrew Gamble), whereas Tony Tant analyses the extent to which Marxism can be considered scientific. Other contributions assess the utility of Marxist approaches to a broad range of substantive issues, such as the state, democracy, culture, class, globalization, ecology, nationalism, and communism.

Nelson, Anitra. Marx's Concept of Money. The god of commodities. [Routledge Studies in the History of Economics.] Routledge, London [etc.] 1999. xiii, 254 pp. £55.00.
This study of Marx's commodity theory of money places it in the broader context of his philosophical and political as well as economic thought. Giving a comprehensive chronological survey of Marx's writings on money, Dr Nelson links Marx's concept of money with some of his other key concepts, such as "alienation" and "abstract labour". She concludes by reviewing commentaries and controversies on the subject since his time.

Ranganayakamma. House Work and Outside Work. Transl. by Hyma. Sweet Home Publications, Hyderabad 1999. 95 pp. Rs. 30.00.
This booklet is the English translation of an original text in Telugu, meant for general readers, which attempts to explain the relationship between "house work" and "outside work". This relationship automatically implies, according to the author, the relationship between men and women. Basing herself on Marx's theory of labour in Capital, the author aims to explain how the "physical" or "natural" relationship between men and women is moulded by the social relationship, which in turn is moulded by the labour relations in a capitalist society.

Ranganayakamma. An Introduction to Marx's "Capital". (in 3 vols.) Vol. 1 transl. by K.V.R., S.V. Rajyalakshmi, [and] B.R. Bapuji. Vol. 2 transl. by B.R. Bapuji. Vol. 3 transl. by B.R. Bapuji. Sweet Home Publications, Hyderabad 1999. 630 pp.; 766 pp.; 572 pp. Rs. 90.00; 110.00; 80.00; $10.00; 15.00; 10.00.
This three-volume introduction to Marx's Capital is the English translation of an originally five-volume introduction in Telugu, published between 1978 and 1993. The aim of this introduction is, according to the author, to provide an easily accessible and understandable introduction to a work of which she regards the emergence as "the most wonderful event in the history of society". Adhering to the same line of argumentation and logical sequence that Marx originally followed in Capital, volume 1 features a section on commodities and money and a section on the process of capitalist production; volume 2 comprises sections on the capitalist reproduction and circulation processes; and volume 3 deals with relations of capitalist distribution and the road towards a classless society.

Roudinesco, Elisabeth. Jacques Lacan. Outline of a Life, History of a System of Thought. Transl. by Barbara Bray. [European Perspectives.] Columbia University Press, New York [etc.] 1997. xix, 574 pp. Ill. $36.95.
This is the English translation of Jacques Lacan: Esquisse d'une vie, histoire d'un système de pensée (1993), the first major biography of Jacques Lacan (1901-1981), the prominent French psychoanalyst who emphasized the importance of the study and analysis of language and structural linguistics in psychoanalytic theory, and who had a profound impact on the social sciences as a whole from the 1970s onward. The author, a member of Lacan's inner circle, aims both to elucidate his theoretical concepts and to chronicle his often tumultuous life and his relationships with some of the major social theorists of the period.

Swartz, Omar. Socialism and Communication. Reflections on language and left politics. Ashgate, Aldershot [etc.] 1999. xiii, 101 pp. £32.50.
Combining a communication theory perspective with a libertarian socialist or anarchist social and political philosophy, the author of this essay in social philosophy aims to trace the dimensions of what he loosely defines as a communicative theory of anarchism. The essay is supplemented by two appendices "that further exemplify the union of socialism and communication as a praxis informed activity": one on reinventing socialism and the relation between language, responsibility and the philosophy of hope; and the second on the role that organized religion, and in particular liberation theology, can play in social transformation.


Complicating Categories: Gender, Class, Race and Ethnicity. Ed. by Eileen Boris and Angélique Janssens. [International Review of Social History, Supplement 7.] Cambridge University Press, Cambridge [etc.] 1999. iv, 169 pp. £12.95; $19.95.
The seven essays in this 1999 Supplement to the International Review of Social History combine the categories of class, gender and/or ethnicity as complicating central concepts in the understanding of economic and social history. The essays reflect two groupings. The first three (Sandra E. Green, Ileen A. DeVault and Laura Dudley Jenkins) offer three approaches to complicating categories: intersectionality, seriality and the materiality of identity. The next four, by Michele Mitchell, Raelene Frances, Laura Levine Frader and Fatima El-Tayeb, address the conjuncture of racialized gender and sexuality in relation to colonization and nation-building.

Drescher, Seymour. From Slavery to Freedom: Comparative Studies in the Rise and Fall of Atlantic Slavery. Foreword by Stanley L. Engerman. Macmillan, Basingstoke [etc.] 1999. 454 pp. £55.00.
See Gert Oostindie's review in this volume, pp. 84-86.

Furet, François. The Passing of an Illusion. The Idea of Communism in the Twentieth Century. Transl. by Deborah Furet. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago [etc.] 1999. xiii, 596 pp. $35.00.
This is the English translation of Le passé d'une illusion: essai sur l'idée communiste au XXe siècle (1995), the late Professor Furet's much acclaimed and debated history of communism and the communist myth, as he labels it. The main argument is that in the 1930s support for communism and the Soviet Union became virtually synonymous with "antifascism", a process that perpetuated a myth of the communist promise and whitewashed the Soviet regime's excesses. This myth had, according to Furet, complex moral, intellectual and political ramifications for the West.

Gallotta, Vito. Al di là delle tradizioni storiografiche. Braccianti e immigrati. [Saggi e ricerche, 17.] Cacucci Editore, Bari 1999. 159 pp. L. 22.000; € 11.36.
In the two essays in this book, the author presents a wealth of documentation and applies instruments from social sciences to offer a new impression of the history of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers in the years 1910-1920, and the relations between the agricultural unions and the Camera di Lavoro in Puglia (Italy) in the years 1904-1914. According to the author, a traditional historiographical explanatory model leads to a selection of aspects in the historical process. The organizational model of industrial unionism in the United States, for example, was deemed irrelevant for the historiographical tradition based on John R. Commons' work on the history of trade unions, while Salvemini's description of the alliance of farmers and workers in Puglia in the early twentieth century overlooked elements that conflicted with the myth of full class consciousness.

Harman, Chris. A people's history of the world. Bookmarks, London [etc.] 1999. vii, 729 pp. £15.99.
See Lucien van der Walt's review in this volume, pp. 77-79.

Haslam, Jonathan. The Vices of Integrity. E.H. Carr, 1892-1982. Verso, London [etc.] 1999. xiv, 306 pp. £25.00.
E.H. Carr (1892-1982) is renowned both as historian of Soviet Russia and as philosopher of history in his influential What is History? (1961). In this intellectual biography, Dr Haslam argues that Carr's views on history arose from his own formative experiences in his work for the British Foreign Office during World War I and in the 1920s. The author portrays Carr as a man torn between identification with the romance of revolution and the ruthless realism of his own intellectual background.

Kotek, Joël. La jeune garde. Entre KGB et CIA. La jeunesse mondiale, enjeu des relations internationales 1917-1989. Éditions du Seuil, Paris 1998. 418 pp. 195.00.
Dr Kotek aims to show how by 1919 the Bolsheviks, through the establishment of the Communist Youth International and a strategy of large-scale infiltration and cell formation in a variety of politically-neutral international youth organizations, sought to control an important part of politically-concerned youth worldwide. He argues that only after the beginning of the Cold War from the early 1950s onward did the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) begin to launch counter-operations and start infiltration practices and covert funding operations of its own.

Many Shades of Red. State Policy and Collective Agriculture. Ed. by Mieke Meurs. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., Lanham [etc.] 1999. vii, 251 pp. $62.00.
This volume brings together five case studies that re-examine the process of the collectivization of agriculture under socialism in Russia, Bulgaria, Hungary, China and Cuba and evaluate the potential of various forms of land and resource pooling to improve agricultural performance under varying conditions. Focusing on the diversity of and dependency on local circumstances, the editor stresses the importance of such a re-examination as a contribution to the ongoing debate about the role of cooperative forms of agriculture in rural development.

Nationalism, Labour and Ethnicity 1870-1939. Ed. by Stefan Berger and Angel Smith. Manchester University Press, Manchester [etc.] 1999; distr. excl. in the USA by St. Martin's Press, New York. xii, 292 pp. £47.00.
See Kenneth Lunn's review in this volume, pp. 86-88.

New Left, New Right and Beyond. Taking the Sixties Seriously. Ed. by Geoff Andrews, Richard Cockett, Alan Hooper and Michael Williams. Macmillan Press Ltd, Basingstoke [etc.] 1999. x, 207 pp. £45.00.
Focusing mainly on the British and American context, the twelve essays in this collection examine the long-term political and cultural legacies of "the Sixties": the cultural revolution of the 1960s and the rise of the "New Left" social movements after the events in 1968. The collection includes contributions on the legacy of Gramsci in British cultural politics (Tom Steele); a history of the American New Left (Marvin Gettleman); the rise of the New Right, New Labour and the problem of social cohesion (Peter Saunders); and the emergence of antiracism from the 1960s onward (Tariq Modood).

Ross, Eric B. The Malthus Factor. Population, Poverty and Politics in Capitalist Development. Zed Books, London [etc.] 1998. viii, 264 pp. £45.00; $65.00. (Paper: £14.95; $25.00.)
See David Levine's review in this volume, pp. 79-82.

Rowbotham, Sheila. Threads through Time. Writings on History and Autobiography. Penguin Books, London [etc.] 1999. viii, 423 pp. £8.99; A$18.95; C$19.99; $13.95.
This collection comprises nineteen articles and extracts by the well-known women's historian, Dr Rowbotham. All previously published between 1973 and 1998, the articles include methodological and substantive material on women's and social history, as well as discussions of ideas in the contemporary women's movement and autobiographical accounts intended to shed light on assumptions and concepts in the author's historical writing.

Shaffer, Jack. Historical Dictionary of the Cooperative Movement. [Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements, No. 26.] The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Lanham (Md.) [etc.] 1999. xviii, 610 pp. $110.00.
According to the editor of the series in which this handbook of the cooperative movement appears, this is the only single source for obtaining information on different cooperatives and the people involved in a large number of countries. The editor offers in his introduction a concise general history of the cooperative movement in all its diversity and has added a list of acronyms, a chronology, and an extensive bibliography.

Terms of Labor. Slavery, Serfdom, and Free Labor. Ed. by Stanley L. Engerman. [The Making of Modern Freedom.] Stanford University Press, Stanford 1999. ix, 350 pp. $55.00; £35.00.
The nine chapters in this volume deal with the causes and consequences of the rise of so-called free labour (as opposed to labour under the coercive control of systems of slavery and serfdom) in Europe, the United States and the Caribbean over the past five centuries. The topics covered include European beliefs that opposed enslavement of other Europeans but nevertheless permitted the slavery of Africans (Dave Eltis), British abolitionism and the impact of emancipation on the British West Indies (Seymour Drescher), and female dependent labour in the aftermath of American emancipation (Amy Dru Stanley).

Verstaatlichung der Welt? Europäische Staatsmodelle und außereuropäische Machtsprozesse. Hrsg. von Wolfgang Reinhard unter Mitarb. von Elisabeth Müller-Luckner. [Schriften des Historischen Kollegs, Kolloquien, Band 47.] R. Oldenbourg, München 1999. xv, 375 pp. DM 128.00.
These are the proceedings of a colloquium, organized by the Historische Kolleg in Munich in March 1998, on the global proliferation of the European model of modern state formation worldwide from the middle of the eighteenth century onward, its relative success or failure elsewhere in the world and the reasons for the failures. Sixteen of the eighteen papers are arranged geographically, dealing with America, South and East Asia, the Islamic Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. The contributions by the editor and Harald Haury offer a concluding assessment.

Poetry and Poetics

UGA - ROM LANGS - SPAN 8100 (84-947) Spring 2005 SYLLABUS1
Poetry and Poetics:
Baroque and NeoBaroque Poets (Spain & Latin America)
Class: M: 3:35 – 6:35pm 303Gilbert Hall
Professors: Dr. Dana Bultman / Dr. Luis Correa-Díaz
Office: 240 Gilbert Hall Office: 370K Gilbert Hall,
Office hours: preferably by appointment, thanks.
Textos requeridos:
1) [N-B] (NEO)BARROCO –Lecturas. (Course pack) [Comprarlo en Bel-Jean, llamar
al teléfono 548-3648.]
2) [R] Todos los libros que están para este curso en la sección “Reserve Readings –
Spring 2005” en la Main Library de UGA.
3) [G] Góngora, Luis de. Soledades. Ed. Robert Jammes. Madrid: Cátedra. [Comprar el
libro en la librería de UGA (706-542-3171), ]
4) [Q] Quevedo, Francisco de. Poesía varia. Ed. James O. Crosby. Madrid: Cátedra.
[Comprar el libro en la librería de UGA (706-542-3171), ]
5) [MLA] MLA Handbook. New York: Modern Language Association of America.
Ultima edición. [Se lo puede pedir a través del Internet: ]
Websites sugeridos:
The Sonnet:
The Golden Age Sonnet:
Glossary of Poetic Terms:
Etiópicas: Revista de Letras Renacentistas
1 Por favor, leer el capítulo 12, “Your Course Syllabus Is Your Friend,” del libro College Rules! How to
Study, Survive, and Succeed in College (2002: 129-137) de Sherrie Nist y Jodi Patrick Holschuh. Este
capítulo, como otros de este libro, es esencial para un entendimiento entre los profesores y el/la estudiante.
[Se puede ver este syllabus on-line en]
Poetry Resources (plus “How to write a term paper”):
Literary Theory, A Glossary: Glosario de términos de teoría literaria
Classical Mythology:
Latin American and Spanish Literature:
Antologías virtuales de la Literatura Latinoamericana:
On-line sobre Barroco
[Rene Wellek, “The Baroque in Literature.” Excelente bibliografía también.]
[Brazilian Baroque]
On-line sobre Neo-Barroco
Lezama Lima
Sor Juana
Sor Juana y Sarduy: literature and travestism:
Descripción del curso.2 SPAN 8100, Poetry and Poetics: Baroque and Neo-Baroque
Poets (Spain & Latin America).
Se dice que de entre todos los géneros literarios la poesía es el más difícil
de traducir. Puede ser porque una traducción borre tal vez el protagonista
más importante de un texto: el lenguaje original. En poesía las
características singulares del idioma sobresalen, muestran sus específicos
contornos intelectuales y sensuales, y señalan los lugares y tiempos en que
se han formado sus vocablos, su particular lógica y, quizás, su destino. En
este curso vamos a responder con la historia de un caso a la pregunta:
¿cuáles son algunas de las características singulares de la poesía en
Partiendo de nuestras ideas sobre el rol cultural de los poetas y la poesía
en América Latina y España, tanto en el presente como en el pasado,
vamos a estudiar una polémica que ya cumple cuatro siglos de antigüedad.
Empieza alrededor de 1600 como una rivalidad entre dos poetas de la
corte española barroca: el madrileño Francisco de Quevedo, y el cordobés
2 La descripción oficial que se encuentra en la página web del Departamento y en el UGA Undergraduate
Bulletin 2004-2005 es la siguiente: “SPAN 8100. Poetry and Poetics. 3 hours. Oasis Title: POETRY
AND POETICS. Poetry and poetics from Spain and/or Spanish America, which may include Latino/a
poetry and poetics in the United States. Given in Spanish.
Luís de Góngora. Se transforma en una lucha feroz sobre las normas de la
buena poesía y la relación que debería tener el poeta y su obra con los
valores morales y la salud espiritual de la nación.
Trazaremos la ruta latinoamericana contemporánea de esta polémica a
través de la obras poética de Severo Sarduy, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz,
Jorge Luis Borges, José Lezama Lima, Alejo Carpentier, Pablo Neruda, y
Octavio Paz. Cada uno de estos poetas opta explícitamente por uno de los
caminos señalados por Quevedo o Góngora. ¿Qué significan estas
elecciones para una interpretación de sus obras y su tiempo y cultura? Los
estudiantes tendrán la oportunidad de elegir un poeta contemporáneo para
sus proyectos de investigación, para seguir averiguando las nuevas
respuestas a un debate poético que ha influido las tradiciones literarias de
México, Cuba, Chile, Argentina, y, por cierto, la de la misma España.
Objetivos generales del curso:
• Explorar la importancia de las tradiciones literarias para comprender la literatura
• Ver la fuerza cultural del discurso lírico, preguntándose: ¿Qué efectos puede tener
la poesía? ¿Por qué escribir poesía? ¿Para quién escriben los poetas?
Objetivos específicos del curso:
• Identificar proyectos de investigación viables para los estudiantes.
• Examinar cómo y por qué el legado de Góngora y Quevedo se ha leído y se ha
repetido en América Latina desde Sor Juana hasta hoy en día.
• Debatir el significado de lo ´barroco´ hoy y en la época “barroca” (siglo XVII).
• Ver que una polémica literaria puede surgir y continuar, trans-históricamente, sin
una resolución cuatro siglos más tarde y en un mundo diferente (?).
• Entender las obras de Góngora y Quevedo más allá de las categorizaciones
tradicionales de culterano y conceptista.
Criterios de evaluación3
1. Quizzes en WebCT (un total de 10, por lo tanto 2% c/u) 20%
2. Presentación de investigación 10%
3. Reseña (book review) 15%
4. Proyecto de Ensayo final (abstract) 10%
5. Ensayo final (proyecto y documento final acabado) 20%
6. Conferencia (presentación del ensayo final) 05%
7. Midterm Exam (1 a medio semestre) 20%
Total: 100%
3 Ver más adelante la descripción de los “Criterios generales y evaluativos.”
Un quiz muy breve cada dos semanas de acuerdo a lo indicado por el profesor, sobre el tema de
las semanas anteriores (el/la estudiante debe estar preparado/a cada semana también para
responder preguntas sobre lo que se haya visto durante las clases inmediatamente anteriores). La
suma de todos los quizzes es como un gran examen tomado en etapas. La semana que haya
midterm exam no habrá quiz.
Fechas de los exámenes
Monday, March 3rd : Midterm Exam (accumulative)
TBA (To Be Announced) : Entrega del trabajo final
Escala de notas
100-94 = A 93-90 = A- 89-87 = B+ 86-84 = B 83-80 = B-
79-77 = C+ 76-74 = C 73-70 = C- 69-67 = D+ 66-64 + D 63-60 = D 59-0 = F
Calendario y Plan del Curso
Epígrafe ad hoc:
“En su modo, la angulosidad castellana está acompañada por la tierra húmeda americana. La
sintética criada castellana americana mira hacia el balcón que le daña el espejo del patio y
exclama: ´Contengan el agüita´, donosura que aúna el incomparable diminutivo teresiano con lo
querencioso nuestro.”
José Lezama Lima
Semanas y
Lectura(s) y discusiones Fuente(s)
1 (1-10)
M: Introducción al curso Syllabus (
Brainstorming on the role of the poet/poetry in cultures past and
Poemas de Quevedo y Góngora
Rom Langs
2 (1-17)
M: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
Leer el syllabus e investigar los websites sugeridos (en
particular los de “On-line sobre Barroco” y tomar el Quiz 1
sobre ellos en WebCT: )
3 (1-24) M: Intro to the controversy in Latin America:
Severo Sarduy
[French theoretical turn: Deleuze]
4 (1-31)
Quiz 2 en WebCT
M: Intro to the controversy in Spain: siglo XVII
Derrida / Quevedo (“Al Excelentíssimo… intro. a su edición de
Fray Luis) y Góngora (carta de un amigo y su respuesta; soneto
“Restituye a su mudo horror divino”.
Jammes apéndice.
[R] o [G]
5 (2-7)
Quiz 3 en WebCT
M: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
Sor Juana, “Primero sueño”
Paz sobre “Primero sueño”
Sor Juana and Sarduy, literature and travestism
6 (2-14)
Quiz 4 en WebCT
M: Borges
7 (2-21)
Quiz 5 en WebCT
M: Lezama Lima y Carpentier
8 (2-28)
Quiz 6 en WebCT
M: Neruda y Paz
9 (3-7)
M: Midterm Exam (acumulativo)
10 (3-14)
M: Spring Break
11 (3-21)
Quiz 7 en WebCT
M: Quevedo (15b y Musa VI)
[R] o [Q]
12 (3-28)
Quiz 8 en WebCT
M: Quevedo (24a, 24b, 41, 42, 52, 53, 95 y Musa IV, secciones
primera y segunda)
[R] o [Q]
13 (4-4)
Quiz 9 en WebCT
M: Góngora (Soledad 1)
[R] o [G]
14 (4-11)
Quiz 10 en WebCT
M: Góngora (Soledad 2)
[R] o [G]
15 (4-18) M: Review of contemporary poets in Spain
16 (4-25)
M: Review of contemporary poets in Latin America
17 (5-2)
J: Mini conferencia (presentación pública de los trabajos)
Tuesday, May 3: Reading Day
Wed.-Friday, May 4-6; Monday – Tuesday, May 9-10: Final Exams
Entrega trabajo final: TBA
Criterios generales y evaluativos
0. General UGA academic policies. Each student is responsible to inform her/himself about the
following and other UGA policies before performing any academic work.
0.1 If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have
emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in
case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as
possible. Further information:
0.2 Withdrawal Policy: A possible grade for withdrawal both after and before the midpoint
of the semester is a WF, which carries the same numerical grade as an F (O points).
Please read the details about the withdrawal policy given in the "Registrar's Most
Frequently Asked Questions" at the back of this booklet and given in the Bulletin. Direct
questions about withdrawal policy to Registrar’s Office at (706) 542-4055, or go to
0.3 The University’s academic honesty policy will be observed in this class. See:
0.4 Religious observance. Consultar esta página,, para
una lista comprehensiva.
1. Quizzes en WebCT. Habrá uno cada semana, de acuerdo a lo especificado en el
cronograma del curso. Los quizzes deben ser tomados a través del WebCT hasta 30
minutos antes de la clase correspondiente.
2. Presentación. Consiste en la presentación a la clase de un tema de investigación breve
y práctica que contribuya al desarrollo del día respectivo en el desarrollo del curso. La
presentación no debe durar más de 10 minutos y debe tener un componente on-line a
través del WebCT. Los topics serán puestos en el WebCT durante las primeras semanas
de clases (antes de la quinta). El/la estudiante debe asignarse a sí mismo/a uno de esos
topics poniendo su nombre en la lista correspondiente (bajo la modalidad first come, first
3. Reseña. El/la estudiante deberá redactar una reseña (publicable, dos páginas y media)
sobre un libro actual (desde el 2003 en adelante) propuesto a los profesores. Este libro
puede ser, en general, sobre el tema del curso o, en particular, estar relacionado
directamente con el proyecto personal. En todo caso, antes de redactar la reseña, se debe
contar con la aprobación de los profesores. Se recomienda ir al basement de la UGA
Library y revisar la sección “Reseñas” de las revistas del campo profesional nuestro. 4
4. Proyecto. Consiste en el abstract (una página) del ensayo final. Debe ser entregado a
los profesores en la fecha indicada durante el transcurso del semestre.
5. Ensayo final (proyecto y documento acabado). Véanse las instrucciones detalladas que
la profesora entregará al comienzo del curso. La escritura del ensayo debe atenerse
rigurosamente a las pautas de estilo MLA. La sección obras citadas no debe contener más
allá de tres referencias a sitios del Internet, el resto deben ser libros, artículos, etc.5
6. Conferencia (presentación –y entrega inaplazable a los profesores- del ensayo final).
Consiste en la presentación del ensayo final como si se estuviera participando en una
conferencia. Ver las fechas en el cronograma del curso. El objetivo principal es
prepararse, como futuro/a scholar, para la inminencia de un evento profesional como éste
en la vida académica.
6.1. Explicación: La participación en esta mini-conferencia es el examen final. La
presentación debe ser hecha principalmente en torno a explicar técnicamente el trabajo.
7. Midterm. Habrá un examen a mediado del semestre tal como se indica en el
cronograma. Este examen es acumulativo hasta la fecha correspondiente, e incluye todo
lo que se ha leído, dicho y visto.
9. Notas. Los estudiantes sabrán siempre sus notas (quizzes, exámenes, participación y
otros). Los profesores entregarán cualquiera nota oportunamente a través del WebCT.
El/la estudiante particular es responsable de mantener (en carpeta) sus notas, no necesita
preguntárselas (otra vez) a los profesores.
4 El / la estudiante debe conservar el original de todo (en papel y en diskette), a los profesores se le entrega
siempre una copia. Esto les evita a todos las complicaciones de cualquiera desafortunada pérdida. Lo dicho
vale para la reseña, el abstract, el ensayo final y, en general, todo escrito.
5 La / el estudiante no podrá alcanzar, eventualmente, una nota superior (A) si no tiene (ni desarrolla) un
nivel de escritura (‘in the target language’) acorde con su condición de ‘graduado.’ En caso que (se) detecte
este problema a principios de semestre, la / el estudiante es el / la único/a responsable de buscar la manera
de superarse en esta material. Esto vale para todos y cada uno de los componentes escritos del curso,
incluídos quizzes y exámenes.
10. *Please note that it is your responsibility to make sure that you formally add or
drop courses through the proper channels. The teacher has no jurisdiction over this
matter. The teacher cannot add your name on the final grade list.
11. *Cualquier cambio en este syllabus será comunicado oportunamente en clases por
los profesores. [Recuerde el/la estudiante que un syllabus, como todo proyecto, siempre
sufre alteraciones y que éstas son recomendables a fin de poder reflejar las necesidades
del momento.] [The course syllabus provides a general/ideal plan for the course,
deviations may be necessary.]
12. Se ruega encarecidamente desactivar el teléfono celular antes de entrar a clases. [This
is a free cell-phone class.]

Medieval Studies

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Mass Culture

Mass Culture, Popular Culture
03 Oct 1994 12:02

Revisiting this notebook after many years, I find myself uncomfortable with this category, which I basically got from reading a lot of mid-20th century cultural criticism (McCarthy and Macdonald, especially). The idea, so far as I can reconstruct it, is that there is (or was) a separate sphere of "mass culture" or "popular culture", sharply distinguished in form, genesis or content from other spheres of culture. I suppose what I had in mind, roughly, is commercially-produced culture, most of whose consumers are not, themselves, also producers of the same kind of culture --- as, for instance, most people who listen to commercial recordings aren't also musicians, and music-making is a business. But calling this "mass culture" seems to have a very unfortunate connotation, which I don't (any longer) accept, that most people are passive consumers of the degraded products of the manipulative Culture Trust, accepting whatever they're given without thought. There is a Culture Trust, and of course those who run it would have easier jobs if that were how things worked, but it seems to me to be false to the realities of how culture is produced, received and reworked, and how cultural trends and styles emerge and are used by the various people involved. "Mass culture" also seems to carry a connotation that once upon a time we lived in a non-alienated condition, where there wasn't the same distinction between producers and consumers, which seems again to be false.

See also Cultural Criticism

Joan Didion
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
The White Album
After Henry
Thomas Frank and Matt Weiland (eds.), Commodify Your Dissent: Salvos from The Baffler [Review: The Birth and (Hoped-For) Death of the Rebel Consumer Hero, or, Between Mencken and the Cultural Front]
Mary McCarthy, On the Contrary
Dwight Macdonald, Against the American Grain
Marshall McLuhan, The Mechanical Bride: The Folk-lore of Industrial Man
Neil Postman, Conscientious Objections
To read:
Campbell, The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism
Carol Flake, Redemptorama: Culture, Politics and the New Evangelicalism
Thomas Frank, The Conquest of Cool: Business Culture, Counterculture, and the Rise of Hip Consumerism
Chris Lehmann, Triumph of the Masscult
Angela McRobbie, In the Culture Society: Art, Fashion and Popular Music
J. H. Plumb, The Commercialisation of Literature in Eighteenth-Century England
Karen Sternheimer, It's Not the Media: The Truth About Pop Culture's Influence on Children
John Storey, Inventing Popular Culture [History of intellectuals' ideas about popular culture]

Friday, April 24, 2009


Semiotics, Semiology (1960)
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Paul Cobley, London Metropolitan University

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Works and Events 1960 - 1990

Semiotics is the study of signs and is concerned with interrogating semiosis, the actions of signs. Generally, signs are conceived only as inanimate objects that are used for sending messages. However, semiosis occurs in many different ways and in places where signs are not normally apparent to humans, for example in the transmission of information inside biological cells by DNA and other chemical transmitters. The sign in human semiosis, although frequently treated as an inanimate entity, is strictly the sign for someone. Put another way, signs only exist because an organism, or part of an organism, perceives them as significant. As Morris famously declared, semiosis is a “process in which something is a sign to some organism” (1938: 366). As long as something acts as a sign, then it is a sign. So, among the many different signs that may be produced, a poetic trope should be considered as part of the same broad category of phenomena as message-sending from the human retina to the brain, click-language between dolphins, and every other kind of communication of messages and reading of sensory data, at whatever level and among whatever organisms.

It is worth noting these facts before considering the meaning of the term semiotics, for it is easy to assume that human signs, especially those in literary or artistic production, are somehow unique in their formation and action. This issue also bears directly on the formulation of semiotics as a term relating to sign study and its occasional conflation with semiology. The reason that semiotics tends to be used to refer to all sign study today is twofold: because it is the most accurate term in the circumstances and because it has been institutionalised. Semiotics, as opposed to semiology, is the study of all signs; the term itself is derived from a Greek root, seme, and was taken up by the American philosopher, Charles Sanders Peirce (1831-1913), who sought to classify all types of signs in the universe. Semiotics therefore constitutes the major tradition of sign-study ultimately derived from the ancient semioticians such as the medical physicians Hippocrates of Cos (460-377 BCE) and Galen of Pergamon (129-c.200) who developed a science of symptomatology (Sebeok 2001a). However, in Europe especially, it was the immense success and fashionable ascent of semiology which initially brought the broad notion of sign study to the attention of the public and the academy in the latter half of the twentieth century. Semiology was inspired by the work of the Swiss linguist, Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913), whose Cours de linguistique générale (1916) predicted the growth of a general science of signs that might be possible if his principles were followed. In the Francophone world, Saussure’s call was later taken up by semiologists such as Roland Barthes (1915-80) and Pierre Guiraud, both o

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Published 10 December 2004

Citation: Cobley, Paul. "Semiotics, Semiology". The Literary Encyclopedia. 10 December 2004.
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Rhetoric and Poetics

Rhetoric and Poetics in Antiquity
Jeffrey Walker
This book offers a counter-traditional account of the history of both rhetoric and poetics. In reply to traditional rhetorical histories, which view "rhetoric" primarily as an art of practical civic oratory, the book argues in four extended essays that epideictic-poetic eloquence was central, even fundamental, to the rhetorical tradition in antiquity. In essence, Jeffrey Walker's study accomplishes what in the world of rhetoric studies amounts to a revolution: he demonstrates that in antiquity rhetoric and poetry could not be viewed separately. Reviews
"Rhetoric and Poetics in Antiquity is an excellent book...Walker has provided an important, original, and insightful rival view of the relationship between rhetoric and poetics. As with any innovative work, it may meet with initial resistance by some of the more traditional members of our discipline. I believe, however, that this work will be viewed immediately and especially over time as an important contribution. By its topic, it will attract those interested in literature and rhetoric. The clarity of the writing is a great strength, as is the organization and the overall development of the thesis. I benefit greatly from reading this work and...hope that my comments will induce our colleagues to read and thereby benefit from Walker's scholarship."--Rhetoric Review

"Walker engages two particularly contentious issues in the history of rhetoric, offering a novel reconstruction of rhetoric's origins and a revised account of the relationship between rhetoric and poetics in Classical Greece and Rome...[A] very ambitious and challenging book. Walker's revitalization of 'epideictic' should provoke greater scrutiny of the ancient understandings of that category. His blurring the traditional boundaries separating rhetoric from poetics is both innovative and cogent. The 'rhetorical poetics' he proposes will no doubt be profitably applied in the study of lyric forms from many cultures subsequent to that of archaic Greece."--Rhetorica
Product Details
416 pages; 1 halftone; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4;
ISBN13: 978-0-19-513035-5
ISBN10: 0-19-513035-9
About the Author(s)
Jeffrey Walker, Professor of English, Emory University

Reproduction of Race and Racial Ideologies

From the May 2008 Idaho Observer:


The Crack Cocaine Amendment: A recipe for failure?

Only time will tell but if a significant proportion of recently released federal inmates (with more to follow) choose to return to a life of crime after having had their sentences reduced via the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s crack cocaine amendment, then we should ask if, perhaps, this was not simply a carefully considered recipe for failure so as to silence the rising chorus of criticism calling for cease fires and a reassessment of strategies in America’s decades-long lost War on (some) Drugs.

I foresee that failure is all but certain for most after they have spent, in many cases, a decade or longer in places where a former Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons has admitted: "…any person that spends ten years in one of my institutions comes out of the institution dysfunctional, without exception." [After the Madness: A Judge’s Own Prison Memoir by Sol Wachter, p. 178]

Combined with the immense hurdle of obtaining a good job while having (at least) one felony conviction, during the worst (and deepening) economic downturn in decades, one need not possess the acuity of a Nostradamus to foretell yet another failed federal policy in the making. With the (planned?) result that the public will be "shock and awed" by an explosion in crime and then stampeded by shouts for a re-doubling of misery- producing measures that only perpetuate the problems whose "solutions" bring us increasingly closer to the desired police state envisioned for all of us.

The very definition of fanaticism is doubling one’s efforts after having lost sight of one’s goals. And America’s drug warriors are nothing if not fanatics! They loathe the very idea that someone, somewhere, is getting high without their permission.

Let’s face it, anything short of summary execution for those caught in possession of illicit drugs, only serves to increase their value and hence the desire to profit from, if not purchase, them. For above all, it is the relatively easy and obscene profits that fuels the conflict currently raging right outside our front doors. In fact, I can see how, for some, even the threat of immediate death would act as an enticement to use and sell drugs, since their cachet, and hence allure (both psychological and monetary) would climb in the minds of the truly twisted souls post-modern America seems to be raising.

We must also consider the type of convict being released by this amendment and note the overwhelming majority are African-Americans. A hard-core underclass of the ineducable now convinced by the controlled media that, since the crack laws had a disproportionate impact upon "people of color" (but not "colored people?"), the society they are re-entering is therefore inherently racist and unjust. The immense success of "dat bitch!" Oprah Winfrey or of Barack Obama is rarely noted and/or contemptuously dismissed by men whose major interests, for years, had been B.E.T. rap videos, reading "hood" novels glorifying their former lives, sports and lifting weights.

Never mind that the once mandatory sentencing guidelines (recently held un-Constitutional and now merely "advisory") were promulgated and put in place back in 1987 to preclude sentencing disparities based upon race! And that whites, Asians or Hispanics who were dumb enough to still sell crack, were just as liable and did, indeed, receive the same draconian sentences under them. The perception that they were purposely racially biased against blacks, from their inception, persists.

Explaining to my fellow inmates that the laws against anti-social actions such as rape and murder also have a disproportionate impact on African-Americans and are unlikely to be modified or rescinded anytime in the near future (thank God!) completely alludes them. As does the immense damage, all the pain and suffering their way of life—euphemistically and all too proudly referred to as "hustlin’", the selling of poison to their own people—has caused members of their own race in their own communities!

In a rational world, the reduction of one’s sentence, usually by the more complex process of parole, which at least attempts to discern such things, would require some proof of a change in attitudes of the offender. In the case of crack dealers, the impact upon the common weal was so pervasively horrible and detrimental to generations of blacks that the Ku Klux Klan itself could not have come up with a better plan for oppression and destruction of a people.

In the same vein, had the crack crime epidemic been traced back and found to be, at the root, a white criminal conspiracy, or if the majority of dealers had been white, would we even have seen such a lessening of sentences? Certainly not.

The crack cocaine crime wave, that featured record numbers of homicides in its wake, was so intense that the black U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangell (D) from my hard-hit hometown of New York, got a group of black legislators together and pushed for the crack laws which punished those convicted far harsher than powder cocaine dealers.

A recent sentencing commission report admits that crack is not only more addictive in a different way than powder (shorter, more intense highs), which leads users to commit crimes such as theft and prostitution, but that violence also plays a larger role in the world of crack cocaine, though not as great as had previously been believed. These established facts led the Commission to admit that there should be some disparity at sentencing between the two forms of the same drug. Hence their humanitarian gesture of the amendment that went into effect only after our cowardly Congress declined to vote on it during an election cycle! It effectively ended the 100-to-1 crack/powder weight driven sentencing disparity (1 gram of crack = 1 gram of powder) and cut years off many a too long sentence.

Will America be fooled if things go awry and choke on the cracked bone of mercy offered, ostensibly in the much needed spirit of legal reform? If our nation’s history in these matters is any guide, I believe we most certainly will when, accompanied by loud shouts from the mind-rinse media, they pound on John Q. Public’s back in an effort to dislodge the offending reform, all the while repeating the mantra, "We told you so!"

Unless such humanitarian legal efforts are far wider and more sweeping, this one timid retreat in the otherwise increasingly brutal battles being fought in the War on Drugs, will be halted. And instead a new offensive, based upon fear, will rout the forces of reason that are still struggling to establish a beachhead.

True justice demands that heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine and other hard drugs, be ameliorated in the same manner while marijuana and hashish cases, be ameliorated to an even greater degree [for reasons that are obvious to anyone who has ever smoked some].

These offenders—especially marijuana dealers—are in many ways less culpable, or in meth cases no more guilty (sinful), than those who dealt in crack. The fact that a far higher percentage of these offenders are white would result in a far fairer picture of what we can expect as a nation that chooses to radically modify, if not declare an armistice in the War on Drugs.

Possessing far deeper reserves of financial, employment, educational, community and familial capital, such convicts, once released early, would easily offset the expected higher recidivism rates of former crack sellers, ill prepared by an overburdened and underfunded prison industry to become responsible, law abiding citizens.

Otherwise we should brace ourselves when the negative recidivism rates are used by Nazi-like naysayers who see only prison cells as answers for society’s ills. For it is also the obscene profits some derive from America’s wars—both foreign and domestic—that perpetuates the fighting and dying. We must be vigilant lest legislation and policies meant to lessen the conflicts and their casualty rates are misapplied and end up compelling the confused citizenry to demand new rounds of combat in a vain search for security.

Ben Franklin warned us: Those who would trade a little of their liberties for security deserve, and often wind up with, neither. The crack cocaine amendment seems like a small step in the right direction after decades of draconian leaps in the dark. I just pray it does not become yet another Trojan horse in America’s failed War on Drugs and simply a recipe for failure.

Wayne Costigan

Loretto, Pennsylvania

Reproduction of Race and Racial Ideologies

Our Torturers - Bush on Down
Posted on April 22nd, 2009 by Ed Kent in Breaking NewsRead 116 times.I happened to hear this report by Ami Goodman last night:

* The Story of Mitchell Jessen & Associates: How a Team of Psychologists in Spokane, WA, Helped Develop the CIA’s Torture Techniques *

We broadcast from Spokane, Washington, less than three miles from the headquarters of a secretive CIA contractor that played a key role in developing the Bush administration’s interrogation methods. The firm, Mitchell Jessen & Associates, is named after the two military psychologists who founded the company, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. Beginning in 2002, the CIA hired the psychologists to train interrogators in brutal techniques, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and pain. We speak with three journalists who have closely followed the story.

Posted on April 22nd, 2009 by Ed Kent in Breaking NewsRead 116 times.I happened to hear this report by Ami Goodman last night:

* The Story of Mitchell Jessen & Associates: How a Team of Psychologists in Spokane, WA, Helped Develop the CIA’s Torture Techniques *

We broadcast from Spokane, Washington, less than three miles from the headquarters of a secretive CIA contractor that played a key role in developing the Bush administration’s interrogation methods. The firm, Mitchell Jessen & Associates, is named after the two military psychologists who founded the company, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. Beginning in 2002, the CIA hired the psychologists to train interrogators in brutal techniques, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and pain. We speak with three journalists who have closely followed the story.
Posted on April 22nd, 2009 by Ed Kent in Breaking NewsRead 116 times.I happened to hear this report by Ami Goodman last night:

* The Story of Mitchell Jessen & Associates: How a Team of Psychologists in Spokane, WA, Helped Develop the CIA’s Torture Techniques *

We broadcast from Spokane, Washington, less than three miles from the headquarters of a secretive CIA contractor that played a key role in developing the Bush administration’s interrogation methods. The firm, Mitchell Jessen & Associates, is named after the two military psychologists who founded the company, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. Beginning in 2002, the CIA hired the psychologists to train interrogators in brutal techniques, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and pain. We speak with three journalists who have closely followed the story.

and today’s New York Times Lead story completes this grim tale of torture authorized by Bush on down (”In Adopting Harsh Tactics, No Inquiry Into Past Use.”

It looks as though the fat is in the fire and one wonders where we shall be going from here. I am relieved that the truth is out. I am not a retributivist, but at the very least this shameful truth must be told.

Ed Kent

Reproduction of Race and Racial Ideologies

Black-White Intermarriage - The early history of miscegenation in america, Defining racial categories, Demonizing asian immigrants, Intermarriage in the civil rights era, Loving v. virginia, Contemporary trends

The term intermarriage typically refers to marriages between individuals of different socially constructed racial and ethnic groups. In the United States, however, these unions are usually defined as interracial . Such unions are often depicted as being between white and nonwhite persons, with an emphasis on white-black unions. Historically, interracial sexuality, especially between white women and nonwhite men, was forbidden in both public discourse and laws; it was legally and socially stigmatized. For white men, having sex with women of any race was acceptable as long as it was not public. Legal, political, and social restrictions against these relationships have existed at various times, and even in the early twenty-first century interracial marriage rates remain low, accounting for only 5.4 percent of all marriages in the country, according to the 2000 Census.

Maintaining racial purity within the white race has been the dominant discourse in marriage laws and intermarriage prohibitions. Historically, legal restrictions placed on inter-marriage and miscegenation have varied by state. In some states intermarriage was legal, while in others it was illegal. Miscegenation had been discouraged and treated as socially deviant since the arrival of African slaves in the American colonies, but it was not until 1691 that interracial sex was made illegal. Virginia passed the first statute against miscegenation between blacks and whites. The goal was to prevent “that abominable mixture and spurious issue which hereafter may increase in this dominion, as well by negroes, mulattoes, and Indians intermarrying with English, or other white women, as by their unlawful accompanying with one another” (Wadlington 1966, p. 1192).

Since the beginning of the sixteenth century, people involved in interracial sex have faced informal sanctions, punishment, and social exclusion. White women romantically or sexually involved with black men were punished, often by being banished from the colony or by being beaten and arrested. The political and social ideology centered on protecting white womanhood and demonizing black men, and free access to black women was largely held by white men in positions of power. These beliefs and social norms were never formally legalized, but the ideology penetrated the legal system. Interracial sex was constructed as deviant within the institution of slavery, and from the beginning this view was primarily aimed at preventing black male slaves from engaging in sexual relations with white women. The frequent abuse and lynching of black men for allegedly raping or desiring sexual relations with white women, as well as the widespread rape and sexual abuse of black women by white men, played an integral part in the socio-historical construction of race and the rules of race relations.

Legal sanctions, as opposed to social ones, were more often focused on interracial unions than on interracial sex. Indeed, interracial sex reified the racial divide and hierarchy through the sexual mistreatment of black women by white men, and through the severe punishment of black men who were sexually involved with a white woman. By 1940, thirty-one states had laws against interracial marriage, but only six had laws prohibiting interracial sex. But both laws and social sanctions against interracial sex and marriage were racist social constructions, formulated largely by white men to protect the “purity” of the white race and prevent racial mixture.

Interracial sex was also used as a symbol of white male privilege. Sex between black men and white women was punished, for these relations posed a threat to the power and privilege of white men. But sex between white men and black women did not threaten the white power structure, but instead reinforced the domination of white men up through the 1800s. White men had free access to black women, and these relations often involved rape or other forms of violence. Black women were oversexualized in the minds of white men, especially in contrast to white women. White men used this depiction to justify the idealization of the white woman, the degradation of black women, and the privilege awarded to white men, especially in terms of unlimited sexual access. Interracial sex did not challenge the purity of the white race because children born of white fathers and black mothers were demoted to slave status.

Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the social construction of racial categories and the increasing desire to quantify race, particularly blackness, led to frequent modifications in the legal and social status of interracial marriage and children born of interracial relations. Children born to a black parent and a white parent were forced to assume the mothers’ status: children of slave mothers assumed the slave status, while children of white mothers were sold as indentured servants until the age of thirty. White mothers of mixed-race children had to serve five years and were then banished from the colony. These sentences of servitude and banishment often varied over time and place. The first legal efforts to classify race came in a Virginia law of 1787, which stipulated that any person having one-fourth black blood, or having any grandparent who was black, was considered black. The legal quantification of blackness and of people of color was revised until it eventually came to include any person who is not white, so that “white” legally meant any person with no trace of any other blood besides Caucasian, and having even “one drop” of “black blood” defined a person as black.

At the same time, while the definition of racial categories became legal, so did the legal protection of white womanhood. In 1819 a code was passed in the southern United States that included the punishment of any attempted sexual relations or expressed desire for a white woman by a slave. While African Americans were the central focus of miscegenation laws, other men of color, notably Asians, were also targeted for racial exclusion. Chinese men, for example, were represented as threats to white womanhood. Congress passed laws restricting Chinese immigration even as the popular press presented them as sexually deviant and dangerous. Chinese women were also excluded, based on perceptions of them as prostitutes and sexually immoral. In 1875, Congress passed the Page Law, which forbade the entry of Chinese and other “Mongolian” prostitutes. Immigration restriction laws passed in 1903, 1907, and 1917 allowed for the deportation of Chinese women suspected of prostitution and defined Asian women as sexual objects.

Given that prostitution was widespread at this time, singling out Chinese women for “exclusion,” and portraying them as transmitters of diseases, drug addiction, and temptation of sin, was more about controlling the reproduction and sexuality of Asian women. Given the lack of available Asian women for Asian men to marry, Asian men were also constructed as a potential threat to white women. Therefore, antimiscegenation laws were enacted against interracial marriage in general, and specific laws forbade Asian-white intermarriage. Immigration laws concerning Chinese and Japanese immigration were also enacted to control and limit intermarriages. For example, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited Chinese from immigrating to the United States for ten years, thus eliminating most Chinese-white intermarrying. Similarly, the “Gentleman’s Agreement” with Japan was used to eliminate Japanese immigration to the United States by prohibiting Japanese laborers from obtaining passports.

The legal landscape of intermarriage and interracial relations remained divided and inconsistent until the 1960s. Support of the one-drop rule persisted, and laws regarding intermarriage were changed, revised, revoked, and reestablished until 1967. In 1960, when every southern state had a law against interracial marriage, the U.S. Census documented 51,409 black-white couples in the United States. And while the U.S Congress never outlawed miscegenation, forty-one out of fifty states had laws against interracial unions at some time in their history.

Changes in the racial landscape during the 1960s and 1970s were reflected in the legal support for interracial unions. The civil rights movement, grassroots political and social movements, and similar changing ideologies were the driving force behind the changing legal system. Legal support for interracial unions produced a significant increase in the number of black-white marriages between 1960 and 1970, when the total number of interracial marriages increased by 26 percent. Interracial couples remained mostly in the northern and western regions of the country, while the rate of interracial marriages in the South declined by 34 percent between 1960 and 1970.

The discrepancy among interracial marriages in the North and in the South may be due, in part, to the fact that most of the southern states had laws against interracial marriages until 1967. Most of the interracial marriages were between black men and white women. These marriages increased 61 percent from 1960 to 1970, while marriages between black women and white men decreased by 9 percent during this period. The issue of interracial sex and marriage is an integral part of the construction of race and racial groups, and the fear of interracial sexuality has often been used to justify racist ideologies and practices. The case of Emmett Till, a young black teenager who allegedly whistled at a white woman and was brutally murdered in 1955, attests to the enduring strength of the ideology of protecting white womanhood.

The historic 1967 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Loving v. Virginia changed the legal landscape of intermarriage permanently. Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Jeter, a black woman, left their home state of Virginia, where intermarriage was illegal, to get married in Washington, D.C. When they returned to Virginia they were arrested and sentenced to one year in prison. However, the judge suspended the sentence on the condition that the couple leave Virginia and not return for twenty-five years. The Lovings appealed the decision in a state court, but the ruling was upheld based on a previous case, in order for the state to “preserve the racial integrity of its citizens” and prevent “the obliteration of racial pride.” Previous essentialist thinking that interracial marriages were unnatural and deviant was heavily reliant upon “scientific” assertions about the genetic and biological hierarchy of the “races.”

Finally, the decision was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the ruling was overturned. Whereas Chief Justice Warren’s decision remained free of any controversial sociological or anthropological evidence or studies, the Loving case signaled the beginning of a change in interracial ideology within U.S. society. Racist ideologies that pervaded the legal system for more than three centuries were retracted. While these ideologies remained dominant in the larger society, they were no longer to be used to justify legal decisions. Although a majority of whites supported laws against interracial marriage, the decision to make laws forbidding interracial marriages unconstitutional legalized a relationship that had been criminalized in the United States since the seventeenth century (Romano 2003).

While the Loving v. Virginia case granted legal support to interracial marriages and initiated an increase in the number of interracial couples, antimiscegenation ideology persisted and adapted to the continuously changing racial landscape. In Race Mixing (2003), Renee Romano reports that in 1970, 56 percent of southern whites and 30 percent of nonsouthern whites supported laws against interracial relationships. Though support for antimiscegenation laws had decrease by 1990, social tolerance for interracial marriage was still reminiscent of antimiscegenation ideology. Robin Goodwin and Duncan Cramer report in Inappropriate Relationships (2002) that 61 percent of white Americans polled in 1991 said they would oppose a union between a close family member and a black person. At the same time, two-thirds of black Americans said they would neither support nor oppose an interracial marriage between a family member and a white person.

Studies that address the issue of interracial families or couples from a personal perspective offer insight into the difficulties that interracial couples and families can still face. Research on interracial couples also includes in-depth interviews with black-white couples, which provides information about the couples’ relationships, their parenting experiences, what the partners learn from each other, the role of race in the relationships, and the “special blessings” of being an interracial couple. Other works have documented the contemporary experiences of interracial couples and changing societal attitudes and behaviors, which reveal that while interracial couples are more acceptable in the twenty-first century, significant opposition remains.

Nearly forty years after the ban on interracial marriages was considered unconstitutional, interracial marriages have increased. The 2000 U.S. Census found there were 287,576 interracial marriages in the United States, making up about .53 percent of the total number of marriages. Marriages between black men and white women are still far more common than those between white men and black women, of which there were about 78,778 in 2000. These numbers are reflective of the remaining racial ideologies that inform societal understandings of interracial relationships and, more specifically, individuals involved in interracial relationships.

The U.S. Census documents all interracial couples and marriages, including marriages between Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander, and multiracial individuals. Socially constructed perceptions of interracial dating also include white-Hispanic, and white-Asian marriages as interracial couples. The 2000 U.S. Census documented 504,119 white-Asian marriages. Marriage between a white person and a person of Hispanic origin are difficult to document. The socially constructed nature of racial categories in America leaves the definition of race and interracial couples ambiguous. On the 2000 Census, individuals could identify themselves racially as one or more of the following: Black or African American, White, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native, or Some Other Race. People of Hispanic origin, however, could identify themselves as belonging to one or more of these racial categories as well as indicating their Hispanic origin, which is classified as an ethnic category, not a racial one, by the Census Bureau. Yet couples with one Hispanic partner and one non-Hispanic partner are often thought of as interracial, reinforcing the idea that any white-nonwhite couple is an interracial couple. (The 2000 Census counted 924,352 Hispanic-white marriages, a higher number than any “interracial” pairing.) Though Hispanic is not a race, it is often socially considered a racial group. Hispanic-white intermarriage is the highest amount of all intergroup marriage, due to the ambiguity of race and the definitions of race.

Interracial relationships have long been viewed as a sign of improving race relations and assimilation, yet these unions have also been met with opposition from whites and other racial groups. While the number of interracial couples continues to rise, this does not signify a complete transformation of societal ideologies and ideas. While significant changes have occurred in the realm of race relations, U.S. society still has racial borders. Most citizens live and socialize with others of the same race, even though there are no longer such legal barriers as laws against intermarriage. The relatively low numbers of interracial couples in the United States attests to the continual reproduction and construction of dominant racial ideologies. While the ability of two individuals of different races to love each other cannot change the social structure of race, the societal responses to these relationships (e.g., the images produced, the discourses used, the meanings attached) provides insight into the social and political hierarchy of race. Issues concerning the children of interracial marriages, the racism the couple will encounter from the larger society, the disapproval of the family, and traditional ideas of race mixing are all used to challenge the formation of interracial relationships. Interracial couples are continuously being constructed not only through the couples’ experiences, but through larger society, including the family, neighborhood, community, church, school, workplace, and other social institutions.

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