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This book about America's romance with computer communication looks at the internet, not as harbinger of the future or the next big thing, but as an expression of the times. Streeter demonstrates that our ideas about what connected computers are for have been in constant flux since their invention. In the 1950s they were imagined as the means for fighting nuclear wars, in the 1960s as systems for bringing mathematical certainty to the messy complexity of social life, in the 1970s as countercultural playgrounds, in the 1980s as an icon for what's good about free markets, in the 1990s as a new frontier to be conquered and, by the late 1990s, as the transcendence of markets in an anarchist open source utopia.The Net Effect teases out how culture has influenced the construction of the internet and how the structure of the internet has played a role in cultures of social and political thought. It argues that the internet's real and imagined anarchic qualities are not a product of the technology alone, but of the historical peculiarities of how it emerged and was embraced. Finding several different traditions at work in the development of the internet--most uniquely, romanticism--Streeter demonstrates how the creation of technology is shot through with profoundly cultural forces--with the deep weight of the remembered past, and the pressures of shared passions made articulate.
2009 Choice Outstanding Academic TitleThe ultra-Orthodox yeshiva, or Jewish seminary, is a space reserved for men, and for a focus on religious ideals. Fundamentalist forms of piety are usually believed to be quite resistant to change. In Yeshiva Fundamentalism, Nurit Stadler uncovers surprising evidence that firmly religious and pious young men of this community are seeking to change their institutions to incorporate several key dimensions of the secular world: a redefinition of masculinity along with a transformation of the family, and participation in civic society through the labor market, the army, and the construction of organizations that aid terror victims. In their private thoughts and sometimes public actions, they are resisting the demands placed on them to reject all aspects of the secular world.Because women are not allowed in the yeshiva setting, Stadler's research methods had to be creative. She invented a way to simulate yeshiva learning with young yeshiva men by first studying with an informant to learn key religious texts, often having to do with family life, sexuality, or participation in the larger society. This informant then invited students over to discuss these texts with Stadler and himself outside of the yeshiva setting. This strategy enabled Stadler to gain access to aspects of yeshiva life in which a woman is usually unable to participate, and to hear "unofficial" thoughts and reactions which would have been suppressed had the interviews taken place within the yeshiva.Yeshiva Fundamentalism provides an intriguing - and at times surprising - glimpse inside the all-male world of the ultra-orthodox yeshivas in Israel, while providing insights relevant to the larger context of transformations of fundamentalism worldwide. While there has been much research into how contemporary feminism has influenced the study of fundamentalist groups worldwide, little work has focused on ultra-Orthodox men's desires to change, as Stadler does here, showing how fundamentalist men are themselves involved in the formulation of new meanings of piety, gender, modernity and relations with the Israeli state.
In the Jewish tradition, reading of the Torah follows a calendar cycle, with a specific portion assigned each week. These weekly portions, read aloud in synagogues around the world, have been subject to interpretation and commentary for centuries. Following on this ancient tradition, Torah Queeries brings together some of the world's leading rabbis, scholars, and writers to interpret the Torah through a "bent lens". With commentaries on the fifty-four weekly Torah portions and six major Jewish holidays, the concise yet substantive writings collected here open up stimulating new insights and highlight previously neglected perspectives.This incredibly rich collection unites the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight-allied writers, including some of the most central figures in contemporary American Judaism. All bring to the table unique methods of reading and interpreting that allow the Torah to speak to modern concerns of sexuality, identity, gender, and LGBT life. Torah Queeries offers cultural critique, social commentary, and a vision of community transformation, all done through biblical interpretation. Written to engage readers, draw them in, and, at times, provoke them, Torah Queeries examines topics as divergent as the Levitical sexual prohibitions, the experience of the Exodus, the rape of Dinah, the life of Joseph, and the ritual practices of the ancient Israelites. Most powerfully, the commentaries here chart a future of inclusion and social justice deeply rooted in the Jewish textual tradition.A labor of intellectual rigor, social justice, and personal passions, Torah Queeries is an exciting and important contribution to the project of democratizing Jewish communities, and an essential guide to understanding the intersection of queerness and Jewishness.
Through the Refugee Act of 1980, the United States offers the prospect of safety to people who flee to America to escape rape, torture, and even death in their native countries. In order to be granted asylum, however, an applicant must prove to an asylum officer or immigration judge that she has a well-founded fear of persecution in her homeland. The chance of winning asylum should have little if anything to do with the personality of the official to whom a case is randomly assigned, but in a ground-breaking and shocking study, Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Andrew I. Schoenholtz, and Philip G. Schrag learned that life-or-death asylum decisions are too frequently influenced by random factors relating to the decision makers. In many cases, the most important moment in an asylum case is the instant in which a clerk randomly assigns the application to an adjudicator. The system, in its current state, is like a game of chance.Refugee Roulette is the first analysis of decisions at all four levels of the asylum adjudication process: the Department of Homeland Security, the immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the United States Courts of Appeals. The data reveal tremendous disparities in asylum approval rates, even when different adjudicators in the same office each considered large numbers of applications from nationals of the same country. After providing a thorough empirical analysis, the authors make recommendations for future reform. Original essays by eight scholars and policy makers then discuss the authors' research and recommendationsContributors: Bruce Einhorn, Steven Legomsky, Audrey Macklin, M. Margaret McKeown, Allegra McLeod, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Margaret Taylor, and Robert Thomas.
While world history materials date back to prehistoric times, the field itself is relatively young. Indeed, when the first edition of Peter Stearns's best-selling World History in Documents was published in 1998, world history was poised for explosive growth, with the College Board approving the AP world history curriculum in 2000, and the exam shortly thereafter. At the university level, survey world history courses are increasingly required for history majors, and graduate programs in world history are multiplying in the U.S. and overseas.World events have changed as rapidly as the field of world history itself, making the long-awaited second edition of World History in Documents especially timely. In addition to including a new preface, focusing on current trends in the field, Stearns has updated forty percent of the textbook, paying particular attention to global processes throughout history. The book also covers key events that have altered world history since the publication of the first edition, including terrorism, global consumerism, and environmental issues.
In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, municipallaws targeting "unsightly beggars" sprang up in cities across America. Seeming to criminalize disability and thus offering a visceral example of discrimination, these "ugly laws" have become a sort of shorthand for oppression in disability studies, law, and the arts.In this watershed study of the ugly laws, Susan M. Schweik uncovers the murky history behind the laws, situating the varied legislation in its historical context and exploring in detail what the laws meant. Illustrating how the laws join the history of the disabled and the poor, Schweik not only gives the reader a deeper understanding of the ugly laws and the cities where they were generated, she locates the laws at a crucial intersection of evolving and unstable concepts of race, nation, sex, class, and gender. Moreover, she explores the history of resistance to the ordinances, using the often harrowing life stories of those most affected by their passage. Moving to the laws' more recent history, Schweik analyzes the shifting cultural memory of the ugly laws, examining how they have been used--and misused--by academics, activists, artists, lawyers, and legislators.
Engaging media has been an ongoing issue for American Jews, as it has been for other religious communities in the United States, for several generations. Jews, God, and Videotape is a pioneering examination of the impact of new communications technologies and media practices on the religious life of American Jewry over the past century. Shandler's examples range from early recordings of cantorial music to Hasidic outreach on the Internet. In between he explores mid-twentieth-century ecumenical radio and television broadcasting, video documentation of life cycle rituals, museum displays and tourist practices as means for engaging the Holocaust as a moral touchstone, and the role of mass-produced material culture in Jews' responses to the American celebration of Christmas.Shandler argues that the impact of these and other media on American Judaism is varied and extensive: they have challenged the role of clergy and transformed the nature of ritual; facilitated innovations in religious practice and scholarship, as well as efforts to maintain traditional observance and teachings; created venues for outreach, both to enhance relationships with non-Jewish neighbors and to promote greater religiosity among Jews; even redefined the notion of what might constitute a Jewish religious community or spiritual experience. As Jews, God, and Videotape demonstrates, American Jews' experiences are emblematic of how religious communities' engagements with new media have become central to defining religiosity in the modern age.
The racially charged stereotype of "welfare queen"--an allegedly promiscuous waster who uses her children as meal tickets funded by tax-payers--is a familiar icon in modern America, but as Gunja SenGupta reveals in From Slavery to Poverty, her historical roots run deep. For, SenGupta argues, the language and institutions of poor relief and reform have historically served as forums for inventing and negotiating identity.Mining a broad array of sources on nineteenth-century New York City's interlocking network of private benevolence and municipal relief, SenGupta shows that these institutions promoted a racialized definition of poverty and citizenship. But they also offered a framework within which working poor New Yorkers--recently freed slaves and disfranchised free blacks, Afro-Caribbean sojourners and Irish immigrants, sex workers and unemployed laborers, and mothers and children--could challenge stereotypes and offer alternative visions of community. Thus, SenGupta argues, long before the advent of the twentieth-century welfare state, the discourse of welfare in its nineteenth-century incarnation created a space to talk about community, race, and nation; about what it meant to be "American," who belonged, and who did not. Her work provides historical context for understanding why today the notion of "welfare"--with all its derogatory "un-American" connotations--is associated not with middle-class entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, but rather with programs targeted at the poor, which are wrongly assumed to benefit primarily urban African Americans.
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent "war on terror," growing up Muslim in the U.S. has become a far more challenging task for young people. They must contend with popular cultural representations of Muslim-men-as-terrorists and Muslim-women-as-oppressed, the suspicious gaze of peers, teachers, and strangers, and police, and the fierce embodiment of fears in their homes.With great attention to quantitative and qualitative detail, the authors provide heartbreaking and funny stories of discrimination and resistance, delivering hard to ignore statistical evidence of moral exclusion for young people whose lives have been situated on the intimate fault lines of global conflict, and who carry international crises in their backpacks and in their souls.The volume offers a critical conceptual framework to aid in understanding Muslim American identity formation processes, a framework which can also be applied to other groups of marginalized and immigrant youth. In addition, through their innovative data analytic methods that creatively mix youth drawings, intensive individual interviews, focused group discussions, and culturally sensitive survey items, the authors provide an antidote to "qualitative vs. quantitative" arguments that have unnecessarily captured much time and energy in psychology and other behavioral sciences.Muslim American Youth provides a much-needed road map for those seeking to understand how Muslim youth and other groups of immigrant youth negotiate their identities as Americans.
A New York Times "Books for Summer Reading" selectionWinner of the 2003 National Jewish Book Award for HistoryBy the time he died in 1993 at the age of 73, Irving Howe was one of the twentieth century's most important public thinkers. Deeply passionate, committed to social reform and secular Jewishness, ardently devoted to fiction and poetry, in love with baseball, music, and ballet, Howe wrote with such eloquence and lived with such conviction that his extraordinary work is now part of the canon of American social thought.In the first comprehensive biography of Howe's life, historian Gerald Sorin brings us close to this man who rose from Jewish immigrant poverty in the 1930s to become one of the most provocative intellectuals of our time. Known most widely for his award-winning book World of Our Fathers, a rich portrayal of the East European Jewish experience in New York, Howe also won acclaim for his prodigious output of illuminating essays on American culture and as an indefatigable promoter of democratic socialism as can be seen in the pages of Dissent, the journal he edited for nearly forty years.Deeply devoted to the ideal of democratic radicalism and true equality, Howe was constantly engaged in a struggle for decency and basic fairness in the face of social injustice. In the century of Auschwitz, the Gulag, and global inter-ethnic mass murder, it was difficult to sustain political certainties and take pride in one's humanity. To have lived a life of conviction and engagement in that era was a notable achievement. Irving Howe lived such a life and Gerald Sorin has done a masterful job of guiding us through it in all its passion and complexity.
Why are democracies so unequal? Despite the widespread expectation that democracy, via expansion of the franchise, would lead to redistribution in favor of the masses, in reality majorities regularly lose out in democracies. Taking a broad view of inequality as encompassing the distribution of wealth, risk, status, and well-being, this volume explores how institutions, individuals, and coalitions contribute to the often surprising twists and turns of distributive politics.The contributors hail from a range of disciplines and employ an array of methodologies to illuminate the central questions of democratic distributive politics: What explains the variety of welfare state systems, and what are their prospects for survival and change? How do religious beliefs influence people's demand for redistribution? When does redistributive politics reflect public opinion? How can different and seemingly opposed groups successfully coalesce to push through policy changes that produce new winners and losers?The authors identify a variety of psychological and institutional factors that influence distributive outcomes. Taken together, the chapters highlight a common theme: politics matters. In seeking to understand the often puzzling contours of distribution and redistribution, we cannot ignore the processes of competition, bargaining, building, and destroying the political alliances that serve as bridges between individual preferences, institutions, and policy outcomes.
History is replete with instances of what might, or might not, have been. By calling something contingent, at a minimum we are saying that it did not have to be as it is. Things could have been otherwise, and they would have been otherwise if something had happened differently. This collection of original essays examines the significance of contingency in the study of politics. That is, how to study unexpected, accidental, or unknowable political phenomena in a systematic fashion. Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated. Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait. Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans. How might history be different had these events not happened? How should social scientists interpret the significance of these events and can such unexpected outcomes be accounted for in a systematic way or by theoretical models? Can these unpredictable events be predicted for? Political Contingency addresses these and other related questions, providing theoretical and historical perspectives on the topic, empirical case studies, and the methodological challenges that the fact of contingency poses for the study of politics.Contributors: Sonu Bedi, Traci Burch, Jennifer L. Hochschild, Gregory A. Huber, Courtney Jung, David R. Mayhew, Philip Pettit, Andreas Schedler, Mark R. Shulman, Robert G. Shulman, Ian Shapiro, Susan Stokes, Elisabeth Jean Wood, and David Wootton
Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2008 With infectious energy and a genuine gift for storytelling, Raymond A. Schroth recounts the history of Jesuits in the United States. The American Jesuits isn't simply a book for Catholics; it's for anyone who loves a well-told historical tale. For more than 450 years, Jesuit priests have traveled the globe out of a religious commitment to serve others. Their order, the Society of Jesus, is the largest religious order of men in the Catholic Church, with more than 20,000 members around the world and almost 3,000 in the United States. It is one of the more liberal orders in the Church, taking very public stands in the U.S. on behalf of social justice causes such as the promotion of immigrants' rights and humanitarian aid, including assistance to Africa's poor, and against American involvement in "unjust wars." Jesuits have played an important part in Americanizing the Catholic Church and in preparing Catholic immigrants for inclusion into American society.Starting off with the first Jesuit to reach the New World--he was promptly murdered on the Florida coast--Schroth focuses on the key periods of the Jesuit experience in the Americas, beginning with the era of European explorers, many of whom were accompanied by Jesuits and some of whom were Jesuits themselves. Suppressed around the time of the American Revolution, the Society experienced resurgence in the nineteenth century, arriving in the U.S. along with waves of Catholic immigrants and establishing a network of high schools and universities. In the mid-twentieth century, the Society transformed itself to serve an urbanizing nation.Schroth is not blind to the Society's shortcomings and not all of his story reflects well on the Jesuits. However, as he reminds readers, Jesuits are not gods and they don't dwell in mountaintop monasteries. Rather, they are imperfect men who work in a messy world to "find God in all things" and to help their fellow men and women do the same.A quintessential American tale of men willing to take risks -- for Indians, blacks, immigrants, and the poor, and to promote a loving picture of God--The American Jesuits offers a broad and compelling look at the impact of this 400-year-old international order on American culture and the culture's impact on the Jesuits.
The nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw a dramatic shift in the role of children in American society and families. No longer necessary for labor, children became economic liabilities and twentieth-century parents exhibited a new level of anxiety concerning the welfare of their children and their own ability to parent effectively. What caused this shift in the ways parenting and childhood were experienced and perceived? Why, at a time of relative ease and prosperity, do parents continue to grapple with uncertainty and with unreasonable expectations of both themselves and their children? Peter N. Stearns explains this phenomenon by examining the new issues the twentieth century brought to bear on families. Surveying popular media, *#8220;expert" childrearing manuals, and newspapers and journals published throughout the century, Stearns shows how schooling, physical and emotional vulnerability, and the rise in influence of commercialism became primary concerns for parents. The result, Stearns shows, is that contemporary parents have come to believe that they are participating in a culture of neglect and diminishing standards. Anxious Parents: A Modern History of Childrearing in America shows the reasons for this belief through an historic examination of modern parenting.
The corporate mega-mergers of the 1980s and 1990s raise many troubling questions for social scientists and legal scholars. Do corporate globalism and the new, streamlined corporation help or hinder the development of civil society? Does the new power that increasingly deregulated businesses wield undermine the rights of citizens, or is this threat being exaggerated? Who has the authority to get things done in a corporation's name and who can be held legally responsible for a corporation's misbehavior? What role, if any, should the courts play in strengthening the rights of individuals who challenge the actions of big business? David Sciulli maps the legal limits of corporate power in our democratic society, and explores the role of the corporate judiciary in creating public policy. He argues that the judiciary must be more vigilant and act to curb corporate abuses. He demonstrates that when corporations exercise their private power in civil society, they are just as capable as the state of exercising it in ways that are dangerous, arbitrary, and challenge the basic institutional arrangements of society. Finally, Sciulli calls for sociologists to involve themselves more deeply in issues of corporate governance and commit their discipline to influencing the decisions of the courts.
Questions of religious freedom continue to excite passionate public debate. Proposals involving school prayer and the posting of the Ten Commandments in schools and courtrooms perennially spur controversy. But there is also a sense that the prevailing discourse is exhausted, that no one seems to know how to think about religious freedom in a way that moves beyond our stale, counterproductive thinking on this issue. In Getting over Equality, Steven D. Smith, one of the most important voices now writing about religious liberty, provocatively contends that we must get over our presumptionmistakenly believed to be rooted in the Constitutionthat all religions are equally true and virtuous and "authentically American." Smith puts forth an alternative view, that the courts should promote an ideal of tolerance rather than equality and neutrality. Examining such controversial examples as the animal sacrifice case, the peyote case, and the problem of aid to parochial schools, Smith delineates a way for us to tolerate and respect contrary creeds without sacrificing or diluting our own beliefsand without pretending to believe in a spurious "equality" among the variety of diverse faiths.
Women, we are told, should not own guns. Women, we are told, are more likely to be injured by their own guns than to fend off an attack themselves. This "fact" is rooted in a fundamental assumption of female weakness and vulnerability. Why should a woman not be every bit as capable as a man of using a firearm in self-defense? And yet the reality is that millions of American women--somewhere between 11,000,000 and 17,000,000--use guns confidently and competently every day. Women are hunting, using firearms in their work as policewomen and in the military, shooting for sport, and arming themselves for personal security in ever-increasing numbers. What motivates women to possess firearms? What is their relationship to their guns? And who exactly are these women? Crucially, can a woman be a gun-owner and a feminist too? Women's growing tendency to arm themselves has in recent years been political fodder for both the right and the left. Female gun owners are frequently painted as "trying to be like men" (the conservative perspective) or "capitulating to patriarchal ideas about power" (the liberal critique). Eschewing the polar extremes in the heated debate over gun ownership and gun control, and linking firearms and feminism in novel fashion, Mary Zeiss Stange and Carol K. Oyster here cut through the rhetoric to paint a precise and unflinching account of America's gun women.
Toxic Diversity offers an invigorating view of race, gender, and law in America. Analyzing the work of preeminent legal scholars such as Patricia Williams, Derrick Bell, Lani Guinier, and Richard Delgado, Dan Subotnik argues that race and gender theorists poison our social and intellectual environment by almost deliberately misinterpreting racial interaction and data and turning white males into victimizers. Far from energizing women and minorities, Subotnik concludes, theorists divert their energies from implementing America's social justice agenda.Insisting, in the words of James Baldwin, that "not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced," and that thoughtful Americans regardless of race and gender can handle frank conversations about difficult topics, Subotnik's critique of race and gender theory pulls no punches as it confronts such inflammatory issues as single parenthood, the merit system in academic and business settings, gender privilege in the classroom, and crime.
Can democracy develop in Latin America without United States assistance? Why should the United States care? Why is Latin America relevant to U.S. economic growth in global competition? In Greater America: A New Partnership for the Americas in the 21st Century L. Ronald Scheman argues that our future lies not in Europe, Asia, or the Middle East but right here in our own backyard-the Western Hemisphere. He shows how the political and cultural legacy of colonization, immigration, assimilation and pluralism binds North, Central and South America, and how the trends in market growth and resources make the Americas a rich prize in global trade. Despite the tendency of many northerners to underestimate our ties, we are closer to our southern cousins than to any other societies. That relationship will be increasingly stronger given the growing and irrepressible influence of Latino and Caribbean populations in the U.S. For Latin America, the linkage to the U.S. is essential for attracting investment and creating the jobs necessary to overcome its oppressive heritage of poverty and to provide opportunity for a young population that will increasingly expect a better standard of living. Most important, Greater America demonstrates how closer ties with Latin America will help build a stronger U.S. economy while reducing illegal immigration and drug trafficking. He argues that only a NATO-like coalition in the Americas will defeat the drug traffickers, and that a major program to build infrastructure is essential to make trade agreements work. This book celebrates the contribution of the Americas as one of the more important factors in the spread of human freedom in the last half millennium. It makes the case for the unlimited potential of the Americas and shows how it can be unleashed through greater political and economic integration.
The last two decades have seen an explosive increase in the ethnic diversity of the workforce, growth in international business, and the emergence of many more multinational companies.The potential for problems as companies operate across borders and managers manage in countries which have different values, norms and cultural behaviors is great. By looking at organizational psychology in a cross-cultural context, we can gain an understanding of the challenges facing organizations and business today.This text breaks new ground in introducing organizational psychology from a cross cultural perspective. It provides a foundational overview of the current major theories in organizational psychology, and illuminates the impact of cultural differences on organizational dynamics. It also makes available specific research concerning our current understandings of how these dynamics play out in particular regions and countries, such as autocratic versus democratic leadership styles in Africa and Europe or conflict management in Asia. The volume offers a welcome introduction to the topic to those in industrial/organizational psychology, international relations and management, and international business/MBA programs focusing on international issues.
Cannibal is Africa from the inside-inside the head of a woman who fears that the man she loves is CIA, that the film the're supposed to make is his cover, that she might be pregnant. A haunting story of survival, Cannibal lays bare a woman's greatest hungers. Known as Good-for-Nothing by the Africans -unfit for the climate, the work, or frienship, she struggles for recognition, and for her life. What she finds, wandering the savannah for months, are the "blue people", those with AIDS who have been left to die in an abandoned British outpost. But this is only counterpoint to her own predicament. "Trust hasn't enough syllables," she says, regarding her lover walking ahead of her. "He doesn't look at it. I can't not look, but he won't look." In Cannibal, nobody wants to look-the differences are too frightening, the truth too stark, the love too little. A step beyond Heart of Darkness, Cannibal is the virtual reality of exotic paranoia where, when the images break apart, Death grins out.
Cool. The concept has distinctly American qualities and it permeates almost every aspect of contemporary American culture. From Kool cigarettes and the Peanuts cartoon's Joe Cool to West Side Story (Keep cool, boy.) and urban slang (Be cool. Chill out.), the idea of cool, in its many manifestations, has seized a central place in our vocabulary. Where did this preoccupation with cool come from? How was Victorian culture, seemingly so ensconced, replaced with the current emotional status quo? From whence came American Cool? These are the questions Peter Stearns seeks to answer in this timely and engaging volume. American Cool focuses extensively on the transition decades, from the erosion of Victorianism in the 1920s to the solidification of a cool culture in the 1960s. Beyond describing the characteristics of the new directions and how they altered or amended earlier standards, the book seeks to explain why the change occured. It then assesses some of the outcomes and longer-range consequences of this transformation.
The modern struggle against fat cuts deeply and pervasively into American culture. Dieting, weight consciousness, and widespread hostility toward obesity form one of the fundamental themes of modern life. Fat History explores the meaning of fat in contemporary Western society and illustrates how progressive changes, such as growth in consumer culture, increasing equality for women, and the refocusing of women's sexual and maternal roles have influenced today's obsession with fat. Brought up-to-date with a new preface and filled with narrative anecdotes, Fat History explores fat's transformation from a symbol of health and well-being to a sign of moral, psychological, and physical disorder.
With a foreword by Richard E. Vander RossIn recent years, dramatic increases in racial intermarriage have given birth to a generation who refuse to be shoehorned into neat, pre-existing racial categories. Energized by a refusal to allow mixed-race people to be rendered invisible, this movement lobbies aggressively to have the category multiracial added to official racial classifications. While applauding the self-awareness and activism at the root of this movement, Jon Michael Spencer questions its ultimate usefulness, deeply concerned that it will unintentionally weaken minority power. Focusing specifically on mixed-race blacks, Spencer argues that the mixed-race movement in the United States would benefit from consideration of how multiracial categories have evolved in South Africa. Americans, he shows us, are deeply uninformed about the tragic consequences of the former white South African government's classification of mixed-race people as Coloured. Spencer maintains that a multiracial category in the U.S. could be equally tragic, not only for blacks but formultiracials themselves. Further, splintering people of color into such classifications of race and mixed race aggravates race relations among society's oppressed. A group that can attain some privilege through a multiracial identity is unlikely to identify with the lesser status group, blacks. It may be that the undoing of racial classification will come not by initiating a new classification, but by our increased recognition that there are millions of people who simply defy easy classification.
The history of blacks at Harvard mirrors, for better or for worse, the history of blacks in the United States. Harvard, too, has been indelibly scarred by slavery, exclusion, segregation, and other forms of racist oppression. At the same time, the nation's oldest university has also, at various times, stimulated, supported, or allowed itself to be influenced by the various reform movements that have dramatically changed the nature of race relations across the nation. The story of blacks at Harvard is thus inspiring but painful, instructive but ambiguous-a paradoxical episode in the most vexing controversy of American life: the "race question." The first and only book on its subject, Blacks at Harvard is distinguished by the rich variety of its sources. Included in this documentary history are scholarly overviews, poems, short stories, speeches, well-known memoirs by the famous, previously unpublished memoirs by the lesser known, newspaper accounts, letters, official papers of the university, and transcripts of debates. Among Harvard's black alumni and alumnae are such illustrious figures as W.E.B. Du Bois, Monroe Trotter, and Alain Locke; Countee Cullen and Sterling Brown both received graduate degrees. The editors have collected here writings as diverse as those of Booker T. Washington, William Hastie, Malcolm X, and Muriel Snowden to convey the complex ways in which Harvard has affected the thinking of African Americans and the ways, in turn, in which African Americans have influenced the traditions of Harvard and Radcliffe. Notable among the contributors are significant figures in African American letters: Phyllis Wheatley, William Melvin Kelley, Marita Bonner, James Alan McPherson and Andrea Lee. Equally prominent in the book are some of the nation's leading historians: Carter Woodson, Rayford Logan, John Hope Franklin, and Nathan I. Huggins. A vital sourcebook, Blacks at Harvard is certain to nourish scholarly inquiry into the social and intellectual history of African Americans at elite national institutions and serves as a telling metaphor of this nation's past.