Racism and Cultural Studies

Critiques of Multiculturalist Ideology and the Politics of Difference

Racism and Cultural Studies

New Americanists

More about this series

Book Pages: 440 Illustrations: Published: March 2002

Author: E. San Juan

Subjects
American Studies, Cultural Studies, Theory and Philosophy > Race and Indigeneity

In Racism and Cultural Studies E. San Juan Jr. offers a historical-materialist critique of practices in multiculturalism and cultural studies. Rejecting contemporary theories of inclusion as affirmations of the capitalist status quo, San Juan envisions a future of politically equal and economically empowered citizens through the democratization of power and the socialization of property. Calling U.S. nationalism the new “opium of the masses,” he argues that U.S. nationalism is where racist ideas and practices are formed, refined, and reproduced as common sense and consensus.
Individual chapters engage the themes of ethnicity versus racism, gender inequality, sexuality, and the politics of identity configured with the discourse of postcoloniality and postmodernism. Questions of institutional racism, social justice, democratization, and international power relations between the center and the periphery are explored and analyzed. San Juan fashions a critique of dominant disciplinary approaches in the humanities and social sciences and contends that “the racism question” functions as a catalyst and point of departure for cultural critiques based on a radical democratic vision. He also asks urgent questions regarding globalization and the future of socialist transformation of “third world” peoples and others who face oppression.
As one of the most notable cultural theorists in the United States today, San Juan presents a provocative challenge to the academy and other disciplinary institutions. His intervention will surely compel the attention of all engaged in intellectual exchanges where race/ethnicity serves as an urgent focus of concern.

Praise

“[A] wide-ranging and thorough-going critique of multiculturalism and identity politics. . . . This drawing together and reassessment of the methodologies of Ethnic Studies makes this book an excellent candidate for use in upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses. . . . Readers will also encounter a refreshing accessibility and clarity difficult to find in the field.” — Joel Wendland , Philippine Forum

“E. San Juan Jr’s latest book, Racism and Cultural Studies, deftly explores current trends in academic thought and political theory . . . . Indispensable as a critique of some current directions in Ethnic Studies and Cultural Studies . . . . San Juan brilliantly unfolds the purposes and results of postmodernist cultural studies. . . . Racism and Cultural Studies eloquently and at times wittily traverses a wide range of recent trends that have moved away from collective struggles, social analyses in favor of individualized ‘modes of resistance’ that undergird the culture of consumption that characterizes late capitalism.” — Rachel Peterson , Nature Society and Thought

“It is one of San Juan’s virtues that even as he is made distant from the country of his beginnings, he persists to remember his people’s democratic aspirations that are not entirely separate or entirely different from his own: necessarily mutual but not necessarily the same in other words. San Juan’s example reminds us, thus, that the engagement between center and periphery and between periphery in center and center in periphery, far from being unproductive and ambiguous, is in fact a functional and purposeful one . . . .” — Charles Samuyaveric , XCP

"Racism and Cultural Studies . . . is a wide-ranging and thorough-going critique of multiculturalism and identity politics. . . . Readers will encounter a refreshing accessibility and clarity difficult to find in the field." — Joel Wendland , CEA Forum

"[A] crucial intervention for our times. . . . [F]resh and innovative. . . . An interdisciplinary tour de force. . . . I urge all of us to engage San Juan’s Racism and Cultural Studies. . . . After a careful reading of this book, one will appreciate its ability to articulate in new and imaginative ways a politics of hope in these perilous times—its ability to provide an intervention that can, to quote Raymond Williams, ‘make hope practical, rather than despair convincing’. . . ." — Jerry Cabusao , Panay News

"[A] much-needed, critical examination of multiculturalism. . . . This book is a wonderful kick in the pants." — Asian Week

"[D]eftly explores current trends in academic thought and political theory to show the complicity of postmodernism with global capitalism. . . . Racism and Cultural Studies eloquently and at times wittily traverses a wide range of recent trends that have moved away from collective struggles, and social analyses in favor of individualized 'modes of resistance' that undergird the culture of consumption that characterizes late capitalism. In the process a host of academics are debunked while a selection of activists/theorists are given new life, as part of the book's trajectory wherein our contemporary academic and global terrain is elucidated and the direction we ought to follow is mapped out." — Rachel Peterson , Against the Current

"This book is a sophisticated addition to the growing body of critical work evaluating multiculturalism and the 'politics of difference.'" — Hasmita Ramji , Ethnic and Racial Studies

“An important, stringent critique of the hegemonic versions of multiculturalism touted in both popular and academic spheres. San Juan provides a new reality to contend with—a new version of the present, one in which erased histories of racism, oppression, exploitation, and the struggle of marginalized groups are restored.” — Neferti X. M. Tadiar, University of California, Santa Cruz


“An invigorating analysis and soul-searching critique of contemporary controversies regarding multiculturalism and the centrality of race/culture/class in confronting politics of difference. San Juan casts a wide net, but he handles the workings and intricacies of contemporary politics regarding nationalism, immigration, and revolutionary struggle with much deftness, insightful grounding, and energy.” — Rick Bonus, University of Washington


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

E. San Juan Jr. is a Fellow at the Center for the Humanities, Wesleyan University. He was recently chair of the Department of Comparative American Cultures, Washington State University and visiting professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Trento (Italy) and Tamkang University (Taiwan). Among his recent books are Beyond Postcolonial Theory; From Exile to Diaspora: The Filipino Experience in the United States; Hegemony and Strategies of Transgression; and After Postcolonialism, winner of the 2001 Gustavus Myers Human Rights Center Outstanding Book Award.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments

Introduction


1. “Can’t We Get Along?” Racial Politics and Institutional Racism

2. Performing Race: Articulations of Gender, Sexuality, and Nationalism

3. Allegories of Asian American Experience

4. Ethnicity and the Political Economy of Difference


5. “Culture Wars” Revisited


6. Questioning Contemporary Cultural Studies

7. Postcolonial Criticism and the Vicissitudes of Uneven Development

8. For a Permanent Cultural Revolution: From Raymond Williams to Frantz Fanon

Afterword

Works Cited

Index
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2866-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2851-3
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