Gregg A. Brazinsky: Is China’s New World Order Really New?

Winning the Third World: Sino-American Rivalry during the Cold War, by Gregg A. BrazinskyWe welcome a guest post today from Gregg A. Brazinsky, author of Winning the Third World: Sino-American Rivalry during the Cold War. In the book, Brazinsky examines afresh the intense and enduring rivalry between the United State and China during the Cold War. He shows how both nations fought vigorously to establish their influence in newly independent African and Asian countries. By playing a leadership role in Asia and Africa, China hoped to regain its status in world affairs, but Americans feared that China’s history as a nonwhite, anticolonial nation would make it an even more dangerous threat in the postcolonial world than the Soviet Union. Drawing on a broad array of new archival materials from China and the United States, Brazinsky demonstrates that disrupting China’s efforts to elevate its stature became an important motive behind Washington’s use of both hard and soft power in the “Global South.”

In the following post, Brazinsky addresses this week’s international summit in Beijing to discuss Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road” initiative.

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Is China’s New World Order Really New?

This week 28 heads of state are gathering in Beijing for a momentous two-day summit. The focus of the summit will be Xi Jinping’s ambitious “Belt and Road” initiative. Under the auspices of this massive program, China will invest as much as $1.4 trillion in infrastructural development projects spread across parts of Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Western news media covering this initiative have characterized it as a bold attempt on the part of Beijing to challenge American influence and carve out a more central role for itself in world affairs. According to NBC, some analysts have suggested that “the project could shift the center of the global economy and challenge the U.S.-led world order.” Similarly, CNN.com has published a lengthy article on “China’s New World Order” and called the summit “the latest step in China’s evolution as a global power.”

Beijing’s fixation on the idea of a new Silk Road is understandable, but another historical analogy is more germane: China’s Cold War diplomacy in the Third World.
The historical parallel that Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders have most frequently and deliberately referenced in talking about the initiative is the Silk Road, a network of trade routes that for over a millennium connected China to the Arabian peninsula, Africa and Asia. Beijing’s fixation on the idea of a new Silk Road, which conjures a distant past where Asia and not Europe was at the center of world civilization, is understandable. But there is another historical analogy that is more recent and, in some ways, more germane: China’s Cold War diplomacy in the Third World.

During the 1950s and 1960s, China launched a campaign to unite newly independent nations of Asia and Africa under the aegis of anti-imperialism. This meant expanding its diplomatic, cultural, and economic contacts with “Third World” countries in the face of strong American opposition.

Continue Reading Gregg A. Brazinsky: Is China’s New World Order Really New?

Jennifer Van Horn: The Deceptive Caboodle

cover photo for thepower of objects in eight-teen century british americaToday we welcome a guest post by Jennifer Van Horn, author of The Power of Objects in Eighteenth-Century British America. Over the course of the eighteenth century, Anglo-Americans purchased an unprecedented number and array of goods. Van Horn investigates these diverse artifacts—from portraits and city views to gravestones, dressing furniture, and prosthetic devices—to explore how elite American consumers assembled objects to form a new civil society on the margins of the British Empire. In this interdisciplinary transatlantic study, artifacts emerge as key players in the formation of Anglo-American communities and eventually of American citizenship. Deftly interweaving analysis of images with furniture, architecture, clothing, and literary works, Van Horn reconstructs the networks of goods that bound together consumers in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.

Today Van Horn shows how a 1990s teen cosmetics contraption mirrored the centuries-old rituals of revelation and concealment in women’s toilette.
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The Deceptive Caboodle

I remember with fondness, as do many of us who came of age in the 1990s, my neon pink and purple “caboodle.” For those of you unfamiliar with the form, it is a molded plastic container with a latched top that raises up to reveal a multitude of trays, containers, and mysteriously shaped indentations all intended to house cosmetics, hair products, and personal accessories. For my teenage self the caboodle was the ultimate symbol of femininity and the mysterious physical manipulations of skin and hair that being an adult woman required. My caboodle is long since gone, but I suspect its lingering memory shaped my interest in eighteenth-century cosmetics and the dressing furniture that housed them.

In the 1780s, dressing furniture in early America got bigger and increasingly elaborate. Perhaps the best example is a dressing table made for New Yorker Margaret Maria Livingston and now in The New-York Historical Society. This almost five-and-a-half-foot-tall table is impressive; its gleaming mahogany surface—each drawer and door front embellished with an oval inlay—is festooned with inlaid swags above the central looking glass and capped with flamboyantly carved and gilded urns above the cabinets at both corners. Yet, in looking at the piece I was most interested in how Margaret Livingston used it each morning. What did she do when she sat down before the looking glass?Continue Reading Jennifer Van Horn: The Deceptive Caboodle

New Omnibus E-Book: The Second Savor the South Cookbooks 10-Volume Set

The Second Savor the South Cookbooks 10-Volume Omnibus E-book, includes these volumes from the series: Chicken, Gumbo, Bacon, Sunday Dinner, Barbecue, Catfish, Crabs & Oysters, Greens, Shrimp, Beans & Field Peas. 10 e-books, 500+ recipes, 1 download, $39.99Each little cookbook in our SAVOR THE SOUTH® collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From shrimp to gumbo, bacon to chicken, one by one SAVOR THE SOUTH® cookbooks will stock a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, the books brim with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes each—from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere. You’ll want to collect them all.

After the first ten books in the series were published, we put together the first special omnibus e-book so you could have all the delectable volumes in one ebook file. This second omnibus e-book brings together the second 10 books published in the series. You’ll find:

Shrimp by Jay Pierce

Gumbo by Dale Curry

Catfish by Paul and Angela Knipple

Crabs & Oysters by Bill Smith

Beans & Field Peas by Sandra A. Gutierrez

Sunday Dinner by Bridgette A. Lacy

Greens by Thomas Head

Barbecue by John Shelton Reed

Bacon by Fred Thompson

Chicken by Cynthia Graubart

Ten volumes—more than 500 recipes—all in one e-book file. One download and you’ll be set for summer cooking!

Alisha Gaines: Ninety Minutes a Slave

cover image for black for a day by gainesToday we have a guest post by Alisha Gaines, author of Black for a Day: White Fantasies of Race and Empathy. In 1948, journalist Ray Sprigle traded his whiteness to live as a black man for four weeks. A little over a decade later, John Howard Griffin famously “became” black as well, traveling the American South in search of a certain kind of racial understanding. Contemporary history is littered with the surprisingly complex stories of white people passing as black, and here Gaines constructs a unique genealogy of “empathetic racial impersonation”—white liberals walking in the fantasy of black skin under the alibi of cross-racial empathy. At the end of their experiments in “blackness,” Gaines argues, these debatably well-meaning white impersonators arrived at little more than false consciousness. By examining this history of modern racial impersonation, Gaines shows that there was, and still is, a faulty cultural logic that places enormous faith in the idea that empathy is all that white Americans need to make a significant difference in how to racially navigate our society.

In the following post, Gaines relates her experience as a slave re-enactor at a cultural heritage site.

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Ninety Minutes a Slave

I used to imagine what sort of slave I would have been.

I fantasied myself simultaneously trustworthy and duplicitous, and I know I’m not alone. There are other rebellious tall-tales. Who hasn’t heard: “If I were a slave, I wouldn’t let anyone whip me.”

Embarrassingly, I carried this fantasy when I signed a liability waiver to become a fugitive slave for ninety minutes at the Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in November 2014 and again in April 2015.

Conner Prairie is a 1400-acre living museum in Fishers, Indiana, offering visitors the opportunity to step into its version of history. During the award-winning and recently controversialFollow the North Star” program, the museum stages an elaborate reconstruction of the Underground Railroad. Since 1998, nearly 80,000 visitors have been threatened and intimidated while navigating 1836 Indiana as (oxymoronically) voluntary slaves. The museum describes it as “interactive to the extreme.”
Continue Reading Alisha Gaines: Ninety Minutes a Slave

Nora E. Jaffary: Midwifery in Mexico

Reproduction and Its Discontents in Mexico: Childbirth and Contraception from 1750 to 1905, by Norah E. Jaffary, cover imageIn a history of childbirth and contraception in Mexico, Reproduction and Its Discontents in Mexico: Childbirth and Contraception from 1750 to 1905, Nora E. Jaffary chronicles colonial and nineteenth-century beliefs and practices surrounding conception, pregnancy and its prevention, and birth. Tracking Mexico’s transition from colony to nation, Jaffary demonstrates the central role of reproduction in ideas about female sexuality and virtue, the development of modern Mexico, and the growth of modern medicine in the Latin American context.

In today’s guest post, in honor of International Midwifery Day, Jaffary describes the history and importance of midwifery in Mexico.

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Midwifery in Mexico

In addition to commemorating Mexico’s defeat of Imperial France in the Battle of Puebla in 1862, May 5 is also designated International Midwifery Day by the United Nations Population Fund. Despite being marginalized health care providers in Mexico since the mid twentieth century, in recent years, midwifery is in resurgence.

Midwives were the dominant obstetrical and gynecological practitioners in Mexico in pre-Hispanic and colonial Mexico. Their medical knowledge was vast. Early post-conquest writers observed that Mexican midwives possessed hundreds of medical remedies to provide contraception, encourage fertility, counteract the side effects of pregnancy, assist in complicated deliveries, and treat postpartum complaints. They could soothe labor pains, initiate stalled labor, facilitate the placenta’s expulsion, encourage lactation, and soothe that most vexatious of post-partum symptoms: hemorrhoids.

Unlike in much of western Europe and the United States, midwives remained the dominant practitioners of obstetrical and gynecological care in Mexico throughout the colonial period and the nineteenth century. This may have been in part because women understood that the medical care midwives provided was more effective than that of physicians. The European-infused medical tracts the viceroyalty’s physicians endorsed included suggestions such as advising women experiencing stalled labor to drink solutions of horse manure diluted in wine—presumably because this was a substance so disgusting it would provoke vomiting, which in turn might accelerate labor contractions. Mexican midwives were more likely to encourage clients who found themselves in in such situations to drink a tea of cihuapatli, the aster flower, a plant whose chemical properties current medical research has substantiated acts as a powerful oxytosin, or labor accelerator, and which can also be used efficaciously to prompt an early miscarriage and to reduce bleeding following delivery.

Continue Reading Nora E. Jaffary: Midwifery in Mexico

Book Trailer: City of Inmates by Kelly Lytle Hernández

City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771–1965, by Kelly Lytle HernandezLos Angeles incarcerates more people than any other city in the United States, which imprisons more people than any other nation on Earth. This book explains how the City of Angels became the capital city of the world’s leading incarcerator. Marshaling more than two centuries of evidence, historian Kelly Lytle Hernández unmasks how histories of native elimination, immigrant exclusion, and black disappearance drove the rise of incarceration in Los Angeles. In this telling, which spans from the Spanish colonial era to the outbreak of the 1965 Watts Rebellion, Hernández documents the persistent historical bond between the racial fantasies of conquest, namely its settler colonial form, and the eliminatory capacities of incarceration.

But City of Inmates is also a chronicle of resilience and rebellion, documenting how targeted peoples and communities have always fought back. They busted out of jail, forced Supreme Court rulings, advanced revolution across bars and borders, and, as in the summer of 1965, set fire to the belly of the city. With these acts those who fought the rise of incarceration in Los Angeles altered the course of history in the city, the borderlands, and beyond. This book recounts how the dynamics of conquest met deep reservoirs of rebellion as Los Angeles became the City of Inmates, the nation’s carceral core. It is a story that is far from over.

Kelly Lytle Hernández is associate professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles. City of Inmates is now available.

Sharon McConnell-Sidorick: How Flappers Helped Radicalize the Labor Movement and the New Deal

cover photo for mcconnell-sidorick

Today we welcome a guest post by Sharon McConnell-Sidorick, author of Silk Stockings and Socialism: Philadelphia’s Radical Hosiery Workers from the Jazz Age to the New Deal. The 1920s Jazz Age is remembered for flappers and speakeasies, not for the success of a declining labor movement. A more complex story was unfolding among the young women and men in the hosiery mills of Kensington, the working-class heart of Philadelphia. Although the young people who flooded into this booming industry were avid participants in Jazz Age culture, they also embraced a surprising, rights-based labor movement, headed by the socialist-led American Federation of Full-Fashioned Hosiery Workers (AFFFHW). In this first history of this remarkable union, McConnell-Sidorick reveals how activists ingeniously fused youth culture and radical politics to build a subculture that included dances and parties as well as picket lines and sit-down strikes, while forging a vision for social change.

In the following post, McConnell-Sidorick offers an introductory history of the flappers and “street-fighting women” socialists of the 1920s Philadelphia hosiery workers’ union.

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How Flappers Helped Radicalize the Labor Movement and the New Deal

One phenomenon of the recent election cycle—both during the Democratic primary and in the aftermath of the general election—has been the rapid and unexpected growth of socialist organizations and interest in socialism in the United States. This is one of the more notable elements of the “Resistance” that has brought unprecedented numbers of people into political actions like the Women’s March. The surge in interest in socialism has been so strong that pundits near and far have begun to write about the “sudden” appearance of millions of socialists in America.

But there is a rich history of socialism in America that has shaped the country in important ways, not least for women. It is, however, true that many of America’s youth have not learned that history. Pushed out of the mainstream consciousness by Cold War rhetoric, knowledge of socialism has been forgotten, or diluted and subjected to revisionist interpretations. A look at the history of some young socialists in the 1920s and 1930s, especially young women activists, who faced very similar problems to those of today yet built a successful movement to confront them, may help provide insights for today’s fledgling socialists.

McConnell-Sidorick UNC Blog Photo 1

Women strikers in Jail, Open Shop Strike, 1931, Philadelphia Record Photograph Morgue [V07] Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

 
Far too often in history, participants in radical movements are seen as somehow different from the general population of “regular” people. But if a movement is to become a successful one, the involvement of those regular people is, of course, an absolute necessity. The most successful movements occur when ordinary people begin to believe that they can make a difference, internalize a vision for change, and have the organization and leadership available to put that vision into action.
Continue Reading Sharon McConnell-Sidorick: How Flappers Helped Radicalize the Labor Movement and the New Deal

Jennifer Le Zotte: Poppin’ Tags: How Musicians Helped Make Used Clothes Fashionable

cover for from goodwill to grungeToday we welcome another guest post by Jennifer Le Zotte, author of From Goodwill to Grunge: A History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies. In this surprising new look at how clothing, style, and commerce came together to change American culture, Le Zotte examines how secondhand goods sold at thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales came to be both profitable and culturally influential. Initially, selling used goods in the United States was seen as a questionable enterprise focused largely on the poor. But as the twentieth century progressed, multimillion-dollar businesses like Goodwill Industries developed, catering not only to the needy but increasingly to well-off customers looking to make a statement. Le Zotte traces the origins and meanings of “secondhand style” and explores how buying pre-owned goods went from a signifier of poverty to a declaration of rebellion.

In the following post, Le Zotte explores the long history of musicians’ advocacy of secondhand shopping, from Fanny Brice to Janis Joplin to Macklemore.

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Poppin’ Tags: How Musicians Helped Make Used Clothes Fashionable

In the 2013 number-one Billboard song “Thrift Shop,” Seattle duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis boast about their fashionably unfashionable thrift. Performing amidst a global economic recession, Macklemore goes “poppin’ tags” at Goodwill with only twenty dollars in his pocket. He also touts the thrift-shopping value of originality—calling having the same shirt as someone else at a club a “hella don’t.” The oft-watched music video is a kitschy panoply of outrageously dated outfits and Goodwill shopping carts, celebrating the established subcultural pastime of thrift shopping.

Thrift Shop by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

 
Original though Macklemore’s shirt may be, the song itself draws from a nearly century-long tradition—the musical advocacy of secondhand shopping. In the early 1920s, Broadway star Fanny Brice’s hits “Rose of Washington Square” and “Second-Hand Rose” acknowledged secondhand clothing as tools of social mobility and possibly even modern cultural cachet. The latter, more popular tune ties Greenwich Village bohemian style to the association of secondhand exchange with Jewish immigrants, and by way of humor, packages both for mainstream consumption.

Continue Reading Jennifer Le Zotte: Poppin’ Tags: How Musicians Helped Make Used Clothes Fashionable

Brian Tochterman: Mailer for Mayor of the 51st State

cover photo for tochtermanToday we welcome a guest post by Brian Tochterman, author of The Dying City: Postwar New York and the Ideology of Fear. In this eye-opening cultural history, Tochterman examines competing narratives that shaped post–World War II New York City. As a sense of crisis rose in American cities during the 1960s and 1970s, a period defined by suburban growth and deindustrialization, no city was viewed as in its death throes more than New York. Feeding this narrative of the dying city was a wide range of representations in film, literature, and the popular press—representations that ironically would not have been produced if not for a city full of productive possibilities as well as challenges. Tochterman reveals how elite culture producers, planners and theorists, and elected officials drew on and perpetuated the fear of death to press for a new urban vision.

In today’s post, Tochterman considers the outsider mayoral and city council candidacies of Norman Mailer and Jimmy Breslin in 1969 New York City.

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Mailer for Mayor of the 51st State

“We recognize . . . that the city is ill, that our own New York, the Empire City, is not too far from death.”—Norman Mailer, “Why Are We in New York?” New York Times Magazine, May 18, 1969

Norman Mailer and Jimmy Breslin are part of a sometimes roving band of supporting characters that populate The Dying City. Mailer plays the role of the contrarian provocateur who challenges the dying city narrative, whether it’s holding up the risky brotherhood of New York City’s various youth gangs as an antidote to the “national disease” of boredom within the pages of Dissent or publishing a large-format book on the cultural significance of the 1970s’ most otherwise reviled contemporary art form, spray-paint writing. Breslin, the longtime voice of New York within the pages of various dailies, is perhaps most famously known outside of the city as the epistolary confidant of David Berkowitz, a.k.a. Son of Sam, who addressed a cryptic letter to Breslin, then at the Daily News, during his 1977 killing spree. Breslin also co-authored “The Lonely Crimes” series, “or the crimes you don’t hear about,” from October 1965 that is examined in my book.

The Candidates

“The Lonely Crimes” and Mailer’s The Faith of Graffiti (1974) were both attacks on John Lindsay, a former U.S. congressman who served as New York City’s mayor from 1966 to 1973. In 1969, Mailer and Breslin united against Lindsay for the Democratic primary. Continue Reading Brian Tochterman: Mailer for Mayor of the 51st State

Judy Kutulas: What If My Relatives Were on the “Wrong” Side of History?

cover image for After Aquarius Dawned: How the Revolutions of the Sixties Became the Popular Culture of the Seventies, by Judy KutulasToday we welcome a guest post by Judy Kutulas, author of After Aquarius Dawned: How the Revolutions of the Sixties Became the Popular Culture of the Seventies. In this book, Kutulas complicates the common view that the 1970s were a time of counterrevolution against the radical activities and attitudes of the previous decade. Instead, she argues that the experiences and attitudes that were radical in the 1960s were becoming part of mainstream culture in the 1970s, as sexual freedom, gender equality, and more complex notions of identity, work, and family were normalized through popular culture—television, movies, music, political causes, and the emergence of new communities. Seemingly mundane things like watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show, listening to Carole King songs, donning Birkenstock sandals, or reading Roots were actually critical in shaping Americans’ perceptions of themselves, their families, and their relation to authority.

One of the chapters in After Aquarius Dawned focuses on Jim Jones and the mass death at Jonestown. In today’s post Kutulas wrestles with learning more about her own family’s connection to Jonestown.

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What If My Relatives Were on the “Wrong” Side of History?

I understand that Ben Affleck was unhappy to learn his ancestors owned slaves. I mention this because I was also unexpectedly side-swiped by history while researching a chapter for After Aquarius Dawned on the Peoples Temple and the Jonestown mass death.

As traditional authority, aka the Establishment, declined after the war in Vietnam and Watergate and all those liberation movements—sexual, gay, women’s, black—Americans practiced more freedom of choice, summarized by a women’s movement slogan, “the personal is political.” Since I was already looking into the Temple, I took a side jaunt into the story of my cousins who perished in Jonestown.

The last time we visited, Danny and Edie were already in the thrall of the Reverend Jim Jones and had adopted a son at Jones’s behest.
Danny Kutulas was my father’s first cousin. He and my father grew up in a close-knit Greek-American family in San Francisco during the Depression. Danny and his wife Edie moved to Redwood Valley, north of San Francisco, a community that would become the Peoples Temple’s home. I thought their rural lifestyle idyllic largely because they kept a horse. One of my more cherished childhood possessions was a photo of Danny on his horse.

The last time we visited, Danny and Edie were already in the thrall of the Reverend Jim Jones and had adopted a son at Jones’s behest. Continue Reading Judy Kutulas: What If My Relatives Were on the “Wrong” Side of History?

Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts: Reflections on John Shelton Reed

cover image of resilience of southern identity by cooper and knottsToday we welcome a guest post by Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts, authors of  The Resilience of Southern Identity: Why the South Still Matters in the Minds of Its People. The American South has experienced remarkable change over the past half century. Black voter registration has increased, the region’s politics have shifted from one-party Democratic to the near-domination of the Republican Party, and in-migration has increased its population manyfold. At the same time, many outward signs of regional distinctiveness have faded—chain restaurants have replaced mom-and-pop diners, and the interstate highway system connects the region to the rest of the country. Given all of these changes, many have argued that southern identity is fading. But Cooper and Knotts show how these changes have allowed for new types of southern identity to emerge. For some, identification with the South has become more about a connection to the region’s folkways or to place than about policy or ideology. For others, the contemporary South is all of those things at once—a place where many modern-day southerners navigate the region’s confusing and omnipresent history.

In today’s post, Cooper and Knotts relate how their study of southern culture has been influenced by the work of sociologist John Shelton Reed.

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Reflections on John Shelton Reed

Fans of UNC Press are likely familiar with the name John Shelton Reed. Reed was a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1969-2000, where he taught and wrote about the American South. He was also director of the Odum Institute for Research and Social Science, creator of the Southern Focus Polls, and co-founder of Southern Cultures, an academic quarterly published by UNC Press.

In our new book, The Resilience of Southern Identity: Why the South Still Matters in the Minds of Its People, we revisit and update a few of Reed’s key findings about the South. We focus particularly on the question of southern identity, exploring the powerful connection between southerners and their region.

Following Reed’s Model in Southerners

Though Reed’s body of scholarship is quite extensive, we build most directly on his book Southerners: The Social Psychology of Sectionalism (UNC Press, 1983). In this book, Reed focuses on the social psychological connection people have with the South. He argues that identifying as a southerner is a choice, and uses a 1971 survey of North Carolinians to explore the determinants of regional consciousness.

Like Reed, we attempt to write for both academic and non-academic audiences, while also drawing on our training as social scientists. In fact, we analyze Reed’s Southern Focus Polls, conducted between 1992 and 2001, to provide a baseline for our more recent findings.

Diverging from Reed’s Model

Though we rely extensively on Reed’s findings and approach, our strategy differs from Reed’s work in a few key ways.Continue Reading Christopher A. Cooper and H. Gibbs Knotts: Reflections on John Shelton Reed

Jennifer Van Horn: Problematic Prostheses

cover photo for thepower of objects in eight-teen century british americaToday we welcome a guest post by Jennifer Van Horn, author of The Power of Objects in Eighteenth-Century British America (published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia). Over the course of the eighteenth century, Anglo-Americans purchased an unprecedented number and array of goods. Van Horn investigates these diverse artifacts—from portraits and city views to gravestones, dressing furniture, and prosthetic devices—to explore how elite American consumers assembled objects to form a new civil society on the margins of the British Empire. In this interdisciplinary transatlantic study, artifacts emerge as key players in the formation of Anglo-American communities and eventually of American citizenship. Deftly interweaving analysis of images with furniture, architecture, clothing, and literary works, Van Horn reconstructs the networks of goods that bound together consumers in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston.

In today’s post, Van Horn explores the medical, social, and personal roles of prosthetic limbs throughout American history. 

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Problematic Prostheses

Prosthetic limbs can increasingly be found on American streets, Olympic tracks, and even fashion runways. Approximately 1,500 American soldiers lost limbs in the Iraq War, many to the blasts of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Returning lower-limb amputees have donned sleek robotic-looking legs, including the Flex-Foot Cheetah, now famous as the prosthesis worn by double-amputee and Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius. More fashion-forward artificial legs gained publicity when athlete and model Aimee Mullins appeared on the runaway wearing Alexander McQueen along with carved wooden legs.

We might imagine that the first time prosthetic legs grabbed the American public’s attention was during the Civil War. But in fact, the American Revolution was the first armed conflict when controversy swirled around men’s amputated limbs. Continue Reading Jennifer Van Horn: Problematic Prostheses

Erika Lee: The New Xenophobia and the Role of the Public Scholar Today

UNC Press Authors Off the Page - Expert Commentary on the Issues of the Day - Roundtable 1: #immigration

Today’s essay on #immigration comes from Erika Lee, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History, and the Director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. She is author of At America’s Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943 (University of North Carolina Press, 2003) and The Making of Asian America: A History (Simon & Schuster, 2015).

The New Xenophobia and the Role of the Public Scholar Today

In my U.S. Immigration History class this semester, I begin each session with a roundup of weekly immigration news. We are struggling to keep up. One week of immigration news during the Trump administration feels like one year. Take my class on March 7, for example. We were studying Mexican immigration and the U.S.-Mexican borderlands, and the readings covered U.S. imperialism, the Mexican-American War, the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America, the uneven incorporation of Mexican Americans into the U.S., the mass deportation campaigns of the 1930s, and “Operation Wetback” in 1954.[1]

That week’s news mirrored and repeated history in disturbing ways. I first linked to Kelly Lytle Hernández’s op-ed, “America’s Deportation Policy is Rooted in Racism,” published in The Conversation.[2] We read about the arrest of dreamer Daniela Vargas by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Jackson, Mississippi, after she had spoken out at a rally denouncing the new immigration raids happening across the country.[3] We discussed an article from an Indian newspaper describing the fear that many were feeling after two Indian immigrants were shot dead in Kansas and South Carolina in late February and early March.[4] We reviewed President Trump’s speech to the joint session of Congress as well as the full text of the new executive order on travel (or the Muslim ban) that had just been signed the day before.[5] And we ended by studying Housing Secretary Ben Carson’s statement that African slaves were “immigrants.”[6]

For immigration historians, the past, present, and future are colliding.

These days, the relevance of U.S. immigration history—who we have welcomed and who we have banned; who we have resettled and who we have left behind; how we began to enforce the border and how the “border” has moved into the interior—has never been more important. For immigration historians, the past, present, and future are colliding.

As someone who writes, educates, and talks about America’s long and complicated relationship with immigration and as a granddaughter of Chinese immigrants whose lives were upended by earlier discriminatory immigration laws, Trump’s presidency weighs heavily on me.Continue Reading Erika Lee: The New Xenophobia and the Role of the Public Scholar Today

  1. [1]During the 1930s, 1-2 million people were deported from the United States, including an estimated 60% who were American citizens. In 1954, another one million were deported.
  2. [2]America’s Deportation Policy is Rooted in Racism,” published in The Conversation, 2/27/17.
  3. [3]Dreamer Detained After Expressing Fears of Being Detained in Mississippi,” LA Times, 3/1/17.
  4. [4]An Indian community that sends the most workers and students to the US now fears America,” Quartz India, 3/1/17; “FBI investigating Kansas triple shooting that killed 1 as a hate crime,” ABC News, 3/1/17. One victim, software engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla, hailed from Hyderabad, which, according to the Brookings Institution, sent the largest number of STEM students (20,800) to the United States from 2008-2012.
  5. [5]Here’s everything Donald Trump said about immigration in his speech to Congress,” Washington Post, 3/1/17; Full Text: “Trump’s New Executive Order On Travel, Annotated,” NPR, 3/6/17.
  6. [6]Ben Carson Calls Slaves ‘Immigrants’ in First HUD Remarks,” NBC News, 3/6/17.

Julie M. Weise: African Americans and Immigrants’ Rights in the Trump Era

UNC Press Authors Off the Page - Expert Commentary on the Issues of the Day - Roundtable 1: #immigration

Today’s essay on #immigration comes from Julie M. Weise, assistant professor of history at the University of Oregon. She is author of Corazón de Dixie: Mexicanos in the U.S. South since 1910 (University of North Carolina Press, 2014).

African Americans and Immigrants’ Rights in the Trump Era

Days after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the City of San Francisco became the first so-called “sanctuary city” to sue the president over his order to withhold federal funding from municipalities that did not cooperate fully with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Media coverage of the “sanctuary city” controversy since then has appeared at first glance to reflect Trump’s own parody that opposition to his agenda comes primarily from “coastal elites” who, if they aren’t from San Francisco, might as well be.

But look a little closer, and a different kind of pro-immigrant political actor becomes visible. Alongside predictable sanctuary cities like Los Angeles and New York City, other cities, including New Orleans, Birmingham, Jackson, and Atlanta-area DeKalb County—all majority-black—have been declaring themselves sanctuary cities, implementing sanctuary-like policies, and affirming mandates to minimize cooperation with ICE. These municipalities have put their federal funding at risk to protect local immigrant communities. In most cases, black politicians, sheriffs, and police chiefs have been the ones to advocate and implement these policies. Continue Reading Julie M. Weise: African Americans and Immigrants’ Rights in the Trump Era

Mireya Loza: 100 Years of Mexican Guest Workers in the United States

UNC Press Authors Off the Page - Expert Commentary on the Issues of the Day - Roundtable 1: #immigration

Today’s essay on #immigration comes from Mireya Loza, curator in the Division of Political History at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. She is author of Defiant Braceros: How Migrant Workers Fought for Racial, Sexual, and Political Freedom.

100 Years of Mexican Guest Workers in the United States

As institutions and communities across America begin to mark the centennial of the United States’ official entry into World War I (April 6, 1917), there is another little-told U.S. story that also marks 100 years: the guest worker program with Mexico.

Many current politicians, agribusiness owners, and those in the hospitality industry have suggested guest worker programs might function as a policy solution to immigration reform. This is not a novel concept. For a century America has relied on Mexican guest workers. The very first guest worker program brokered between Mexico and the United States was carried out during World War I. In 1917, Mexican men entered American farm fields at growers’ request after concerns the industry lacked the necessary manpower needed to pick crops due to the departure of Americans to war. While this was the first introduction of Mexican guest workers, it would not be the last.

A man on a truck uses a machine to assemble Cookie lettuce boxes in a field in the Salinas Valley, California, while braceros pick up the ready boxes to fill them with lettuce, 1956. Leonard Nadel Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

 

The Bracero Program

The largest and best known recruitment of guest workers, called the Bracero Program, was introduced during World War II. From 1942 to 1964, over 4.5 million contracts were issued to Mexican guest workers. To be sure the term “guest worker” was not used to describe these men, they were called braceros, a term that cast them as “arms of labor.” Some men entered the United States for one short contract of 30-60 days, while others obtained contract after contract. The Bracero Program was composed of a series of agreements that targeted Mexican males to work in two industries, railroad and agriculture. At the end of the war, U.S. veterans returned to reclaim their positions as railroad workers, thus ending the contracts of the Mexican traqueros, while the agricultural component grew in both scope and size.

An official examines a bracero’s teeth and mouth with a flashlight while others stand next to him with their backs to a wall at the Monterrey Processing Center, Mexico, 1956. Leonard Nadel Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

 
Although architects of the program attempted to standardize wages, living conditions, travel, and accommodations, growers were rarely held accountable when they failed to uphold these standards. The binational agreement also prevented braceros from formally entering unions, and although braceros could choose a representative to voice their interests in the fields, growers were not formally obligated to address these concerns.

Continue Reading Mireya Loza: 100 Years of Mexican Guest Workers in the United States

Deirdre M. Moloney: The Muslim Ban of 1910

UNC Press Authors Off the Page - Expert Commentary on the Issues of the Day - Roundtable 1: #immigration

Today’s essay on #immigration comes from Deirdre M. Moloney, historian and author of National Insecurities: Immigrants and U.S. Deportation Policy Since 1882 (University of North Carolina Press, 2012).

The Muslim Ban of 1910

Anti-Muslim sentiment and policies in the United States have intensified since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, culminating in President Donald Trump’s two successive 2017 Executive Orders, each subjected to injunctions by federal judges.

This presidential election, like others since 9/11, was characterized by anti-Muslim rhetoric, much of it virulent. Trump first stoked the “birther” controversy over President Obama’s birthplace and religious identity in the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, and those embers continued to burn in this race. Then, in November 2015, when two people sympathetic to radical Islamic groups murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, California, Trump advocated that all Muslims be barred from entering the United States. In 2016, on the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly insulted the religious beliefs and cultural practices of Muslims, most egregiously in his response to Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Muslim parents of an American soldier, Humayun Khan, who died in combat in Iraq. Trump’s extreme statements, along with his invectives against Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, have justifiably provoked outrage.

Many argue that President Trump’s two recent Executive Orders barring immigrants and others from several predominantly Muslim countries are unprecedented.[1] However, the history of federal immigration regulation in the United States illustrates that non-U.S. citizens were often denied constitutional protections. In fact, anti-Muslim immigration policies were first implemented in the early twentieth century.

The Religious History of Immigration Policy

A significant American controversy over Muslim polygamy in 1910 highlights the historical and current limits of religious toleration of immigrants and others outside the mainstream Judeo-Christian tradition.
Historians have written extensively about how race and ethnicity affected U.S. immigration policy, as well as on anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism. Yet relatively few scholars have focused on how immigrants outside the mainstream Judeo-Christian tradition were formally regulated by the U.S. federal government based on their religious beliefs or affiliations. A significant American controversy over Muslim polygamy in 1910 highlights the historical and current limits of religious toleration of immigrants and others outside the mainstream Judeo-Christian tradition, including Muslims. That prejudice led to efforts to exclude, expel, or deport Muslims from the United States, both in the early twentieth century and today.

But this anti-Muslim strain in American politics is not new. Certain immigrants, including Mormons, Hindus, and Muslims faced barriers in their effort to settle in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries because they were perceived as adhering to belief systems that were un-American. Though those religiously based cases were small relative to those immigrants facing exclusion or deportation based on their poverty or on medical grounds, they suggest that religious bias has long been a significant factor in early federal immigration policies. Adherents of those traditions and beliefs came into contact with immigration and other officials, who sometimes did not understand non-Christian traditions, their institutions, beliefs, and practices.

Islam, Polygamy, and the Case of Turkey

As early as 1910, Muslim immigrants arriving in the United States faced exclusion at the country’s ports as a result of their religious beliefs. Islam was considered incompatible with American values, based in significant part on immigration officials’ perceptions of Muslims as polygamists.[2] That year, 43 Muslims from the Ottoman Empire, soon to become the Turkish Republic, were barred from the United States over a six-month period, based on their belief in a religion that allowed polygamy or on grounds that they were unable to be economically self-sufficient and would be “Likely to Become a Public Charge.” In its enforcement of that policy, the immigration bureau had determined that simply adhering to the tenets of Islam, rather than the actual practice of polygamy, served as sufficient grounds for deportation from the United States. Continue Reading Deirdre M. Moloney: The Muslim Ban of 1910

  1. [1]Signed on January 27, followed by a revised version on March 6, 2017.
  2. [2]“List of Debarred Aliens” dated August 12, 1910. Eight of the 43 Muslim individuals (all males) on this list were deported to Turkey on charges of polygamy. The others were deported on “Likely to Become a Public Charge” (LPC) grounds. File: 52737/499; The Turkish ambassador (representing the Imperial Ottoman Embassy) issued a formal complaint about deportations of Muslim immigrants and questioned whether Turkish immigrants were being treated unfairly by immigration officials. Letter to [William Jennings Bryan], Secretary of State from J.B. Densmore, May 9, 1914. File: 52737/499. Both files in RG 85. National Archives (NARA). Religion and early immigration policy is discussed more extensively in chapter five of National Insecurities.

Elliott Young: Felons and Families

UNC Press Authors Off the Page - Expert Commentary on the Issues of the Day - Roundtable 1: #immigration

Today’s roundtable essay on #immigration comes from Elliott Young, professor of history and director of ethnic studies at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. His latest book is Alien Nation: Chinese Migration through the Americas from the Coolie Era to WWII (University of North Carolina Press, 2014).

Felons and Families

In November 2014, in the same speech in which President Obama announced his Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, he proclaimed: “We’re going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.”

Most immigrant advocates applauded the president’s extension of temporary protection to some three million undocumented parents of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, a program that courts subsequently blocked as an executive overreach. Few immigration activists condemned Obama for drawing a line between “good” hardworking immigrant families and “bad” lawbreaking criminals, perhaps settling for the possible in a less than ideal world.

Even as one might criticize Obama for becoming the “Deporter in Chief,” he did not invent the pernicious rhetoric of good and bad immigrants. He merely followed in a long tradition that stretches back to the late nineteenth century when federal immigration restrictions were first written into law to keep out criminals, prostitutes, and the Chinese.

From Coolies to Convicts

In 1862, when President Lincoln signed into law what is arguably the first federal immigration statute, the Anti-Coolie Bill, he did so to protect the rights of the hardworking European immigrants against what Americans perceived as the threat of indentured Chinese workers. While the bill ostensibly sought to prevent the reintroduction of slavery through “coolie” labor, Congress did not penalize exploitative employers (the masters) but instead criminalized the Chinese workers (the slaves).

Federal immigration restrictions were first written into law to keep out criminals, prostitutes, and the Chinese.

The 1875 Page Act rehearsed the same kind of criminalization, this time taking aim at single Chinese women immigrants, assumed to be prostitutes. The nineteenth-century moralizing campaigns are echoed in today’s anti–sex trafficking hysteria that rhetorically contrasts hardworking mothers with immoral and victimized sex workers. In the same way that the Page Act and the 1910 Mann Act criminalized poor immigrant women workers, anti–sex trafficking campaigns end up incarcerating large numbers of poor immigrant women and serve to push their work underground.

The very same year that the United States passed the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882), Congress also enacted a general immigration law that explicitly restricted the entry of “convicts.” Subsequent immigration acts have expanded the categories of the excluded, but the notion that criminals should be kept out and those who commit crimes should be deported has been consistent over more than a century and a half of immigration restriction. Obama’s invocation of families over felons has been baked into the DNA of our immigration system since its inception.

“Good” and “Bad” Immigrants

Just who is defined as criminal has changed over time, and depends on who you ask. In the late nineteenth century, the very presence of male Chinese laborers and single Chinese women was criminalized. Restrictive immigration laws created the first “illegal aliens” out of the Chinese. However, it was not immediately apparent that unauthorized presence in the country was by itself criminal, and even today it is not actually a criminal offense to be in the country without authorization.Continue Reading Elliott Young: Felons and Families

Off the Page: Roundtable 1: Immigration

UNC Press Authors Off the Page - Expert Commentary on the Issues of the Day - Roundtable 1: #immigration

Introducing a new blog feature for these interesting times

This week, UNC Press is proud to host this first in a series of week-long virtual roundtables, featuring Press authors drawing on their work to address issues of contemporary concern. Posts will be published once per day, and we hope readers will share them widely, discuss and debate them with colleagues and friends, and draw on them to feed an ongoing conversation about ideas that matter.

More than ever, university presses are keenly aware of our role in publishing trustworthy, peer-reviewed scholarship that informs and educates readers as they seek to understand events of the present day in rich context. At UNC Press, we proudly embrace this mission as we publish work that not only serves communities of academic research but also translates the best scholarship for a public that craves reliable information. Meanwhile, an impressive and growing number of our authors have embraced the role of public intellectual, drawing from their expertise and from their books to speak to a wide range of audiences outside the academy. We are honored to be our authors’ partners in this critically important work.

Roundtable 1: #immigration

Our first roundtable centers on the subject of U.S. immigration. Recent executive actions and enforcement of existing law have thrust this contentious issue even more fully into the spotlight. The idea that the United States is a “nation of immigrants” is woven deeply into the fabric of American life, yet even the most cursory review of our history indicates how complex and troubled the subject of immigration has been. This week we are glad to be able to share five short essays by leading scholars of immigration. As a new essay is published each day, we’ll update here with the link:

Thanks for reading. Let us know what you think.

Mark Simpson-Vos
Editorial Director, UNC Press

Jennifer Le Zotte: Before Target, There Were Thrift Stores: How Postwar Secondhand Commerce Supported LGBTQ Rights

cover for from goodwill to grunge Today we welcome a guest post by Jennifer Le Zotte, author of  From Goodwill to Grunge: A History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies. In this surprising new look at how clothing, style, and commerce came together to change American culture, Jennifer Le Zotte examines how secondhand goods sold at thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales came to be both profitable and culturally influential. Initially, selling used goods in the United States was seen as a questionable enterprise focused largely on the poor. But as the twentieth century progressed, multimillion-dollar businesses like Goodwill Industries developed, catering not only to the needy but increasingly to well-off customers looking to make a statement. Le Zotte traces the origins and meanings of “secondhand style” and explores how buying pre-owned goods went from a signifier of poverty to a declaration of rebellion.

In today’s post, Le Zotte writes about the history of thrift stores as sites of commercial support of queer communities.

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In this divisive political season, American public bathrooms and changing rooms are spaces of contention. For example, in March 2016 North Carolina legislature passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, better known as HB2, in reaction to a Charlotte City ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in various settings. North Carolina’s HB2, one of a string of recent “bathroom bills,” specifies that in government buildings, individuals must use restrooms and changing facilities corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate.  In a swift and somewhat contentious response, discount retailer Target formally welcomed transgender shoppers, inviting them to use whichever bathroom corresponds with their gender identity.

In recent years, corporate support of LGBTQ rights is not unusual, but in the 1950s and 1960s, major retailers were often complicit in the systematic anti-homosexual campaigns known as the Lavender Scare, firing gay employees and alienating or even arresting cross-dressing patrons attempting to try on clothing. In most states, wearing clothing “intended for the opposite sex”—even briefly in dressing rooms—meant risking a rap sheet.Continue Reading Jennifer Le Zotte: Before Target, There Were Thrift Stores: How Postwar Secondhand Commerce Supported LGBTQ Rights

Interview: Dr. Peggy Valentine on the Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity

Left to right: Vanessa Duren-Robinson, Ph.D. (Editorial Board Member); Elijah Onsomu (Managing Editor and Layout Editor); Peggy Valentine, Ed.D. (Editor-in-Chief); Steve Aragon, Ph.D. (Editorial Board Member); and LaKisha Crews (Assistant to Acting Managing Editor). Not pictured: Joanne Banks (Associate Editor) and Leslie Allison, Ph.D. (Editorial Board Member). Photo courtesy of Winston-Salem State University.

 
In the following interview, John McLeod, director of the UNC Press Office of Scholarly Publishing Services discusses the Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity: Research, Education and Policy with editor-in-chief Dr. Peggy Valentine.

Dr. Valentine is dean and professor at the School of Health Sciences at Winston-Salem State University, a constituent of the University of North Carolina system. She founded the peer reviewed Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity: Research, Education and Policy (J Best Pract Health Prof Divers) in 2007 to provide a forum for the discussion of factors that promote or constrain the development and sustainability of a diverse health professions workforce. Dr. Valentine oversees Winston-Salem State University educational programs in Clinical Laboratory Science, Exercise Physiology, Healthcare Management, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Rehabilitation Counseling. She has clinical experience as a registered nurse and physician assistant and has conducted research on homeless and minority issues. She is actively engaged with a number of state and national groups and institutions including the board of trustees for Novant Health Medical Group, the Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Community-Based Interdisciplinary Linkages, the Consortium on International Management Policy and Development, the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions, and the National Society of Allied Health.

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cover image for Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity: Research, Education, and Policy, Fall 2016 issueJohn McLeod: Can you tell us why you started the journal?

Dr. Peggy Valentine: I was inspired by the 2004 Sullivan Commission’s Report on “Missing Persons in the Health Professions,” and felt the need to provide a forum for educators, researchers and others to share their research, experiences  in their programs, and offer potential solutions.

JM: What do you see as some of the biggest challenges and opportunities the healthcare professions face today in terms of achieving better diversity?

PV:  The greatest challenge in achieving diversity is knowledge. Diverse students are often unaware of the variety of health disciplines and the educational requirements to be competitive. Many are unaware of available resources and lack mentors who can point them in the right direction.A challenge exists for faculty and administrators of educational programs who may also lack knowledge on how to best recruit and retain diverse students. Finally, the health care industry is challenged in recruiting diverse employees. It has been my observation that organizations with set goals and strategies in place to achieve a diverse workforce are more successful, especially when diversity is a high priority at all levels, including upper levels of management.

JM: You recently formed a partnership with the National Association of Medical Minority Educators which now offers the journal as a member benefit. Tell us a little bit about the NAMME and their mission.Continue Reading Interview: Dr. Peggy Valentine on the Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity