Imagining Our Americas

Toward a Transnational Frame

Imagining Our Americas

Radical Perspectives

More about this series

Book Pages: 424 Illustrations: 12 illustrations Published: July 2007

American Studies, Latin American Studies, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

This rich interdisciplinary collection of essays advocates and models a hemispheric approach to the study of the Americas. Taken together, the essays examine North and South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific as a broad region transcending both national boundaries and the dichotomy between North and South. In the volume’s substantial introduction, the editors, an anthropologist and a historian, explain the need to move beyond the paradigm of U.S. American Studies and Latin American Studies as two distinct fields. They point out the Cold War origins of area studies, and they note how many of the Americas’ most significant social formations have spanned borders if not continents: diverse and complex indigenous societies, European conquest and colonization, African slavery, Enlightenment-based independence movements, mass immigrations, and neoliberal economies.

Scholars of literature, ethnic studies, and regional studies as well as of anthropology and history, the contributors focus on the Americas as a broadly conceived geographic, political, and cultural formation. Among the essays are explorations of the varied histories of African Americans’ presence in Mexican and Chicano communities, the different racial and class meanings that the Colombian musical genre cumbia assumes as it is absorbed across national borders, and the contrasting visions of anticolonial struggle embodied in the writings of two literary giants and national heroes: José Martí of Cuba and José Rizal of the Philippines. One contributor shows how a pidgin-language mixture of Japanese, Hawaiian, and English allowed second-generation Japanese immigrants to critique Hawaii’s plantation labor system as well as Japanese hierarchies of gender, generation, and race. Another examines the troubled history of U.S. gay and lesbian solidarity with the Cuban Revolution. Building on and moving beyond previous scholarship, this collection illuminates the productive intellectual and political lines of inquiry opened by a focus on the Americas.

Contributors. Rachel Adams, Victor Bascara, John D. Blanco, Alyosha Goldstein, Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste, Ian Lekus, Caroline F. Levander, Susan Y. Najita, Rebecca Schreiber, Sandhya Shukla, Harilaos Stecopoulos, Michelle Stephens, Heidi Tinsman, Nick Turse, Rob Wilson


“Sandhya Shukla and Heidi Tinsman have put together a remarkable volume that takes the reader in surprising scholarly directions. The essays stage vital conversations between the Pacific Rim and Latin America through the vector of U. S. empire; between black diaspora and mestizaje through the comparative calculus of race; between queer, feminist histories and Cold War politics in the crucible of the Caribbean. This volume represents the next wave of scholarship in transnational American studies, one in which the coordinates have necessarily shifted beyond the geographical confines of ‘the Americas’ but which is ever-focused on relations of power.” — María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo, author of The Revolutionary Imagination in the Americas and the Age of Development

“This remarkable collection of essays ranges widely across geopolitical regions as well as disciplinary formations, expanding our idea of what the term ‘America’ signifies. It will thus help to shift the ‘transnational frame’ from being merely a hypothetical phenomenon to one that, in the twenty-first century, is coming to appear crucial to any account of American history and culture.” — Paul Giles, author of Virtual Americas: Transnational Fictions and the Transatlantic Imaginary


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Sandhya Shukla is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies at Columbia University. She is the author of India Abroad: Diasporic Cultures of Postwar America and England.

Heidi Tinsman is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Partners in Conflict: The Politics of Gender, Sexuality, and Labor in the Chilean Agrarian Reform, 1950–1973, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
About the Series vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Across the Americas / Heidi Tinsman and Sandhya Shukla 1

Up from Empire: James Weldon Johnson, Latin America, and the Jim Crow South / Harilaos Stecopoulos 34

Bastards of the Unfinished Revolution: Bolivar’s Ismael and Rizal’s Marti at the End of the Nineteenth Century / John D. Blanco 63

Confederate Cuba / Caroline Levander 88

Pleasure and Colonial Resistance: Translating the Politics of Pidgin in Milton Murayama’s All I Asking for Is My Body / Susan Y. Najita 111

Experimental Dreams, Ethical Nightmares: Leprosy, Isolation, and Human Experimentation in Nineteenth-Century Hawaii / Nicholas Turse 138

Tracking the “China Peril” along the U.S. Pacific Rim: Carpetbaggers, Yacht People, 1.2 Billion Cyborg Consumers, and the Bamboo Gang, Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You! / Rob Wilson 168

Uprooted Bodies: Indigenous Subjects and Colonial Discourses in Atlantic American Studies / Michelle Stephens 190

Blackness Goes South: Race and Mestizaje in Our America / Rachel Adams 214

Queer Harvests: Homosexuality,the U.S. New Left, and the Venceremos Brigades to Cuba / Ian Lekus 249

Dislocations of Cold War Cultures: Exile, Transnationalism, and the Politics of Form / Rebecca M. Schreiber 282

The Attributes of Sovereignty: The Cold War, Colonialism, and Community Education in Puerto Rico / Alyosha Goldstein 313

All Cumbias, the Cumbia: The Latin Americanization of a Tropical Genre / Hector Fernandez L’Hoeste 338

“Panama Money”: Reading the Transition to U.S. Imperialism / Victor Bascara 365

Contributors 387

Index 391
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3961-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3950-2
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