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Our America

Our America - 95 edition

ISBN13: 978-0822320647

Cover of Our America 95 (ISBN 978-0822320647)
ISBN13: 978-0822320647
ISBN10: 0822320649
Cover type: Paperback
Edition/Copyright: 95
Publisher: Duke University Press
Published: 1995
International: No

List price: $22.95

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Our America - 95 edition

ISBN13: 978-0822320647

Walter Benn Michaels

ISBN13: 978-0822320647
ISBN10: 0822320649
Cover type: Paperback
Edition/Copyright: 95
Publisher: Duke University Press

Published: 1995
International: No
Summary

Michaels contends that the aesthetic movement of modernism and the social movement of nativism came together in the 1920s in their commitment to resolve the meaning of identity - linguistic, national, cultural, and racial. Just as the Johnson Immigration act of 1924, which excluded aliens, and the Indian Citizenship Act of the same year, which honored the truly native, reconceptualized national identity, so the major texts of American writers such as Cather, Faulkner, Hurston, and Williams reinvented identity as an object of pathos - something that can be lost or found, defended or betrayed. Our America is both a history and a critique of this invention, tracing its development from the white supremacism of the Progressive period through the cultural pluralism of the Twenties. Michaels's sustained rereading of texts of the period - the canonical, the popular, and the less familiar - exposes recurring concerns such as the reconception of the image of the Indian as a symbol of racial purity and national origins, the relation between WWI and race, contradictory appeals to the family as model for the nation, and anxieties about reproduction that subliminally tie whiteness and national identity to incest, sterility, and impotence.

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