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College of Arts and Sciences

Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society

Center for Research on
Race and Ethnicity in Society

Faculty Affiliate Bookshelf :: MAKING & MEANING OF RACE

book imageShifting Ethnic Boundaries and Inequality in Israel, or: How the Polish Peddler Became a German Intellectual
Aziza Khazzoom
Stanford University Press, 2008

Why do racial and ethnic groups discriminate against each other? The most common sociological answer is that they want to monopolize scarce resources—good jobs or top educations—for themselves. This book offers a different answer, showing that racial and ethnic discrimination can also occur to preserve particular group identities. Shifting Ethnic Boundaries and Inequality in Israel focuses on the early period of Israeli statehood to examine how the European Jewish founders treated Middle Eastern Jewish immigrants. The author argues that, shaped by their own unique encounter with European colonialism, the European Jews were intent on producing Israel as part of the West.

book imageThe Language of Blood: The Making of Spanish American Identity in New Mexico, 1880s-1930s
John Nieto-Phillips
University of New Mexico Press, 2004

When the United States declared war on Spain in 1898, rumors abounded throughout the nation that the Spanish-speaking population of New Mexico secretly sympathized with the enemy. At the end of the war, The New York Times warned that New Mexico's "Mexicans professed a deep hostility to American ideas and American policies." This perception of Spanish-speaking New Mexicans as "un-American" was widely shared. Such allegations of disloyalty, coupled with the prevalent views that all Mexican peoples were racially non-white and "unfit" to assume the rights and responsibilities of full citizenship, inspired powerful reactions among the Spanish-speaking people of New Mexico. John M. Nieto-Phillips, himself a nuevomexicano, argues that Spanish-American identity evolved out of a medieval rhetoric about blood purity, or limpieza de sangre, as well as a modern longing to enter the United States' white body politic.

book imageRedefining Race: Asian American Panethnicity and Shifting Ethnic Boundaries
Dina Okamoto
Russell Sage Foundation, 2014

In 2012, the Pew Research Center issued a report that named Asian Americans as the “highest-income, best-educated, and fastest-growing racial group in the United States.” Despite this optimistic conclusion, over thirty Asian American advocacy groups challenged the findings, noting that the term “Asian American” is complicated. It includes a wide range of ethnicities, national origins, and languages, and encompasses groups that differ greatly in their economic and social status. In Redefining Race, sociologist Dina G. Okamoto traces the complex evolution of “Asian American” as a panethnic label and identity, emphasizing how it is a deliberate social achievement negotiated by group members, rather than an organic and inevitable process.

book imageUneven Encounters: Making Race and Nation in Brazil and the United States
Micol Seigel 
Duke University Press, 2009

In Uneven Encounters, Micol Seigel chronicles the exchange of popular culture between Brazil and the United States in the years between the World Wars, and demonstrates how that exchange affected ideas of race and nation in both countries. Seigel shows how race and nation for both elites and non-elites are constructed together, and driven by global cultural and intellectual currents as well as local, regional, and national ones. Seigel introduces readers to cosmopolitan Afro-Brazilians and African Americans who rarely traveled far from home but who nonetheless absorbed ideas from abroad. She suggests that studies comparing U.S. and Brazilian racial identities as two distinct constructions are misconceived. Racial formation transcends national borders; attempts to understand it must do the same.

book imageThe Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority
Ellen Wu
Princeton University Press, 2013

The Color of Success tells of the astonishing transformation of Asians in the United States from the "yellow peril" to "model minorities"--peoples distinct from the white majority but lauded as well-assimilated, upwardly mobile, and exemplars of traditional family values--in the middle decades of the twentieth century. As Ellen Wu shows, liberals argued for the acceptance of these immigrant communities into the national fold, charging that the failure of America to live in accordance with its democratic ideals endangered the country's aspirations to world leadership.

Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society
Schuessler Institute for Social Research
1022 E. 3rd St., Room 209,
Bloomington, IN 47405
812-855-8016

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