All posts tagged: colonialism

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By Anne Anlin Cheng In Thinking Orientals: Migration, Contact and Exoticism in Modern America, a study of early Asian American sociologists who contributed to the birth of the famous Chicago School of Sociology, Henry Yu addresses the paradoxes of and for racialized intellectuals engaged in the construction of counter-narratives (that are sometimes narratives of self-identification) in the service of the production of academic knowledge. He reminds us that the racialized scholar is not free from “the ethnographic imagination,” defined as the task of “making a place seem strange and then gradually replacing the confusion with knowledge that make the place and the people seem familiar enough to be understandable and perhaps even admirable.1 What Hazel Carby has done in her new book, Imperial Intimacies, is to turn this insight inside out, making us see that it is not the packageable and digestible narratives of self-identification that may be risky but rather it is the impossibilities and the fractures of a narrative of self-identification that can contest history. It is the profound self-estrangement within Carby’s project—a schism …

Crisis of Invasion: Militaristic Language and the Legitimization of Identity and Place

By Emma Lansdowne On May 9, 2016, the alt-right news site Bugout News published an article entitled “It’s OFFICIAL: We’re Being Invaded By Illegal Immigrants And What Obama Has Reaped, We Will Sow,” in which the author declares that millions of Americans are “sick and tired of being forced to witness and accept a massive invasion of third-world poor into their country.”1This message of crisis, writes J. Dougherty under the web name Usafeaturesmedia, is a direct reflection of and signals agreement with the anti-immigration message put forth during the presidential campaign by current U.S. President, Donald J. Trump. 2 Trump’s hard-line campaign proposals on border control became a rallying cry for right-wing Americans who remain suspicious of asylum-seekers and view illegal immigration as one of the greatest threats not simply to national security, but to nationhood itself. Conservative journalist Pat Buchanan neatly summarized this position on the public affairs program The McLaughlin Group in early January 2016 when he warned that “if the invasion of Europe and the United States are not stopped, these — the …

“La Bola de Cristal”: Puerto Rican Meme Production in Times of Austerity and Crisis

by Caroline Gil-Rodríguez Sky is a sea of darkness, when there is no sun Sky is a sea of darkness, When there is no sun to light the way When there is no sun to light the way There is no day There is no day There’s only darkness Eternal Sea of Darkness. — Sun Ra Puerto Rico, a US Territory with a population of 3.474 million people, that is neither a sovereign nation nor state of the union. The island is currently in the midst of an ongoing financial crisis with an accrued debt of over $73 billion and $49 billion in pension obligations, the largest economic insolvency in the history of the United States. The fiscal crisis has seen an abundance of meme trends that unveil the frustrations of the citizenry after decades of corruption, react to the recent imposition of a Fiscal Control Board, and draw on the island’s thorny history as a colony of the U.S. Who else, but a godless Richard Dawkins to coin the term “meme”? The evolutionary biologist and …