Recent Books by American Studies Faculty

From the Kitchen to the Parlor: Language and Becoming in African American Women’s Hair

Lanita Jacobs


UPR Working Papers in Linguistics:  Contemporary literature is recognized for the development of themes that have not been considered very literary because they don’t respond to aesthetics criteria of the mail canon or the....  Read More

Gender & Language:  In From the Kitchen to the Parlor, Lanita Jacobs-Huey wants you to learn from her mistakes. For example, hair stylists are not hairdressers.  They do not 'dress' the hair; they cultivate it.  And in a professional salon,.... Read More 


Genealogical Fictions : Limpieza de Sangre, Religion and Gender in Colonial Mexico

María Elena Martinez


Hispanic American Historical Review:  María Elena Martínez’s Genealogical Fictions deserves a place among the best of the recent literature that has been produced on race, caste, social hierarchy, and religion in colonial Latin America.  Read More

The Americas:  Maria Elena Martinez has written an impressive monograph on the history of limpieza de sangre in colonial Mexico tracing its roots from sixteenth-century Spain. Through a persuasive analysis of a vast array of....  Read More


Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America

Viet Thanh Nguyen 


In Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America, Viet Nguyen argues that Asian American intellectuals have idealized Asian America, ignoring its saturation and capitalist practices.  This idealization of Asian America means that Asian American intellectuals can neither grapple with their culture's idealogical diversity nor recognize their own involvement with capitalist practices such as the selling of racial identity.  Making his case through the example of literature, which remains a critical arena of cultural production for Asian Americans, Nguyen demonstrates that literature embodies the complexities, conflicts, and potential future options of Asian American culture.

A People’s Guide to Los Angeles

Laura Pulido, Laura Barraclough, & Wendy Cheng


A People's Guide to Los Angeles offers an assortment of eye-opening alternatives to L.A.'s usual tourist destinations.  It documents 115 little-known sites in the City of Angels where struggles related to race, class, gender, and sexuality have occured.  They introduce us to people and events usually ignored by mainstream media and, in the process, create a fresh history of Los Angeles.  Roughly dividing the city into six regions -- North Los Angeles, the Eastside and San Gabriel Valley, South Los Angeles, Long Beach and the Harbor, the Westside, and the San Fernando Valley -- this illiuminating guide shows how power operates in the shaping of places, and how it remains embedded in the landscape.

Afterlives of Modernism: Liberalism, Transnationalism, and Political Critique

John Carlos Rowe


In times of liberal despair it helps to have someone like John Carlos Rowe put things into perspective, in this case, with a collection of essays that asks the question, "Must we throw out liberalism's successes with the neoliberal bathwater?" Rowe first lays out a genealogy of early twentieth-century modernists, such as Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, and Ralph Ellison, with an eye toward stressing their transnationally engaged liberalism and their efforts to introduce into the literary avant-garde the concerns of politically marginalized groups, whether defined by race, class, or gender.  The second part of the volume includes essays on the works of Harper Lee, Thomas Berger, Louise Erdrich, and Philip Roth,..... Read More

The Segregated Scholars: Black Social Scientists and the Creation of Black Labor Studies, 1890-1950

Francille R. Wilson


Journal of Southern History: In this beautifully written book Francille Rusan Wilson examines the lives and professional careers of fifteen African American labor historians and social scientists.  Relying on extensive archival research and oral history interviews, she looks at... Read More

Review of Black Political Economy: As described in William Julius Wilson's foreword, "The Segregated Scholars profiles fifteen notable black sociologists, economists, and historians who became social scientists between 1890 and 1935, and..... Read More 


  • Department of American Studies & Ethnicity
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