Taboo Memories, Diasporic Voices

Duke University Press
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Taboo Memories, Diasporic Voices brings together for the first time a selection of trailblazing essays by Ella Shohat, an internationally renowned theorist of postcolonial and cultural studies of Iraqi-Jewish background. Written over the past two decades, these twelve essays—some classic, some less known, some new—trace a powerful intellectual trajectory as Shohat rigorously teases out the consequences of a deep critique of Eurocentric epistemology, whether to rethink feminism through race, nationalism through ethnicity, or colonialism through sexuality.

Shohat’s critical method boldly transcends disciplinary and geographical boundaries. She explores such issues as the relations between ethnic studies and area studies, the paradoxical repercussions for audio-visual media of the “graven images” taboo, the allegorization of race through the refiguring of Cleopatra, the allure of imperial popular culture, and the gender politics of medical technologies. She also examines the resistant poetics of exile and displacement; the staging of historical memory through the commemorations of the two 1492s, the anomalies of the “national” in Zionist discourse, the implications of the hyphen in the concept “Arab-Jew,” and the translation of the debates on orientalism and postcolonialism across geographies. Taboo Memories, Diasporic Voices not only illuminates many of the concerns that have animated the study of cultural politics over the past two decades; it also points toward new scholarly possibilities.

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About the author

Ella Shohat is Professor in the Departments of Art & Public Policy and Middle Eastern Studies and affiliated with the Department of Comparative Literature at New York University. Among her books are Talking Visions: Multicultural Feminism in a Transnational Age; Israeli Cinema: East/West and the Politics of Representation; and, with Robert Stam, Unthinking Eurocentrism, winner of the Katherine Singer Kovacs Award.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Jul 17, 2006
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Pages
432
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ISBN
9780822387961
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 21st Century
Social Science / Feminism & Feminist Theory
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Examining controversies that developed chiefly after the end of Iran-Iraq War and the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, this study focuses on Islamic and secular feminisms, especially as they treat such issues as individuality, gender roles, sexuality, cultural "authenticity," and interculturalism. Shahidian emphasizes challenges to governmental policies in daily life, Islamic reformist politics, and secular opposition. He investigates various ideological and political means that female activists employ to resist state policies and achieve legal benefits. Relying on reformist Islamic writings, oppositional literature, personal contacts with feminist authors and underground activists, Shahidian discusses how individuals experience and respond to coercive gender policies. Reformist bargaining with the patriarchy, which has secured for some women an active role in some spheres of life, diverts feminist attempts to alter gender relations in any fundamental way, Shahidian contends. In Iran, reformists have espoused an agenda that reflects the interests of middle- and upper-class, professional, gainfully employed, heterosexual (Muslim) women. Though weaker and less ideologically and organizationally consolidated than reformist women, many secular feminists have drawn attention to working women's rights, and have sought re-vision of such key issues as morality, sexuality, and the relations between individual and community. These activists and authors question the very assumptions of existing political culture and reject prioritizing socio-political objectives that relegate gender to peripheral significance.
A rare and powerful story of hope, love, survival,and the struggle to bring back alive a hostage in Iraq

Micah Garen and Marie-Hélène Carleton were journalists and filmmakers working in Iraq on a documentary about the looting of the country's legendary archaeological sites, with their Iraqi translator Amir Doshi. In the late summer of 2004, they began to wrap up their work, and Marie-Hélène returned home while Micah remained for a final two weeks of filming. As Micah and Amir were filming in a Nasiriyah market, something went horribly wrong: Micah, who wore a bushy mustache and was dressed in Iraqi clothing, was unmasked as a foreigner and kidnapped by militants in southern Iraq.
Home in New York, Marie-Hélène awoke to a gut-wrenching phone call from Micah's mother with word of his abduction. She promised Micah's mother the impossible--that together they would bring Micah back alive.
American Hostage is the remarkable memoir of Micah Garen's harrowing abduction and survival in captivity, as well as the heroic and successful struggle of Marie-Hélène; Micah's sister, Eva; along with family and friends to win Micah's and Amir's release from their captors. The world watched and waited as Micah's drama unfolded, but the authors, now safely home and engaged to be married, detail the dramatic untold story.
After learning of Micah's abduction, Marie-Hélène took a risky and unusual step: instead of relying on the authorities to rescue Micah, she used her recent experience in Iraq to construct a massive grassroots effort to reach out to Micah's captors and plead for his release. As fighting between Coalition forces and the Mahdi Army raged in Najaf, Micah and Amir became pawns in a terrible political game. The kidnappers released a video threatening to kill Micah unless the United States withdrew from Najaf within forty-eight hours. In response, Marie-Hélène's and Micah's families redoubled their efforts, eventually sending a representative to Nasiriyah to lobby for Micah.
While Marie-Hélène worked on his release, Micah, imprisoned alongside Amir under armed guard deep in the marshes of southern Iraq, lived the nightmare of a hostagehaunted by the alternating impulses of hope and despair, his desire for survival and plans of escape. His experience reveals a great deal about the lives and minds of militants in southern Iraq.
American Hostage is an engrossing and rare story of how hope, love, and communal effort can overcome war, distance, and cultural differences in Iraq.
While the term “culture wars” often designates the heated arguments in the English-speaking world spiraling around race, the canon, and affirmative action, in fact these discussions have raged in diverse sites and languages. Race in Translation charts the transatlantic traffic of the debates within and between three zones—the U.S., France, and Brazil. Stam and Shohat trace the literal and figurative translation of these multidirectional intellectual debates, seen most recently in the emergence of postcolonial studies in France, and whiteness studies in Brazil. The authors also interrogate an ironic convergence whereby rightist politicians like Sarkozy and Cameron join hands with some leftist intellectuals like Benn Michaels, Žižek, and Bourdieu in condemning “multiculturalism” and “identity politics.” At once a report from various “fronts” in the culture wars, a mapping of the germane literatures, and an argument about methods of reading the cross-border movement of ideas, the book constitutes a major contribution to our understanding of the Diasporic and the Transnational.
While the term “culture wars” often designates the heated arguments in the English-speaking world spiraling around race, the canon, and affirmative action, in fact these discussions have raged in diverse sites and languages. Race in Translation charts the transatlantic traffic of the debates within and between three zones—the U.S., France, and Brazil. Stam and Shohat trace the literal and figurative translation of these multidirectional intellectual debates, seen most recently in the emergence of postcolonial studies in France, and whiteness studies in Brazil. The authors also interrogate an ironic convergence whereby rightist politicians like Sarkozy and Cameron join hands with some leftist intellectuals like Benn Michaels, Žižek, and Bourdieu in condemning “multiculturalism” and “identity politics.” At once a report from various “fronts” in the culture wars, a mapping of the germane literatures, and an argument about methods of reading the cross-border movement of ideas, the book constitutes a major contribution to our understanding of the Diasporic and the Transnational.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“This is history at its most immediate and moving…A marvelous and memorable book.” —Jon Meacham

“Remarkable…A priceless civic gift…On page after page, a reader will encounter words that startle, or make him angry, or heartbroken.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Visceral...I repeatedly cried…This book captures the emotions and unspooling horror of the day.” —NPR

“Had me turning each page with my heart in my throat…There’s been a lot written about 9/11, but nothing like this. I urge you to read it.” —Katie Couric

The first comprehensive oral history of September 11, 2001—a panoramic narrative woven from the voices of Americans on the front lines of an unprecedented national trauma.

Over the past eighteen years, monumental literature has been published about 9/11, from Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower, which traced the rise of al-Qaeda, to The 9/11 Commission Report, the government’s definitive factual retrospective of the attacks. But one perspective has been missing up to this point—a 360-degree account of the day told through the voices of the people who experienced it.

Now, in The Only Plane in the Sky, award-winning journalist and bestselling historian Garrett Graff tells the story of the day as it was lived—in the words of those who lived it. Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, recently declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, Graff paints the most vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks yet.

Beginning in the predawn hours of airports in the Northeast, we meet the ticket agents who unknowingly usher terrorists onto their flights, and the flight attendants inside the hijacked planes. In New York City, first responders confront a scene of unimaginable horror at the Twin Towers. From a secret bunker underneath the White House, officials watch for incoming planes on radar. Aboard the small number of unarmed fighter jets in the air, pilots make a pact to fly into a hijacked airliner if necessary to bring it down. In the skies above Pennsylvania, civilians aboard United Flight 93 make the ultimate sacrifice in their place. Then, as the day moves forward and flights are grounded nationwide, Air Force One circles the country alone, its passengers isolated and afraid.

More than simply a collection of eyewitness testimonies, The Only Plane in the Sky is the historic narrative of how ordinary people grappled with extraordinary events in real time: the father and son working in the North Tower, caught on different ends of the impact zone; the firefighter searching for his wife who works at the World Trade Center; the operator of in-flight telephone calls who promises to share a passenger’s last words with his family; the beloved FDNY chaplain who bravely performs last rites for the dying, losing his own life when the Towers collapse; and the generals at the Pentagon who break down and weep when they are barred from rushing into the burning building to try to rescue their colleagues.

At once a powerful tribute to the courage of everyday Americans and an essential addition to the literature of 9/11, The Only Plane in the Sky weaves together the unforgettable personal experiences of the men and women who found themselves caught at the center of an unprecedented human drama. The result is a unique, profound, and searing exploration of humanity on a day that changed the course of history, and all of our lives.
Unthinking Eurocentrism, a seminal and award-winning work in postcolonial studies first published in 1994, explored Eurocentrism as an interlocking network of buried premises, embedded narratives, and submerged tropes that constituted a broadly shared epistemology. Within a transdisciplinary study, the authors argued that the debates about Eurocentrism and post/coloniality must be considered within a broad historical sweep that goes at least as far back as the various 1492s – the Inquisition, the Expulsion of Jews and Muslims, the Conquest of the Americas, and the Transatlantic slave trade – a process which culminates in the post-War attempts to radically decolonize global culture. Ranging over multiple geographies, the book deprovincialized media/cultural studies through a "polycentric" approach, while analysing in depth such issues as postcolonial hybridity, antinomies of Enlightenment, the tropes of empire, gender and rescue fantasies, the racial politics of casting, and the limitations of "positive image" analysis.

The substantial new afterword in this 20th anniversary new edition brings these issues into the present by charting recent transformations of the intellectual debates, as terms such as the "transnational," the "commons," "indigeneity," and the "Red Atlantic" have come to the fore. The afterword also explores some cinematic trends such as "indigenous media" and "postcolonial adaptations" that have gained strength over the past two decades, along with others, such as Nollywood, that have emerged with startling force. Winner of the Katherine Kovacs Singer Best Film Book Award, the book has been translated in full or in its entirety into diverse languages from Spanish to Farsi. This expanded edition of a ground-breaking text proposes analytical grids relevant to a wide variety of fields including postcolonial studies, literary studies, anthropology, media studies, cultural studies, and critical race studies.

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