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As a nation of immigrants, the American experience is vibrantly defined by the diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious heritage of its people. Perhaps because so many of their ancestors migrated to this country relatively recently, Americans are especially concerned with their family trees, carving out personal histories by combing through documents such as wills and estate records, federal and state censuses, and private family papers, and mining the stories and tales handed down to them by their forebears. Since 2007, the Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., has been helping African Americans find long-buried details about their ancestors by researching their family trees and then, when the paper trail ends, by analyzing their DNA and marrying that information to a wealth of historical data. Now, in Faces of America Gates explores the family trees of twelve of America’s most recognizable and extraordinary citizens, individuals who learn that they are of Asian, English, French, German, Irish, Italian, Jamaican, Jewish, Latino, Native American, Swiss, and Syrian ancestry: Inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander, chef Mario Batali, comedian and television personality Stephen Colbert, writer Louise Erdrich, writer Malcolm Gladwell, actress Eva Longoria, cellist Yo Yo Ma, writer and director Mike Nichols, former monarch of Jordan Queen Noor, surgeon and author Dr. Mehmet Oz, actress Meryl Streep, and Olympic gold medalist and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. In addition, each of the subjects in Faces of America underwent dense genotyping to trace their genetic ancestry on their father’s line, their mother’s line, and their percentages of European, Asian, Native American, and African ancestry. Faces of America unfolds as a riveting journey into our country’s complex ancestral past. Readers will share in the surprise and delight, the shock and sadness of these twelve individuals themselves as Gates unveils their rich family stories, traced back to their arrival on America’s shores, and beyond, deep into the history of their ancestors’ countries of origin. America, as Gates shows us, is a nation of many historical threads, interwoven and united in the present moment. In this compelling book, Gates demonstrates that where we come from profoundly and fundamentally informs who we are today.
Offering a wide-ranging study of contemporary literature, film, visual art, and performance by writers and artists who live and work in the United Kingdom but also maintain strong ties to postcolonial Africa and the Caribbean, Living Cargo explores how contemporary black British culture makers have engaged with the institutional archives of colonialism and the Atlantic slave trade in order to reimagine blackness in British history and to make claims for social and political redress. Steven Blevins calls this reimagining “unhousing history”—an aesthetic and political practice that animates and improvises on the institutional archive, repurposing it toward different ends and new possibilities. He discusses the work of novelists, including Caryl Phillips, Fred D’Aguiar, David Dabydeen, and Bernardine Evaristo; filmmakers Isaac Julien and Inge Blackman; performance poet Dorothea Smartt; fashion designer Ozwald Boateng; artists Hew Locke and Yinka Shonibare; and the urban redevelopment of Bristol, England, which unfolded alongside the public demand to remember the city’s slave-trading past. Living Cargo argues that the colonial archive is neither static nor residual but emergent. By reassembling historical fragments and traces consolidated in the archive, these artists not only perform a kind of counter-historiography, they also imagine future worlds that might offer amends for the atrocities of the past.
Selected as a 2012 Outstanding Title by AAUP University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World during the Middle Passage. While just over 11.0 million survived the arduous journey, only about 450,000 of them arrived in the United States. The rest—over ten and a half million—were taken to the Caribbean and Latin America. This astonishing fact changes our entire picture of the history of slavery in the Western hemisphere, and of its lasting cultural impact. These millions of Africans created new and vibrant cultures, magnificently compelling syntheses of various African, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish influences. Despite their great numbers, the cultural and social worlds that they created remain largely unknown to most Americans, except for certain popular, cross-over musical forms. So Henry Louis Gates, Jr. set out on a quest to discover how Latin Americans of African descent live now, and how the countries of their acknowledge—or deny—their African past; how the fact of race and African ancestry play themselves out in the multicultural worlds of the Caribbean and Latin America. Starting with the slave experience and extending to the present, Gates unveils the history of the African presence in six Latin American countries—Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, and Peru—through art, music, cuisine, dance, politics, and religion, but also the very palpable presence of anti-black racism that has sometimes sought to keep the black cultural presence from view. In Brazil, he delves behind the façade of Carnaval to discover how this ‘rainbow nation’ is waking up to its legacy as the world’s largest slave economy. In Cuba, he finds out how the culture, religion, politics and music of this island is inextricably linked to the huge amount of slave labor imported to produce its enormously profitable 19th century sugar industry, and how race and racism have fared since Fidel Castro’s Communist revolution in 1959. In Haiti, he tells the story of the birth of the first-ever black republic, and finds out how the slaves’s hard fought liberation over Napoleon Bonaparte’s French Empire became a double-edged sword. In Mexico and Peru, he explores the almost unknown history of the significant numbers of black people—far greater than the number brought to the United States—brought to these countries as early as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the worlds of culture that their descendants have created in Vera Cruz on the Gulf of Mexico, the Costa Chica region on the Pacific, and in and around Lima, Peru. Professor Gates’ journey becomes ours as we are introduced to the faces and voices of the descendants of the Africans who created these worlds. He shows both the similarities and distinctions between these cultures, and how the New World manifestations are rooted in, but distinct from, their African antecedents. “Black in Latin America” is the third instalment of Gates’s documentary trilogy on the Black Experience in Africa, the United States, and in Latin America. In America Behind the Color Line, Professor Gates examined the fortunes of the black population of modern-day America. In Wonders of the African World, he embarked upon a series of journeys to reveal the history of African culture. Now, he brings that quest full-circle in an effort to discover how Africa and Europe combined to create the vibrant cultures of Latin America, with a rich legacy of thoughtful, articulate subjects whose stories are astonishingly moving and irresistibly compelling.
The American family has come a long way from the days of the idealized family portrayed in iconic television shows of the 1950s and 1960s. The four volumes of The Social History of the American Family explore the vital role of the family as the fundamental social unit across the span of American history. Experiences of family life shape so much of an individual’s development and identity, yet the patterns of family structure, family life, and family transition vary across time, space, and socioeconomic contexts. Both the definition of who or what counts as family and representations of the “ideal” family have changed over time to reflect changing mores, changing living standards and lifestyles, and increased levels of social heterogeneity. Available in both digital and print formats, this carefully balanced academic work chronicles the social, cultural, economic, and political aspects of American families from the colonial period to the present. Key themes include families and culture (including mass media), families and religion, families and the economy, families and social issues, families and social stratification and conflict, family structures (including marriage and divorce, gender roles, parenting and children, and mixed and non-modal family forms), and family law and policy. Features: Approximately 600 articles, richly illustrated with historical photographs and color photos in the digital edition, provide historical context for students. A collection of primary source documents demonstrate themes across time. The signed articles, with cross references and Further Readings, are accompanied by a Reader’s Guide, Chronology of American Families, Resource Guide, Glossary, and thorough index. The Social History of the American Family is an ideal reference for students and researchers who want to explore political and social debates about the importance of the family and its evolving constructions.
Who are we, and where do we come from? The fundamental drive to answer these questions is at the heart of Finding Your Roots, the companion book to the hit PBS documentary series. As scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. clearly demonstrates, the tools of cutting-edge genomics and deep genealogical research now allow us to learn more about our roots and look further back in time than ever before. In the second season, Gates's investigation takes on the personal and genealogical histories of more than twenty luminaries, including Ken Burns, Stephen King, Derek Jeter, Governor Deval Patrick, Valerie Jarrett, and Sally Field. As Gates interlaces these moving stories of immigration, assimilation, strife, and success, he provides practical information for amateur genealogists just beginning archival research on their own families' roots and details the advances in genetic research now available to the public. The result is an illuminating exploration of who we are, how we lost track of our roots, and how we can find them again.
“Thoroughly enjoyable . . . an outstanding tale of cross-cultural fertilization.” —Booklist In 1872, China—ravaged by poverty, population growth, and aggressive European armies—sent 120 boys to America to learn the secrets of Western innovation. They studied at New England’s finest schools and were driven by a desire for progress and reform. When anti-Chinese fervor forced them back home, the young men had to overcome a suspicious imperial court and a country deeply resistant to change in technology and culture. Fortunate Sons tells a remarkable story, weaving together the dramas of personal lives with the fascinating tale of a nation’s endeavor to become a world power.
Immediately and universally relevant, language is the ideal theme to explore in a composition course. Language Awareness collects contemporary and classic readings about language that not only make students more aware of its uses and more capable of analyzing its effects, but also help them to deploy language more effectively in their own writing. New coverage in the eleventh edition provides even more advice on critical reading and working with sources, while a new organization focuses each short chapter on a single, cohesive theme. In addition, insightful "Language in Action" activities help students connect what they learn about language to what they observe in their daily lives.

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