UC Berkeley News



28 January 2004

Fresh Talk/Daring Gazes
Conversations on Asian American Art
Edited by Elaine H. Kim, Margo Machida, and Sharon Mizota, with a foreword by Lisa Lowe

book jacketAlong with her two collaborators, Professor of Asian American and Comparative Ethnic Studies Elaine Kim, associate dean of the Graduate Division, has assembled an important book on Asian American art and its practitioners. This decade-long labor of love pairs the works of 24 contemporary Asian American visual artists with critical responses by a diverse group of cultural critics, artists, activists, and intellectuals. The works themselves address a range of themes, among them immigration, miscegenation, sexuality, memory, the loss of home, war, and memory. The accompanying essays incorporate personal, aesthetic, political, and intellectual reflections. Fresh Talk/Daring Gazes also includes a 50-page essay by Kim tracing Asian American art from the mid-1800s to the present.

University of California Press, 2003
210 pages

Colonial Subjects
Puerto Ricans in a Global Perspective
By Ramón Grosfoguel

In Colonial Subjects, Ethnic Studies Associate Professor Ramón Grosfoguel takes an innovative approach to understanding Puerto Rico. He applies two distinct modes of analysis — world-system structure and post-colonialism — to look at Puerto Rican migration to the United States as well as that of Caribbean peoples to Western Europe. The approach affords new insights on nationalism, colonialism, capitalism, and the position of colonial and post-colonial migrants in the world.

University of California Press, 2003
268 pages

Morality Tales
Law and Gender in the Ottoman Court of Aintab
By Leslie Peirce

Professor of History and Near Eastern Studies Leslie Peirce takes an unusual approach to examining the 16th-century Middle Eastern community of Aintab, an Anatololian city conquered by the Ottoman sultanate. Rather than focus on the state, she trains her historical lens on the workings of a local court during the years 1540-41. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, Peirce details three cases involving women to illustrate how they used the court to tackle personal, family, and community problems. The case studies show how the law was viewed — as a process rather than a fixed and inflexible structure. Peirce’s close scrutiny also supports the notion that it was only in their local interpretation that laws gained real meaning.

University of California Press, 2003
460 pages

Imagining Japan
The Japanese Tradition and Its Modern Interperetation
By Robert N. Bellah

Elliott Professor of Sociology Emeritus Robert Bellah began writing about Japan more than 30 years ago. Imagining Japan collects some of the esteemed sociologist’s essential writings on Japanese history, culture, and society from the turbulent period directly before and after World War II (the book’s emphasis) to the modern day. Rather than examine Japan in isolation, Bellah compares its society and culture with those of other countries. His essays explore — among other topics — Japanese Buddhism, the symbolic influence of the country’s emperor, and notions of societal continuity and change.

University of California Press, 2003
254 pages

Freedom Is, Freedom Ain’t
Jazz and the Making of the Sixties
By Scott Saul

In Freedom Is, Freedom Ain’t, Assistant Professor of English Scott Saul examines jazz from the mid-1950s through the late 1960s, and traces how the values it embodied — “freedom, spontaneity, social and aesthetic expression, and the rediscovery of one’s roots” — spilled over into American culture.

The book begins with Charles Mingus and John Coltrane, showing how they exemplified the postwar shift in jazz. In their music, Saul argues, these two innovators articulated a return to the blues and gospel roots of jazz, while also creating new forms that expressed the struggle for civil rights. He further explores the social meaning of specific, groundbreaking jazz performances by such artists as Max Roach, Miles Davis, and Abbey Lincoln, as set against the social backdrop of the day. By bringing together scholarship on music, history, and the lives of individual musicians, Saul takes a novel approach to a rich, complex period in American history and culture.

Harvard University Press, 2003
394 pages