Book Cover
Author Michaels, Walter Benn.

Title Our America : nativism, modernism, and pluralism / Walter Benn Michaels
Published Durham : Duke University Press, [1995]


Location Call no. Vol. Availability
 MELB  305.800973 Mic/Oan  AVAILABLE
Description 186 pages ; 25 cm
Series Post-contemporary interventions
Post-contemporary interventions.
Summary Michaels's sustained rereading of texts of the period - the canonical, the popular, and the less familiar - exposes recurring concerns such as the reconception of the image of the Indian as a symbol of racial purity and national origins, the relation between WWI and race, contradictory appeals to the family as model for the nation, and anxieties about reproduction that subliminally tie whiteness and national identity to incest, sterility, and impotence
Michaels contends that the aesthetic movement of modernism and the social movement of nativism came together in the 1920s in their commitment to resolve the meaning of identity - linguistic, national, cultural, and racial. Just as the Johnson Immigration act of 1924, which excluded aliens, and the Indian Citizenship Act of the same year, which honored the truly native, reconceptualized national identity, so the major texts of American writers such as Cather, Faulkner, Hurston, and Williams reinvented identity as an object of pathos - something that can be lost or found, defended or betrayed. Our America is both a history and a critique of this invention, tracing its development from the white supremacism of the Progressive period through the cultural pluralism of the Twenties
Analysis Ethnic groups
United States
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages [143]-182) and index
Subject Cultural pluralism -- United States.
Modernism (Literature) -- United States.
United States -- Civilization -- 1918-1945.
United States -- Race relations.
LC no. 95012117
ISBN 0822317001 (cloth : alk. paper)
0822320649 (paperback)