Globalities and Marginalities: Perspectives
on Boundaries and Identities in the Early Modern and Modern World
APRIL 5-6, 1997
This page contains all the available abstracts for presentations at the
conference above. To access the abstracts by author or program schedule,
please consult the Conference Program and the
links here. On this page, the abstracts are in alphabetical order by author.
To read those (few) papers from the conference that have been posted, please
go to the program and select the paper title.
(Abstracts will be posted as they become available. Until then, thanks for
your patience. RH)
Joan Canty (Joan Canty will not be able to present
her paper as scheduled)
Jennifer Costello Brezina, English, UCR
Women, Public Space and Modernity: Maggie on the Street
In his essay on the nature of the uncanny, Freud uses the public space of
the city street to illustrate the balance between familiarity and unfamiliarity
that produces the uncanny. He becomes disoriented as he attempts to navigate
the twisting streets of an unfamiliar town and returns to the same street
again and again. Freud argues that it is the repetition of the same unfamiliar
street that causes an uncanny sensation, but it is equally plausible that
it is the inhabitants of the street that have brought about the uncanny
feeling. The "painted women" of this street are both familiar
(as women) and unfamiliar (as prostitutes) at the same time. The women heighten
Freud's anxiety, contributing to the sense of confusion that the city evokes
in him. Women in the modern American city function in much the same way.
The changes in the city itself are unsettling taken alone, but the representation
of the "New Woman" of the American city at the turn into the twentieth
century becomes the expression of the most intense anxiety that the city
In this paper I will examine the most public of public spaces in the city:
the street. The street is a paradoxical place for women because the street
is the place that offers women the most freedom, yet, at the same time,
it poses the most danger. With access to public transportation such as streetcars,
women are able to traverse the city at will. In this, the age of the flaneur,
positions of spectatorship seem open to women in ways they never were before.
But the street is not a completely safe space for women at the turn-of-the-century.
Women on the street often become targets of unwanted male attention and
are frequently assumed to be "public women" or prostitutes. And
while the crowds of the city offer protection in apparent anonymity, they
do not always deliver on this promise. In such disparate works as Edith
Wharton's The House of Mirth and Stephen Crane's Maggie: A
Girl of the Streets, the street functions on both a literal and metaphorical
level to express tne contradictions inherent in women's position in modernity.
Thomas Burr, History, UCD
Conceptualizations of World History: Globalization, World System Theory
and the One Humanity
The paper will discuss modernization theory and Wallerstein's world-system
theory, and cover extensively Frank and Gills's latest work; I then mention
Geyer and Bright, Stephen Sanderson, and the "Eurocentrism" debate
on H-World. Throughout I review all their strengths and weaknesses. None
of them really satisfy yet, and I suggest the idea of "humanity"
as the proper analytical unit for studying world history. I suggest my own
way to cover recent world history with this in mind: the idea of Europe
as a culture factory (taking in "raw material" ideas from around
the world and sending them out again), and initiating new processes of cultural
Edgar W. Butler, Sociology, UCR
James B. Pick, Business and Management, University of Redlands
Globalization of the Mexican Economy
Our examination of the Mexican economy demonstrates that 'world systems/dependency
theory' is much more general that ordinarily assumed. Via our research on
globalization of the Mexican economy, we demonstrate that the theory not
only applies at the world level, but simultaneously provides insights to
urban and rural divisions within core nations and to areas within core cities
and to divisions within semi-peripheral and peripheral nations. We show
that Mexico can be viewed as a 'core' nation in respect to other Latin American
nations. We systematically examine Mexico's relationship to core, semi-periphery,
and periphery countries via its domestic and transnational corporations.
Joan Canty, English, UCR:
(Joan Canty has unfortunately had to cancel her participation in the conference.
Those interested in her paper should contact her directly at the English
Department at UCR)
Jonathan Swift's Ambivalent Identity as English Colonist and Irish Patriot:
The "Colonizer who Refused"
Was Jonathan Swift an Irish patriot or an English colonist? Using Alfred
Memmi's categories of colonial, colonizer, and colonialist, I believe that,
although Swift may fit into one of Memmi's categories, his identity was
composed of conflicting elements, and he was a "colonizer who refused."
Swift's experience of being an Anglo-Irish colonist brought with it a splitting
of his subjectivity and an ambivalence; he occupied a middle position between
the native Irish colonized and the English colonizer, which gave him greater
flexibility in society and politics and in his writing. Moreover, Swift
spoke for the subjugated native Irish--the subalterns--who did not have
a voice of their own. Finally, although not entirely approving of the native
Irish, or of Catholicism, Swift nonetheless could articulate for them their
concerns and champion for them certain rights.
Swift's Irish political writings--especially The Drapier's Letters and A
Modest Proposal--were effective largely because of his political insight
and acquaintance with people of all classes in Ireland and England; these
works would generate for the Irish a spirit of nationalism that would coalesce
largely after Swift's death and later result in a revival of the native
culture. Unlike most colonizers who write patronizingly of the colonized
without ever really knowing them, or of the colonized land while surveying
it from a distance, Swift's daily experiences with the Dublin working-class
community gave him an intimate knowledge of that "vulgar mob."
Whether motivated by "savage indignation" or by a self-serving
rational morality to campaign for the rights of the native Irish, the effects
of his efforts have earned for Swift, the "colonizer who refused,"
a place in Irish history as a patriot.
Cathryn H. Clayton
Dept of Anthropology
UC Santa Cruz
Notes Towards a New History of the Origins of Macau
The story of the founding of the Portuguese colony of Macau in 1557 figures
as an important episode, if not exactly a watershed, in the history of early
modern relations between "Europe" and "China". Conventional
narratives of this episode assume, to a greater or lesser extent, a kind
of "East-meets-West" rhetoric which often posits a dynamic, expansive
West meeting an ideologically conservative and inward-looking East. This
rhetoric tends to underplay the complexity of political relations and commercial
activities in maritime Asia and the relationship of those activities to
the Chinese state. To a read thinking in terms of world history -- a reader
not convinced by nationalist-telelogical histories of expansion and empire,
nor more generally by histories focusing on the nation-state as the foundational
unit of analysis -- these narratives seem more and more incomplete each
time they are told.
The paper presented here is a preliminary sketch of some of the ways thse
conventional narratives might be fruitfully complicated in ways that would
lead not only to a more sophisticated understanding of the history of Macau,
but also towards a broader understanding of the relationship between local
and transnational (or transoceanic) historical processes. The approach is
to move the focus of inquiry, at least momentarily, away rom the ideologies,
interests, and policies of the Chinese state and onto the activities of
raiders, traders, rebels, settlers, and local elites of many nationalities
in the south China maritime region in the sixteenth century. By asking how
such elements interacted with each other and with (or without) representatives
of the state, and how these interactions fit into and shaped the larger
sociopolitical landscapes we have come to understand as empires, important
questions of "agency" and "interests" are highlighted.
Although limited access to sources has precluded the drawing of any firm
conclusions at this early stage of the research, I argue that such an approach
may allow analysts to move beyond simple distinctions between "micro"
and "macro" processes and instead enable us to analyze states,
institutions, and individuals, separately and together, as agents of historical
change and continuity.
James Curiel, Sociology, UCD
The Pride and Prejudice: comparing Euro-centric social Evolution to
Literature, and Explaining its Perpetuation.
This paper compares the discourse of primitiveness from 19th century social
evolution discourse to works by Native American authors from the same
time period. I find that primitiveness is a dead concept because it is
theoretically flawed and cannot explain data. I propose four factors for
its perpetuation, although it is currently on the decline.
Chris Erickson, Political Science, UCD
Shock Wave: Transnational University Based New Left Revolts March-October
1968 in the United States, France and Mexico.
In the year 1968 an explosion of social movements emanating from the space
of the University rocked the governing apparatuses of a series of nation-states,
a shockwave of transnational student revolt. At the epicenter of this explosion
were increasingly radicalized student populations who revolted against the
University's submission to the dictate of instrumental reason and dissolution
of its mythic autonomous critical space into the authoritarian/totalitarian
webs of power relations which defined the industrialized and developing
world in the 1960s. Networks of students forged a unity of theory and praxis,
a weapon of critical reason that was wielded to initiate and sustain a series
of titanic struggles within the intellectual and physical spaces of the
This transnational student revolt interacted with a constellation of broader
social movements such as the Anti-War movement, civil rights and "Black
Power" movements in the United States, and anti-imperialsim/national
liberation struggles in France and Mexico, and a generalized anti-authority
zeitgeist which seemed to permeate the entire planetary social field during
this period of time. In the face of the threat posed by this revolt in each
nation-state the administrative apparatus of the University and mechanisms
of state repression were rapidly deployed in an attempt to normalize or
control these forcefields of revolt. 1968 heralded the apex of a transnational
University based revolt, represented by the rise of New Left student and
counter-cultural youth movements throughout the capitalist-bloc of nation-states.
In this paper/presentation I will explore what these University-centered
revolts had in common and how their temporal coordination represented a
truly transnational movement which resonated throughout the world. I will
concentrate on three specific examples from a particularly intense period
of acceleration in the confrontation between New Left students and small
numbers of supportive faculty from May through October 1968: 1) the student
strike of April-June 1968 at Columbia University organized by the Columbia
University Chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS); 2) the
student-worker revolt in Paris from May to June 1968; and finally 3) the
student revolt and subsequent massacre of students in Mexico City from June
to October 1968 organized by an ad-hoc student organization the Consejo
Nacional de la Huelga (CNH).
Before moving on to the particular case studies I briefly survey the literature
that attempts to describe the linkages between the various student/youth
revolts and the macro-scale political, economic, and technological dynamics
that were at work in the late 1960s. It should become apparent in the course
of this discussion that the environment/space within which these student
revolts took place was truly transnational in scope, a loose transnational
community of theory/praxis that was committed to articulating a New Left
critique of, and revolt against, all systems of hierarchical power relations.
Although not the subject of this paper it is also vital to keep in mind
that the Soviet and Chinese "blocs" of nation-states were undergoing
a wave of student/youth revolts which occurred in the context of wide spread
social movements resisting these nation-states authoritarian/totalitarian
institutions of power.
Colin Fisher, History, UCI
Anglophilia and the American Landscape: Frederick Law Olmsted, the California
Landscape, and Memories of England
In 1863, Frederick Law Olmsted, the famous landscape architect who designed
Central Park, moved to the Northern California frontier town of Bear Valley.
Throughout his stay in California, Olmsted found the strange monumental
scenery, the aridity, and the sparse vegetation of the native California
landscape confusing and alienating. He simply did not feel at home in such
a strange landscape. But Olmsted did not only feel distant from the land
around him, he also felt estranged from the racially and ethnically diverse
population living in Bear Valley. Olmsted saw his neighbors - African, Asian,
Mexican, European, Native-American - as nomadic, mentally unstable savages
who were living in a state of anarchy. To Olmsted, the frontier was a disruptive
space, bereft of tradition, heritage, and culture.
Throughout his stay, Olmsted expressed terrible nostalgia for the scenery
and community he loved most - the homogeneous village life of the domesticated,
verdant, moist midlands of England. It was this countryside that Olmsted
found most therapeutic and comforting. In his parks in Boston, New York,
Chicago and elsewhere, Olmsted re-created this landscape so that urban Americans
might return to what he saw as their true heritage and roots in England.
In California, Olmsted hoped to battle barbarism and civilize the frontier
by building parks and importing the culture and traditions of England westward
Olmsted's championing of Yosemite ought to be seen in this context. Olmsted
did not love Yosemite because it offered a stunning example of the unique
scenery of the Sierra-Nevadas. Rather, he loved it because it seemed so
familiar to him. The climate of Yosemite, he reported, was unlike that of
the rest of Califomia, and the vegetation was not exotic to eastern eyes.
The stream and meadows, he wrote, remind the traveller of Shakespeare's
home on the Avon. Yosemite was a refreshing island of English landscape
surrounded on all sides by a land that was bizarre and unrecognizable.
I conclude my paper by assessing Olmsted's Anglophilia and his ambivalence
toward the Norm American wilderness. I argue that we need to question Olmsted's
status as America's first environmentalist. I suggest that Olmsted's re
creations of English countryside in the United States and Canada might be
better seen as acts of environmental and cultural imperialism.
Krista Harper, Anthropology, UCSC
Revising World-Systems Theory from an Eastern European Environmental
Contemporary events in postcommunist Europe call for the revision of political-economic
theories to account for new varieties of colonization. Wallerstein's world-systems'
theory of political economy initially takes the case of trade between Northwestern
Europe and Eastern Europe as a model for early modern core/periphery relationships.
Wallerstein postulated the extraction of raw materials from poor peripheral
countries for industrial production in the metropole, and this theory has
been used by environmentalists throughout the world to criticize development
schemes. Their analysis focused exclusively on "first-world/third world"
political-economic relations, and failed to address the relationship between
the first world and postcommunist societies.
By and large, the core no longer extracts natural resources or cash crops
from its European periphery, yet the social and environmental effects of
the contemporary European core/periphery relationship are no less malignant.
By placing world systems theory in dialogue with German sociologist Ulrich
Beck's theory of "risk society," one may consider how contemporary
environmental issues fit into the European capitalist economy. In Beck's
"risk society," overindustrialization leads to the proliferation
of environmental risks: waste, toxins, and other potential health hazards
become the major object of knowledge, production, and policy. Although risks
are "egalitarian" in the sense that they are experienced by the
population as a whole, one observes an intensification of inequalities in
risk society, since risks are most profoundly experienced by those who have
the least access to resources for avoiding risk. "Eco-justice"
scholars likewise note the differential location of toxic dumps near poor
and minority communities (Bullard 1994, Wenz 1994).
Integrating Beck's risk society with Wallerstein's world systems theory,
one may extrapolate the differential distribution of environmental risks
between the core and periphery. According to this theory, instead of merely
extracting the periphery's resources to facilitate industrial production,
the core appropriates the periphery for the removal of environmental risks,
such as hazardous waste storage. Additionally, corporations seek new markets
in the periphery for products losing ground with Western European and North
American consumers; the aggressive strategies of the tobacco and nuclear
industries in postcommunist Europe provide striking examples. Although corporations
and national governments try to represent the transposition of "risky"
products and technologies as a greater range of choice for consumers or
as development opportunities for the nation, a number of Hungarian environmentalists
counter these arguments with the charge of "ökogyarmatositás,"
Deena Mauldin, English, UCR
Women Warriors and Reigning Monarchs
This paper looks at Britomart in Spenser's Faerie Queene and the ways in
which she is intended to both flatter and chide Queen Elizabeth I. In this
context, the paper explores literary and historical traditions of women
as warriors such as the Amazons, Joan of Arc, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and
Queen Boadicea of the Celts. Women's roles in history are problematized
by this paper, which discusses such notions as women left in charge of home
defense in the Medieval period, recent archaeological finds of Indo-European
women warriors, and Queen Boadicea's successful revolt against Rome. The
boundaries redefined are those of women's roles in literature and society,
and the uses of these roles in literature of the Early Modern period.
Estee Neuwirth, Sociology, UCD
The Limits of National Identity: A Comparative Case Study of Representations
of Ethiopian Jews in Israeli Society
On January 28th, 1996 approximately 10,000 Ethiopian Jews demonstrated outside
the Israeli Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem. Ethiopian immigrants protested
the specific policies of the Israeli blood banks and more general issues
relating to the oppression and discrimination Ethiopian Jews face in Israeli
society and in relation to state policies. Reports indicate that the catalyst
of the event was the revelation on January 24 in a Hebrew daily newspaper
that for years blood banks in Israel have been indiscriminately throwing
out blood donated by Ethiopian Jews without informing them of such practices.
Following the revelation of the policy and the demonstration, there were
numerous articles in the Israeli press and internationally about the demonstration,
the blood bank policy, and the larger issues of discriminatory Israeli public
policies and the realities of social and ethnic divisions in Israeli society.
In this paper I explore the ways in which Ethiopians have become racially
identified in Israel and how popular images of Ethiopians construct specific
ways in which to represent Ethiopians and Israeli society. In examining
public analyses of Ethiopian Jews in Israel from 1985 to the present, a
discursive field emerges consisting of a set of communal and multi-institutional
images and assumptions that provide a common language for representing knowledge
about Ethiopian Jews.
I identify a number of recurring images and assumptions embedded in popular
writings about Ethiopian Jews, pointing to the existence of common languages
and different assumptions about Ethiopian Jews and Israeli society. In focusing
on a case study of representations of Ethiopians in the Israeli popular
press I outline how the concept of race plays a fundamental role in structuring
modern Israeli society. The assumption in much of the writing about Ethiopians
is that their "Ethiopianess" is something essential, fixed, and
concrete. There also exists the opposite but connected assumption that race
is imagined, a mere illusion and a purely ideological construct that can
be eliminated by a non-racist social order that focuses on better assimilating
or integrating them. But I argue that race is not a concept which can be
simply discarded because it signifies and symbolizes social conflicts. I
interrogate the problems in representing race as fixed and/or as imagined
in the hopes that this will serve as a vehicle for challenging such assumptions
and the policies that reproduce them.
Janet O'Shea, Dance, UC-Riverside
Problematizing the Old in the New: Originality and Origin in Bharata
This paper will address modernist and anti-modernist impulses within modernity
through an exploration of the work of three Bharata Natyam choreographers.
Each of the three self-consciously situates herself in a modern, international
dance market with a promise of innovation. At the same time, they all clearly
describe their innovations as rooted in "tradition." Part of this
strategic description of "innovative, traditional" dance involves
a construction of and invention of "tradition." Thus, I look at
each choreographer as historian by exploring what elements of historical
precedent she chooses to utilize in her work. I also discuss ways in which
crises of modernity, i.e. nationalism, economic liberalization, and globalization
impact upon the work of the choreographers and encourage particular usages
Eileen Otis, Sociology, UD-Davis
The Gender Politics of Chinese Nationalism: The New Culture Movement's
Response to the Woman's Question
When in 1918 Lu Xun used syphilis to describe China's intellectual condition
he joined other intellectuals concerned that China's stagnation was congenital,
corrupt and rotten (Spence 1981). The metaphor also conveys the view that
national weakness was a product of the most inimate of relationships: the
family. In the early years of the Chinese Republic, progressive and radical
intellectuals critically re-evaluated Chinese Society, drawing upon principles
and concepts of the Western Enlightenment. Through their denunciations they
attempted to clear the way for the introduction of Western Enlightenment
ideas, practices and organization in an attempt to rehabilitate and strengthen
a Chinese Society plagued by wars and political instability so that it might
stave off the imperialst aggressions of the West.
Orginating from traditionally elite sectors of society, most of these intellectuals
would have, under an emperor, occupied positions of bureaucratic, social
and political leadership. But since the 1911 Republican revolution, having
been deeply influenced and, in some cases, radicalized by Western Enlightenment
notions of "science and democracy", this array of social critics
who came to be known as the New Culture Intellecutals repudiated the Confucian
order. They launched an assault on what they saw as its foundation: gender
and generational subordination. The focus of the New Culture Intellectual's
critiques was the Confucian regulation of relationships through the prioritizing
of family roles and obligations, gender and generational subordination,
that inhibited individual initiative and freedom. Their most scathing denunciations
of the Chinese past targeted gender relations.
The New Culture intellectuals advanced a view of the individual whose primary
identity should be tied to the Chinese nation. They advocated a shift from
identification with Confucian defined fammily roles which emphasized filial
piety to an emphasis on the role of the individual as citizen and national
subject. For example, they promoted dismantling barriers to women working
in the public sphere, as well as "free choice" in marriage and
the elimination of concubinage. Thus, one of the overall obejectives of
the movement was to remove the individual from the consraints of the family
and make her/him more accessible to the state in order to realize national
objectives, particularly to enhance national production. The New Culture
Intellectuals also promoted women's education because they felt that sons
raised by "weak" women would, themselves grow up weak. Thus, for
the New Culture Intellectuals, women's equality would lead to national strength.
The Confucian system guraanteed partiarchal family monopoly control over
women's productive and reproductive capacity. The New Culture Intellectuals
belived that eliminating this system would increase the state's control
over these resources. Although out of the scope of this paper, it is worthwhile
to consider the precedent New Culture Intellectuals set for later post-revolutionary
history, in which the state drew upon a discourse of women's liberation
in order to introduce them into production and, in the 1980's to control
their reproductive activity through the one child per family policy. The
rationale for the changes that the New Culture Intellectuals advocated was
based upon creating a more productive and useful population in order to
strnghten the state.
My paper will explore the implications of the New Culture anti-traditionalism
for gender relations. I will argue that the New Culture Intellectuals used
gender to promote not only their own version of women's interests, but primarily
to enhance national strength and personal freedom for men of younger gendetrations.
I will examine five essays written about women from "New Youth Magazine",
the primary medium of the movement's ideas and debates. I will explore the
ways in which each of the authors conceived of women's relationship to the
state, the family and the economy in advancing their own political programs.
Sudipta Sen, University of California, Berkeley
Of Markets and Marketplaces: Reconsidering Margins of the Early Modern
World Order and Colonial Rule in India
Most explanations of the global expansion of European mercantile capital
rest on the contention that economic dominance of the industrialized core
over the undeveloped periphery is the product of an inexorable process of
history that can be traced back in time across the particulars of polity
and culture. One consequence of this economic explanation is that it reduces
the validity of other histories that are pertinent to the investigation
of modernity and its many pasts.
The history of colonial regimes, however, can not always be easily assimilated
within systemic theories of world history (Frank, Wallerstein et al). European
colonial expansion may also be seen as an extended political and cultural
confrontation that set the context for economic change in a worldwide scale
to happen in the first place. The beginning of colonial rule India presents
an early historical situation where the East India Company came face to
face with a very different traditional organization of trade, market exchange
and authority, an early instance of confrontation that set the tone for
subsequent expansion of British and European colonies in Asia and the rest
of the world. This presentation highlights the crucial difference between
contemporary English idea of the market as economic process and indigenous
Indian notions of marketplaces as part of a world of pilgrimage, prestation
and most importantly, as an extended sign of political authority. These
differences were crucial not only in the making of a colonial economy in
India, but equally in the make up of a colonial state and its instruments
of surveillance and violence. Early colonial rule sought the 'freedom of
trade', the settlement and administration of marketplaces and establishment
of networks of police and customs; measures that were an assault on the
privilege and power of local rulers and chiefs as well as the prevalent
meanings of material exchange. It is through such contestation that the
colonial state was established, and the formation of this state was as crucial
to the making of a world order as much as the market for commodities and
labor in the long run.
Richard Weiner, History, UCI
National Symbols, Magonismo, and the Mexican Revolution
This presentation examines the tensions between universal and local symbols
in revolutionary discourse. The crux of the issue can be posed as a question:
In doctrines that conceptualize emancipation as an international phenomenon,
what are the tensions between universalist and local imagery? To what degree
and in what ways are unique local and national symbols integrated into revolutionary
imagery that represents emancipation as a transnational phenomenon? This
presentation does not pretend to supply any grand answers to these questions.
Rather, it has the more modest aim of studying the particular case of Magonismo,
a revolutionary anarchist ideology that was articulated during the era of
the Mexican Revolution (roughly 1900-1920s). Despite a revisionist current
which strongly downplays the significance of Magonismo, many scholars still
consider Magonista ideology as central to the Mexican Revolution. This presentation
contributes to the revisionist scholarship, for it argues that Magonista
symbolism was primarily internationalist and incorportaed few local images
into its emancipatory discourse. Ironically, then, the ideological movement
which scholars portray as the heart of the Mexican Revolution had very little
to say specifically about Mexico.
Back to top of page
Back to Conference Homepage
To Conference Program