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)

Jennifer Brezina
Thomas Burr
Edgar Butler
Joan Canty (Joan Canty will not be able to present her paper as scheduled)
Cathryn Clayton
Ralph Crowder
James Curiel
Chris Erickson
Carole Fabricant
Colin Fisher
Krista Harper
Ray Kea
Augustine Kposowa
Deena Mauldin
Rob McCoy
Estee Neuwirth
Janet O'Shea
Eileen Otis
Sudipta Sen
Devra Weber
Richard Weiner
Doug White

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 brings.

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 diffusion.

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 Native American
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 University.
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 Perspective

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," or "eco-colonialism."

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 Natyam

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 of "tradition."

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.

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