Book Beat: June - July 2001

Recent publications from CLAS faculty

The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism

The First R: How Children Learn Race and RacismDebra Van Ausdale and Joe R. Feagin, Department of Sociology
(Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2001)
Available through Amazon

Writers since Piaget have questioned when and how children assimilate racist attitudes—or simply become aware of racial differences. This remarkable book offers stirring evidence that the answers may be more surprising than we ever imagined.... The careful ethnographic analysis, conducted over many months, led the authors to question many of our long-held assumptions about the nature of race and racial learning in American society. The stories of the children are compelling, often endearing, and unforgettable. They will change the way parents, teachers, and other educators understand the world as seen by children.

- Publisher

A sensitive and politically sophisticated work of on-site observation and engaging scholarship which ought to shake our nation from its equanimity. The lessons we were given long ago by Dr. Kenneth Clark and, nearly one hundred years ago by W. E. B. DuBois, have yet to be internalized. Perhaps, as the authors of this valuable and stirring work suggest, it is our children who will prove to be our wisest teachers."

- Jonathan Kozol, author of
Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools

The Sexual Woman in Latin American Literature: Dangerous Desire

The Sexual Woman in Latin American Literature: Dangerous Desireby Diane E. Marting, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
(University Press of Florida, 2001)
Available through the University Press of Florida

Latin American fiction achieved a turning point in its representation of sexual women sometime in the 1960s. Diane E. Marting offers a richly detailed analysis of this development.

Her central idea is that in Latin America narrative women's desires were portrayed as dangerous throughout the twentieth century, despite the heroic character of the "newly sexed woman" of the sixties. She argues that women's sexuality in fiction was transformed because it symbolized the many other changes occurring in women's lives regarding their families, workplaces, societies, and nations. Female sexual desire offered an ever present threat to male privilege.... Marting's book surveys the topic of women's sexuality in the work of both men and women writers and engages two current controversies: feminist and moral issues related to the female body, and the nature of literary history.

- Publisher

Being Human: Ethics, Environment, and Our Place in the World

Being Human: Ethics, Environment, and Our Place in the Worldby Anna L. Peterson, Department of Religion
(University of California Press, 2001)
Available through Amazon

Being Human examines the complex connections among conceptions of human nature, attitudes toward nonhuman nature, and ethics. Anna Peterson proposes an "ethical anthropology" that examines how ideas of nature and humanity are bound together in ways that shape the very foundations of cultures. She discusses mainstream Western understandings of what it means to be human, as well as alternatives to these perspectives, and suggests that the construction of a compelling, coherent environmental ethics will require revising our dominant ideas not only about nature but also about what it means to be human.

- Publisher

"Anna Peterson's Being Human is a stellar work of integration. Peterson argues that the ideology of human exceptionalism and disconnection from the rest of nature is a major source of social and ecological harm. She draws together cultural constructionist, Asian, Native American, feminist, and evolutionary thought to present a view of the human as both an integral part of nature and a creator of culture."

- Rosemary Radford Ruether, author of
Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Healing

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