No other issue in our times of globalization has aroused such passionate debate as the increasingly complex transborder movements of people of all ethnicities, with the self-perceived 'from-heres' often struggling to maintain the illusion of separateness from intruding 'come-heres.' The paradigm of transculturality offers prospects to rethink, demystify and represent cultural unity and difference, assimilation and alterity, in a manner that acknowledges the fissures and the fictions in traditional cultural dichotomies such as the melodramatically instrumentalized 'national' vs. 'foreign.' The interdisciplinary essays compiled in Transculturality and Perceptions of the Immigrant Other focus on the ways in which new diasporic and migrational patterns arouse ill will and conflict, but also negotiation and transcultural impulses, resulting in transformed meso-structures in media, schooling, and business. Investigating regional immigrant groups in the states of Virginia and North Rhine-Westphalia as well as the discourses and images in public media, films, literature, and cultural events, the studies both document the contest for geographical, work, and community space and place it in larger theoretical and specific historical contexts. Arising from an international project undertaken by senior and junior scholars from the fields of cultural studies, history, and sociology at Norfolk State University in Virginia and University of Siegen in Germany, these essays suggest that cultural citizenship can embody dynamic expressions of belonging and strategies of empowerment which shape political and economic communities, engendering in the process innovative forms of constantly negotiated, hybrid identity and transmigratory affiliation.
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CATHY COVELL WAEGNER teaches American Studies at the University of Siegen in Germany. She obtained degrees from the College of William & Mary (BA) and the University of Virginia (MA, PhD). In addition to her work on William Faulkner and Toni Morrison, she has published on international hip hop, minstrelsy, AfroAsian 'postmodernist passing,' 400 years after Jamestown, 'hybrid tropes' in film, and the interaction between American and European cultural phenomena. Waegner co-edited the MESEA (Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas) volume Literature on the Move: Comparing Diasporic Ethnicities in Europe and the Americas (2002) and served as MESEA treasurer for four years. She is also a member of CAAR (Collegium for African American Research). PAGE R. LAWS is Professor of English and Dean of the Honors College at Norfolk State University in Virginia where she has taught since 1987. A comparatist, Laws has been awarded two Fulbrights (one in Germany and one in Austria) plus NEH summer seminar/institute fellowships in South Africa and France. As a public humanities scholar, she has served on the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the Norfolk Commission Commemorating the End of Massive Resistance. Recent fields of research and publication include film and ethnicity, film adaptations, Richard Wright, and cultural crossover between African America and Germany. Laws received her BA from Wellesley College and her M. Phil and PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale University. GEOFFROY DE LAFORCADE is an Associate Professor of History and the Academic Coordinator of International Programs at Norfolk State University in Virginia. He recently published a chapter in Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870-1940: The Praxis of National Liberation, Internationalism, and Social Revolution, (Ed. Hirsch & van der Walt, 2010), and was an Associate Editor of the International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest (Ed. Ness, 2009). Trained as a Latin Americanist/Atlantic World historian, he has also written on French history, public memory, race and post-colonial migration, and translated several books on the subject (Noiriel, 1996; Lebovics, 1994). De Laforcade, a native of France, received his PhD from Yale University and his BA from Tufts University.
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