Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the United States

Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the United States

Paul DiMaggio
Patricia Fernández-Kelly
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hhz22
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    Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the United States
    Book Description:

    Art in the Lives of Immigrant Communities in the United Statesis the first book to provide a comprehensive and lively analysis of the contributions of artists from America's newest immigrant communities--Africa, the Middle East, China, India, Southeast Asia, Central America, and Mexico. Adding significantly to our understanding of both the arts and immigration, multidisciplinary scholars explore tensions that artists face in forging careers in a new world and navigating between their home communities and the larger society. They address the art forms that these modern settlers bring with them; show how poets, musicians, playwrights, and visual artists adapt traditional forms to new environments; and consider the ways in which the communities' young people integrate their own traditions and concerns into contemporary expression.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-5041-1
    Subjects: Art & Art History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-ix)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Introduction: THE DIVERSITY AND MOBILITY OF IMMIGRANT ARTS
    (pp. 1-22)
    Paul DiMaggio and Patricia Fernández-Kelly

    Over the past three decades, the dramatic rise in immigration from Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean has greatly expanded the palette of cultural practices and styles to which people in the United States have access. Once considered exotic, the foods of Japan, India, and Mexico have become as American as the hamburger. Salsa music and reggae are now as familiar in many parts of the United States as they are in the Dominican Republic or Jamaica. And even as immigrants are changing mainstream tastes, the nation is altering the artistic expressions of immigrants. Hip-hop music and graffiti art now...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Migrants and the Transformation of Philadelphia’s Cultural Economy
    (pp. 23-51)
    Mark J. Stern, Susan C. Seifert and Domenic Vitiello

    Assimilation is the problem of the twenty-first century. The number of international migrations has nearly doubled in the past quarter century from 99 million in 1980 to 190 million in 2005 (United Nations 2006). The issue of how to bridge the chasms that separate the world’s peoples in general and those that separate migrant from host populations confronts an ever-expanding share of the world’s nations.

    Assimilation is often conceptualized as a one-way process: “to make like,” according to the simplest dictionary definition. Certainly, there is a long history of efforts to do that to migrant populations. The efforts to Americanize...

  6. CHAPTER 3 A Howl to the Heavens: ART IN THE LIFE OF FIRST- AND SECOND-GENERATION CUBAN AMERICANS
    (pp. 52-71)
    Patricia Fernández-Kelly

    In a review of Phillip Roth’s prolific contribution to American literature, the critic Claudia Roth Pierpont observes about the central character in Roth’s most notorious book that Alexander Portnoy’s onanistic hold to the flesh is “literally, in rebellion against the life that is being forced upon him . . . a fiercely comic shtick that is also a howl to the heavens” (Pierpont 2006, 82). The same may be said about much of art, including the art of Cuban Americans in the United States.

    This chapter focuses on the relationship between aesthetic expression and immigrant incorporation. What is the role...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Inside and Outside the Box: THE POLITICS OF ARAB AMERICAN IDENTITY AND ARTISTIC REPRESENTATIONS
    (pp. 72-88)
    Amaney Jamal

    Arab American identity is strongly rooted in the political realities and social identity constructions of the homeland. For decades homeland attachments have shaped Arab American identity; thus, it is not surprising that Arab American arts have traditionally relied on the cultural and folkloric elements of social ties and other relationships to the homeland. As with other ethnic groups, however, an additional dimension also shapes Arab—and Arab American—identity. The long history of political conflicts in the Arab world has played an equally significant role in structuring Arab American identity and its artistic expressions. The politically contentious realities of the...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Desis in and out of the House: SOUTH ASIAN YOUTH CULTURE IN THE UNITED STATES BEFORE AND AFTER 9/11
    (pp. 89-108)
    Sunaina Maira

    South Asian immigrants in the United States are generally associated with popular culture and artistic expressions that are considered exotic, colorful, and traditional. There has long been a particular market in the United States for elite forms of South Asian culture, such as classical music and dance, performed by maestros at “high culture” venues and favored by world music aficionados as well as upper-middle-class South Asian Americans. But there has also been a growing interest in more popular forms of South Asian cultural production, such as folk dance and Bollywood film and music, culminating in the fashionability of all things...

  9. CHAPTER 6 The Intimate Circle: FINDING COMMON GROUND IN MARIACHI AND NORTEÑO MUSIC
    (pp. 109-124)
    Clifford R. Murphy

    Stepping into Tijuana’s from the cold of the New England seaport street, pushing in through the swinging doors into a warm and golden Mexican hacienda, we are greeted in Spanish by a petite woman with long black hair and a menu in her hand. She seats us next to a Latino family out for a Saturday night dinner; kids scramble on and off the laps of their parents and stop to take in the music as it passes by. It is, in all respects, an intimate setting—the small restaurant is tightly packed with families, each sitting at small tables...

  10. CHAPTER 7 GenerAsians Learn Chinese: THE ASIAN AMERICAN YOUTH GENERATION AND NEW CLASS FORMATIONS
    (pp. 125-154)
    Deborah Wong

    Today’s Asian American youth generation is still haunted by the immigrant experience, and its material conditions continue to shape Asian American youth.¹ As George Lipsitz has argued, the ideological dominance of the nation-state in area studies (including American studies) has “poorly prepared us for the ways in which culture functions as a social force or the ways in which aesthetic forms draw their affective and ideological power from their social location” (2001, 17).

    In this chapter I try to connect the late capitalist phenomenon of Pacific Rim popular culture to the emergence of Asian American youth who may move across...

  11. CHAPTER 8 Unfinished Journey: MEXICAN MIGRATION THROUGH THE VISUAL ARTS
    (pp. 155-175)
    Gilberto Cárdenas

    In this chapter I focus on the visual record surrounding Mexican immigration to the United States, including photographs, posters, drawings, paintings, prints, installations, and performances. I draw primarily on work produced in the United States by Mexican and Chicano artists to construct a comprehensive account of the unique experience of Mexican migrants over the last century. Two objectives frame my efforts: to discern how the visual record lines up with the written account and to assess what can be learned about Mexican migration from its visual history and art.

    On the basis of available data I show how immigration as...

  12. CHAPTER 9 Immigrant Art as Liminal Expression: THE CASE OF CENTRAL AMERICANS
    (pp. 176-196)
    Cecilia Menjívar

    One of the first interviews I ever conducted with immigrants in the United States was with Rosario, a woman in her early twenties I met in San Francisco. She was born into a poor rural family in central El Salvador and started working as a housekeeper in San Salvador, the capital city, right after finishing sixth grade, from the time she was twelve years old. When we met, she seemed soft-spoken and pensive, and at first I was not sure whether we were going to be able to converse. As we talked, she struck me as thoughtful and cautious with...

  13. CHAPTER 10 Negotiating Memories of War: ARTS IN VIETNAMESE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES
    (pp. 197-213)
    Yen Le Espiritu

    By most accounts, Vietnam was the site of one of the most brutal and destructive wars between Western imperial powers and the people of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Thirty years (1945–1975) of warfare destruction, coupled with another twenty years of postwar U.S. trade and aid economic embargo, cost Vietnam at least three million lives, shattered its economy and society, left the country among the poorest in the world, and scattered its people to different corners of the globe. And yet in the United States, public recollections of the Vietnam War—“the war with the difficult memory” (Sturken 1997,...

  14. CHAPTER 11 Miracles on the Border: THE VOTIVE ART OF MEXICAN MIGRANTS TO THE UNITED STATES
    (pp. 214-228)
    Jorge Durand and Douglas S. Massey

    In recent decades the volume of migration between Mexico and the United States has risen dramatically and transnational movement has emerged as a major force binding the two countries. Although Mexican immigration has been the subject of many statistical studies (see Durand and Massey 1992 and Massey et al. 1994 for reviews), it has been less common to examine it from the viewpoint of the migrants themselves. Nonetheless, a growing literature has sought to portray migration, especially migration without documents, from the perspective of its participants. Investigators have compiled oral histories to reveal the life course dynamics of international migration...

  15. CHAPTER 12 Visual Culture and Visual Piety in Little Haiti: THE SEA, THE TREE, AND THE REFUGEE
    (pp. 229-248)
    Terry Rey and Alex Stepick

    Religious images, none more so than the Virgin Mary and Saint James the Greater, abound in Haiti and its diaspora. They constitute public expressions of one of the world’s most original and vibrant national and now transnational artistic cultures. Whether in the mountains of Haiti or the streets of Miami’s Little Haiti, however, their meanings vary and are contested among Haitian believers. For Catholics, the Virgin Mary and Saint James the Greater are, respectively, Christ’s mother and one of his apostles. For practitioners of Vodou, they might represent instead Ezili and Ogun, originally African spirits. Meanwhile, for Protestants they might...

  16. References
    (pp. 249-272)
  17. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 273-276)
  18. Index
    (pp. 277-292)