Northern Illinois University Press

Area Studies in the Global Age

Community, Place, Identity

Edited by Edith W. Clowes and Shelly Jarrett Bromberg

“[This is] an unusual volume. . . . This reconceptualization challenges the assumption—held by certain social-scientific approaches—that the scholarly contributions of area studies should be limited to the testing of theories generated by the ‘disciplines.’ It also moves social science theorizing away from its Eurocentric origins and points to more robust ways of thinking about the world."— From the afterword by Ayse Zarakol, International Relations, University of Cambridge

“Area Studies in the Global Age offers a lucid account of the multiple and overlapping challenges currently facing the production of global knowledge as it has been known in the U.S. academy.” –Slavic & East European Journal

"For anyone working in area studies today and concerned about or interested in the future of the discipline, this book is essential reading. It provides important theoretical insights and, through its juxtaposition of case studies from many different regions of the world, demonstrates how area studies approaches can open new windows to understanding the contemporary world." —Journal of Contemporary European Studies

This interdisciplinary volume is a new introduction to area studies in the framework of whole-world thinking. Emerging in the United States after World War II, area studies have proven indispensable to American integration in the world. They serve two main purposes: to equip future experts with rich cultural-historical and political-economic knowledge of a world area in its global context and advanced foreign language proficiency, and to provide interested readers with well-founded analyses of a vast array of the world’s communities.

Area Studies in the Global Age examines the interrelation between three constructions central to any culture—community, place, and identity—and builds on research by scholars specializing in diverse world areas, including Africa; Central, East, and North Asia; Eastern and East Central Europe; and Latin America. In contrast to sometimes oversimplified, globalized thinking, the studies featured here argue for the importance of understanding particular human experience and the actual effects of global changes on real people’s lives. The rituals, narratives, symbols, and archetypes that define a community, as well as the spaces to which communities attach meaning, are crucial to members’ self-perception and sense of agency.

Editors Edith W. Clowes and Shelly Jarrett Bromberg have put into practice the original mission of US area studies, which were intended to employ both social science and humanities research methods. This important study presents and applies a variety of methodologies, including interviews and surveys; the construction of databases; the analysis of public rituals and symbols; the examination of archival documents as well as contemporary public commentary; and the close reading and interpretation of fiction, art, buildings, cities, and other creatively produced works in their social contexts. Designed for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students in allied disciplines, Clowes and Bromberg’s volume will also appeal to readers interested in internationally focused humanities and social sciences.

December 2015 304 pp., 10 illus., 6x9
$30.00s Paper

Edith W. Clowes is the Brown-Forman Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Virginia and author of The Revolution of Moral Consciousness (NIU Press, 1988) and, most recently, Russia on the Edge: Imagined Geographies and Post-Soviet Identity.

Shelly Jarrett Bromberg is associate professor and chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Miami University.

Table of Contents

Edith W. Clowes & Shelly Jarrett Bromberg

PART 1—Reclaiming the National Narrative
Understanding Taiwan’s Colonial Past
Using History to Define Taiwan’s 21st-Century Identity
J. Megan Greene

Patriot or Saint?
The Resurrection of a Soviet Hero & Post-Soviet Identity
Adrienne M. Harris

History & Memory in an African Context
A Case Study of Robben Island
Elizabeth MacGonagle

“Ten Million Trujillos Is All We Are”
Dominican Identity beyond the Trujillato
Shelly Jarrett Bromberg

PART 2—Borders Within
Urbanization & Urban Villagers
Institutional Factors & Social Identity in Urban China
Dan Chen & John James Kennedy

Place, Scale, & Self-Reliance
Issues of Identity & Community in Contemporary Siberia
Edith W. Clowes

The Post-Soviet North Caucasus
Factors of Contemporary Ethno-National Identity & Community
Austen Thelen

PART 3—Civil Society & Its Discontents
The Multiple Faces of Islamic Rebirth in Central Asia
Mariya Y. Omelicheva

Solidarity, Human Rights, & the Poetics of Connection
Articulating Community in Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage & Her Children & Lynn Nottage’s Ruined
Marike Janzen

The Art of Making Community
Lia Perjovschi’s CAA/CAA & the Knowledge Museum
Corina Apostol

Street Art contra Police Abuse
Exposing Police Power in Post-Soviet Russia
Patrick Callen

Part 4—Legacies of Empire & Shifting North-South Communities
Community, Identity, & Space in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Sarah L. Smiley

The US Confronts a New Latin American Community after the Cold War
Walt Vanderbush

Ozbekchilik as an Ethno-Symbolist Construct
Articulating the Ethnie in Uzbekistan
Reuel R. Hanks

Ayse Zarak

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-727-0
paper $30.00