Six NYU Press titles named AAUP Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries

We are thrilled to announce that six NYU Press books have been named 2012 AAUP  University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries!

Reviewed and selected by members of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and a committee of Public Library Reviewers (PLR), the books in this annual collection have been recommended for use in both school and public libraries. Browse the entire 2012 listing here.

  1. The Maid’s Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream
    Mary Romero
    “Sociologist Mary Romero documents the story of ‘Olivia,’ the daughter of a live-in maid who grew up in the wealthy Los Angeles home where her mother Carmen worked. Romero traces Olivia’s life from her childhood beginnings in Mexico, through her conflicted adolescence, and into adulthood where she forges her own identity. The challenges faced by Olivia and her mother as they negotiate dual cultures and economies make for compelling reading.”—Virginia L. Stone (AASL)
  2. Black in Latin America
    Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
    “Well-written and truly eye-opening account of the experience of African slaves and their descendants in the New World outside of the United States. Of about 11 million Africans brought as slaves to the Western Hemisphere, less than 500 thousand came to the U.S. The rest were taken to the Caribbean and Latin America. A companion volume to the PBS series.”—Steve Norman (PLR)
  3. Best of Times, Worst of Times: Contemporary American Short Stories from the New Gilded Age
    Wendy Martin and Cecelia Tichi (Editors)
  4. The Tender Cut: Inside the Hidden World of Self-Injury
    Patricia A. Adler and Peter Adler
  5. Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys
    Victor M. Rios
  6. Highway under the Hudson: A History of the Holland Tunnel
    Robert W. Jackson

Additionally, The Maid’s Daughter and Black in Latin America have also been selected as Outstanding titles. According to the AAUP, titles with this rating “are considered exceptional by the reviewer.” For more information, visit the University Press Books for Public and Secondary Schools Libraries online.

Beyond El Barrio: A student’s response

Alyshia Gálvez, Assistant Professor of Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies at Lehman College, wrote to us recently to share a fascinating essay written by one of her students during her summer course, “Latinos in the US.” After assigning the edited volume Beyond El Barrio: Everyday Life in Latina/o America, Professor Gálvez received an extraordinary response to the fourth chapter from student, Ivan Waldo, who agreed to let us share it on our blog…

“Becoming Suspect in Usual Places: Latinos, Baseball, 81 and Belonging in El Barrio del Bronx” by Adrian Burgos, Jr. and Frank A. Guridy asserts a position that racial perceptions of a little league baseball team comprised of Latino players ultimately fueled the backlash and investigation into their pasts, that surrounded the team. Burgos, Jr. and Guridy also assert that the racial historical context of the New York Yankees from the Bronx, where the little league team was also based from, are connected. Their work is littered with “examples” of supporting “evidence”. I disagree with certain assertions made by the two authors, and of the overall assertion of their paper.

I was raised in a family culture of Yankee fanatics, my paternal and maternal grandmothers, mother, various aunts and uncles all were lifelong die-hard Yankee fans, to the degree that my mother won a tri-state Daily News contest for the biggest die-hard Yankee fan, and was awarded tickets to the 2003 World Series between the Yankees and the Florida Marlins for her real life tale of how she was 9 months pregnant (with me), and going into labor, but refused to leave her seat at Yankee Stadium until the final out. I knew the Yankees’ roster like I knew my name. It was only natural that I pursue playing baseball, playing in little leagues until my parents couldn’t afford to keep up with equipment costs and registration fees. To satisfy my yearning for baseball, I became a little league coach, and taught youngsters everything I had learned, and learned the administrative, and political, aspects of little league baseball. Using my experiences and knowledge for a frame of reference, I can not conclude that racial perceptions of the little league team comprised of Latinos fueled the resentment directed at them.

“Such narratives gloss over the Yankees organization’s long history of racial exclusion, not just African American players but also Latinos… Latino and African American Yankees have either been completely excluded from histories of the Bronx Bombers or have been relegated to the background…(pg 87).” “It was not until… the 1990’s that the Bronx Bombers faithful fully embraced a Puerto Rican or Latino star.” This is untrue. There are several players of color that have long been celebrated by Yankee faithful and their on the field achievements acknowledged by the organization, such as Chris Chambliss in the 1976 ALCS, Reggie Jackson (too many achievements to recount here) had his own candy bar and a Reggie Bar day, Willie Randolph 6 time All Star and Yankee captain, Luis Tiant a Cuban born player and centerpiece of the film “The Lost Son of Havana”, Dave Winfield, Rickey Henderson, Ken Griffey… There were a number of notable players of color who were warmly embraced by the Yankee faithful. It is unfortunate that their embracement did not coincide with winning seasons, the Yankees languished at the bottom of their division for the 1980’s and half of the 1990’s. Their inability to win did not detract the fans from their support of their players, including those of color. The absence of recognition of their achievements coincides with their losing seasons, players on major sport teams are recognized for winning championships, something that escaped the Yankees during that period, and escaped Burgos and Guridy’s research.

“Investigative searches to establish Danny Almonte’s ‘official’ age retraced the transnational paths that tens of thousands of Dominicans and Puerto Ricans travel annually.” This is irresponsible journalism. There is a distinct difference between the governmental records and their recognition of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico’s administrative records comply with U.S. Congress’ bureaucratic oversight, which essentially is an extension of U.S. government. The Dominican Republic operates outside of U.S. governmental jurisdiction, therefore requiring confirmation from the Republic’s governmental administrators. By including Puerto Ricans in their statement, they are attempting to widen the scope of any launched investigations to verify information outside the availability of little league officials’ verification methods, and to blur the scope of the Latino image by making it inclusive of other Latinos. It is notable that that statement is the only mention of Puerto Ricans and investigations in their work, they are never mentioned again.

“Well-trained and well-equipped teams should not suffer defeat at the hands of inner city teams comprising Dominican and Puerto Rican boys from working-class and impoverished backgrounds. This is what was partly at stake in the matchups between the Paulino All Stars and suburban teams-the ability of social class privilege to translate into competitive advantage and success.” The authors are over extending their perceived racial perceptions with that statement. The competitive advantage being sought was by the Paulino All Stars and their usage of ineligible overage players. As a player and a coach, certain players exhibited attributes and mannerisms of a person above a certain age bracket. The Little League World Series is limited to the 11 – 12-year-old age bracket. Danny Almonte stood at 5’8” during the tournament, an extraordinary height for someone of that age. He also exhibited skills above that age bracket, an indicator he may be overage. There were his interactions with his teammates and fans that should a maturity level beyond that of a 12-year-old, flirting and taking pictures with female fans. As an opposing coach, I would have immediately called for Little League officials to verify his pedigree information, not once considering what his background may be. Many teams seek competitive advantages due to the economic benefits that come with the exposure and invitation to the Little League World Series, and using overage players is a common one. In my opinion, opposing teams’ scrutinizing of Danny Almonte, and subsequently possibly other teammates, wasn’t necessarily rooted in racism.

“The signing bonuses paid to players selected through the amateur draft and Latinos signed as undrafted amateur free agents are telling.” The authors proceed to recount 1975 draft averages of $60,000 for players selected in the amateur draft and $5,000 for Latinos signed as undrafted free agents. “The inequity created by the process of initial inclusion unveils an economic toll that foreign-born Latinos pay for their foreigness.” Here is another example of irresponsible journalism combined with an all inclusive statement regarding Latinos. In 1975, Major League Baseball teams had not yet expanded to other countries, and set up workshops and camps to train potential ball players. There was no way of accurately assessing a players talent level because there wasn’t a standard of competition established by which to judge them by. Conversely, collegiate athletes had, and have, an established competition level from which to gain a perspective on a prospects potential. This accounts for the larger investment in state bound collegiate athletes as opposed to foreign players who may not possess the skill level to compete in the Major Leagues and won’t be able to prove themselves until they actually compete at a higher established level. The authors also imply that Latinos were being persecuted by Major League Baseball’s policy when in fact the initial pay disparity was for all foreign born players, not just Latinos.

There are other instances where the evidence presented is spun to conveniently accommodate the authors conclusions, however the facts surrounding their presented “evidence” simply does not support their conclusions and perspectives regarding the racially motivated actions of opposing teams. One instance where they were correct was the chanting of “U.S.A., U.S.A.” to an American team to deliberately highlight their differences and allegiances to their countries of origin. Outside of that, I fail to see the racial implications implied by the authors. Are there underlying motivations for the opposing teams actions that I am unaware, or oblivious of?

Making the banned book list: Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic

With one of the harshest anti-immigrant laws on the books, Arizona recently targeted Latino schoolchildren and the books teachers use to inform them about Latino history and culture. Last month, the Tucson Unified School District, on a 4-1 vote, dissolved the Mexican American Studies program in local high schools. Subsequently, over 80 books were confiscated and/or banned, including works by Henry David Thoreau, Shakespeare, and famed Brazilian educator Paulo Freire. (The entire list of books removed is extensive and includes important Latino authors and activists’ books.)

Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, Professors of Law at Seattle University and the authors of Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (one of the most prominent books removed from the curriculum in Arizona) responded to The Progressive about their feelings surrounding the censorship of their book:

“How does it feel to have one of your books banned in Arizona? In part, it feels good. It proves that we have said something that the authorities found dangerous. And they could not have found it dangerous if they had thought that it was untrue–in that case they would merely have ignored or refuted it. Instead, they fabricated patently false reasons for boxing up our book, along with six others, and sending it to a distant book depository. To make sure the children got the point, they arranged to collect the books, which the students had devoured eagerly, during classtime so that they would see what happens to dangerous ideas and thought.

In part, though, it feels bad. Young minds will not learn about critical race theory or Latino history or the historic struggles of their predecessors for school desegregation, immigration reform, and equal rights. They may learn about them piecemeal, but without an overarching framework, it will be difficult for them to develop a comprehensive view of race in American society.

Initiated in response to a desegregation mandate and taught by charismatic young teachers, the popular Mexican American Studies program had, in just a few short years, managed to increase the graduation rate of Latino youth in the district from about fifty percent to over 93. Many had gone on to enroll in college. When an outside audit gave the program a favorable review, the district ended it anyway, insisting that it was divisive and un-American. Americans, of course, don’t ban books (at least not often). But we doubt that the Tucson educational authorities noticed the irony in their own actions.”

[Read the original piece as it appeared in The Progressive here.]

NYU Press Author Nancy Foner Named to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Distinguished Professor Nancy Foner Named to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Distinguished Professor Nancy Foner Named to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Nancy Foner, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Hunter and the CUNY Graduate Center, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a leading center for independent policy research and one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies. Members of the honorary society contribute to Academy studies of science and technology policy, global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities, and education.

Dr. Foner’s main area of interest is immigration, and she has written widely on immigration to New York City. Particularly interested in the comparative study of immigration, she has studied current immigration to the U.S. as it compares with immigration during earlier periods; the immigrant experience in various American gateway cities; and immigrant minorities in the United States and Europe.

Foner is the author or editor of 14 books and the author of more than 85 articles and book chapters. Her latest book is Across Generations: Immigrant Families in America (New York University Press, 2009).

“It’s a great honor to be elected to the Academy and recognized for my work as an immigration scholar,” said Foner. “It’s especially important now, when immigration is such a crucial issue for this country. And it’s important for Hunter, which is not only a public institution in the quintessential immigrant city–but a college where the vast majority of students are either immigrants themselves or immigrants’ children.”

In 2010 Foner received the Distinguished Career Award from the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association. She is on the editorial board of numerous journals, has testified on immigration issues before several Congressional committees, has been chair of the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association, and is past president of the Society for the Anthropology of Work and of the Society for Urban, National, and Transnational/Global Anthropology.

National Latino Museum: A Fix for Ignorance and Exclusion

From the New York Times Room for Debate Blog: Arlene Davila is a professor of anthropology and American studies at New York University. She is the author of “Latino Spin: Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race” and the forthcoming “Culture Works: Space, Value and Mobility Across the Neoliberal Americas.”

In the current political context it has become a cliché to put down any ethnic specific project as balkanizing and unnecessary. Yet the growing xenophobia and heightened nativist political climate enveloping the immigration debate and Latinos has shown otherwise.

At the core, current debates manifest the vast ignorance of Latinos’ history in the American mainstream, and their consistent representation as newcomers and foreigners, rather than as a central component of American history and culture. In this context, the debates over whether a National Museum of the American Latino will be built and in what fashion will undoubtedly reflect larger debates over the past, present and future of Latinos in America. Continue reading

Podcast: The Challenge of Immigration Reform

Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, co-editor of the forthcoming Educating the Whole Child for the Whole World (NYU Press, Fall 2010), has been right in the middle of the immigration debate. Last week he appeared on Minnesota Public Radio to talk about the challenge of reforming immigration law, and you can download the podcast here. He’s been quoted on the issue several times in the New York Times: here, here, and here.

The Hispanic Crime Rate

An inspired debate at The Nation about the researching and reporting of the Latino crime rate in the United States referenced our author, Ramiro Martinez, and his book, Immigration and Crime.

It’s true that some academic specialists have generally been aware that Latinos didn’t have especially high crime rates (though as far as I know nobody’s previously used Unz’s particular methodologies to make the point directly and quantitatively). Even the volume of academic literature seems extremely scant, relative to the magnitude of the subject involved. Over the last decade, there have been a couple of books by Ramiro Martinez dealing with the subject, and a relatively small number of journal articles, few of which are very direct or explicit. But there’s a huge difference between academic specialists being generally aware of this, and perhaps occasionally communicating their results to other academic specialists via turgid journal articles and books, and this information getting out to a wider public audience.

The Space Behind Sonia Sotomayor

Lázaro Lima, author of The Latino Body: Crisis Identities in American Literary and Cultural Memory, offers a look at the particular type of racism on the rise with Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

Writing in the New York Times Frank Rich observed not too long that “Gay people… aren’t the surefire scapegoats they once were. Hence the rise of a jucier target: Hispanics. They are the new gays, the foremost political piñata.” Rich’s observation took on literalist meaning this week when Creators Syndicate’s Chip Bok depicted Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor hanging from a rope and strung up like a piñata along with a Mariachi sombrero-wearing President Obama handing out bats to Republican Congressmen.

Recall, for example, how the “lynching” that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said he indignantly “suffered” when Anita Hill accused him of sexual harassment during his confirmation hearings years ago drew ire for obvious though ironic reasons. After all, the conservative Thomas, who wouldn’t have been able to marry his Anglo American wife in the state of Virginia, where he lived, until Loving vs. Virginia (1968) made it legal for Blacks to marry whites, used the proverbial race card when all through his career he had eschewed the “racisim” inherent to affirmative action policies that, for him, discriminated against whites. So suddenly, from his race-free worldview, he was being lynched by, not inconsequentially, a black woman.

Fast-forward to our present and now Sotomayor, of Puerto Rican descent, and hanging, ahem, presumably from a tree, is a stand-in for all Latinos in the U.S. as a recent cover of Time Magazine suggested. Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens by birth, are somehow like Mariachi-sombrero wearing and presumably piñata loving Mexicans in the public imagination though the they are routinely discriminated against with a fervor and hate that makes politicians spend billions on paper-walls to keep “them” out though they’ve been “in” the U.S. for longer than current political and historical memory can account for. Political piñatas indeed. And thus the problem with representative personhood for “Latinos” as it is understood in the public imagination.
Continue reading