Standing over two graves, Rigoberto González studies the names “Ramon” and “María” under the family name “González.” “She was María Carrillo, not María González,” he thinks. His grandmother is missing. So begins González’s memoir, a journey to recover a more complete picture of his grandmother, who raised him following his mother’s death.
González travels to his abuela’s birthplace, Michoacán, Mexico, and along the way recovers his memories of a past he had tried to leave behind. A complex woman who was forced to take on maternal roles and suffered years of abuse, his grandmother simultaneously resisted traditional gender roles; she was kind yet unaffectionate, and she kept many secrets in a crowded household with little personal space. Sifting through family histories and anecdotes, González pieces together the puzzling life story of a woman who was present in her grandson’s life yet absent during his emotional journey as a young man discovering his sexuality and planning his escape from a toxic and abusive environment.
From fragments of memory and story, González ultimately creates a portrait of an unconventional yet memorable grandmother, a hard-working Indigenous Mexican woman who remained an enigma while she was alive. A grandmother, he shows, is more than what her descendants remember; she is also all that has been forgotten or never known. Through this candid exploration of his own family, González explores how we learn to remember and honor those we’ve lost.
Academic Motherhood tells the story of over one hundred women who are both professors and mothers and examines how they navigated their professional lives at different career stages. Kelly Ward and Lisa Wolf-Wendel base their findings on a longitudinal study that asks how women faculty on the tenure track manage work and family in their early careers (pre-tenure) when their children are young (under the age of five), and then again in mid-career (post-tenure) when their children are older. The women studied work in a range of institutional settings—research universities, comprehensive universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges—and in a variety of disciplines, including the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences.
Much of the existing literature on balancing work and family presents a pessimistic view and offers cautionary tales of what to avoid and how to avoid it. In contrast, the goal of Academic Motherhood is to help tenure track faculty and the institutions at which they are employed “make it work.” Writing for administrators, prospective and current faculty as well as scholars, Ward and Wolf-Wendel bring an element of hope and optimism to the topic of work and family in academe. They provide insight and policy recommendations that support faculty with children and offer mechanisms for problem-solving at personal, departmental, institutional, and national levels.
In this honest and tender collection of essays, award-winning memoirist Michele Weldon asks what it means to be a mature woman seeking a life of purpose and meaning through work, family, and relationships. Facing ageism and invisibility within popular culture, Weldon examines the effects of raising children, striving for applause, failing expectations, forming new friendships, reconciling lost dreams, and restoring one’s faith. With sincerity and humor, she unwraps family traditions, painting classes, lap swimming, dress codes, and career disappointments. She addresses white privilege and her evolving understanding of racism. And she asks crucial questions about mortality, finding connection in writing and stories.
Frank, eloquent, and daring, Weldon dissects the intricacies of life, journeying toward self-discovery as a mother, daughter, sister, and friend. Readers of any age or gender will recognize the universal experience of learning to accept oneself and asking essential questions—even if there are no easy answers.
The Aesthetics of Kinship intervenes critically into rigidified discourses about the emergence of the nuclear family and the corresponding interior subject in the eighteenth century. By focusing on kinship constellations instead of “family plots” in seminal literary works of the period, this book presents an alternative view of the eighteenth-century literary social world and its concomitant ideologies. Whereas Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophy and political theory posit the nuclear family as a microcosm for the ideal modern nation-state, literature of the period offers a far more heterogeneous image of kinship structures, one that includes members of various classes and is not defined by blood. Through a radical re-reading of the multifarious kinship structures represented in literature of the long eighteenth century, The Aesthetics of Kinship questions the inevitability of the dialectic of the Enlightenment and invokes alternative futures for conceptions of social and political life.
Western political philosophers since Plato have used the family as a model for harmonious political and social relations. Yet, far from being an uncontentious domain for shared interests and common values, the family is often the scene of intense interpersonal conflict and disagreement. In All in the Family, the political theorist Kennan Ferguson reconsiders the family, in its varied forms, as an exemplar of democratic politics and suggests how real rather than idealized family dynamics can help us to better understand and navigate political conflict.
By closely observing the attachments that arise in families despite profound disagreements and incommensurabilities, Ferguson argues, we can imagine a political engagement that accommodates radical differences without sacrificing community. After examining how the concept of the family has been deployed and misused in political philosophy, Ferguson turns to the ways in which families actually operate: the macropolitical significance of family coping strategies such as silence and the impact that disability and caregiving have on conceptions of spatiality, sameness, and disparity. He also considers the emotional attachment between humans and their pets as an acknowledgment that compassion and community can exist even under conditions of profound difference.
Shortly after his mother dies of breast cancer when he is ten years old, Michael Blumenthal discovers that she was not his biological mother, and that his aunt and uncle, immigrant chicken farmers living in Vineland, New Jersey, are really his parents.
As fate would have it, his adoptive father, a German-Jewish refugee raised by a loveless and embittered stepmother after his own mother died in childbirth, has inflicted on his stepson a fate uncannily—and terrifyingly—similar to his own: Having first adopted Michael, in part, to help his dying wife, he then imposes on him the same sort of penurious and loveless stepmother whom he himself had had to survive. With these revelations, the "mysteries" that seem to have permeated Michael's childhood are laid bare, triggering a quest for belonging that will infiltrate the author's entire adult life.
Forgotten today, established Black communities once existed in the alleyways of Washington, D.C., even in neighborhoods as familiar as Capitol Hill and Foggy Bottom. James Borchert's study delves into the lives and folkways of the largely alley dwellers and how their communities changed from before the Civil War, to the late 1890s era when almost 20,000 people lived in alley houses, to the effects of reform and gentrification in the mid-twentieth century.
Deeply rooted in respect and compassion for Appalachia and its people, these poems are both paeans to and dirges for past and present family, farmlands, factories, and coal.
Kari Gunter-Seymour’s second full-length collection resounds with candid, lyrical poems about Appalachia’s social and geographical afflictions and affirmations. History, culture, and community shape the physical and personal landscapes of Gunter-Seymour’s native southeastern Ohio soil, scarred by Big Coal and fracking, while food insecurity and Big Pharma leave their marks on the region’s people. A musicality of language swaddles each poem in hope and a determination to endure. Alone in the House of My Heart offers what only art can: a series of thought-provoking images that evoke such a clear sense of place that it’s familiar to anyone, regardless of where they call home.
When a loved one dies we mourn our loss. We take comfort in the rituals that mark the passing, and we turn to those around us for support. But what happens when there is no closure, when a family member or a friend who may be still alive is lost to us nonetheless? How, for example, does the mother whose soldier son is missing in action, or the family of an Alzheimer's patient who is suffering from severe dementia, deal with the uncertainty surrounding this kind of loss?
In this sensitive and lucid account, Pauline Boss explains that, all too often, those confronted with such ambiguous loss fluctuate between hope and hopelessness. Suffered too long, these emotions can deaden feeling and make it impossible for people to move on with their lives. Yet the central message of this book is that they can move on. Drawing on her research and clinical experience, Boss suggests strategies that can cushion the pain and help families come to terms with their grief. Her work features the heartening narratives of those who cope with ambiguous loss and manage to leave their sadness behind, including those who have lost family members to divorce, immigration, adoption, chronic mental illness, and brain injury. With its message of hope, this eloquent book offers guidance and understanding to those struggling to regain their lives.
The first in-depth look at this pioneering "reality TV" documentary.
Before 1973, the Loud family of Santa Barbara, California, lived in the privacy of their own home. With the airing of the documentary An American Family, that "privacy" extended to every American home that had a television in it-and there was no going back to the happy land of Beaver, Donna Reed, and Father Knows Best. This book is the first to offer a close, sustained look at An American Family-the documentary that blurred conventions, stirred passions among viewers and reviewers, revised impressions of family life and definitions of private and public, and began the breakdown of distinctions between reality and spectacle that culminated in cultural phenomena from The Oprah Winfrey Show to Survivor.
While placing Craig Gilbert's innovative series in the context of 1970s nonfiction film and television, Jeffrey Ruoff tells the story behind An American Family from conception to broadcast, from reception to long-term impact. He reintroduces us to the Louds as intimate details of their daily lives, from one child's dance recital to another's gay lifestyle to the parents' divorce proceedings, unfold first before the camera and then before American viewers, challenging audiences to think seriously about family, marital relations, sexuality, affluence, and the American dream. In the documentary's immediate impact-on both producers and viewers of media-Ruoff uncovers the roots of new nonfiction forms including confessional talk shows like Oprah, first-person documentary films like Ross McElwee's acclaimed Sherman's March, and reality TV programs such as The Real World, Survivor, and Big Brother.
A comprehensive production and reception study, Ruoff's work restores An American Family to its rightful, pioneering place in the history of American television.
Jeffrey Ruoff is a film historian, documentary filmmaker, and assistant professor of film and television studies at Dartmouth College. He is co-author (with Kenneth Ruoff) of The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (1998).
American Kinship is the first attempt to deal systematically with kinship as a system of symbols and meanings, and not simply as a network of functionally interrelated familial roles. Schneider argues that the study of a highly differentiated society such as our own may be more revealing of the nature of kinship than the study of anthropologically more familiar, but less differentiated societies. He goes to the heart of the ideology of relations among relatives in America by locating the underlying features of the definition of kinship—nature vs. law, substance vs. code. One of the most significant features of American Kinship, then, is the explicit development of a theory of culture on which the analysis is based, a theory that has since proved valuable in the analysis of other cultures. For this Phoenix edition, Schneider has written a substantial new chapter, responding to his critics and recounting the charges in his thought since the book was first published in 1968.
America's Children offers a valuable overview of the dramatic transformations in American childhood over the past fifty years, a period of historic shifts that reduced the human and material resources available to our children. Alarmingly, one fifth of all U.S. children now grow up in poverty, many are without health insurance, and about 30 percent never graduate from high school. Despite such conditions, economic, family, and educational programs for children earn low national priority and must depend on inconsistent state and local management. Drawing upon both historical and recent data, including census information from 1940 to 1980, Donald J. Hernandez provides a vivid portrait of children in America and puts forth a forceful case for overhauling our national child welfare policies. Hernandez shows how important revolutions in household composition and income, parental education and employment, childcare, and levels of poverty have affected children's well-being. As working wives and single mothers increasingly replace the traditional homemaker, children spend greater portions of time in educational and daycare facilities outside the home, and those with single mothers stand the greatest chance of being welfare dependent. Wider changes in society have created even greater stress for children in certain groups as they age: out-of-wedlock births are on the rise for white teenagers, half of all Hispanic youths never graduate high school, and violence accounts for nearly 90 per cent of all black teenage deaths. America's Children explores the interaction of many trends in children's lives and the fundamental social, demographic, and economic processes that lie at their core. The book concludes with a thoughtful analysis of the ability of families and government to provide for a new age of children, with emphasis on reducing racial inequities and providing greater public support for families, comparable to the family policies of other developed countries. As the traditional "Ozzie and Harriet" family recedes into collective memory, the importance of creating strong national policies for children is amplified, particularly in the areas of financial assistance, health insurance, education, and daycare. America's Children provides a compelling guide for reassessing the forces that shape our children and the resources available to safeguard their future. "In this conceptually creative, methodologically rigorous, and empirically rich book, Hernandez uses census and survey data to describe several quite profound changes that have characterized the life courses of America's children and their families over the last 50 to 150 years....this erudite book is destined to be a classic." —Richard M. Lerner, Contemporary Psychology "America's Children goes a long way toward informing the debate on the causes of increasing poverty, and it challenges some widely held misperceptions....its study of resources available to children (and their families) lays a valuable foundation for surveying trends in family structure, education, and income sources....Anyone interested in the changing lives of children should read it; anyone interested in understanding the causes and patterns of poverty, and in designing a better welfare system, must read it." —Ellen B. Magenheim, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series
In the preface to her memoir, Ercenia "Alice" Cedeño recalls the secrecy and turmoil that marked her youth: "I spent most of my growing years mad at my mother and wanting her to change to fit in with the rest of the world," she writes. "When my sisters and I wanted her to visit our friends' mothers, she would say, 'Why do people need to know other peoples' lives?' Looking back, I wonder if she was really saying, 'I don't want them to know our business.' There was so much to hide."
Now bringing those hidden memories to light, Amá, Your Story Is Mine traces the hardship, violence, deceit, and defiance that shaped the identity of two generations of women in Alice's family. Born in the mountains of northern Mexico, Alice's mother married at age 14 into a family rife with passion that often turned to anger. After losing several infant children to disease, the young couple crossed into the United States seeking a better life.
Unfolding in a series of powerful vignettes, Amá, Your Story Is Mine describes in captivating detail a daring matriarch who found herself having to protect her children from their own father while facing the challenges of cultural discrimination. By turns wry and tender, Alice's recollections offer a rare memoir that fully encompasses the Latina experience in the United States.
Winner of the Philippine National Book Award, this pioneering volume reveals how the power of the country’s family-based oligarchy both derives from and contributes to a weak Philippine state. From provincial warlords to modern managers, prominent Filipino leaders have fused family, politics, and business to compromise public institutions and amass private wealth—a historic pattern that persists to the present day.
Edited by Alfred W. McCoy, An Anarchy of Families explores the pervasive influence of the modern dynasties that have led the Philippines during the past century. Exemplified by the Osmeñas and Lopezes, elite Filipino families have formed a powerful oligarchy—controlling capital, dominating national politics, and often owning the media. Beyond Manila, strong men such as Ramon Durano, Ali Dimaporo, and Justiniano Montano have used “guns, goons, and gold” to accumulate wealth and power in far-flung islands and provinces. In a new preface for this revised edition, the editor shows how this pattern of oligarchic control has continued into the twenty-first century, despite dramatic socio-economic change that has supplanted the classic “three g’s” of Philippine politics with the contemporary “four c’s”—continuity, Chinese, criminality, and celebrity.
Rescuing the premodern family from the grim picture many historians have given us of life in early Europe, Ancestors offers a major reassessment of a crucial aspect of European history--and tells a story of age-old domesticity inextricably linked, and surprisingly similar, to our own.
An elegant summa on family life in Europe past, this compact and powerful book extends and completes a project begun with Steven Ozment's When Fathers Ruled: Family Life in Reformation Europe (Harvard). Here Ozment, the leading historian of the family in the middle centuries, replaces the often miserable depiction of premodern family relations with a delicately nuanced portrait of a vibrant and loving social group. Mining the records of families' private lives--from diaries and letters to fiction and woodcuts--Ozment shows us a preindustrial family not very different from the later family of high industry that is generally viewed as the precursor to the sentimental nuclear family of today.
In Ancestors, we see the familiar pattern of a domestic wife and working father in a home in which spousal and parental love were amply present: parents cherished their children, wives were helpmeets in providing for the family, and the genders were nearly equal. Contrary to the abstractions of history, parents then--as now--were sensitive to the emotional and psychological needs of their children, treated them with affection, and gave them a secure early life and caring preparation for adulthood.
As it recasts familial history, Ancestors resonates beyond its time, revealing how much the story of the premodern family has to say to a modern society that finds itself in the throes of a family crisis.
Though he has spent half of his life elsewhere, Gregory Orfalea has remained obsessed with Los Angeles. That “brutal, beautiful city along the Pacific sea” shaped him and led to a series of essays originally published in the Los Angeles Times Magazine. These deeply moving pieces are gathered here together for the first time.
Populated with fascinating characters—the Angelenos of Orfalea’s life—these essays tell the story of the author’s trials. He returns to Los Angeles to teach, trying to reconcile the LA of his childhood with the city he now faces. He takes on progressively more difficult and painful subjects, finally confronting the memories of the shocking tragedy that took the lives of his father and sister.
With more than 400,000 Arab Americans in Los Angeles—probably surpassing Detroit as the largest contingent in America—Orfalea also explores his own community and its political and social concerns. He agonizes over another destruction of Lebanon and examines in searing detail a massacre of civilians in Iraq.
Angeleno Days takes the memoir and personal essay to rare heights. Orfalea is a deeply human writer who reveals not only what it means to be human in America now, but also what it will take to remain human in the days to come. These essays soar, confound, reveal, and strike at our senses and sensibilities, forcing us to think and feel in new ways.
A vivid archive of memories, Beth Alvarado’s Anthropologies layers scenes, portraits, dreams, and narratives in a dynamic cross-cultural mosaic. Bringing her lyrical tenor to bear on stories as diverse as harboring teen runaways, gunfights with federales, and improbable love, Alvarado unveils the ways in which seemingly separate moments coalesce to forge a communal truth. Woven from the threads of distinct family histories and ethnic identities, Anthropologies creates a heightened understanding of how individual experiences are part of a larger shared fabric of lives.
Like the opening of a series of doors, each turn of the page reveals some new reality and the memories that emerge from it. Open one door and you are transported to a modest Colorado town in 1966, appraising animal tracks edged into a crust of snow while listening to stories of Saipan. Open another and you are lounging in a lush Michoacán hacienda, or in another, the year is 1927 and you are standing on a porch in Tucson, watching La Llorona turn a corner.
With vivid imagery and a poetic sensibility, Anthropologies reenacts the process of remembering and so evokes a compelling narrative. Each snapshot provides a glimpse into the past, illuminating the ways in which memory and history are intertwined. Whether the experience is of her own drug use or that of a great-great-grandmother’s trek across the Great Plains with Brigham Young, Alvarado’s insight into the binding nature of memory illuminates a new way of understanding our place within families, generations, and cultures.
Barrie Jean Borich The Ohio State University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PS3552.O7529A66 2018 | Dewey Decimal 818.5403
From award-winning author Barrie Jean Borich comes Apocalypse, Darling, a narrative, lyric exploration of the clash between old and new. Set in the steel mill regions of Chicago and in Northwest Indiana, the story centers on Borich’s return to a decimated landscape for a misbegotten wedding in which her spouse’s father marries his high school sweetheart. The book is a lilting journey into an ill-fated moment, where families attempt to find communion in tense gathering spaces and across their most formative disappointments. Borich tells the story of the industrial heartland that produced the steel that made American cities, but also one of the most toxic environmental sites in the world.
As concise as a poem and as sweeping as an epic novel, Apocalypse, Darling explores the intersection of American traditional and self-invented social identities and the destruction and re-greening of industrial cityscapes. Borich asks: can toxic landscapes actually be remediated and can patriarchal fathers ever really be forgiven? In a political climate where Borich is forced to daily re-enter the toxic wastelands she thought she’d long left behind, Apocalypse, Darling is an urgent collision of broken spaces, dysfunctional affections, and the reach toward familial and environmental repair.
At Home with André and Simone Weil
Sylvie Weil, translated from the French by Benjamin Ivry Northwestern University Press, 2010 Library of Congress PQ2683.E3463Z4613 2010 | Dewey Decimal 843.914
“It is quite incorrect to believe that the dead are gone forever and never return to speak to the living. They return to speak to the living all the time; indeed, it is their main activity.” Thus writes Sylvie Weil in this illuminating memoir, in which contemporary readers can hear the voices of her famed philosopher aunt Simone and mathematician father André.
Born into a freethinking Jewish family in France in 1909, Simone Weil was one of the twentieth century’s most original philosophers, influencing Albert Camus, T. S. Eliot, Simone de Beauvoir, Pope John XXIII, Czesław Miłosz, and Susan Sontag. She fought for workers’ rights and, later, the Spanish Republican cause. Before her death at age thirty-four, Simone Weil turned increasingly to mysticism and religion, especially Roman Catholicism, exploring themes of sacrifice, asceticism, and the virtues of manual labor. She never converted, however, and Sylvie Weil writes from a Jewish perspective, emphasizing Simone’s Jewish heritage.
Using previously unpublished family correspondence and conversations, Sylvie Weil paints the most vivid, private portrait of her aunt in print. The book illuminates Simone’s relationship with others, especially with her brother, André. Loving and unsparing, affectionate and incisive, At Home with André and Simone Weil is an insightful memoir about a family of intellectual luminaries.
At the Heart of Work and Family presents original research on work and family by scholars who engage and build on the conceptual framework developed by well-known sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild. These concepts, such as "the second shift," "the economy of gratitude," "emotion work," "feeling rules," "gender strategies," and "the time bind," are basic to sociology and have shaped both popular discussions and academic study. The common thread in these essays covering the gender division of housework, childcare networks, families in the global economy, and children of consumers is the incorporation of emotion, feelings, and meaning into the study of working families. These examinations, like Hochschild's own work, connect micro-level interaction to larger social and economic forces and illustrate the continued relevance of linking economic relations to emotional ones for understanding contemporary work-family life.
In this absorbing account of life with the great atomic scientist Enrico Fermi, Laura Fermi tells the story of their emigration to the United States in the 1930s—part of the widespread movement of scientists from Europe to the New World that was so important to the development of the first atomic bomb. Combining intellectual biography and social history, Laura Fermi traces her husband's career from his childhood, when he taught himself physics, through his rise in the Italian university system concurrent with the rise of fascism, to his receipt of the Nobel Prize, which offered a perfect opportunity to flee the country without arousing official suspicion, and his odyssey to the United States.
Yerra Sugarman Four Way Books, 2022 Library of Congress PR9199.4.S84A85 2022 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Aunt Bird is an astonishing, hybrid poetry of witness that observes and testifies to social, political, and historical realities through the recovery of one life silenced by the past. Within these pages, poet Yerra Sugarman confronts the Holocaust as it was experienced by a young Jewish woman: the author’s twenty-three-year-old aunt, Feiga Maler, whom Sugarman never knew, and who died in the Kraków Ghetto in German-occupied Poland in 1942. In lyric poems, prose poems, and lyric essays, Aunt Bird combines documentary poetics with surrealism: sourcing from the testimonials of her kin who survived, as well as official Nazi documents about Feiga Maler, these poems imagine Sugarman’s relationship with her deceased aunt and thus recreate her life. Braiding speculation, primary sources, and the cultural knowledge-base of postmemory, Aunt Bird seeks what Eavan Boland calls “a habitable grief,” elegizing the particular loss of one woman while honoring who Feiga was, or might have been, and recognizing the time we have now.