Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars

Paperback | May 1, 1993

byHenry Louis GatesAs told byHenry Louis Gates

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Multiculturalism. It has been the subject of cover stories in Time and Newsweek, as well as numerous articles in newspapers and magazines around America. It has sparked heated jeremiads by George Will, Dinesh D'Sousa, and Roger Kimball. It moved William F. Buckley to rail against Stanley Fishand Catherine Stimpson on "Firing Line." It is arguably the most hotly debated topic in America today--and justly so. For whether one speaks of tensions between Hasidim and African-Americans in Crown Heights, or violent mass protests against Moscow in ethnic republics such as Armenia, or outrightwar between Serbs and Bosnians in the former Yugoslavia, it is clear that the clash of cultures is a worldwide problem, deeply felt, passionately expressed, always on the verge of violent explosion. Problems of this magnitude inevitably frame the discussion of "multiculturalism" and "culturaldiversity" in the American classroom as well. In Loose Canons, one of America's leading literary and cultural critics, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., offers a broad, illuminating look at this highly contentious issue. Gates agrees that our world is deeply divided by nationalism, racism, and sexism, and argues that the only way to transcendthese divisions--to forge a civic culture that respects both differences and similarities--is through education that respects both the diversity and commonalities of human culture. His is a plea for cultural and intercultural understanding. (You can't understand the world, he observes, if youexclude 90 percent of the world's cultural heritage.) We feel his ideas most strongly voiced in the concluding essay in the volume, "Trading on the Margin." Avoiding the stridency of both the Right and the Left, Gates concludes that the society we have made simply won't survive without the values oftolerance, and cultural tolerance comes to nothing without cultural understanding. Henry Louis Gates is one of the most visible and outspoken figures on the academic scene, the subject of a cover story in The New York Times Sunday Magazine and a major profile in The Boston Globe, and a much sought-after commentator. And as one of America's foremost advocates ofAfrican-American Studies (he is head of the department at Harvard), he has reflected upon the varied meanings of multiculturalism throughout his professional career, long before it became a national controversy. What we find in these pages, then, is the fruit of years of reflection on culture,racism, and the "American identity," and a deep commitment to broadening the literary and cultural horizons of all Americans.

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From Our Editors

Multiculturalism has been the subject of cover stories in Time and Newsweek and other newspapers and magazines around America. A leading literary and cultural critic, Gates says that the society we have made simply won't survive without the values of tolerance, and cultural tolerance comes to nothing without cultural understanding

From the Publisher

Multiculturalism. It has been the subject of cover stories in Time and Newsweek, as well as numerous articles in newspapers and magazines around America. It has sparked heated jeremiads by George Will, Dinesh D'Sousa, and Roger Kimball. It moved William F. Buckley to rail against Stanley Fishand Catherine Stimpson on "Firing Line." It ...

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is Chairman of the Afro-American Studies Department and W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. He is the author of The Signifying Monkey, Figures in Black, and Colored People; general editor of The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth Century Black Women Writers; and general editor of The ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 7.99 × 5.31 × 0.43 inPublished:May 1, 1993Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195083504

ISBN - 13:9780195083507

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From Our Editors

Multiculturalism has been the subject of cover stories in Time and Newsweek and other newspapers and magazines around America. A leading literary and cultural critic, Gates says that the society we have made simply won't survive without the values of tolerance, and cultural tolerance comes to nothing without cultural understanding

Editorial Reviews

"Gates...has brio, deep learning, and wit....He is also a gift to his readers and a rarity in contemporary critical circles."--Commonweal