Stephen Karlson (shkarlson) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Stephen Karlson

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Among the books in the departmental housecleaning stack (anyone with any experience around a university knows about departmental housecleaning stacks) was the seventh edition of Paula S. Rothenberg's Race, Class, and Gender in the United States, and once Book Review No. 24 is done, it goes back to the housecleaning stacks.  It's an anthology, and the only apparent organizing theme is that some people lead pretty miserable lives, and that misery is due in some part to circumstances beyond those people's control, which the compiler would like readers to believe can be summarized as the multiple oppressions of race, class and gender.  But if you'd like to find an antidote to the poverty of cultural studies, such as, oh, a coherent logical framework, keep looking.  You get the usual language about intersecting modes of oppression, but you also get essays in Comparative Victimization in which the tussles between gang-bangers of Latin American extraction and gang-bangers of African or Asian extraction suggest there is no one model of marginalization.  That is, once one rules out "deficient life-management skills", something that an extract from William Ryan's Blaming the Victim rules out.  Never mind that the toddler enters pre-school or kindergarten deficient in reading and calculating skills, and the pre-school corrects that.  Never mind that according to Allan Bloom, the freshman enters college uncivilized, and the opening of the American Mind corrects that.  And you get Holly Sklar's extended meditation on see that big house, see that small house, but no basis for doing anything other than commiserating.  (I found this post that suggests where to go from that information.)

The book is now available in an eighth edition, priced around $60.  Can you say third-party payments?  The customer reviews there say more about the book than I have.

(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)
Tags: academic, awful!, cultural studies

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