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History, Ethnography, Theory
Charles Stewart (Editor)
276 pp. / 6.00 x 9.00 / Mar, 2007
Paperback (978-1-59874-279-4)
Hardback (978-1-59874-278-7)
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Related Interest
  - Anthropology
  - Ethnic Studies
  - History
  - Latin American Studies
  - Sociology

Social scientists have used the term "Creolization" to evoke cultural fusion and the emergence of new cultures across the globe. However, the term has been under-theorized and tends to be used as a
"Creolization joins a growing and motley shelf of books on the subject. Though, like all such collections, it is of mixed quality, it should be one of the handful that students who are trying to get a handle on this over-used concept consult in the future."

- Richard Price, Slavery and Abolition

"Its twelve essays bring compelling evidence for the cross-cultural and diachronic trajectories of "creole," "creolization," and "mestiçagem," as well as the cultural politics that have transformed their significance within nationalistic, artistic, and academic projects. Seeking to probe the analytical (rather than merely descriptive) usefulness of these concepts (as "models of" reality and "models for" shaping reality), the book offers a set of interdisciplinary voices that problematize their theoretical applicability and shortcomings...the intellectual tour de force of this exceptional volume will surely feed the next round of interdisciplinary discussions about creolization. "

- Raquel Romberg, New West Indian Guide

" This volume uniquely brings together the different stances on creolization, providing a much-needed critical encounter between anthropological theory and the history of the term. The authors boldly address the different applications of the term across imperial geographies, linguistic boundaries, and contemporary reconfigurations.... Taken as a whole the volume presents creolization unbound through distinct histories of colonialism, displacement, and migration across Mexico, Reunion Island, Mauritius, Cape Verde, Brazil, Japan, Trinidad, and North America. "

- American Anthropologist

"This is a rich, if not comprehensive, collection of useful essays…All in all, this is an invaluable, informative, and thought-provoking book that I will certainly include in my reading list next time I teach my course on the Development of Creole Vernaculars and Cultures, especially to highlight the ways anthropologists, linguists, and other scholars have co-opted the terms creole, creolized, and creolization, often for theorizing that is at odds with what history suggests."

- Salikoko S. Mufwene, Journal of Anthropological Research

"Taken together, the essays in this volume advance discourse on creolization and processes of culture change. As discussed by Stewart in the introduction, "'creole' and 'creolization' have meant lots of different things at different times" (p. 5). However, as the scholars in this book illustrate, there are important shared characteristics of New World creolization which continue to intrigue researchers. The questions -- and answers -- of both process and identity posed by these authors are relevant to all scholars researching the African Diaspora."

- Holly Norton, African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter

"This work is most unique in its interdisciplinary connections...and its geographical scope as it expands our sense of creolization beyond the Caribbean basin....[W]hen does a theory become overdetermined? Aisha Khan believes that this occurred for creolization when its role as a model that describes historical processes of cultural change and contact became conflated with the model that interprets them (238). By instigating the reversal of this particular instance of overdetermination, this valuable collection both recovers the power of this crucial term and clears theoretical and rhetorical space for new research and forms of knowledge. "

- Postmodern Culture

"In recent years the term 'creolization' has been much evoked but little studied. This fine set of essays--crossing the fields of anthropology, history, linguistics, and cultural studies--offers the first systematic effort to historicize the term 'creolization' and the processes it names, as well as assessing the term's usefulness for contemporary cultural theory. Readers will find vigorous debate between the participating authors, who by no means adhere to a single editorial line, allowing their differences of approach and emphasis to illuminate just what is at stake. In sum, this is a really valuable collection of essays, sure to become the first reference point for discussion of creolization."

- Peter Hulme, University of Essex

"At last, a brave collection of essays on creolization. Framed by a skillful, remarkably even-handed introduction, the volume addresses the rich and controversial histories of the construct, and pushes valiantly to disentangle it from related terms, often used as synonyms, such as hybridity, globalization, transnationalism and transculturation. Best of all, the volume seeks out an exciting array of critical voices, both recent and long-standing, in its presentation of debates about cultural and linguistic mixture. It is sure to become a touch-stone work on these thorny but urgent subjects in anthropology, history, sociology, linguistics, comparative literature and cultural studies, as well as in the many vaster conversations now taking place across disciplines."

- Janet Hart, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

"As we try to grasp the organization of human diversity, globally as well as in varied regional contexts, creole concepts have been good to think with - in different and sometimes conflicting directions. Read this book, and you will have a very clear idea of the perspectives and the controversies!"

- Ulf Hannerz, Stockholm University

"This innovative volume constitutes a major contribution to the on-going debates around the meaning of creolization. Bringing together contributions by scholars in anthropology, history, linguistics and literary theory, it provides both new empirical studies and fresh theoretical insights on some of the most pressing questions of identity facing us today."

- Megan Vaughan, Cambridge University

simple synonym for "mixture" or "hybridity." In this volume, by contrast, renowned scholars give the term historical and theoretical specificity by examining the very different domains and circumstances in which the process takes place. Elucidating the concept in this way not only uncovers a remarkable history, it also re-opens the term for new theoretical use. It illuminates an ill-understood idea, explores how the term has operated and signified in different disciplines, times, and places, and indicates new areas of study for a dynamic and fascinating process.

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