Race in Translation

Culture Wars around the Postcolonial Atlantic

383 pages

May, 2012

ISBN: 9780814798379



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Robert Stam is University Professor at New York University. Among his many publications are Literature through Film: Realism, Magic, and the Art of Adaptation (2004); Film Theory: An Introduction (2000); Francois Truffaut and Friends (2006); Tropical Multiculturalism: A Comparative History of Race in Brazilian Cinema and Culture (1997); and Subversive Pleasures: Bakhtin, Cultural Criticism, and Film (1989).

All books by Robert Stam

Ella Shohat is Professor of Cultural Studies at New York University. Among her many publications are Taboo Memories, Diasporic Voices (2006); Talking Visions: Multicultural Feminism in a Transnational Age (1998); Israeli Cinema: East/West and the Politics of Representation (1989; New Edition 2010); and Le sionisme du point de vue de ses victimes juives: les juifs orientaux en Israel (Paris, 1988; 2006).

Together, Shohat/Stam coauthored Unthinking Eurocentrism (1994); Flagging Patriotism: Crises of Narcissism and Anti-Americanism (2007); and co-edited Multiculturalism, Postcoloniality, and Transnational Media (2000).

All books by Ella Shohat

While the term “culture wars” often designates the heated arguments in the English-speaking world spiraling around race, the canon, and affirmative action, in fact these discussions have raged in diverse sites and languages. Race in Translation charts the transatlantic traffic of the debates within and between three zones—the U.S., France, and Brazil. Stam and Shohat trace the literal and figurative translation of these multidirectional intellectual debates, seen most recently in the emergence of postcolonial studies in France, and whiteness studies in Brazil. The authors also interrogate an ironic convergence whereby rightist politicians like Sarkozy and Cameron join hands with some leftist intellectuals like Benn Michaels, Žižek, and Bourdieu in condemning “multiculturalism” and “identity politics.” At once a report from various “fronts” in the culture wars, a mapping of the germane literatures, and an argument about methods of reading the cross-border movement of ideas, the book constitutes a major contribution to our understanding of the Diasporic and the Transnational.


  • Race in Translation is a masterpiece, an extraordinarily bold and brilliant book rich with erudition and insight. The imaginative and in-depth analyses of intercultural conflicts and coalescences offer original and generative answers to the most important questions haunting contemporary scholarship and civic life.”

    —George Lipsitz, author of How Racism Takes Place

  • "A deeply researched, provocative synthesis of the ways in which race has been conceptualized in Brazil, United States and France. Arguing that ‘All nations are transnations,’ the authors explore the ‘Red,’ ‘Black’ and ‘White’ Atlantic, tracking the circulation of ideas and their translation. In doing so, they critically address both the rightist and leftist blindness to race. This is a balanced, thoughtful and clearly written work that should be used widely in university classrooms."

    —Francoise Verges, Goldsmiths College, London

  • “This transnational analysis makes Race in Translation an eye-opening, paradigm-shifting resource for numerous fields…Stam and Shohat offer a rich, triangular and new transatlantic framework linking national spaces too often analyzed in isolation.  This marco-level endeavor arches over a wide array of exciting, insightful analyses that draw unexpected connections and open new pathways for future research.”