Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism

David A. Hollinger, Author
David A. Hollinger, Author Basic Books $22 (224p) ISBN 978-0-465-05991-1
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-465-05992-8
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Defenders of cultural diversity must move beyond multiculturalism, avows UC Berkeley historian Hollinger in this thoughtful, challenging but mainly theoretical essay. He posits a ``postethnic'' perspective that emphasizes civic nationalism and builds on the strain of multiculturalism that favors voluntary affiliations over fixed identities. He tartly critiques the assumptions in the ``ethno-racial pentagon''--the five ethnic categories provided on most official forms--arguing that they are no proxy for diverse cultures and histories. Hollinger fears that some multiculturalists too easily disparage nationalist ``cultural adhesives'' such as E.D. Hirsch's ``cultural literacy'' project and suggests that common ground is needed to heal our nation. Thus he warns that if we don't ameliorate poverty, we will foster ``ethno-racial particularism.'' Still, he could have said more about how his ideas might play out in such applications as educational policy. (July)
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