Cover image for Postethnic America : beyond multiculturalism
Postethnic America : beyond multiculturalism
Hollinger, David A.
Personal Author:
[Revised and updated edition].
Publication Information:
[New York, NY] : Basic Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
xii, 264 pages ; 21 cm
Reading Level:
1620 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E184.A1 H64 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Sympathetic with the new ethnic consciousness, Hollinger argues that the conventional liberal toleration of all established ethnic groups no longer works because it leaves unchallenged the prevailing imbalance of power. Yet the multiculturalist alternative does nothing to stop the fragmenting of American society into competing ethnic enclaves, each concerned primarily with its own well-being. Hollinger argues instead for a new cosmopolitanism, an appreciation of multiple identities--new cross-cultural affiliations based not on the biologically given but on consent, on the right to emphasize or diminish the significance of one's ethnoracial affiliation. Postethnic America is a bracing reminder of America's universalist promise as a haven for all peoples. While recognizing the Eurocentric narrowness of that older universalism, Hollinger makes a stirring call for a new nationalism. He urges that a democratic nation-state like ours must help bridge the gap between our common fellowship as human beings and the great variety of ethnic and racial groups represented within the United States.

Author Notes

David A. Hollinger is professor of history at the University of California at Berkely. His other books include Science, Jews, and Secular Culture and In the American Province .

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Chapter I Introductionp. 1
Chapter 2 Haley's Choice and The Ethno-Racial pentagonp. 19
Chapter 3 From Species to Ethnosp. 51
Chapter 4 pluralism, Cosmopolitanism And the Diversification Of Diversityp. 79
Chapter 5 Toward a postethnic perspectivep. 105
Chapter 6 The Ethnos, the Nation The Worldp. 131
Epiloguep. 165
Notesp. 173
Indexp. 199