Amardo Rodríguez. Diversity: Mestizos, Latinos and the Promise of Possibilities. ISBN: 978-0-915745-92-0. $18.95.
This book is about the hope that resides in brown, the color of creation. It defines brown ideologically rather than racially. That is, brown is about peoples who are increasingly defying the borders of ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, and race that limit imagination and possibility through various anxieties, insecurities, and paranoia that make us afraid of the world's ambiguity, mystery, and complexity and, in so doing, make us afraid of our differences. It is about peoples who are of borderlands-conceptual, communicational, relational, communal, theoretical, and cultural spaces, such as Spanglish and Ozomatli, which are devoted to possibility. Thus in a world where too many believe in a coming clash of civilizations and that Latino immigration poses the most serious threat to the prosperity of the U.S., this book introduces and expounds on various theoretical notions that make for new visions of the world and ultimately new ways of being the world.
A must have for progressive intercultural discussions, Diversity explores the conceptual mystery of borderlands identities and provides a backdrop upon which new potential senses of self and their political and social matrices are inscribed. Interrogating the rigidity with which previous ontological templates have treated cultural identity while eschewing the assumptive layers of ethnic and race posturing, Diversity takes to task antiquated constructs of diversity renowned for inviting fear and loathing even in the midst of ever increasing diversification and overly politicized social stratification. While previous assessments of immigration and demographic power loom large on our current cultural landscape, Rodriguez leaves those trappings behind and turns to the potential found in ideological analysis and theoretical projections of a society that celebrates the emergence of difference no matter the consequence. Dr. Curt Gilstrap, Drury University
The greatest contribution of this book is its robust engagement with color beyond categories. Rodriguez provides us with a new racial understanding as he explores ‘brown’ as an ideology that circumvents boundaries. The book is a complex intellectual journey in which we encounter meanings of borderland identity and selfhood that are inherently dialogic thus liberatory. I believe this book is essential for scholars who refuse to be seduced by modernist (even post-modernist) theories of race that over-emphasize categorical imprisonment. Most importantly, on an ontological level, Rodriguez forces us to wrestle with the idea of a boundary as a membrane. Dr. Devika Chawla, Ohio University
Rodriguez continues to re-imagine our definitions of diversity and provides us with newer more complex ways of problematizing difference. His notion of race as something more dynamic than static opens new vistas in the conversations about race in North America. In this regard, The New Mestizas represents a threshold moment in discussions of race and ethnicity. Dr. Jennifer Keane-Dawes, Dean, School of Arts and Humanities, Elizabeth City State University
Amardo Rodriguez (Ph.D., Howard University) is a Professor in the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies at Syracuse University. His research and teaching interests explore the potentiality of emergent conceptions of communication that foreground moral, existential, and spiritual assumptions about the human condition to redefine and enlarge current understandings of democracy, diversity, and community. Publications include articles in International and Intercultural Communication Annual, Journal of Intercultural Communication, Journal of Intergroup Relations, Journal of Religion and Society, Southern Communication Journal, and elsewhere. His books include On Matters of Liberation (I): The Case Against Hierarchy; Diversity as Liberation (II): Introducing a New Understanding of Diversity, and Communication, Space, and Design: The Integral Relation Between Communication and Design. He may be contacted at Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies, 100 Sims Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, 13244-1230. Dr. Rodriguez’s research and teaching interests revolve around three questions: (a) How can communication theory speak better to what being human means? (b) How can communication theory offer new vistas of what being human means? And (c) How can communication theory make for a world with less misery and suffering? He forwards an emergent understanding of communication that foregrounds moral, existential, and spiritual assumptions, and explores the potentiality of this emergent understanding of communication to expand our notions of democracy and community.