Ethnicity & Identity Within the Four-Room House

Ethnicity & Identity Within the Four-Room House

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The process of determining ethnicity is a problematic venture, even more so when interpreted through the archaeological record. Despite this issue, evidence, such as the four-room house, has been preserved that can be interpreted to represent ethnic markers and help illuminate the lives of individuals and groups from the past. Following the theoretical perspective of Fredrik Barth, ethnicity is understood to be a malleable and self-ascribed phenomenon within a particular group. In light of this, the artifacts found within the archaeological record have the ability to illustrate how a particular group identified itself and how it perpetuated this identity. I propose to demonstrate this act of self-ascription and perpetuation of ethnic identity through an examination of ancient “Israelite” architecture, namely four-room houses during the Iron I and Iron II periods of the central highlands. This analysis will include an interpretation of the structure, function, and origin of the four-room house, as well as a cross examination with biblical passages suggesting possible Egyptian parallels as well as an egalitarian lifestyle.

Determining Ethnicity

The definition and interpretation of ethnicity has evolved over the last century and new methods and perspectives have been adopted. This shift occurred in the late 1960s with the work of Fredrik Barth. Barth sparked this evolution with the hypothesis that ethnicity is malleable, can vary, be learnt, and change. Prior to this interpretation, theorists such as Durkheim and Weber understood ethnicity to be static, an understanding that continued until the late 1960s CE. According to Barth, ethnic groups are a form of social organization that is constructed in response to self-ascription and the ascription of others. In other words, an ethnic identity is formed through a group's understanding of itself as an ethnic group, as well as how others outside the group understand them. This self-understanding is accomplished through self-identification, a process that often includes a conscious construction of identity by the group. This may be influenced by factors such as individual psychology, relationships, family, community, nation, and so on. Geoff Emberling argues that the process of self-ascription is likely the most “fundamental characteristic of ethnicity,” stressing common genealogy and cultural construction as key factors. [Emberling, 302] Key to both Barth and Emberling's concept of ethnicity is the emphasis of “social facts” rather than biological, meaning that ethnicity is more than a simple “genetic relatedness.”[Emberling, 302]

If an ethnic group is not simply determined according to genetic relatedness then other determinative factors must be considered; these include, but are not limited to: language, religion, cuisine, clothing, household objects, and architecture. For the purposes of this paper, however, architectural remains will take precedence over the other factors simply due to the focus on four-room houses and the identification of ethnicity through architecture.

Returning to the process of self-ascription, Elizabeth Bloch-Smith begs the following questions: what shared interest forged the bond of Iron I Israel, and what shared institutions perpetuated group identity? Contrary to her analysis of the subject, I suggest the development and use of the four-room house as a possible solution to both questions. The four-room house represented more than a simple domestic dwelling type; it represented ideological and ethnic behaviours that were expected and required by those that utilized it. Granted, biblical sources appear to omit the significance of house plans, but this is not to say that significance was totally absent. Biblical sources represent one resource; they are not the ultimate judges of fact, and they most certainly do not represent the most historically accurate source; however, Bloch-Smith's critique does bring attention to the issue of incorporating biblical archaeology with biblical scholarship. Although the two depend on one another to a certain degree, the process is far from simple.

As Emberling notes, the issue for the archaeologist determining ethnicity is the identification of objects and characteristics that were socially meaningful. As the debate among scholars suggests, uniform consensus is far from existent in the interpretation of the four-room house as an ethnic marker and the same can be said for other determinative factors. This issue of interpretation is addressed by Ziony Zevit who argues for a greater attempt toward objectivity in scholarship, particularly within biblical studies and biblical archaeology. Essentially, Zevit stresses the impact of one's worldview upon his or her behaviour. A student or scholar of the past must recognize her own preconceived worldview in order to bracket out such standards that may be incompatible with the subject of study. In other words, it is problematic for an individual of the 21st century to differentiate between what was, and was not, meaningful in antiquity, and it is quite possibly this process that creates debate among scholars in this subject area. With this in mind, however, one may proceed to interpret the archaeological evidence while simultaneously taking the problematic nature and consciously bracketing one's own worldview into consideration.

The group in question here, namely the early Israelites, provides an interesting case for the interpretation of ethnic identity.

In light of this discussion, a definition for ethnicity has yet to be provided in order to clarify my purpose. Eloquently put, Norman K. Gottwald describes the term ethnicity as “a clearly articulated shared identity within a population group, attested by claims of common history, culture, and values.” [Gottwald, 29] In response to this definition, the term ethnicity will be utilized here in reference to the group identity that has been constructed by the group in response to ecological, political, socio-economical, and/or religious factors. It is also in relation to their collective memory and collective identity as understood by itself and by those outside the group. Basically, ethnicity is to be understood as consciously constructed rather than merely biological inherited, and is not only self-ascribed but ascribed by others.

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The group in question here, namely the early Israelites, provides an interesting case for the interpretation of ethnic identity. Although the origins of the Israelites in Canaan are not the focus of this paper, it is important to note the ambiguity of their arrival to the region as well as the largely contested interpretation among scholars. Popular theories include the pre-existence of Israelites in Canaan, suggesting that the material evidence does not support the arrival of a new semi-nomadic people; this is in contrast to the alternate theory in which the influx of rural settlements during the early Iron I period is interpreted to represent the arrival of a new cultural or ethnic group. Not wanting to give preference to one theory over another, I propose a more intermediate solution.

As the end of the Bronze Age and late 13th century BCE represented a turbulent time throughout the ancient Mediterranean world, it is entirely possible that a variety of peoples settled in the central highlands of Canaan. William G. Dever suggests a similar argument in that the “Proto-Israelites” were not homogeneous from the beginning. Instead, the members of this group may have included displaced Canaanites, urban refugees, migrant farmers, Shasu-like Bedouin, and so on. Assuming this was the case, over time a unified group and ideologies would have developed in response to a new self-awareness as has been the case in other similar situations. This seems like a highly plausible situation, especially considering the socio-economic situation during this period such as the destruction and abandonment of various Canaanite urban centers and the possibility that various groups (not exclusive to the displaced urban dwelling Canaanites) may have chosen to settle in the highlands. Not only does this situation seem reasonable, but it seems ridiculous to assume only one group either chose or were permitted to settle in this area, especially due to its adaptability to subsistence farming. However the Israelites arrived in the central highlands, it is the representation of newly found ideologies and self-awareness that is most important to this discussion and it is through the analysis of the four-room house that these constructs can be interpreted.

Four-Room House Structure

The use of the term “four-room house” should be prefaced with an explanation. In the context of this paper the “four-room house” of the central highlands is not limited to domestic dwellings with four rooms alone. As a matter of fact, such houses may have three, four, or more rooms. It is also important to note that pillars are not always present either. Despite these discrepancies, the term “four-room house” is preferred over the alternate “pillared courtyard house” or “Israelite house” due to the problematic nature of labeling them as “Israelite houses” without more direct evidence to prove that the houses were used exclusively by Israelites.

The typical layout of the four-room house consisted of a rectilinear plan divided into three, four, or more spaces/rooms. A larger central space was separated by one or two rows of stone pillars, with an entrance that led from an exterior courtyard into the central space. Additional rooms may be added or subdivided, but the basic plan follows the description above. A deep cistern was often included in the courtyard, as were clay or mud brick ovens and hearths for cooking. This suggests that the majority of domestic tasks were performed outdoors, especially as the side rooms were often utilized for livestock as is suggested by the existence of cobbled floors, or as storage space. Both single, double, and possible triple, storied structures have been uncovered, supporting the theory in which the inhabitants slept and ate in the upper story, separated from the animals.

The structure would have possessed a flat roof, optimal for drying foodstuffs and additional storage, although one of the long rooms, usually the one in the center, may have been unroofed. In terms of protection the community generally seems to have possessed a perimeter wall. Such walls are not to be confused with a defense system; on the contrary, as with the over three hundred courtyard houses excavated, no defense walls were identified. Both Dever and Killebrew describe the oval settlement of four-room house communities, explaining that the design creates a perimeter wall utilizing the buildings themselves. Quite simply, defense does not appear to have been a priority of the four-room house inhabitants, as is expressed through the lack of weapons, sudden destruction or burning discovered. Instead, the perimeter wall suggests that the inhabitants drew their livestock within the walls in the evening so as to protect them from other animals or marauders.

Food remains and animal bones suggest that the communities consisted of farmers and stockbreeders, with enough storage space for their goods to suggest that they were self-sufficient. Additionally, evidence of household facilities for making stone and flint tools, potters' workshops, olive and grade processing installations, loom weights, etc. have been excavated further supporting the self-sufficiency theory, while also demonstrating that the society consisted of small family holdings, representing a kin-related, closely-knit group. Interestingly enough, Dever emphasizes the parallel between the identification of these communities as kin-based to the biblical tradition, supporting the “Israelite” origin theory. In addition, another interpretation of this material defines the community as egalitarian or communitarian, again drawing parallels to Israelite society and its egalitarian character, a concept to be interpreted in more detail later on.

An additional interpretation of four-room house remains includes the identification of public or monumental structures. Both Killebrew and Faust attest to the lack of such structures, while Dever suggests that the four-room house plan was adopted for public structures of various sorts. Once again the issue of interpretation comes to the front. Who is overlooking or omitting evidence, and who is correct? The dominant opinion within secondary sources suggests greater legitimacy for a lack of public structures, but the mere existence of an alternate theory deserves recognition and consideration. Without access to the original excavation reports, and from a total outsider's perspective, the truth may not be attainable. Herein lies the ever-present conundrum of archaeology and scholarship; all that is possible to determine are theories, never fact.

It is possible, however, to determine the chronology of the structure. First appearing in the central highlands in the late thirteenth- early twelfth centuries BCE, the four-room house developed in response to environmental and socio-economical needs. Although originally adopted for its functional qualities, the design of the four-room house would not “crystallize,” or become more uniform, until the later twelfth-eleventh centuries BCE.[Killebrew, Biblical Peoples, 82] Ann E. Killebrew suggests that this crystallization represents something other than selection due to functionality. Instead, the development of a uniform four-room house suggests that the inhabitants chose the design as the result of ethnic behaviour. This concept of ethnic behaviour or group identity influencing a group's actions is not limited to the four-room house in the central highlands. In fact, Peter J. Burke and Jan E. Stets stress the importance of identity of a group and “how their identities influence their behaviour, thoughts, and feelings or emotions.”[Burke & Stets, 3] Simply put, the selection of the four-room house as the uniform dwelling structure was not an accident and was not limited to functional purposes.

The use of four-room house was the result of conscious selection on behalf of the group, a group that may have originated in Canaan or emerged from elsewhere. Either way, the popularity of the four-room house during the Iron Age represents a deliberate choice on behalf of a distinct ethnic group reflecting their ethnic behaviour and needs. Faust demonstrates the relationship between the architectural design and the group identity where he claims:

Four-room houses, by the very uniformity of their plans, the egalitarian ethos reflected by them, and their dominant position within the society discussed, were used to reinforce the community's values and ideology, and to strengthen the sense of togetherness of the population.

The four-room house type was certainly not the only style that was functional for the environment of the highlands, and it was certainly not the only one available during this time period. The four-room house served more than functional purposes; it served ideological and social purposes as well. Put quite simply once again, the selection and use of the four-room house occurred because of a collective decision made by the group in response to their ethnic behaviour.

Socio-ECONOMIC Influence

Quite separate from scholars such as Shlomo Bunimovitz, Dever, Faust, and Killebrew, Finkelstein is a strong supporter of the emergence of the four-room house as a result of socio-economic conditions. This is not to say that the aforementioned scholars completely disregard this theory, however, they argue that the uniformity and survival of the structure for over six hundred years suggests something more complicated. Although I agree with this argument, the interpretation of socio-economic conditions still requires attention in order to gain a better understanding of the context in which the four-room house was developed.

If we accept the theory that the four-room house originally developed in response to socioeconomic conditions, and we also accept the theory that the inhabitants of the central highlands were primarily subsistence farmers and herders, then an examination of the environmental conditions will prove useful in interpreting the evolution of four-room houses. Unfortunately, “we cannot paint a truly realistic landscape of the area in the Bronze and Iron Ages, because archaeologists have rarely recorded evidence useful for reconstructing the ancient environment.”[Stager, 4] Stager creates a bleak picture, but he goes on to theorize that the soil of the central highlands likely resembled terra rosa, the most common soil in the Mediterranean world. This soil is described as shallow, but fertile and agricultural production began as early as 1200 BCE with the appearance of terraces, therefore, suggesting that the central highlands were ideal for cultivation and habitation, easily proven by examining the number of settlements during the Iron Age.

As we have already investigated the structure of this house type, the dwelling layout can be readily interpreted as practical for farm life. In fact, like Finkelstein, Stager suggests that it was the successful adaptation of the four-room house to farm life that was the first and most important feature of the building, a concept that is also supported by Bloch-Smith suggesting that the structure of the four-room house “favors function rather than an ethnic rationale.” [Bloch-Smith, 44] Of course, the four-room house is interpreted as ideal for farm life, and rightly so. But for Stager, Bloch-Smith, and Finkelstein to disregard a deeper significance seems nothing short of problematic.

Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman justly argue for the difficulty of distinguishing between “expressions of status and manifestations of ethnicity,” asking how an individual can determine what is a stylistic choice and what is an ethnic marker.[Finkelstein, 203] This sort of issue has been addressed earlier with the problem of interpretation and bracketing one's worldview. Quite frankly, aside from the biblical texts, which were written and compiled much later by a “restored Judahite community” in response to disruption and dispersion of both communities and traditions,[Gottwald, 38] there is a complete lack of written material regarding the highlands during the Iron Age. Finkelstein also emphasizes the lack of cemeteries and grave goods, typically significant sources for determining cultic and religious practices in addition to temples, sanctuaries, and shrines, all of which are also absent. Without such evidence, the ceramic tradition, architectural tradition, and foodways are all that remain for investigation, making the interpretation of a group's identity much more complicated.

Taking issue with Dever who suggests that the four-room house of the “Israelites” was adopted from the lowlands, Finkelstein argues that the only Bronze Age house that can be identified as a proto-type of this house is found in Tel Batash. Granted, this is certainly contradictory of Dever's theory, yet afterwards he offhandedly dismisses the connection between the four-room house and an ethnic group, arguing that the adaptation of such a structure is simply due to the “socioeconomic condition of their inhabitants and the need to adapt to the hill environment.”[Finkelstein, 201] This argument would carry more weight if evidence or further discussion was provided to support such a close-minded claim; however, as it stands Finkelstein presents himself as a scholar with limited vision. That being said, Finkelstein is not entirely incorrect in his theory; he is simply focusing his argument too narrowly. Bunimovitz, Dever, Faust, and Killebrew all support the socio-economic origin of the four-room house type; this is never disputed. Yet to argue that the structural type that survived for so many centuries served only a socio-economic function and no other is certainly illogical.

Quite simply, to argue that the four-room house held no greater significance than utilitarian and agricultural purposes is negligent. The manner in which scholars such as Finkelstein address the concept of interpreting ethnicity through the archaeological record is clearly predetermined, as if no attempt to investigate the concept has or will be made. In fact, there is one simple question that Bunimovitz and Faust address that may prove most useful for those such as Finkelstein: if the four-room house was so suitable to peasant life or subsistence farming, then why was it discontinued following the destruction of the First Temple and the Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods? There is no evidence for significant changes in subsistence patterns after the 6th century BCE, so could this house type represent the “Israelite house” as suggested by Dever, perhaps discontinued after the Babylonian Exile in addition to the other reforms of the time? At this point in time there is not enough evidence to confirm or disprove this theory, but it is certainly an issue that scholars interpreting four-room houses should address.

The four-room house should not be completely disregarded as a possible ethnic marker. In fact, Emberling suggests that a household structure has the ability to be “methodologically valuable because of its close, meaningful relationship to daily life,”[Emberling, 325] Carol Meyers argues that the house represented the “most important locus of economic production and social interaction in traditional societies,”[Meyers, 427] and even Stager claims that the “'house(hold)' was at the center of ever-widening social spheres.”[Stager, 22] Granted the latter was in reference to the family or individuals within the dwelling structure, yet the principle remains the same; the house was and can be understood to be socially significant.

Through this perspective it is entirely practical to interpret the four-room house as an ethnic marker because of its direct relationship to the daily life of members within an ethnic group. This is argued through the understanding that the four-room house served as a physical representation of a communal or ethnic identity that was expressed through mutually understood symbols within the group. The four-room house was the creation of a built environment, it did not occur by accident and must be understood to exist in response to social divisions as well as environmental or economic. Granted, Finkelstein and Stern do not argue against the theory that four-room houses should be understood as a result of social circumstances, but they do not argue in favour of it either. As a matter of fact, they appear to completely overlook several social factors as if none of which are factors in the formation of an ethnic identity.

As mentioned previously, MacKay presents psychology, relationships, family, community, nation, etc. as influential factors for the identification of ethnicity. I propose to adapt this list to include more specific social divisions such as gender, generation, and rank as suggested by Bunimovitz and Faust, as well as religion or cult. All of the factors listed here possess the capacity to influence the development of domestic structures and society more generally, as is suggested by Finkelstein and Stager; yet such factors are also capable of influencing a groups understanding and identification of itself. In other words, what scholars such as Finkelstein and Stager appear to misunderstand, or disregard, is the significance of the influence that social divisions may hold over domestic architecture.

Concepts such as gender, generation, rank, and religion are readily interpreted as influential factors in the development of a group of society, they can also be understood as influential to the creation the group's identity. Why, then, is it so unreasonable to assume that a group's collective identity would be reflected in the architectural traditions, especially one that endured for such a long period in a crystallized or uniform state? Granted, environmental and economic influences must be considered when interpreting architectural traditions, but they are not the only resources available nor should they be the only ones considered.

Egalitarian & Purity Functions

When describing the structure and possible function of the four-room house, an egalitarian community similar to the society within the biblical tradition appears to be expressed. As this theme surfaces in a variety of scholarly sources it deserves special attention and so we shall examine it more closely here in addition to purity concerns. Aside from the evidence that suggests the communities composed of four-room houses to have been self-sufficient, the layout of the house tells us much more. Yes, the communities appear to have been self-sufficient, but they also appear to have demonstrated egalitarian or communitarian values, and purity values as well.

Beginning with the egalitarian values, this concept is expressed through the “tree-like” shape of the plan as described by Bunimovitz and Faust. This plan allows for immediate accessibility from the central courtyard to any room in the house, a concept in direct contrast to contemporary houses in northern Israel such as Tell Keisan, Tel Qiri and Tel Hadar. In these contemporary houses, the plans require the inhabitant to enter each room in a particular sequence suggesting a hierarchical nature. This is relatively absent from the four-room houses of the central highlands, with the exception of subdivision of rooms among the rural and elite. Even this, however, is limited due to the lack of depth in the house and simplicity of the layout.

So can the lack of depth or access hierarchy truly represent an egalitarian society? Determining the solution to such a question is problematic, but the evidence suggests that it may. In this situation the biblical text may prove beneficial, although it is important to utilize it cautiously. The biblical text serves as an excellent resource in regards to the social life of the ancient Jewish, or Judean, population, but it must be understood to be the memories and interpretations of “historical” events and group identity through the eyes of a generation that existed much later than the events in question. With this in mind, the egalitarian nature of the ancient Israelites as expressed by the later authors, may represent a legitimizing myth, or even worse, fabricated history.

Returning to the archaeological remains, perhaps the four-room house does not represent the egalitarian nature as described in the biblical text. As a matter of fact, the variance of house sizes supports this theory suggesting the existence of both poor and rich households; however, in a somewhat complicated manner the biblical text supports the construction of the egalitarian value of the four-room house. If the biblical text is understood to represent a later interpretation or “legitimizing” mythology of Israelite identity, then the apparent egalitarian quality found within the four-room house can also be interpreted as a symbolic form of Israelite identity. Essentially, both the biblical text and the four-room house represent a conscious effort by the community to express a particular quality. The fact that an effort was made suggests that this quality in question was both important to the community and attested by those outside of it, possibly demonstrated through the appearance of varying house sizes. In other words, there was a reason behind the need to express this concept of identity in such a public or visible manner.

In addition to the association of egalitarian societies, purity concerns are also associated with the biblical texts, later Judean identity, and with the “tree-like” plan of the four-room house. In terms of the layout of the four-room house, purity concerns and values are believed to be demonstrated by the ability of an inhabitant to enter any room directly from the central courtyard. This concept of accessibility demonstrated through the layout reminds the observer of the biblical purity laws expressed in Leviticus 12 in which menstruating women are deemed “unclean.” Although they are not required to leave the house, it is reasonable to assume that they were expected to stay in separate rooms so as not to render the other inhabitants of the household unclean as well.

Through the analysis of the dwelling plan, privacy is deemed important according to the “movement” that occurred within the house. If not for privacy, then the regulation of contact was likely implied as is reflected in the nature of the house itself. As expressed previously through an analysis of the egalitarian nature of the four-room house, it is clear that the inhabitants had access to any of the adjoining rooms directly from the central room or courtyard. If the purity laws expressed within the biblical text are to be interpreted as factual then the layout of the dwelling must have reflected this; and so the nature of the biblical text comes into question once again. Were the ancient Israelites truly concerned with purity laws or was this a result of Deuteronomic history attempting to emphasize particular themes such as the exodus and the covenant? Or, was the biblical text reminiscent of the architectural tradition in which an ethnic identity was expressed through the material accommodations made in response to established purity regulations? Assuming the latter is correct, then the purity laws expressed within the biblical text are not entirely fabricated. This is not to suggest that the narrative that accompanies the laws is entirely factual, but perhaps the origins of such laws can be associated with the individuals inhabiting the four-room houses. If this is the case, then the purity laws that exist in the final form of the Hebrew Bible represent a distorted memory originating in the Iron Age. Perhaps the earlier sources utilized by the biblical authors included architectural traditions in addition to unknown written sources. This seems entirely plausible since architecture has already been established as a form of communication and an expression or result of group identity and ethnic behaviour. Unfortunately as is often the case within biblical scholarship, this argument is entirely conjecture. We simply do not possess enough direct evidence to prove or disprove the historical legitimacy of the entire Hebrew Bible, nor do we possess enough evidence to determine whether or not the four-room house demonstrated an egalitarian society concerned with purity laws.

Egyptian & Militant Style?

Thus far we have examined the structure and socio-economic features of the four-room house, yet an analysis of the origins of the dwelling type has yet to be properly addressed. Both Michael M. Homan and Manfred Bietak put forth interesting hypotheses that suggest an Egyptian and militant source of origins. More specifically, this source of origins is understood by Homan and Bietak to be a tent. One may immediately imagine the Tabernacle, and this is certainly a parallel which Homan addresses associating it with the tent and military camp of Ramesses II and the battle of Qedesh during the 13th century BCE. As a matter of fact, the resemblance between the two is remarkably strongly, supporting the theory in which biblical authors were ultimately inspired by non-Israelite sources; although, the biblical authors likely collected this knowledge through earlier Israelite sources rather than directly from the Egyptians.

Homan describes the military camp of Ramesses as possessing a 2:1 scale with an entrance in the middle of the short wall, oriented east. Located directly in the middle of the camp were a long room tent, with 3:1 proportions, and a 2:1 reception tent within. The proportions and orientation of the military camp are demonstrated by Homan to directly correlate with those of the Tabernacle as described within the biblical account of author P, the priestly source. Homan suggests that the parallels between the Egyptian military camp and the Tabernacle strengthen “Yahweh's role as a warrior god.”[Homan, 114] Now, determining whether or not this claim of Yahweh as a warrior god is true or inaccurate is outside the focus of this paper; however, the suggestion that ancient Israelite's were inspired by Egyptian stylistic and militant models suggests an interesting origins theory. Clearly the description of the Tabernacle did not develop in a vacuum. Of course, it is possible that the similarities between the Tabernacle and the military camp of Ramesses are sheer coincidence, but Homan provides other examples in the ancient world that suggest similar parallels to disprove this hypothesis, including: Bedouin and pre-Islamic tent shrines, Ugaritic and Hittite mythology, portable shrines from Phoenicia and Carthage, and Mesopotamian.

In order to explain the stark similarities between the Tabernacle and the Egyptian military camp, Homan suggests that the biblical author responsible for describing the Tabernacle, namely author P, utilized the historical records that were available to him. Such records may have pictorially or verbally described an earlier Israelite tent-shrine, but the methodology is very similar to what we have encountered throughout this paper. Biblical texts appear to be the result of an attempt at self-ascription and self-identification. As a post-Exilic construction, the author of the text would have been struggling with identity construction and the representation of a common heritage or ethnic identity. As Gottwald describes, members of a “self-defined” population will often connect meanings to their claimed ethnicity. As such, it is probable that the similarities shared between the Tabernacle and the Egyptian military camp style illustrate this practice of self-ascription, while also serving as an additional example in comparison to the self-ascription produced through the development of the four-room house.

We must note, however, that the Egyptian influence upon Israelite architectural style was not limited to the tabernacle. In fact, Bietak argues that evidence of a four-room house has been uncovered in Medinet Habu next to the mortuary temple of Ramesses III. This structure has been identified as a workmen's hut, conforming to the typical layout of the four-room house. The workmen would have inhabited such structures following the death of Ramesses III in approximately 1153 BCE, at which point the workmen were ordered to demolish the temple of Ramesses III. This places the workmen's hut as a direct contemporary of the four-room house located in Canaan, prominent from 1200-568 BCE according to Bietak. As the hut corresponds with the layout of the four-room house it is seems probable that the inhabitants of the workmen's hut at Medinet Habu may have been Israelites, and if not Israelites, then they must have been “proto-Israelites.”

Whether or not the inhabitants of the workmen's huts were Israelites is an issue far too expansive for the parameters of this paper. The existence of a contemporaneous four-room house far outside of the central highlands, however, is greatly important. As evidence such as the parallels between the Tabernacle and the Egyptian military camp suggest, the Israelite architectural tradition may have been the product of external influences, perhaps unknowingly or perhaps unconsciously. Assuming that the four-room house type was influenced by an Egyptian tradition, or that the four-room house was an “Israelite” tradition later transferred to Egypt, the significance attributed to the structure as expresses through the layout and popularity is palpable. Whether the four-room house originated in Egypt or Canaan, the parallels between the two geographical locations suggests a portable ethnic expression through the use of architecture that cannot be overlooked.


Throughout this paper the ethnic identity of the inhabitants utilizing four-room houses within the central highlands has been described as malleable and self-ascribed. Through an examination of structure, function, and possible origin and influence theories, the use of architecture has been demonstrated as an example of non-verbal communication that sought to articulate the collective identity of the group. Through a cross-examination of the archaeological remains and the biblical text, a conscious effort towards self-ascription by the group has been observed, attempting to express particular qualities such as purity and egalitarianism through an architectural tradition. Not only were such qualities expressed through the four-room house, but also through the uniformity in which they were uncovered which suggests a “taxonomic principle” that was specific to a particular ethnic group. Essentially, this means that by living within this particular style of house, the occupants were constantly made aware of principles such as purity and egalitarian, while simultaneously demonstrating a strong sense of “us,” or homogeneity, in contrast to the “other.” In conclusion I simply propose the following: the four-room house represented a conscious effort of the community that both developed and utilized it to visually express their understanding of their ethnic identity. Factors such as purity and egalitarian values may have been demonstrated through the use of non-hierarchical plans and a particular level of privacy; factors that the group deemed important to their own identity and essential to their ethnic behaviour. Perhaps most importantly, with the crystallization of the four-room house type, a sense of uniformity was achieved, successfully producing a prominent medium for self-expression.

Divided loyalties? In-migration, ethnicity and identity: The integration of German merchants in nineteenth-century Liverpool

In-migrants played an important role within port-city merchant communities, but the contribution of German-born merchants to Liverpool's development in the nineteenth century has been largely ignored. This article has four interrelated objectives. First, it establishes the size and composition of the German merchant community in terms of the place of birth, occupational classification, length of residence, and relative wealth of German-born merchants. Secondly, it measures the degree of acculturation and integration based on a range of indicators including choice of bride, child- and house-naming practices, the employment of fellow nationals, and the acquisition of British citizenship. Thirdly, it analyses their role within Liverpool society, focusing on their involvement in the city's associational networks, their participation in voluntary and charitable associations, and their entertainment profile. Finally it assesses how the growth of German nationalism after 1871 and the institutional role of the German Protestant Church reinforced ethnic identity, influenced decisions relating to citizenship and settlement, and affected business networking.


The Mercantile Liverpool Project (Shipping, trade and mercantile business in Liverpool, 1851–1900) was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, English Heritage, Liverpool City Council's World Heritage Site and the Philip Holt Trust. I am very grateful for all the support from external sources which enabled the project team to carry out the research in such an excellent manner. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the project, in particular Sari Mäenpää and Joseph Sharples who provided invaluable advice for this article, as well as the two anonymous referees for their helpful comments. A preliminary paper was presented at the 4th annual conference of the Gesellshaft für Migrationsforschung (Bonn, 2007) and subsequently published in German: see Lee ( 2011 Lee, R. 2011 . “ Einwanderung, wirtschaftliche Netzwerke und Identität die Integration deutscher Kaufleute in Liverpool im 19. Jahrhundert ”. In Perspektiven in der Fremde? Arbeitsmarkt und Migration von der Frühen Neuzeit bis zur Gegenwart, Edited by: Dahlmann, D. and Schulte Beerbühl, M. 145 – 170 . Essen : Klartext . [Google Scholar] ). This article is dedicated to the memory of Dr Gary Milnes, a long-standing member of the German Protestant Church in Liverpool, who kindly made available important archival material which enabled me to undertake this research.


1. It was impossible to locate a Street Directory for 1852.

2. The occupational designations in the census returns were too idiosyncratic to be used for analysing business activity and trade directories are not unproblematic as a source for business history. Trade classifications are seldom consistent across time as commodity specialisation particularly in the late nineteenth century affected the designation of trading activity and the primary business of owners of family firms often represented only one aspect of a wider range of commercial activities (Cock et al., 2012).

3. By contrast, there has been a stronger tradition of research on the German in-migrant community in London. See, for example, Dorgeel (1881) Farrell (1990) Pürschel (1908) Schulte Beerbühl (2005) Steinmetz (1994) Sundermann (1997) Towey (1988) Weber (2006).

4. The purpose-built synagogue opened in Seel Street in 1808 with financial support of prominent Jewish merchants and businessmen was deemed to be ‘worthy of the opulence of that people’ (see The stranger in Liverpool, 1810, p. 99).

5. For studies of other focal points of German in-migration and settlement, see Davis (2008) Koditschek (1990) Manz (2003) Manz, Schulte Beerbühl, and Davis (2007) Swinbank (2008).

6. For information on German-born members of staff at the University of Liverpool before 1914, including Professor Kuno Meyer from Leipzig, see Kelly (1981, pp. 112–113). The Verband der Dozenten des Deutschen in Großbritannien was formed to support the role of German academics in Britain (see Anglo German Publishing Company, 1913, p. 35).

7. For example, Gottlieb Ferdinand Beyer was listed in Gore's Directory in 1851 as a general merchant at 3 Heaton Place, Breck Road, but no census return could be located. In fact, Beyer had been born in Prussia in c. 1814 and died in Liverpool in 1860 (information provided by a family descendant).

8. This was also the case in relation to German-born merchants in London, where the largest number of in-migrants during the period 1715 to 1800 came from Hamburg and Bremen (see Rössler & Schulte Beerbühl, 2002, pp. 165–186).

9. The figures represent the first recorded reference to individual in-migrant German merchants, as listed in the database. The precise figures are as follows: 1850s – 27 1860s – 28 1870s – 46 1880s – 62 1890s – 44 1900s – 25.

10. For a brief but succinct economic history of Germany during this period, see Pierenkemper and Tilly (2004, pp. 75–156).

11. The largest share of Liverpool's exports went to the Baltic or to the Hanseatic ports of Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck.

12. Inevitably data extracted from the census returns and street directories may not fully capture the residential patterns of in-migrants, but the analysis was strengthened by the use of additional nominative information from a wide range of sources.

13. The youngest individual listed in the database was Ernest Luebbers, a 21-year-old hardware merchant who had been born in Bremen in 1840: he was listed as a boarder at 61 Canning Street which contained another unmarried merchant from the same port-city, Henry Haistomann, aged 28.

14. It was over a game of billiards at Broughton Hall that Schwabe apparently suggested to Thomas Henry Ismay the idea of founding a new, transatlantic company with vessels built by Harland & Wolff of Belfast (Wolff was Schwabe's nephew). The result was the creation of the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, subsequently known as the White Star Line.

15. For a study of the long-run pattern of spatial and occupational integration, see Kudenko and Phillips (2009) Moya (2005, p. 839) Garcia (2006) Raj (2003) Levitt (2009, p. 1239).

16. For example, Nikolaus Mahs (from the Gebrüder Mahs trading house) arrived in Liverpool in 1839 and subsequently married Elizabeth Leigh Clare from Liverpool (see Sartor, 2009, p. 31).

17. Thirty-three families from a sub-sample of 52.

18. Philip Augustus Holberg, who was active as a broker in Liverpool in the 1860s, had received a denization grant on 21 November 1843 to hold landed property rights (see The National Archives (TNA), HO 45/8947).

19. The National Archives (TNA), HO 1/27/803 (10 May 1848) 1/22/399 (16 June 1846) 1/24/569 (23 March 1846).

20. For example, the merchant John Adam Claus (from Frankfurt-am-Main) was first recorded in Liverpool in the census of 1881, but had acquired British citizenship on 25 April 1861 (see TNA, HO 1/11/3526).

21. The general merchant Ferdinand Karck was trading in Liverpool by 1861, but did not become a naturalised British citizen until 27 July 1877 (see TNA, HO 45/9439/65725). In other cases, the apparent delay in seeking naturalisation was a result of the failure of the census enumerators to record citizenship accurately. For example, the commission agent Joachim Heinrich Laseman (known as John Henry) from Hamburg was a member of Liverpool's merchant community for four decades from 1852 onwards, but it is not until the 1891 census that he was listed as a British citizen. In fact, he had been granted naturalisation on 27 September 1865 (see TNA, HO 1/124/4830).

22. On the basis of 88 naturalisation papers held in the National Archive, the decadal distribution of cases was as follows (percentage figures in brackets): 1840s – 8 (9.0) 1850s – 7 (7.9) 1860s – 30 (34.0) 1870s – 19 (21.5) 1880s – 17 (19.3): 1890s – 7 (7.9) 1900s – 0 (0). A reduced propensity to seek British citizenship was also evident in the census return, particularly in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

23. In the later nineteenth century, a rural association (particularly with trees) was the second most popular choice of house name after location. See Miles (2000, p. 16).

24. In addition, British merchants also retained German nationals as part of their household establishment. For example, in 1881 the commission merchant John Bingham (born in County Down, Ireland) employed Ida Stein, aged 26 and born in Germany, as a governess to his five children (see MLP database).

25. Hildegarde Gordon Browne (nee Muspratt: sister of Sir Max Muspratt) reported that when she was growing up at Seaforth House, the family employed a German governess. I am grateful to Joseph Sharples for this reference.

27. By comparison, the hostility to Germans in Moscow following the outbreak of hostilities was far more pronounced: German was banned in schools and an official pogrom was launched to close foreign subject-owned businesses (see Dönninghaus, 2002).

28. Liverpool Record Office (LRO), 942 BIC 13, T2, Thomas H. Bickerton's Collection, towards a Medical History of Liverpool.

29. LRO, 027 LYC 17/2, The Lyceum, Annual Reports 1883–1900 Laws and Regulations of the Lyceum, 1899.

30. LRO, 376 WTN 6, Wellington Club, Annual Reports with rules, resolutions and lists of members, 1814–1913.

31. LRO, 920 DUR 1/4, Family diaries maintained by Emma Holt, later by Anne Holt, 30 January 1863.

32. MLP database. The following sons of German merchants were members of the Wellington Club: Charles H. Brancker (1888–1919) Frederick J. Herzog (1919–) J.M. Servaes (1896–1901) Emil Springmann (1879–1919) John H. Springmann (1905–) P.J. Stolterfoht (1897–1903).

36. LRO, 796 RUG, Liverpool Rugby Union Football Club (founded December 1857), September 1911: the members in question were G.M. Lemonius, H. Pferdmenges, B. Stern and P.T. Stolterfoht.

38. MLP database. In 1891, however, there were two cases where the sons of in-migrant German merchants were members of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire: Louis Baron Benas, the son of the banker Louis Benas (born in Prussia in 1821), and the brothers Paul and H.H. Springmann, sons of the general merchant Emil Springmann (born in Prussia in 1812). Similarly, Both H.H. Springmann and Charles H. Brancker, the son of the cotton broker John Brancker (born in Hamburg in 1819) were members of the Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

39. LRO, 614 INF 5/6, The 145th Report of the Liverpool Royal Infirmary for the year 1893 (Liverpool, 1894), 25–45. Only one German merchant, P.H. Blessing, made a significant donation to the hospital's maintenance fund (£50), although four German-owned companies also paid an annual subscription (Blessig, Braun & Co., De Jersey & Co., Heyne and Oelrichs and Stolterfoht Sons & Co.

40. LRO, ANI 9/1, Report of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Liverpool Branch, 1872 (Liverpool 1873), 16–18 614 HAH 8/2/1, Report of the Liverpool Homeopathic Dispensary, subscriptions and donations 1872, pp. 9–15: both Eggers and Brancker contributed one guinea.

41. Maritime Archives and Library (MAL), Merseyside Maritime Museum D/SO/2/1/1, The Royal Liverpool Seaman's Orphan Institution, Annual Report 1872, p. 43. The other contributors were Bahr, Berend & Co., John Brancker (with two additional donations by his wife), Adolph Herschell, A.H. Lemonius and William Meyer. T.R. Stolterfoht, a son of Herman Stolterfoht, was also a subscriber.

42. LRO, 179 CRU 13/1, Liverpool Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 1st Report 1883 614 PRI 9/12, Home for Incurables, 23rd Annual Report (Liverpool, 1892) 364 FEM 6/7, Liverpool Female Penitentiary, 95th Annual Meeting (Liverpool, 1906). In 1892, subscriptions to the Home for Incurables were also paid by other members of the German merchant community, including Philip Blessig and Julius Servaes.

43. MLP database LRO, 614 PRI 9/12, Home for Incurables, Annual Reports 1885–96, Twenty-Third Annual Report for the Home for Incurables 1892 (Liverpool, 1893), 19 614 HAH 8/2/1, Report of The Liverpool Homeopathic Dispensary Instituted for The Gratuitous Relief of the Sick Poor From December 31st 1871 to December 31st 1872 (Liverpool, 1873), 9. John Brancker had been born in Danzig in 1814 and died in Liverpool in 1903. He had also been a life governor of the Liverpool Infirmary for Children, a committee member of the Salisbury House School, the committee chairman of Liverpool College and a JP. German merchants in Manchester also played a leading role in supporting the Society for the Relief of Really Deserving Distressed Foreigners following its establishment in December 1847 (see Coates, 1991/92, p. 26).

44. MAL, Merseyside Maritime Museum D/SO/2/1/1 – 2/1/6, The Royal Liverpool Seaman's Orphan Institute, Annual Reports, 1869–94 LRO, 362 SAL 4/1/1 (2), Liverpool Female Orphan Asylum, Annual Reports 1848–80, Report of the Liverpool Female Orphan Asylum (Liverpool, 1851), 17 614 INF 5/14, Annual Reports Royal Infirmary 1861–81, Report of the Liverpool Royal Infirmary, Lunatic Asylum and Lock Hospital for the year 1861 (Liverpool, 1863), 67–69 614 PAU 7/3, Report of the St Paul's Eye and Ear Hospital For the Year ending 31 August 1891 (Liverpool, 1891), 23.

45. LRO, 364 FEM 2, 71st Annual Report of the Liverpool Female Penitentiary from January to December 1881 (Liverpool, 1882). In some cases, obituary evidence may be unreliable as an indicator of charitable commitment, particularly if merchants lived some distance from Liverpool. For example, the salt merchant, Hermann Eugene Falk had been a member of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and the Weaver Trust, as well as chairman of the Salt Commission. But he resided at the time of his death at Catsclough, Winsford and may well have contributed to a number of local charities.

47. He had been born in St Petersburg, possibly of German parents, and had acquired British citizenship by 1891: his wife was from Germany.

48. LRO, 920 DUR 1/4, Family diaries maintained by Emma Holt later by Anne Holt, 6 November 1862 920 DUR 1/5, Family diaries maintained by Anne Holt later by Emma Holt, 5 June 1872.

49. LRO, 920 DUR 10/16/3, Holt family diaries, dairy of Robert Durning Holt, 8 January 1862 920 DUR 4/28/3, List of parties begun 1867, 15 February 1882.

50. LRO, 920 DUR 1/2, Family diary maintained by George Holt, 3 August 1851.

51. The first German Church in Britain, the Hamburg Lutheran Church founded in London in 1669, catered primarily for merchants from the North German Hanse ports.

52. The Anglican Church played an important role in the initial development of the German Church in Liverpool: its Patron was the Archbishop of Canterbury and its President was the Reverend Joseph Baylee, the Principal of St. Aidan's Theological College in Birkenhead. By 1850 it had approximately 250 individuals who were ‘considered members’.

53. For a general discussion of the significance of ethnic associations, see Moya (2005) Shrover and Vermeulen (2005). For a detailed analysis of the role of German associations in the Netherlands, see Shrover (2006).

54. This is a term often applied to German immigrants in America (see Conzen, 1985, p. 131 Lekan, 2005, p. 143).

Ethnicity & Identity Within the Four-Room House - History

Within the Historical Studies program you can pursue a B.A. degree in Historical Studies or in K-12 or Secondary Education History Certification. A minor in Historical Studies is also available.

About the Program

The Historical Studies curriculum offers courses that acquaint students with the various methods of historical study, provide them with a broad understanding of the major themes of human history, and give them the opportunity to propose and implement their own research projects. Designed to help students develop careful, thoughtful self-expression, particularly in written form, the curriculum is composed of courses of increasing difficulty, progressing from introductory and intermediate courses in content areas, to upper-level seminars and finally to the senior capstone courses, Historical Methods and Thesis Seminar. The capstone seminars provide opportunities for students to explore their individual research interests and share their experiences with faculty and their peers. Students also achieve competence in a second language, which they may put to use in study tours and semester or summer study abroad.

Program Chair

Students interested in pairing a degree in History with teaching certification for K-12 are encouraged to explore the K-12 History Certification Concentration. Core history course requirements remain the same, while cognates and At-Some-Distance courses are tailored to facilitate students’ progress through the courses required for New Jersey Teachers Certification.

Top Five Reasons to Study Historical Studies at Stockton

  1. Creativity & Innovation
    Pursue your passion. Are you a history buff? Do you watch the History Channel? Are you fascinated by the Civil War or the Holocaust? Do you like to travel and explore the U.S. and other countries? Would you love to teach, to work in museums and historic sites? As a Stockton History major, you can do all of these things and even get course credit for them.
  2. Critical Thinking, Global Awareness
    Understand your past while preparing for your present. History deals with real people and events. It offers a boundless variety for selecting favorite topics and pursuing personal interests because everything has a history—nations, wars, ethnic groups, sexuality, jazz, gambling, even food. And historical knowledge is powerful currency for the twenty-first century because you increase your cultural literacy and sensitivity when you consider multiple points of view and changing global contexts.
  3. Information Literacy & Research Skills, Adapting to Change, Communication Skills
    Carry out undergraduate research tailored to your unique interests. Many employers are looking for evidence that students did more with their college years than just sit in courses. Stockton History majors learn to read critically, write clearly and persuasively, and do independent research in archives in South Jersey and beyond. These skills are attractive in a wide range of fields, and History majors go on to careers in education, public history, law, business, medicine, government, and not-for-profits—all of which value the ability to research, write, and think creatively and persuasively.
  4. Global Awareness
    Explore study abroad and internship opportunities for credit. Stockton History majors have the opportunity to study abroad around the world. They can apply to The Washington Center to spend a summer or semester working in the government agency or not-for-profit of their choice.
  5. Program Competence
    Interested in attending graduate school? At Stockton, History majors can apply to the Master of Arts in American Studies or in Holocaust & Genocide Studies. They can choose a second major in Education. Qualified students can start taking graduate courses in their senior year—and those graduate course credits can transfer to graduate programs elsewhere in the state.


The Historical Studies program offers degrees in the following concentrations:

  • B.A. in Historical Studies
  • B.A. in K-12 History Education Certification
  • Minor in Historical Studies

To view the curriculum, you’ll use the web program, Degree Works. This program is accessible even if you are not currently a student with Stockton University.

Current Students

Access your portal for Degree Works, then look for the “What If” option to explore the various paths towards degree completion. Click the button below for instructional videos on how to use Degree Works:

Prospective First Year or Transfer Students

How to Use Degree Works Equivalency

  • At the next page you are prompted with three (3) options. Select the one that says “continue without signing in.”
  • Respond to each prompt using the pull-down menu in the center of the page. [Please be patient. It may take a few seconds for the system to process your request. If you see a NO symbol, you need to wait a moment!]

Prompts include:

  • Enrollment dates (Choose intended semester attending)
  • Intended level (Choose “undergraduate”)
  • What degree you will pursue? (Choose “Bachelor of Arts”)
  • What is your intended major? (Choose “Historical Studies”)
  • What is your intended concentration? (Choose “General” or "Education")
  • What is your intended minor? (Choose “noneor select one - it is not required). For History minors, select "Historical Studies."
  • For prospective students, choose “I’m all done" button.
  • For transfer students, use the “class” button to see how courses already taken fit into the Stockton degree path.
  • You will see an overview of the degree you have selected, including all requirements.
  • At the bottom of the screen, you could save or print the worksheet.

Additional Links

Course Schedule by Term

To view the Course Schedule by term, click here.

Catalog of Courses

See the Catalog of Courses for complete descriptions of course offerings.

Academic Bulletin

For detailed curriculum information, please refer to the Academic Bulletin.

Prior Year Curriculum Worksheets





Robert Gregg, Dean, School of General Studies Professor of History

Michael Hayse, Associate Professor of History and Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Michael Hayse

Associate Professor of History and Holocaust and Genocide Studies


Dr. Hayse’s main research interests revolve around the ways that Germany has grappled with the legacies of the Third Reich, World War II, and the Holocaust. He is also an advocate of experiential learning, global education, and study abroad who urges his students to travel, visit archives for their research, and to acquaint themselves with actual historical sites. To this end, Dr. Hayse leads study tours to Europe and Israel on the theme of the history of the Third Reich, World War II, and the Holocaust.


Ph.D., University of North Carolina


20th century German history, Russian and East European history, and Holocaust/genocide studies, history and memory


HIST 2117 Modern Germany
HIST 2118 Europe in the 20th Century
HIST 2134 Eastern European History
HIST 2135 Modern Russian and Soviet History
HIST 3615 Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin: Dictatorships of 20th-Century Europe
HIST 3616 History of the Third Reich
GAH 2119 History and Memory of the Nazi Era
GAH 2346 Modern Europe
GAH 3114 Military Occupation / Social Change
MAHG 5000 History of the Holocaust
MAHG 5016 Twentieth-Century Europe
MAHG 5021 The Holocaust in German History
MAHG 5026 Germany and the Holocaust since 1945


Recasting West German Elites: Higher Civil Servants, Business Leaders, and Physicians in Hesse between Nazism and Democracy, 1945-1955. New York: Berghahn Books, 2003.

Main editor, Hearing the Voices: Holocaust Education for Future Generations. Merion Station: Marion Westfield Press, 1999.


American Historical Association
German Studies Association
Central European History
Association of Holocaust Organizations

William Lubenow, Distinguished Professor of History

William Lubenow

Distinguished Professor of History



Modern European history, modern British history, modern cultural history, methodology and philosophy of history


HIST 2121 Europe: 1815 to Present
HIST 2122 Modern Britain: 1688 to Present
HIST 3620 Seminar: Studies in “Modern” History
HIST 3623 History and the Historians
GAH 1101 Western Civilization


“Only Connect”: Learned Societies and the Formation, Organization, and Destruction of Knowledge in Modern Britain, 1815-1914.

Peers, Power and Piety: The British Roman Catholic Aristocracy, 1815-1914.


The Politics of Government Growth, Early Victorian Attitudes Toward State Intervention, 1833-1848. Newton Abbot, Devon: David and Charles, 1971.

Parliamentary Politics and the Home Rule Crisis: The British House of Commons in 1886. Oxford: Clarendon P, 1988.

The Cambridge Apostles, 1820-1914: Liberalism, Imagination, and Friendship in British Intellectual and Professional Life. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1998 paperback ed. 2007.

Liberal Intellectuals and Public Culture in Modern Britain: Making Words Flesh, 1815-1914. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell P, 2010.

Ed. with Nancy Lopatin-Lummis, Liberalism and Politics: Parliament and Political Culture in Nineteenth-Century Britain special edition of Parliamentary History. Oxford: Blackwell, forthcoming in 2016.

“The Cambridge Ritualists, 1876-1924: A Study of Commensurability in the History of Scholarship.” History of Universities 24 (1/2) (2009): 280-308.

“The Priesthood of Modernity” [review essay of Stefan Collini, Common Reading (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008)]. Reviews in History ( February 2009.

“Roman Catholicism in the University of Cambridge: St. Edmund’s House in 1898.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 59.4 (October 2008): 697-713.

“Mediating the ‘Chaos of Incident’ and the ‘Cosmos of Sentiment’: Liberalism in Britain, 1815-1914.” Journal of British Studies 47.3 (July 2008): 492-504.


Fellow, Royal Historical Society
Member, American Historical Association
Past-President, North American Conference on British Studies
Past-President, Mid-Atlantic Conference on British Studies
Chair, American Associates Committee of Parliamentary History
Treasurer, American Friends of the Institute of Historical Research
Delegate, American Council of Learned Societies

Michelle McDonald, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tenured Associate Professor of Atlantic History

Michelle McDonald

Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tenured Associate Professor of Atlantic History

Michelle Craig McDonald is the Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Stockton University. In this capacity, she oversees the work of Stockton’s seven Schools and numerous offices, centers, and institutes that support Stockton’s academic mission s. In addition, she oversees the Offices of Research and Sponsored Programs, Office of Continuing Studies, Center for Community Engagement, and Office of Global Engagement, and is the University's Accreditation Liaison Officer to Middle States Commission on Higher Education and other national, regional, state and local agencies in higher education.

Dr. McDonald is also Associate Professor of History in the School of Arts and Humanities, and her research and scholarship has been supported by grants from the Fulbright Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the U.S. Department of Education. Since joining Stockton in 2006, Dr. McDonald has served in a number of administrative capacities, as History Program Coordinator (2012-14), Vice President of Faculty Senate (2013-15), co-chair of the Faculty Senate Task Force on University Status (2012-14), co-chair of the Pan-College Task Fore on University Status (2014), Faculty Administrative Fellow in the Office of the Provost (2014), and Assistant Provost (2015-17).

Dr. McDonald received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan, an M.A. in Museum and American Studies from George Washington University, an M.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John's College, and a B.A. in History from the University of California (Los Angeles). She was also the Harvard-Newcomen Post-Doctoral Fellow in Business History at the Harvard Business School in 2005, the year before she came to Stockton University.

Kameika Murphy, Assistant Professor of Atlantic History

Kameika Murphy

Assistant Professor of Atlantic History


Kameika Murphy is a historian with expertise in the Black Atlantic. Her work centers on Afro-Latin American and Afro-Caribbean perspectives of the Atlantic World. Dr. Murphy's research interests include connections between people of African descent in North America and the Greater Caribbean transoceanic migrant communities gender and asylum in the Afro-diasporic experience power sharing in port cities the Atlantic revolutions and African American military experiences. Dr. Murphy's most recent work focuses on Black Loyalist refugees and their contributions to Afro-Caribbean civil society in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.



GAH 3119 Multicultural Latin America
HIST 1152 Introduction to US History to 1865
HIST 2128 Atlantic History
HIST 2171 The Black Atlantic
HIST 3605 Slavery and Emancipation

Theories of race, ethnicity and culture

Advice on which of the many possible definitions of race, ethnicity, and culture is most appropriate has been published in some medical journals. 1 Sensitivity to what these words may mean to an individual and, in a collective context, their explosive potential, has been encouraged partly by the latest phase in what has been called the “race policy environment.” Its history can be summarised briefly. The “race neutrality” of British public policy that emerged in the postwar period, which contributed to the entrenchment of inequality, was supplanted in the mid-1960s by assimiliationist policies informed by a belief that disadvantage in “racial” minorities might be eradicated if they adopted indigenous cultural behaviours such as the English diet. These policies were replaced in the 1980s by others promoting “racial harmony,” a blending of identities as a means of defusing racial tension. In the current phase, there is a recognition of the importance that people attach to having their distinctive identity acknowledged and respected, and moreover, recognition that the structure of British society and institutional racism both contribute to the disadvantages experienced by minorities. 2

Summary points

Race, ethnicity, and culture should not be perceived as problematic “facts” or “things”

The category “white” is too broad —and often meaningless

Research into the relevance of race, ethnicity, and culture should address everyone's health, not just that of the victims of inequality

Globalisation, displacement, and social movements are undermining the capacity of one nation to fix people's identity

Coming Up Next Time…

Those are the questions we’ll address in fourth and final article in the series on DNA tests.

In that article, we will finally look in depth at ethnicity reports – how they come up with their data, what the data means, and how we genealogists – from ALL ethnic backgrounds – can help improve the future of DNA research.

I will also share examples from my own reports, so you can see how data can be interpreted (and misinterpreted) in context.

You can now read that article here:

I invite you to subscribe to the Trentino Genealogy blog, to make sure you receive all the articles in the special series on DNA testing, as well as all our future articles. After the series is complete, I will also be compiling all these articles into a FREE downloadable PDF available for a limited time to all subscribers. If you are viewing online, you will find the subscription form on the right side at the top of your screen. If you are viewing on a mobile device and cannot see the form, you can subscribe by sending a blank email to [email protected]

Lynn Serafinn, genealogist at Trentino Genealogy

I look forward to your comments. Please feel free to share your own research discoveries in the comments box below.


Stuart Hall was born in Kingston, Jamaica, into a middle-class Jamaican family of African, British, Portuguese Jewish and likely Indian descent. [6] He attended Jamaica College, receiving an education modelled after the British school system. [10] In an interview Hall describes himself as a "bright, promising scholar" in these years and his formal education as "a very 'classical' education very good but in very formal academic terms." With the help of sympathetic teachers, he expanded his education to include "T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Freud, Marx, Lenin and some of the surrounding literature and modern poetry", as well as "Caribbean literature". [11] Hall's later works reveal that growing up in the pigmentocracy of the colonial West Indies, where he was of darker skin than much of his family, had a profound effect on his views. [12] [13]

In 1951 Hall won a Rhodes Scholarship to Merton College at the University of Oxford, where he studied English and obtained an M.A., [14] [15] becoming part of the Windrush generation, the first large-scale emigration of West Indians, as that community was then known. He originally intended to do graduate work on the medieval poem Piers Plowman, reading it through the lens of contemporary literary criticism, but was dissuaded by his language professor, J. R. R. Tolkien, who told him 'in a pained tone that this was not the point of the exercise.' [16] He began a Ph.D. on Henry James at Oxford but, galvanised particularly by the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary (which saw many thousands of members leave the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and look for alternatives to previous orthodoxies) and the Suez Crisis, abandoned this in 1957 [15] or 1958 [10] to focus on his political work. In 1957, he joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and it was on a CND march that he met his future wife. [17] From 1958 to 1960, Hall worked as a teacher in a London secondary modern school [18] and in adult education, and in 1964 married Catherine Hall, concluding around this time that he was unlikely to return permanently to the Caribbean. [15]

After working on the Universities and Left Review during his time at Oxford, Hall joined E. P. Thompson, Raymond Williams and others to merge it with The New Reasoner, launching the New Left Review in 1960 with Hall as the founding editor. [10] In 1958, the same group, with Raphael Samuel, launched the Partisan Coffee House in Soho as a meeting place for left-wingers. [19] Hall left the board of the New Left Review in 1961 [20] or 1962. [13]

Hall's academic career took off in 1964 after he co-wrote with Paddy Whannel of the British Film Institute (BFI) "one of the first books to make the case for the serious study of film as entertainment", The Popular Arts. [21] As a direct result, Richard Hoggart invited Hall to join the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham, initially as a research fellow at Hoggart's own expense. [13] In 1968 Hall became director of the Centre. He wrote a number of influential articles in the years that followed, including Situating Marx: Evaluations and Departures (1972) and Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse (1973). He also contributed to the book Policing the Crisis (1978) and coedited the influential Resistance Through Rituals (1975).

Shortly before Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979, Hall and Maggie Steed presented It Ain't Half Racist Mum, an Open Door programme made by the Campaign Against Racism in the Media (CARM) which tackled racial stereotypes and contemporary British attitudes to immigration. [22] After his appointment as a professor of sociology at the Open University (OU) that year, Hall published further influential books, including The Hard Road to Renewal (1988), Formations of Modernity (1992), Questions of Cultural Identity (1996) and Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices (1997). Through the 1970s and 1980s, Hall was closely associated with the journal Marxism Today [23] in 1995, he was a founding editor of Soundings: A Journal of Politics and Culture. [24]

He spoke internationally on Cultural Studies, including a series of lectures in 1983 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that were recorded and would decades later form the basis of the 2016 book Cultural Studies 1983: A Theoretical History (edited by Jennifer Slack and Lawrence Grossberg). [25]

Hall was the founding chair of Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) and the photography organization Autograph ABP (the Association of Black Photographers). [26]

Hall retired from the Open University in 1997. He was elected Fellow of the British Academy (FBA) in 2005 and received the European Cultural Foundation's Princess Margriet Award in 2008. [2] He died on 10 February 2014, from complications following kidney failure, a week after his 82nd birthday. By the time of his death, he was widely known as the "godfather of multiculturalism". [27] [2] [28] [29] His memoir, Familiar Stranger: A Life Between Two Islands (co-authored with Bill Schwarz), was posthumously published in 2017.

Hall's work covers issues of hegemony and cultural studies, taking a post-Gramscian stance. He regards language-use as operating within a framework of power, institutions and politics/economics. This view presents people as producers and consumers of culture at the same time. (Hegemony, in Gramscian theory, refers to the socio-cultural production of "consent" and "coercion".) For Hall, culture was not something to simply appreciate or study, but a "critical site of social action and intervention, where power relations are both established and potentially unsettled". [30]

Hall became one of the main proponents of reception theory, and developed Hall's Theory of encoding and decoding. This approach to textual analysis focuses on the scope for negotiation and opposition on the part of the audience. This means that the audience does not simply passively accept a text—social control. Crime statistics, in Hall's view, are often manipulated for political and economic purposes. Moral panics (e.g. over mugging) could thereby be ignited in order to create public support for the need to "police the crisis". The media play a central role in the "social production of news" in order to reap the rewards of lurid crime stories. [31]

In his essay "Reconstruction Work: Images of Postwar Black Settlement", Hall also interrogates questions of historical memory and visuality in relation to photography as a colonial technology. According to Hall, understanding and writing about the history of Black migration and settlement in Britain during the postwar era requires a careful and critical examination of the limited historical archive, and photographic evidence proves itself invaluable. However, photographic images are often perceived as more objective than other representations, which is dangerous. In his view, one must critically examine who produced these images, what purpose they serve, and how they further their agenda (e.g., what has been deliberately included and excluded in the frame). For example, in the context of postwar Britain, photographic images like those displayed in the Picture Post article "Thirty Thousand Colour Problems" construct Black migration, Blackness in Britain, as "the problem". [32] They construct miscegenation as "the centre of the problem", as "the problem of the problem", as "the core issue". [32]

Hall's political influence extended to the Labour Party, perhaps related to the influential articles he wrote for the CPGB's theoretical journal Marxism Today (MT) that challenged the left's views of markets and general organisational and political conservatism. This discourse had a profound impact on the Labour Party under both Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair, although Hall later decried New Labour as operating on "terrain defined by Thatcherism". [28]

Encoding and decoding model Edit

Hall presented his encoding and decoding philosophy in various publications and at several oral events across his career. The first was in "Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse" (1973), a paper he wrote for the Council of Europe Colloquy on "Training in the Critical Readings of Television Language" organised by the Council and the Centre for Mass Communication Research at the University of Leicester. It was produced for students at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, which Paddy Scannell explains: "largely accounts for the provisional feel of the text and its 'incompleteness'". [33] In 1974 the paper was presented at a symposium on Broadcasters and the Audience in Venice. Hall also presented his encoding and decoding model in "Encoding/Decoding" in Culture, Media, Language in 1980. The time difference between Hall's first publication on encoding and decoding in 1973 and his 1980 publication is highlighted by several critics. Of particular note is Hall's transition from the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies to the Open University. [33]

Hall had a major influence on cultural studies, and many of the terms his texts set forth continue to be used in the field. His 1973 text is viewed as a turning point in Hall's research toward structuralism and provides insight into some of the main theoretical developments he explored at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies.

Hall takes a semiotic approach and builds on the work of Roland Barthes and Umberto Eco. [34] The essay takes up and challenges longheld assumptions about how media messages are produced, circulated and consumed, proposing a new theory of communication. [35] "The 'object' of production practices and structures in television is the production of a message: that is, a sign-vehicle or rather sign-vehicles of a specific kind organized, like any other form of communication or language, through the operation of codes, within the syntagmatic chains of a discourse". [36]

According to Hall, "a message must be perceived as meaningful discourse and be meaningfully de-coded before it has an effect, a use, or satisfies a need". There are four codes of the Encoding/Decoding Model of Communication. The first way of encoding is the dominant (i.e. hegemonic) code. This is the code the encoder expects the decoder to recognize and decode. "When the viewer takes the connoted meaning full and straight and decodes the message in terms of the reference-code in which it has been coded, it operates inside the dominant code." The second way of encoding is the professional code. It operates in tandem with the dominant code. "It serves to reproduce the dominant definitions precisely by bracketing the hegemonic quality, and operating with professional codings which relate to such questions as visual quality, news and presentational values, televisual quality, 'professionalism' etc." [37] The third way of encoding is the negotiated code. "It acknowledges the legitimacy of the hegemonic definitions to make the grand significations, while, at a more restricted, situational level, it makes its own ground-rules, it operates with 'exceptions' to the rule". [38] The fourth way of encoding is the oppositional code, also known as the globally contrary code. "It is possible for a viewer perfectly to understand both the literal and connotative inflection given to an event, but to determine to decode the message in a globally contrary way." "Before this message can have an 'effect' (however defined), or satisfy a 'need' or be put to a 'use', it must first be perceived as a meaningful discourse and meaningfully de-coded." [39]

Hall challenged all four components of the mass communications model. He argues that (i) meaning is not simply fixed or determined by the sender (ii) the message is never transparent and (iii) the audience is not a passive recipient of meaning. [35] For example, a documentary film on asylum seekers that aims to provide a sympathetic account of their plight does not guarantee that audiences will feel sympathetic. Despite being realistic and recounting facts, the documentary must still communicate through a sign system (the aural-visual signs of TV) that simultaneously distorts the producers' intentions and evokes contradictory feelings in the audience. [35]

Distortion is built into the system, rather than being a "failure" of the producer or viewer. There is a "lack of fit", Hall argues, "between the two sides in the communicative exchange"—that is, between the moment of the production of the message ("encoding") and the moment of its reception ("decoding"). [35] In "Encoding/decoding", Hall suggests media messages accrue commonsense status in part through their performative nature. Through the repeated performance, staging or telling of the narrative of "9/11" (as an example there are others like it), a culturally specific interpretation becomes not only plausible and universal but elevated to "common sense". [35]

Views on cultural identity and the African diaspora Edit

In his influential 1996 essay “Cultural Identity and Diaspora”, Hall presents two different definitions of cultural identity.

In the first definition, cultural identity is "a sort of collective 'one true self'… which many people with a shared history and ancestry hold in common." [40] In this view, cultural identity provides a "stable, unchanging and continuous frame of reference and meaning" through the ebb and flow of historical change. This allows the tracing back the origins of descendants and reflecting on the historical experiences of ancestors as a shared truth [40] Therefore, blacks living in the diaspora need only "unearth" their African past to discover their true cultural identity. [40] While Hall appreciates the good effects this first view of cultural identity has had in the postcolonial world, he proposes a second definition of cultural identity that he views as superior.

Hall's second definition of cultural identity "recognises that, as well as the many points of similarity, there are also critical points of deep and significant difference which constitute 'what we really are' or rather – since history has intervened – 'what we have become.'" [40] In this view, cultural identity is not a fixed essence rooted in the past. Instead, cultural identities “undergo constant transformation” throughout history as they are "subject to the continuous 'play' of history, culture, and power". [40] Thus Hall defines cultural identities as “the names we give to the different ways we are positioned by, and position ourselves within, the narratives of the past.” [40] This view of cultural identity was more challenging than the previous due to its dive into deep differences, but nonetheless it showed the mixture of the African diaspora."In other words, for Hall cultural identity is "not an essence but a positioning". [40]

Presences Edit

Hall describes Caribbean identity in terms of three distinct "presences": the African, the European, and the American. [40] Taking the terms from Aimé Césaire and Léopold Senghor, he describes the three presences: "Présence Africaine", "Présence Européenne", and "Présence Americaine" (230). [40] "Présence Africaine" is the "unspeakable 'presence' in Caribbean culture" (230). [40] According to Hall, the African presence, though repressed by slavery and colonialism, is in fact hiding in plain sight in every aspect of Caribbean society and culture, including language, religion, the arts, and music. For many black people living in the diaspora, Africa becomes an "imagined community" to which they feel a sense of belonging. [40] But, Hall points out, there is no going back to the Africa that existed before slavery, because Africa too has changed. Secondly, Hall describes the European presence in Caribbean cultural identity as the legacy of colonialism, racism, power and exclusion. Unlike the "Présence Africaine", the European presence is not unspoken even though many would like to be separated from the history of the oppressor. But Hall argues that Caribbeans and diasporic peoples must acknowledge how the European presence has also become an inextricable part of their own identities. [40] Lastly, Hall describes the American presence as the "ground, place, territory" where people and cultures from around the world collided. [40] It is, as Hall puts it, "where the fateful/fatal encounter was staged between Africa and the West", and also where the displacement of the natives occurred (234). [40]

Diasporic identity Edit

Because diasporic cultural identity in the Caribbean and throughout the world is a mixture of all these different presences, Hall advocates a "conception of 'identity' which lives with and through, not despite, difference by hybridity". [40] According to Hall, black people living in diaspora are constantly reinventing themselves and their identities by mixing, hybridizing, and "creolizing" influences from Africa, Europe, and the rest of the world in their everyday lives and cultural practices. [40] Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all cultural identity for diasporic people, but rather a multiplicity of different cultural identities that share both important similarities and important differences, all of which should be respected. [40]

Difference and Differance Edit

In Cultural Identity and Diaspora, Hall sheds light on the topic of difference within black identity. He first acknowledges the oneness in the black diaspora and how this unity is at the core of blackness and the black experience. He expresses how this has a unifying effect on the diaspora, giving way to movements such as negritude and the Pan-African political project. Hall also acknowledges the deep rooted "difference" within the diaspora as well. This difference was created by destructive nature of the transatlantic slave trade and the resulting generations of slavery. He describes this difference as what constitutes "what we really are", or the true nature of the diaspora. The duality of such an identity, that expresses deep unity but clear uniqueness and internal distinctness provokes a question out of Hall: "How, then, to describe this play of 'difference' within identity?" [40] Hall's answer is 'differance'. The use of the 'a' in the word unsettles us from our initial and common interpretation of it, and was originally introduced by Jacques Derrida. This modification of the word difference conveys the separation between spatial and temporal difference, and more adequately encapsulates the nuances of the diaspora.

1960s Edit

  • Hall, Stuart (March–April 1960). "Crosland territory". New Left Review. I (2): 2–4.
  • Hall, Stuart (January–February 1961). "Student journals". New Left Review. I (7): 50–51.
  • Hall, Stuart (March–April 1961). "The new frontier". New Left Review. I (8): 47–48.
  • Hall, Stuart Anderson, Perry (July–August 1961). "Politics of the common market". New Left Review. I (10): 1–15.
  • Hall, Stuart Whannell, Paddy (1964). The Popular Arts. London: Hutchinson Educational. OCLC2915886.
  • Hall, Stuart (1968). The Hippies: an American "moment". Birmingham: Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. OCLC12360725.

1970s Edit

  • Hall, Stuart (1971). Deviancy, Politics and the Media. Birmingham: Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies.
  • Hall, Stuart (1971). "Life and Death of Picture Post", Cambridge Review, vol. 92, no. 2201.
  • Hall, Stuart P. Walton (1972). Situating Marx: Evaluations and Departures. London: Human Context Books.
  • Hall, Stuart (1972). "The Social Eye of Picture Post", Working Papers in Cultural Studies, no. 2, pp. 71–120.
  • Hall, Stuart (1973). Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse. Birmingham: Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies.
  • Hall, Stuart (1973). A ‘Reading’ of Marx's 1857 Introduction to the Grundrisse. Birmingham: Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies.
  • Hall, Stuart (1974). "Marx's Notes on Method: A ‘Reading’ of the ‘1857 Introduction’", Working Papers in Cultural Studies, no. 6, pp. 132–171.
  • Hall, Stuart T. Jefferson (1976), Resistance Through Rituals, Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain. London: HarperCollinsAcademic.
  • Hall, Stuart (1977). "Journalism of the air under review". Journalism Studies Review. 1 (1): 43–45.
  • Hall, Stuart C. Critcher T. Jefferson J. Clarke B. Roberts (1978), Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order. London: Macmillan. London: Macmillan Press. 0-333-22061-7 (paperback) 0-333-22060-9 (hardback).
  • Hall, Stuart (January 1979). "The great moving right show". Marxism Today. Amiel and Melburn Collections: 14–20.

1980s Edit

  • Hall, Stuart (1980). "Encoding / Decoding." In: Hall, D. Hobson, A. Lowe, and P. Willis (eds). Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972–79. London: Hutchinson, pp. 128–138.
  • Hall, Stuart (1980). "Cultural Studies: two paradigms". Media, Culture and Society. 2 (1): 57–72. doi:10.1177/016344378000200106. S2CID143637900.
  • Hall, Stuart (1980). "Race, Articulation and Societies Structured in Dominance." In: UNESCO (ed). Sociological Theories: Race and Colonialism. Paris: UNESCO. pp. 305–345.
  • Hall, Stuart (1981). "Notes on Deconstructing the Popular". In: People's History and Socialist Theory. London: Routledge.
  • Hall, Stuart P. Scraton (1981). "Law, Class and Control". In: M. Fitzgerald, G. McLennan & J. Pawson (eds). Crime and Society, London: RKP.
  • Hall, Stuart (1988). The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left. London: Verso Books.
  • Hall, Stuart (June 1986). "Gramsci's relevance for the study of race and ethnicity". Journal of Communication Inquiry. 10 (2): 5–27. doi:10.1177/019685998601000202. S2CID53782.
  • Hall, Stuart (June 1986). "The problem of ideology-Marxism without guarantees". Journal of Communication Inquiry. 10 (2): 28–44. CiteSeerX10.1.1.1033.1130 . doi:10.1177/019685998601000203. S2CID144448154.
  • Hall, Stuart Jacques, Martin (July 1986). "People aid: a new politics sweeps the land". Marxism Today. Amiel and Melburn Collections: 10–14.

1990s Edit

  • Hall, Stuart Held, David McGrew, Anthony (1992). Modernity and its futures . Cambridge: Polity Press in association with the Open University. ISBN9780745609669 .
  • Hall, Stuart (1992), "The question of cultural identity", in Hall, Stuart Held, David McGrew, Anthony (eds.), Modernity and its futures, Cambridge: Polity Press in association with the Open University, pp. 274–316, ISBN9780745609669 .
  • Hall, Stuart (Summer 1996). "Who dares, fails". Soundings, Issue: Heroes and Heroines. Lawrence and Wishart. 3.
  • Hall, Stuart (1997). Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices . London Thousand Oaks, California: Sage in association with the Open University. ISBN9780761954323 .
  • Hall, Stuart (1997), "The local and the global: globalization and ethnicity", in McClintock, Anne Mufti, Aamir Shohat, Ella (eds.), Dangerous liaisons: gender, nation, and postcolonial perspectives, Minnesota, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 173–187, ISBN9780816626496 .
  • Hall, Stuart (January–February 1997). "Raphael Samuel: 1934-96". New Left Review. New Left Review. I (221). Available online.

2000s Edit

  • Hall, Stuart (2001), "Foucault: Power, knowledge and discourse", in Wetherell, Margaret Taylor, Stephanie Yates, Simeon J. (eds.), Discourse Theory and Practice: a reader, D843 Course: Discourse Analysis, London Thousand Oaks California: Sage in association with the Open University, pp. 72–80, ISBN9780761971566 .

2010s Edit

  • Hall, Stuart (2011). "The neo-liberal revolution". Cultural Studies. 25 (6): 705–728. doi:10.1080/09502386.2011.619886. S2CID143653421.
  • Hall, Stuart Evans, Jessica Nixon, Sean (2013) [1997]. Representation (2nd ed.). London: Sage in association with The Open University. ISBN9781849205634 .
  • Hall, Stuart (2016). Cultural Studies 1983: A Theoretical History. Slack, Jennifer and Lawrence Grossberg, eds. Duke University Press. 0822362635.
  • Hall, Stuart (2017). Selected Political Writings: The Great Moving Right Show and other essays. London: Lawrence & Wishart. ISBN9781910448656 .
  • Hall, Stuart (with Bill Schwarz) (2017). Familiar Stranger: A Life Between Two Islands. London: Allen Lane Durham: Duke University Press. ISBN9780822363873 .
  • The Stuart Hall Library, InIVA's reference library at Rivington Place in Shoreditch, London, founded in 2007, is named after Stuart Hall, who was the chair of the board of InIVA for many years.
  • In November 2014 a week-long celebration of Stuart Hall's achievements was held at the University of London's Goldsmiths College, where on 28 November the new Academic Building was renamed in his honour, as the Professor Stuart Hall building (PSH). [41][42]
  • The establishment of the Stuart Hall Foundation in his memory and to continue his life's work was announced in December 2014. [43]

Film Edit

Hall was a presenter of a seven-part television series entitled Redemption Song — made by Barraclough Carey Productions, and transmitted on BBC2, between 30 June and 12 August 1991 — in which he examined the elements that make up the Caribbean, looking at the turbulent history of the islands and interviewing people who live there today. [44] The series episodes were as follows:

  • "Shades of Freedom" (11/08/1991)
  • "Following Fidel" (04/08/1991)
  • "Worlds Apart" (28 July 1991)
  • "La Grande Illusion" (21 July 1991)
  • "Paradise Lost" (14 July 1991)
  • "Out of Africa" (7 July 1991)
  • "Iron in the Soul" (30 June 1991)

Hall's lectures have been turned into several videos distributed by the Media Education Foundation:

Mike Dibb produced a film based on a long interview between journalist Maya Jaggi and Stuart Hall called Personally Speaking (2009). [45] [46]

Hall is the subject of two films directed by John Akomfrah, entitled The Unfinished Conversation (2012) and The Stuart Hall Project (2013). The first film was shown (26 October 2013 – 23 March 2014) at Tate Britain, Millbank, London, [47] while the second is now available on DVD. [48]

The Stuart Hall Project was composed of clips drawn from more than 100 hours of archival footage of Hall, woven together over the music of jazz artist Miles Davis, who was an inspiration to both Hall and Akomfrah. [49]

The film's structure is composed of multiple strands. There is a chronological grounding in historical events, such as the Suez Crisis, Vietnam War, and the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, along with reflections by Hall on his experiences as an immigrant from the Caribbean to Britain. Another historical event vital to the film was the 1958 Notting Hill race riots occasioned by the murder of a Black British man these protests showed the presence of a Black community within England. When discussing the Caribbean, Hall discusses the idea of hybridity and he states that the Caribbean is the home of hybridity. There are also voiceovers and interviews offered without a specific temporal grounding in the film that nonetheless give the viewer greater insights into Hall and his philosophy. Along with the voiceovers and interviews, embedded in the film are also Hall's personal achievements this is extremely rare, as there are no traditional archives of those Caribbean peoples moulded by the Middle Passage experience.

The film can be viewed as a more pointedly focused take on the Windrush generation, those who migrated from the Caribbean to Britain in the years immediately following World War II. Hall, himself a member of this generation, exposed the less glamorous truth underlying the British Empire experience for Caribbean people, contrasting West Indian migrant expectations with the often harsher reality encountered on arriving in the Mother Country. [50]

A central theme in the film is Diasporic belonging. Hall confronted his own identity within both British and Caribbean communities, and at one point in the film he remarks: "Britain is my home, but I am not English."

IMDb summarises the film as "a roller coaster ride through the upheavals, struggles and turning points that made the 20th century the century of campaigning, and of global political and cultural change." [51]

In August 2012, Professor Sut Jhally conducted an interview with Hall that touched on a number of themes and issues in cultural studies. [52]

The omnibus and urban culture in nineteenth-century Paris

Publication History:

Engine of Modernity: The Omnibus and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris examines the connection between public transportation and popular culture in nineteenth-century Paris through a focus on the omnibus - a horse-drawn vehicle for mass urban transport which enabled contact across lines of class and gender. A major advancement in urban locomotion, the omnibus generated innovations in social practices by compelling passengers of diverse backgrounds to interact within the vehicle’s close confines. Although the omnibus itself did not actually have an engine, its arrival on the streets of Paris and in the pages of popular literature acted as a motor for a fundamental cultural shift in how people thought about the city, its social life, and its artistic representations. At the intersection of literary criticism and cultural history, Engine of Modernity argues that for nineteenth-century French writers and artists, the omnibus was much more than a mode of transportation. It became a metaphor through which to explore evolving social dynamics of class and gender, meditate on the meaning of progress and change, and reflect on one’s own literary and artistic practices.

Discussion: gender, generalisation and the future

The finding of this research review is that music has an important role in identity formation in diasporic situations. Music can serve both to stabilise and maintain identities and belongings – but also to destabilise them, providing new material and resources for identity formation. A number of studies have examined this, highlighting the importance of context (the diasporic situation), space, collective memory and politics.

As stressed in the method section, this study has limitations. Only including studies published in English probably reinforces the bias towards the western world only six of the 31 reviewed articles investigate diasporic communities located outside Europe and North America (see Titon 2009a for a broad overview of music genres in all the world's regions). The choice only to include journal articles, together with the fact that the selected database primarily indexes social and behavioural sciences, implies that subfields of relevance may be poorly covered. This can be due to the fact that some research traditions mainly publish in the form of monographs and book chapters, or because potentially relevant studies are not indexed as social or behavioural sciences (and hence are not part of the selected database). To some extent this is the case for the subfields of musicology and ethnomusicology, which implies that important contributions may not have been covered. In order to check whether the findings are in line with recent discussions in ethnomusicology, I have reviewed the latest volumes of two key journals: Ethnomusiciology (journal of the Society of Ethnomusicology) and Ethnomusicology Forum (journal of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology). This review finds a number of studies that are relevant but are not covered in the systematic literature review. However, none of these articles run contrary to the findings indeed they rather support and deepen them.2 2 Context: Ramnarine ( 2007b ) shows how diasporic groups relate to views on diasporic relativism and diasporic essentialism, stressing that diaspora is not only about understanding the past but also about shaping the future Douglas ( 2013 ) shows how an ethnic identity was maintained and performed in a multi-ethnic setting through the use of distinct musical traditions. Memory: Sheleman ( 2006 ) discusses music as a site of memory, where historical narratives are shaped, something that is also stressed by Cidra ( 2015 ) Kyker ( 2013 ) investigates how transnational identities are produced and negotiated through musical listening, with songs making it possible for listeners to symbolically relocate themselves within the social setting of a remembered home. Politics: Cidra ( 2015 ) shows how songs questioned the legacy of colonial narratives and provided embodied experience of a diasporic present Jung ( 2014 ) examines how social media provide opportunities to circumvent racial barriers in the music industry Alajaji ( 2013 ) shows how the re-diasporisation of a community affected the inclusivity of an ethnic identity, making it more exclusive Kyker ( 2013 ) discusses how audiences routinely interpreted songs about migration and diaspora as subtle criticism of postcolonial domestic politics, whereas Robinson ( 2013 ) investigates how residents claim a regional music traditions as their own, and thereby express local identification as well as national patriotism.

The exploratory character of this review also needs to be stressed its aim is to glean broad insights from the research, map some trends, and discuss general aspects of studies of music's role in identity formation. There may be studies that go more deeply into the issues or that discuss other areas than the four found here, but what the reviewed literature has revealed is still important and provides important insights into the diverse and complex function of music in diasporic settings.

On the basis of the reviewed literature, three aspects need to be discussed in more depth: differentiation (the role of gender), methodology (the justification of generalisation), and the future (the performative role of diasporic consciousness and its new conditions).


Many of the reviewed papers discuss power, inequality, and marginalisation. Focusing on the social position of a diasporic community, they analyse the role of class and ethnic identity in the construction of marginalisation and stigmatisation. Class is especially emphasised in the discussion on ethnicity and music, while age is addressed in some studies, especially in the context of generational change. Surprisingly, only a handful of studies elaborate on gender issues in any depth, despite the fact that musical performance to a large extent seems to be gender-coded. (For example, most of the studied cases are populated by men.) Some of the reviewed literature shows that music and dance often function to reproduce and strengthen gender identities and relations, i.e., that practices and spaces shaped by the performance of these practices are gendered (Dawson 2002 Leonard 2006 Lewis 2010 Maya Knauer 2008 Roberson 2010 van Aken 2006 ). However, music does not only contribute to the enculturation of gendered identities, it also can challenge them, as well as their practices and relations. For example, Bennett ( 1997 ) describes how young Asian women are given the opportunity to become community DJs and creatively shape tracks in which Bhangra music is mixed with contemporary music, such as rap and house, and shows that this position influences their relations and identities. Thus, music creates a space that can stabilise and destabilise established gender identities, often both at the same time. An important area for future studies is thus to investigate gendered aspects of the stabilisation and transformation of social identities.


The reviewed literature is mainly of a case-oriented character, where particular groups, phenomena, or events are studied through the use of interviews and observations. Ethnography is the most common method it is highly relevant because there is no other way to understand the role of music in diaspora than to investigate it in its real life context, and this methodological approach provides a rich, detailed, and complex understanding (Gobo 2008 ). The reviewed studies show the manifold functions of music, the decisive role of context and the ongoing processes of essentialisation and hybridisation of social identities and cultural belongings. Some studies are limited to only drawing conclusions about the studied case, whereas others also draw more general conclusions. In both quantitative and qualitative studies it is always necessary to methodologically justify the making of generalisations, to explain how and to what extent results are transferable to cases and contexts other than the one studied. For studies making use of more intensive methods of data analysis, methodological strategies exist (such as re-contextualisation and abstraction) for making results transferable to other contexts or for discovering fundamental mechanisms behind specific empirical results (Kvale 2007 Sayer 2010 ). None of the reviewed literature, however, includes any discussion of how to gain more general knowledge from particular cases. This is therefore an important aspect to discuss in future studies.

The future

As shown in this research review, music plays a dynamic role in social life and cultural experience it can be a means for individual or collective self-understanding, for political mobilisation, for strengthening a group's cultural identity as well as transcending it, and for reinforcing boundaries between groups as well as perforating them. This is because music provides cultural resources and expressive practices that, consciously or unconsciously, are used by individuals and groups to understand themselves and their place in the world, to structure social relations, to shape identities, and to develop actions. Music therefore works performatively: the past is not only remembered but also shaped the diasporic consciousness is at once a resource and a restriction in the social positioning and orientation of groups, and thus has consequences for the future. However, the reviewed studies primarily focus on the current situation and explain the music's role in the present, giving only limited attention to the consequences of this (temporary) diasporic consciousness. This may partly be a result of the methodological approach chosen, which stresses particular cases and their settings, and rarely investigates the wider implications for the surroundings. In a world characterised by migration, transnational networks, and global flows, there is likely to be a growing need for knowledge about identity formation in diaspora, including the role of music in this process. Increasing transnational migration makes it likely that new diasporic communities will be formed, and old ones renewed immigrants and refugees will have to develop political and cultural strategies to navigate in their new contexts. Also, many host countries that previously welcomed cultural diversity have now initiated political and public discussions on the need for assimilation strategies and less inclusive citizenship for immigrants. This reorientation in migration policies and understandings of integration constitutes a partly new context for the shaping and negotiation of diasporic consciousness. Changes in context provide new opportunities (and restrictions) for identity formation, and music will continue to be one important way for immigrants and refugees to maintain, negotiate and develop their identities in their new setting.


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Thomas, P. The Last Britons? Young Muslims and national identity. School of Education and Professional Development, University of Huddersfield Available: 05 December 2012

‘Race’ and/or ethnicity both play an important role in defining who we are, how we see ourselves and how we are treated by others’. Discuss.

In order to critique the above statement, we need to explore what we mean by ‘defining who we are, how we see ourselves and how we are treated by others’ – Identity. The themes of ‘race’ and ethnicity will be discussed as they are central to the debate. These issues will be explored in reference to South Asian Muslims in Britain and how they see themselves, how they are treated by others and whether ‘race’ and ethnicity are the defining factors in shaping their identities.

Identity is ‘people’s concepts of who they are, of what sort of people they are, and how they relate to others’ (Hogg and Abrams 1988, p2).

Identity is a work in progress, a negotiated space between ourselves and others constantly being reappraised and very much linked to the circulation of cultural meanings in society.’ (Taylor and Spencer 2004p.4)

Identity is a much debated subject where sociologists differ on what influences the formation of identities. However a recurring theme of structure and/or agency influencing how identities are formed can be observed. Functionalist and traditional Marxist ideology is constructed on the basis that identity is a product of socialization an acceptance of the culture of society and class that one is born into. Postmodernists on the other hand argue that identities are fluid and multiple, therefore not constrained to an acceptance of a position into which a person is born in society (Haralambos and Holborn, 2008p.709).

Equally important to the concept of identity is ‘social identity’. According to the social identity theorists Tajfel &Turner(1979) social identity was a definition of a person’s self-concept according to social group membership and personal identity is ‘that part of an individual’s self-concept which derives from his (or her) knowledge of his(or her) membership of a social group’ (Tajfel, 1978p.63). Jenkins(1996), argues that social identity is negotiable- it is a process of establishing similarities and differences between self and others and in turn those that are similar share an ‘identity’. Jenkins believes that by establishing different identity groups creates an awareness of a groups traits and equips you with knowledge on how to interact with them, regardless of whether the knowledge and understanding of these groups maybe limited or even wrong.

There is a general consensus that a person’s identity is multifarious and fluid, a person’s alignment with different social groups is constructed of many factors which include, national origin, class, gender, race, ethnicity, and so on. Bradley(1997) argues that in the postmodern approach to identity, class is becoming less important as a source of identity and that ‘race’, ethnicity, nationality, culture and religion are being stressed upon more as markers of identity. Bradley goes further to say factors of identities are grounded in inequality, social division and differences. For the purpose of this assignment I will be focusing on whether ‘race’ and ethnicity are defining factors in shaping peoples identities concentrating on the lives of South Asian British Muslims.

‘Race’ is a complex and contested issue. The term ‘race’ is used to categorise people into groups according to biological attributes mainly the colour of one’s skin. However the concept of ‘race has been manipulated to breed ideas of superiority and inferiority, which can be illustrated throughout history colonization, British imperialism and apartheid in South Africa are to mention just a few, resulting in exploitation around the world being justified because of the colour of a person’s skin. Social scientists are divided on the use of the term ‘race’, some believing that it is ‘nothing more than an ideological construct’, while others disagree believing that ‘race’ is still held as a defining factor for some groups, resulting in the term ‘race’ being used in inverted commas by some sociologists (Giddens, 2008p.632).

Ethnicity is interconnected with the term ‘race’, both using the process of racialization to define groups however ethnicity has been embraced by some sociologists believing it to be a positive construct relying on individuals ascribing membership to a group where they see themselves as culturally distinct from others. Giddens states that ‘ethnicity is central to individual and group identity, but its significance does vary amongst individuals’ (Giddens, 2008p.633).

In multicultural Britain today, cultural hybridity adds to the confusion of a person’s identity. A multicultural society with a cultural diversity is the product of immigration, creating rise to issues of discrimination, adjustment and assimilation for not only those who immigrate to a new land but also for the generations to come. South Asian British Muslims are a group that is constantly in a state of flux, adapting and adopting cultures to form a hybrid identity which consists of elements of a nation which has been left behind and a new nation whose culture is in conflict of that of their forefathers. Although a shared groundwork of religion, culture and migrant status are the foundations to help British South Asian Muslims construct their identities, there is vast disparity in factors of economic circumstances, nation of origin and education.

Unfortunately ethnicity along with race have become markers of inequality for South Asian British Muslims in British society today, affecting all component of their social life i.e. education, employment, class etc. In addition to this, the Muslim identity of this group is also seen as incompatible with British society and the loyalty and affiliation of British Muslims coming under scrutiny. This is further exasperated by British Muslims being portrayed as ‘disconnected from and even antagonistic to British identity’ (Thomas, 2009p.1). It is largely portrayed that events of 9/11 and more so 7/7 have produced a group in British society that is viewed with suspicion and animosity. However, British Muslims were in fact becoming the targets for social unrest before these events. The nights of summer 2001 were disturbed by violent unrest in the North of England. The British National Party (BNP) had successfully fuelled a fire of suspicion, animosity and distrust between Muslim and White communities of Bradford, Oldham and Burnley. A clash between Muslims of mainly South Asian descent, white extremists and the police resulted in some of the worst race riots in Britain.

If anything, the ’riots’ and events of 7/7 highlight the need to look at faith and religion as well as race as constructs of ethnicity. The example of the South Asian Muslim community in the North of England cannot be seen as purely based on faith and religion, as Muslim from other regions (such as Europe and the Middle East) do not share the same ‘identity’. Similarly purely race cannot be seen as markers of identity and ethnicity, as others of the same race, the Punjabi Sikhs or the Indian Hindus, are ethnically similar, yet were not part of this phenomenon. If anything, at least for the south Asian Muslim community, religion plays an important part in defining their ethnicity. This perception however may not be universally applicable to other groups of Muslims or indeed south Asians, or at least may not have as much of an impact in defining other group identities.

Accepting religion is embodied in ethnicity the rise of ‘Islamophobia’ resulted in many British Muslims questioning their identities. Many have been on the ‘brunt of suspicion accompanied by hostility, and have had doubts cast on them regarding their loyalty as British citizens’ (Abbas, 2005). Furthermore ‘Islamophobia’ has become recognised as the leading force of racial intolerance in recent years (Marsh & Keating, 2006), in spite of this young British South Asian Muslims still regard as the most important factor of their identity, however they believe that this ‘Islamic identity is not incompatible with British national identity’ (Thomas, 2009p.5). British Muslims are torn between loyalties to their religion and culture and into adopting and assimilating into ‘British’ culture, which arises in conflict and identity crisis. Young British Muslims are, more and more, encompassing a cultural hybridity of identity, picking and choosing between values of their forefathers and the norms of British society (Akhtar , 2011).

As part of maintaining the cultural norms and values of the previous generations, the institution of marriage and the role of family are seen as an essential part of their identity. As such the practice of arranged marriage, partly to ensure that these values are maintained in a ‘controlled’ sense is common. In some South Asian families, cousin-marriages are also the norm. Young British South Asian Muslims are finding themselves torn between traditional values of arranged marriage and western concepts of relationships resulting in intergenerational conflict and re-evaluation of certain aspects of their cultural identity, these conflicting ideologies were to give rise to the phenomenon of ‘forced marriages’, where parents would manipulate their offspring with emotional and physical coercion to achieve their desired outcome of a culturally befitting union, it must be stressed however that ‘forced marriage is not a religious issue but a cultural one..

Samad (2004p.20-21) looks at how South Asian British Muslim females have adopted textual Islam to contest traditional cultural approaches to arranged marriages, a minority rejected the practice however most manipulated it to suit their now more western values of choice but with their parents cultural approval. Samad also looked at how The South Asian Muslim women contested their parent’s pressure of wearing traditional ‘Shalwar Kameez’ in favour of western modest clothing, again aligning themselves with British values and customs. Ansari’s(2002p.15-16.) report supports these finding but further adds to it the adoption of the ‘hijab’ by Muslim women to empower them and ‘symbolized this assertion of female Muslim identity’. However the western view of ‘hijabs’ as being a form of oppression and ignorance contradict the notion of empowerment and a positive identity, creating a further rift in the process of assimilation of Muslims in Britain.

In South Asian communities premarital relationships and especially premarital sex is frowned upon and discouraged. Young Muslims are finding themselves caught between a secular society that has a liberal view on sexual relationships and a traditional community which views sex as taboo, both failing to provide appropriate support therefore impacting negatively on their identity. Alyas karmani (2012) provides a detailed analysis of how cultural constraints on sex and relationships affect south Asian males which in turn lead to deviant sexual behaviour which cannot be attributed to either culture. Inappropriate sexual ‘relationships’ with young white girls who are often vulnerable, termed as ‘grooming’ is the new moral panic of British society. Medias over amplification of South Asian men involvement in these phenomena has further alienated booth cultures and created a wedge of distrust between them. While karmani acknowledges that this phenomenon exists in the south Asian community he stresses that it is a very small minority. However he goes on to say that the younger generation need to be better educated in attitudes toward women.

In conclusion research suggests that British South Asian Muslims are at a crossroads with their identities, negotiating between an ethnic culture encompassing values and beliefs which contradict with ‘Britishness’. On the surface this may paint a gloomy picture however questioning of archaic cultural beliefs has enabled the new generation of South Asian Muslims to acquire an identity constructed from agency, assimilating into certain aspects of the host countries culture but retaining markers of their cultural ethnicity which they deem as pivotal in defining who they are and where they come from.

Although South Asian Muslims have come a long way in carving out an identity for themselves, it is apparent that their ‘ethnicity’ is significant in laying the foundations to construct these identities. Young south Asian Muslims have not completely abandoned their cultural roots, but rather have chosen to manipulate and mould the values of their ancestors to manufacture an identity which encompass British norms while being specifically unique to them. It is needless to say factors like education, social class, gender are also significant in defining who they are, but ethnicity is by far the most important in asserting their identity.


The varying experiences of multiculturalism in European and North American societies have thrown into sharp relief the continued importance of diasporic cultural identity, community development, and cultural politics in the midst of growing anti-immigration and nativist movements. Anthropologists have long sought to understand these phenomena by theorizing constructions of diasporic belonging in terms of cultural citizenship, long-distance nationalism, and diasporic citizenship (Ong 1996, Glick-Schiller et al., 2001, Siu 2005). However, recent scholarship has suggested that ‘diaspora’ itself must be re-conceived as practice rather than merely a descriptive state of being, an idea that requires new approaches to questions of cultural citizenship and cultural politics (Dufoix 2008). In this presentation, I offer an ethnographic account to examine the ways in which cultural politics impact the practice of diaspora through community programs and multiculturalist policies in Stockholm, Sweden. How are Iranians responding to racial and multicultural discourses through their productions of diasporic culture? Do these programs impact the practices of diaspora and the negotiation of diasporic citizenship in these communities? I argue that studying cultural production as a field in diaspora in this way allows a focus on practice that points up the ways in which multiple regimes of power (state, community, financial, transnational) are asserted among and upon diaspora groups, vitally influencing their everyday practices in response to shifting geopolitical and transnational circumstances.

“Freakshow,” “truly hideous,” “garish,” and “a monstrosity” are just some of the photo captions on, a website that compiles anonymously submitted photos of “Persian palaces” in greater Los Angeles. Beyond the Internet, the city of Beverly Hills has, since 2004, legally codified its distaste for “over-the-top” Persian palaces by enforcing a style catalogue which outlaws “architecturally impure” construction to “protect property values” and preserve “historic charm.” What do the tensions surrounding Ugly Persian Houses tell us more broadly about “purity,” race, and attendant national anxieties about Iranian immigrants in American neighborhoods? Drawing from research by Tehranian (2008) on employment and housing discrimination and Bakalian & Bozorgmehr (2009) on hate crimes against Middle Easterners, I find that the “clash of civilizations” rhetoric which surfaced in Asian and Middle Eastern-American racial prerequisite cases of the early 1900s reverberates in the contemporary experiences of Iranians in the U.S. Through an examination of “anti-Persian” architectural housing codes, which draw from the same “white spatial imaginary” and political practices that have isolated and segregated American neighborhoods for centuries, the liminal racial position of Iranians is revealed when matters of aesthetic taste and cultural difference stand-in for anxious neighborhood talk of race.

Theories of diaspora have shifted the discourse from notions of diasporic entities to that of diasporic practices (Brubaker 2005). This distinction calls for closer attention to specific cultural work done by potential small groups, which potentially have broader implications for the meanings and uses of diasporic identity on a global level. Previous research on diasporic media has tended to focus on audience analysis and content. In this project we begin to explore how the production norms (ex. establishing “beats,” deciding what is news, who contributes, etc.) of Middle Eastern diasporic media work to build international support, by producing a curated diasporic identity.
In this presentation we broach questions about the deliberate production of diasporic identity online by comparing English-language Iranian and Kurdish diasporic websites. We selected these two nationalities to begin our project because these groups are independently diverse, yet related, since some ethnic Kurds have roots in Iran. Furthermore, these groups are decidedly different because Kurds, unlike Iranians, are a stateless nation without a shared single country of origin. Because Kurds are, in part, an internal ethnic group within Iran, understanding how each reimagines itself as diasporic allows us to explore competing rhetorical moves made by those seeking to take a diasporic position. We selected to focus on English-language sites because although English non-native to both groups, it is the language of international diplomacy. By producing news in English, these sites are arguably better positioned to alter or interact with official diplomatic frames.
As data, we rely heavily on interviews with contributors to these diasporic websites. We selected interviews as our primary methodology because of their tendency to provide insight to individual motivations and interpretation. Secondary sources of data include the content and placement of articles on the diasporic websites.
In this presentation we will begin by explaining how theoretical context of diaspora as stance/practice lends itself well to studies of media production. Next we will compare the news production routines and lived experiences of the people we interviewed as well as how we see these themes reflected in content decisions. We conclude by discussing how both our method and findings might be applied to other Middle Eastern diasporas. We believe understanding more the production of diasporic media allows us to explore important questions about how experience, ideology, and training effect media content across diverse groups (Shoemaker & Reese, 1996).

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