Islands of History


  • Robert Adams, Jr.


This article introduces the second set of articles in the Transforming Anthropology series entitled 'Interrogating Race and National Consciousness in the Diaspora'. The three articles Kosuzu Abe's Identities and Racism of Puerto Rican Migrants in New York City: An Introductory Essay; Hideaki Tobe's Military Bases and Modernity: An Aspect of Americanization in Okinawa; and Katsuyuki Murata's Searching for a Framework for a Synthetic Understanding of Post-1965 Immigration from the Western Hemisphere presented in this issue of Transforming Anthropology originate from a research workshop held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Each of these articles shares an active engagement with critical history. My introductory article begins with a discussion of critical theory and the search for a more democratic history. After sketching out the dimensions of a critical historical practice, I highlight how each author uses an island of history, local historical events, to elucidate larger themes such as globalization, identity, imperialism, nation, and race.