Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged culture

Displaced Allegories: Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema

Professor Negar Mottahedeh's critical study of post-revolutionary Iranian film industry, Displaced Allegories, is an intelligent, stimulating, and well-written analysis of "a woman's cinema" after 1979. The cinematic industry has been widely criticized by Iranian feminists for its problematic and stereotypical representation of women.

Ten Things I Hate About Me

I was excited when the book Does My Head Look Big in This? came out a few years ago. In that book, author Randa Abdel-Fattah tells the story of Amal, a young Australian Muslim woman who decides to wear hijab and navigates the challenges of expressing her identity as an Australian Muslim.

Live Through This

In the late nineties, playwright, singer-songwriter, and spoken word artist Sabrina Chapadjiev was an impassioned student playwright in college when she experienced an intensely creative period that put her on the brink of self-destruction. She had recently learned that a young, fierce playwright she had long admired, Sarah Kane, had committed suicide, and she was worried.

Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction

Live Through This is truly a feminist work. It takes the expressed experiences from individuals coming from a wide array of backgrounds, who candidly and publicly share their experiences with issues labelled taboo and private, offering strength and conscience to readers everywhere. The format of this work is an anthology of pieces from some of the most groundbreaking American cultural producers.

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food

It's rare that I find myself so drawn in by a book that it puts a smile on my face. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles did that and more. At its most basic, this book is about Chinese food in the United States - where it came from, its evolution, and the influence it has had on American dining.

Going Dutch in Beijing: How to Behave Properly When Far Away from Home

Anyone who’s ever had a formal meal with a native Beijingian will know that it is socially taboo to offer any contributions when the bill comes. In Going Dutch in Beijing, Mark McCrum thoroughly informs his readers of everything local concerning greetings, table manners, and wedding and funeral customs. He expresses intent on preventing offensive behavior for his traveling readers, but thoughtfully goes beyond his purpose.

Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina

Hijas Americanas is a book that discusses the issues that Latinas raised in the United States face. It’s an extensive analysis of cultural differences and the different ways in which they assimilate, while still incorporating the values and traditions ingrained by family. Rosie Molinary conducted an extensive survey (which she includes at the end of the book) and based her book both on her findings and on her experiences growing up.

Mohawk Girls

Mohawk Girls is a beautifully written and directed documentary film by Tracey Deer. Released in 2006, Deer parallels the lives of three teenage girls living on a reservation just outside of Montreal, Canada to her own experiences while struggling to grow up in a world that fails to reach out to those not living within the main steam culture.

Ultra-Talk: Johnny Cash, The Mafia, Shakespeare, Drum Music, St. Teresa of Avila, and 17 Other Colossal Topics of Conversation

In the introduction to Ultra-Talk, David Kirby writes, “What I offer in these pages is a way to read, see, and savor, a post-theoretical world view that everybody can share.” That is a strong assertion, and though this collection of essays covers diverse and interesting ground, Kirby doesn’t quite live up to his goal. Elsewhere in the introduction, the author defines a set of criteria for what is “good”: that which “must not only appeal to both the elite an

New Cultural Studies: Adventures in Theory

New Cultural Studies is an exciting call to action from writers concerned about the future of the field of cultural studies. Since cultural studies is ever living and should be evolving along with other subjects, we must never stop developing new theories and using cultural studies as a framework about contemporary issues in politics, economics, the media, etc. This text looks beyond the distinguished Birmingham School’s theoretical work toward today’s greatest minds, such as Alain Badiou, Giorgio Agamben and Gilles Deleuze.

I’jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody

Sinan Antoon’s novel I’jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody brilliantly portrays the complex impacts of political repression on humanity. It takes the form of a fictionalized compilation of interpreted handwritten prose of an Iraqi college student as he is held and tortured in a prison during the reign of the Ba’th regime in the 1980s.


Rakasa is a documentary about the lives of three Palestinian women who dance for joy, expression and sometimes money. Certain images come to mind when an American says, “I’m a dancer.” However, the dancing found in Rakasa _(Arabic for “bellydancer”) comes from an irrepressible urge to rebel, to be free, and to be wholly and utterly a _woman in a culture that would have one deny that Goddess-given gift. This form of dancing also crosses religious barriers, bringing Israeli Jews and Arabs together to dance.