. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
If Object Lessons accomplishes what I want, it will off er readers a way to see
both inside and across the critical habits and po liti cal ambitions of identity
knowledges in their current institutional and intellectual formations in
the contemporary United States.1 It will orient them— and you, I hope—
toward understanding the overlapping and divergent distinctions that
attend the study of race, gender, sexuality, and nation. Th e book will not
1. I use the phrase “identity knowledges” to reference the many projects of academic
study that were institutionalized in the U.S. university in the twentieth century for the
study of identity. Th e scholarship that analyzes the history of these formations, along
with the debates that have challenged their institutional coherency and po liti cal import,
is vast. For a selective review, see Champagne and Stauss, Native American Studies in
Higher Education; Kidwell and Velie, Native American Studies; Ono, Asian American
Studies aft er Critical Mass and A Companion to Asian American Studies; Gordon and
Gordon, A Companion to Afr ican- American Studies; Bobo et al., Th e Black Studies
Reader; Poblete, Critical Latin American and Latino Studies; Flores and Rosaldo, A
Companion to Latina/o Studies; Chabram- Dernersesian, Th e Chicana/o Cultural Studies
Reader; Kennedy and Beins, Women’s Studies for the Future; Scott, Women’s Studies on
the Edge; Maddox, Locating American Studies; Pease and Wiegman, Th e Futures of
American Studies; Radway et al., American Studies; Rowe, A Concise Companion to
American Studies; Abelove et al., Th e Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader; Corber and
Valocchi, Queer Studies; and Haggerty and McGarry, A Companion to Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies.
INTRODUCTION
How to Read Th is Book
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