Stigma and Culture
Last-Place Anxiety in Black America
Matory describes the competitive process that hierarchically structures their self-definition as ethnic groups and the similar process by which middle-class African Americans seek distinction from their impoverished compatriots. Drawing on research at universities such as Howard, Harvard, and Duke and among their alumni networks, he details how university life—while facilitating individual upward mobility, touting human equality, and regaling cultural diversity—also perpetuates the cultural standards that historically justified the dominance of some groups over others. Combining his ethnographic findings with classic theoretical insights from Frantz Fanon, Fredrik Barth, Erving Goffman, Pierre Bourdieu and others—alongside stories from his own life in academia—Matory sketches the university as an institution that, particularly through the anthropological vocabulary of culture, encourages the stigmatized to stratify their own.
1 Three Fathers: How Shall I See You through My Tears?
2 The University in Black, White, and Ambivalence: The Hidden Curriculum
3 Islands Are Not Isolated: Schools, Scholars, and the Political Economy of Gullah/Geechee Ethnicity
4 A Complexion or a Culture? Debate as Identity among African-Descended Indians and Louisiana Creoles of Color
5 Islands of the Mind: The Mythical Anthropology of the Caribbean
6 Heaven and Hell: American Africans and the Image of Home
Conclusion: “Through a Glass, Darkly”