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Race, Rights, and RecognitionJewish American Literature since 1969$
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Dean J. Franco

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450877

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450877.001.0001

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Less Absurdistan, More Boyle Heights

(p.193) Epilogue
Race, Rights, and Recognition

Dean J. Franco

Cornell University Press

This concluding chapter looks back to the origin of the melting-pot myths and the cultural pluralist penumbra with a look at Jewish American “frontier” writing, Rachel Calof's memoir Rachel Calof's Story, and Harriet Rochlin's contemporary novels comprising her Desert Dwellers trilogy. Calof's and Rochlin's stories are quite different, but together they may hint at how to think about a deracinated and dynamic pluralism. The chapter takes particular note of Rochlin's oeuvre as well as the character of the East Los Angeles neighborhood where she had grown up—Boyle Heights—a startlingly vibrant, multiracial, leftist enclave of social progressivism and political cooperation. The chapter suggests that the field of Jewish Studies may draw inspiration from such a pluralist Boyle Heights model and seek out interethnic community for the analysis of racial formation and the advocacy of rights and recognition.

Keywords:   Rachel Calof, Harriet Rochlin, Rachel Calof's Story, Desert Dwellers, Boyle Heights, Jewish Studies, racial formation, interethnic community, pluralism

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