By Michael Trask
Camp Sites considers key issues of postwar tradition, from the clash among functionality and authenticity to the increase of the meritocracy, in the course of the lens of camp, the underground sensibility of pre-Stonewall homosexual lifestyles. In so doing, it argues that our uncomplicated assumptions concerning the social type of the postwar milieu are deeply knowledgeable through definite presuppositions approximately gay adventure and id, and that those presuppositions stay stubbornly entrenched regardless of our post-Stonewall consciousness-raising.
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Extra info for Camp sites : sex, politics, and academic style in postwar America
Some version of this question must occur to many readers of Ellison’s essays, which are rife with formulaic assumptions and high-flown diction (“to faith, to hope, to militancy”). “The way home we seek,” Ellison writes in his acceptance speech for the 1953 National Book Award, “is that condition of man’s being at home in the world, which is called love, and which we term democracy” (CE, 154). When faced with these and other sentiments in Ellison, we are forced to confront the relative emptiness of his democratic vision: “to project the possible, to inspirit the ideals of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights into our own reality” (CE, 461).
65 They were institutions intensely desired by Reconstruction-era blacks and the products of Jim Crow, which authorized southern states to create separate colleges for black citizens after Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). The history of Tuskegee illustrates this ambiguity; in his infamous 1895 address to the Cotton States Convention, Washington promoted the school as the model for his accommodationist views. All this is to say that Invisible Man brings a fairly conflicted account of the college to its pages.
The Schooling of America 23 In view of the received idea of Cold War quietism, the triumph of the research university appears to involve a paradox: a society that demanded conformism of its citizens invested massive reserves of human and economic capital in an institution that requires innovation and vigorous competition for its survival. This paradox is somewhat mitigated by the observation that the university’s ascent in the 1950s included a valorization of the academic world as a structure of private self-organization.