The thirteen contributors to As We Are Now invite readers to explore with them the untamed territory of race and mixblood identity in North America. A "mixblood," according to editor W.S. Penn, recognizes that his or her identity comes not from distinct and separable strains of ancestry but from the sum of the tension and interplay of all his or her ancestral relationships. These first-person narratives cross racial, national, and disciplinary boundaries in a refreshingly experimental approach to writing culture. Their authors call on similar but varied cultural and aesthetic traditions—mostly oral—in order to address some aspect of race and identity about which they feel passionate, and all resist the essentialist point of view. Mixblood Native American, Mestizo/a, and African-American writers focus their discussion on the questions indigenous and minority people ask and the way in which they ask them, clearly merging the singular "I" with the communal "we." These are new voices in the dialogue of ethnic writers, and they offer a highly original treatment of an important subject.
Diane DuBose Brunner
Patricia Penn Hilden
W. S. Penn
W. S. Penn, Professor of English at Michigan State University, is the award-winning author of The Telling of the World (1996), All My Sins Are Relatives (1995), and The Absence of Angels (1994).
"Focusing on contemporary aspects of ethno-racial formation and identity in U.S. culture and society, As We are Now is urgent and rousing."—José Saldívar, author of Border Matters
"A trail-breaking book. . . . In my view, this is an excellent, moving, and provocative series of essays."—Jack Hicks, director of The Art of the Wild