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Identifying Roots

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This volume presents a cultural history of Alex Haley's Roots as a case study in 'operational acts of identification.' It examines the strategy and tactics Haley employed in developing a family origin story into an acclaimed national history. Where cultural studies scholars have critiqued notions of sacrosanct 'rootedness,' this book shows the fruit of critically identifying those claims. It reframes the concept of 'roots' as a theoretical vocabulary and grammar for the anthropology of scriptures - a way of parsing the cultural texts that seem to read us back.

Published: Oct 1, 2020