It goes without saying that identity has long been a recurrent topic in studies of American culture. The struggle between group sameness and individual uniqueness is a common issue in understanding diversity in the United States on several levels-including how our differences have not always resulted in national celebration. Terms such as "hybridity," "performativity," "transnationalism," and "border zones" are part of the current theoretical vocabulary and, for some, deploy a fresh language of possibility, one promising to undermine the conformist values of monocultural perspectives. To that end, Culturcide and Non-Identity across American Culture explores theories and practices of identity from a broad perspective to grasp how varied, diffuse, and distorted they can be, especially when that identity seems boringly familiar. The subjects range from hip-hop parodies to punk preppies to pachuco-ska, thus crossing the lines of genre, medium, and discipline to blur the borderline dividing the kinds of texts to which these theories can "legitimately" be applied.
Daniel S. Traber is associate professor of English at Texas A&M University at Galveston.