Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet / Edition 1

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Overview

Cyberspace entices us with the promise of an online utopia—a web of fluid identities and infinite possibilities. When we look for signs of freedom online—anywhere from chat room conversations to cyberpunk fiction—we are almost inevitably urged toward "liberation" from our bodies and their "restrictive" attributes like race, gender, and age. But cyberculture critic Lisa Nakamura insists that the Internet is a place where race matters.
Race itself may not be fixed or finite, but Nakamura argues that racial stereotypes-or "cybertypes"-are hardwired into our online interactions: Identity tourists masquerade in virtual roles like Asian_Geisha and Alatinolover. Web directories sharply narrow racial categories. Anonymous computer users are assumed to be white.
In Cybertypes, Nakamura looks at what happened to race when it went online, and how our ideas about race continue to be shaped and reshaped every time we log on. Examining all facets of our everyday online experience from Internet advertising to email jokes, Nakamura shows that the postmodern ideal of fluid selves made possible by network technology is not necessarily subversive, progressive, or liberating. The harder race is pushed off-line, the greater the consequences in real life for people of color.
A lively and provocative discussion Cybertypes offers a valuable new way of thinking about race and identity in the information age.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With chapter subtitles such as "Identity Tourism, Avatars, and Racial Passing in Textual and Graphic Chat Spaces" and "Making Race Happen Online," Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet shows the tenaciousness of race categories in cyberspace, despite the Web's touring as a raceless utopia. Lisa Nakamura, associate professor of English at Sonoma State University, argues that "race, as vexed a term as that has come to be, is an indispensable part of the `root' that warrants, anchors and conditions the lives of actual users in cyberspace to the world offline," and that only by paying close attention to race's offline vicissitudes will we understand online life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415938372
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 6/14/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,171,443
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Nakamura is Assistant Professor of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is coeditor of Race in Cyberspace, also published by Routledge.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 Cybertyping and the Work of Race in the Age of Digital Reproduction 1
2 Head-Hunting on the Internet: Identity Tourism, Avatars, and Racial Passing in Textual and Graphic Chat Spaces 31
3 Race in the Construct and the Construction of Race: The "Consensual Hallucination" of Multiculturalism in the Fictions of Cyberspace 61
4 " Where Do You Want to Go Today?": Cybernetic Tourism, the Internet, and Transnationality 87
5 Menu-Driven Identities: Making Race Happen Online 101
Conclusion: Keeping It (Virtually) Real: The Discourse of Cyberspace as an Object of Knowledge 137
Notes 147
Works Cited 159
Index 167
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