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Passport Photos Paperback – June 14, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0520218178 ISBN-10: 0520218175 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (June 14, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520218175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520218178
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #617,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An unusual look at migration to a far country, presented in the form of a forged passport. Very post-modern, this study of Indian emigres is both offbeat and endearing."--Outlook India

From the Inside Flap

"Passport Photos is a radiant text. It connects its own ironic lyricism with an acute awareness of historical context, and is a moving document of the questions posed by symbolic migration."—Sara Suleri Goodyear, author of Meatless Days

"Amitava Kumar brings his talents as a photographer, poet, scriptwriter, and journalist to the job of critical commentary, refusing to partition and delegate these skills to separate provinces of his intellectual life. The result is an ethical voice and a technical style that often defies our expectations of the critical commentator. I find that voice and style immensely appealing, no more so than in the multi-genre documentary work of Passport Photos. This is not a heavy-handed screed on the conditions of immigrants. It is a sensuous guide to the common contradictions and experiences faced by immigrants to the U.S., whether they are coming from the underside of the international division of labor or from well-heeled and credentialed birthrights. An undeniably original contribution to several academic and journalistic fields, Passport Photos will, I expect, be a widely-acclaimed publication and much cited as a fresh paradigm-shaker."—Andrew Ross, author of The Celebration Chronicles

"An important, timely, and unique book that seems to have multiple lines of descent--as if postcolonial theory were cross-pollinated with poetry, photojournalism, and memoir all at once."—Michael Bérubé, author of Life As We Know It: A Father, a Family, and an Exceptional Child

"Amitava Kumar is the most grounded of the postcolonial writers today. Passport Photos is a brilliant illustration of his skills. A must read for anybody interested in immigration, transnational identities, and globalization."—Manthia Diawara, author of In Search of Africa

"Passport Photos is a meditation on the modalities of the immigrant: on language as law and record of living immigrant dailiness; on place as a world one loses that gives rise to identity and belonging; on knowledge as the possession of some and not others, as what the immigrant can be but cannot have." Lisa Lowe, author of Immigrant Acts

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Raza Mir on June 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Passport photos is an extraordinarily delightful read, and I unreservedly recommend it to anyone who is interested in a sensitive portrayal of the immigrant experience. The book is like immigrants themselves. It speaks in multiple languages, and is obsessed with documents. Among its many tongues, it speaks in academic and political cadences, mixes prose and poetry, sprinkles Urdu and Spanish, quotes Namdeo Dhasal, a poet from India and Louis Arrago, a Mexican poet-activist. It layers Urdu upon Spanish, words upon pictures, and best of all, garnishes it with Kumar's poetry, which is quite magical. There are several poems, each of which is worth the price of admission on a stand alone basis. I personally recommend two; one called "Letter to India Abroad" and another titled "India Day Parade on Madison Avenue". The book represents the multi-layered experience of immigrants without reducing it to word-play
The book also works because of an extremely inventive structure. Using the information structure of the passport, a document "that chooses to tell a story about us", Kumar writes an alternative story of such terms as "Name", Photograph", Place of Birth", "Date of Birth", "Nationality", "Sex", "Profession" and "Identifying Marks". In his discussion of names, for instance, Kumar explores how members of the Indian diaspora in the Caribbean ended up with names like "Chris Garcia", refracting their identities through Venezuelan birth certificates to appease bureaucratic border-keepers.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am a South Asian journalist living in New Jersey. Very little has been said about Amitava Kumar's photographs. They present different facets of our world. What is striking is that he frames the photographs, and one could argue, our world, in new and critical ways.
The South Asian Journalists Association organized a reading by Kumar at the Brecht Forum. I enjoyed the reading immensely, and when I read the book, I saw that book was also a performance -- which brought together the world of academia, art, and journalism.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got very good condition used book from Amazon but delivery of this is very late. I would say something about delivery to Amazon. Amazon should concentrate on proper time bound delivery. Whenever i write about the delivery and other query, igot instant replies from Amazon. I am very thankful to you.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Passport Photos is a beautiful book. Kumar uses photos, poetry and essays to give a rare insight into post-colonialism and immigration. Kumar's writing is helping to make the American people less ignorant to issues concerning immigration, cultural imperialism and patriotism.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rakesh Chandra on September 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
While Amitava Kumar fashions his book as a 'false passport' with all the mandatory items like Name, Nationality, Date and Place of Birth etc., its really one of the most authentic documents that I've ever read. Kumar's incisive and clear writing style takes the reader through anecdotes, poems, descriptions of photos and sometimes even less known facts about the immigrant experience.
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