The American Dream and Dreams Deferred: A Dialectical Fairy Tale shows how rival interpretations of the Dream reveal the dialectical tensions therein. Exploring often neglected voices, literatures, and histories, Carlton D. Floyd and Thomas Ehrlich Reifer highlight moments when the American Dream appears both simultaneously possible and out of reach. In so doing, the authors invite readers to make a new collective dream of a better future, on socially just, multicultural, and ecologically sustainable foundations.
Carlton D. Floyd is associate professor of English, affiliated faculty in women’s and gender studies, a former associate provost for inclusion and diversity, and cofounder of the Center for Inclusion and Diversity at the University of San Diego.
Thomas Ehrlich Reifer is professor of sociology and affiliated faculty in Asian studies, ethnic studies, and Latin American studies at the University of San Diego, an associate fellow of the Transnational Institute (Amsterdam), and an official Freedom Writers teacher.
Chapter 1: The American Dream and Dreams of the Americas
Chapter 2: Embattled Dreams, Memory, and the American Iliad
Chapter 3: What Happens to a Dream Deferred?
Chapter 4: Another California, Another Country, Another World?
Chapter 5: The Beautiful Dreams and Nightmares that America Bears
“Carlton D. Floyd and Thomas Ehrlich Reifer offer an impressive, well-researched, and much-needed critique of the American Dream. Asking us to consider the dreams that have been and continue to be deferred, Floyd and Reifer place popular narratives of the American Dream in dialectical relationship with marginalized narratives to explore the chasm between the Dream and the nation’s stark historical realities. While they acknowledge that dreams are crucial in the making of collective memory and a sense of peoplehood, they also demonstrate that we need to be careful of what we dream, since dreams that lack truth, such as the American Dream and its ever-changing forms, often divide humanity into deadly rivalries. Given the relational processes of exploitation and exclusion that define our current moment, The American Dream and Dreams Deferred: A Dialectical Fairy Tale is a must read for anyone interested in creating a future that is absent of such processes.”
"A wide-ranging, learned, incisive exploration of the dreams and nightmares of this strange society, of what the authors call 'the typically disconnected histories of capitalism and racism that undergird our democratic republic, shaping the ground on which we all stand.'"