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Robert Ashley Cover

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Robert Ashley

Kyle Gann

This book explores the life and works of the pioneering opera composer Robert Ashley, one of the leading American composers of the post-Cage generation. Ashley's innovations began in the 1960s when he, along with Alvin Lucier, Gordon Mumma, and David Behrman, formed the Sonic Arts Union, a group that turned conceptualism toward electronics. He was also instrumental in the influential ONCE Group, a theatrical ensemble that toured extensively in the 1960s. During his tenure as its director, the ONCE Festival in Ann Arbor presented most of the decade's pioneers of the performing arts. Particularly known for his development of television operas beginning with Perfect Lives, Ashley spun a long series of similar text/music works, sometimes termed "performance novels." These massive pieces have been compared with Wagner's Ring Cycle for the vastness of their vision, though the materials are completely different, often incorporating noise backgrounds, vernacular music, and highly structured, even serialized, musical structures. _x000B__x000B_Drawing on extensive research into Ashley's early years in Ann Arbor and interviews with Ashley and his collaborators, Kyle Gann chronicles the life and work of this musical innovator and provides an overview of the avant-garde milieu of the 1960s and 1970s to which he was so central. Gann examines all nine of Ashley's major operas to date in detail, along with many minor works, revealing the fanatical structures that underlie Ashley's music as well as private references hidden in his opera librettos._x000B_

Sensational Devotion Cover

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Sensational Devotion

Evangelical Performance in Twenty-First-Century America

Jill C. Stevenson

In Sensational Devotion, Jill Stevenson examines a range of evangelical performances, including contemporary Passion plays, biblical theme parks, Holy Land re-creations, creationist museums, and megachurches, to understand how they serve their evangelical audiences while shaping larger cultural and national dialogues. Such performative media support specific theologies and core beliefs by creating sensual, live experiences for believers, but the accessible, familiar forms they take and the pop culture motifs they employ also attract nonbelievers willing to “try out” these genres, even if only for curiosity’s sake. This familiarity not only helps these performances achieve their goals, but it also enables them to contribute to public dialogue about the role of religious faith in America. Stevenson shows how these genres are significant and influential cultural products that utilize sophisticated tactics in order to reach large audiences comprised of firm believers, extreme skeptics, and those in between. Using historical research coupled with personal visits to these various venues, the author not only critically examines these spaces and events within their specific religious, cultural, and national contexts, but also places them within a longer devotional tradition in order to suggest how they cultivate religious belief by generating vivid, sensual, affectively oriented, and individualized experiences.

Showdown in Desire Cover

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Showdown in Desire

The Black Panthers Take a Stand in New Orleans

Through interviews with many individuals involved with the Black Panther Party in New Orleans in 1970, including Robert H. King, one of the Angola 3, Showdown in Desire tells the story of a year that included a shootout with the police on Piety Street, the creation of survival programs, and the daylong standoff between the panthers and the police in the Desire housing development.

Taking the Measure Cover

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Taking the Measure

The Presidency of George W. Bush

Donald R. Kelley

Some of today’s most prominent experts on the American presidency offer their perspectives, commentary, and analyses in this volume of studies, commissioned by the Fulbright Institute of International Relations and the Blair Center of Southern Politics and Culture, both at the University of Arkansas.

With a shared focus on Bush’s decision-making style, the impact of increasing partisanship, economic issues—especially after the 2008 financial meltdown—and, of course, the cumulative impact of 9/11 and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the contributors link their observations and conclusions to broader political and policy-related questions. They also take the opportunity to compare the Bush presidency with that of his successor, Barack Obama, through the latter administration’s experience of disappointment in the 2010 congressional elections.

The debate over the Bush legacy will not soon end, and this volume does not presume to offer the definitive, final commentary. It does, however, bridge the gap between dispassionate academic commentary written essentially for scholars and the sort of informed and unbiased analysis written for a larger public audience, contributing to the public understanding of our recent national experience. Taking the Measure: The Presidency of George W. Bush contributes significantly to the beginnings of careful, systematic consideration of the George W. Bush presidency.

Unending Crisis Cover

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Unending Crisis

National Security Policy after 9/11

by Thomas Graham Jr.

In Unending Crisis, Thomas Graham Jr. examines the second Bush administration's misguided management of foreign policy, the legacy of which has been seven major - and almost irresolvable - national security crises involving North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Arab-Israeli conflict in Palestine, and nuclear proliferation. Unending Crisis considers these issues individually and together, emphasizing their interrelationship and delineating the role that the neoconservative agenda played in redefining the way America is perceived in the world today.

The Vanishing Newspaper [2nd Ed] Cover

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The Vanishing Newspaper [2nd Ed]

Saving Journalism in the Information Age

Philip Meyer

Five years ago in The Vanishing Newspaper, Philip Meyer offered the newspaper industry a business model for preserving and stabilizing the social responsibility functions of the press in a way that could outlast technology-driven changes in media forms. Now he has updated this groundbreaking volume, taking current declines in circulation and the number of dailies into consideration and offering a greater variety of ways to save journalism.
Meyer’s “influence model” is based on the premise that a newspaper’s main product is not news or information, but influence: societal influence, which is not for sale, and commercial influence, which is. The model is supported by an abundance of empirical evidence, including statistical assessments of the quality and influence of the journalist’s product, as well as its effects on business success.
Meyer now applies this empirical evidence to recent developments, such as the impact of Craigslist and current trends in information technologies. New charts show how a surge in newsroom employment propped up readership in the 1980s, and data on the effects of newsroom desegregation are now included. Meyer’s most controversial suggestion, making certification available for reporters and editors, has been gaining ground. This new edition discusses several examples of certificate programs that are emerging in organizations both old and new.
Understanding the relationship between quality and profit probably will not save traditional newspapers, but Meyer argues that such knowledge can guide new media enterprises. He believes that we have the tools to sustain high-quality journalism and preserve its unique social functions, though in a transformed way.

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The War Comes to Plum Street

Bruce C. Smith

"This remains a superb story. Bruce C. Smith has a wonderful eye for detail and a compelling perspective and voice. We care about this place and the people who live here." -- James H. Madison, author of Wendell Willkie: Hoosier Internationalist and A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America

The War Comes to Plum Street brings to life the Second World War through the eyes of a small group of neighbors from a Midwestern town. Bruce C. Smith presents their stories just as they happened, without explanation or interpretation. To experience the war as they did, insofar as it is possible, we must understand how they perceived everyday events and recognize the incompleteness of their knowledge of what was taking place in Europe and the Pacific. The inhabitants of Plum Street in New Castle, Indiana, resemble many other average Americans of their day. As we discover how they experienced those fateful years, these Americans may have something to teach us about how we live in our own turbulent time.

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