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Archaeopoetics

Word, Image, History

Mandy Bloomfield

Archaeopoetics explores “archaeological poetry,” ground-breaking and experimental writing by innovative poets whose work opens up broad new avenues by which contemporary readers may approach the past, illuminating the dense web of interconnections often lost in traditional historiography.
 
Critic Mandy Bloomfield traces the emergence of a significant historicist orientation in recent poetry, exemplified by the work of five writers: American poet Susan Howe, Korean-American artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, British poet Maggie O’Sullivan, and diasporic African Caribbean writers Kamau Brathwaite and M. NourbeSe Philip. Bloomfield sets the work of these five authors within a vigorous tradition, including earlier work by Ezra Pound and Walter Benjamin, and then shows how these five poets create poems that engender new encounters with pivotal episodes in history, such as the English regicide or Korea’s traumatized twentieth century.
 
Exploring our shared but imperfectly understood history as well as omissions and blind spots in historiography, Bloomfield outlines the tension between the irretrievability of effaced historical evidence and the hope that poetry may reconstitute such unrecoverable histories. She posits that this tension is fertile, engendering a form of aesthetically enacted epistemological enquiry.
 
Fascinating and seminal, Archaeopoetics pays special attention to the sensuous materiality of texts and most especially to the visual manifestations of poetry. The poems in Archaeopoetics employ the visual imagery of the word itself or incorporate imagery into the poetry to propose persuasive alternatives to narrative or discursive frameworks of historical knowledge.

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Archeology of the Funeral Mound

Ocmulgee National Monument, Georgia

Charles H. Fairbanks, with a new introduction by Mark Williams

A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication

A premier mound site offers a wealth of primary data on mortuary practices in the Mississippian Period.

The largest prehistoric mound site in Georgia is located in modern-day Macon and is known as Ocmulgee. It was first recorded in August 1739 by General James Oglethorpe’s rangers during an expedition to the territory of the Lower Creeks. The botanist William Bartram wrote extensively of the ecology of the area during his visit in 1773, but the 1873 volume by Charles C. Jones, Antiquities of the Southern Indians, Particularly of the Georgia Tribes, was the first to treat the archaeological significance of the site.

Professional excavations began at Ocmulgee in 1933 under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution, using Civil Works Administration labor. Investigations continued under a variety of sponsorships until December 1936, when the locality was formally named a national monument. Excavation of the mounds, village sites, earth lodge, and funeral mound revealed an occupation of the Macon Plateau spanning more than 7,000 years. The funeral mound was found to contain log tombs, bundles of disarticulated bones, flexed burials, and cremations. Grave goods included uniquely patterned copper sun disks that were found at only one other site in the Southeast—the Bessemer site in Alabama—so the two ceremonial centers were established as contemporaries.

In this classic work of archaeological research and analysis, Charles Fairbanks has not only offered a full treatment of the cultural development and lifeways of the builders of Ocmulgee but has also related them effectively to other known cultures of the prehistoric Southeast.

 

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Archipelagoes of My South

Episodes in the Shaping of a Region, 1830–1965

J. Mills Thornton III

"The tourist archipelagoes of my South / are prisons, too, corruptible" writes the poet Derek Walcott. While Walcott refers to the islands of the Caribbean, the analogous idea of a land made into solitary islands by an imprisoned and inherited corruption is historian J. Mills Thornton III’s American South. The captivating essays in Archipelagoes of My South: Episodes in the Shaping of a Region, 1830–1965 address this overarching and underlying narrative of Alabama politics and the history of the South.
 
Highlighting events as significant as the role of social and economic conflict in the southern secession movement, various aspects of Reconstruction, and the role of the Ku Klux Klan in the politics of the 1920s, Thornton draws from various points in the southern past in an effort to identify and understand the sources of the region’s power. Moreover, each essay investigates its subject matter and peels back layers with an aim to clarify why the enormous diversity of the southern experience makes that power so great, all the while allowing the reader to see connections that would not otherwise be apparent.
 
Archipelagoes of My South gathers together previously uncollected essays into a single volume covering the entire length and breadth of Thornton’s career. The author’s principal concerns have always been the arc of regional evolution and the significance of the local. Thus, the mechanisms of political and social change and the interrelationships across eras and generations are recurring themes in many of these essays.
 
Even those who have spent their entire lives in the South may be unaware of the fractured layers of history that lie beneath the landscape they inhabit. For those southern residents who seek to comprehend more of their own past, this landmark compilation of essays on Alabama and southern history endeavors to provide illumination and enlightenment.

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Architectural Body

Written by Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins

This manifesto is a verbal articulation of the authors' visionary theory of how the human body, architecture, and creativity define and sustain one another.

This revolutionary work by artist-architects Arakawa and Madeline Gins demonstrates the inter-connectedness of innovative architectural design, the poetic process, and philosophical inquiry. Together, they have created an experimental and widely admired body of work--museum installations, landscape and park commissions, home and office designs, avant-garde films, poetry collections--that challenges traditional notions about the built environment. This book promotes a deliberate use of architecture and design in dealing with the blight of the human condition; it recommends that people seek architectural and aesthetic solutions to the dilemma of mortality.

In 1997 the Guggenheim Museum presented an Arakawa/Gins retrospective and published a comprehensive volume of their work titled Reversible Destiny: We Have Decided Not to Die. Architectural Body continues the philosophical definition of that project and demands a fundamental rethinking of the terms "human" and "being." When organisms assume full responsibility for inventing themselves, where they live and how they live will merge. The artists believe that a thorough re-visioning of architecture will redefine life and its limitations and render death passe. The authors explain that "Another way to read reversible destiny . . . Is as an open challenge to our species to reinvent itself and to desist from foreclosing on any possibility."

Audacious and liberating, this volume will be of interest to students and scholars of 20th-century poetry, postmodern critical theory, conceptual art and architecture, contemporary avant-garde poetics, and to serious readers interested in architecture's influence on imaginative expression.

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Architectural Variability in the Southeast

Edited by Cameron H. Lacquement

Some of the most visible expressions of human culture are illustrated architecturally. Unfortunately for archaeologists, the architecture being studied is not always visible and must be inferred from soil inconsistencies or charred remains. This study deals with research into roughly a millennium of Native American architecture in the Southeast and includes research on the variation of construction techniques employed both above and below ground. Most of the architecture discussed is that of domestic houses with some emphasis on large public buildings and sweat lodges. The authors use an array of methods and techniques in examining native architecture including experimental archaeology, ethnohistory, ethnography, multi-variant analysis, structural engineering, and wood science technology. A major portion of the work, and probably the most important in terms of overall significance, is that it addresses the debate of early Mississippian houses and what they looked like above ground and the changes that occurred both before and after the arrival of Europeans.
 
Contributors:
Dennis B. Blanton
Tamira K. Brennan
 Ramie A. Gougeon
Tom H. Gresham
Vernon J. Knight Jr.
 Cameron H. Lacquement
 Robert H. Lafferty, III
Mark A. McConaughy
Nelson A. Reed
 Robert J. Scott
Lynne P. Sullivan

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Argumentation Theory and the Rhetoric of Assent

The themes of the essays in Argumentation Theory and the Rhetoric of Assent all coalesce around the general question: "When, if ever, is assent justified?" The question immediate triggers complex and multifaceted considerations of argument and, ultimately, power. In parsing out the nature of assent, the essays take divers approaches: aesthetic and symbolist, rationalistic and formalistic, field theory, various conceptualizations of a public sphere, etc. Together, they offer an insightful exploration of an exciting new terrain argumentation studies.


 

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Arthouse

A Novel

Arthouse is an audacious transformation in prose of fourteen modernist films. From film to film, Jeffrey DeShell follows a forty-something failed film studies academic—The Professor. While The Professor is reinvented with each new chapter (or film), what remains is DeShell’s inventive deconstruction and representation of modern cinema. At times borrowing imagery, plot, or character elements, and at times rendering lighting, rhythm, costuming, or shot sequences into fictional language, The Professor’s journey sends him from the Southwestern town of Pueblo, Colorado, into the role of rescuer as he aids an attempted-rape victim, and finally to Italy. Ultimately though, The Professor is left alone, struggling to reconcile the real world with his life in cinema.

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Artistic Liberties

American Literary Realism and Graphic Illustration, 1880-1905

Artistic Liberties is a landmark study of the illustrations that originally accompanied now-classic works of American literary realism and the ways editors, authors, and illustrators vied for authority over the publications.

Though today, we commonly read major works of nineteenth-century American literature in unillustrated paperbacks or anthologies, many of them first appeared as magazine serials, accompanied by ample illustrations that sometimes made their way into the serials’ first printings as books. The graphic artists creating these illustrations often visually addressed questions that the authors had left for the reader to interpret, such as the complexions of racially ambiguous characters in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The artists created illustrations that depicted what outsiders saw in Huck and Jim in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, rather than what Huck and Jim learned to see in one another. These artists even worked against the texts on occasion—for instance, when the illustrators reinforced the same racial stereotypes that writers such as Paul Laurence Dunbar had intended to subvert in their works.

Authors of American realism commonly submitted their writing to editors who allowed them little control over the aesthetic appearance of their work. In his groundbreaking Artistic Liberties, Adam Sonstegard studies the illustrations from these works in detail and finds that the editors employed illustrators who were often unfamiliar with the authors’ intentions and who themselves selected the literary material they wished to illustrate, thereby taking artistic liberties through the tableaux
they created.

Sonstegard examines the key role that the appointed artists played in visually shaping narratives—among them Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson, Stephen Crane’s The Monster, and Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth—as audiences tended to accept their illustrations as guidelines for understanding the texts. In viewing these works as originally published, received, and interpreted, Sonstegard offers a deeper knowledge not only of the works, but also of the realities surrounding publication during this formative period in American literature.

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As If a Bird Flew By Me

A Novel

“The world is full of continuous conversations: Now is surrounded by Past, and both are encircled by Forever.” So states an unnamed narrator in Sara Greenslit’s new novel As if a Bird Flew by Me.
 
Celia lives in the contemporary Midwest. Ann is an accused witch, executed during the Salem witch trials. Two women separated by time and place, yet yoked by heritage and history. Set in three time periods, stories within stories unfold, and Greenslit’s language seamlessly weaves Celia’s modern life with the historical record of Ann’s demise alongside dazzling renderings of animal life. Greenslit’s hybrid of fiction and nonfiction occupies that rarest of airs: it is a book that illuminates, line by line and page by page, how it should be read.

 


 

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The Ascent of Chiefs

Cahokia and Mississippian Politics in Native North America

Written by Timothy R. Pauketat

This ambitious book provides a theoretical explanation of how prehistoric Cahokia became a stratified society, and ultimately the pinnacle of Native American cultural achievement north of Mexico. Considering Cahokia in terms of class struggle, Pauketat claims that the political consolidation in this region of the Mississippi Valley happened quite suddenly, around A.D. 1000, after which the lords of Cahokia innovated strategies to preserve their power and ultimately emerged as divine chiefs. The new ideas and new data in this volume will invigorate the debate surrounding one of the most important developments in North American prehistory.

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