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A Philosophical Study
Among the most important, but frequently neglected, figures in the history of debates over skepticism is Augustine of Hippo (354–430 CE). His early dialogue, Against the Academics, together with substantial material from his other writings, constitutes a sustained attempt to respond to the tradition of skepticism with which he was familiar. This was the tradition of Academic skepticism, which had its home in Plato's Academy and was transmitted to the Roman world through the writings of Cicero (106–43 BCE). Augustine and Academic Skepticism is the first comprehensive treatment of Augustine’s critique of Academic skepticism. In clear and accessible prose, Blake D. Dutton presents that critique as a serious work of philosophy and engages with it precisely as such.
While Dutton provides an extensive review of Academic skepticism and Augustine’s encounter with it, his primary concern is to articulate and evaluate Augustine’s strategy to discredit Academic skepticism as a philosophical practice and vindicate the possibility of knowledge against the Academic denial of that possibility. In doing so, he sheds considerable light on Augustine’s views on philosophical inquiry and the acquisition of knowledge.
The Fate of the Victim after the Holocaust
In Aversion and Erasure, Carolyn J. Dean offers a bold account of how the Holocaust's status as humanity's most terrible example of evil has shaped contemporary discourses about victims in the West. Popular and scholarly attention to the Holocaust has led some observers to conclude that a "surfeit of Jewish memory" is obscuring the suffering of other peoples. Dean explores the pervasive idea that suffering and trauma in the United States and Western Europe have become central to identity, with victims competing for recognition by displaying their collective wounds.
She argues that this notion has never been examined systematically even though it now possesses the force of self-evidence. It developed in nascent form after World War II, when the near-annihilation of European Jewry began to transform patriotic mourning into a slogan of "Never Again": as the Holocaust demonstrated, all people might become victims because of their ethnicity, race, gender, or sexuality-because of who they are.The recent concept that suffering is central to identity and that Jewish suffering under Nazism is iconic of modern evil has dominated public discourse since the 1980s.
Dean argues that we believe that the rational contestation of grievances in democratic societies is being replaced by the proclamation of injury and the desire to be a victim. Such dramatic and yet culturally powerful assertions, however, cast suspicion on victims and define their credibility in new ways that require analysis. Dean's latest book summons anyone concerned with human rights to recognize the impact of cultural ideals of "deserving" and "undeserving" victims on those who have suffered.
The Civil War and America's Culture of Death
"Americans came to fight the Civil War in the midst of a wider cultural world that sent them messages about death that made it easier to kill and to be killed. They understood that death awaited all who were born and prized the ability to face death with a spirit of calm resignation. They believed that a heavenly eternity of transcendent beauty awaited them beyond the grave. They knew that their heroic achievements would be cherished forever by posterity. They grasped that death itself might be seen as artistically fascinating and even beautiful."-from Awaiting the Heavenly Country
How much loss can a nation bear? An America in which 620,000 men die at each other's hands in a war at home is almost inconceivable to us now, yet in 1861 American mothers proudly watched their sons, husbands, and fathers go off to war, knowing they would likely be killed. Today, the death of a soldier in Iraq can become headline news; during the Civil War, sometimes families did not learn of their loved ones' deaths until long after the fact. Did antebellum Americans hold their lives so lightly, or was death so familiar to them that it did not bear avoiding?
In Awaiting the Heavenly Country, Mark S. Schantz argues that American attitudes and ideas about death helped facilitate the war's tremendous carnage. Asserting that nineteenth-century attitudes toward death were firmly in place before the war began rather than arising from a sense of resignation after the losses became apparent, Schantz has written a fascinating and chilling narrative of how a society understood death and reckoned the magnitude of destruction it was willing to tolerate.
Schantz addresses topics such as the pervasiveness of death in the culture of antebellum America; theological discourse and debate on the nature of heaven and the afterlife; the rural cemetery movement and the inheritance of the Greek revival; death as a major topic in American poetry; African American notions of death, slavery, and citizenship; and a treatment of the art of death-including memorial lithographs, postmortem photography and Rembrandt Peale's major exhibition painting The Court of Death. Awaiting the Heavenly Country is essential reading for anyone wanting a deeper understanding of the Civil War and the ways in which antebellum Americans comprehended death and the unimaginable bloodshed on the horizon.
Tobacco and the Making of Modern Bulgaria
In Balkan Smoke, Mary Neuburger leads readers along the Bulgarian-Ottoman caravan routes and into the coffeehouses of Istanbul and Sofia. She reveals how a remote country was drawn into global economic networks through tobacco production and consumption and in the process became modern. In writing the life of tobacco in Bulgaria from the late Ottoman period through the years of Communist rule, Neuburger gives us much more than the cultural history of a commodity; she provides a fresh perspective on the genesis of modern Bulgaria itself.
The tobacco trade comes to shape most of Bulgaria's international relations; it drew Bulgaria into its fateful alliance with Nazi Germany and in the postwar period Bulgaria was the primary supplier of smokes (the famed Bulgarian Gold) for the USSR and its satellites. By the late 1960s Bulgaria was the number one exporter of tobacco in the world, with roughly one eighth of its population involved in production.
Through the pages of this book we visit the places where tobacco is grown and meet the merchants, the workers, and the peasant growers, most of whom are Muslim by the postwar period. Along the way, we learn how smoking and anti-smoking impulses influenced perceptions of luxury and necessity, questions of novelty, imitation, value, taste, and gender-based respectability. While the scope is often global, Neuburger also explores the politics of tobacco within Bulgaria. Among the book's surprises are the ways in which conflicts over the tobacco industry (and smoking) help to clarify the forbidding quagmire of Bulgarian politics.
Microfinance in Contemporary Russia
How do you prime the well of economic growth? First, put a negligible amount of money into exactly the right hands. Then, step back. A vibrant and rapidly expanding national economy needs an active small business sector, but small entrepreneurs need loans to expand their businesses. Microfinance also has potential to be an engine of economic growth, although this prospect has been overshadowed by its image as a tool for alleviating poverty.
In Banking on Small Business, Gail Buyske analyzes three themes in economic development: the global growth of microfinance, banking sector development, and Russian entrepreneurship. These three themes intersect at KMB, the Russian Small Business Bank, where Buyske chaired the board of directors for six years. This book is in part an account of KMB's role in initiating great changes through a series of apparently small actions.
In reviewing Russian entrepreneurship and banking since the advent of perestroika in the mid-1990s, Buyske stresses that Russian entrepreneurship is more dynamic than usually perceived and that the historic lack of small-business and start-up finance was largely owing to the practices of the Russian banking sector rather than to any failing on the part of Russian entrepreneurs. Buyske's conclusions have important implications for policy worldwide; she is confident that a broad understanding of microfinance as a profitable, rather than a charitable, endeavor will contribute to the commercial involvement needed to maximize global microfinance growth.
The Challenges of Expertise and Organization for Weapons Development
In both the popular imagination and among lawmakers and national security experts, there exists the belief that with sufficient motivation and material resources, states or terrorist groups can produce bioweapons easily, cheaply, and successfully. In Barriers to Bioweapons, Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley challenges this perception by showing that bioweapons development is a difficult, protracted, and expensive endeavor, rarely achieving the expected results whatever the magnitude of investment. Her findings are based on extensive interviews she conducted with former U.S. and Soviet-era bioweapons scientists and on careful analysis of archival data and other historical documents related to various state and terrorist bioweapons programs.
Bioweapons development relies on living organisms that are sensitive to their environment and handling conditions, and therefore behave unpredictably. These features place a greater premium on specialized knowledge. Ben Ouagrham-Gormley posits that lack of access to such intellectual capital constitutes the greatest barrier to the making of bioweapons. She integrates theories drawn from economics, the sociology of science, organization, and management with her empirical research. The resulting theoretical framework rests on the idea that the pace and success of a bioweapons development program can be measured by its ability to ensure the creation and transfer of scientific and technical knowledge. The specific organizational, managerial, social, political, and economic conditions necessary for success are difficult to achieve, particularly in covert programs where the need to prevent detection imposes managerial and organizational conditions that conflict with knowledge production.
Democratic Change and the U.S. Military Overseas
According to the Department of Defense's 2004 Base Structure Report, the United States officially maintains 860 overseas military installations and another 115 on noncontinental U.S. territories. Over the last fifteen years the Department of Defense has been moving from a few large-footprint bases to smaller and much more numerous bases across the globe. This so-called lily-pad strategy, designed to allow high-speed reactions to military emergencies anywhere in the world, has provoked significant debate in military circles and sometimes-fierce contention within the polity of the host countries.
In Base Politics, Alexander Cooley examines how domestic politics in different host countries, especially in periods of democratic transition, affect the status of U.S. bases and the degree to which the U.S. military has become a part of their local and national landscapes. Drawing on exhaustive field research in different host nations across East Asia and Southern Europe, as well as the new postcommunist base hosts in the Black Sea and Central Asia, Cooley offers an original and provocative account of how and why politicians in host countries contest or accept the presence of the U.S. military on their territory.
Overseas bases, Cooley shows, are not merely installations that serve a military purpose. For host governments and citizens, U.S. bases are also concrete institutions and embodiments of U.S. power, identity, and diplomacy. Analyzing the degree to which overseas bases become enmeshed in local political agendas and interests, Base Politics will be required reading for anyone interested in understanding the extent-and limits-of America's overseas military influence.
Its Life and Impact, Second Edition
This book is designed to satisfy the curiosity and answer the questions of anyone with an interest in these animals, from students who enjoy watching beaver ponds at nature centers to homeowners and land managers. Color and black-and-white photographs document every aspect of beaver behavior and biology, the variety of their constructions, and the habitats that depend on their presence.
A second edition of The Beaver: Ecology and Behavior of a Wetland Engineer, published by Cornell University Press under its Comstock Publishing Associates imprint in 2003, this book has been revised throughout and includes a new section on population genetics and features updated data about the beaver's range in North America, reintroduction efforts in Europe, and information about the world's largest beaver dam, discovered in northern Alberta in 2010 and visible from space, as well as the most current bibliography on the subject.
As this book shows, the beaver is a keystone species-their skills as foresters and engineers create and maintain ponds and wetlands that increase biodiversity, purify water, and prevent large-scale flooding. Biologists have long studied their daily and seasonal routines, family structures, and dispersal patterns. As human development encroaches into formerly wild areas, property owners and government authorities need new, nonlethal strategies for dealing with so-called nuisance beavers. At the same time, the complex behavior of beavers intrigues visitors at parks and other wildlife viewing sites because it is relatively easy to observe.
Irish Americans, African Americans, and the Politics of Citizenship during the Civil War Era
In Becoming American under Fire, Christian G. Samito provides a rich account of how African American and Irish American soldiers influenced the modern vision of national citizenship that developed during the Civil War era. By bearing arms for the Union, African Americans and Irish Americans exhibited their loyalty to the United States and their capacity to act as citizens; they strengthened their American identity in the process. Members of both groups also helped to redefine the legal meaning and political practices of American citizenship.
For African American soldiers, proving manhood in combat was only one aspect to their quest for acceptance as citizens. As Samito reveals, by participating in courts-martial and protesting against unequal treatment, African Americans gained access to legal and political processes from which they had previously been excluded. The experience of African Americans in the military helped shape a postwar political movement that successfully called for rights and protections regardless of race.
For Irish Americans, soldiering in the Civil War was part of a larger affirmation of republican government and it forged a bond between their American citizenship and their Irish nationalism. The wartime experiences of Irish Americans helped bring about recognition of their full citizenship through naturalization and also caused the United States to pressure Britain to abandon its centuries-old policy of refusing to recognize the naturalization of British subjects abroad.
As Samito makes clear, the experiences of African Americans and Irish Americans differed substantially-and at times both groups even found themselves violently opposed-but they had in common that they aspired to full citizenship and inclusion in the American polity. Both communities were key participants in the fight to expand the definition of citizenship that became enshrined in constitutional amendments and legislation that changed the nation.
Love, Kinship, and Power in Provincial France, 1670–1880
Becoming Bourgeois traces the fortunes of three French families in the municipality of Vannes, in Brittany—Galles, Jollivet, and Le Ridant—who rose to prominence in publishing, law, the military, public administration, and intellectual pursuits over the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Revisiting complex issues of bourgeois class formation from the perspective of the interior lives of families, Christopher H. Johnson argues that the most durable and socially advantageous links forging bourgeois ascent were those of kinship. Economic success, though certainly derived from the virtues of hard work and intelligent management, was always underpinned by marriage strategies and the diligent intervention of influential family members.
Johnson's examination of hundreds of personal letters opens up a whole world: the vicissitudes of courtship; the centrality of marriage; the depths of conjugal love; the routines of pregnancy and the drama of childbirth; the practices of child rearing and education; the powerful place of siblings; the role of kin in advancing the next generation; tragedy and deaths; the enormous contributions of women in all aspects of becoming bourgeois; and the pleasures of gathering together in intimate soirées, grand balls, country houses, and civic and political organizations. Family love bound it all together, and this is ultimately what this book is about, as four generations of rather ordinary provincial people capture our hearts.