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Toward an African American Religious Naturalism
Identifying African American religiosity as the ingenuity of a people constantly striving to inhabit their humanity and eke out a meaningful existence for themselves amid harrowing circumstances, Black Lives and Sacred Humanity constructs a concept of sacred humanity and grounds it in the writings of Anna Julia Cooper, W. E. B. Du Bois, and James Baldwin. Supported by current theories in science studies, critical theory, and religious naturalism, this concept, as Carol Wayne White demonstrates, offers a capacious view of humans as interconnected, social, value-laden organisms with the capacity to transform themselves and create nobler worlds wherein all sentient creatures flourish. Acknowledging the great harm wrought by divisive and problematic racial constructions in the United States, this book offers an alternative to theistic models of African American religiosity to inspire newer, conceptually compelling views of spirituality that address a classic, perennial religious question: What does it mean to be fully human and fully alive?
A Selection from the Jesuit Relations
The Jesuit Relations, written by new world jesuit missionaries from 1632 to 1673 back to their Superior in France, have long been a remarkable source of both historical knowledge and spiritual inspiration. They provide rich information about Jesuit piety and missionary initiatives, Ignatian spirituality, the Old World patrons who financed the venture, women's role as collaborators in the Jesuit project, and the early history of contact between Europeans and Native Americans in what was to become the northeastern United States and Canada.The Jesuits approached the task of converting the native peoples, and the formidable obstacles it implied, in a flexible manner. One of their central values was inculturation,the idea of coming in by their door,to quote a favorite saying of Ignatius, via a creative process of syncretism that blended aspects of native belief with aspects of Christian faith, in order to facilitate understanding and acceptance. The Relations thus abound with examples of the Jesuits' thoughtfully trying to make sense of native-and female-difference, rather than eliding it. The complete text of the Jesuit Relations runs to 73 volumes. Catharine Randall has made selections from the Relations, some of which have never before appeared in print in English. These selections are chosen for their informative nature and for how they illustrate central tenets of Ignatian spirituality. Rather than provide close translations from seventeenth-century French that might sound stilted to modern ears, she offers free translations that provide the substance of the Relations in an idiom immediately accessible to twenty-first-century readers of English.An extensive introduction sets out the basic history of the Jesuit missions in New France and provides insight into the Ignatian tradition and how it informs the composition of the Relations. The volume is illustrated with early woodcuts, depicting scenes from Ignatius's life, moments in the history of the Jesuit missions, Jesuitefforts to master the native languages, and general devotional scenes.
The Controversial Life of the First Catholic Priest Elected to Congress
Raymond Schroth's Bob Drinan: The Controversial Life of the First Catholic Priest Elected to Congress shows that the contentious mixture of religion and politics in this country is nothing new. Four decades ago, Father Robert Drinan, the fiery Jesuit priest from Massachusetts, not only demonstrated against the Vietnam War, he ran for Congress as an antiwar candidate and won, going on to serve for 10 years. Schroth has delved through magazine and newspaper articles and various archives (including Drinan's congressional records at Boston College, where he taught and also served as dean of the law school) and has interviewed dozens of those who knew Drinan to bring us a life-sized portrait. The result is a humanistic profile of an intensely private man and a glimpse into the life of a priest-politician who saw advocacy of human rights as his call. Drinan defined himself as a moral architectand was quick to act on his convictions, whether from the bully pulpit of the halls of Congress or from his position in the Church as a priest; to him they were as intricately woven as the clerical garb he continued to wear unapologetically throughout his elected tenure. Drinan's opposition to the Vietnam War and its extension into Cambodia, his call for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon (he served on the House Judiciary Committee, which initiated the charges), his pro-choice stance on abortion (legally, not morally), his passion for civil rights, and his devotion to Jewish people and the well-being of Israel made him one of the most liberal members of Congress and a force to be reckoned with. But his loyalty to the Church was never in question, and when Pope John Paul II demanded that he step down from offi ce, he did so unquestioningly. Afterward, he continued to champion the ideals he thought would make the world a better place. He didn't think of it in terms of left and right; as moral architect, he saw it in terms of right and wrong.This important book doesn't resolve debate about issues of church and state, but it does help us understand how one side can inform the other, if we are listening. It has much to say that is worth hearing.
Antebellum American Fiction and the Phenomenology of Possession
What does it mean to own something? How does a thing become mine? Liberal philosophy since John Locke has championed the salutary effects of private property but has avoided the more difficult questions of property’s ontology. Chad Luck argues that antebellum American literature is obsessed with precisely these questions._x000B__x000B_Reading slave narratives, gothic romances, city-mystery novels, and a range of other property narratives, Luck unearths a wide-ranging literary effort to understand the nature of ownership, the phenomenology of possession. In these antebellum texts, ownership is not an abstract legal form but a lived relation, a dynamic of embodiment emerging within specific cultural spaces—a disputed frontier, a city agitated by class conflict._x000B__x000B_Luck challenges accounts that map property practice along a trajectory of abstraction and “virtualization.” The book also reorients recent Americanist work in emotion and affect by detailing a broader phenomenology of ownership, one extending beyond emotion to such sensory experiences as touch, taste, and vision. This productive blend of phenomenology and history uncovers deep-seated anxieties—and enthusiasms—about property across antebellum culture
Dilemmas of the Two Sudans
Since its independence on January 1, 1956, Sudan has been at war with itself. Through the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005, the North–South dimension of the conflict was seemingly resolved by the independence of the South on July 9, 2011. However, as a result of issues that were not resolved by the CPA, conflicts within the two countries have reignited conflict between them because of allegations of support for each other’s rebels. In Bound by Conflict: Dilemmas of the Two Sudans, Francis M. Deng and Daniel J. Deng critique the tendency to see these conflicts as separate and to seek isolated solutions for them, when, in fact, they are closely intertwined. The policy implication is that resolving conflicts within the two Sudans is critical to the prospects of achieving peace, security, and stability between them, with the potential of moving them to some form of meaningful association.
How Container Ships Changed the World
Fifty years ago-on April 26, 1956-the freighter Ideal X steamed from Berth 26 in Port Newark, New Jersey. Flying the flag of the Pan-Atlantic Steamship Company, she set out for Houston with an unusual cargo: 58 trailer trucks lashed to her top deck.But they weren't trucks-they were steel containers removed from their running gear, waiting to be lifted onto empty truck beds when Ideal X reached Texas. She docked safely, and a revolution was launched-not only in shipping, but in the way the world trades. Today, the more than 200 million containers shipped every year are the lifeblood of the new global economy. They sit stacked on thousands of box boatsthat grow more massive every year. In this fascinating book, transportation expert Brian Cudahy provides a vivid, fast-paced account of the container-ship revolution-from the maiden voyage of the Ideal X to the entrepreneurial vision and technological breakthroughs that make it possible to ship more goods more cheaply than every before.Cudahy tells this complex story easily, starting with Malcom McLean, Pan-Atlantic's owner who first thought about loading his trucks on board. His line grew into the container giant Sea-Land Services, and Cudahy chartsits dramatic evolution into Maersk Sealand, the largest container line in the world. Along the way, he provides a concise, colorful history of world shipping-from freighter types to the fortunes of steamship lines-and explores the spectacular growth of global trade fueled by the mammoth ships and new seaborne lifelines connecting Asia, Europe, and the Americas.Masterful maritime history, Box Boats shows how fleets of these ungainly ships make the modern world possible-with both positive and negative effects. It's also a tale of an historic home port, New York, where old piers lie silent while 40-foot steel boxes of toys and televisions come ashore by the thousands, across the bay in New Jersey.
Lacouturisme and the Folly of the Cross, 1910–1985
Contributing to the ongoing excavation of the spiritual lifeworld of Dorothy Day—“the most significant, interesting, and influential person in the history of American Catholicism”—The Bread of the Strong offers compelling new insight into the history of the Catholic Worker movement, including the cross-pollination between American and Quebecois Catholicism and discourse about Christian antimodernism and radicalism.The considerable perseverance in the heroic Christian maximalism that became the hallmark of the Catholic Worker’s personalism owes a great debt to the influence of Lacouturisme, largely under the stewardship of John Hugo, along with Peter Maurin and myriad other critical interventions in Day’s spiritual development. Day made the retreat regularly for some thirty-five years and promoted it vigorously both in person and publicly in the pages of The Catholic Worker.Exploring the influence of the controversial North American revivalist movement on the spiritual formation of Dorothy Day, author Jack Lee Downey investigates the extremist intersection between Roman Catholic contemplative tradition and modern political radicalism. Well grounded in an abundance of lesser-known primary sources, including unpublished letters, retreat notes, privately published and long-out-of-print archival material, and the French-language papers of Fr. Lacouture, The Bread of the Strong opens up an entirely new arena of scholarship on the transnational lineages of American Catholic social justice activism. Downey also reveals riveting new insights into the movement’s founder and namesake, Quebecois Jesuit Onesime Lacouture. Downey also frames a more reciprocal depiction of Day and Hugo’s relationship and influence, including the importance of Day’s evangelical pacifism on Hugo, particularly in shaping his understanding of conscientious objection and Christian antiwar work, and how Hugo’s ascetical theology animated Day’s interior life and spiritually sustained her apostolate.A fascinating investigation into the retreat movement Day loved so dearly, and which she claimed was integral to her spiritual formation, The Bread of the Strong explores the relationship between contemplative theology, asceticism, and radical activism. More than a study of Lacouture, Hugo, and Day, this fresh look at Dorothy Day and the complexities and challenges of her spiritual and social expression presents an outward exploration of the early- to mid–twentieth century dilemmas facing second- and third-generation American Catholics.
Southeast of the Island: Travel Notes
For the first time in book form-a great writer's classic celebration of the essence of Brooklyn.In 1939, James Agee was assigned to write an article on Brooklyn for a special issue of Fortune on New York City. The draft was rejected for creative differences,and remained unpublished until it appeared in Esquire in 1968 under the title Southeast of the Island: Travel Notes.Crossing the borough from the brownstone heights over the Brooklyn Bridge out through backstreet neighborhoods like Flatbush, Midwood, and Sheepshead Bay that roll silently to the sea, Agee captured in 10,000 remarkable words, the essence of a place and its people. Propulsive, lyrical, jazzy, and tender, itspitch-perfect descriptions endure even as Brooklyn changes; Agee's essay is a New York classic. Resonant with the rhythms of Hart Crane, Walt Whitman, and Thomas Wolfe, it takes its place alongside Alfred Kazin's A Walker in the City as a great writer's love-song to Brooklyn and alongside E. B. White's Here Is New York as an essential statement of the place so many call home. James Agee was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1909. One of the great prose stylists of the past century, Agee wrote in many forms-poetry, short stories, novels, essays, commentary, and criticism. In 1958 he won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for A Death in the Family, and he also wrote the classic account of poor Southern farmers, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, accompanied by Walker Evans's documentary photographs. With John Huston, he wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for The African Queen, and he was an influential film and theater critic for Time and The Nation. James Agee died in 1955 of a heart attack in a New York City taxicab. In the fall of 2005, the Library of America will publish a two-volume collection of his writings. Jonathan Lethem's novels include Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, his most recent book is The Disappointment Artist. Lethem was born and raised in Brooklyn, where he still lives.
An Intellectual Biography
Bruno Latour stirs things up. Latour began as a lover of science and technology, co-founder of actor-network theory, and philosopher of a modernity that had “never been modern.” In the meantime he is regarded not just as one of the most intelligent—and also popular—exponents of science studies, but also as a major innovator of the social sciences, an exemplary wanderer who walks the line between the sciences and the humanities._x000B__x000B_This book provides the first comprehensive overview of the Latourian oeuvre, from his early anthropological studies in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), to influential books like Laboratory Life and Science in Action, and his most recent reflections on an empirical metaphysics of “modes of existence.” In the course of this enquiry it becomes clear that the basic problem to which Latour’s work responds is that of social tradition, the transmission of experience and knowledge. What this empirical philosopher constantly grapples with is the complex relationship of knowledge, time, and culture._x000B_
Building on a hermeneutic tradition in which accounts of carnal embodiment are overlooked, misunderstood, or underdeveloped, this work initiates a new field of study and concern.Carnal Hermeneutics provides a philosophical approach to the body as interpretation. Transcending the traditional dualism of rational understanding and embodied sensibility, the volume argues that our most carnal sensations are already interpretations. Because interpretation truly goes “all the way down,” carnal hermeneutics rejects the opposition of language to sensibility, word to flesh, text to body.In this volume, an impressive array of today’s preeminent philosophers seek to interpret the surplus of meaning that arises from our carnal embodiment, its role in our experience and understanding, and its engagement with the wider world.