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Historians, Race, and the Meaning of Reconstruction
From the late nineteenth century until World War I, a group of Columbia University students gathered under the mentorship of the renowned historian William Archibald Dunning (1857--1922). Known as the Dunning School, these students wrote the first generation of state studies on the Reconstruction -- volumes that generally sympathized with white southerners, interpreted radical Reconstruction as a mean-spirited usurpation of federal power, and cast the Republican Party as a coalition of carpetbaggers, freedmen, scalawags, and former Unionists.
Edited by the award-winning historian John David Smith and J. Vincent Lowery, The Dunning School focuses on this controversial group of historians and its scholarly output. Despite their methodological limitations and racial bias, the Dunning historians' writings prefigured the sources and questions that later historians of the Reconstruction would utilize and address. Many of their pioneering dissertations remain important to ongoing debates on the broad meaning of the Civil War and Reconstruction and the evolution of American historical scholarship.
This groundbreaking collection of original essays offers a fair and critical assessment of the Dunning School that focuses on the group's purpose, the strengths and weaknesses of its constituents, and its legacy. Squaring the past with the present, this important book also explores the evolution of historical interpretations over time and illuminates the ways in which contemporary political, racial, and social questions shape historical analyses.
Scenes from America and Abroad
What do we learn from eating? About ourselves? Others? In this unique memoir of a life shaped by the pleasures of the table, Doris Friedensohn uses eating as an occasion for inquiry. Munching on quesadillas and kimchi in her suburban New Jersey neighborhood, she reflects on her exploration of food over fifty years and across four continents. Relishing couscous in Tunisia and khachapuri in the Republic of Georgia, she explores the ways strangers come together and maintain their differences through food. As a young woman, Friedensohn was determined not to be a provincial American. Chinese, French, Mexican, and Mediterranean cuisines beckoned to her like mysterious suitors. She responded, pursuing suckling pig, snails, baba ghanoush, tripe, jellyfish, and anything with rosemary or cumin. Each rendezvous with an unfamiliar food was a celebration of cosmopolitan living. Friedensohn’s memories range from Thanksgiving at a Middle Eastern restaurant to the taste of fried grasshoppers in Oaxaca. Her wry dramas of the dining room, restaurant, market, and kitchen ripple with tensions—political, religious, psychological, and spiritual. Eating as I Go is one woman’s distinctive mélange of memoir, traveler’s tale, and cultural commentary.
Soldiers, Civilians, and the Death of the Third Reich
At the end of World War II, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, fearing that retreating Germans would consolidate large numbers of troops in an Alpine stronghold and from there conduct a protracted guerilla war, turned U.S. forces toward the heart of Franconia, ordering them to cut off and destroy German units before they could reach the Alps. Opposing this advance was a conglomeration of German forces headed by SS-Gruppenführer Max Simon, a committed National Socialist who advocated merciless resistance. Under the direction of officers schooled in harsh combat in Russia, the Germans succeeded in bringing the American advance to a grinding halt. Caught in the middle were the people of Franconia. Historians have accorded little mention to this period of violence and terror, but it provides insight into the chaotic nature of life while the Nazi regime was crumbling. Neither German civilians nor foreign refugees acted simply as passive victims caught between two fronts. Throughout the region people pressured local authorities to end the senseless resistance and sought revenge for their tribulations in the “liberation” that followed. Stephen G. Fritz examines the predicament and outlook of American GI’s, German soldiers and officials, and the civilian population caught in the arduous fighting during the waning days of World War II. Endkampf is a gripping portrait of the collapse of a society and how it affected those involved, whether they were soldiers or civilians, victors or vanquished, perpetrators or victims. Stephen G. Fritz, professor of history at East Tennessee State University, is the author of Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II .
A former Sunday school teacher and Hollywood actor, Ronald Reagan was an unlikely candidate for president. His charisma, conviction, and leadership earned him the governorship of California, from which he launched his successful bid to become the fortieth president of the United States in 1980. Reagan’s political legacy continues to be the standard by which all conservatives are judged. In The Enduring Reagan, editor Charles W. Dunn brings together eight prominent scholars to examine the political career and legacy of Ronald Reagan. This anthology offers a bold reassessment of the Reagan years and the impact they had on the United States and the world.
America's Treatment of Prisoners of War from the Revolution to the War on Terror
Revelations of abuse at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison and the U.S. detention camp at Guantánamo Bay had repercussions extending beyond the worldwide media scandal that ensued. The controversy surrounding photos and descriptions of inhumane treatment of enemy prisoners of war, or EPWs, from the war on terror marked a watershed moment in the study of modern warfare and the treatment of prisoners of war. Amid allegations of human rights violations and war crimes, one question stands out among the rest: Was the treatment of America’s most recent prisoners of war an isolated event or part of a troubling and complex issue that is deeply rooted in our nation’s military history? Military expert Robert C. Doyle’s The Enemy in Our Hands: America’s Treatment of Prisoners of War from the Revolution to the War on Terror draws from diverse sources to answer this question. Historical as well as timely in its content, this work examines America’s major wars and past conflicts—among them, the American Revolution, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and Vietnam—to provide understanding of the United States’ treatment of military and civilian prisoners. The Enemy in Our Hands offers a new perspective of U.S. military history on the subject of EPWs and suggests that the tactics employed to manage prisoners of war are unique and disparate from one conflict to the next. In addition to other vital information, Doyle provides a cultural analysis and exploration of U.S. adherence to international standards of conduct, including the 1929 Geneva Convention in each war. Although wars are not won or lost on the basis of how EPWs are treated, the treatment of prisoners is one of the measures by which history’s conquerors are judged.
Reform in World War I-era South Carolina
Despite its significance in world and American history, the World War I era is seldom identified as a turning point in southern history, as it failed to trigger substantial economic, political, or social change in the South. Yet in 1917, black and white reformers in South Carolina saw their world on the brink of momentous change. In a state politically controlled by a white minority, the war era incited oppositional movements. As South Carolina’s economy benefited from the war, white reformers sought to use their newfound prosperity to better the state’s education system and economy and to provide white citizens with a better standard of living. Black reformers, however, channeled the feelings of hope instilled by a war that would “make the world safe for democracy” into efforts that challenged the structures of the status quo. In Entangled by White Supremacy: Reform in World War I–era South Carolina, historian Janet G. Hudson examines the complex racial and social dynamics at play during this pivotal period of U.S. history. With critical study of the early war mobilization efforts, public policy debates, and the state’s political culture, Hudson illustrates how the politics of white supremacy hindered the reform efforts of both white and black activists. The World War I period was a complicated time in South Carolina—an era of prosperity and hope as well as fear and anxiety. As African Americans sought to change the social order, white reformers confronted the realization that their newfound economic opportunities could also erode their control. Hudson details how white supremacy formed an impenetrable barrier to progress in the region. Entangled by White Supremacy explains why white southerners failed to construct a progressive society by revealing the incompatibility of white reformers’ twin goals of maintaining white supremacy and achieving progressive reform. In addition, Hudson offers insight into the social history of South Carolina and the development of the state’s crucial role in the civil rights era to come.
The Environmental Vision of J.R.R. Tolkien
Many readers drawn into the heroic tales of J. R. R. Tolkien’s imaginary world of Middle-earth have given little conscious thought to the importance of the land itself in his stories or to the vital roles played by the flora and fauna of that land. As a result, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion are rarely considered to be works of environmental literature or mentioned together with such authors as John Muir, Rachel Carson, or Aldo Leopold. Tolkien’s works do not express an activist agenda; instead, his environmentalism is expressed in the form of literary fiction. Nonetheless, Tolkien’s vision of nature is as passionate and has had as profound an influence on his readers as that of many contemporary environmental writers. The burgeoning field of agrarianism provides new insights into Tolkien’s view of the natural world and environmental responsibility. In Ents, Elves, and Eriador, Matthew Dickerson and Jonathan Evans show how Tolkien anticipated some of the tenets of modern environmentalism in the imagined world of Middle-earth and the races with which it is peopled. The philosophical foundations that define Tolkien’s environmentalism, as well as the practical outworking of these philosophies, are found throughout his work. Agrarianism is evident in the pastoral lifestyle and sustainable agriculture of the Hobbits, as they harmoniously cultivate the land for food and goods. The Elves practice aesthetic, sustainable horticulture as they shape their forest environs into an elaborate garden. To complete Tolkien’s vision, the Ents of Fangorn Forest represent what Dickerson and Evans label feraculture, which seeks to preserve wilderness in its natural form. Unlike the Entwives, who are described as cultivating food in tame gardens, the Ents risk eventual extinction for their beliefs. These ecological philosophies reflect an aspect of Christian stewardship rooted in Tolkien’s Catholic faith. Dickerson and Evans define it as “stewardship of the kind modeled by Gandalf,” a stewardship that nurtures the land rather than exploiting its life-sustaining capacities to the point of exhaustion. Gandalfian stewardship is at odds with the forces of greed exemplified by Sauron and Saruman, who, with their lust for power, ruin the land they inhabit, serving as a dire warning of what comes to pass when stewardly care is corrupted or ignored. Dickerson and Evans examine Tolkien’s major works as well as his lesser-known stories and essays, comparing his writing to that of the most important naturalists of the past century. A vital contribution to environmental literature and an essential addition to Tolkien scholarship, Ents, Elves, and Eriador offers both Tolkien fans and environmentalists an understanding of Middle-earth that has profound implications for environmental stewardship in the present and the future of our own world.
Nature was always vital in Thomas Merton’s life, from the long hours he spent as a child watching his father paint landscapes in the fresh air, to his final years of solitude in the hermitage at Our Lady of Gethsemani, where he contemplated and wrote about the beauty of his surroundings. Throughout his life, Merton’s study of the natural world shaped his spirituality in profound ways, and he was one of the first writers to raise concern about ecological issues that have become critical in recent years. In The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton, author Monica Weis suggests that Merton’s interest in nature, which developed significantly during his years at the Abbey of Gethsemani, laid the foundation for his growing environmental consciousness. Tracing Merton’s awareness of the natural world from his childhood to the final years of his life, Weis explores his deepening sense of place and desire for solitude, his love and responsibility for all living things, and his evolving ecological awareness.
The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land
" WITH A FOREWORD BY BARBARA KINGSOLVER A compelling worldview with advocates from around the globe, agrarianism challenges the shortcomings of our industrial and technological economy. Not simply focused on farming, the agrarian outlook encourages us to develop practices and policies that promote the health of land, community, and culture. Agrarianism reminds us that no matter how urban we become, our survival will always be inextricably linked to the precious resources of soil, water, and air. Combining fresh insights from the disciplines of education, law, history, urban and regional planning, economics, philosophy, religion, ecology, politics, and agriculture, these original essays develop a sophisticated critique of our culture’s current relationship to the land, while offering practical alternatives. Leading agrarians, including Wendell Berry, Vandana Shiva, Wes Jackson, Gene Logsdon, Brian Donahue, Eric Freyfogle, and David Orr, explain how our goals should be redirected toward genuinely sustainable communities. These writers call us to an honest accounting and correction of our often destructive ways. They suggest how our society can take practical steps toward integrating soils, watersheds, forests, wildlife, urban areas, and human populations into one great system—a responsible flourishing of our world and culture.
Once confined solely to literature and film, science fiction has emerged to become a firmly established, and wildly popular, television genre over the last half century. The Essential Science Fiction Television Reader provides insight into and analyses of the most important programs in the history of the genre and explores the breadth of science fiction programming. Editor J. P. Telotte and the contributors explain the gradual transformation of the genre from low-budget cinematic knockoffs to an independent and distinct televisual identity. Their essays track the dramatic evolution of early hits such as The Twilight Zone and Star Trek into the science fiction programming of today with its more recent successes such as Lost and Heroes. They highlight the history, narrative approaches, and themes of the genre with an inviting and accessible style. In essays that are as varied as the shows themselves, the contributors address the full scope of the genre. In his essay “The Politics of Star Trek: The Original Series,” M. Keith Booker examines the ways in which Star Trek promoted cultural diversity and commented on the pioneering attitude of the American West. Susan George takes on the refurbished Battlestar Galactica series, examining how the show reframes questions of gender. Other essays explore the very attributes that constitute science fiction television: David Lavery’s essay “The Island’s Greatest Mystery: Is Lost Science Fiction?”calls into question the defining characteristics of the genre. From anime to action, every form of science fiction television is given thoughtful analysis enriched with historical perspective. Placing the genre in a broad context, The Essential Science Fiction Television Reader outlines where the genre has been, where it is today, and where it may travel in the future. No longer relegated to the periphery of television, science fiction now commands a viewership vast enough to sustain a cable channel devoted to the genre.