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University of Minnesota Press
Habits of Being I
Footbinding in China
Wang Ping interprets the mystery of footbinding as part of a womanly heritage--“a roaring ocean current of female language and culture.” She claims that footbinding should not be viewed merely as a function of men’s oppression of women, but rather as a phenomenon of male and female desire deeply rooted in traditional Chinese culture. Written in an elegant and powerful style, and filled with personal and intriguing insights, Aching for Beauty builds bridges from past to present, East to West, history to literature, imagination to reality.
Pacifica’s Brash Experiment
A network of five stations (in Berkeley, Los Angeles, Houston, New York City, and Washington, D.C.), Pacifica has been actively involved in nearly every progressive political movement of the past fifty years. The network has risked the loss of its licenses and made errors of judgment and taste; its transmitters were bombed; its personnel have been arrested and jailed. Yet it pioneered a number of media innovations, listener sponsorship and call-in radio among them. It has made history: on Pacifica stations, Seymour Hersh broke the My Lai story; the FBI’s illegal internal surveillance program was first publicly revealed; the Firesign Theater gave its first performance; and Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” made its public debut.
Using tape archives of radio programs, interviews with participants, and unpublished material on Pacifica, Land chronicles the turmoils and triumphs of this radio network that served as a model for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System. Rich in anecdote, Active Radio is both an engaging account of Pacifica’s past and an assessment of its significance to postwar culture in the United States.
Censorship, Political Criticism, and the Public Sphere
Focusing on historical moments ranging from early modern Europe to the postmodern United States, and covering a variety of media from books and paintings to film and photography, their essays seek a deeper understanding of what “censorship,” “criticism,” and the “public sphere” really mean.
Getting rid of the censor, the contributors suggest, does not eliminate the problem of censorship. In varied but complementary ways, they view censorship as something more than a negative, unified institutional practice used to repress certain discourses. Instead, the authors contend that censorship actually legitimates discourses-not only by allowing them to circulate but by staging their circulation as performances through which “good” and “bad” discourses are differentiated and opposed.
These essays move discussions of censorship out of the present discourse of diversity into what might be called a discourse of legitimation. In doing so, they open up the possibility of realignments between those who are disenchanted with both stereotypical right-wing criticisms of political critics and aesthetics and stereotypical left-wing defenses.
Contributors: Richard Burt, Stuart Culver, Donald Hedrick, Christian Jouhaud, Michael G. Levine, Timothy Murray, Aamir Mufti, David Norbrook, Dennis Porter, Brook Thomas, Jirina Smejkalová-Strickland, Jeffrey Wallen, and Rob Wilson.
“For those inclined to dismiss Adorno’s take on America as the uncomprehending condescension of a mandarin elitist, David Jenemann’s splendid new book will come as a rude awakening. Exploiting a wealth of new sources, he persuasively shows the depth of Adorno’s engagement with the culture industry and the complexity of his reaction to it.” —Martin Jay, Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History, University of California, Berkeley
The German philosopher and cultural critic Theodor W. Adorno was one of the towering intellectual figures of the twentieth century, and between 1938 and 1953 he lived in exile in the United States. In the first in-depth account of this period of Adorno’s life, David Jenemann examines Adorno’s confrontation with the burgeoning American “culture industry” and casts new light on Adorno’s writings about the mass media. Contrary to the widely held belief—even among his defenders—that Adorno was disconnected from America and disdained its culture, Jenemann reveals that Adorno was an active and engaged participant in cultural and intellectual life during these years.
From the time he first arrived in New York in 1938 to work for the Princeton Radio Research Project, exploring the impact of radio on American society and the maturing marketing strategies of the national radio networks, Adorno was dedicated to understanding the technological and social influence of popular art in the United States. Adorno carried these interests with him to Hollywood, where he and Max Horkheimer attempted to make a film for their Studies in Prejudice Project and where he befriended Thomas Mann and helped him craft his famous novel Doctor Faustus. Shuttling between insightful readings of Adorno’s theories and a rich body of archival materials—including unpublished writings and FBI files—Jenemann paints a portrait of Adorno’s years in New York and Los Angeles and tells the cultural history of an America coming to grips with its rapidly evolving mass culture.
Adorno in America eloquently and persuasively argues for a more complicated, more intimate relationship between Adorno and American society than has ever been previously acknowledged. What emerges is not only an image of an intellectual in exile, but ultimately a rediscovery of Adorno as a potent defender of a vital and intelligent democracy.
David Jenemann is assistant professor of English at the University of Vermont.
Adrienne Kennedy has been a force in American theatre since the early 1960s, influencing generations of playwrights with her hauntingly fragmentary lyrical dramas. Exploring the violence racism visits upon people’s lives, Kennedy’s plays express poetic alienation, transcending the particulars of character and plot through ritualistic repetition and radical structural experimentation. Frequently produced, read, and taught, they continue to hold a significant place among the most exciting dramas of the past fifty years.
This first comprehensive collection of her most important works traces the development of Kennedy’s unique theatrical oeuvre from her Obie-winning Funnyhouse of a Negro (1964) through significant later works such as A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White (1976), Ohio State Murders (1992), and June and Jean in Concert, for which she won an Obie in 1996. The entire contents of Kennedy’s groundbreaking collections In One Act and The Alexander Plays are included, as is her earliest work "Because of the King of France" and the play An Evening with Dead Essex (1972). More recent prose writings "Secret Paragraphs about My Brother," "A Letter to Flowers," and "Sisters Etta and Ella" are fascinating refractions of the themes and motifs of her dramatic works, even while they explore new material on teaching and writing. An introduction by Werner Sollors provides a valuable overview of Kennedy’s career and the trajectory of her literary development.
Adrienne Kennedy (b. 1931) is a three-time Obie-award winning playwright whose works have been widely performed and anthologized. Among her many honors are the American Academy of Arts and Letters award and the Guggenheim fellowship. In 1995-6, the Signature Theatre Company dedicated its entire season to presenting her work. She has been commissioned to write works for the Public Theater, Jerome Robbins, the Royal Court Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, and Juilliard, and she has been a visiting professor at Yale, Princeton, Brown, the University of California at Berkeley, and Harvard. She lives in New York City.
A Study of University Extension Students
The core of Aesthetic Ideology is a rigorous inquiry into the relation of rhetoric, epistemology, and aesthetics, one that presents radical notions of materiality. De Man reads Kant and Hegel with a combination of philosophical rigor, interpretive pressure, speculative daring, and ironic good humor that is unique to him, ultimately reaching the heart of philosophical aesthetics.
The texts collected here were written or delivered as lectures during the last years of de Man's life, between 1977 and 1983. Many of them have never been available previously in any form; these include essays on Kant's materialism, his relation to Schiller, and the concept of irony. A culmination of de Man's thinking on these central issues, Aesthetic Ideology is a necessary and vital component of your humanities bookshelf.
Contemporary Art and Depression