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University of Minnesota Press

University of Minnesota Press

Website: http://www.upress.umn.edu

The University of Minnesota Press is a nonprofit scholarly publisher whose primary mission is to disseminate through book publication work of exceptional scholarly quality and originality. The Press draws on and supports the intellectual activities of the University and its faculty in conjunction with the long-term development of its editorial program, thus enhancing the University's missions of research and instruction.


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University of Minnesota Press

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Anime’s Media Mix Cover

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Anime’s Media Mix

Franchising Toys and Characters in Japan

Marc Steinberg

In Anime’s Media Mix, Marc Steinberg convincingly shows that anime is far more than a style of Japanese animation. Beyond its immediate form of cartooning, anime is also a unique mode of cultural production and consumption that led to the phenomenon that is today called “media mix” in Japan and “convergence” in the West.

According to Steinberg, both anime and the media mix were ignited on January 1, 1963, when Astro Boy hit Japanese TV screens for the first time. Sponsored by a chocolate manufacturer with savvy marketing skills, Astro Boy quickly became a cultural icon in Japan. He was the poster boy (or, in his case, “sticker boy”) both for Meiji Seika’s chocolates and for what could happen when a goggle-eyed cartoon child fell into the eager clutches of creative marketers. It was only a short step, Steinberg makes clear, from Astro Boy to Pokémon and beyond.

Steinberg traces the cultural genealogy that spawned Astro Boy to the transformations of Japanese media culture that followed—and forward to the even more profound developments in global capitalism supported by the circulation of characters like Doraemon, Hello Kitty, and Suzumiya Haruhi. He details how convergence was sparked by anime, with its astoundingly broad merchandising of images and its franchising across media and commodities. He also explains, for the first time, how the rise of anime cannot be understood properly—historically, economically, and culturally—without grasping the integral role that the media mix played from the start. Engaging with film, animation, and media studies, as well as analyses of consumer culture and theories of capitalism, Steinberg offers the first sustained study of the Japanese mode of convergence that informs global media practices to this day.

Answer the Call Cover

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Answer the Call

Virtual Migration in Indian Call Centers

Aimee Carrillo Rowe

What happens over time to Indians who spend their working hours answering phone calls from Americans—and acting like Americans themselves? To find out, the authors of Answer the Call conducted long-term interviews with forty-five agents, trainers, managers, and CEOs at call centers in Bangalore and Mumbai from 2003 to 2012. For nine or ten hours every day, workers in call centers are not quite in India or America but rather in a state of “virtual migration.” Encouraged to steep themselves in American culture from afar, over time the agents come to internalize and indeed perform Americanness for Americans—and for each other.

Call center agents “migrate” through time and through the virtual spaces generated by voice and information sharing. Drawing from their rich interviews, the authors show that the virtual migration agents undergo has no geographically distant point of arrival, yet their perception of moving is not merely abstract. Over the duration of the job, agents’ sense of place and time changes: agents migrate but still remain, leaving them somewhere in between—between India and America, experience and imagination, class mobility and consumption, tradition and modernity, here and there, then and now, past and future.

However tangible and elastic their virtual mobility might seem in these relatively lucrative jobs, it is also suspended within the confines of the very boundaries they migrate across. Having engaged with these vivid and often poignant interviews, readers will never again be indifferent to an Indian agent’s greeting at the other end of a toll-free call: “Hello, my name is Roxanne. How may I help you?”

Antebellum at Sea Cover

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Antebellum at Sea

Maritime Fantasies in Nineteenth-Century America

Jason Berger

In the antebellum years, the Western world’s symbolic realities were expanded and challenged as merchant, military, and scientific activity moved into Pacific and Arctic waters. In Antebellum at Sea, Jason Berger explores the roles that early nineteenth-century maritime narratives played in conceptualizing economic and social transitions in the developing global market system and what these chronicles disclose about an era marked by immense change.

Focusing on the work of James Fenimore Cooper and Herman Melville, Berger enhances our understanding of how the nineteenth century negotiated its own tenuous progress by portraying how a wide range of maritime stories lays bare disturbing experiences of the new. Berger draws on Slavoj Žižek’s Lacanian notion of fantasy in order to reconsider the complex way maritime accounts operated in the political landscape of antebellum America, examining topics such as the function of maritime labor know-how within a transformation of scientific knowledge, anxiety produced by conflict between gender-specific and culture-specific forms of enjoyment, and how legal practices illuminate troubling juridical paradoxes at the heart of Polk-era political life.

Addressing the ideas of the antebellum age from unexpected and revealing perspectives, Berger calls on the conception of fantasy to consider how antebellum maritime literature disputes conventional views of American history, literature, and national identity.

Archaeology of Minnesota Cover

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Archaeology of Minnesota

The Prehistory of the Upper Mississippi River Region

Guy Gibbon

Histories of Minnesota typically begin with seventeenth-century French fur traders exploring the western shores of Lake Superior. And yet, archaeology reveals that Native Americans lived in the region at least 13,000 years before such European incursions. Archaeology of Minnesota tells their story—or as much as the region’s wealth of artifacts, evidence of human activity, and animal and plant remains can convey.

From archaeological materials, Guy Gibbon reconstructs the social, economic, and political systems—the lifeways—of those who inhabited what we now call Minnesota for thousands of years before the first contact between native peoples and Europeans. From the boreal coniferous forests to the north, to the tall grass prairie to the west and southwest, to the deciduous forest to the east and southeast, the richly diverse land of the upper Mississippi River region, crossed and bordered by all manner of waterways, was a virtual melting pot of prehistoric cultures.

Demonstrating how native cultures adapted and evolved over time, Gibbon provides an explanation that is firmly rooted in the nature of local environments. In doing so, he shows how the study of Minnesota archaeology is relevant to a broader understanding of long-term patterns of change in human development throughout the world.

Archipelagoes Cover

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Archipelagoes

Insular Fictions from Chivalric Romance to the Novel

Simone Pinet

Archipelagoes examines insularity as the space for adventure in the Spanish book of chivalry, much like the space of the forest in French chivalric romance. In this innovative work, Simone Pinet explores the emergence of insularity as a privileged place for the location of adventure in Spanish literature in tandem with the cartographic genre of the isolario.

Pinet looks closely at Amadís de Gaula and the Liber insularum archipelagi as the first examples of these genres. Both isolario and chivalric romance (libros de caballerías) make of the island a flexible yet cohesive framework that becomes intrinsic to the construction of their respective genres. The popularity of these forms throughout the seventeenth century in turn bears witness to the numerous possibilities the archipelagic structure offered, ultimately taken up by the grand genres of each discipline—the atlas and the novel.

Moving from verbal descriptions to engravings and tapestry weavings, and from the chivalric politics and ethics proposed in the Amadís de Gaula to the Insula Barataria episode in Don Quixote, Pinet’s analysis of insularity and the use of the island structure reveals diverging roles for fiction, illuminating both the emergence of the novel and contemporary philosophical discussion on fiction.

Architecture of Thought Cover

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Architecture of Thought

Andrzej Piotrowski

In Architecture of Thought, Andrzej Piotrowski maps and conceptually explores material practices of the past, showing how physical artifacts and visual environments manifest culturally rooted modes of thought and participate in the most nuanced processes of negotiations and ideological exchanges. According to Piotrowski, material structures enable people to think in new ways—distill emerging or alter existing worldviews—before words can stabilize them as conventional narratives.

Combining design thinking with academic methods of inquiry, Piotrowski traces ancient to modern architectural histories and—through critical readings of select buildings—examines the role of nonverbal exchanges in the development of an accumulated Western identity. Unlike studies that organize around the traditional scheme of periodization in history, Architecture of Thought uses an interdisciplinary approach to investigate a wide spectrum of cultural productions in different times and places.
 
Operating from the assertion that buildings are the most permanent record of unself-conscious beliefs and attitudes, it discusses Byzantium and the West after iconoclasm, the conquest and colonization of Mesoamerica, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Eastern Europe, the rise of the culture of consumerism in Victorian England, and High Modernism as its consequence. By moving beyond the assumption that historical structures reflect transcendental values and deterministic laws of physics or economy or have been shaped by self-conscious individuals, Piotrowski challenges the traditional knowledge of what architecture is and can be.

Architecture since 1400 Cover

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Architecture since 1400

Kathleen James-Chakraborty

The first global history of architecture to give equal attention to Western and non-Western structures and built landscapes, Architecture since 1400 is unprecedented in its range, approach, and insight. From Tenochtitlan’s Great Pyramid in Mexico City and the Duomo in Florence to Levittown’s suburban tract housing and the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, its coverage includes the world’s most celebrated structures and spaces along with many examples of more humble vernacular buildings. Lavishly illustrated with more than 300 photographs, plans, and interiors, this book presents key moments and innovations in architectural modernity around the globe.

Deftly integrating architectural and social history, Kathleen James-Chakraborty pays particular attention to the motivations of client and architect in the design and construction of environments both sacred and secular: palaces and places of worship as well as such characteristically modern structures as the skyscraper, the department store, and the cinema. She also focuses on the role of patrons and addresses to an unparalleled degree the impact of women in commissioning, creating, and inhabiting the built environment, with Gertrude Jekyll, Lina Bo Bardi, and Zaha Hadid taking their place beside Brunelleschi, Sinan, and Le Corbusier.

Making clear that visionary architecture has never been the exclusive domain of the West and recognizing the diversity of those responsible for commissioning, designing, and constructing buildings, Architecture since 1400 provides a sweeping, cross-cultural history of the built environment over six centuries.

Architecture's Historical Turn Cover

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Architecture's Historical Turn

Phenomenology and the Rise of the Postmodern

Jorge Otero-Pailos

Architecture’s Historical Turn traces the hidden history of architectural phenomenology, a movement that reflected a key turning point in the early phases of postmodernism and a legitimating source for those architects who first dared to confront history as an intellectual problem and not merely as a stylistic question.
 
Jorge Otero-Pailos shows how architectural phenomenology radically transformed how architects engaged, theorized, and produced history. In the first critical intellectual account of the movement, Otero-Pailos discusses the contributions of leading members, including Jean Labatut, Charles Moore, Christian Norberg-Schulz, and Kenneth Frampton. For architects maturing after World War II, Otero-Pailos contends, architectural history was a problem rather than a given. Paradoxically, their awareness of modernism’s historicity led some of them to search for an ahistorical experiential constant that might underpin all architectural expression. They drew from phenomenology, exploring the work of Bachelard, Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, and Ricoeur, which they translated for architectural audiences. Initially, the concept that experience could be a timeless architectural language provided a unifying intellectual basis for the stylistic pluralism that characterized postmodernism. It helped give theory—especially the theory of architectural history—a new importance over practice. However, as Otero-Pailos makes clear, architectural phenomenologists could not accept the idea of theory as an end in itself. In the mid-1980s they were caught in the contradictory and untenable position of having to formulate their own demotion of theory.
 
Otero-Pailos reveals how, ultimately, the rise of architectural phenomenology played a crucial double role in the rise of postmodernism, creating the antimodern specter of a historical consciousness and offering the modern notion of essential experience as the means to defeat it.

Ariel's Ecology Cover

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Ariel's Ecology

Plantations, Personhood, and Colonialism in the American Tropics

Monique Allewaert


What happens if we abandon the assumption that a person is a discrete, world-making agent who acts on and creates place? This, Monique Allewaert contends, is precisely what occurred on eighteenth-century American plantations, where labor practices and ecological particularities threatened the literal and conceptual boundaries that separated persons from the natural world.


Integrating political philosophy and ecocriticism with literary analysis, Ariel’s Ecology explores the forms of personhood that developed out of New World plantations, from Georgia and Florida through Jamaica to Haiti and extending into colonial metropoles such as Philadelphia. Allewaert’s examination of the writings of naturalists, novelists, and poets; the oral stories of Africans in the diaspora; and Afro-American fetish artifacts shows that persons in American plantation spaces were pulled into a web of environmental stresses, ranging from humidity to the demand for sugar. This in turn gave rise to modes of personhood explicitly attuned to human beings’ interrelation with nonhuman forces in a process we might call ecological.


Certainly the possibility that colonial life revokes human agency haunts works from Shakespeare’s Tempest and Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws to Spivak’s theories of subalternity. In Allewaert’s interpretation, the transformation of colonial subjectivity into ecological personhood is not a nightmare; it is, rather, a mode of existence until now only glimmering in Che Guevara’s dictum that postcolonial resistance is synonymous with “perfect knowledge of the ground.”


At the Borders of Sleep Cover

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At the Borders of Sleep

On Liminal Literature

Peter Schwenger

At the Borders of Sleep is a unique exploration of the connections between literature and the liminal states between waking and sleeping—from falling asleep and waking up, to drowsiness and insomnia, to states in which sleeping and waking mix. Delving into philosophy as well as literature, Peter Schwenger investigates the threshold between waking and sleeping as an important and productive state between the forced march of rational thought and the oblivion of unconsciousness.

While examining literary representations of the various states between waking and sleeping, At the Borders of Sleep also analyzes how writers and readers alike draw on and enter into these states. To do so Schwenger reads a wide range of authors for whom the borders of sleep are crucial, including Marcel Proust, Stephen King, Paul Valéry, Fernando Pessoa, Franz Kafka, Giorgio de Chirico, Virginia Woolf, Philippe Sollers, and Robert Irwin. Considering drowsiness, insomnia, and waking up, he looks at such subjects as the hypnagogic state, the experience of reading and why it is different from full consciousness, the relationships between insomnia and writing and why insomnia is often a source of creative insight, and the persistence of liminal elements in waking thought. A final chapter focuses on literature that blurs dream and waking life, giving special attention to experimental writing.

Ultimately arguing that, taking place on the edges of consciousness, both the reading and writing of literature are liminal experiences, At the Borders of Sleep suggests new ways to think about the nature of literature and consciousness.

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