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University of Nebraska Press

University of Nebraska Press

Website: http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu

Founded in 1941, the University of Nebraska Press is a nonprofit scholarly and general interest press that publishes 160 new and reprint titles annually under the Nebraska and Bison Books imprints respectively, along with 20 journals. As the largest and most diversified university press between Chicago and California, with nearly 3,000 books in print, the University of Nebraska Press is best known for publishing works in Indigenous studies, history and literature of the American West, translated literature, and sports history


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University of Nebraska Press

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Bandit Nation Cover

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Bandit Nation

A History of Outlaws and Cultural Struggle in Mexico, 1810-1920

Chris Frazer

Stories about postcolonial bandits in Mexico have circulated since the moment Mexico won its independence. Narratives have appeared or been discussed in a wide variety of forms: novels, memoirs, travel accounts, newspaper articles, the graphic arts, social science literature, movies, ballads, and historical monographs. During the decades between independence and the Mexican Revolution, bandit narratives were integral to the broader national and class struggles between Mexicans and foreigners concerning the definition and creation of the Mexican nation-state.

Bandit Nation is the first complete analysis of the cultural impact that banditry had on Mexico from the time of its independence to the Mexican Revolution. Chris Frazer focuses on the nature and role of foreign travel accounts, novels, and popular ballads, known as corridos, to analyze how and why Mexicans and Anglo-Saxon travelers created and used images of banditry to influence state formation, hegemony, and national identity. Narratives about banditry are linked to a social and political debate about “mexican-ness” and the nature of justice. Although considered a relic of the past, the Mexican bandit continues to cast a long shadow over the present, in the form of narco-traffickers, taxicab hijackers, and Zapatista guerrillas. Bandit Nation is an important contribution to the cultural and the general histories of postcolonial Mexico.

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Baseball without Borders

The International Pastime

George Gmelch

A televised baseball game from Puerto Rico, Japan, or even Cuba might look a lot like the North American game. Beneath the outward similarities, however—the uniforms and equipment and basic rules—there is usually a very different history and culture influencing the nuances of the sport. These differences are what interest the authors of Baseball without Borders, a book about America's national pastime going global and undergoing instructive, entertaining, and sometimes curious changes in the process. The contributors, leading authorities on baseball in the fourteen nations under consideration, look at how the game was imported—how it took hold and developed, how it is organized, played, and followed—and what these local and regional trends and features say about the sport's place in particular cultures.

Organized by region—Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Pacific—and written by journalists, historians, anthropologists, and English professors, these original essays reflect diverse perspectives and range across a refreshingly wide array of subjects: from high school baseball in Japan and Little League in Taiwan to fan behavior in Cuba and the politics of baseball in China and Korea.

The Battle of Petersburg, June 15-18, 1864 Cover

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The Battle of Petersburg, June 15-18, 1864

Sean Michael Chick

The Bearer of This Letter Cover

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The Bearer of This Letter

Language Ideologies, Literacy Practices, and the F

Mindy J. Morgan

The Bearer of This Letter illuminates the enduring effects of colonialism by examining the decades-long tension between written words and spoken words in a reservation community. Drawing on archival sources and her own extensive work in the community, Mindy J. Morgan investigates how historical understandings of literacy practices challenge current Indigenous language revitalization efforts on the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana.
 
Created in 1887, Fort Belknap is home to the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine peoples. The history of these two peoples over the past century is a common one among Indigenous groups, with religious and federal authorities aggressively promoting the use of English at the expense of the local Indigenous languages. Morgan suggests that such efforts at the assimilation of Indigenous peoples had a far-reaching and not fully appreciated consequence. Through a close reading of federal, local, and missionary records at Fort Belknap, Morgan demonstrates how the government used documents as a means of restructuring political and social life as well as regulating access to resources during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As a result, the residents of Fort Belknap began to use written English as a means of negotiating with the government and when arguing for structural change during the early reservation period while maintaining distinct arenas for Indigenous language use. These linguistic practices have significantly shaped the community’s perceptions of the utility of writing and continue to play a central role in contemporary language programs that increasingly rely on standardized orthographies for Indigenous language programs.

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Beating Goliath

Why Insurgencies Win

Record, Jeffrey

Beating Goliath examines the phenomenon of victories by the weak over the strongùmore specifically, insurgencies that succeeded against great powers. Jeffrey Record reviews eleven insurgent wars from 1775 to the present and determines why the seemingly weaker side won. He concludes that external assistance correlates more consistently with insurgent success than any other explanation. He does not disparage the critical importance of will, strategy, and strong-side regime type or suggest that external assistance guarantees success. Indeed, in all cases, some combination of these factors is usually present. But Record finds few if any cases of unassisted insurgent victories except against the most decrepit regimes.

Having identified the ingredients of insurgent success, Record examines the present insurgency in Iraq and whether the United States can win. In so doing, Record employs a comparative analysis of the Vietnam War and the Iraq War. He also identifies and assesses the influence of distinctive features of the American way of war on the U.S. forcesÆ performance against the Iraqi insurgency.

Make no mistake: insurgent victories are the exception, not the rule. But when David does beat Goliath, the consequences can be earth shattering and change the course of history. Jeffrey RecordÆs persuasive logic and clear writing make this timely book a must read for scholars, policymakers, military strategists, and anyone interested in the Iraq WarÆs outcome.

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Becoming Melungeon

Making an Ethnic Identity in the Appalachian South

Melissa Schrift

Appalachian legend describes a mysterious, multiethnic population of exotic, dark-skinned rogues called Melungeons who rejected the outside world and lived in the remote, rugged mountains in the farthest corner of northeast Tennessee. The allegedly unknown origins of these Melungeons are part of what drove this legend and generated myriad exotic origin theories. Though nobody self-identified as Melungeon before the 1960s, by the 1990s “Melungeonness” had become a full-fledged cultural phenomenon, resulting in a zealous online community and annual meetings where self-identified Melungeons gathered to discuss shared genealogy and history. Although today Melungeons are commonly identified as the descendants of underclass whites, freed African Americans, and Native Americans, this ethnic identity is still largely a social construction based on local tradition, myth, and media.

In Becoming Melungeon, Melissa Schrift examines the ways in which the Melungeon ethnic identity has been socially constructed over time by various regional and national media, plays, and other forms of popular culture. Schrift explores how the social construction of this legend evolved into a fervent movement of a self-identified ethnicity in the 1990s. This illuminating and insightful work examines these shifting social constructions of race, ethnicity, and identity both in the local context of the Melungeons and more broadly in an attempt to understand the formation of ethnic groups and identity in the modern world.

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Becoming Two-Spirit

Gay Identity and Social Acceptance in Indian Country

Brian Joseph Gilley

The Two-Spirit man occupies a singular place in Native American culture, balancing the male and the female spirit even as he tries to blend gay and Native identity. The accompanying ambiguities of gender and culture come into vivid relief in the powerful and poignant Becoming Two-Spirit, the first book to take an in-depth look at contemporary American Indian gender diversity. Drawing on a wealth of observations from interviews, oral histories, and meetings and ceremonies, Brian Joseph Gilley provides an intimate view of how Two-Spirit men in Colorado and Oklahoma struggle to redefine themselves and their communities.

The Two-Spirit men who appear in Gilley’s book speak frankly of homophobia within their communities, a persistent prejudice that is largely misunderstood or misrepresented by outsiders. Gilley gives detailed accounts of the ways in which these men modify gay and Native identity as a means of dealing with their alienation from tribal communities and families. With these compromises, he suggests, they construct an identity that challenges their alienation while at the same time situating themselves within contemporary notions of American Indian identity. He also shows how their creativity is reflected in the communities they build with one another, the development of their own social practices, and a national network of individuals linked in their search for self and social acceptance.

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Becoming Western

Stories of Culture and Identity in the Cowboy State

Liza J. Nicholas

In the Cowboy State (also known as Wyoming), the Wild West has never died. The West has long been the favored repository of the East’s cultural fantasies, and in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Eastern expectations and demands largely shaped Wyoming's image in this role. Becoming Western shows how the myth of the “American West” has acted as a force both in history and in individual lives.

Liza J. Nicholas interrogates the creation of Western lore by looking at five stories that focus on, respectively, Jack Flagg, a Wyoming legend and the supposed model for Owen Wister’s Virginian; an equestrian statue of Buffalo Bill sculpted by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney; the dude ranch; the creation of the American studies program at Yale; and a campaign for the U.S. Senate. Each story reveals the ways in which the East consciously imagined and manipulated the West and how Wyomingites in turn interpreted this identity, manipulated it, and put it to work for themselves. Becoming Western is a fascinating study of how invented traditions can become potent cultural and political ideology on a local as well as a national level.

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Before Boas

The Genesis of Ethnography and Ethnology in the German Enlightenment

Han F. Vermeulen

The history of anthropology has been written from multiple viewpoints, often from perspectives of gender, nationality, theory, or politics. Before Boas delves deeper into issues concerning anthropology’s academic origins to present a groundbreaking study that reveals how ethnology and ethnography originated during the eighteenth rather than the nineteenth century, developing parallel to anthropology, or the “natural history of man.”


Han F. Vermeulen explores primary and secondary sources from Russia, Germany, Austria, the United States, the Netherlands, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, and Great Britain in tracing how “ethnography” was begun as field research by German-speaking historians and naturalists in Siberia (Russia) during the 1730s and 1740s, was generalized as “ethnology” by scholars in Göttingen (Germany) and Vienna (Austria) during the 1770s and 1780s, and was subsequently adopted by researchers in other countries.


Before Boas argues that anthropology and ethnology were separate sciences during the Age of Reason, studying racial and ethnic diversity, respectively. Ethnography and ethnology focused not on “other” cultures but on all peoples of all eras. Following G. W. Leibniz, researchers in these fields categorized peoples primarily according to their languages. Franz Boas professionalized the holistic study of anthropology from the 1880s into the twentieth century. 
 

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Before the West Was West

Critical Essays on Pre-1800 Literature of the American Frontiers

Amy T. Hamilton

Before the West Was West examines the extent to which scholars have engaged in-depth with pre-1800 “western” texts and asks what we mean by “western” American literature in the first place and when that designation originated.

Calling into question the implicit temporal boundaries of the “American West” in literature, a literature often viewed as having commenced only at the beginning of the 1800s, Before the West Was West explores the concrete, meaningful connections between different texts as well as the development of national ideologies and mythologies. Examining pre-nineteenth-century writings that do not fit conceptions of the Wild West or of cowboys, cattle ranching, and the Pony Express, these thirteen essays demonstrate that no single, unified idea or geography defines the American West. 

Contributors investigate texts ranging from the Norse Vinland Sagas and Mary Rowlandson’s famous captivity narrative to early Spanish and French exploration narratives, an eighteenth-century English novel, and a play by Aphra Behn. Through its examination of the disparate and multifaceted body of literature that arises from a broad array of cultural backgrounds and influences, Before the West Was West apprehends the literary West in temporal as well as spatial and cultural terms and poses new questions about “westernness” and its literary representation.

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