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Catching Stories Cover

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Catching Stories

A Practical Guide to Oral History

Donna M. DeBlasio

In neighborhoods, schools, community centers, and workplaces, people are using oral history to capture and collect the kinds of stories that the history books and the media tend to overlook: stories of personal struggle and hope, of war and peace, of family and friends, of beliefs, traditions, and values—the stories of our lives. Catching Stories: A Practical Guide to Oral History is a clear and comprehensive introduction for those with little or no experience in planning or implementing oral history projects. Opening with the key question, “Why do oral history?” the guide outlines the stages of a project from idea to final product—the interviewing process, basic technical principles, and audio and video recording techniques. The guide covers interview transcription, legal issues, archiving, funding sources, and sharing oral history with audiences. Intended for teachers, students, librarians, local historians, and volunteers as well as individuals, Catching Stories is the place to start for anyone who wants to document the memories and collect the stories of community or family.

Charity and Condescension Cover

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Charity and Condescension

Victorian Literature and the Dilemmas of Philanthropy

Daniel Siegel

Charity and Condescension explores how condescension, a traditional English virtue, went sour in the nineteenth century, and considers the ways in which the failure of condescension influenced Victorian efforts to reform philanthropy and to construct new narrative models of social conciliation. In the literary work of authors like Dickens, Eliot, and Tennyson, and in the writing of reformers like Octavia Hill and Samuel Barnett, condescension—once a sign of the power and value of charity—became an emblem of charity’s limitations.

Charity and Condescension argues that, despite its reputation for idealistic self-assurance, Victorian charity frequently doubted its own operations and was driven by creative self-critique. Through sophisticated and original close readings of important Victorian texts, Siegel shows how these important ideas developed even as England struggled to deal with its growing underclass and an expanding notion of the state’s responsibility to its poor.

Child Slaves in the Modern World Cover

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Child Slaves in the Modern World

Gwyn Campbell

 Child Slaves in the Modern World is the second of two volumes that examine the distinctive uses and experiences of children in slavery in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This collection of previously unpublished essays exposes the global victimization of child slaves from the period of abolition of legal slavery in the nineteenth century to the human rights era of the twentieth century. It contributes to the growing recognition that the stereotypical bonded male slave was in fact a rarity. Nine of the studies are historical, with five located in Africa and three covering Latin America from the British Caribbean to Chile. One study follows the children liberated in the famous Amistad incident (1843). The remaining essays cover contemporary forms of child slavery, from prostitution to labor to forced soldiering. Child Slaves in the Modern World adds historical depth to the current literature on contemporary slavery, emphasizing the distinctive vulnerabilities of children, or effective equivalents, that made them particularly valuable to those who could acquire and control them. The studies also make clear the complexities of attempting to legislate or decree regulations limiting practices that appear to have been—and continue to be —ubiquitous around the world. 

Children in Slavery through the Ages Cover

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Children in Slavery through the Ages

Gwyn Campell

Significant numbers of the people enslaved throughout world history have been children. The vast literature on slavery has grown to include most of the history of this ubiquitous practice, but nearly all of it concentrates on the adult males whose strong bodies and laboring capacities preoccupied the masters of the modern Americas. Children in Slavery through the Ages examines the children among the enslaved across a significant range of earlier times and other places; its companion volume will examine the children enslaved in recent American contexts and in the contemporary/modern world.

This is the first collection to focus on children in slavery. These leading scholars bring our thinking about slaving and slavery to new levels of comprehensiveness and complexity. They further provide substantial historical depth to the abuse of children for sexual and labor purposes that has become a significant humanitarian concern of governments and private organizations around the world in recent decades.

The collected essays in Children in Slavery through the Ages fundamentally reconstruct our understanding of enslavement by exploring the often-ignored role of children in slavery and rejecting the tendency to narrowly equate slavery with the forced labor of adult males. The volume’s historical angle highlights many implications of child slavery by examining the variety of children’s roles—as manual laborers and domestic servants to court entertainers and eunuchs—and the worldwide regions in which the child slave trade existed.

Children Of Africa Confront AIDS Cover

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Children Of Africa Confront AIDS

From Vulnerability To Possibility

Arvind Singhal

 AIDS is now the leading cause of death in Africa, where twenty-eight million people are HIV-positive, and where some twelve million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. In Zimbabwe, 45 percent of children under the age of five are HIV-positive, and the epidemic has shortened life expectancy by twenty-two years. A fifteen-year-old in Botswana or South Africa has a one-in-two chance of dying of AIDS. AIDS deaths are so widespread in sub-Saharan Africa that small children now play a new game called “Funerals.”

The Children of Africa Confront AIDS depicts the reality of how African children deal with the AIDS epidemic, and how the discourse of their vulnerability affects acts of coping and courage. A project of the Institute for the African Child at Ohio University, The Children of Africa Confront AIDS cuts across disciplines and issues to focus on the world's most marginalized population group, the children of Africa.

Editors Arvind Singhal and Stephen Howard join conversations between humanitarian and political activists and academics, asking, “What shall we do?” Such discourse occurs in African contexts ranging from a social science classroom in Botswana to youth groups in Kenya and Ghana. The authors describe HIV/AIDS in its macro contexts of vulnerable children and the continent's democratization movements and also in its national contexts of civil conflict, rural poverty, youth organizations, and agencies working on the ground.

Singhal, Howard, and other contributors draw on compelling personal experience in descriptions of HIV/AIDS interventions for children in difficult circumstances and present thoughtful insights into data gathered from surveys and observations concerning this terrible epidemic.

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Chocolate Islands

Cocoa, Slavery, and Colonial Africa

Catherine Higgs

In Chocolate Islands: Cocoa, Slavery, and Colonial Africa, Catherine Higgs traces the early-twentieth-century journey of the Englishman Joseph Burtt to the Portuguese colony of São Tomé and Príncipe—the chocolate islands—through Angola and Mozambique, and finally to British Southern Africa. Burtt had been hired by the chocolate firm Cadbury Brothers Limited to determine if the cocoa it was buying from the islands had been harvested by slave laborers forcibly recruited from Angola, an allegation that became one of the grand scandals of the early colonial era. Burtt spent six months on São Tomé and Príncipe and a year in Angola. His five-month march across Angola in 1906 took him from innocence and credulity to outrage and activism and ultimately helped change labor recruiting practices in colonial Africa.

This beautifully written and engaging travel narrative draws on collections in Portugal, the United Kingdom, and Africa to explore British and Portuguese attitudes toward work, slavery, race, and imperialism. In a story still familiar a century after Burtt’s sojourn, Chocolate Islands reveals the idealism, naivety, and racism that shaped attitudes toward Africa, even among those who sought to improve the conditions of its workers.

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Christianity and Public Culture in Africa

Harri Englund

Christianity and Public Culture in Africa takes the reader beyond Africa’s apparent exceptionalism. African Christians have created new publics, often in ways that offer fresh insights into the symbolic and practical boundaries separating the secular and the sacred, the private and the public, and the liberal and the illiberal. Critical reason and Christian convictions have combined in surprising ways when African Christians have engaged with vital public issues such as national constitutions and gender relations, and with literary imaginings and controversies over tradition and HIV/AIDS.

The contributors demonstrate how the public significance of Christianity varies across time and place. They explore rural Africa and the continent’s major cities, and colonial and missionary situations, as well as mass-mediated ideas and images in the twenty-first century. They also reveal the plurality of Pentecostalism in Africa and keep in view the continent’s continuing denominational diversity. Students and scholars will find these topical studies to be impressive in scope. 

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Cinematic Hamlet

The Films of Olivier, Zeffirelli, Branagh, and Almereyda

Patrick J. Cook

Hamlet has inspired four outstanding film adaptations that continue to delight a wide and varied audience and to offer provocative new interpretations of Shakespeare’s most popular play. Cinematic Hamlet contains the first scene-by-scene analysis of the methods used by Laurence Olivier, Franco Zeffirelli, Kenneth Branagh, and Michael Almereyda to translate Hamlet into highly distinctive and remarkably effective films.

 
Applying recent developments in neuroscience and psychology, Patrick J. Cook argues that film is a medium deploying an abundance of devices whose task it is to direct attention away from the film’s viewing processes and toward the object represented. Through careful analysis of each film’s devices, he explores the ways in which four brilliant directors rework the play into a radically different medium, engaging the viewer through powerful instinctive drives and creating audiovisual vehicles that support and complement Shakespeare’s words and story.
 
Cinematic Hamlet will prove to be indispensable for anyone wishing to understand how these films rework Shakespeare into the powerful medium of film.

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Cold War and Decolonization in Guinea, 1946-1958

Elizabeth Schmidt

In September 1958, Guinea claimed its independence, rejecting a constitution that would have relegated it to junior partnership in the French Community. In all the French empire, Guinea was the only territory to vote “No.” Orchestrating the “No” vote was the Guinean branch of the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (RDA), an alliance of political parties with affiliates in French West and Equatorial Africa and the United Nations trusts of Togo and Cameroon. Although Guinea’s stance vis-à-vis the 1958 constitution has been recognized as unique, until now the historical roots of this phenomenon have not been adequately explained.
Clearly written and free of jargon, Cold War and Decolonization in Guinea argues that Guinea’s vote for independence was the culmination of a decade-long struggle between local militants and political leaders for control of the political agenda. Since 1950, when RDA representatives in the French parliament severed their ties to the French Communist Party, conservative elements had dominated the RDA. In Guinea, local cadres had opposed the break. Victimized by the administration and sidelined by their own leaders, they quietly rebuilt the party from the base. Leftist militants, their voices muted throughout most of the decade, gained preeminence in 1958, when trade unionists, students, the party’s women’s and youth wings, and other grassroots actors pushed the Guinean RDA to endorse a “No” vote. Thus, Guinea’s rejection of the proposed constitution in favor of immediate independence was not an isolated aberration. Rather, it was the outcome of years of political mobilization by activists who, despite Cold War repression, ultimately pushed the Guinean RDA to the left.
The significance of this highly original book, based on previously unexamined archival records and oral interviews with grassroots activists, extends far beyond its primary subject. In illuminating the Guinean case, Elizabeth Schmidt helps us understand the dynamics of decolonization and its legacy for postindependence nation-building in many parts of the developing world.
Examining Guinean history from the bottom up, Schmidt considers local politics within the larger context of the Cold War, making her book suitable for courses in African history and politics, diplomatic history, and Cold War history.

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The Collected Letters of Henry Northrup Castle

Henry Northrup Castle

George Herbert Mead, one of America’s most important and influential philosophers, a founder of pragmatism, social psychology, and symbolic interactionism, was also a keen observer of American culture and early modernism. In the period from the 1870s to 1895, Henry Northrup Castle maintained a correspondence with family members and with Mead—his best friend at Oberlin College and brother-in-law—that reveals many of the intellectual, economic, and cultural forces that shaped American thought in that complex era. Close friends of John Dewey, Jane Addams, and other leading Chicago Progressives, the author of these often intimate letters comments frankly on pivotal events affecting higher education, developments at Oberlin College, Hawaii (where the Castles lived), progressivism, and the general angst that many young intellectuals were experiencing in early modern America.

The letters, drawn from the Mead-Castle collection at the University of Chicago, were collected and edited by Mead after the tragic death of Henry Castle in a shipping accident in the North Sea. Working with his wife Helen Castle (one of Henry’s sisters), he privately published fifty copies of the letters to record an important relationship and as an intellectual history of two progressive thinkers at the end of the nineteenth century. American historians, such as Robert Crunden and Gary Cook, have noted the importance of the letters to historians of the late nineteenth century.

The letters are made available here using the basic Mead text of 1902. Additional insights into the connection between Mead, John Dewey, Henry and Harriet Castle, and Hawaii’s progressive kindergarten system are provided by the foundation’s executive director Alfred L. Castle. Marvin Krislov, president of Oberlin College, has added additional comments on the importance of the letters to understanding the intellectual relationship that flourished at Oberlin College.

Published with the support of the Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation.

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