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Colonial Meltdown Cover

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Colonial Meltdown

Northern Nigeria in the Great Depression

Moses E. Ochonu

Historians of colonial Africa have largely regarded the decade of the Great Depression as a period of intense exploitation and colonial inactivity. In Colonial Meltdown, Moses E. Ochonu challenges this conventional interpretation by mapping the determined, at times violent, yet instructive responses of Northern Nigeria’s chiefs, farmers, laborers, artisans, women, traders, and embryonic elites to the British colonial mismanagement of the Great Depression. Colonial Meltdown explores the unraveling of British colonial power at a moment of global economic crisis.

Ochonu shows that the economic downturn made colonial exploitation all but impossible and that this dearth of profits and surpluses frustrated the colonial administration which then authorized a brutal regime of grassroots exactions and invasive intrusions. The outcomes were as harsh for Northern Nigerians as those of colonial exploitation in boom years.

Northern Nigerians confronted colonial economic recovery measures and their agents with a variety of strategies. Colonial Meltdown analyzes how farmers, women, laborers, laid-off tin miners, and Northern Nigeria’s emergent elite challenged and rebelled against colonial economic recovery schemes with evasive trickery, defiance, strategic acts of revenge, and criminal self-help and, in the process, exposed the weak underbelly of the colonial system.

Combined with the economic and political paralysis of colonial bureaucrats in the face of crisis, these African responses underlined the fundamental weakness of the colonial state, the brittleness of its economic mission, and the limits of colonial coercion and violence. This atmosphere of colonial collapse emboldened critics of colonial policies who went on to craft the rhetorical terms on which the anticolonial struggle of the post–World War II period was fought out.

In the current climate of global economic anxieties, Ochonu’s analysis will enrich discussions on the transnational ramifications of economic downturns. It will also challenge the pervasive narrative of imperial economic success.

Come Buy, Come Buy Cover

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Come Buy, Come Buy

Shopping and the Culture of Consumption in Victorian Women's Writing

Krista Lysack

From the 1860s through the early twentieth century, Great Britain saw the rise of the department store and the institutionalization of a gendered sphere of consumption. Come Buy, Come Buy considers representations of the female shopper in British women’s writing and demonstrates how women’s shopping practices are materialized as forms of narrative, poetic, and cultural inscription, showing how women writers emphasize consumerism as productive of pleasure rather than the condition of seduction or loss. Krista Lysack examines works by Christina Rossetti, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, George Eliot, and Michael Field, as well as the suffragist newspaper Votes for Women, in order to challenge the dominant construction of Victorian femininity as characterized by self-renunciation and the regulation of appetite.

Come Buy, Come Buy considers not only literary works, but also a variety of archival sources (shopping guides, women’s fashion magazines, household management guides, newspapers, and advertisements) and cultural practices (department store shopping, shoplifting and kleptomania, domestic economy, and suffragette shopkeeping). This wealth of sources reveals unexpected relationships between consumption, identity, and citizenship, as Lysack traces a genealogy of the woman shopper from dissident domestic spender to aesthetic salonière, from curious shop-gazer to political radical.

Congress and the Crisis of the 1850s Cover

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Congress and the Crisis of the 1850s

During the long decade from 1848 to 1861 America was like a train speeding down the track, without an engineer or brakes. The new territories acquired from Mexico had vastly increased the size of the nation, but debate over their status—and more importantly the status of slavery within them—paralyzed the nation. Southerners gained access to the territories and a draconian fugitive slave law in the Compromise of 1850, but this only exacerbated sectional tensions. Virtually all northerners, even those who supported the law because they believed that it would preserve the union, despised being turned into slave catchers. In 1854, in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Congress repealed the ban on slavery in the remaining unorganized territories. In 1857, in the Dred Scott case, the Supreme Court held that all bans on slavery in the territories were unconstitutional. Meanwhile, northern whites, free blacks, and fugitive slaves resisted the enforcement of the 1850 fugitive slave law. In Congress members carried weapons and Representative Preston Brooks assaulted Senator Charles Sumner with a cane, nearly killing him. This was the decade of the 1850s and these were the issues Congress grappled with. This volume of new essays examines many of these issues, helping us better understand the failure of political leadership in the decade that led to the Civil War. 

The Conscript Cover

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The Conscript

A Novel of Libya's Anticolonial War

Gebreyesus Hailu

Constructing Black Education at Oberlin College Cover

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Constructing Black Education at Oberlin College

A Documentary History

Roland M. Baumann

In 1835 Oberlin became the first institute of higher education to make a cause of racial egalitarianism when it decided to educate
students “irrespective of color.” Yet the visionary college’s implementation of this admissions policy was uneven. In Constructing Black Education at Oberlin College: A Documentary History, Roland M. Baumann presents a comprehensive documentary history of the education of African American students at Oberlin College.

Following the Reconstruction era, Oberlin College mirrored the rest of society as it reduced its commitment to black students by treating them as less than equals of their white counterparts. By the middle of the twentieth century, black and white student activists partially reclaimed the Oberlin legacy by refusing to be defined by race. Generations of Oberlin students, plus a minority of faculty and staff, rekindled the college’s commitment to racial equality by 1970. In time, black separatism in its many forms replaced the integrationist ethic on campus as African Americans sought to chart their own destiny and advance curricular change.

Oberlin’s is not a story of unbroken progress, but rather of irony, of contradictions and integrity, of myth and reality, and of imperfections. Baumann takes readers directly to the original sources by including thirty complete documents from the Oberlin College Archives. This richly illustrated volume is an important contribution to the college’s 175th anniversary celebration of its distinguished history, for it convincingly documents how Oberlin wrestled over the meaning of race and the destiny of black people in American society.

Contours of White Ethnicity Cover

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Contours of White Ethnicity

Popular Ethnography and the Making of Usable Pasts in Greek America

Yiorgos Anagnostou

In Contours of White Ethnicity, Yiorgos Anagnostou explores the construction of ethnic history and reveals how and why white ethnics selectively retain, rework, or reject their pasts. Challenging the tendency to portray Americans of European background as a uniform cultural category, the author demonstrates how a generalized view of American white ethnics misses the specific identity issues of particular groups as well as their internal differences.

Interdisciplinary in scope, Contours of White Ethnicity uses the example of Greek America to illustrate how the immigrant past can be used to combat racism and be used to bring about solidarity between white ethnics and racial minorities. Illuminating the importance of the past in the construction of ethnic identities today, Anagnostou presents the politics of evoking the past to create community, affirm identity, and nourish reconnection with ancestral roots, then identifies the struggles to neutralize oppres sive pasts.

Although it draws from the scholarship on a specific ethnic group, Contours of White Ethnicity exhibits a sophisticated, interdisciplinary methodology, which makes it of particular interest to scholars researching ethnicity and race in the United States and for those charting the directions of future research for white ethnicities.

A Conversation about Ohio University and the Presidency, 1975?–?1994 Cover

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A Conversation about Ohio University and the Presidency, 1975?–?1994

When Charles Ping first arrived at Ohio University in 1975, the university was experiencing a decline in student enrollment and confronting serious financial challenges. But rather than focusing on its problems, President Ping instead concentrated on Ohio University’s potential.

“What attracted me was, essentially, the richness of the campus in people and programs,” said Ping. During the nineteen years that Ping served as president, he guided Ohio University in scholarship, research, and service, and substantially increased the size of the campus through the acquisition of The Ridges. After Ping announced his resignation in Spring 1993, the April 26 headline in the Columbus Dispatch read “Ping Leaving Ohio University with Big Shoes to Fill.”

In Ping’s 1994 undergraduate commencement ceremony speech, he said, “A university is a link from the past, through the present, to the future.” Ping continues to link the university’s past to the present in this new book published for the Ohio University Libraries by Ohio University Press. A Conversation about Ohio University and the Presidency, 1975–1994, is an edited version of the transcript of videotaped interviews recorded in May and June 2011.

“It is a conversation between two old friends,” said Ping of the series of interviews conducted by Sam Crowl, Shakespearean scholar and now trustee professor emeritus.

Cracks in the Invisible Cover

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Cracks in the Invisible

Poems

Stephen Kampa

Stephen Kampa’s poems are witty and restless in their pursuit of an intelligent modern faith. They range from a four-line satire of office inspirational posters to a lengthy meditation on the silence of God. The poems also revel in the prosodic possibilities of English’s high and low registers: a twenty–one line homage to Lord Byron that turns on three rhymes (one of which is “eisegesis”); a sestina whose end words include “sentimental,” “Marseilles,” and “Martian;” sapphics on the death of Ray Charles; and intricately modulated stanzas on the 1931 Spanish–language movie version of Dracula.

 
Despite the metaphysical seriousness, there is always an undercurrent of stylistic levity — a panoply of puns, comic rhymes, and loving misquotations of canonical literature — that suggests comedy and tragedy are inextricably bound in human experience.

Cultivating the Colonies Cover

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Cultivating the Colonies

Colonial States and their Environmental Legacies

Christina Folke Ax

 The essays collected in Cultivating the Colonies demonstrate how the relationship between colonial power and nature reveals the nature of power. Each essay explores how colonial governments translated ideas about the management of exotic nature and foreign people into practice, and how they literally “got their hands dirty” in the business of empire. 

 The eleven essays include studies of animal husbandry in the Philippines, farming in Indochina, and indigenous medicine in India. They are global in scope, ranging from the Russian North to Mozambique, examining the consequences of colonialism on nature, including its impact on animals, fisheries, farmlands, medical practices, and even the diets of indigenous people. 

 Cultivating the Colonies establishes beyond all possible doubt the importance of the environment as a locus for studying the power of the colonial state.

The Cultural Production of Matthew Arnold Cover

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The Cultural Production of Matthew Arnold

Antony H. Harrison

The career of Matthew Arnold as an eminent poet and the preeminent critic of his generation constitutes a remarkable historical spectacle orchestrated by a host of powerful Victorian cultural institutions. The Cultural Production of Matthew Arnold investigates these constructions by situating Arnold’s poetry in a number of contexts that partially shaped it. Such analysis revises our understanding of the formation of the elite (and elitist) male literary-intellectual subject during the 1840s and 1850s, as Arnold attempts self-definition and strives simultaneously to move toward a position of ideological influence upon intellectual institutions that were contested sites of economic, social, and political power in his era.

Antony H. Harrison reopens discussion of selected works by Arnold in order to make visible some of their crucial sociohistorical, intertextual, and political components. Only by doing so can we ultimately view the cultural work of Arnold “steadily and . . . whole,” and in a fashion that actually eschews this mystifying premise of all Arnoldian inquiry which, by the early twentieth century, had become wholly naturalized in the academy as ideology.

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