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Penn State University Press

Penn State University Press

Website: http://www.psupress.org

As part of the University Libraries, the Penn State University Press is dedicated to the task of promoting the dissemination of knowledge through the publication of books and journals that convey the results of original research in the form of new information, interpretations, or methods of analysis. Publishing between 60-70 books and 50 journals each year, the Press represents the interests of the University generally in contributing to better communication among scholars everywhere.


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Penn State University Press

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American Trajectories

Authors and Readings, 1790–1970

Warner Berthoff

In American Trajectories Warner Berthoff argues that even in the broadest cultural and historical perspective, imaginative literature (like all the arts) is a matter of individual signatures and differences. He also puts forth that there are recognizable patterns and continuities marking off what is distinctively American, what both reflects and speaks for a shared national experience. Discussions of Emily Dickinson and Mark Twain, Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, Kate Chopin, Theodore Dreiser, and Edmund Wilson focus on the provenance and central character of writing by mainstream figures in our literary past. The essays on Brockden Brown, Nathan Asch, O. Henry, Frank O'Hara, Lewis Mumford, and Van Wyck Brooks highlight marginal, neglected, forgotten, or not yet fully acknowledged contributors to American writing.

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Among the Bone Eaters

Encounters with Hyenas in Harar

Marcus Baynes-Rock

Biologists studying large carnivores in wild places usually do so from a distance, using telemetry and noninvasive methods of data collection. So what happens when an anthropologist studies a clan of spotted hyenas, Africa’s second-largest carnivores, up close—and in a city of a hundred thousand inhabitants? In Among the Bone Eaters, Marcus Baynes-Rock takes us to the ancient city of Harar in Ethiopia, where the gey waraba (hyenas of the city) are welcome in the streets and appreciated by the locals for the protection they provide from harmful spirits and dangerous “mountain” hyenas. They’ve even become a local tourist attraction.

At the start of his research in Harar, Baynes-Rock contended with difficult conditions, stone-throwing children, intransigent bureaucracy, and wary hyena subjects intent on avoiding people. After months of frustration, three young hyenas drew him into the hidden world of the Sofi clan. He discovered the elements of a hyena’s life, from the delectability of dead livestock and the nuisance of dogs to the unbounded thrill of hyena chase-play under the light of a full moon. Baynes-Rock’s personal relations with the hyenas from the Sofi clan expand the conceptual boundaries of human-animal relations. This is multispecies ethnography that reveals its messy, intersubjective, dangerously transformative potential.

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Animal Companions

Pets and Social Change in Eighteenth-Century Britain

Ingrid H. Tague

Although pets existed in Europe long before the eighteenth century, the dominant belief was that pet keeping was at best frivolous and at worst downright dangerous. In Animal Companions, Ingrid Tague explores the eighteenth-century conversation about the presence of pets in British society and the ways in which that conversation both reflected and shaped broader cultural debates. Tague argues that pets, as neither human nor fully part of the natural world, offered a unique way for Britons of the eighteenth century to articulate what it meant to be human and what their society ought to look like.

Having emerged from the Malthusian cycle of dearth and famine at the end of the seventeenth century, England became the wealthiest nation in Europe, with unprecedented access to consumer goods of all kinds. And closely connected with these material changes was the Enlightenment, with its implications for contemporary understanding of religion, science, and non-European cultures. All these transformations generated both excitement and anxiety, and they were reflected in debates over the rights and wrongs of human-animal relationships. Looking at a wide variety of texts, Tague shows how pets became both increasingly visible indicators of spreading prosperity and catalysts for debates about the morality of the radically different society emerging in this period.

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Antebellum American Culture

An Interpretive Anthology

David Brion Davis

First published in 1979, this volume offers students and teachers a unique view of American history prior to the Civil War. Distinguished historian David Brion Davis has chosen a diverse array of primary sources that show the actual concerns, hopes, fears, and understandings of ordinary antebellum Americans. He places these sources within a clear interpretive narrative that brings the documents to life and highlights themes that social and cultural historians have brought to our attention in recent years. Beginning with the family and the issue of socialization and influence, the units move on to struggles over access to wealth and power; the plight of "outsiders" in an "open" society; and ideals of progress, perfection, and mission. The reader of this volume hears a great diversity of voices but also grasps the unities that survived even the Civil War.

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Appeals to Interest

Language, Contestation, and the Shaping of Political Agency

Dean Mathiowetz

It has become a commonplace assumption in modern political debate that white and rural working- and middle-class citizens in the United States who have been rallied by Republicans in the “culture wars” to vote Republican have been voting “against their interests.” But what, exactly, are these “interests” that these voters are supposed to have been voting against? It reveals a lot about the role of the notion of interest in political debate today to realize that these “interests” are taken for granted to be the narrowly self-regarding, primarily economic “interests” of the individual. Exposing and contesting this view of interests, Dean Mathiowetz finds in the language of interest an already potent critique of neoliberal political, theoretical, and methodological imperatives—and shows how such a critique has long been active in the term’s rich history. Through an innovative historical investigation of the language of interest, Mathiowetz shows that appeals to interest are always politically contestable claims about “who” somebody is—and a provocation to action on behalf of that “who.” Appeals to Interest exposes the theoretical and political costs of our widespread denial of this crucial role of interest-talk in the constitution of political identity, in political theory and social science alike.

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Argentine Democracy

The Politics of Institutional Weakness

Edited by Steven Levitsky and María Victoria Murillo

During the 1990s Argentina was the only country in Latin America to combine radical economic reform and full democracy. In 2001, however, the country fell into a deep political and economic crisis and was widely seen as a basket case. This book explores both developments, examining the links between the (real and apparent) successes of the 1990s and the 2001 collapse. Specific topics include economic policymaking and reform, executive-legislative relations, the judiciary, federalism, political parties and the party system, and new patterns of social protest. Beyond its empirical analysis, the book contributes to several theoretical debates in comparative politics. Contemporary studies of political institutions focus almost exclusively on institutional design, neglecting issues of enforcement and stability. Yet a major problem in much of Latin America is that institutions of diverse types have often failed to take root. Besides examining the effects of institutional weakness, the book also uses the Argentine case to shed light on four other areas of current debate: tensions between radical economic reform and democracy; political parties and contemporary crises of representation; links between subnational and national politics; and the transformation of state-society relations in the post-corporatist era. Besides the editors, the contributors are Javier Auyero, Ernesto Calvo, Kent Eaton, Sebastián Etchemendy, Gretchen Helmke, Wonjae Hwang, Mark Jones, Enrique Peruzzotti, Pablo T. Spiller, Mariano Tommasi, and Juan Carlos Torre.

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The Aroma of Righteousness

Scent and Seduction in Rabbinic Life and Literature

By Deborah A. Green

In The Aroma of Righteousness, Deborah Green explores images of perfume and incense in late Roman and early Byzantine Jewish literature. Using literary methods to illuminate the rabbinic literature, Green demonstrates the ways in which the rabbis’ reading of biblical texts and their intimate experience with aromatics build and deepen their interpretations. The study uncovers the cultural associations that are evoked by perfume and incense in both the Hebrew Bible and midrashic texts and seeks to understand the cultural, theological, and experiential motivations and impulses that lie behind these interpretations. Green accomplishes this by examining the relationship between the textual traditions of the Hebrew Bible and Midrash, the surviving evidence from the material culture of Palestine in the late Roman and early Byzantine periods, and cultural evidence as described by the rabbis and other Roman authors.

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Art and Globalization

James Elkins

The “biennale culture” now determines much of the art world. Literature on the worldwide dissemination of art assumes nationalism and ethnic identity, but rarely analyzes it. At the same time there is extensive theorizing about globalization in political theory, cultural studies, postcolonial theory, political economy, sociology, and anthropology. Art and Globalization brings political and cultural theorists together with writers and historians concerned specifically with the visual arts in order to test the limits of the conceptualization of the global in art.

Among the major writers on contemporary international art represented in this book are Rasheed Araeen, Joaquín Barriendos, Susan Buck-Morss, John Clark, Iftikhar Dadi, T. J. Demos, Néstor García Canclini, Charles Green, Suman Gupta, Harry Harootunian, Michael Ann Holly, Shigemi Inaga, Fredric Jameson, Caroline Jones, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Anthony D. King, Partha Mitter, Keith Moxey, Saskia Sassen, Ming Tiampo, and C. J. W.-L. Wee.

Art and Globalization is the first book in the Stone Art Theory Institutes Series. The five volumes, each on a different theoretical issue in contemporary art, build on conversations held in intensive, weeklong closed meetings. Each volume begins with edited and annotated transcripts of those meetings, followed by assessments written by a wide community of artists, scholars, historians, theorists, and critics. The result is a series of well-informed, contentious, open-ended dialogues about the most difficult theoretical and philosophical problems we face in rethinking the arts today.

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Art and the Religious Image in El Greco's Italy

By Andrew R. Casper

Art and the Religious Image in El Greco’s Italy is the first book-length examination of the early career of one of the early modern period’s most notoriously misunderstood figures. Born around 1541, Domenikos Theotokopoulos began his career as an icon painter on the island of Crete. He is best known, under the name “El Greco,” for the works he created while in Spain, paintings that have provoked both rapt admiration and scornful disapproval since his death in 1614. But the nearly ten years he spent in Venice and Rome, from 1567 to 1576, have remained underexplored until now. Andrew Casper’s examination of this period allows us to gain a proper understanding of El Greco’s entire career and reveals much about the tumultuous environment for religious painting after the Council of Trent. Casper’s analysis portrays El Greco as an active participant in some of the most formative artistic discussions of his time. It shows how the paintings of his early career explore the form, function, and conception of the religious image in the second half of the sixteenth century, and how he cultivated artistic fame by incorporating aspects of the styles of Michelangelo, Titian, and other contemporary masters. Beyond this, El Greco’s paintings bear the marks of an artist attentive to theoretical speculation on the artistic process, the current understandings of the science of optics and perspective, and the role of Roman antiquity for Christian ideology. All of these characteristics demonstrate El Greco’s unique understanding of the merger of artistic craft with devotional intent through what Casper terms the “artful icon.”

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