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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 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 30 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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Deliberative Acts Cover

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Deliberative Acts

Democracy, Rhetoric, and Rights

By Arabella Lyon

The twenty-first century is characterized by the global circulation of cultures, norms, representations, discourses, and human rights claims; the arising conflicts require innovative understandings of decision making. Deliberative Acts develops a new, cogent theory of performative deliberation. Rather than conceiving deliberation within the familiar frameworks of persuasion, identification, or procedural democracy, it privileges speech acts and bodily enactments that constitute deliberation itself reorienting deliberative theory toward the initiating moment of recognition, a moment in which interlocutors are positioned in relationship to each other and so may begin to construct a new life world. By approaching human rights not as norms or laws, but as deliberative acts, Lyon conceives rights as relationships among people and as ongoing political and historical projects developing communal norms through global and cross-cultural interactions.

Democratic Professionalism Cover

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Democratic Professionalism

Citizen Participation and the Reconstruction of Professional Ethics, Identity, and Practice

Albert W. Dzur

Bringing expert knowledge to bear in an open and deliberative way to help solve pressing social problems is a major concern today, when technocratic and bureaucratic decision making often occurs with little or no input from the general public. Albert Dzur proposes an approach he calls “democratic professionalism” to build bridges between specialists in domains like law, medicine, and journalism and the lay public in such a way as to enable and enhance broader public engagement with and deliberation about major social issues. Sparking a critical and constructive dialogue among social theories of the professions, professional ethics, and political theories of deliberative democracy, Dzur reveals interests, motivations, strengths, and vulnerabilities in conventional professional roles that provide guideposts for this new approach. He then applies it in examining three practical arenas in which experiments in collaboration and power-sharing between professionals and citizens have been undertaken: public journalism, restorative justice, and the bioethics movement. Finally, he draws lessons from these cases to refine this innovative theory and identify the kinds of challenges practitioners face in being both democratic and professional.

Discourses of Empire Cover

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Discourses of Empire

Counter-Epic Literature in Early Modern Spain

Barbara Simerka

The counter-epic is a literary style that developed in reaction to imperialist epic conventions as a means of scrutinizing the consequences of foreign conquest of dominated peoples. It also functioned as a transitional literary form, a bridge between epic narratives of military heroics and novelistic narratives of commercial success. In Discourses of Empire, Barbara Simerka examines the representation of militant Christian imperialism in early modern Spanish literature by focusing on this counter-epic discourse.Simerka is drawn to literary texts that questioned or challenged the imperial project of the Hapsburg monarchy in northern Europe and the New World. She notes the variety of critical ideas across the spectrum of diplomatic, juridical, economic, theological, philosophical, and literary writings, and she argues that the presence of such competing discourses challenges the frequent assumption of a univocal, hegemonic culture in Spain during the imperial period. Simerka is especially alert to the ways in which different discourses-hegemonic, residual, emergent-coexist and compete simultaneously in the mediation of power. Discourses of Empire offers fresh insight into the political and intellectual conditions of Hapsburg imperialism, illuminating some rarely examined literary genres, such as burlesque epics, history plays, and indiano drama. Indeed, a special feature of the book is a chapter devoted specifically to indiano literature. Simerka's thorough working knowledge of contemporary literary theory and her inclusion of American, English, and French texts as points of comparison contribute much to current studies of Spanish Golden Age literature.

Divining the Self Cover

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Divining the Self

A Study in Yoruba Myth and Human Consciousness

By Velma E. Love

Do the Poor Count? Cover

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Do the Poor Count?

Democratic Institutions and Accountability in a Context of Poverty

Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson

The Ecstatic Quotidian Cover

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The Ecstatic Quotidian

Phenomenological Sightings in Modern Art and Literature

Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei

Fascination with quotidian experience in modern art, literature, and philosophy promotes ecstatic forms of reflection on the very structure of the everyday world. Gosetti-Ferencei examines the ways in which modern art and literature enable a study of how we experience quotidian life. She shows that modernism, while exhibiting many strands of development, can be understood by investigating how its attentions to perception and expectation, to the common quality of things, or to childhood play gives way to experiences of ecstasis—the stepping outside of the ordinary familiarity of the world. While phenomenology grounds this study (through Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Bachelard), what makes this book more than a treatise on phenomenological aesthetics is the way in which modernity itself is examined in its relation to the quotidian. Through the works of artists and writers such as Benjamin, Cézanne, Frost, Klee, Newman, Pollock, Ponge, Proust, Rilke, Robbe-Grillet, Rothko, Sartre, and Twombly, the world of quotidian life can be seen to harbor a latent ecstasis. The breakdown of the quotidian through and after modernism then becomes an urgent question for understanding art and literature in its capacity to further human experience, and it points to the limits of phenomenological explications of the everyday.

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The Edgar Allan Poe Review

Vol. 14 (2013) through current issue

The Edgar Allan Poe Review publishes peer-reviewed scholarly essays; book, film, theater, dance, and music reviews; and creative work related to Edgar Allan Poe, his work, and his influence. Also included are the following regular features: “Marginalia” (short, non–peer reviewed notes), interviews with Poe scholars, the Poe in Cyberspace column, and Poe Studies Association updates.

Empathy and Democracy Cover

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Empathy and Democracy

Feeling, Thinking, and Deliberation

Michael E. Morrell

The Engineering Project Cover

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The Engineering Project

Its Nature, Ethics, and Promise

Gene Moriarty

We all live our daily lives surrounded by the products of technology that make what we do simpler, faster, and more efficient. These are benefits we often just take for granted. But at the same time, as these products disburden us of unwanted tasks that consumed much time and effort in earlier eras, many of them also leave us more disengaged from our natural and even human surroundings. It is the task of what Gene Moriarty calls focal engineering to create products that will achieve a balance between disburdenment and engagement: “How much disburdenment will be appropriate while still permitting an engagement that enriches one’s life, elevates the spirit, and calls forth a good life in a convivial society?”One of his examples of a focally engineered structure is the Golden Gate Bridge, which “draws people to it, enlivens and elevates the human spirit, and resonates with the world of its congenial setting. Humans, bridge, and world are in tune.” These values of engagement, enlivenment, and resonance are key to the normative approach Moriarty brings to the profession of engineering, which traditionally has focused mainly on technical measures of evaluation such as efficiency, productivity, objectivity, and precision. These measures, while important, look at the engineered product in a local and limited sense. But “from a broader perspective, what is locally benign may present serious moral problems,” undermining “social justice, environmental sustainability, and health and safety of affected parties.” It is this broader perspective that is championed by focal engineering, the subject of Part III of the book, which Moriarty contrasts with “modern” engineering in Part I and “pre-modern” engineering in Part II.

An Entrenched Legacy Cover

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An Entrenched Legacy

How the New Deal Constitutional Revolution Continues to Shape the Role of the Supreme Court

Patrick M. Garry

An Entrenched Legacy takes a fresh look at the role of the Supreme Court in our modern constitutional system. Although criticisms of judicial power today often attribute its rise to the activism of justices seeking to advance particular political ideologies, Patrick Garry argues instead that the Supreme Court’s power has grown mainly because of certain constitutional decisions during the New Deal era that initially seemed to portend a lessening of the Court’s power. When the Court retreated from enforcing separation of powers and federalism as the twin structural protections for individual liberty in the face of FDR’s New Deal agenda, it was inevitably drawn into an alternative approach, substantive due process, as a means for protecting individual rights. This has led to many controversial judicial rulings, particularly regarding the recognition and enforcement of privacy rights. It has also led to the mistaken belief that the judiciary serves as the only protection of liberty and that an inherent conflict exists between individual liberty and majoritarian rule. Moreover, because the Court has assumed sole responsibility for preserving liberty, the whole area of individual rights has become highly centralized. As Garry argues, individual rights have been placed exclusively under judicial jurisdiction not because of anything the Constitution commands, but because of the constitutional compromise of the New Deal.During the Rehnquist era, the Court tried to reinvigorate the constitutional doctrine of federalism by strengthening certain powers of the states. But, according to Garry, this effort only went halfway toward a true revival of federalism, since the Court continued to rely on judicially enforced individual rights for the protection of liberty. A more comprehensive reform would require a return to the earlier reliance on both federalism and separation of powers as structural devices for protecting liberty. Such reform, as Garry notes, would also help revitalize the role of legislatures in our democratic system.

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