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City at the Center of the World

Space, History, and Modernity in Quito

Ernesto Capello

In the seventeenth century, local Jesuits and Franciscans imagined Quito as the "new Rome." It was the origin of crusades into the wilderness and the purveyor of civilization to the entire region. By the early twentieth century, elites envisioned the city as the heart of a modern, advanced society—poised at the physical and metaphysical centers of the world. In this original cultural history, Ernesto Capello analyzes the formation of memory, myth, and modernity through the eyes of Quito's diverse populations. By employing Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of chronotopes, Capello views the configuration of time and space in narratives that defined Quito's identity and its place in the world. He explores the proliferation of these imaginings in architecture, museums, monuments, tourism, art, urban planning, literature, religion, indigenous rights, and politics. To Capello, these tropes began to crystallize at the end of the nineteenth century, serving as a tool for distinct groups who laid claim to history for economic or political gain during the upheavals of modernism. In the process of both destroying and renewing elements of the past, modern Quito thus emerged at the crux of Hispanism and Liberalism, as an independent global society struggling to keep the memory of its colonial and indigenous roots alive.

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The City Natural

Garden and Forest Magazine and the Rise of American Environmentalism

Shen Hou

The weekly magazine Garden and Forest existed for only nine years (1888–1897). Yet, in that brief span, it brought to light many of the issues that would influence the future of American environmentalism. In The City Natural, Shen Hou presents the first “biography” of this important but largely overlooked vehicle for individuals with the common goal of preserving nature in American civilization. As Hou’s study reveals, Garden and Forest was instrumental in redefining the fields of botany and horticulture, while also helping to shape the fledgling professions of landscape architecture and forestry. The publication actively called for reform in government policy, urban design, and future planning for the preservation and inclusion of nature in cities. It also attempted to shape public opinion on these issues through a democratic ideal that every citizen had the right (and need) to access nature. These notions would anticipate the conservation and “city beautiful” movements that followed in the early twentieth century. Hou explains the social and environmental conditions that led to the rise of reform efforts, organizations, and publications such as Garden and Forest. She reveals the intellectual core and vision of the magazine as a proponent of the city natural movement that sought to relate nature and civilization through the arts and sciences. Garden and Forest was a staunch advocate of urban living made better through careful planning and design. As Hou shows, the publication also promoted forest management and preservation, not only as a natural resource but as an economic one. She also profiles the editors and contributors who set the magazine’s tone and follows their efforts to expand America’s environmental expertise. Through the pages of Garden and Forest, the early period of environmentalism was especially fruitful and optimistic; many individuals joined forces for the benefit of humankind and helped lay the foundation for a coherent national movement. Shen Hou’s study gives Garden and Forest its due and adds an important new chapter to the early history of American environmentalism.

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City of a Hundred Fires

by Richard Blanco

Named one of Library Journal’s Top 20 Poetry Books of 1998. City of a Hundred Fires< presents us with a journey through the cultural coming of age experiences of the hyphenated Cuban-American. This distinct group, known as the Ñ Generation (as coined by Bill Teck), are the bilingual children of Cuban exiles nourished by two cultural currents—the fragmented traditions and transferred nostalgia of their parents' Caribbean homeland and the very real and present America where they grew up and live.

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City of Eternal Spring

by Afaa Michael Weaver

This is the third book in a trilogy by Afaa Michael Weaver. The two earlier books, The Plum Flower Dance: Poems 1985 to 2005 and The Government of Nature, reveal similar themes that address the author’s personal experience with childhood abuse through the context of Daoist renderings of nature as a metaphor for the human body, with an eye to recovery and forgiveness in a very eclectic spiritual life.

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City on Fire

Technology, Social Change, and the Hazards of Progress in Mexico City, 1860–1910

by Anna Rose Alexander

City on Fire chronicles the escalating danger of fire as a byproduct of progress in Mexico City in the modern era. By integrating urban environmental history with the histories of technology, science, and medicine, Anna Rose Alexander reveals how Mexico City changed in direct response to the growing threat of fire. By the mid-nineteenth century, efforts to modernize and industrialize the capital city had the unintended consequence of exponentially increasing the risk of fire and death, while also breeding a culture of fear. Through an array of archival sources, Alexander shows how fire became a catalyst for social change, as residents mobilized to confront the problem and their local officials. Advances in engineering and medicine soon fostered the rise of distinct fields of fire-related expertise. Conversely, the rise of fire-profiteering industries—such as insurance companies and manufacturers of extinguishers, alarms, was a detrimental side effect for many who could not afford or these services. Similarly, hydrants and water systems were concentrated in more affluent areas. City on Fire this demonstrates the evolving social inequity of fire risk in Mexico City; those most poor increasingly had the least access to fire safety resources and technologies.

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The Classification of Sex

Alfred Kinsey and the Organization of Knowledge

by Donna J. Drucker

Alfred C. Kinsey’s revolutionary studies of human sexual behavior are world-renowned. His meticulous methods of data collection, from comprehensive entomological assemblies to personal sex history interviews, raised the bar for empirical evidence to an entirely new level. In The Classification of Sex, Donna J. Drucker presents an original analysis of Kinsey’s scientific career in order to uncover the roots of his research methods. She describes how his enduring interest as an entomologist and biologist in the compilation and organization of mass data sets structured each of his classification projects. As Drucker shows, Kinsey’s lifelong mission was to find scientific truth in numbers and through observation—and to record without prejudice in the spirit of a true taxonomist. Kinsey’s doctoral work included extensive research of the gall wasp, where he gathered and recorded variations in over six million specimens. His classification and reclassification of Cynips led to the speciation of the genus that remains today. During his graduate training, Kinsey developed a strong interest in evolution and the links between entomological and human behavior studies. In 1920, he joined Indiana University as a professor in zoology, and soon published an introductory text on biology, followed by a coauthored field guide to edible wild plants. In 1938, Kinsey began teaching a noncredit course on marriage, where he openly discussed sexual behavior and espoused equal opportunity for orgasmic satisfaction in marital relationships. Soon after, he began gathering case histories of sexual behavior. As a pioneer in the nascent field of sexology, Kinsey saw that the key to its cogency was grounded in observation combined with the collection and classification of mass data. To support the institutionalization of his work, he cofounded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University in 1947. He and his staff eventually conducted over eighteen thousand personal interviews about sexual behavior, and in 1948 he published Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, to be followed in 1953 by Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. As Drucker’s study shows, Kinsey’s scientific rigor and his early use of data recording methods and observational studies were unparalleled in his field. Those practices shaped his entire career and produced a wellspring of new information, whether he was studying gall wasp wings, writing biology textbooks, tracing patterns of evolution, or developing a universal theory of human sexuality.

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Cleansing the Czechoslovak Borderlands

Migration, Environment, and Health in the Former Sudetenland

by Eagle Glassheim

In this innovative study of the aftermath of ethnic cleansing, Eagle Glassheim examines the transformation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland from the end of the Second World War, through the Cold War, and into the twenty-first century. Prior to their expulsion in 1945, ethnic Germans had inhabited the Sudeten borderlands for hundreds of years, with deeply rooted local cultures and close, if sometimes tense, ties with Bohemia’s Czech majority. Cynically, if largely willingly, harnessed by Hitler in 1938 to his pursuit of a Greater Germany, the Sudetenland’s three million Germans became the focus of Czech authorities in their retributive efforts to remove an alien ethnic element from the body politic—and claim the spoils of this coal-rich, industrialized area. Yet, as Glassheim reveals, socialist efforts to create a modern utopia in the newly resettled “frontier” territories proved exceedingly difficult. Many borderland regions remained sparsely populated, peppered with dilapidated and abandoned houses, and hobbled by decaying infrastructure. In the more densely populated northern districts, coalmines, chemical works, and power plants scarred the land and spewed toxic gases into the air. What once was a diverse religious, cultural, economic, and linguistic “contact zone,” became, according to many observers, a scarred wasteland, both physically and psychologically. Glassheim offers new perspectives on the struggles of reclaiming ethnically cleansed lands in light of utopian dreams and dystopian realities—brought on by the uprooting of cultures, the loss of communities, and the industrial degradation of a once-thriving region. To Glassheim, the lessons drawn from the Sudetenland speak to the deep social traumas and environmental pathologies wrought by both ethnic cleansing and state-sponsored modernization processes that accelerated across Europe as a result of the great wars of the twentieth century.

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Cloud Moving Hands

Cathy Song

These poems, threaded by the teachings of Buddha, examine loss—the death of a loved one, the longing for a child, the yearning for another place and time—and the suffering such attempts transpire, but ultimately the poems are an affirmation that to be born into human life is our greatest opportunity to transform loss and sorrow into awakening joy.

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Colonialism and Modern Architecture in Germany

by Itohan Osayimwese

Over the course of the nineteenth century, drastic social and political changes, technological innovations, and exposure to non-Western cultures affected Germany’s built environment and that of its colonies in profound ways. The economic challenges of Germany’s colonial project forced architects to abandon a centuries-long, highly ornamented architectural style in favor of structural technologies and building materials that catered to the local context of its remote colonies, such as prefabricated housing. As German architects gathered information about the regions under their influence in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific—during expeditions and at international exhibitions, which exoticized non-Western architectural forms and practices—they published books of their findings that stimulated progressive architectural thinking and led to the rise of a new modern language of architecture within Germany. Offering in-depth interpretations across the fields of architectural history and postcolonial studies, Itohan Osayimwese considers the effects of colonialism, travel, and globalization on the development of modern architecture in Germany from the 1850s until the 1930s. Since architectural developments in nineteenth-century Germany are typically understood as crucial to the evolution of architecture worldwide in the twentieth century, this book globalizes the history of modern architecture at its founding moment.

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Comics and Memory in Latin America

Edited by Jorge Catalá Carrasco, Paulo Drinot, and James Scorer

Latin American comics and graphic novels have a unique history of addressing controversial political, cultural, and social issues. This volume presents new perspectives on how comics on and from Latin America both view and express memory formation on major historical events and processes. The contributors, from a variety of disciplines including literary theory, cultural studies, and history, explore topics including national identity construction, narratives of resistance to colonialism and imperialism, the construction of revolutionary traditions, and the legacies of authoritarianism and political violence. The chapters offer a background history of comics and graphic novels in the region, and survey a range of countries and artists such as Joaquín Salvador Lavado (a.k.a Quino,) Héctor G. Oesterheld, and Juan Acevedo. They also highlight the unique ability of this art and literary form to succinctly render memory. In sum, this volume offers in-depth analysis of an understudied, yet key literary genre in Latin American memory studies and documents the essential role of comics during the transition from dictatorship to democracy.

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