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This poetry collection is divided into three sections. The first opens with the speaker’s reflections on her childhood loss of her father and subsequent move to a new house and a new life, a life in which she is always alert to the absences and danger but also a life in which she begins to see language as a kind of salvation. This section also develops the speaker’s first knowledge of sex, primarily in the poems, “The Goose Girl” and “A Woman Was Raped Here.” The second section follows the speaker into adolescence and young adulthood, and these poems further explore the sexual violence in the world in which the speaker lives, and how this violence affects her own feelings toward sex and romantic love. In the third section, the book finds love, work, and family, and the poems in this section about motherhood echo back to the first section as the speaker’s own parenting is influenced by how difficult it is to love when you know people die.
Race, Racism, and University Writing Instruction in the Post-Civil Rights Era
In the late 1960s, colleges and universities became deeply embroiled in issues of racial equality. Hundreds of new programs were introduced to address the needs of “high-risk” minority and low-income students. In the years since, university policies have flip-flopped between calls to address minority needs and arguments to maintain “Standard English.” Today, anti-affirmative action and anti-access sentiments have put many of these programs in danger. Interests and Opportunities chronicles debates over writing programs for “high-risk” students on the national level and, locally, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Using the critical race theorist Derrick Bell’s concept of “interest convergence,” Steve Lamos shows that these programs were promoted or derailed according to how and when they fit the interests of underrepresented minorities and mainstream whites (administrators and academics). To Lamos, understanding the past dynamics of convergence and divergence is key to formulating new strategies of local action and “story-changing” that can preserve and expand race consciousness and high-risk writing instruction, even in adverse political climates.
Ways of Thinking about the Sciences and the Arts
The act of interpretation occurs in nearly every area of the arts and sciences. That ubiquity serves as the inspiration for the fourteen essays of this volume, covering many of the domains in which interpretive practices are found. Individual topics include: the general nature of interpretation and its forms; comparing and contrasting interpretation and hermeneutics; culture as interpretation seen through Hegel's aesthetics; interpreting philosophical texts; methodologies for interpreting human action; interpretation in medical practice focusing on manifestations as indicators of disease; the brain and its interpretative, structured, learning and storage processes; interpreting hybrid wines and cognitive preconceptions of novel objects; and the importance of sensory perception as means of interpreting in the case of dry German Rieslings. In an interesting turn, Nicholas Rescher writes on the interpretation of philosophical texts. Then Catherine Wilson and Andreas Blank explicate and critique Rescher's theories through analysis of the mill passage from Leibniz's Monadology.
Space Exploration and Soviet Culture
The launch of the Sputnik satellite in October 1957 changed the course of human history. In the span of a few years, Soviets sent the first animal into space, the first man, and the first woman. These events were a direct challenge to the United States and the capitalist model that claimed ownership of scientific aspiration and achievement. The success of the space program captured the hopes and dreams of nearly every Soviet citizen and became a critical cultural vehicle in the country’s emergence from Stalinism and the devastation of World War II. It also proved to be an invaluable tool in a worldwide propaganda campaign for socialism, a political system that could now seemingly accomplish anything it set its mind to. Into the Cosmos shows us the fascinating interplay of Soviet politics, science, and culture during the Khrushchev era, and how the space program became a binding force between these elements.
The Invention of the Kaleidoscope is a book of poetic elegies that discuss failures: failures of love, both sexual and spiritual; failures of the body; failures of science, art and technology; failures of nature, imagination, memory and, most importantly, the failures inherent to elegiac narratives and our formal attempt to memoralize the lost. But the book also explores the necessity of such narratives, as well as the creative possibilities implicit within the “failed elegy,” all while examining the various ways that self-destruction can turn into self-preservation.
Ellen Emerson may be the last living survivor of the Johnstown flood. She was only four years old on May 31, 1889, when twenty million tons of water decimated her hometown of Johnstown, PA. Thousands perished in what was the worst natural disaster in U.S. history at the time. As we witness in Kathleen George’s new novel, The Johnstown Girls, the flood not only changed the course of history, but also the individual lives of those who survived it. A century later, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporters Ben and Nina set out to interview one hundred and four year-old Ellen for Ben’s feature article on the flood. When asked the secret to her longevity, Ellen simply attributes it to “restlessness.” As we see, that restlessness is fueled by Ellen’s innate belief that her twin sister Mary, who went missing in the flood, is somehow still alive. Her story intrigues Ben, but haunts Nina, who is determined to help Ellen find her missing half. Author Kathleen George masterfully blends a factual history of the Johnstown flood into her heartrending tale of twin sisters who have never known the truth about that fateful day in 1889—a day that would send their lives hurtling down different paths. The Johnstown Girls is a remarkable story of perseverance, hard work, and never giving up hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. It’s also a tribute to the determination and indomitable spirit of the people of Johnstown through one hundred years, three generations, and three different floods.
Ka-Ching! is a book of poems that explores America’s obsession with money. It also includes a crown of sonnets about e-bay, sestinas on the subjects of Sean Penn and the main characters of fairytales, a pantoum that riffs on a childhood riddle, and a villanelle inspired by bathroom grafitti.
The poems in Keeper explore, and long for, intimacy: with nature, with others, with the unknown. They delve into purely dark spaces (the insides of birdhouses and mailboxes, caves of prehistoric paintings) and in-between places, searching out, as Paul Eluard put it, the other world inside this one, pointing to the pervasive sensuality that connects all beings, and to the fact that essential goodness and sorrow often walk hand in hand.
The 1980s brought a whirlwind of change to Communist Party politics and the Soviet Republic. By mid-decade, Gorbachev's policies of perestroika and glasnost had opened the door to democratic reform. Later, mounting public unrest over the failed economy and calls for independence among many republics ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Often overlooked in these events, yet monumental to breaking the Communist Party's institutional stranglehold, were the KGB anticorruption campaigns of 1982 to 1987. In this original study, Luc Duhamel examines the KGB at its pinnacle of power. The appointment of former KGB director Yuri Andropov as general secretary of the Communist Party in 1982 marked the height of KGB influence. For the first time since Stalin, Beria, and the NKVD, there was now an unquestioned authority to pursue violators of Soviet law, including members of the Communist Party. Duhamel focuses on the KGB's investigation into Moscow's two largest trade organizations: the Chief Administration of Trade and the Administration of the Moscow Fruit and Vegetable Office. Like many of their Soviet counterparts, these state-controlled institutions were built on a foundation of bribery and favoritism among Communist Party members, workers, and their bosses. This book analyzes the multifarious networks of influence peddling, appointments, and clientelism that pervaded these trade organizations and maintained their ties to party officials. Duhamel uncovers the indictment of thousands of trade organization employees, the reprimand of Communist Party members, and the radical change in political ideology manifested by these proceedings. He further reveals that despite aggressive prosecutions, the KGB's power would soon wither, as the agency came under intense scrutiny because of its violent methods and the ghosts of the NKVD.