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Rutgers University Press

Rutgers University Press

Website: http://rutgerspress.rutgers.edu

Rutgers University Press was founded in 1936 and has been dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge to scholars, students, and the general reading public. The Press publishes books in print and electronic format in a broad array of disciplines across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.

Fulfilling the mandate to serve the people of New Jersey, Rutgers University Press also publishes books of scholarly and popular interest on the state and surrounding region.


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Rutgers University Press

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Catching a Case

Inequality and Fear in New York City's Child Welfare System

Tina Lee

Influenced by news reports of young children brutalized by their parents, most of us see the role of child services as the prevention of severe physical abuse. But as Tina Lee shows in Catching a Case, most child welfare cases revolve around often ill-founded charges of neglect, and the parents swept into the system are generally struggling but loving, fighting to raise their children in the face of crushing poverty, violent crime, poor housing, lack of childcare, and failing schools.
 
Lee explored the child welfare system in New York City, observing family courts, interviewing parents and following them through the system, asking caseworkers for descriptions of their work and their decision-making processes, and discussing cases with attorneys on all sides. What she discovered about the system is troubling. Lee reveals that, in the face of draconian budget cuts and a political climate that blames the poor for their own poverty, child welfare practices have become punitive, focused on removing children from their families and on parental compliance with rules. Rather than provide needed help for families, case workers often hold parents to standards almost impossible for working-class and poor parents to meet. For instance, parents can be accused of neglect for providing inadequate childcare or housing even when they cannot afford anything better. In many cases, child welfare exacerbates family problems and sometimes drives parents further into poverty while the family court system does little to protect their rights. 
 
Catching a Case is a much-needed wake-up call to improve the child welfare system, and to offer more comprehensive social services that will allow all children to thrive. 
 

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Checklist for Change

Making American Higher Education a Sustainable Enterprise

Robert Zemsky

Almost every day American higher education is making news with a list of problems that includes the incoherent nature of the curriculum, the resistance of the faculty to change, and the influential role of the federal government both through major investments in student aid and intrusive policies. Checklist for Change not only diagnoses these problems, but also provides constructive recommendations for practical change.

Robert Zemsky details the complications that have impeded every credible reform intended to change American higher education. He demythologizes such initiatives as the Morrill Act, the GI Bill, and the Higher Education Act of 1972, shedding new light on their origins and the ways they have shaped higher education in unanticipated and not commonly understood ways. Next, he addresses overly simplistic arguments about the causes of the problems we face and builds a convincing argument that well-intentioned actions have combined to create the current mess for which everyone is to blame.

Using provocative case studies, Zemsky describes the reforms being implemented at a few institutions with the hope that these might serve as harbingers of the kinds of change needed: the University of Minnesota at Rochester’s compact curriculum in the health sciences only, Whittier College’s emphasis on learning outcomes, and the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s coherent overall curriculum.

In conclusion, Zemsky describes the principal changes that must occur not singly but in combination. These include a fundamental recasting of federal financial aid; new mechanisms for better channeling the competition among colleges and universities; recasting the undergraduate curriculum; and a stronger, more collective faculty voice in governance that defines not why, but how the enterprise must change.

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Chiang Yee

The Silent Traveller from the East -- A Cultural Biography

Da Zheng

This is the true story of Chiang Yee, a renowned writer, artist, and worldwide traveler, best known for the Silent Traveller seriesùstories of England, the United States, Ireland, France, Japan, and Australiaùall written in his humorous, delightfully refreshing, and enlightening literary style. This biography is more than a recounting of extraordinary accomplishments. Da Zheng uncovers Yee's encounters with racial exclusion and immigration laws, displacement, exile, and the pain and losses he endured hidden behind a popular public image.

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Child's Play

Sport in Kids' Worlds

Edited by Michael Messner and Michela Musto

Is sport good for kids? When answering this question, both critics and advocates of youth sports tend to fixate on matters of health, whether condemning contact sports for their concussion risk or prescribing athletics as a cure for the childhood obesity epidemic. Child’s Play presents a more nuanced examination of the issue, considering not only the physical impacts of youth athletics, but its psychological and social ramifications as well. The eleven original scholarly essays in this collection provide a probing look into how sports—in community athletic leagues, in schools, and even on television—play a major role in how young people view themselves, shape their identities, and imagine their place in society. Rather than focusing exclusively on self-proclaimed jocks, the book considers how the culture of sports affects a wide variety of children and young people, including those who opt out of athletics. Not only does Child’s Play examine disparities across lines of race, class, and gender, it also offers detailed examinations of how various minority populations, from transgender youth to Muslim immigrant girls, have participated in youth sports. Taken together, these essays offer a wide range of approaches to understanding the sociology of youth sports, including data-driven analyses that examine national trends, as well as ethnographic research that gives a voice to individual kids. Child’s Play thus presents a comprehensive and compelling analysis of how, for better and for worse, the culture of sports is integral to the development of young people—and with them, the future of our society.

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Child Soldiers in the Western Imagination

From Patriots to Victims

David M Rosen

When we hear the term “child soldiers,” most Americans imagine innocent victims roped into bloody conflicts in distant war-torn lands like Sudan and Sierra Leone. Yet our own history is filled with examples of children involved in warfare—from adolescent prisoner of war Andrew Jackson to Civil War drummer boys—who were once viewed as symbols of national pride rather than signs of human degradation.
 
In this daring new study, anthropologist David M. Rosen investigates why our cultural perception of the child soldier has changed so radically over the past two centuries. Child Soldiers in the Western Imagination reveals how Western conceptions of childhood as a uniquely vulnerable and innocent state are a relatively recent invention. Furthermore, Rosen offers an illuminating history of how human rights organizations drew upon these sentiments to create the very term “child soldier,” which they presented as the embodiment of war’s human cost.
 
Filled with shocking historical accounts and facts—and revealing the reasons why one cannot spell “infantry” without “infant”—Child Soldiers in the Western Imagination seeks to shake us out of our pervasive historical amnesia. It challenges us to stop looking at child soldiers through a biased set of idealized assumptions about childhood, so that we can better address the realities of adolescents and pre-adolescents in combat. Presenting informative facts while examining fictional representations of the child soldier in popular culture, this book is both eye-opening and thought-provoking.   

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Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village

Shaping Hierarchy and Desire

Bambi L. Chapin

Like toddlers all over the world, Sri Lankan children go through a period that in the U.S. is referred to as the “terrible twos.” Yet once they reach elementary school age, they appear uncannily passive, compliant, and undemanding compared to their Western counterparts. Clearly, these children have undergone some process of socialization, but what?

Over ten years ago, anthropologist Bambi Chapin traveled to a rural Sri Lankan village to begin answering this question, getting to know the toddlers in the village, then returning to track their development over the course of the following decade. Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village offers an intimate look at how these children, raised on the tenets of Buddhism, are trained to set aside selfish desires for the good of their families and the community. Chapin reveals how this cultural conditioning is carried out through small everyday practices, including eating and sleeping arrangements, yet she also explores how the village’s attitudes and customs continue to evolve with each new generation.

Combining penetrating psychological insights with a rigorous observation of larger social structures, Chapin enables us to see the world through the eyes of Sri Lankan children searching for a place within their families and communities. Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village offers a fresh, global perspective on child development and the transmission of culture.    

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Children and Childhood in American Religions

Edited by Don S. Browning and Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore

Religious traditions play a central role in the lives of many American children. In this collection of essays, leading scholars reveal for the first time how various religions interpret, reconstruct, and mediate their traditions to help guide children and their parents in navigating the opportunities and challenges of American life. The book examines ten religions, among other topics. Only by discussing the unique challenges faced by all religions, and their followers, can we take the first step toward a greater understanding for all of us.

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Children and Childhood in World Religions

Primary Sources and Texts

Edited by Don S. Browning and Marcia J. Bunge

While children figure prominently in religious traditions, few books have directly explored the complex relationships between children and religion. This is the first book to examine the theme of children in major religions of the world.Each of six chapters, edited by world-class scholars, focuses on one religious tradition and includes an introduction and a selection of primary texts ranging from legal to liturgical and from the ancient to the contemporary. Through both the scholarly introductions and the primary sources, this comprehensive volume addresses a range of topics, from the sanctity of birth to a child's relationship to evil, showing that issues regarding children are central to understanding world religions and raising significant questions about our own conceptions of children today.

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The Choosing

A Rabbi's Journey from Silent Nights to High Holy Days

Andrea Myers

A young Lutheran girl grows up on Long Island, New York. She aspires to be a doctor, and is on the fast track to marriage and the conventional happily-ever-after. But, as the Yiddish saying goes, "Man plans, and God laughs." Meet Andrea Myers, whose coming-of-age at Brandeis, conversion to Judaism, and awakening sexual identity make for a rich and well-timed life in the rabbinate.

In The Choosing, Myers fuses heartwarming anecdotes with rabbinic insights and generous dollops of humor to describe what it means to survive and flourish on your own terms. Portioned around the cycle of the Jewish year, with stories connected to each of the holidays, Myers draws on her unique path to the rabbinate--leaving behind her Christian upbringing, coming out as a lesbian, discovering Judaism in college, moving to Israel, converting, and returning to New York to become a rabbi, partner, and parent.

Myers relates tales of new beginnings, of reinventing oneself, and finding oneself. Whether it's a Sicilian grandmother attempting to bake hamantaschen on Purim for her Jewish granddaughter, or an American in Jerusalem saving a chicken from slaughter during a Rosh Hashanah ritual, Myers keeps readers entertained as she reflects that spirituality, goodness, and morality can and do take many forms. Readers will enthusiastically embrace stories of doors closing and windows opening, of family and community, of integration and transformation. These captivating narratives will resonate and, in the author's words, "reach across coasts, continents, and generations."

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Chosen Capital

The Jewish Encounter with American Capitalism

Edited and with an introduction by Rebecca Kobrin

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