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American Baroque

Pearls and the Nature of Empire, 1492-1700

Molly A. Warsh

Pearls have enthralled global consumers since antiquity, and the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella explicitly charged Columbus with finding pearls, as well as gold and silver, when he sailed westward in 1492. American Baroque charts Spain's exploitation of Caribbean pearl fisheries to trace the genesis of its maritime empire. In the 1500s, licit and illicit trade in the jewel gave rise to global networks, connecting the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean to the pearl-producing regions of the Chesapeake and northern Europe.

Pearls—a unique source of wealth because of their renewable, fungible, and portable nature—defied easy categorization. Their value was highly subjective and determined more by the individuals, free and enslaved, who produced, carried, traded, wore, and painted them than by imperial decrees and tax-related assessments. The irregular baroque pearl, often transformed by the imagination of a skilled artisan into a fantastical jewel, embodied this subjective appeal. Warsh blends environmental, social, and cultural history to construct microhistories of peoples' wide-ranging engagement with this deceptively simple jewel. Pearls facilitated imperial fantasy and personal ambition, adorned the wardrobes of monarchs and financed their wars, and played a crucial part in the survival strategies of diverse people of humble means. These stories, taken together, uncover early modern conceptions of wealth, from the hardscrabble shores of Caribbean islands to the lavish rooms of Mediterranean palaces.

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American Child Bride

A History of Minors and Marriage in the United States

Nicholas L. Syrett

Most in the United States likely associate the concept of the child bride with the mores and practices of the distant past. But Nicholas L. Syrett challenges this assumption in his sweeping and sometimes shocking history of youthful marriage in America. Focusing on young women and girls--the most common underage spouses--Syrett tracks the marital history of American minors from the colonial period to the present, chronicling the debates and moral panics related to these unions.

Although the frequency of child marriages has declined since the early twentieth century, Syrett reveals that the practice was historically far more widespread in the United States than is commonly thought. It also continues to this day: current estimates indicate that 9 percent of living American women were married before turning eighteen. By examining the legal and social forces that have worked to curtail early marriage in America--including the efforts of women's rights activists, advocates for children's rights, and social workers--Syrett sheds new light on the American public's perceptions of young people marrying and the ways that individuals and communities challenged the complex legalities and cultural norms brought to the fore when underage citizens, by choice or coercion, became husband and wife.

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American Christianities

A History of Dominance and Diversity

Catherine A. Brekus

From the founding of the first colonies until the present, the influence of Christianity, as the dominant faith in American society, has extended far beyond church pews into the wider culture. Yet, at the same time, Christians in the United States have disagreed sharply about the meaning of their shared tradition, and, divided by denominational affiliation, race, and ethnicity, they have taken stances on every side of contested public issues from slavery to women's rights.

This volume of twenty-two original essays, contributed by a group of prominent thinkers in American religious studies, provides a sophisticated understanding of both the diversity and the alliances among Christianities in the United States and the influences that have shaped churches and the nation in reciprocal ways. American Christianities explores this paradoxical dynamic of dominance and diversity that are the true marks of a faith too often perceived as homogeneous and monolithic.

Contributors:
Catherine L. Albanese, University of California, Santa Barbara
James B. Bennett, Santa Clara University
Edith Blumhofer, Wheaton College
Ann Braude, Harvard Divinity School
Catherine A. Brekus, University of Chicago Divinity School
Kristina Bross, Purdue University
Rebecca L. Davis, University of Delaware
Curtis J. Evans, University of Chicago Divinity School
Tracy Fessenden, Arizona State University
Kathleen Flake, Vanderbilt University Divinity School
W. Clark Gilpin, University of Chicago Divinity School
Stewart M. Hoover, University of Colorado at Boulder
Jeanne Halgren Kilde, University of Minnesota
David W. Kling, University of Miami
Timothy S. Lee, Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University
Dan McKanan, Harvard Divinity School
Michael D. McNally, Carleton College
Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame
Jon Pahl, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
Sally M. Promey, Yale University
Jon H. Roberts, Boston University
Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University

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American Civil Wars

The United States, Latin America, Europe, and the Crisis of the 1860s

Don H. Doyle

American Civil Wars takes readers beyond the battlefields and sectional divides of the U.S. Civil War to view the conflict from outside the national arena of the United States. Contributors position the American conflict squarely in the context of a wider transnational crisis across the Atlantic world, marked by a multitude of civil wars, European invasions and occupations, revolutionary independence movements, and slave uprisings—all taking place in the tumultuous decade of the 1860s. The multiple conflicts described in these essays illustrate how the United States' sectional strife was caught up in a larger, complex struggle in which nations and empires on both sides of the Atlantic vied for the control of the future. These struggles were all part of a vast web, connecting not just Washington and Richmond but also Mexico City, Havana, Santo Domingo, and Rio de Janeiro and--on the other side of the Atlantic--London, Paris, Madrid, and Rome. This volume breaks new ground by charting a hemispheric upheaval and expanding Civil War scholarship into the realms of transnational and imperial history. American Civil Wars creates new connections between the uprisings and civil wars in and outside of American borders and places the United States within a global context of other nations.

Contributors:
Matt D. Childs, University of South Carolina
Anne Eller, Yale University
Richard Huzzey, University of Liverpool
Howard Jones, University of Alabama
Patrick J. Kelly, University of Texas at San Antonio
Rafael de Bivar Marquese, University of Sao Paulo
Erika Pani, College of Mexico
Hilda Sabato, University of Buenos Aires
Steve Sainlaude, University of Paris IV Sorbonne
Christopher Schmidt-Nowara, Tufts University
Jay Sexton, University of Oxford

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American Curiosity

Cultures of Natural History in the Colonial British Atlantic World

Susan Scott Parrish

Colonial America presented a new world of natural curiosities for settlers as well as the London-based scientific community. In American Curiosity, Susan Scott Parrish examines how various peoples in the British colonies understood and represented the natural world around them from the late sixteenth century through the eighteenth. Parrish shows how scientific knowledge about America, rather than flowing strictly from metropole to colony, emerged from a horizontal exchange of information across the Atlantic.

Delving into an understudied archive of letters, Parrish uncovers early descriptions of American natural phenomena as well as clues to how people in the colonies construed their own identities through the natural world. Although hierarchies of gender, class, institutional learning, place of birth or residence, and race persisted within the natural history community, the contributions of any participant were considered valuable as long as they supplied novel data or specimens from the American side of the Atlantic. Thus Anglo-American nonelites, women, Indians, and enslaved Africans all played crucial roles in gathering and relaying new information to Europe.

Recognizing a significant tradition of nature writing and representation in North America well before the Transcendentalists, American Curiosity also enlarges our notions of the scientific Enlightenment by looking beyond European centers to find a socially inclusive American base to a true transatlantic expansion of knowledge.

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American Honor

The Creation of the Nation's Ideals during the Revolutionary Era

Craig Bruce Smith

The American Revolution was not only a revolution for liberty and freedom, it was also a revolution of ethics, reshaping what colonial Americans understood as "honor" and "virtue." As Craig Bruce Smith demonstrates, these concepts were crucial aspects of Revolutionary Americans' ideological break from Europe and shared by all ranks of society. Focusing his study primarily on prominent Americans who came of age before and during the Revolution—notably John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington—Smith shows how a colonial ethical transformation caused and became inseparable from the American Revolution, creating an ethical ideology that still remains.

By also interweaving individuals and groups that have historically been excluded from the discussion of honor—such as female thinkers, women patriots, slaves, and free African Americans—Smith makes a broad and significant argument about how the Revolutionary era witnessed a fundamental shift in ethical ideas. This thoughtful work sheds new light on a forgotten cause of the Revolution and on the ideological foundation of the United States.

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American Night

The Literary Left in the Era of the Cold War

Alan M. Wald

American Night, the final volume of an unprecedented trilogy, brings Alan Wald's multigenerational history of Communist writers to a poignant climax. Using new research to explore the intimate lives of novelists, poets, and critics during the Cold War, Wa

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American Orientalism

The United States and the Middle East since 1945

Douglas Little

Douglas Little explores the stormy American relationship with the Middle East from World War II through the war in Iraq, focusing particularly on the complex and often inconsistent attitudes and interests that helped put the United States on a collision course with radical Islam early in the new millennium. After documenting the persistence of "orientalist" stereotypes in American popular culture, Little examines oil, Israel, and other aspects of U.S. policy. He concludes that a peculiar blend of arrogance and ignorance has led American officials to overestimate their ability to shape events in the Middle East from 1945 through the present day, and that it has been a driving force behind the Iraq war. For this updated third edition, Little covers events through 2007, including a new chapter on the Bush Doctrine, demonstrating that in many important ways, George W. Bush's Middle Eastern policies mark a sharp break with the past.

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American Slavery As It Is

Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses

Theodore Dwight Weld

Compiled by a prominent abolitionist Theodore Dwight Weld, ###American Slavery As It Is# combines information taken from witnesses, and from active and former slave owners, to generate a condemnation of slavery from both those who observed it and those who perpetuated it. The narrative describes the appalling day-to-day conditions of the over 2,700,000 men, women and children in slavery in the United States. Weld demonstrates how even prisoners--in the United States and in other countries--were significantly better fed than American slaves. Readers will find one of the most meticulous records of slave life available in this text. Unlike personal slave narratives, which focus on a single man or woman's experience, ###American Slavery# details the overall conditions of slaves across multiple states and several years.

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American Studies Encounters the Middle East

Alex Lubin

In the field of American studies, attention is shifting to the long history of U.S. engagement with the Middle East, especially in the aftermath of war in Iraq and in the context of recent Arab uprisings in protest against economic inequality, social discrimination, and political repression. Here, Alex Lubin and Marwan M. Kraidy curate a new collection of essays that focuses on the cultural politics of America's entanglement with the Middle East and North Africa, making a crucial intervention in the growing subfield of transnational American studies. Featuring a diverse list of contributors from the United States, the Arab world, and beyond, American Studies Encounters the Middle East analyzes Arab-American relations by looking at the War on Terror, pop culture, and the influence of the American hegemony in a time of revolution.

Contributors include Christina Moreno Almeida, Ashley Dawson, Brian T. Edwards, Waleed Hazbun, Craig Jones, Osamah Khalil, Mounira Soliman, Helga Tawil-Souri, Judith E. Tucker, Adam John Waterman, and Rayya El Zein.

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