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University Press of Florida

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Chocolate in Mesoamerica Cover

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Chocolate in Mesoamerica

A Cultural History of Cacao

Edited by Cameron L. McNeil

New models of research and analysis, as well as breakthroughs in deciphering Mesoamerican writing, have recently produced a watershed of information on the regional use and importance of cacao, or chocolate as it is commonly called today. McNeil brings together scholars in the fields of archaeology, history, art history, linguistics, epigraphy, botany, chemistry, and cultural anthropology to explore the domestication, preparation, representation, and significance of cacao in ancient and modern communities of the Americas, with a concentration on its use in Mesoamerica.

Cacao was used by many cultures in the pre-Columbian Americas as an important part of rituals associated with birth, coming of age, marriage, and death, and was strongly linked with concepts of power and rulership. While Europeans have for hundreds of years claimed that they introduced "chocolate" as a sauce for foods, evidence from ancient royal tombs indicates cacao was used in a range of foods as well as beverages in ancient times. In addition, the volume's authors present information that supports a greater importance for cacao in pre-Columbian South America, where ancient vessels depicting cacao pods have recently been identified.

From the botanical structure and chemical makeup of Theobroma cacao and methods of identifying it in the archaeological record, to the importance of cacao during the Classic period in Mesoamerica, to the impact of European arrival on the production and use of cacao, to contemporary uses in the Americas, this volume provides a richly informed account of the history and cultural significance of chocolate.

Ch'orti Maya Area Cover

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Ch'orti Maya Area

Past and Present

Edited by Brent E. Metz, Cameron L. McNeil, and Kerry M. Hull

The Ch'orti' area--located in present-day Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador--was once the southernmost region of the ancient Maya world. Though thousands of years of tumultuous change have altered the face of the region drastically, many Ch'orti' have preserved their identity and maintained strong cultural ties to their past, and the region generally continues to practice traditions with Ch'orti' roots.

The Ch'orti's' connection with the Maya past and modern-day struggles with poverty and cultural encroachment have made the once little-studied Ch'orti' an important subject of anthropological research. The Ch'orti' Maya Area presents a holistic, multidisciplinary and long-term look at these people, their culture, and the region itself. Highlighting research from leading scholars around the globe, this collection is an impressive exploration of the history of human habitation in the area from approximately 3,000 years ago to the present.

A Civil Society Deferred Cover

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A Civil Society Deferred

The Tertiary Grip of Violence in the Sudan

Abdullahi A. Gallab

A Civil Society Deferred chronicles the socio-political history and development of violence in the Sudan and explores how it has crippled the state, retarded the development of a national identity, and ravaged the social and material life of its citizens. It offers the first detailed case studies of the development of both a colonial and postcolonial Sudanese state and grounds the violence that grips the country within the conflict between imperial rule and a resisting civil society.

Abdullahi Gallab establishes his discussion around three forms of violence: decentralized (individual actors using targets as a means to express a particular grievance); centralized (violence enacted illegitimately by state actors); and "home-brewed" (violence among local actors toward other local actors). The Turkiyya, the Mahdiyya, the Anglo-Egyptian, and the postcolonial states have all taken each of these forms to a degree never before experienced. The same is true for the various social and political hierarchies in the country, the Islamists, and the opposing resistance groups and liberation movements.

These dichotomies have led to the creation of a political center that has sought to extend power and exploit the margins of Sudanese society. Drawing from academic, archival, and a variety of oral and written material, as well as personal experience, Gallab offers an original examination of identity and social formation in the region.

A Civil War Gunboat in Pacific Waters Cover

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A Civil War Gunboat in Pacific Waters

Life Aboard the USS Saginaw

Hans Konrad Van Tilburg

The USS Saginaw was a Civil War gunboat that served in Pacific and Asian waters between 1860 and 1870. During this decade, the crew witnessed the trade disruptions of the Opium Wars, the Taiping Rebellion, the transportation of Confederate sailors to Central America, the French intervention in Mexico, and the growing presence of American naval forces in Hawaii.

In 1870, the ship sank at one of the world's most remote coral reefs; her crew was rescued sixty-eight days later after a dramatic open-boat voyage. More than 130 years later, Hans Van Tilburg led the team that discovered and recorded the Saginaw's remains near the Kure Atoll reef.

Van Tilburg's narrative provides fresh insights and a vivid retelling of a classic naval shipwreck. He provides a fascinating perspective on the watershed events in history that reshaped the Pacific during these years. And the tale of archaeological search and discovery reveals that adventure is still to be found on the high seas.

Claude McKay, Code Name Sasha Cover

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Claude McKay, Code Name Sasha

Queer Black Marxism and the Harlem Renaissance

Gary Edward Holcomb

In recent years, access into McKay's work has been transformed by new methods of interpreting the politics of literary texts, the growing significance of transnationality in literary and cultural analysis, and the impact of "queer theory." Holcomb analyzes three of the most important works in McKay's career--the Jazz Age bestseller Home to Harlem, the négritude manifesto Banjo, and the unpublished Romance in Marseille. Holcomb uncovers ways in which Home to Harlem assembles a homefront queer black anarchism, and treats Banjo as a novel that portrays Marxist internationalist sexual dissidence. Among the most notable contributions to black modernist study, Holcomb's scholarship is the first to assess the consequence of McKay's landmark Romance in Marseille, a text that is, despite its absence from broad public access for nearly 80 years, conceivably the most significant early black diaspora text. Finally, he examines McKay's extensive FBI file and his late-1930s autobiography, A Long Way from Home, in which McKay disguises his past as a means of eluding his harassers. The memoir is essential to understanding McKay's first three novels. Relying on queer theory and related language-oriented approaches, moreover, this study emphasizes that the key to McKay's queer black Marxism lies as much in confronting his textual absence as it does in rereading the author historically.

Colonial Georgia and the Creeks Cover

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Colonial Georgia and the Creeks

Anglo-Indian Diplomacy on the Southern Frontier, 1733–1763

John T. Juricek

This detailed account of interactions between the English and the Creek Indians in colonial Georgia, from the founding until 1763, describes how colonists and the Creeks negotiated with each other, especially over land issues. John Juricek's deep research reveals the clashes between the groups, their efforts to manipulate one another, and how they reached a series of unstable compromises.

European and North American Indian nations had different understandings of "national" territory. In Georgia, this led to a bitter conflict that lasted more than a decade and threatened to destroy the colony. Unlike previous accounts of James Oglethorpe's diplomacy, Juricek reveals how his serious blunders led directly to colonial Georgia's greatest crisis. In the end, an ingenious and complicated compromise arranged by Governor Henry Ellis resolved the situation, mainly in favor of the English.

After spending more than twenty years gathering and editing documentary information on the treaties, Juricek is uniquely qualified to explain the legal and practical issues involved in the acquisition of territory by the British Crown and Georgia settlers at the expense of the Creek Indians. By focusing on the land issues that structured the treaties, he tells a cross-cultural story of deal-making and deal-breaking, both public and private.

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Commodore Abraham Whipple of the Continental Navy

Privateer, Patriot, Pioneer

Sheldon S. Cohen

Abraham Whipple (1733-1819) commanded insurgents who destroyed HMS Gaspee in Narragansett Bay and helped direct the successful invasion of the Bahamas. This little-known, yet intrepid and frequently successful Continental Navy officer contributed significantly to the War for Independence. An esteemed officer of the fleet, he spent his last years in frontier Ohio where he was respected and appealed to younger generations as a "representative of the Revolution."

Sheldon Cohen's biography of Whipple presents a look inside the life of a Continental officer. He illustrates at a personal level the complexities of naval warfare, including Whipple's reliance on personal finances and family connections to outfit his ships and pay his crew. Cohen also reveals the commander’s treatment as a British prisoner of war, and his eventual migration west, shedding light on experiences shared by many Revolutionary War veterans.

Communists and Perverts under the Palms Cover

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Communists and Perverts under the Palms

The Johns Committee in Florida, 1956-1965

Stacy Braukman

In 1956, state Senator Charley Johns was appointed the chairman of the newly formed Florida Legislative Investigation Committee, now remembered as the Johns Committee. This group was charged with the task of unearthing communist tendencies, homosexual persuasions, and anything they saw as subversive behavior in academic institutions throughout Florida. With the cooperation of law enforcement, the committee interrogated and spied on countless individuals, including civil rights activists, college students, public school teachers, and university faculty and administrators.

Today, the actions of the Johns Committee are easily dismissed as homophobic and bigoted. Communists and Perverts under the Palms reveals how the creation of the committee was a logical and unsurprising result of historic societal anxieties about race, sexuality, obscenity, and liberalism. Stacy Braukman illustrates how the responses to those societal anxieties, particularly the Johns Committee, laid the foundation for the resurgence of conservatism in the 1960s. Braukman is considered and nuanced in her stance, refusing a blanket condemnation of the extremism of a committee whose influence, even decades after its dissolution, continues to be felt in the culture wars of today.

Comparative Perspectives on Afro-Latin America Cover

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Comparative Perspectives on Afro-Latin America

Kwame Dixon

Comparative Perspectives on Afro-Latin America offers a new, dynamic discussion of the experience of blackness and cultural difference, black political mobilization, and state responses to Afro-Latin activism throughout Latin America. Its thematic organization and holistic approach set it apart as the most comprehensive and up-to-date survey of these populations and the issues they face currently available.

The Complete Letters of Constance Fenimore Woolson Cover

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The Complete Letters of Constance Fenimore Woolson

Sharon L. Dean

In recent years Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840-1894) has been fictionalized at least three times, perhaps most notably in Colm Tóibín's award-winning work The Master, a novelization of the life of Woolson's close friend Henry James. But Woolson was a literary star in her own right, publishing in the premier magazines of her day. She penned critically acclaimed novels, short stories, and poetry until her mysterious death in Venice at age fifty-three.

Sharon Dean has recompiled, dated, and, in many cases, physically reassembled all of Woolson’s extant correspondence from nearly forty sources. Dean's painstaking work presents the fullest picture we have of Woolson and functions as an important corrective to the fictional portrayals. In these letters one finds rich personal detail alongside ruminations on contemporary political and social conditions. A trenchant critic of the customs and mores of her age, Woolson, in her letters, offers a nuanced perspective on life as a woman and as a writer in the nineteenth century.

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