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African American Cemeteries in Central Virginia
In Hidden History, Lynn Rainville travels through the forgotten African American cemeteries of central Virginia to recover information crucial to the stories of the black families who lived and worked there for over two hundred years. The subjects of Rainville’s research are not statesmen or plantation elites; they are hidden residents, people who are typically underrepresented in historical research but whose stories are essential for a complete understanding of our national past.
Rainville studied above-ground funerary remains in over 150 historic African American cemeteries to provide an overview of mortuary and funerary practices from the late eighteenth century to the end of the twentieth. Combining historical, anthropological, and archaeological perspectives, she analyzes documents—such as wills, obituaries, and letters—as well as gravestones and graveside offerings. Rainville’s findings shed light on family genealogies, the rise and fall of segregation, and attitudes toward religion and death. As many of these cemeteries are either endangered or already destroyed, the book includes a discussion on the challenges of preservation and how the reader may visit, and help preserve, these valuable cultural assets.
Governance in West Central Africa before 1600
Like stars, societies are born, and this story deals with such a birth. It asks a fundamental and compelling question: How did societies first coalesce from the small foraging communities that had roamed in West Central Africa for many thousands of years?
Jan Vansina continues a career-long effort to reconstruct the history of African societies before European contact in How Societies Are Born. In this complement to his previous study Paths in the Rainforests, Vansina employs a provocative combination of archaeology and historical linguistics to turn his scholarly focus to governance, studying the creation of relatively large societies extending beyond the foraging groups that characterized west central Africa from the beginning of human habitation to around 500 BCE, and the institutions that bridged their constituent local communities and made large-scale cooperation possible.
The increasing reliance on cereal crops, iron tools, large herds of cattle, and overarching institutions such as corporate matrilineages and dispersed matriclans lead up to the developments treated in the second part of the book. From about 900 BCE until European contact, different societies chose different developmental paths. Interestingly, these proceeded well beyond environmental constraints and were characterized by "major differences in the subjects which enthralled people," whether these were cattle, initiations and social position, or "the splendors of sacralized leaders and the possibilities of participating in them."
A Transatlantic Friendship of the Enlightenment
Humboldt and Jefferson explores the relationship between two fascinating personalities: the Prussian explorer, scientist, and geographer Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) and the American statesman, architect, and naturalist Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826). In the wake of his famous expedition through the Spanish colonies in the spring of 1804, Humboldt visited the United States, where he met several times with then-president Jefferson. A warm and fruitful friendship resulted, and the two men corresponded a good deal over the years, speculating together on topics of mutual interest, including natural history, geography, and the formation of an international scientific network. Living in revolutionary societies, both were deeply concerned with the human condition, and each vested hope in the new American nation as a possible answer to many of the deficiencies characterizing European societies at the time.
The intellectual exchange between the two over the next twenty-one years touched on the pivotal events of those times, such as the independence movement in Latin America and the applicability of the democratic model to that region, the relationship between America and Europe, and the latest developments in scientific research and various technological projects. Humboldt and Jefferson explores the world in which these two Enlightenment figures lived and the ways their lives on opposite sides of the Atlantic defined their respective convictions.
Environment and Technology in History
This book challenges the notion that a definitive boundary exists between nature and technology, and questions conventional thinking about humankind's relationship with both. It is a foundational text in the subfield of Envirotech, and is designed for upper-level undergraduate use.
Religion in the Life of George Washington
Attempts by evangelical Christians to claim Washington and other founders as their own, and scholars' ongoing attempts to contradict these claims, are nothing new. Particularly after Washington was no longer around to refute them, legends of his Baptist baptism or secret conversion to Catholicism began to proliferate. Mount Vernon researcher Mary Thompson endeavors to get beyond the current preoccupation with whether Washington and other founders were or were not evangelical Christians to ask what place religion had in their lives. Thompson follows Washington and his family over several generations, situating her inquiry in the context of new work on the place of religion in colonial and postrevolutionary Virginia and the Chesapeake.
Thompson considers Washington's active participation as a vestryman and church warden as well as a generous donor to his parish prior to the Revolution, and how his attendance declined after the war. He would attend special ceremonies, and stood as godparent to the children of family and friends, but he stopped taking communion and resigned his church office. Something had changed, but was it Washington, the church, or both? Thompson concludes that he was a devout Anglican, of a Latitudinarian bent, rather than either an evangelical Christian or a Deist. The meaning of this description, Thompson allows, when applied to eighteenth-century Virginia gentlemen, is far from self-evident, leaving ample room for speculation.
Virginia Woolf and Modernist Uses of Nature
Examining the writings and life of Virginia Woolf, In the Hollow of the Wave looks at how Woolf treated "nature" as a deliberate discourse that shaped her way of thinking about the self and the environment and her strategies for challenging the imbalances of power in her own culture—all of which remain valuable in the framing of our discourse about nature today. Bonnie Kime Scott explores Woolf’s uses of nature, including her satire of scientific professionals and amateurs, her parodies of the imperial conquest of land, her representations of flora and fauna, her application of post-impressionist and modernist modes, her merging of characters with the environment, and her ventures across the species barrier.
In shedding light on this discourse of Woolf and the natural world, Scott brings to our attention a critical, neglected, and contested aspect of modernism itself. She relies on feminist, ecofeminist, and postcolonial theory in the process, drawing also on the relatively recent field of animal studies. By focusing on multiple registers of Woolf’s uses of nature, the author paves the way for more extended research in modernist practices, natural history, garden and landscape studies, and lesbian/queer studies.
Iran's Foreign Policy
Ruhi Ramazani is widely considered the dean of Iranian foreign policy study, having spent the past sixty years studying and writing about the country's international relations. In Independence without Freedom, Ramazani draws together twenty of his most insightful and important articles and book chapters, with a new introduction and afterword, which taken together offer compelling evidence that the United States and Iran will not go to war.
The volume’s introduction outlines the origins of Ramazani’s early interest in Iran’s international role, which can be traced to the crushing effects of World War II on the country and Iran’s historic decision to free its oil industry from the British Empire. In the afterword, he discusses the reasons behind America’s poor understanding of Iranian foreign policy, articulates the fundamentals of his own approach to the study of Iran—including the nuclear dispute—and describes the major instruments behind Iran’s foreign efforts. Independence without Freedom will serve as a crucial resource for anyone interested in the factors and forces that drive Iranian behavior in world politics.
Over the course of the past decade, the behavioral analysis of decisions by the Supreme Court has turned to game theory to gain new insights into this important institution in American politics. Game theory highlights the role of strategic interactions between the Court and other institutions in the decisions the Court makes as well as in the relations among the justices as they make their decisions. Rather than assume that the justices’ votes reveal their sincere preferences, students of law and politics have come to examine how the strategic concerns of the justices lead to "sophisticated" behavior as they seek to maximize achievement of their goals when faced with constraints on their ability to do so.
In Institutional Games and the U.S. Supreme Court, James Rogers, Roy Flemming, and Jon Bond gather various essays that use game theory to explain the Supreme Court's interactions with Congress, the states, and the lower courts. Offering new ways of understanding the complexity and consequences of these interactions, the volume joins a growing body of work that considers these influential interactions among various branches of the U.S. government.
Kenneth A. Shepsle, Andrew De Martin, James R. Rogers, Christopher Zorn, Georg Vanberg, Cliff Carrubba, Thomas Hammond, Christopher Bonneau, Reginald Sheehan, Charles Cameron, Lewis A. Kornhauser, Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, Matthew Stephenson, Stefanie A. Lindquist, Susan D. Haire, Lawrence Baum
Children in Postemancipation Virginia
In Intimate Reconstructions, Catherine Jones considers how children shaped, and were shaped by, Virginia’s Reconstruction. Jones argues that questions of how to define, treat, reform, or protect children were never far from the surface of public debate and private concern in post–Civil War Virginia. Through careful examination of governmental, institutional, and private records, the author traces the unpredictable paths black and white children traveled through this tumultuous period. Putting children at the center of the narrative reveals the unevenness of the transitions that defined Virginia in the wake of the Civil War: from slavery to freedom, from war to peace, and from secession to a restored but fractured union. While some children emerged from the war under the protection of families, others navigated treacherous circumstances on their own. The reconfiguration of postwar households, and disputes over children’s roles within them, fueled broader debates over public obligations to protect all children.
The reorganization of domestic life was a critical proving ground for Reconstruction. Freedpeople’s efforts to recover children strained against white Virginians’ efforts to retain privileges formerly undergirded by slavery. At the same time, orphaned children, particularly those who populated the streets of Virginia’s cities, prompted contentious debate over who had responsibility for their care, as well as rights to their labor.
By revisiting conflicts over the practices of orphan asylums, apprenticeship, and adoption, Intimate Reconstructions demonstrates that race continued to shape children’s postwar lives in decisive ways. In private and public, children were at the heart of Virginians’ struggles over the meanings of emancipation and Confederate defeat.
A Study in Pure Sociology
Although "thou shalt not kill" is perhaps the most fundamental legal and moral principle, Mark Cooney finds a remarkable lack of consistency in the handling of homicide not only between but within the whole range of human societies. Equality before the law doesn't exist, but not for the reasons, such as prejudice, that we expect. Legal and moral principles can't explain why one killer is condemned and another acquitted or lauded. The "social geometry" of status and social distance among killer, victim, and third parties does. Incredibly wide-ranging in its 'data set'--Cooney looked at all societies, in all time periods, for which data is available.