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Religious Freedom and Pluralism in Antebellum America
In Earnestly Contending, Dickson Bruce examines the ways in which religious denominations and movements in antebellum America coped with the ideals of freedom and pluralism that exerted such a strong influence on the larger, national culture. Despite their enormous normative power, these still-evolving ideals—themselves partly religious in origin—ran up against deeply entrenched concerns about the integrity of religious faith and commitment and the role of religion in society. The resulting tensions between these ideals and desires for religious consensus and coherence would remain unresolved throughout the period.
Focusing on that era’s interdenominational competition, Bruce explores the possibilities for and barriers to realizing ideals of freedom and pluralism in antebellum America. He examines the nature of religion from the perspectives of anthropology and cognitive sciences, as well as history, and uses this interdisciplinary approach to organize and understand specific tendencies in the antebellum period while revealing properties inherent in religion as a social and cultural phenomenon. He goes on to show how issues from that era have continued to play a role in American religious thinking, and how they might shed light on the controversies of our own time.
New European Approaches
One of the more frequently lodged, serious, and justifiable complaints about ecocritical work is that it is insufficiently theorized. Ecocritical Theory puts such claims decisively to rest by offering readers a comprehensive collection of sophisticated but accessible essays that productively investigate the relationship between European theory and ecocritique. With its international roster of contributors and subjects, it also militates against the parochialism of ecocritics who work within the limited canon of the American West. Bringing together approaches and orientations based on the work of European philosophers and cultural theorists, this volume is designed to open new pathways for ecocritical theory and practice in the twenty-first century.
From College to Nation
In The Educational Legacy of Woodrow Wilson, James Axtell brings together essays by eight leading historians and one historically minded political scientist to examine the long, formative academic phase of Wilson’s career and its connection to his relatively brief tenure in politics. Together, the essays provide a greatly revised picture of Wilson’s whole career and a deeply nuanced understanding of the evolution of his educational, political, and social philosophy and policies, the ordering of his values and priorities, and the seamless link between his academic and political lives.
The contributors shed light on Wilson’s unexpected rise to the governorship of New Jersey and the presidency, and how he prepared for elective office through his long study of government and the practice of academic politics, which he deemed no less fierce than that of Washington. In both spheres he was enormously successful, propelling a string of progressive and Progressive reforms through faculty and legislative forums. Only after he was beset by health problems and events beyond his control did he fail to push his academic and postwar agendas to their logical, idealistic conclusions.
Contributors: James Axtell, College of William and Mary * Victoria Bissell Brown, Grinnell College * John Milton Cooper Jr., University of Wisconsin * Stanley N. Katz, Princeton University * W. Bruce Leslie, SUNY–Brockport * Adam R. Nelson, University of Wisconsin * Mark R. Nemec, Forrester Research * John R. Thelin, University of Kentucky * Trygve Throntveit, Harvard University
Reading the New Editions
In recent years, a series of major collections of posthumous writings by Elizabeth Bishop--one of the most widely read and discussed poets of the twentieth century--have been published, profoundly affecting how we look at her life and work. The hundreds of letters, poems, and other writings in these volumes have expanded Bishop‘s published work by well over a thousand pages and placed before the public a "new" Bishop whose complexity was previously familiar to only a small circle of scholars and devoted readers. This collection of essays by many of the leading figures in Bishop studies provides a deep and multifaceted account of the impact of these new editions and how they both enlarge and complicate our understanding of Bishop as a cultural icon.
Contributors: Charles Berger, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville * Jacqueline Vaught Brogan, University of Notre Dame * Angus Cleghorn, Seneca College * Jonathan Ellis, University of Sheffield * Richard Flynn, Georgia Southern University * Lorrie Goldensohn * Jeffrey Gray, Seton Hall University * Bethany Hicok, Westminster College * George Lensing, University of North Carolina * Carmen L. Oliveira * Barbara Page, Vassar College * Christina Pugh, University of Illinois at Chicago * Francesco Rognoni, Catholic University in Milan * Peggy Samuels, Drew University * Lloyd Schwartz, University of Massachusetts, Boston * Thomas Travisano, Hartwick College * Heather Treseler, Worcester State University * Gillian White, University of Michigan
When the American poet Elizabeth Bishop arrived in Brazil in 1951 at the age of forty, she had not planned to stay, but her love affair with the Brazilian aristocrat Lota de Macedo Soares and with the country itself set her on another course, and Brazil became her home for nearly two decades. In this groundbreaking new study, Bethany Hicok offers Bishop’s readers the most comprehensive study to date on the transformative impact of Brazil on the poet’s life and art. Based on extensive archival research and travel, Elizabeth Bishop’s Brazil argues that the whole shape of Bishop’s writing career shifted in response to Brazil, taking on historical, political, linguistic, and cultural dimensions that would have been inconceivable without her immersion in this vibrant South American culture.
Hicok reveals the mid-century Brazil that Bishop encountered--its extremes of wealth and poverty, its spectacular topography, its language, literature, and people--and examines the Brazilian class structures that placed Bishop and Macedo Soares at the center of the country’s political and cultural power brokers. We watch Bishop develop a political poetry of engagement against the backdrop of America’s Cold War policies and Brazil’s political revolutions. Hicok also offers the first comprehensive evaluation of Bishop’s translations of Brazilian writers and their influence on her own work. Drawing on archival sources that include Bishop’s unpublished travel writings and providing provocative new readings of the poetry, Elizabeth Bishop’s Brazil is a long-overdue exploration of a pivotal phase in this great poet’s life and work.
Desegregation and Resegregation in Norfolk's Public Schools
In Elusive Equality, Jeffrey L. Littlejohn and Charles H. Ford place Norfolk, Virginia, at the center of the South's school desegregation debates, tracing the crucial role that Norfolk’s African Americans played in efforts to equalize and integrate the city’s schools. The authors relate how local activists participated in the historic teacher-pay-parity cases of the 1930s and 1940s, how they fought against the school closures and "Massive Resistance" of the 1950s, and how they challenged continuing patterns of discrimination by insisting on crosstown busing in the 1970s and 1980s. Despite the advances made by local activists, however, Littlejohn and Ford argue that the vaunted "urban advantage" supposedly now enjoyed by Norfolk’s public schools is not easy to reconcile with the city’s continuing gaps and disparities in relation to race and class.
In analyzing the history of struggles over school integration in Norfolk, the authors scrutinize the stories told by participants, including premature declarations of victory that laud particular achievements while ignoring the larger context in which they take place. Their research confirms that Norfolk was a harbinger of national trends in educational policy and civil rights.
Drawing on recently released archival materials, oral interviews, and the rich newspaper coverage in the Journal and Guide, Virginian-Pilot, and Ledger-Dispatch, Littlejohn and Ford present a comprehensive, multidimensional, and unsentimental analysis of the century-long effort to gain educational equality. A historical study with contemporary implications, their book offers a balanced view based on a thorough, sober look at where Norfolk’s school district has been and where it is going.
The Enlightenment in the Modern Caribbean Historical Imagination
Kant's definition of the Enlightenment as an emergence of humanity from its self-incurred immaturity begs a number of questions, argues Paul Miller, when seen through the lens of the modern Caribbean historical imagination. It yields a set of structural paradoxes that trap the Caribbean writer in the binary tensions of center/periphery, master/slave, leaders/masses, rendering the origins of the Caribbean's own modernity "elusive."
Collected Letters, 1861-1875
Sarah Emily Davies (1830–1921) lived and crusaded during a time of profound change for education and women’s rights in England. At the time of her birth, women’s suffrage was scarcely open to discussion, and not one of England’s universities (there were four) admitted women. By the time of her death, not only had the number of universities grown to twelve, all of which were open to women; women had also begun to get the vote. Davies’s own activism in the women’s movement and in the social and educational reform movements of the time culminated in her founding of Girton College, Cambridge University, the first residential college of higher education for women.
Transatlantic Histories of the Louisiana Purchase
Empires of the Imagination takes the Louisiana Purchase as a point of departure for a compelling new discussion of the interaction between France and the United States. In addition to offering the first substantive synthesis of this transatlantic relationship, the essays collected here offer new interpretations on themes vital to the subject, ranging from political culture to intercultural contact to ethnic identity. They capture the cultural breadth of the territories encompassed by the Louisiana Purchase, exploring not only French and Anglo-American experiences, but also those of Native Americans and African Americans.
Science, Religion, and Poetry in Early Eighteenth-Century England
Featuring a moment in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century England before the disciplinary divisions that we inherit today were established, Empiricist Devotions recovers a kind of empiricist thinking in which the techniques and emphases of science, religion, and literature combined and cooperated. This empiricism was committed to particularized scrutiny and epistemological modesty and held that figurative language provided crucial tools for interpreting the divinely written world. Courtney Weiss Smith's prizewinning book explores this brand of meditative empiricism in Robert Boyle's analogies, Isaac Newton's metaphors, John Locke's narratives, Joseph Addison's personifications, Daniel Defoe's diction, John Gay's periphrases, and Alexander Pope's descriptive particulars. This empiricism, she contends, was crucial to the logics of microscopy treatises, scientific sermons, private devotional journals, economic policy proposals, social contract stories, it-narratives, and georgic poetry.
Empiricist Devotions has important implications for our understanding of cultural and literary history, as scholars of the period's science have not fully appreciated figurative language's central role in empiricist thought, while scholars of its religion and literature have neglected the serious empiricist commitments motivating richly figurative devotional and poetic text. Smith’s wide-ranging interdisciplinary study offers new insights into the period’s observation and description that go beyond the traditional boundaries of literature, science, religion, and history.
Winner of the Walker Cowen Memorial Prize for an Outstanding Work of Scholarship in Eighteenth-Century Studies