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Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Website: http://www.wlupress.wlu.ca/

Founded in 1974, Wilfrid Laurier University Press has established a reputation for excellence in scholarly publishing in the areas of history, literature, sociology, social work, life writing, film and media studies, aboriginal studies, women’s studies, philosophy, and religious studies. The press publishes 30—35 titles a year and hasover 365 titles in print.


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Wilfrid Laurier University Press

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Antonin Artaud’s Alternate Genealogies

Self-Portraits and Family Romances

Most readers know Antonin Artaud as a theorist of the theatre and as a playwright, director and actor manqué. Now, John C. Stout’s highly original study installs Artaud as a writer and theorist of biography.

In Alternate Genealogies Stout analyzes two separate but interrelated preoccupations central to Artaud’s work: the self-portrait and the family romance. He shows how Artaud, in several important but relatively neglected texts, rewrites the life stories of historical and literary figures with whom he identifies (for example, Paolo Ucello, Abelard, Van Gogh and Shelley’s Francesco Cenci) in an attempt to reinvent himself through the image, or life, of another. Throughout the book Stout focusses on Artaud’s struggles to recover the sense of self that eludes him and to master the reproductive process by recreating the family in — and as — his own fantasies of it. With this research John C. Stout has added considerably to our understanding of Artaud.

His book will be much appreciated by theatre scholars, Artaud specialists, Freudians, Lacanians and both theorists and practitioners of life writing.

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Archaeology of the Rivas Region, Nicaragua

Central America before the Spanish Conquest has often been considered by North American archaeologists as a “backwater” of peripheral importance located between the advanced ancient civilizations of South America and Mesoamerica (Mexican–Maya country). Recent archaeological research has revealed that this area played a much more significant role in New World cultural history than was previously thought. Healy’s study examines the archaeological record of one subarea of Southern Central America, the Rivas region of Pacific Nicaragua. The work gives a detailed analysis of excavations and of artifacts recovered at seven significant prehistoric sites. A critical pioneering effort, the monograph documents cultural changes occurring over a 2,000–year time period—changes in technology, material culture, settlement, subsistence, and socio–political organization.

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Archetypes from Underground

Notes on the Dostoevskian Self

Lonny Harrison

Archetypes from Underground: Notes on the Dostoevskian Self uncovers archetypal imagery in Dostoevsky’s stories and novels and argues that archetypes bring a new dimension to our understanding and appreciation of his works. In this interdisciplinary study, Harrison analyzes selected texts in light of fresh research in Dostoevsky studies, cultural history, comparative mythology, and depth psychology. He argues that one of Dostoevsky’s chief concerns is the crisis of modernity, and that he dramatizes the conflicts of the modern self by depicting the dynamic, transformative nature of the psyche. Harrison finds the language and imagery of archetypes in Dostoevsky’s characters, symbols, and themes, and shows how these resonate in remarkable ways with the archetypes of self, persona, and the shadow. He demonstrates that major themes in Dostoevsky coincide with Western esotericism, such as the complementarity of opposites, transformation, and the symbolism of death and resurrection. These arguments inform a close reading of several of Dostoevsky’s texts, including The Double, Notes from Underground, and The Brothers Karamazov. Archetypes inform these works and others, bringing vitality to Dostoevsky’s major characters and themes.

This research represents a departure from the religious and philosophical questions that have dominated Dostoevsky studies. This work is the first sustained analysis of Dostoevsky’s work in light of archetypes, framing a topic that calls for further investigation. Archetypes illumine the author’s ideas about Russian national identity and its faith traditions and help us redefine our understanding of Russian realism and the prominent place Dostoevsky occupies within it.

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The Arms of the Infinite

Elizabeth Smart and George Barker

The Arms of the Infinite takes the reader inside the minds of author Christopher Barker’s parents, writer Elizabeth Smart (By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept) and poet George Barker. From their first fateful meeting and subsequent elopement, Barker candidly reveals their obsessive, passionate, and volatile love affair.

He writes evocatively of his unconventional upbringing with his siblings in a shack in Ireland and, later, a rambling, falling-down house in Essex. Interesting and charismatic figures from the literary and art worlds are regular visitors, and the book is full of fascinating cameos and anecdotes.

North American rights only.

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Arts of Engagement

Taking Aesthetic Action In and Beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Dylan Robinson

Arts of Engagement focuses on the role that music, film, visual art, and Indigenous cultural practices play in and beyond Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools. Contributors here examine the impact of aesthetic and sensory experience in residential school history, at TRC national and community events, and in artwork and exhibitions not affiliated with the TRC. Using the framework of “aesthetic action,” the essays expand the frame of aesthetics to include visual, aural, and kinetic sensory experience, and question the ways in which key components of reconciliation such as apology and witnessing have social and political effects for residential school survivors, intergenerational survivors, and settler publics.

This volume makes an important contribution to the discourse on reconciliation in Canada by examining how aesthetic and sensory interventions offer alternative forms of political action and healing. These forms of aesthetic action encompass both sensory appeals to empathize and invitations to join together in alliance and new relationships as well as refusals to follow the normative scripts of reconciliation. Such refusals are important in their assertion of new terms for conciliation, terms that resist the imperatives of reconciliation as a form of resolution.

This collection charts new ground by detailing the aesthetic grammars of reconciliation and conciliation. The authors document the efficacies of the TRC for the various Indigenous and settler publics it has addressed, and consider the future aesthetic actions that must be taken in order to move beyond what many have identified as the TRC’s political limitations.

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Asian Canadian Writing Beyond Autoethnography

Asian Canadian Writing Beyond Autoethnography explores some of the latest developments in the literary and cultural practices of Canadians of Asian heritage. While earlier work by ethnic, multicultural, or minority writers in Canada was often concerned with immigration, the moment of arrival, issues of assimilation, and conflicts between generations, literary and cultural production in the new millennium no longer focuses solely on the conflict between the Old World and the New or the clashes between culture of origin and adopted culture. No longer are minority authors identifying simply with their ethnic or racial cultural background in opposition to dominant culture.

The essays in this collection explore ways in which Asian Canadian authors (such as Larissa Lai, Shani Mootoo, Fred Wah, Hiromi Goto, Suniti Namjoshi, and Ying Chen) and artists (such as Ken Lum, Paul Wong, and Laiwan) have gone beyond what Françoise Lionnet calls autoethnography, or ethnographic autobiography. They demonstrate the ways representations of race and ethnicity, particularly in works by Asian Canadians in the last decade, have changedhave become more playful, untraditional, aesthetically and ideologically transgressive, and exciting.

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Auto/biography in Canada

Critical Directions

Auto/biography in Canada: Critical Directions widens the field of auto/biography studies with its sophisticated multidisciplinary perspectives on the theory, criticism, and practice of self, community, and representation. Rather than considering autobiography and biography as discrete genres with definable properties, and rather than focusing on critical approaches, the essays explore auto/biography as a discourse about identity and representation in the context of numerous disciplinary shifts. Auto/biography in Canada looks at how life narratives are made in Canada .

Originating from literary studies, history, and social work, the essays in this collection cover topics that range from queer Canadian autobiography, autobiography and autism, and newspaper death notices as biography, to Canadian autobiography and the Holocaust, Grey Owl and authenticity, France Théoret and autofiction, and a new reading of Stolen Life, the collaborative text by Yvonne Johnson and Rudy Wiebe.

Julie Rak’s useful “big picture” introduction traces the history of auto/biography studies in Canada. While the contributors chart disciplinary shifts taking place in auto/biography studies, their essays are also part of the ongoing scholarship that is remaking ways to understand Canada.

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Avatar and Nature Spirituality

Avatar and Nature Spirituality explores the cultural and religious significance of James Cameron’s film Avatar (2010), one of the most commercially successful motion pictures of all time. Its success was due in no small measure to the beauty of the Pandoran landscape and the dramatic, heart-wrenching plight of its nature-venerating inhabitants. To some audience members, the film was inspirational, leading them to express affinity with the film’s message of ecological interdependence and animistic spirituality. Some were moved to support the efforts of indigenous peoples, who were metaphorically and sympathetically depicted in the film, to protect their cultures and environments. To others, the film was politically, ethically, or spiritually dangerous. Indeed, the global reception to the film was intense, contested, and often confusing.

To illuminate the film and its reception, this book draws on an interdisciplinary team of scholars, experts in indigenous traditions, religious studies, anthropology, literature and film, and post-colonial studies. Readers will learn about the cultural and religious trends that gave rise to the film and the reasons these trends are feared, resisted, and criticized, enabling them to wrestle with their own views about the film and the controversy. Like the film itself, Avatar and Nature Spirituality provides an opportunity for considering afresh the ongoing struggle to determine how we should live on our home planet, and what sorts of political, economic, and spiritual values and practices would best guide us.

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Babies for the Nation

The Medicalization of Motherhood in Quebec, 1910-1970

Described by some as a “necropolis for babies,” the province of Quebec in the early twentieth century recorded infant mortality rates, particularly among French-speaking Catholics, that were among the highest in the Western world. This “bleeding of the nation” gave birth to a vast movement for child welfare that paved the way for a medicalization of childbearing.

In Babies for the Nation, basing her analysis on extensive documentary research and more than fifty interviews with mothers, Denyse Baillargeon sets out to understand how doctors were able to convince women to consult them, and why mothers chose to follow their advice. Her analysis considers the medical discourse of the time, the development of free services made available to mothers between 1910 and 1970, and how mothers used these services.

Showing the variety of social actors involved in this process (doctors, nurses, women’s groups, members of the clergy, private enterprise, the state, and the mothers themselves), this study delineates the alliances and the conflicts that arose between them in a complex phenomenon that profoundly changed the nature of childbearing in Quebec.

Un Québec en mal d’enfants: La médicalisation de la maternité 1910—1970 was awarded the Clio-Québec Prize, the Lionel Groulx-Yves-Saint-Germain Prize, and the Jean-Charles-Falardeau Prize. This translation by W. Donald Wilson brings this important book to a new readership.

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Backpacks Full of Hope

The UN Mission in Haiti

Backpacks Full of Hope: The UN Mission in Haiti describes the experience of a Chilean general as Deputy Force Commander of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) during the particularly turbulent year September 2005 to September 2006. It details the realities of commanding more than 7,000 men from eleven countries while working to fulfill the mandate of the United Nations in Haiti—to ensure a secure and stable environment, to support the transitional government in a democratic political process, and to promote and protect the human rights of the Haitian people.

Despite the enormous challenges of a complex scenario that included local violence and extreme poverty, the UN command succeeded in its mission, stabilizing the local situation and paving the way for Haiti to hold a presidential election.

Originally published as Mision en Haiti, con la mochila cargada de esperanzas, this work provides a new audience with insight on the peace operation and sheds light on the long-term endeavour of civilians, military, and local and international agencies to support Haiti’s path to prosperity.

Co-published with the Centre for International Governance Innovation

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