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“Over the last two decades, medical researchers have become more comfortable wit the idea that serious attention must be given to ethical issues when the tests of new technologies are being designed. They have come to see that experimental trials must meet certain standards, not only of scientific rigour, but also of moral acceptability.” (Introduction)
Presented by an international group of experts, the eight essays included in this volume evaluate the new technologies in fetal care and also wrestle with the new problems, often moral ones, that have accompanied techonological advancement. The opening chapters review state-of-the-art ultrasound imaging and molecular genetics and focus on the new patient—the fetus. From here, the efficacy of fetal therapy, the problem of assessing long-term viability, the ethical issues involved in both clinical practice and medical research, and the legal rights of the new patients and their parents are examined. The final chapter “Are Fetuses Becoming Children?” brings a fresh philosophical perspective to the question of a fetus’s status and rights.
Contemporary North American Dystopian Literature
What do literary dystopias reflect about the times? In Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase, contributors address this amorphous but pervasive genre, using diverse critical methodologies to examine how North America is conveyed or portrayed in a perceived age of crisis, accelerated uncertainty, and political volatility.
Drawing from contemporary novels such as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and the work of Margaret Atwood and William Gibson (to name a few), this book examines dystopian literature produced by North American authors between the signing of NAFTA (1994) and the tenth anniversary of 9/11 (2011). As the texts illustrate, awareness of and deep concern about perceived vulnerabilities—ends of water, oil, food, capitalism, empires, stable climates, ways of life, non-human species, and entire human civilizations—have become central to public discourseover the same period.
By asking questions such as “What are the distinctive qualities of post-NAFTA North American dystopian literature?” and “What does this literature reflect about the tensions and contradictions of the inchoate continental community of North America?” Blast, Corrupt, Dismantle, Erase serves to resituate dystopian writing within a particular geo-social setting and introduce a productive means to understand both North American dystopian writing and its relevant engagements with a restricted, mapped reality.
The Use of Strategic Litigation to Silence Political Expression
Strategic litigation against public participation (SLAPP) involves lawsuits brought by individuals, corporations, groups, or politicians to curtail political activism and expression. An increasingly large part of the political landscape in Canada, they are often launched against those protesting, boycotting, or participating in some form of political activism. A common feature of SLAPPs is that their intention is rarely to win the case or secure a remedy; rather, the suit is brought to create a chill on political expression.
Blocking Public Participation examines the different types of litigation and causes of action that frequently form the basis of SLAPPs, and how these lawsuits transform political disputes into legal cases, thereby blocking political engagement. The resource imbalance between plaintiffs and defendants allows plaintiffs to tie up defendants in complex and costly legal processes. The book also examines the dangers SLAPPs pose to political expression and to the quality and integrity of our democratic political institutions. Finally, the book examines the need to regulate SLAPPs in Canada and assesses various regulatory proposals.
In Canada, considerable attention has been paid to the “legalization of politics” and the impact on the Charter in diverting political activism into the judicial arena. SLAPPs, however, are an under-studied element of this process, and in their obstruction of political engagement through recourse to the courts they have profound implications for democratic practice.
The Poetry of George Elliott Clarke
Blues singer, preacher, cultural critic, exile, Africadian, high modernist, spoken word artist, Canadian poet—these are but some of the voices of George Elliott Clarke. In a selection of Clarke’s best work from his early poetry to his most recent, Blues and Bliss: The Poetry of George Elliott Clarke offers readers an impressive cross-section of those voices. Jon Paul Fiorentino’s introduction focuses on this polyphony, his influences—Derek Walcott, Amiri Baraka, and the canon of literary English from Shakespeare to Yeats—and his “voice throwing,” and shows how the intersections here produce a “troubling” of language. He sketches Clarke’s primary interest in the negotiation of cultural space through adherence to and revision of tradition and on the finding of a vernacular that begins in exile, especially exile in relation to African-Canadian communities.
In the afterword, Clarke, in an interesting re-spin of Fiorentino’s introduction, writes with patented gusto about how his experiences have contributed to multiple sounds and forms in his work. Decrying any grandiose notions of theory, he presents himself as primarily a songwriter.
Women’s Spirits, Bodies and Places
“I see spirituality and social change to be integrally related to each other. I believe that liberation efforts that are supported by spiritual experiences of integration promote human dignity as well as social equality.”
Bodied Mindfulness combines spiritual, social and analytical perspectives to explore topics central to women’s development: spirituality, women’s bodies, cultural constructions of women’s sexuality in language, sexual ethics, the sexual contract in politics and at work, and the relation between nature and culture. It is Tomm’s deeply held conviction that women need to bring a vital spirituality to feminist social criticism in order to resolve these issues and increase their power to promote social justice and ecological balance.
Tomm embraces a vast store of knowledge from diverse sources, including Buddhist, shamanist and feminist resources. In a move away from abstract theorizing, she explicitly connects theory with realities lived by women. Grounding theory in personal experience — her own and others — Tomm delivers a powerful and empowering account of women’s spirituality. The resulting ontological transformation allows women to live deeply in the body while strengthening their relation to human and non-human matter and energy.
Bodied Mindfulness will be of great interest to feminist scholars in all disciplines, but most particularly to those in Women’s Studies and Religious Studies.
Representations of the Body in Recent Film and Poetry
Elder examines how artists such as Brakhage, Artaud, Schneemann, Cohen and others have tried to recognize and to convey primordial forms of experiences. He argues that the attempt to convey these primordial modes of awareness demands a different conception of artistic meaning from any of those that currently dominate contemporary critical discussion. By reworking theories and speech in highly original ways, Elder formulates this new conception. His remarks on the gaps in contemporary critical practices will likely become the focus of much debate.
Manufacturing Memoir for the Popular Market
Since the early 1990s, tens of thousands of memoirs by celebrities and unknown people have been published, sold, and read by millions of American readers. The memoir boom, as the explosion of memoirs on the market has come to be called, has been welcomed, vilified, and dismissed in the popular press. But is there really a boom in memoir production in the United States? If so, what is causing it? Are memoirs all written by narcissistic hacks for an unthinking public, or do they indicate a growing need to understand world events through personal experiences? This study seeks to answer these questions by examining memoir as an industrial product like other products, something that publishers and booksellers help to create. These popular texts become part of mass culture, where they are connected to public events. The genre of memoir, and even genre itself, ceases to be an empty classification category and becomes part of social action and consumer culture at the same time. From James Frey’s controversial A Million Little Pieces, to memoirs about bartending, Iran, the liberation of Dachau, computer hacking, and the impact of 9/11, this book argues that the memoir boom is more than a publishing trend. It is becoming the way American readers try to understand major events in terms of individual experiences. The memoir boom is one of the ways that citizenship as a category of belonging between private and public spheres is now articulated.
A Study of Land Tenure on a Micronesian Atoll
In Bountiful Island a major Arctic scholar turns his eye on Micronesia: the small and isolated atoll of Pingelap in Micronesia lies in a moist climatic belt which encourages abundant plant life, including such food plants as coconuts, breadfruit and taro. In this detailed examination of land-tenure practices in the atoll, David Damas argues that the resulting high level of subsistence has brought an expansion of the population which has put great pressures on land. Under these pressures, land tenure has moved from communal usage to lineage control, to individual ownership and transmission rights. Comparative material from neighbouring Mwaekil atoll indicates the same general succession from larger to smaller units of tenure with increasing population. While control of land by kin groups is usual in the Pacific, other atoll societies show examples of individual tenure which also relate to changes in population densities.
Subsequent depopulation and emigration have not altered the fundamentals of the land-tenure system but have led to the emergence of a pattern of land stewardship. This has resulted in imbalances between the holdings of resident cultivators and those of absentee landowners.
Comparative material from neighbouring Mwaekil atoll indicates the same general succession from larger to smaller units of tenure with increasing population. While control of land by kin groups is usual in the Pacific, other atoll societies show examples of individual tenure which also relate to changes in population densities.
Bountiful Island will be of interest to all anthropologists studying cross-cultural comparisons in the theory of land-tenure practices and the ethnology, social anthropology and ethnohistory of Micronesia. This book is also suitable for senior undergraduate and graduate courses in cultural ecology and area courses on the Pacific.