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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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Cruel but Not Unusual Cover

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Cruel but Not Unusual

Violence in Canadian Families

Violence in families and intimate relationships affects a significant proportion of the population—from very young children to the elderly. Although no one is immune to violence, some groups are particularly vulnerable. Cruel but Not Unusual: Violence in Canadian Families is the first book to offer a national survey of the latest research and practice, and it reflects on the patriarchal roots and societal conditions in Canada that have led to the long-standing abuse of women and children. While feminist theories provide an overarching framework, a broad range of approaches is offered to examine and respond to critical aspects of this serious social problem. Topics include: systemic oppression of Aboriginal families and communities; violence in a francophone minority context; child corporal punishment; abuse in the lives of people with disabilities; the objectification of older adults; mother blaming; intimate violence in same-sex relationships; and new approaches to solving the problem of violence in Canadian families.

The Curtain Cover

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The Curtain

Witness and Memory in Wartime Holland

Henry Schogt met his wife, Corrie, in 1954 in Amsterdam. Each knew the other had grown up in the Netherlands during World War II, but for years they barely spoke of their experiences. This was true for many people — the memories were just too painful. Years later, Henry and Corrie began to piece their memories together, to untangle reality from dreams. Their intent was to help others understand what had happened then, and how it influenced and affected not only their lives but those of all who survived.

The seven stories in The Curtain reveal how two families — one Jewish, one non-Jewish — fared in the Netherlands during the German occupation in World War II. Each vignette highlights a specific aspect of life; all show how life changed for everyone, and forever.

Four stories are based on the author’s memories of his own non-Jewish family: Henry’s friendship with a Jewish teenager; the conflict of personal antipathy with the realization that help must be provided; the Schogt parents’ determination to do the right thing; the difficulties of coping with an aunt with Nazi sympathies. These are stories about the randomness of survival and the elusive nature of memory.

For the Jewish family, three stories drawn from the memories of the author’s wife and family demonstrate the bewildering situation of trying to make impossible life-determining decisions when faced with confusing and deceitful decrees. The family must struggle with the luck — or absence thereof — of finding refuge when forced from their homes, and with the perplexing inconsistencies of the collaboration of Dutch authorities and police with the Nazis.

The Curtain emphasizes the difference between the options that were open to non-Jews and Jews in the Netherlands. Non-Jews could freely choose whether to actively resist the Germans, collaborate with the Nazis, or just to do nothing, and try to live a normal life in spite of wartime restrictions.

Dutch Jews, on the other hand, did not have a choice — whatever they did, whatever decisions they made, they were doomed, and it often seemed, when someone survived, just simple luck. A short introduction about the war years and an appendix with a chronology of decrees, events, and statistics, provide background information for this haunting memoir of those disturbing years during the German Occupation in the Netherlands.

DADA, Surrealism, and the Cinematic Effect Cover

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DADA, Surrealism, and the Cinematic Effect

This book deals with the early intellectual reception of the cinema and the manner in which art theorists, philosophers, cultural theorists, and especially artists of the first decades of the twentieth century responded to its advent. While the idea persists that early writers on film were troubled by the cinema’s lowly form, this work proposes that there was another, largely unrecognized, strain in the reception of it. Far from anxious about film’s provenance in popular entertainment, some writers and artists proclaimed that the cinema was the most important art for the moderns, as it exemplified the vibrancy of contemporary life.

This view of the cinema was especially common among those whose commitments were to advanced artistic practices. Their notions about how to recast the art media (or the forms forged from those media’s materials) and the urgency of doing so formed the principal part of the conceptual core of the artistic programs advanced by the vanguard art movements of the first half of the twentieth century. This book, a companion to the author’s previous, Harmony & Dissent, examines the DADA and Surrealist movements as responses to the advent of the cinema.

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Dangerous Food

1 Corinthians 8-10 in Its Context

Recognizing the social meaning of food and meals in Greco-Roman culture and, in particular, the social meaning of idol-food, is an integral part of understanding the impact of Paul’s instructions to the Christian community at Corinth regarding the consumption of idol-food. Shared meals were a central feature of social intercourse in Greco-Roman culture. Meals and food were markers of social status, and participation at meals was the main means of establishing and maintaining social relations. Participation in public rites (and sharing the meals which ensued) was a requirement of holding public office.

The social consequences of refusing to eat idol-food would be extreme. Christians might not attend weddings, funerals, celebrations in honour of birthdays, or even formal banquets without encountering idol-food. In this extended reading of 1 Corinthians 8:1-11:1, Paul’s response to the Corinthian Christians’ query concerning food offered to idols, Gooch uses a social-historical approach, combining historical methods of source, literary and redaction criticism, and newer applications of anthropological and sociological methods to determine what idol-food was, and what it meant in that place at that time to eat or avoid it. In opposition to a well-entrenched scholarly consensus, Gooch claims that although Paul had abandoned purity rules concerning food, he would not abandon Judaism’s cultural and religious understanding concerning idol-food.

On the basis of his reconstruction of Paul’s letter in which he urged the Corinthian Christians to avoid any food infected by non-Christian rites, Gooch argues that the Corinthians rejected Paul’s instructions to avoid facing significant social liabilities.

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Dante & the Unorthodox

The Aesthetics of Transgression

During his lifetime, Dante was condemned as corrupt and banned from Florence on pain of death. But in 1329, eight years after his death, he was again viciously condemned—this time as a heretic and false prophet—by Friar Guido Vernani. From Vernani’s inquisitorial viewpoint, the author of the Commedia “seduced” his readers by offering them “a vessel of demonic poison” mixed with poetic fantasies designed to destroy the “healthful truth” of Catholicism. Thanks to such pious vituperations, a sulphurous fume of unorthodoxy has persistently clung to the mantle of Dante’s poetic fame.

The primary critical purpose of Dante & the Unorthodox is to examine the aesthetic impulses behind the theological and political reasons for Dante’s allegory of mid-life divergence from the papally prescribed “way of salvation.” Marking the septicentennial of his exile, the book’s eighteen critical essays, three excerpts from an allegorical drama, and a portfolio of fourteen contemporary artworks address the issue of the poet’s conflicted relation to orthodoxy.

By bringing the unorthodox out of the realm of “secret things,” by uncensoring them at every turn, Dante dared to oppose the censorious regime of Latin Christianity with a transgressive zeal more threatening to papal authority than the demonic hostility feared by Friar Vernani.

The Daughter's Way Cover

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The Daughter's Way

Canadian Women's Paternal Elegies

Dead Woman Pickney Cover

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Dead Woman Pickney

A Memoir of Childhood in Jamaica

Dead Woman Pickney chronicles life stories of growing up in Jamaica from 1943 to 1965 and contains both personal experience and history, told with stridency and humour. The author’s coming of age parallels the political stages of Jamaica’s moving from the richest Crown colony of Great Britain to an independent nation within the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Taking up the haunting memories of childhood, along with her astonishment at persistent racial marginalization, both locally and globally, the author sets out to construct a narrative that at once explains her own origins in the former slave society of Jamaica and traces the outsider status of Africa and its peoples. The author’s quest to understand the absence of her mother and her mother’s people from her life is at the heart of this narrative. The title, Dead Woman Pickney, is in Jamaican patois, and its meaning unfolds throughout the narrative. It begins with the author’s childhood question of what a mother is, followed by the realization of the vulnerability of a child without its mother’s protection. The term “pickney” was the name for slave children on sugar plantations, and post-emancipation the term was retained for the descendants of enslaved Africans and the children of black women fathered by slavers. The author struggles through her life to discover the identity of her mother in the face of silence from her father’s brutal family.

A wonderful resource for teachers of history, social studies, cultural studies, and literature, this work could be used as a starting point to discuss issues of diasporic identities, colonialism, racism, impact of slavery, and Western imperialism around the world. It is also an engaging read for those interested in memoir and life writing.

Dear Editor and Friends Cover

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Dear Editor and Friends

Letters from Rural Women of the North-West, 1900-1920

How did women in the early twentieth century, newly arrived in North-West Canada, cope with their strange new lives — so very different from the lives they used to lead? How did they see themselves and their role in frontier life?

In the early twentieth century, drawn west by the promise of free land, economic success or religious and political freedom, women moved from eastern Canada and overseas to farms and ranches in North-West Canada. They discovered that it was not the utopia touted by government propaganda or land agents. They also discovered that there was a select but diverse group of rural women who shared their common experiences of isolation, of hard work and duty, of poverty and neglect. But, more importantly, they shared knowledge of independence and self-reliance and of pride in what they had accomplished.

Through letters written to the women’s pages in agricultural newspapers, they forged a vital network that supported, encouraged and educated women in ways to improve their rural lives. Their letters show how these rural women made significant and vital contributions to the settlement and development of the Canadian North-West.

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Depicting Canada’s Children

Depicting Canada’s Children is a critical analysis of the visual representation of Canadian children from the seventeenth century to the present. Recognizing the importance of methodological diversity, these essays discuss understandings of children and childhood derived from depictions across a wide range of media and contexts. But rather than simply examine images in formal settings, the authors take into account the components of the images and the role of image-making in everyday life. The contributors provide a close study of the evolution of the figure of the child and shed light on the defining role children have played in the history of Canada and our assumptions about them. Rather than offer comprehensive historical coverage, this collection is a catalyst for further study through case studies that endorse innovative scholarship. This book will be of interest to scholars in art history, Canadian history, visual culture, Canadian studies, and the history of children.

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