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Roles and Contributions
Foundations play an essential part in the philanthropic activity that defines so much of American life. No other nation provides its foundations with so much autonomy and freedom of action as does the United States. Liberated both from the daily discipline of the market and from direct control by government, American foundations understandably attract great attention. As David Hammack and Helmut Anheier note in this volume, "Americans have criticized foundations for... their alleged conservatism, liberalism, elitism, radicalism, devotion to religious tradition, hostility to religion in short, for commitments to causes whose significance can be measured, in part, by the controversies they provoke. Americans have also criticized foundations for ineffectiveness and even foolishness."
Their size alone conveys some sense of the significance of American foundations, whose assets amounted to over $530 billion in 2008 despite a dramatic decline of almost 22 percent in the previous year. And in 2008 foundation grants totaled over $45 billion. But what roles have foundations actually played over time, and what distinctive roles do they fill today? How have they shaped American society, how much difference do they make? What roles are foundations likely to play in the future?
This comprehensive volume, the product of a three-year project supported by the Aspen Institute's program on the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy, provides the most thorough effort ever to assess the impact and significance of the nation's large foundations. In it, leading researchers explore how foundations have shaped or failed to shape each of the key fields of foundation work.
American Foundations takes the reader on a wide-ranging tour, evaluating foundation efforts in education, scientific and medical research, health care, social welfare, international relations, arts and culture, religion, and social change.
The Shifting Ground of Political Inclusion
Displays the full range of informed, thoughtful opinion on the place of Jews in the American politics of identity. ---David A. Hollinger, Preston Hotchkis Professor of American History, University of California, Berkeley "A fascinating anthology whose essays crystallize the most salient features of American Jewish life in the second half of the twentieth century." ---Beth S. Wenger, Katz Family Associate Professor of American Jewish History and Director of the Jewish Studies Program, University of Pennsylvania Written by scholars who grew up after World War II and the Holocaust who participated in political struggles in the 1960s and 1970s and who articulated many of the formative concepts of modern Jewish studies, this anthology provides a window into an era of social change. These men and women are among the leading scholars of Jewish history, society and culture. The volume is organized around contested themes in American Jewish life: the Holocaust and World War II, religious pluralism and authenticity, intermarriage and Jewish continuity. Thus, it offers one of the few opportunities for students to learn about these debates from participant scholars. Contributors: Hasia R. Diner Arnold M. Eisen Sylvia Barack Fishman Arthur Green Jeffrey Gurock Paula E. Hyman Egon Mayer Alvin H. Rosenfeld Jonathan D. Sarna Stephen J. Whitfield Deborah Dash Moore is Director of the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies and Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of History at the University of Michigan.
The American labor movement seemed poised on the threshold of unparalleled success at the beginning of the post-World War II era. Fourteen million strong in 1946, unions represented thirty five percent of non-agricultural workers. Why then did the gains made between the 1930s and the end of the war produce so few results by the 1960s?
This collection addresses the history of labor in the postwar years by exploring the impact of the global contest between the United States and the Soviet Union on American workers and labor unions. The essays focus on the actual behavior of Americans in their diverse workplaces and communities during the Cold War. Where previous scholarship on labor and the Cold War has overemphasized the importance of the Communist Party, the automobile industry, and Hollywood, this book focuses on politically moderate, conservative workers and union leaders, the medium-sized cities that housed the majority of the population, and the Roman Catholic Church. These are all original essays that draw upon extensive archival research and some upon oral history sources.
A Political Institution
As states across the country battle internally over same-sex marriage in the courts, in legislatures, and at the ballot box, activists and scholars grapple with its implications for the status of gays and lesbians and for the institution of marriage itself. Yet, the struggle over same-sex marriage is only the most recent political and public debate over marriage in the United States. What is at stake for those who want to restrict marriage and for those who seek to extend it? Why has the issue become such a national debate? These questions can be answered only by viewing marriage as a political institution as well as a religious and cultural one.
In its political dimension, marriage circumscribes both the meaning and the concrete terms of citizenship. Marriage represents communal duty, moral education, and social and civic status. Yet, at the same time, it represents individual choice, contract, liberty, and independence from the state. According to Priscilla Yamin, these opposing but interrelated sets of characteristics generate a tension between a politics of obligations on the one hand and a politics of rights on the other. To analyze this interplay, American Marriage examines the status of ex-slaves at the close of the Civil War, immigrants at the turn of the twentieth century, civil rights and women's rights in the 1960s, and welfare recipients and gays and lesbians in the contemporary period. Yamin argues that at moments when extant political and social hierarchies become unstable, political actors turn to marriage either to stave off or to promote political and social changes. Some marriages are pushed as obligatory and necessary for the good of society, while others are contested or presented as dangerous and harmful. Thus political struggles over race, gender, economic inequality, and sexuality have been articulated at key moments through the language of marital obligations and rights. Seen this way, marriage is not outside the political realm but interlocked with it in mutual evolution.
"A substantial contribution to understanding the role of public opinion and the news media during the Iraq War. Equally impressive, it effectively puts the domestic context of U.S. policy in historical perspective, making the book useful to historians as well as to political scientists." ---Ralph B. Levering, Davidson College "American Public Opinion on the Iraq War sets out to chart against a detailed account of the war a nuanced assessment of how public opinion on the conflict evolved, the partisan differences that emerged, how the issue affected other areas of foreign policy opinion, and the limits of public opinion on policy. It succeeds at all of this, and it does so in a manner that is at once informative, inherently interesting, and exceptionally easy to read." ---Randolph M. Siverson, University of California, Davis Ole R. Holsti explores the extent to which changes in public opinion reflected the vigorous public relations efforts of the Bush administration to gain support for the war and the partisanship marking debates over policies toward Iraq. Holsti investigates the ways in which the Iraq experience has led substantial numbers of Americans to reconsider their nation's proper international role, and he assesses the impact that public opinion has had on policymakers. Significantly, Holsti places his findings in a broader context to address the role of public opinion and of the media in democratic governance.
Today we are politically polarized as never before. The presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 will be remembered as two of the most contentious political events in American history. Yet despite the recent election upheaval, The American Voter Revisited discovers that voter behavior has been remarkably consistent over the last half century. And if the authors are correct in their predictions, 2008 will show just how reliably the American voter weighs in, election after election. The American Voter Revisited re-creates the outstanding 1960 classic The American Voter---which was based on the presidential elections of 1952 and 1956---following the same format, theory, and mode of analysis as the original. In this new volume, the authors test the ideas and methods of the original against presidential election surveys from 2000 and 2004. Surprisingly, the contemporary American voter is found to behave politically much like voters of the 1950s. "Simply essential. For generations, serious students of American politics have kept The American Voter right on their desk. Now, everyone will keep The American Voter Revisited right next to it." ---Larry J. Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and author of A More Perfect Constitution "The American Voter Revisited is destined to be the definitive volume on American electoral behavior for decades. It is a timely book for 2008, with in-depth analyses of the 2000 and 2004 elections updating and extending the findings of the original The American Voter. It is also quite accessible, making it ideal for graduate students as well as advanced undergrads." ---Andrew E. Smith, Director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center "A theoretically faithful, empirically innovative, comprehensive update of the original classic." ---Sam Popkin, Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego Michael S. Lewis-Beck is F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa. William G. Jacoby is Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University. Helmut Norpoth is Professor of Political Science at Stony Brook University. Herbert F. Weisberg is Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University.
Public Evaluations of Congress and Electoral Consequences
Jones and McDermott's groundbreaking book makes a strong case for the proposition that the popular standing of Congress (not merely that of its individual members) influences voters' decisions. Voters enforce collective responsibility, they contend, and Congress takes notice. This will be an important read for all students of Congress and congressional elections. ---Gary C. Jacobson, Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego "Jones and McDermott have set a new standard for empirical analyses of responsiveness and representation in contemporary American politics. They frame the important substantive and normative questions, highlight the problems that have bedeviled previous work, and combine disparate data sets and sophisticated analytic techniques to develop new and important findings about the relationship between citizen preferences, legislator actions, and government policies. It is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the nature of citizen-representative linkages under real-world conditions." ---William Bianco, Professor of Political Science, Indiana University "This book engages important questions related to congressional elections with new theoretical arguments and new data. It comes to conclusions that are contrary to widely accepted views in the literature, arguing that the public cares politically about the policies produced by Congress, that voters are able to have a reasonable amount of information about what Congress does in this realm, and that voters' perceptions on these matters have important electoral consequences. I think this book will be widely read and cited, and that it will have an impact on the scholarly debates about elections and polarization." ---David W. Rohde, Professor of Political Science, Duke University "Americans, Congress, and Democratic Responsiveness is an interesting book with important and compelling results. Jones and McDermott restore meaning to democratic responsibility by finding that public evaluations affect Congress. In contrast to the popular depiction of the representatives controlling the represented rampant in the political science literature, Jones and McDermott show that the people are in control, determining not only the direction of policy in Congress, but also who stays, who retires, and who faces difficult reelection efforts. This book makes an important correction to our understanding of how Congress operates." ---Sean M. Theriault, Associate Professor, Department of Government, the University of Texas at Austin Voters may not know the details of specific policies, but they have a general sense of how well Congress serves their own interests and how closely politicians pay attention to public approval ratings. David Jones and Monika McDermott show, through new empirical analysis, that both politicians and voters take a hand in reconfiguring the House and Senate when the majority party is unpopular, as was the case during the 2008 elections. Candidates who continue to run under the party banner distance themselves from party ideology, while voters throw hard-line party members out of office. In this way, public approval and democratic responsibility directly affect policy shifts and turnovers at election time. Contrary to the common view of Congress as an insulated institution, Congress is indeed responsive to the people of the United States. David R. Jones is Professor of Political Science at Baruch College, City University of New York. Monika L. McDermott is Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University. Jacket photograph: iStockphoto.com © Slowgogo
Millions have entered poverty as a result of the Great Recession's terrible toll of long-term unemployment. Kristin Seefeldt and John D. Graham examine recent trends in poverty and assess the performance of America’s "safety net" programs. They consider likely scenarios for future developments and conclude that the well-being of low-income Americans, particularly the working poor, the near poor, and the new poor, is at substantial risk despite economic recovery.