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Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern World
Queen Ida. Danny Poullard. Documentary filmmaker Les Blank. Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie Records. These are names that are familiar to many fans of Cajun music and zydeco, and they have one other thing in common--longtime residence in the San Francisco Bay Area. They are all part of a vibrant scene of dancing and live Louisiana-French music that has evolved over several decades. Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California traces how this region of California has been able to develop and sustain dances several times a week with more than a dozen bands. Description of this active regional scene opens into a discussion of several historical trends that have affected life and music in Louisiana and the nation. The book portrays the diversity of people who have come together to adopt Cajun and Creole dance music as a way to cope with a globalized, media-saturated world. Ethnomusicologist Mark F. DeWitt innovatively weaves together interviews with musicians and dancers (some from Louisiana, some not), analysis of popular media, participant observation as a musician and dancer, and historical perspectives from wartime black migration patterns, the civil rights movement, American folk and blues revivals, California counterculture, and the rise of cultural tourism in "Cajun Country." In so doing, he reveals the multifaceted appeal of celebrating life on the dance floor, Louisiana-French style.
Americanization of a People
History -- Southern Studies--> The past sixty years have shaped and reshaped the group of French-speaking Louisiana people known as the Cajuns. During this period they have become much like other Americans and yet have remained strikingly distinct. The Cajuns: Americanization of a People explores these six decades and analyzes the forces that had an impact on Louisiana's Acadiana. In the 1940s, when America entered World War II, so too did the isolated Cajuns. Cajun soldiers fought alongside troops from Brooklyn and Berkeley and absorbed aspects of new cultures. In the 1950s as rock 'n' roll and television crackled across Louisiana airwaves, Cajun music makers responded with their own distinct versions. In the 1960s, empowerment and liberation movements turned the South upside down. During the 1980s, as things Cajun became an absorbing national fad, "Cajun" became a kind of brand identity used for selling everything from swamp tours to boxed rice dinners. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the advent of a new information age launched "Cyber-Cajuns" onto a worldwide web. All these forces have pushed and pulled at the fabric of Cajun life but have not destroyed it. A Cajun himself, the author of this book has an intense personal fascination in his people. By linking seemingly local events in the Cajuns' once isolated south Louisiana homeland to national and even global events, Bernard demonstrates that by the middle of the twentieth century the Cajuns for the first time in their ethnic story were engulfed in the currents of mainstream American life and yet continued to make outstandingly distinct contributions. Shane K. Bernard serves as historian and curator to McIlhenny Company, maker of Tabasco brand products since 1868, and Avery Island, Inc. He is the author of Swamp Pop: Cajun and Creole Rhythm and Blues (University Press of Mississippi). His work has been published in such periodicals as Louisiana History, Louisiana Folklife, Louisiana Cultural Vistas, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Reality has begun to show its age. Have you noticed? Joe has. Calamity Joe is the pen name of the mysterious narrator in a new kind of poetry collection. Spending his days in a lab, talking to mice & microbes, he will soon be the last living member of his family. More and more, life seems to hint at its syntax, and Joe feels that he can just make out the page he inhabits. Drastic measures are called for, but for what? Poet Brendan Constantine hasn’t crafted another novel in verse, but a secret life revealed by poetry. Open it anywhere and be rewarded with poems that stand alone; read it from the beginning and discover the deeper context that ties every image together. As with his previous collections, Constantine employs countless approaches to poetry and no single style dominates. Looking through Joe’s eyes, we understand that life has no single story, that love is not a single feeling, and that consciousness may be an act of sheer will.
Theology, Ethics, and Economics
Calculated Futures examines the ethical and theological underpinnings of the free-market economy, investigating not only the morality of corporations and exchange rates, but also how the politics of economics shape people as moral agents. It does this less by insisting on the unfavorable effects of capitalism, and more by drawing on theological virtues, Christian doctrines, and liturgical practices to discover what they might show us about economic exchanges. Calculated Futures seeks a way forward by engaging economics as a social scientific discipline without subordinating theology to it.
Alegoría, seducción y resistencia en cinco autos sacramentales
Pedro Calderon de la Barca (1600-1681) is generally acknowledged to be the master author of autos sacramentales, one-act pageant plays that usually dramatize the myths of the Fall and Redemption. Since the auto was supervised by both the church and the state, it is typically held to be an art form that serves theology and the dominant powers of the time. Basing her examination of Calderon's autos on modern theories of allegory, Viviana Diaz Balsera focuses on the seductive power of the dramatic, visible level of the allegorical auto and questions the widely held assumption that Calderon's autos harmonize the dramatic and religious discourses that constitute them. In her readings of Los encantos de la Culpa, Eljardin de Falerina, La nave del Mercador, La vida es sueflo, and Lo que va del Hombre a Dios, she instead finds a disjunction between the literal, poetic level and the religious, theological meaning. With its splendid scenes, poetic fables, and elaborate music, the auto ironically has the potential to reproduce the seductive function it frequently attributes to the Devil and/or the forces of evil. Rather than the dogmatic champion of the Catholic Church, the auto emerges as conflictive, ambivalent, and moving, participating in the very dangers of sensual pleasures it seeks to warn against.
True Lives of the Borderlands
Feminist Education against Sexism, Classism, and Racism
A dynamic exploration of the Califia Community, a long-running Los Angeles-based grassroots alternative education group formed in the mid-1970s, whose richly diverse membership offered a compelling array of responses to feminism’s key issues.
The Forging of Modern American Liberalism
In the three decades following World War II, the Golden State was not only the fastest-growing state in the Union but also the site of significant political change. From the late 1940s through the mid-1970s, a generation of liberal activists transformed the political landscape of California, ending Republican dominance of state politics and eventually setting the tone for the Democratic Party nationwide.
In California Crucible, Jonathan Bell chronicles this dramatic story of postwar liberalism—from early grassroots organizing and the election of Pat Brown as governor in 1958 to the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s and the campaigns against the New Right in the 1970s. As Bell argues, the emergent "California liberalism" was a distinctly post-New Deal phenomenon that drew on the ambitious ideals of the New Deal but adapted them to a diverse population. The result was a broad coalition that sought to extend social democracy to marginalized groups—such as gay rights and civil rights organizations—that had not been well served by the Democratic Party in earlier decades. In building this coalition, liberal activists forged an ideology capable of bringing Latino farm workers, African American civil rights activists, and wealthy suburban homemakers into a shared political project.
By exploring California Democrats' largely successful attempts to link economic rights to civil rights and serve the needs of diverse groups, Bell challenges common assumptions about the rise of the New Right and the decline of American liberalism in the postwar era. As Bell shows, by the end of the 1970s California had become the spiritual home of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party as much as that of the Reagan Revolution.