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Sex, Diet, and the Politics of Nationalism
No single person is more directly associated with India and India's struggle for independence than Mahatma Gandhi. His name has equally become synonymous with the highest principles of global equality, human dignity, and freedom.
Joseph Alter argues, however, that Gandhi has not been completely understood by biographers and political scholars, and in Gandhi's Body he undertakes a reevaluation of the Mahatma's life and thought. In his revisionist and iconoclastic approach, Alter moves away from the usual focus on nonviolence, peace, and social reform and takes seriously what most scholars who have studied Gandhi tend to ignore: Gandhi's preoccupation with sex, his obsession with diet reform, and his vehement advocacy for naturopathy. Alter concludes that a distinction cannot be made between Gandhi's concern with health, faith in nonviolence, and his sociopolitical agenda.
In this original and provocative study, Joseph Alter demonstrates that these seemingly idiosyncratic aspects of Gandhi's personal life are of central importance to understanding his politics—and not only Gandhi's politics but Indian nationalism in general. Using the Mahatma's own writings, Alter places Gandhi's bodily practices in the context of his philosophy; for example, he explores the relationship between Gandhi's fasting and his ideas about the metaphysics of emptiness and that between his celibacy and his beliefs about nonviolence.
Alter also places Gandhi's ideas and practices in their national and transnational contexts. He discusses how and why nature cure became extremely popular in India during the early part of the twentieth century, tracing the influence of two German naturopaths on Gandhi's thinking and on the practice of yoga in India. More important, he argues that the reconstruction of yoga in terms of European naturopathy was brought about deliberately by a number of activists in India—of whom Gandhi was only the most visible—interested in creating a "scientific" health regimen, distinct from Western precedents, that would make the Indian people fit for self-rule. Gandhi's Body counters established arguments that Indian nationalism was either a completely indigenous Hindu-based movement or simply a derivative of Western ideals.
From Darkness to Light
Millions around the world revere Mahatma Gandhi, yet only a few know the man Mohandas Gandhi and the internal journey of his soul. This pioneering book fills the spiritual void in Gandhian literature by focusing on the soul and the substance of the man. Uma Majmudar shows that, contrary to popular belief, Gandhi’s rise to greatness was not meteoric; it was, rather, a continuous process of faith development, punctuated by conflicts, crises, and turning points. Using James W. Fowler’s theory of “Stages of Faith” as a guide, Majmudar undertakes the first developmental study to analyze the fundamental role of faith in transforming Gandhi’s life. She proposes that the power that nourished Gandhi’s soul was his ever-growing faith in the ultimate triumph of Truth and in the innate Godliness of the human soul. Along with making an invaluable contribution to numerous cross-cultural disciplines, the book also offers something special to those wishing to embark on their own faith developmental journey, guided by Gandhi’s example.
Memoirs of a Red Guard
Gang of One recounts how Shen escaped, again and again, from his appointed fate, as when he somehow found himself a doctor at sixteen and even, miraculously, saved a few lives. In such volatile times, however, good luck could quickly turn to misfortune: a transfer to the East Wind Aircraft Factory got him out of the countryside and into another terrible trap, where many people were driven to suicide; his secret self-education took him from the factory to college, where friendship with an American teacher earned him the wrath of the secret police. Following a path strewn with perils and pitfalls, twists and surprises worthy of Dickens, Shen’s story is ultimately an exuberant human comedy unlike any other.
50 Years of Madness, Drugs, and Death on the Streets of America
The effects of gang violence are witnessed every day on the streets, in the news, and on the movie screen. In all these forums, gangs of young adults are associated with drugs and violence. Yet what is it that prompts young people to participate in violent behavior? And what can be done to extract adolescents from the gangster world of crime, death, and incarceration once they have become involved?
In Gangsters: 50 Years of Madness, Drugs, and Death on the Streets of America, Lewis Yablonsky provides answers to the most baffling and crucial questions regarding gangs. Using information gathered from over forty years of experience working with gang members and based on hundreds of personal interviews, many conducted in prisons and in gang neighborhoods, Yablonsky explores the pathology of the gangsters' apparent addiction to incarceration and death.
Gangsters is divided into four parts, including a brief history of gangs, the characteristics of gangs, successful approaches for treating gangsters in prison and the community, and concluding with a review and analysis of notable behavioral and social scientific theories of gangs. While condemning their violent behavior in no uncertain terms, Yablonsky offers hope through his belief that, given a chance in an effective treatment program, youths trapped in violent behavior can change their lives in positive ways and, in turn, facilitate positive change in their communities and society at large.
Brett Foster is Associate Professor of English at Wheaton College. He is currently completing Elemental Rebel: The Rime of Cecco Angiolieri. A past Wallace Stegner and Elizabethan Club fellow, his poetry and criticism has appeared in Raritan, The Kenyon Review, Best New Poets 2007, and Books & Culture, among other publications.
Solving the Problems with Long-Distance Trash Transport
Where does garbage go? Increasingly, trash is transported across state lines and ends up in another state's back yard. Thomson uses Virginia's situation as the second-highest importer of trash in the US as a touchstone for exploring much larger questions about American wastefulness, consumption, and environmental justice with comparisons to Europe and Japan.
Reform and Renaissance for Women in the Twelfth Century
In The Garden of Delights, Fiona J. Griffiths offers the first major study of the Hortus deliciarum, a magnificently illuminated manuscript of theology, biblical history, and canon law written both by and explicitly for women at the end of the twelfth century. In so doing she provides a brilliantly persuasive new reading of female monastic culture. Through careful analysis of the contents, structure, and organization of the Hortus, Griffiths argues for women's profound engagement with the spiritual and intellectual vitality of the period on a level previously thought unimaginable, overturning the assumption that women were largely excluded from the "renaissance" and "reform" of this period. As a work of scholarship that drew from a wide range of sources, both monastic and scholastic, the Hortus provides a witness to the richness of women's reading practices within the cloister, demonstrating that it was possible, even late into the twelfth century, for communities of religious women to pursue an educational program that rivaled that available to men. At the same time, the manuscript's reformist agenda reveals how women engaged the pressing spiritual questions of the day, even going so far as to criticize priests and other churchmen who fell short of their reformist ideals.
Through her wide-ranging examination of the texts and images of the Hortus, their sources, composition, and function, Griffiths offers an integrated understanding of the whole manuscript, one which highlights women's Latin learning and orthodox spirituality. The Garden of Delights contributes to some of the most urgent questions concerning medieval religious women, the interplay of gender, spirituality, and intellectual engagement, to discussions concerning women scribes and writers, women readers, female authorship and authority, and the visual culture of female communities. It will be of interest to art historians, scholars of women's and gender studies, historians of medieval religion, education, and theology, and literary scholars studying questions of female authorship and models of women's reading.
Private Water Rights in Roman Italy
Gardens and Neighbors will provide an important building block in the growing body of literature on the ways that Roman law, Roman society, and the economic concerns of the Romans jointly functioned in the real world. ---Michael Peachin, New York University As is increasingly true today, fresh water in ancient Italy was a limited resource, made all the more precious by the Roman world's reliance on agriculture as its primary source of wealth. From estate to estate, the availability of water varied, in many cases forcing farmers in need of access to resort to the law. In Gardens and Neighbors: Private Water Rights in Roman Italy, Cynthia Bannon explores the uses of the law in controlling local water supplies. She investigates numerous issues critical to rural communities and the Roman economy. Her examination of the relationship between farmers and the land helps draw out an understanding of Roman attitudes toward the exploitation and conservation of natural resources and builds an understanding of law in daily Roman life. An editor of the series Law and Society in the Ancient World, Cynthia Jordan Bannon is also Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her previous book was The Brothers of Romulus: Fraternal Pietas in Roman Law, Literature, and Society (1997). Visit the author's website: http://www.iub.edu/~classics/faculty/bannon.shtml. Jacket illustration: Barren Tuscan Fields in Winter © 2009 Scott Gilchrist. Image from stock.archivision.com.
Marcel Proust and the Fugitive Sublime
The Gardens of Desire is at once a model of literary interpretation and a groundbreaking psychocritical reading of a literary masterpiece, Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past). Shedding new light on the origins of the creative impulse in general, and on the psychological origins of the Recherche in particular, the book illuminates the hidden associations between matricidal, suicidal, sadistic, masochistic, homoerotic, and creative impulses as manifested in Proust’s work. The book moves beyond traditional Freudian readings of Proust to consider the theories of Otto Rank, Jacques Derrida, and others, and provides provocative readings of the “privileged moments” that comprise many of the work’s “critical cruxes,” as well as a thought-provoking rereading of the novel’s ending. Both elegant and accessible, this book boldly explores the violence of desire as it relates not only to Proust’s narrator, but also to Proustian criticism itself, with its own violent desire to appropriate the essence of Proust’s masterpiece.