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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.
The Man and His Image
A legendary figure in his own lifetime, Rabbi Eliahu ben Shlomo Zalman (1720-1797) was known as the "Gaon of Vilna." He was the acknowledged master of Talmudic studies in the vibrant intellectual center of Vilna, revered throughout Eastern Europe for his learning and his ability to traverse with ease seemingly opposed domains of thought and activity. After his death, the myth that had been woven around him became even more powerful and was expressed in various public images. The formation of these images was influenced as much by the needs and wishes of those who clung to and depended on them as by the actual figure of the Gaon. In this penetrating study, Immanuel Etkes sheds light on aspects of the Vilna Gaon's "real" character and traces several public images of him as they have developed and spread from the early nineteenth century until the present.
How Delaying College Changes People in Ways the World Needs
With some of the most prestigious universities in America now urging students to defer admissions so they can experience the world, the idea of the gap year has taken hold in America. Since its development in Britain nearly fifty years ago, taking time off between secondary school and college has allowed students the opportunity to travel, develop crucial life skills, and grow up, all while doing volunteer work in much needed parts of the developing world. Until now, there has been no systematic study of how the gap year helps students develop as young scholars and citizens. Joseph O’Shea has produced the first empirically based analysis of how the gap year influences student development. He also establishes a context for better understanding this personal development and suggests concrete ways universities and educators can develop effective gap year programs.
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.