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Burma and the Politics of Fear
To come to Burma, one of the few places where despotism still dominates, is to take both a physical and an emotional journey and, like most Burmese, to become caught up in the daily management of fear. Based on Monique Skidmore's experiences living in the capital city of Rangoon, Karaoke Fascism is the first ethnography of fear in Burma and provides a sobering look at the psychological strategies employed by the Burmese people in order to survive under a military dictatorship that seeks to invade and dominate every aspect of life.
Skidmore looks at the psychology and politics of fear under the SLORC and SPDC regimes. Encompassing the period of antijunta student street protests, her work describes a project of authoritarian modernity, where Burmese people are conscripted as army porters and must attend mass rallies, chant slogans, construct roads, and engage in other forms of forced labor. In a harrowing portrayal of life deep within an authoritarian state, recovering heroin addicts, psychiatric patients, girl prostitutes, and poor and vulnerable women in forcibly relocated townships speak about fear, hope, and their ongoing resistance to four decades of oppression.
"Karaoke fascism" is a term the author uses to describe the layers of conformity that Burmese people present to each other and, more important, to the military regime. This complex veneer rests on resistance, collaboration, and complicity, and describes not only the Burmese form of oppression but also the Burmese response to a life of domination. Providing an inside look at the madness and the militarization of the city, Skidmore argues that the weight of fear, the anxiety of constant vulnerability, and the numbing demands of the State upon individuals force Burmese people to cast themselves as automata; they deliberately present lifeless hollow bodies for the State's use, while their minds reach out into the cosmos for an array of alternate realities. Skidmore raises ethical and methodological questions about conducting research on fear when doing so evokes the very emotion in question, in both researcher and informant.
This is the first book-length exploration of Karl Popper’s often-neglected contributions to the philosophy of social science. William A. Gorton situates Popper’s ideas on social inquiry within the broader framework of his thought, including his philosophy of natural science, his ontological theories, and his political thought. Gorton places special attention on Popper’s theory of situational analysis and how it aims to heighten our understanding of the social world by untangling the complex web of human interaction that produces unintended—and often unwanted—social phenomena. Situational analysis, Gorton contends, involves a significant departure from the method of the natural sciences, despite Popper’s plea for the unity of scientific method. Gorton also addresses some common misconceptions concerning Popper’s stance toward economics and Marxism, making the provocative claim that contemporary analytical Marxism provides the best current example of Popperian social science put into practice.
New and Selected Poems
As the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate, Karla K. Morton believes that poetry is every man’s art, and has carved her place in Texas Letters with this stunning collection. Her poems take you on a journey; her flowing, storytelling style sparks memories and stirs emotions. This beautiful, linen hardbound book is a word-lover’s dream.
Karma has become a household word in the modern world, where it is associated with the belief in rebirth determined by one’s deeds in earlier lives. This belief was and is widespread in the Indian subcontinent as is the word “karma” itself. In lucid and accessible prose, this book presents karma in its historical, cultural, and religious context.
Initially, karma manifested itself in a number of religious movements—most notably Jainism and Buddhism—and was subsequently absorbed into Brahmanism in spite of opposition until the end of the first millennium C.E. Philosophers of all three traditions were confronted with the challenge of explaining by what process rebirth and karmic retribution take place. Some took the drastic step of accepting the participation of a supreme god who acted as a cosmic accountant, others of opting for radical idealism. The doctrine of karma was confronted with alternative explanations of human destiny, among them the belief in the transfer of merit. It also had to accommodate itself to devotional movements that exerted a major influence on Indian religions.
The book concludes with some general reflections on the significance of rebirth and karmic retribution, drawing attention to similarities between early Christian and Indian ascetical practices and philosophical notions that in India draw their inspiration from the doctrine of karma.
Partners of Fortune in the Making of the New South
Katherine Anne Porter Remembered is a collection of reminiscences and memoirs by contemporaries, friends, and associates of Porter offering a revealing and intimate portrait of the elusive and complex American writer.
From a fractured and vagabond girlhood in Texas, Porter led a wildly itinerant life that took her through five marriages, innumerable love affairs, and homes in Colorado, New York, Paris, Mexico, Louisiana, California, and Maryland. With very little formal education, she grew through sheer force of will to become a major American writer of short stories and the author of several books including Flowering Judas and other stories; Ship of Fools; Pale Horse; Pale Ride; Noon Wine; and The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter, which won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.
Because of Porter’s own dissembling and half-truths about her life, as well as the numerous factual errors that persist in biographical entries and literary dictionaries, a complete and accurate portrait of her life has been hard to establish. The 63 reminiscences gathered in this book paint a vivid portrait of Porter and are testaments to her extraordinary beauty, her gift for mesmerizing and charming audiences and friends, her yearnings for a lasting home, her delusions about love, the astonishing range and scope of her reading, her sharp tongue and vindictiveness, and her final paranoid renunciations of friends and family. Along the way, Porter formed friendships with Eudora Welty, Elizabeth Hardwick, Flannery O’Connor, and Cleanth Brooks whose remembrances of her are included in this volume.
A groundbreaking filmmaker dogged by controversy in both his personal life and career, Elia Kazan was one of the most important directors of postwar American cinema. In landmark motion pictures such as A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, East of Eden, and Splendor in the Grass, Kazan crafted an emotionally raw form of psychological realism. His reputation has rested on his Academy award-winning work with actors, his provocative portrayal of sexual, moral, and generational conflict, and his unpopular decision to name former colleagues as Communists before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952. But much of Kazan's influential cinematic legacy remains unexamined. Arriving in the wake of his centenary, Kazan Revisited engages and moves beyond existing debates regarding Kazan's contributions to film, tackling the social, political, industrial, and aesthetic significance of his work from a range of critical perspectives. Featuring essays by established film critics and scholars such as Richard Schickel (Time), Victor Navasky (The Nation), Mark Harris (Entertainment Weekly), Kent Jones (Film Comment), Jonathan Rosenbaum (Essential Cinema, 2004), Jeanine Basinger (The Star Machine, 2007), and Leo Braudy (On the Waterfront, 2008), this book is a must for diehard cinephiles and those new to Kazan alike.
Contributors include: JEANINE BASINGER, LEO BRAUDY, LISA DOMBROWSKI, HADEN GUEST, MARK HARRIS, KENT JONES, PATRICK KEATING, SAVANNAH LEE, BRENDA MURPHY, VICTOR NAVASKY, BRIAN NEVE, JONATHAN ROSENBAUM, RICHARD SCHICKEL, ANDREW TRACY, and SAM WASSON.
In K?cracy, Trees in the Storm and Other Poems, Bill Ndi vociferously bemoans the fate of a world in which the good and the evil are intimate bedfellows; a world wherein miscreants proceed with nauseating impunity to trample on innocence. The poet, a widely traveled scholar in Africa, Europe, and the Americas, currently resides in Australia where he is hailed as an Ambassador of the Peace. Informed by his experience as a child of the world - being at home away from home and thinking of home, Bill Ndi serves the reader with a delicious platter of poetic maze which to him is synonymous to the political maze he has known around the world.
Beyond the Laughter
Filling a major gap in the critical canon, Gabriella Oldham’s study of Buster Keaton’s nineteen silent short films shot between 1920 and 1923 chronicles the rapid growth in the filmmaker’s understanding of what makes both comedy and film successful.