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Karaoke Fascism

Burma and the Politics of Fear

By Monique Skidmore

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.

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A Karenina Companion

Although Anna Karenina has been described as “the European novel” by Frank Leavis, the geographical setting of the novel and, increasingly, its temporal and cultural setting, render it a foreign novel to most readers. A Karenina Companion offers a wealth of information, including a great deal that has previously not been available in English, for the scholarly and literary appreciation of this great novel.

Chapter 1 is a biographical introduction and Chapter 2 an examination of the way in which the novel was composed. In Chapter 3 the author brings together Tolstoi’s own substantial comments on his work. Chapter 4 adduces the main differences between the latest edition of the text and what has been the standard edition for over 50 years. Chapter 5 outlines what Tolstoi was reading as he was writing the novel. The final chapter provides a survey of significant secondary literature, with English-language works listed in appendices.

A Karenina Companion will facilitate both the reading and understanding of the novel by English speakers and the writing of informed and reliable critical appreciations.

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Karl Helfferich, 1872-1924: Economist, Financier, Politician

John G. Williamson

An irascible, brilliant man, trained as an economist, Karl Helfferich became one of Wilhelmine Germany's leading financiers in the years after 1905. During World War I, he held a series of important Reich offices and, after 1918, became a leading right-wing politician in the Weimar Republic. As creator of the basic plan to stabilize the mark in 1923, he played a major role in ending the catastrophic postwar inflation. John Williamson's biography of Helfferich thus reflects German controversies over the crucial political, economic, and social issues of the era 1895-1924: e.g., industrialization, colonial development, the Bagdad Railway and imperialism, unrestricted submarine warfare, wartime political reform, war aims, and postwar financial and foreign policy.

Originally published in 1971.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Karl Jaspers: An Introduction to His Philosophy

Charles Frederic Wallraff

The thought of the late Karl Jaspers, co-founder of the existentialist movement, has long exerted a powerful influence on world opinion. But, surprisingly, though translations of his writings have appeared in over 160 editions in 16 countries, his strictly philosophical work has hitherto been largely inaccessible to American audiences. Even where adequate English translations exist, the difficulties imposed by Jaspers' involved reasoning, intricate style, and ingenious neologisms are such that few unfamiliar with Continental philosophy can hope to acquire an understanding of his ideas on their own.

To overcome these barriers, Professor Wallraff as mediator, interpreter, and translator provides a clear exposition of the main themes of Jaspers' Existenzphilosophie and prepares the reader for effective study of his writings. As the first book-length introduction to Jaspers' philosophy in English, this will be an indispensable companion for anyone desiring to take up the challenge of the "loving struggle" toward the truth that Jaspers invites us all to engage in.

Originally published in 1970.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Karl Pearson

The Scientific Life in a Statistical Age

Theodore M. Porter

Karl Pearson, founder of modern statistics, came to this field by way of passionate early studies of philosophy and cultural history as well as ether physics and graphical geometry. His faith in science grew out of a deeply moral quest, reflected also in his socialism and his efforts to find a new basis for relations between men and women. This biography recounts Pearson's extraordinary intellectual adventure and sheds new light on the inner life of science.

Theodore Porter's intensely personal portrait of Pearson extends from religious crisis and sexual tensions to metaphysical and even mathematical anxieties. Pearson sought to reconcile reason with enthusiasm and to achieve the impersonal perspective of science without sacrificing complex individuality. Even as he longed to experience nature directly and intimately, he identified science with renunciation and positivistic detachment. Porter finds a turning point in Pearson's career, where his humanistic interests gave way to statistical ones, in his Grammar of Science (1892), in which he attempted to establish scientific method as the moral educational basis for a refashioned culture.

In this original and engaging book, a leading historian of modern science investigates the interior experience of one man's scientific life while placing it in a rich tapestry of social, political, and intellectual movements.

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Karl Popper and the Social Sciences

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.

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Karla K. Morton

New and Selected Poems

Karla K. Morton

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.

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Karma

Johannes Bronkhorst

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.

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