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<p class="red">What obituaries tell us about our culture, past and present
"Within the short period of a year she was a bride, a beloved wife and companion, a mother, a corpse," reported The National Intelligencer on the death of Elizabeth Buchanan in 1838.
Such obituaries fascinate us. Few of us realize that, when examined historically, they can reveal not only information about the departed but also much about American culture and about who and what we value. They also offer hints about the way Americans view death.
This book also will fascinate, for it surveys more than 8,000 newspaper obituaries from 1818 to 1930 to show what they reveal about our culture. It shows how, in memorializing individual citizens, obituaries make a public expression of our values. Far from being staid or morbid, these death notices offer a lively look at a changing America. Indeed, obits are little windows through which to view America's cultural history.
In the nineteenth century, they spoke of a person's character, in the twentieth of a person's work and wealth. In the days when women were valued mainly in their relationships with men, their obituaries were about the men in their lives. Then, as now, important friendships make a difference, for sometimes a death has been deemed newsworthy only because of whom the deceased knew.
In 1838 when a 50-year-old Virginian named William P. Custis died "after a long and wasting illness," readers of The Daily National Intelligencer learned about his generous hospitality, his sterling business principles, and his kindness as a neighbor and husband. Custis's obituary not only recorded the fact of his death but also celebrated his virtues.
The newspaper obituary has a commemorative role. It distills the essence of a citizen's life, and it reflects what society values and wants to remember about the deceased. Throughout our history, these published accounts have revealed changing values. They provide a link between public remembrances of individuals and the collective memory of a great American past. In obits of yesteryear men were brave, gallant, vigilant, bold, honest, and dutiful. Women were patient, resigned, obedient, affectionate, amiable, pious, gentle, virtuous, tender, and useful.
Mining newspapers of New York City, New Orleans, Baltimore, Chicago, and San Francisco, along with two early national papers, Niles' Weekly Register and The National Intelligencer, Janice Hume has produced a portrait of America, an entertaining history, and a revealing look at the things Americans have valued.
Janice Hume is an assistant professor at the A. Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Kansas State University.
Envisioning the Christian Divine in the Colonial Andes
Le marché, la social-démocratie ou l'économie sociale ?
Le chômage et la précarité d'emploi sont des problèmes persistants dans notre société et cet ouvrage traite, entre autres, des diverses voies qui s'ouvrent pour tenter de juguler le phénomène. Peut-on améliorer la situation en aménageant ou en réduisant le temps de travail? Quel est le rôle de l'économie sociale? Quel est l'impact de la fiscalité, de la mondialisation et des politiques d'inflation zéro sur l'emploi? Comment donner voix au chapitre aux travailleurs?
In the past twenty years, the number of educational tests with high-stakes consequences—such as promotion to the next grade level or graduating from high school—has increased. At the same time, the difficulty of the tests has also increased. In Texas, a Latina state legislator introduced and lobbied for a bill that would take such factors as teacher recommendations, portfolios of student work, and grades into account for the students—usually students of color—who failed such tests. The bill was defeated.
Using several types of ethnographic study (personal interviews, observations of the Legislature in action, news broadcasts, public documents from the Legislature and Texas Education Agency), Amanda Walker Johnson observed the struggle for the bill’s passage. Through recounting this experience, Objectifying Measures explores the relationship between the cultural production of scientific knowledge (of statistics in particular) and the often intuitive resistance to objectification of those adversely affected by the power of policies underwritten as "scientific."
The Hermeneutical and Philosophy
Appearing for the first time in English, Günter Figal’s groundbreaking book in the tradition of philosophical hermeneutics offers original perspectives on perennial philosophical problems. Günter Figal has long been recognized as one of the most insightful interpreters working in the tradition of philosophical hermeneutics and its leading themes concerned with ancient Greek thought, art, language, and history. With this book, Figal presses this tradition of philosophical hermeneutics in new directions. In his effort to forge philosophical hermeneutics into a hermeneutical philosophy, Figal develops an original critique of the objectification of the world that emerges in modernity as the first stage in his systematic treatment of the elements of experience hermeneutically understood. Breaking through the prejudices of modernity, but not sacrificing the importance and challenge of the objective world that confronts us and is in need of interpretation, Figal reorients how it is that philosophy should take up some of its most longstanding and stubborn questions. World, object, space, language, freedom, time, and life are refreshed as philosophical notions here since they are each regarded as elements of human life engaged in the task assigned to each of us—the task of understanding ourselves and our world.
The essays in this volume, in all their astonishing richness and diversity, focus on the question of the other.Brimming with whole flotillas of new ideas, they delineate subtle and various ways in which that question can be made the basis of an ethnographic project.In them, the author responds to the invitations extended by a specific location rather than pursuing a codified method. And they examine many different socialities in many different locations-among them the Cornell University campus in the late seventies, the former Muse de l'Homme and the Quai Branly Museum in Paris, theIndonesian province of Aceh in the wake of the tsunami of 2004, and contemporary Indonesia, in the liminal figures of the Jew and the Chinese. The author meticulously traces how the social and cultural responses in each location are astonishingly different-in the form, say, of gorges, faces, garbage, and fetishes.Regrettably, these days anthropologists have a tendency to look for similarities rather than differences, to show how one phenomenon is just likeanother. This book stands determinedly against this trend, both in its ethnographic examinations and in how it takes up such figures as Kant, Derrida, Bataille, Simmel, and Leiris so as to illuminate not only the objects of ethnography but also differences among the perspectivesthese thinkers represent.This book will put the methods and objects of anthropology in an entirely new light. In addition, it will speak to the concerns of historians, political scientists, and scholars of area studies, literature, and art.
Essays on Museums and Material Culture
Past, Present, and Future
Long a major element of classical studies, the examination of the laws of the ancient Romans has gained momentum in recent years as interdisciplinary work in legal studies has spread. Two resulting issues have arisen, on one hand concerning Roman laws a
Suffused with lyrical grace and the language of loss, Sean Nevin's Oblivio Gate explores the mental and emotional struggles of Solomon, a veteran battling the onslaught of Alzheimer's disease. Set against Solomon's memories of the Korean War, Nevin's poems draw us into an intimate view of a man's confusion as everything he knows slowly unravels around him, leaving him abandoned in the suddenly unfamiliar landscape of his own mind. Readers experience first- hand Solomon's dismay as he watches himself inexorably slip away from reality, fighting to hold on to the shreds of his identity. Intertwined with his perspective are the voices of loved ones and caregivers who can only watch helplessly as Solomon is ravaged by the illness. Also central to the collection are the figures of Aurora and Tithonus, the famously doomed couple of mythology whose own happiness was destroyed by the inevitability of age and the betrayal of the body. But if this evocative portrait of Alzheimer's disease is tragic, it is also at moments inspiring.
Oblivio Gate reveals not only what is lost, but also what is found, what is pure, and even what is funny in our fleeting lives. Ultimately, Sean Nevin crafts an unforgettable collection of contemporary poetry that yields heartbreaking insight into memory, the mind, and an affliction that has left millions lost and looking for themselves.
Over the course of the nineteenth century in both Europe and the United States, the state usurped the traditional authority of the church in regulating sexual expression and behavior. In the same century philosophers of classical liberalism identified that state function as a threat to individual liberty. Since then, liberalism has provided the framework for debates over obscenity around the globe. But liberalism has recently been under siege, on the one side from postmodern thinkers skeptical about its andro- and ethnocentric assumptions, and on the other side from religious thinkers doubtful of the moral integrity of the Enlightenment project writ large.The principal challenge for those who conduct academic work in this realm is to formulate new models of research and analysis appropriate to understanding and evaluating speech in the present-day public sphere. Toward those ends, Obscenity and the Limits of Liberalism contains a selection of essays and interventions by prominent authors and artists in a variety of disciplines and media. These writings, taken as a whole, put recent developments into historical and global contexts and chart possible futures for a debate that promises to persist well into the new millennium.