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Obscenity and the Limits of Liberalism Cover

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Obscenity and the Limits of Liberalism

Edited by Loren Glass and Charles Francis Williams

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.

Obscenity Rules Cover

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Obscenity Rules

Roth v. United States and the Long Struggle over Sexual Expression

By Whitney Strub

For some, he was “America’s leading smut king,” hauled into court repeatedly over thirty years for peddling obscene publications through the mail. But when Samuel Roth appealed a 1956 conviction, he forced the Supreme Court to finally come to grips with a problem that had plagued both American society and constitutional law for longer than he had been in business. For while the facts of Roth v. United States were unexceptional, its constitutional issues would define the relationship of obscenity to the First Amendment.

The Observable Characteristics of Organisms Cover

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The Observable Characteristics of Organisms

Stories

In Ryan MacDonald’s stories, most no more than a page in length, we are given glimpses of a father and daughter at the zoo; an isolated man lamenting the absence of TV in his life; two young men atop a fridge at a party, drinking wine. These are stories of marriage and family, of the oddities of the natural world, of college parties, of web-cams and media obsession.
 
As MacDonald says, “I think what I’m after in the stories as well as in the video work is finding an experiential moment, nothing really stable, something pleasantly unstable, or uncomfortable . . . purposefully pleasant uncomfortable instability with moments of tenderness and definitely humor. Certainly nothing concrete, unless it needs that. A certain fear of and respect for banality. I’m after a good time, which can often turn into a really bad time, but either way, one we’ll remember forever.”
 
Despite the range of circumstances they reveal, these stories are unified by a brightness of vision, deft observation, and consistently sharp, funny, and unbridled language.

Observations on

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Observations on "The Two Sons of Oil"

Containing a Vindication of the American Constitutions, and Defending the Blessings of Religious Liberty and Toleration, against the Illiberal Strictures of the Rev. Samuel B. Wylie

William Findley

William Findley was an important, if lesser-known, politician during the early national period of American history. He was a captain in the Revolutionary army, an Anti-Federalist, and a forty-year veteran politician of both state and national office. In the Pennsylvania ratifying convention he had vigorously opposed the approval of the proposed Constitution because he felt that it did not guarantee the protection of some basic liberties such as jury trial; religious freedom; and freedom of speech, assembly, press, etc. After the Bill of Rights was adopted, Findley became a strong supporter of the Constitution.

Observations on “The Two Sons of Oil” was written in 1811 in response to the Reverend Samuel B. Wylie’s work, The Two Sons of Oil, which was published in 1803. In this work of radical Presbyterian theology, Wylie pointed out what he considered to be deficiencies in the constitutions of both Pennsylvania and the United States and declared them to be immoral.

Findley’s response to Wylie’s criticisms in Observations showed that it was neither the purpose nor the design of the United States government to have a federal religion and a federal creed. In a broader sense the book is also a passionate defense of a civil government guided by moral principles that allow for essential freedoms. Findley’s defense of religious liberty and the American constitutions affords a grand window through which to view early American understanding about the relationship between politics and faith and why it is essential for both liberty and piety to resist any attempt to unite government and Church.

This new Liberty Fund edition will make this work available once again; Observations on “The Two Sons of Oil” has not been republished since its original publication in 1812. Scholars of American history, government, and religion will appreciate the new availability of this book, which provides critical insight into Americans’ conception of liberty in the nation’s formative years. In addition, readers concerned with renewed debates around the world on the separation of church and state will appreciate the timelessness of Findley’s arguments for secular government and its compatibility with religious beliefs.

William Findley was born in Ireland and emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1763. He served in the Second through the Fifth Congresses, and again in the Eighth through the Fourteenth Congresses, earning the designation “Father of the House” before he retired from Congress in 1817. He died in 1821.

John Caldwell is retired from Augustana College, where he was Director of the Library and Professor of History. Himself a native of western Pennsylvania, Professor Caldwell is the author of George R. Stewart (1981) and William Findley from West of the Mountains: A Politician in Pennsylvania, 1783–1791 (2000).

Observations on the Real Rights of Women and Other Writings Cover

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Observations on the Real Rights of Women and Other Writings

Hannah Mather Crocker, Edited and with an introduction by Constance J. Post

Following in the path of her distinguished Puritan forebears, Hannah Mather Crocker used her skills as a writer primarily to persuade. Unlike those forebears, however, she did not begin her career as a published writer until well into middle age, after the death of her husband, Joseph Crocker, and after having raised ten children. The works collected here include previously unpublished poetry, drama, memoirs, sermons, and essays on American identity, education, and history, as well as the three texts published in her lifetime. This volume is named for her most famous work, Observations on the Real Rights of Women. Originally published in 1818, it is widely considered the first published treatise on women’s rights written by an American woman and serves as a rare example of women’s views of their own roles within the early American republic. This collection also mirrors the many changes that occurred in the United States during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, highlighting the shift in attitude toward women’s rights, education, and other reform movements as well as the American Revolution. Crocker’s writing provides a rare and valuable window into the concerns of women who embodied Enlightenment ideals during the years of the early republic.

Observations upon Liberal Education Cover

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Observations upon Liberal Education

George Turnbull

Originally published in 1742 and presented here in its first modern edition, Observations upon Liberal Education is a significant contribution to the Scottish Enlightenment and the moral-sense school of Scottish philosophy. George Turnbull embodied these movements of ideas as much as his more famous contemporary Francis Hutcheson.

In Observations, Turnbull applied these ideas to the education of youth. He showed how a liberal education fosters true “inward liberty” and moral strength and thus prepares for responsible and happy lives in a free society. He drew upon an impressive number of authors, both ancient and modern, including John Locke. Indeed, there is probably no richer treasure trove of sources for the educational debates of the eighteenth century.

Terrence Moore, who wrote the introduction, notes that “Observations upon Liberal Education provides an extensive and illuminating treatment of education, sensitive to the means of inculcating the personal responsibility necessary for living in a free society.”

Turnbull was the mentor of Thomas Reid, but his influence was not confined to Scotland. Benjamin Franklin, in drafting his Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania, drew generously from Observations.

George Turnbull (1698–1748) belongs to the founding figures in the Scottish Enlightenment. Finding their native Calvinism repressive, they sought a rational religion closely associated with their new science of human nature, supportive of tolerance, and compatible with classical ideals.

Terrence O. Moore, Jr., is Principal of Ridgeview Classical Schools in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.

Observer les oiseaux au Québec, 2e édition Cover

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Observer les oiseaux au Québec, 2e édition

Mettre à la portée de tous les connaissances requises pour l’observation des oiseaux du Québec, tel est l’objet de ce troisième livre de la collection FAIRE. Deux amateurs chevronnés, Normand David et Michel Gosselin, y répondent à toutes les questions que se pose immanquablement celui qui veut s’initier à ce loisir de plus en plus populaire.

Observer les réformes en éducation Cover

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Observer les réformes en éducation

Edited by Louise Lafortune

L'ouvrage collectif Observer les réformes en éducation vise à consolider la pensée et l'action dans le contexte des réformes curriculaires selon une perspective internationale. Dans le respect des spécificités locales d'une réforme donnée, son contenu propose des pistes d'intervention en lien avec la conception, la mise en œuvre et l'accompagnement du renouveau pédagogique. L'ouvrage intéressera tant le personnel enseignant que les gestionnaires scolaires, les milieux universitaires et les responsables politiques

Observers Observed Cover

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Observers Observed

Essays on Ethnographic Fieldwork

Edited by George W. Stocking, Jr.

History of Anthropology is a new series of annual volumes, each of which will treat an important theme in the history of anthropological inquiry. For this initial volume, the editors have chosen to focus on the modern cultural anthropology: intensive fieldwork by "participant observation." Observers Observed includes essays by a distinguished group of historians and anthropologists covering major episodes in the history of ethnographic fieldwork in the American, British, and French traditions since 1880. As the first work to investigate the development of modern fieldwork in a serious historical way, this collection will be of great interest and value to anthropologist, historians of science and the social sciences, and the general readers interested in the way in which modern anthropologists have perceived and described the cultures of "others." Included in this volume are the contributions of Homer G. Barnett, University of Oregon; James Clifford, University of California, Santa Cruz; Douglas Cole, Simon Frazer University; Richard Handler, Lake Forest College; Curtis Hinsley, Colgate University; Joan Larcom, Mount Holyoke College; Paul Rabinow, University of California, Berkeley; and the editor.

Observing America Cover

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Observing America

The Commentary of British Visitors to the United States, 1890–1950

Robert Frankel

Beginning with Alexis de Tocqueville and Frances Trollope, visitors to America have written some of the most penetrating and, occasionally, scathing commentaries on U.S. politics and culture. Observing America focuses on four of the most insightful British commentators on America between 1890 and 1950. The colorful journalist W. T. Stead championed Anglo-American unity while plunging into reform efforts in Chicago. The versatile writer H. G. Wells fiercely criticized capitalist America but found reason for hope in the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt. G. K. Chesterton, one of England’s great men of letters, urged Americans to preserve the vestiges of Jeffersonian democracy that he still discerned in the small towns of the heartland. And the influential political theorist and activist Harold Laski assailed the business ethos that he believed dominated the nation, especially after Franklin Roosevelt’s death. 
    
Robert Frankel examines the New World experiences of these commentators and the books they wrote about America. He also probes similar writings by other prominent observers from the British Isles, including Beatrice Webb, Rudyard Kipling, and George Bernard Shaw. The result is a book that offers keen insights into America’s national identity in a time of vast political and cultural change.

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