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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.
Roth v. United States and the Long Struggle over Sexual Expression
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.
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
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 The works collected here include previously unpublished poetry, drama, memoirs, sermons, and essays on American identity, education, and history, as well as the three texts published in her lifetime.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.
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.
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.
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
Essays on Ethnographic Fieldwork
The Commentary of British Visitors to the United States, 1890–1950
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.