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Observing Complexity Cover

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Observing Complexity

Systems Theory and Postmodernity

William Rasch

Shakes up postmodern criticism with paradigms from the social and techno-sciences. The rubric of systems theory brings together conceptual models and approaches in the sciences and social sciences that study complexity. It attempts to provide a coherent means of describing all systems, whether organic or inorganic, and offers a theory of knowledge that can account for the integration of humans in the social, informational, and ecological systems in which we are enmeshed. Observing Complexity brings the major concepts and foremost thinkers of systems theory into interaction with the major figures of postmodern theory. The format is multiplex and open-a rich montage, including interviews, exemplary essays, and staged dialogues. The writers’ aim is not to solidify theory but to provide a thorough explication and an open-ended exploration of how systems theory can address, in a fresh and productive way, theoretical questions that too often have led to impasses between different schools of postmodern theory. Contributors: Drucilla Cornell, Rutgers U; Jonathan Elmer, Indiana U; N. Katherine Hayles, UCLA; Peter Uwe Hohendahl, Cornell U; Eva Knodt; Marjorie Levinson, U of Michigan; Niklas Luhmann; Brian Massumi, SUNY, Albany.

Obsession Cover

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Male Same-Sex Relations in China, 1900-1950

Wenqing Kang

This is the most serious study to date on the topic of male same-sex relations in China during the early twentieth century, illuminating male same-sex relations in many sites: language, translated sexological writings, literary works, tabloid newspapers, and opera. Documenting how nationalism and colonial modernity reconfigured Chinese discourses on sex between men in the early twentieth century, Wenqing Kang has amassed a wealth of material previously overlooked by scholars, such as the entertainment news and opinion pieces related to same-sex relations published in the tabloid press.

Obsession Cover

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Sestinas in the Twenty-First Century

Carolyn Beard Whitlow

The sestina (of medieval French origin) is a complex poetic form of 39 lines (six sestets and a three-line "envoy") in which the six end-words (teleutons) of the lines of the first sestet stanza are repeated in a specific order as teleutons in the five succeeding sestets. In the envoy, the six teleutons are again picked up, one of them being buried in, and one finishing, each line.

Because of the complexity of the form, the sestina fell out of favor with poets for several decades. However, a twenty-first century revival of the form is underway. This is the first anthology of sestinas that showcases both traditional and innovative examples of the form by modern and contemporary poets, award winners, and emerging writers alike. Organized by such themes as Americana; Art; Love and Sex; and Memory, Contemplation, Retrospection, and Death, the collection also includes sestinas with irregular teleutons and unconventional sestinas. An evocative introduction by Marilyn Krysl acquaints readers with the form. The volume concludes with useful indexes of first lines and teleutons, increasing access to the poems beyond the poets' names.

Obsidian and Ancient Manufactured Glasses Cover

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Obsidian and Ancient Manufactured Glasses

Edited by Ioannis Liritzis and Christopher M. Stevenson

This edited volume offers archaeologists and archaeometrists the latest technical information, the fundamentals of provenance studies, instrumentation used in these investigations, and strategies for the dating and interpretation of archaeological materials in glass studies. The contributors discuss recent advances in obsidian hydration dating, secondary ion mass spectrometry, and infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy, focusing on the application of these technologies to a variety of glass forms and incorporating studies that look at the social and economic strategies of past cultures.

With examples from Greece, the Middle East, Italy, Peru, Bolivia, Russia, Africa, and the Pacific region, provenance studies look at regional patterns of glass acquisition, production, and exchange, providing examples that use one or more instrumental methods to characterize materials from ancient societies.

Extensive figures and tables included.

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Obsidian Reflections

Symbolic Dimensions of Obsidian in Ancient Mesoamerica

edited by Marc N. Levine and David M. Carballo

Departing from the political economy perspective taken by the vast majority of volumes devoted to Mesoamerican obsidian, Obsidian Reflections is an examination of obsidian's sociocultural dimensions—particularly in regard to Mesoamerican world view, religion, and belief systems.

Exploring the materiality of this volcanic glass rather than only its functionality, this book considers the interplay among people, obsidian, and meaning and how these relationships shaped patterns of procurement, exchange, and use. An international group of scholars hailing from Belize, France, Japan, Mexico, and the United States provides a variety of case studies from Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. The authors draw on archaeological, iconographic, ethnographic, and ethnohistoric data to examine obsidian as a touchstone for cultural meaning, including references to sacrificial precepts, powerful deities, landscape, warfare, social relations, and fertility.

Obsidian Reflections underscores the necessity of understanding obsidian from within its cultural context—the perspective of the indigenous people of Mesoamerica. It will be of great interest to Mesoamericanists as well as students and scholars of lithic studies and material culture.

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Obstinate Hebrews

Representations of Jews in France, 1715-1815

Ronald Schechter

Enlightenment writers, revolutionaries, and even Napoleon discussed and wrote about France's tiny Jewish population at great length. Why was there so much thinking about Jews when they were a minority of less than one percent and had little economic and virtually no political power? In this unusually wide-ranging study of representations of Jews in eighteenth-century France—both by Gentiles and Jews themselves—Ronald Schechteroffers fresh perspectives on the Enlightenment and French Revolution, on Jewish history, and on the nature of racism and intolerance. Informed by the latest historical scholarship and by the insights of cultural theory, Obstinate Hebrews is a fascinating tale of cultural appropriation cast in the light of modern society's preoccupation with the "other."

Schechter argues that the French paid attention to the Jews because thinking about the Jews helped them reflect on general issues of the day. These included the role of tradition in religion, the perfectibility of human nature, national identity, and the nature of citizenship. In a conclusion comparing and contrasting the "Jewish question" in France with discourses about women, blacks, and Native Americans, Schechter provocatively widens his inquiry, calling for a more historically precise approach to these important questions of difference.

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Occasional Deconstructions

In Occasional Deconstructions, Julian Wolfreys challenges the notion that deconstruction is a critical methodology, offering instead a number of reintroductions or reorientations to the texts of Jacques Derrida and the idea or possibility of deconstructions. Proceeding from specific readings of various texts (both film and literary), as well as mobilizing a number of issues from Derrida’s recent work surrounding questions of ethics, politics, and identity, Wolfreys considers the role of deconstruction in broader academic and institutional contexts, and questions whether, in fact, deconstruction can be called upon to function as theory at all. In this book, Wolfreys suggests that the patient, necessary work of reading, in which response and responsibility to the other has a chance to manifest itself, is necessary to the always political and ethical tracing of the material and the historical. He also contends that reading should be an encounter that gives place to an acknowledgment of the other, and that this singular act by which one is introduced to the other can never be programmed.

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Occupation of Justice, The

The Supreme Court of Israel and the Occupied Territories

A critical examination of the decisions of the Supreme Court of Israel in cases relating to the Occupied Territories. The Occupation of Justice presents the first comprehensive discussion of the Supreme Court of Israel’s decisions on petitions challenging policies and actions of the authorities in the West Bank and Gaza since their occupation during the 1967 Six-Day War. Kretzmer addresses issues including: the basis for the Court’s jurisdiction; application and interpretation of the international law of belligerent occupation; the legality of civilian settlements and highway construction; and security measures such as curfews, deportations and housing demolitions. While pertaining to a specific political and legal context, this case study has broader implications regarding how courts in democratic countries act in times of conflict and crisis. It shows that at such times domestic courts tend to close ranks with the executive branch against those elements that are perceived as external threats to society.

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Occupational Labor Shortages

Concepts, Causes, Consequences, and Cures

This book will help readers understand why occupational shortages arise, how to know a shortage when it is present, and to assess strategies to alleviate the shortage.

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Occupational Mobility in American Business and Industry, 1928-1952

W. Lloyd Warner and James C. Abegglen

Occupational Mobility in American Business and Industry, 1928–1952 was first published in 1955. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

Is the American occupational system rigid or flexible? How has it changed in the last twenty-five years? What factors help to influence the selection of business leaders? Questions like these are answered in this comprehensive study of occupational mobility, made by two social scientists at the University of Chicago. The study is based on information about 8,000 executives in the largest business firms of America. The rate of movement of men from various occupational backgrounds into positions of business leadership today is compared with that of 1928, as reported in the well-known study of Taussig and Joslyn, American Business Leaders. Warner and Abegglen present their complete research data, many of the findings in tabular form. The research encompasses all kinds of businesses and industries in every part of the country and persons at all levels of top management.

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