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Obsidian Reflections

Symbolic Dimensions of Obsidian in 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 Hazards

Success and Failure in Military Occupation

by David M. Edelstein

Few would contest that the U.S. occupation of Iraq is a clear example of just how fraught a military occupation can become. In Occupational Hazards, David M. Edelstein elucidates the occasional successes of military occupations and their more frequent failures. Edelstein has identified twenty-six cases since 1815 in which an outside power seized control of a territory where the occupying party had no long-term claim on sovereignty.

In a book that has implications for present-day policy, he draws evidence from such historical cases as well as from four current occupations-Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq-where the outcome is not yet known. Occupation is difficult, in Edelstein's view, because ambitious goals require considerable time and resources, yet both the occupied population and the occupying power want occupation to end quickly and inexpensively; in drawn-out occupations, impatience grows and resources dwindle.

This combination sabotages the occupying power's ability to accomplish two tasks: convince an occupied population to suppress its nationalist desires and sustain its own commitment to the occupation. Structural conditions and strategic choices play crucial roles in the success or failure of an occupation. In describing those factors, Edelstein prescribes a course of action for the future.

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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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Occupied by Memory

The Intifada Generation and the Palestinian State of Emergency

John Collins

Occupied by Memory explores the memories of the first Palestinian intifada. Based on extensive interviews with members of the "intifada generation," those who were between 10 and 18 years old when the intifada began in 1987, the book provides a detailed look at the intifada memories of ordinary Palestinians.

These personal stories are presented as part of a complex and politically charged discursive field through which young Palestinians are invested with meaning by scholars, politicians, journalists, and other observers. What emerges from their memories is a sense of a generation caught between a past that is simultaneously traumatic, empowering, and exciting—and a future that is perpetually uncertain. In this sense, Collins argues that understanding the stories and the struggles of the intifada generation is a key to understanding the ongoing state of emergency for the Palestinian people. The book will be of interest not only to scholars of the Middle East but also to those interested in nationalism, discourse analysis, social movements, and oral history.

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Occupied City

New Orleans Under the Federals 1862--1865

Gerald M. Capers

New Orleans is the largest American city ever occupied by enemy forces for an extended period of time. Falling to an amphibious Federal force in the spring of 1862, the city was threatened with the possibility of Confederate recapture even as late as 1864. How this tension affected the lives of both civilians and soldiers during the occupation is here examined.

Gerald M. Capers finds that the occupation policies of General Benjamin F. Butler and General Nathaniel P. Banks were successful and that Butler's harsh policies were by no means as vicious as legend would have it. Banks at first reversed Butler's harsh policies, but was gradually compelled to become less lenient. Banks did succeed in establishing a civil government under Lincoln's orders, but Congress refused to recognize the civil government and imposed a reconstruction government at war's end.

Life for the average resident of New Orleans, Capers states, was much better during the occupation than it was for Southerners in areas still in Confederate control. Relative economic decline had begun in the 1850's but New Orleans even enjoyed a war boom during the last two years. And although America's only brief experience as an occupation force at the time had been in Vera Cruz during 1846, Butler and Banks performed their duties well.

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Occupied Vicksburg

by Bradley R. Clampitt

Occupied Vicksburg tells the rest of the story in one of the Civil War's most important locations. Beginning with the surrender after the famous siege, the book chronicles two years of wartime occupation and examines the surrender, interaction between Union and Confederate troops, Federal occupation policy, emancipation and the experience of freedpeople in Vicksburg, and the response of the local civilian population.

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