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Pagan Theology

Paganism as a World Religion

Michael York

In Pagan Theology, Michael York situates Paganism—one of the fastest-growing spiritual orientations in the West—as a world religion. He provides an introduction to, and expansion of, the concept of Paganism and provides an overview of Paganism's theological perspective and practice. He demonstrates it to be a viable and distinguishable spiritual perspective found around the world today in such forms as Chinese folk religion, Shinto, tribal religions, and neo-Paganism in the West.

While adherents to many of these traditions do not use the word “pagan” to describe their beliefs or practices, York contends that there is an identifiable position possessing characteristics and understandings in common for which the label “pagan” is appropriate. After outlining these characteristics, he examines many of the world's major religions to explore religious behaviors in other religions which are not themselves pagan, but which have pagan elements. In the course of examining such behavior, York provides rich and lively descriptions of religions in action, including Buddhism and Hinduism.

Pagan Theology claims Paganism’s place as a world religion, situating it as a religion, a behavior, and a theology.

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The Pagan Writes Back

When World Religion Meets World Literature

Zhange Ni

In the first book to consider the study of world religion and world literature in concert, Zhange Ni proposes a new reading strategy that she calls "pagan criticism," which she applies not only to late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century literary texts that engage the global resurgence of religion but also to the very concepts of religion and the secular. Focusing on two North American writers (the Jewish American Cynthia Ozick and the Canadian Margaret Atwood) and two East Asian writers (the Japanese Endō Shūsaku and the Chinese Gao Xingjian), Ni reads their fiction, drama, and prose to envision a "pagan (re)turn" in the study of world religion and world literature. In doing so, she highlights the historical complexities and contingencies in literary texts and challenges both Christian and secularist assumptions regarding aesthetics and hermeneutics.

In assessing the collision of religion and literature, Ni argues that the clash has been not so much between monotheistic orthodoxies and the sanctification of literature as between the modern Western model of religion and the secular and its non-Western others. When East and West converge under the rubric of paganism, she argues, the study of religion and literature develops into that of world religion and world literature.

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Paganism - Christianity - Judaism

A Confession of Faith

Max Brod, translated by William Wolfe, introduction by Eric Gottgetreu

Now remembered primarily as Franz Kafta's friend and literary executor, Max Brod was an accomplishered thinker and writer in his own right. In this volume, he considers the nature and differences between Judaism and Christianity, addressing some of the most perplexing questions at the heart of human existence.

“One of the most famous and widely discussed books of the 1920’s, Max Brod’s Paganism—Christianity—Judaism, has at last found its way into English translation to confront a new generation of readers. Max Brod is best remembered today as the literary editor and friend of Franz Kafka. In his day, however, he was the more famous of the two by far. A major novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and composer, he was also, as this book demonstrates, a serious thinker on the perennial questions that are at the heart of human existence. . . .Some of his judgments are open to question. Still, with all its limitations, this is a forthright and passionate proclamation of the uniqueness of Judaism. Paganism—Christianity—Judaism was an intellectual and spiritual event when it was first published and it remains a valuable document even now.” —Rabbi Jack Riemer, Hadassah
 

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Paganism in the Middle Ages

Threat and Fascination

Carlos Steel; John Marenbon; Werner Verbeke (eds)

In this volume the persistence, resurgence, threat, fascination, and repression of various forms of pagan culture are studied in an interdisciplinary perspective from late antiquity to the emergent Renaissance. Contributions deal with the survival of pagan beliefs and practices, as well as with the Christianization of pagan rural populations or with the different strategies of oppression of pagan beliefs. The authors examine problems raised by the encounter with pagan cultures outside the Muslim world and show how philosophers contrived to ‘save' the great philosophers and poets from ancient culture notwithstanding their paganism. The contributors also study the fascination of classic ‘pagan' culture among friars during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and the imitation of pagan models of virtue and mythology in Renaissance poetry.

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Page to Stage

The Craft of Adaptation

Vincent Murphy

At last, for those who adapt literature into scripts, a how-to book that illuminates the process of creating a stageworthy play. Page to Stage describes the essential steps for constructing adaptations for any theatrical venue, from the college classroom to a professionally produced production. Acclaimed director Vincent Murphy offers students in theater, literary studies, and creative writing a clear and easy-to-use guidebook on adaptation. Its step-by-step process will be valuable to professional theater artists as well, and for script writers in any medium. Murphy defines six essential building blocks and strategies for a successful adaptation, including theme, dialogue, character, imagery, storyline, and action. Exercises at the end of each chapter lead readers through the transformation process, from choosing their material to creating their own adaptations. The book provides case studies of successful adaptations, including The Grapes of Wrath (adaptation by Frank Galati) and the author's own adaptations of stories by Samuel Beckett and John Barth. Also included is practical information on building collaborative relationships, acquiring rights, and getting your adaptation produced.

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Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women

Race and Beauty in the Twentieth-Century South

Blain Roberts

From the South's pageant queens to the importance of beauty parlors to African American communities, it is easy to see the ways beauty is enmeshed in southern culture. But as Blain Roberts shows in this incisive work, the pursuit of beauty in the South was linked to the tumultuous racial divides of the region, where the Jim Crow-era cosmetics industry came of age selling the idea of makeup that emphasized whiteness, and where, in the 1950s and 1960s, black-owned beauty shops served as crucial sites of resistance for civil rights activists. In these times of strained relations in the South, beauty became a signifier of power and affluence while it reinforced racial strife.

Roberts examines a range of beauty products, practices, and rituals--cosmetics, hairdressing, clothing, and beauty contests--in settings that range from tobacco farms of the Great Depression to 1950s and 1960s college campuses. In so doing, she uncovers the role of female beauty in the economic and cultural modernization of the South. By showing how battles over beauty came to a head during the civil rights movement, Roberts sheds new light on the tactics southerners used to resist and achieve desegregation.

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Pages from a Black Radical’s Notebook

A James Boggs Reader

Edited by Stephen M. Ward With an Afterword by Grace Lee Boggs

Born in the rural American south, James Boggs lived nearly his entire adult life in Detroit and worked as a factory worker for twenty-eight years while immersing himself in the political struggles of the industrial urban north. During and after the years he spent in the auto industry, Boggs wrote two books, co-authored two others, and penned dozens of essays, pamphlets, reviews, manifestos, and newspaper columns to become known as a pioneering revolutionary theorist and community organizer. In Pages from a Black Radical’s Notebook: A James Boggs Reader, editor Stephen M. Ward collects a diverse sampling of pieces by Boggs, spanning the entire length of his career from the 1950s to the early 1990s. Pages from a Black Radical’s Notebook is arranged in four chronological parts that document Boggs’s activism and writing. Part 1 presents columns from Correspondence newspaper written during the 1950s and early 1960s. Part 2 presents the complete text of Boggs’s first book, The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker’s Notebook, his most widely known work. In part 3, “Black Power—Promise, Pitfalls, and Legacies,” Ward collects essays, pamphlets, and speeches that reflect Boggs’s participation in and analysis of the origins, growth, and demise of the Black Power movement. Part 4 comprises pieces written in the last decade of Boggs’s life, during the 1980s through the early 1990s. An introduction by Ward provides a detailed overview of Boggs’s life and career, and an afterword by Grace Lee Boggs, James Boggs’s wife and political partner, concludes this volume. Pages from a Black Radical’s Notebook documents Boggs’s personal trajectory of political engagement and offers a unique perspective on radical social movements and the African American struggle for civil rights in the post–World War II years. Readers interested in political and ideological struggles of the twentieth century will find Pages from a Black Radical’s Notebook to be fascinating reading.

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Paid

Tales of Dongles, Checks, and Other Money Stuff

Bill Maurer

Museums are full of the coins, notes, beads, shells, stones, and other objects people have exchanged for millennia. But what about the debris, the things that allow a transaction to take place and are left its wake? How would a museum go about curating our scrawls on electronic keypads, the receipts wadded in our wallets, that vast information infrastructure that runs the card networks? This book is a catalog for a museum exhibition that never happened. It offers a series of short essays, paired with striking images, on these often ephemeral, invisible, or unnoticed transactional objects -- money stuff.Although we've been told for years that we're heading toward total cashlessness, payment is increasingly dependent on things. Consider, for example, the dongle, a clever gizmo that processes card payments by turning information from a card's magnetic stripe into audio information that can be read by a smart phone's headphone jack. Or dogecoin, a meme of a smiling, bewildered dog's interior monologue that fueled a virtual currency similar to Bitcoin. Or go further back and contemplate the paper currency printed with leaves by Benjamin Franklin to foil counterfeiters, or khipu, Incan records kept in knotted string.Paid's authors describe these payment-adjacent objects so engagingly that for a moment, financial leftovers seem more interesting than finance. Paid encourages us to take a moment to look at the nuts and bolts of our everyday transactions by looking at the stuff that surrounds them.ContributorsBernardo Bátiz-Lazo, Maria Bezaitis, Finn Brunton, Lynn H. Gamble, David Graeber, Jane I. Guyer, Keith Hart, Sarah Jeong, Alexandra Lippman, Julien Mailland, Scott Mainwaring, Bill Maurer, Taylor C. Nelms, Rachel O'Dwyer, Michael Palm, Lisa Servon, David L. Stearns, Bruce Sterling, Lana Swartz, Whitney Anne Trettien, Gary Urton

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Paid to Party

Working Time and Emotion in Direct Home Sales

Jamie L. Mullaney and Janet Hinson Shope

On any given night in living rooms across America, women gather for a fun girls’ night out to eat, drink, and purchase the latest products—from Amway to Mary Kay cosmetics. Beneath the party atmosphere lies a billion-dollar industry, Direct Home Sales (DHS), which is currently changing how women navigate work and family.

Drawing from numerous interviews with consultants and observations at company-sponsored events, Paid to Party takes a closer look at how DHS promises to change the way we think and feel about the struggles of balancing work and family. Offering a new approach to a flexible work model, DHS companies tell women they can, in fact, have it all and not feel guilty. In DHS, work time is not measured by the hands of the clock, but by the emotional fulfillment and fun it brings.

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Pain

A Political History

Keith Wailoo

In this history of American political culture, Keith Wailoo examines why and how pain and compassionate relief has been a battleground for defining the line between society's liberal trends and conservative tendencies. Tracing the development of pain theories in politics, medicine, law, and society, and battles over the morality and economics of relief, Wailoo points to a tension at the heart of the conservative-liberal divide. Beginning with the post–World War II rise of a pain relief economy in response to concerns about recovering soldiers, Wailoo explores the 1960s rise of an expansive liberal pain standard, along with the emerging conviction that subjective pain was real, disabling, and compensable. These concepts were attacked during the Reagan era of the 1980s, when a conservative political backlash led to decreasing disability aid and the growing role of the courts as arbiters in the liberal-conservative struggle to define pain. Wailoo goes on to identify how, in the 1990s, new fronts in pain politics opened in states like Oregon and Michigan where advocates for death with dignity insisted that end-of-life pain warranted full relief. And, in the 2006 arrest of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh for doctor shopping for painkillers, Wailoo finds a cautionary tale about deregulation, which spawned an unmanageable market in pain relief products as well as gaps between the overmedicated and the undertreated. Today's debates over who is in pain, who feels another's pain, and what relief they deserve are new chapters of this enduring battle between liberal relief and conservative care. People in chronic pain have always sought relief—and have always been judged—but who decides whether someone is truly in pain? The story of pain in politics is more than rhetoric; it is a story of ailing bodies, broken lives, illness, and disability that has vexed government agencies and politicians from the World War II era to the present.

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