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Breastmilk, Feminisms, and the Politics of Environmental Degradation
Tainted Milk provides an in-depth analysis of the debate about infant nourishment issues, with a particular focus on environmentally contaminated breastmilk. Maia Boswell-Penc asks why feminists and environmentalists have, for the most part, remained relatively quiet about the fact that environmental toxins have been appearing in breastmilk. She argues that feminists avoid the topic because of their fear of focusing on biological mothering and essentialist thinking, while environmentalists are reluctant to be perceived as fearmongers advocating formula use and contributing to public hysteria. Boswell-Penc also points to the continuing racism, classism, ageism, and corporatization that leaves the less privileged among us more vulnerable.
City of Displacements
Winner of the Joseph Levenson Post-1900 Book Prize
This cultural study of public space examines the cityscape of Taipei, Taiwan, in rich descriptive prose. Contemplating a series of seemingly banal subjects--maps, public art, parks--Joseph Allen peels back layers of obscured history to reveal forces that caused cultural objects to be celebrated, despised, destroyed, or transformed as Taipei experienced successive regime changes and waves of displacement. In this thoughtful stroll through the city, we learn to look beyond surface ephemera, moving from the general to the particular to see sociocultural phenomena in their historical and contemporary contexts.
Rebellion and the Blasphemy of Empire
Occupying much of Imperial China’s Yangzi River heartland and costing over twenty million lives, the Taiping Rebellion (1851–1864) was no ordinary peasant revolt. What most distinguished this dramatic upheaval from earlier rebellions was the Taiping faith of the rebels. Inspired by a Protestant missionary tract, the core of the Taiping faith focused on the belief that Shangdi, the high God of classical China, had chosen the Taiping leader, Hong Xiuquan, to establish his Heavenly Kingdom on Earth.
Explores the milieu of Taiwan’s Buddhist nuns, who have the greatest numbers in the Buddhist world and a prominent place in their own country. Taiwan’s Buddhist nuns are as unique as they are noteworthy. Boasting the greatest number of Buddhist nuns of any country, Taiwan has a much greater number of nuns than monks. These women are well known and well regarded as dharma teachers and for the social service work that has made them a central part of Taiwan’s civil society. In this, the first English-language book on Taiwanese women and Buddhism, author Elise Ann DeVido introduces readers to Taiwan’s Buddhist nuns, but also looks at the larger question of how Taiwan’s Buddhism shapes and is shaped by women--mainly nuns but also laywomen, who like their clerical sisters flourish in that country. Providing an historical overview of Buddhist women in China and Taiwan, DeVido discusses various reasons for the vibrancy of Taiwan’s nuns’ orders. She introduces us to the nuns of the best-known of order, the Buddhist Compassion-Relief Foundation (Ciji) as well as those of the Luminary Buddhist Institute. Discussing “Buddhism for the Human Realm,” DeVido asks whether this popular philosophy has encouraged and supported the singular strength of Taiwan’s Buddhism women.
Tajikistan teeters on the brink of failure. This mountainous and landlocked country, the poorest in Central Asia, confronts the challenges of good governance and economic survival. These domestic struggles become even more problematic as international forces prepare to withdraw from neighboring Afghanistan, leaving Central Asian countries to ensure regional stability.
In Tajikistan's Difficult Development Path, Martha Brill Olcott traces the political, economic, and social change following the country's independence and international efforts to avert state collapse. The Tajik government's commitment to reform has been inconsistent, and substantial foreign assistance provided since the end of the country's civil war has not led to the desired economic and political development.
Olcott concludes that the Tajik leadership faces a serious dilemma: fully embrace reform or continue moving toward state failure. Tajikistan's decision will have very real implications for this troubled region.
What happens when we look at a painting? What do we think about? What do we imagine? How can we explain, even to ourselves, what we see or think we see? And how can art historians interpret with any seriousness what they observe? In six engaging, short narrative "fictions," each richly illustrated in color, Daniel Arasse, one of the most brilliant art historians of our time, cleverly and gracefully guides readers through a variety of adventures in seeing, from Velázquez to Titian, Bruegel to Tintoretto.
By demonstrating that we don't really see what these paintings are trying to show us, Arasse makes it clear that we need to take a closer look. In chapters that each have a different form, including a letter, an interview, and an animated conversation with a colleague, the book explores how these pictures teach us about ways of seeing across the centuries. In the process, Arasse freshly lays bare the dazzling power of painting. Fast-paced and full of humor as well as insight, this is a book for anyone who cares about really looking at, seeing, and understanding paintings.
An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities
In the wake of economic crisis on a global scale, more and more people are reconsidering their role in the economy and wondering what they can do to make it work better for humanity and the planet. In this innovative book, J. K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron, and Stephen Healy contribute complex understandings of economics in practical terms: what can we do right now, in our own communities, to make a difference?
Full of exercises, thinking tools, and inspiring examples from around the world, Take Back the Economy shows how people can implement small-scale changes in their own lives to create ethical economies. There is no manifesto here, no one prescribed model; rather, readers are encouraged and taught how to take back the economy in ways appropriate for their own communities and context, using what they already have at hand.
Take Back the Economy dismantles the idea that the economy is separate from us and best comprehended by experts. Instead, the authors demonstrate that the economy is the outcome of the decisions and efforts we make every day. The economy is thus reframed as a space of ethical action—something we can shape and alter according to what is best for the well-being of people and the planet. The book explores what people are already doing to build ethical economies, presenting these deeds as mutual concerns: What is necessary for survival, and what do we do with the surplus produced beyond what will fulfill basic needs? What do we consume, and how do we preserve and replenish the commons—those resources that can be shared to maintain all? And finally, how can we invest in a future worth living in?
Suitable for activists and students alike, Take Back the Economy will be of interest to anyone seeking a more just, sustainable, and equitable world.
Reconstructing Confederate Veteran Families in Virginia
Take Care of the Living assesses the short- and long-term impact of the war on Confederate veteran families of all classes in Pittsylvania County and Danville, Virginia. Using letters, diaries, church minutes, and military and state records, as well as close analysis of the entire 1860 and 1870 Pittsylvania County manuscript population census, McClurken explores the consequences of the war for over three thousand Confederate soldiers and their families. The author reveals an array of strategies employed by those families to come to terms with their postwar reality, including reorganizing and reconstructing the household, turning to local churches for emotional and economic support, pleading with local elites for financial assistance or positions, sending psychologically damaged family members to a state-run asylum, and looking to the state for direct assistance in the form of replacement limbs for amputees, pensions, and even state-supported homes for old soldiers and widows.
The Life of Martha Raye
"She was one of the world's four best comediennes," said Milton Berle, "but she lived a life of personal disaster." Martha Raye sang, danced, and joked her way into the spotlight of the entertainment world with a career that spanned seven decades and encompassed everything from vaudeville to television commercials to entertaining U.S. troops.
Take It from the Big Mouth, the first full-fledged biography of the multi-talented performer, explores Raye's life and career with candor and insight. Raye got her big break when she caught the attention of a film director as she kidded with audience members Joe E. Lewis and Jimmy Durante during an engagement at the Trocadero in Hollywood. In the late 1930s, Raye appeared in a number of films, and the press heralded her as a "stridently funny comedienne with a Mammoth Cave mouth." From there her career soared. She landed a role in Charlie Chaplain's film Monsieur Verdoux, and the New York Post commented that Raye was the only one who could hold her own with the comic master. By the 1950s she hosted her own highly rated television show, reaching millions with her clowning.
Behind the huge smile and raucous laugh, though, there was a darker side to Martha Raye. She found solace from her insecurities and a frenzied schedule in the use of drugs and alcohol. Her seven rocky marriages, the last to a man 33 years her junior whom she had known less than two weeks, fueled headlines and gossip columns. Particularly painful was her turbulent relationship with her only daughter, Melodye.
She was passionately committed to entertaining troops abroad during World War II, and she worked tirelessly as both entertainer and nurse in the remote jungles of Vietnam. Bob Hope commented that "she was Florence Nightingale, Dear Abby, and the only singer who could be heard over the artillery fire." The Green Berets designated her an honorary lieutenant colonel, and she later received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After her death in 1994, "Colonel Maggie" became the only civilian laid to rest among the Green Berets at the Fort Bragg military cemetery.
Moving freely from past to present (and Vice Versa), and from place to place leap-frogging from digression to digression, Take It or Leave It explores new possibilities of narrative technique. Whie the story of Frenchy is being told, the narrator involves his listeners in digressive arguments about politics, sex, America, literature, laughter, death, and the telling of the story itself. Consequently, as this "exaggerated second-hand tale to be read aloud either standing or sitting" progresses, it also deviates from its course, and eventually cancels itself as the voices of the fiction multiply. Take It or Leave It, the ultimate postmodern novel, makes a shamble of traditional fiction and conventional modes of writing, and does so with effrontery and laughter.