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Politics and Film in the Blacklist Era
The concept of "un-Americanism," so vital to the HUAC crusade of the 1940s and 1950s, was resoundingly revived in the emotional rhetoric that followed the September 11th terrorist attacks. Today's political and cultural climate makes it more crucial than ever to come to terms with the consequences of this earlier period of repression and with the contested claims of Americanism that it generated."Un-American" Hollywood reopens the intense critical debate on the blacklist era and on the aesthetic and political work of the Hollywood Left. In a series of fresh case studies focusing on contexts of production and reception, the contributors offer exciting and original perspectives on the role of progressive politics within a capitalist media industry. Original essays scrutinize the work of individual practitioners, such as Robert Rossen, Joseph Losey, Jules Dassin, and Edward Dmytryk, and examine key films, including The Robe, Christ in Concrete, The House I Live In, The Lawless, The Naked City, The Prowler, Body and Soul, and FTA.
Political Constraints on the Balance of Power
Why have states throughout history regularly underestimated dangers to their survival? Why have some states been able to mobilize their material resources effectively to balance against threats, while others have not been able to do so? The phenomenon of "underbalancing" is a common but woefully underexamined behavior in international politics. Underbalancing occurs when states fail to recognize dangerous threats, choose not to react to them, or respond in paltry and imprudent ways. It is a response that directly contradicts the core prediction of structural realism's balance-of-power theory--that states motivated to survive as autonomous entities are coherent actors that, when confronted by dangerous threats, act to restore the disrupted balance by creating alliances or increasing their military capabilities, or, in some cases, a combination of both.
Consistent with the new wave of neoclassical realist research, Unanswered Threats offers a theory of underbalancing based on four domestic-level variables--elite consensus, elite cohesion, social cohesion, and regime/government vulnerability--that channel, mediate, and redirect policy responses to external pressures and incentives. The theory yields five causal schemes for underbalancing behavior, which are tested against the cases of interwar Britain and France, France from 1877 to 1913, and the War of the Triple Alliance (1864-1870) that pitted tiny Paraguay against Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.
Randall Schweller concludes that those most likely to underbalance are incoherent, fragmented states whose elites are constrained by political considerations.
People Power Movements In Nondemocracies
Gendering Nation, State, and Intelligentsia in Russian Intellectual Culture
Throughout the twentieth century and continuing today, personifications of Russia as a bride occur in a wide range of Russian texts and visual representations, from literature and political and philosophical treatises to cartoons and tattoos. Invariably, this metaphor functions in the context of a political gender allegory, which represents the relationships between Russia, the intelligentsia, and the Russian state, as a competition of two male suitors for the former’s love. In Unattainable Bride Russia, Ellen Rutten focuses on the metaphorical role the intelligentsia plays as Russia’s rejected or ineffectual suitor. Rutten finds that this metaphor, which she covers from its prehistory in folklore to present day pop culture references to Vladimir Putin, is still powerful, but has generated scarce scholarly consideration. Unattainable Bride Russia locates the cultural thread and places the political metaphor in a broad contemporary and social context, thus paying it the attention to which it is entitled as one of Russia’s modern cultural myths.
Farmersí Voices from Zimbabwe
The history of colonial land alienation, the grievances fuelling the liberation war, and post-independence land reforms have all been grist to the mill of recent scholarship on Zimbabwe. Yet for all that the countryís white farmers have received considerable attention from academics and journalists, the fact that they have always played a dynamic role in cataloguing and representing their own affairs has gone unremarked. It is this crucial dimension that Rory Pilossof explores in The Unbearable Whiteness of Being. His examination of farmersí voices ñ in The Farmer magazine, in memoirs, and in recent interviews ñ reveals continuities as well as breaks in their relationships with land, belonging and race. His focus on the Liberation War, Operation Gukurahundi and the post-2000 land invasions frames a nuanced understanding of how white farmers engaged with the land and its peoples, and the political changes of the past 40 years. The Unbearable Whiteness of Being helps to explain why many of the events in the countryside unfolded in the ways they did.
Writing Race and Nation from the Shadows of Citizenship, 1945-1960
During the Cold War, Ellis Island no longer served as the largest port of entry for immigrants, but as a prison for holding aliens the state wished to deport. The government criminalized those it considered un-assimilable (from left-wing intellectuals and black radicals to racialized migrant laborers) through the denial, annulment, and curtailment of citizenship and its rights. The island, ceasing to represent the iconic ideal of immigrant America, came to symbolize its very limits.
Unbecoming Americans sets out to recover the shadow narratives of un-American writers forged out of the racial and political limits of citizenship. In this collection of Afro-Caribbean, Filipino, and African American writers—C.L.R. James, Carlos Bulosan, Claudia Jones, and Richard Wright—Joseph Keith examines how they used their exclusion from the nation, a condition he terms “alienage,” as a standpoint from which to imagine alternative global solidarities and to interrogate the contradictions of the United States as a country, a republic, and an empire at the dawn of the "American Century.”
Building on scholarship linking the forms of the novel to those of the nation, the book explores how these writers employed alternative aesthetic forms, including memoir, cultural criticism, and travel narrative, to contest prevailing notions of race, nation, and citizenship. Ultimately they produced a vital counter-discourse of freedom in opposition to the new formations of empire emerging in the years after World War II, forms that continue to shape our world today.
The Diaspora Cultures of Afro-Cuban America
In Unbecoming Blackness, Antonio López uncovers an important, otherwise unrecognized century-long archive of literature and performance that reveals Cuban America as a space of overlapping Cuban and African diasporic experiences.<br /><br />López shows how Afro-Cuban writers and performers in theU.S. align Cuban black and mulatto identities, often subsumed in the mixed-race and postracial Cuban national imaginaries, with the material and symbolic blackness of African Americans and other Afro-Latinas/os. In the works of Alberto O’Farrill, Eusebia Cosme, Rómulo Lachatañeré, and others, Afro-Cubanness articulates the African diasporic experience in ways that deprive negro and mulato configurations of an exclusive link with Cuban nationalism. Instead, what is invoked is an “unbecoming” relationship between Afro-Cubans in the U.S and their domestic black counterparts. The transformations in Cuban racial identity across the hemisphere, represented powerfully in the literary and performance cultures of Afro-Cubans in the U.S., provide the fullest account of a transnational Cuba, one in which the Cuban American emerges as Afro-Cuban-American, and the Latino as Afro-Latino.
Judith Butler, Moral Philosophy, and Critical Responsibility
Moral philosophy and poststructuralism have long been considered two antithetical enterprises. Moral philosophy is invested in securing norms, whereas poststructuralism attempts to unclench the grip of norms on our lives. Moreover, poststructuralism is often suspected of undoing the possibility of ethical knowledge by emphasizing the unstable, socially constructed nature of our practices and knowledge. In Unbecoming Subjects, Annika Thiem argues that Judith Butler's work makes possible a productive encounter between moral philosophy and poststructuralism, rethinking responsibility and critique as key concepts at the juncture of ethics and politics. Putting into conversation Butler's earlier and most recent work, Unbecoming Subjects begins by examining how Butler's critique of the subject as nontransparent to itself, formed thoroughly through relations of power and in subjection to norms and social practices, poses a challenge to ethics and ethical agency. The book argues, in conversation with Butler, Levinas, and Laplanche, that responsibility becomes possible only when we do not know what to do or how to respond, yet find ourselves under a demand to respond, and even more, to respond well to others. Drawing on the work of Butler, Adorno, and Foucault, Unbecoming Subjects examines critique as a central practice for moral philosophy. It interrogates the limits of moral and political knowledge and probes methods of social criticism to uncover and oppose injustices.
Julie Hanson’s award-winning collection, Unbeknownst, gives us plainspoken poems of unstoppable candor. They are astonished and sobered by the incoming data; they are funny; they are psychologically accurate and beautifully made. Hanson’s is a mind interested in human responsibility—to ourselves and to each other—and unhappy about the disappointments that are bound to transpire (“We’ve been like gods, our powers wasted”). These poems are lonely with spiritual longing and wise with remorse for all that cannot last.
“The Kindergartners” begins, “All their lives they’ve waited for / the yellow bus to come for them,” then moves directly to the present reality: “Now it’s February and the mat / is wet.” Settings and events are local and familiar, never more exotic than a yoga session at the Y, one of several instances where the body is central to the report and to the net result (“I slip in and fold / behind the wheel into the driver’s seat like a thin young thing: / My organs are surely glistening. This car was made for me.“). These poems are intimate revelations, thinking as they go, including the reader in the progress of their thoughts.