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Jews, Obscenity, and American Culture
South African Storytellers and Resistance
The oral and written traditions of the Africans of South Africa have provided an understanding of their past and the way the past relates to the present. These traditions continue to shape the past by the present, and vice versa. From the time colonial forces first came to the region in 1487, oral and written traditions have been a bulwark against what became 350 years of colonial rule, characterized by the racist policies of apartheid. The Uncoiling Python: South African Storytellers and Resistance is the first in-depth study of how Africans used oral traditions as a means of survival against European domination.
Africans resisted colonial rule from the beginning. They participated in open insurrections and other subversive activities in order to withstand the daily humiliations of colonial rule. Perhaps the most effective and least apparent expression of subversion was through indigenous storytelling and poetic traditions. Harold Scheub has collected the stories and poetry of the Xhosa, Zulu, Swati, and Ndebele peoples to present a fascinating analysis of how the apparently harmless tellers of tales and creators of poetry acted as front-line soldiers.
Venetian Crete and the Myth of Ethnic Purity
From 1211 until its loss to the Ottomans in 1669, the Greek island we know as Crete was the Venetian colony of Candia. Ruled by a paid civil service fully accountable to the Venetian Senate, Candia was distinct from nearly every other colony of the medieval period for the unprecedented degree to which the colonial power was involved in its governance.
Yet, for Sally McKee, the importance of the Cretan colony only begins with the anomalous manner of the Venetian state's rule. Uncommon Dominion tells the story of Venetian Crete, the home of two recognizably distinct ethnic communities, the Latins and the Greeks. The application of Venetian law to the colony made it possible for the colonial power to create and maintain a fiction of ethnic distinctness. The Greeks were subordinate to the Latins economically, politically, and juridically, yet within a century of Venetian colonization, the ethnic differences between Latin and Greek Cretans in daily material life were significantly blurred. Members of the groups intermarried, many of them learned each other's language, and some even chose to worship by the rites of the other's church. Holding up ample evidence of acculturation and miscegenation by the colony's inhabitants, McKee uncovers the colonial forces that promoted the persistence of ethnic labeling despite the lack of any clear demarcation between the two predominant communities. As McKee argues, the concept of ethnic identity was largely determined by gender, religion, and social status, especially by the Latin and Greek elites in their complex and frequently antagonistic social relationships.
Drawing expertly from notarial and court records, as well as legislative and literary sources, Uncommon Dominion offers a unique study of ethnicity in the medieval and early modern periods. Students and scholars in medieval, colonial, and postcolonial studies will find much of use in studying this remarkable colonial experiment.
The Life and Times of Senator Claiborne Pell
The only biography of Claiborne Pell, the six-term senator from Rhode Island best known as the sponsor of the educational Pell Grants Claiborne Pell (1918–2009) was Rhode Island’s longest serving U.S. senator, with six consecutive terms from 1961 to 1997. A liberal Democrat, Pell is best known as the sponsor of the Pell Grants. He was also the force behind the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a visionary in high-speed rail transportation and other areas. An early environmentalist and opponent of the Vietnam War, Pell left his mark on several treaties and peace initiatives. Born into the wealthy family that settled the Bronx, New York, Pell married Nuala O’Donnell, an heiress to the A&P fortune. He lived on the waterfront in exclusive Newport, Rhode Island, yet was a favorite of blue-collar voters. Frugal and quirky, he believed in ESP and UFOs, and was often seen jogging in a sports coat and shorts. Both his hard work and his personality left an indelible mark on this small but influential state—and on America. This lively biography was written with the cooperation of the senator’s family, and with exclusive access to family records and the extensive archives at the University of Rhode Island.
Eloquence and Eccentricity in the English Renaissance
In the late sixteenth century, as England began to assert its integrity as a nation and English its merit as a literate tongue, vernacular writing took a turn for the eccentric. Authors such as John Lyly, Edmund Spenser, and Christopher Marlowe loudly announced their ambitions for the mother tongue—but the extremity of their stylistic innovations yielded texts that seemed hardly English at all. Critics likened Lyly's hyperembellished prose to a bejeweled "Indian," complained that Spenser had "writ no language," and mocked Marlowe's blank verse as a "Turkish" concoction of "big-sounding sentences" and "termes Italianate." In its most sophisticated literary guises, the much-vaunted common tongue suddenly appeared quite foreign.
In Uncommon Tongues, Catherine Nicholson locates strangeness at the paradoxical heart of sixteenth-century vernacular culture. Torn between two rival conceptions of eloquence, savvy writers and teachers labored to reconcile their country's need for a consistent, accessible mother tongue with the expectation that poetic language depart from everyday speech. That struggle, waged by pedagogical theorists and rhetoricians as well as authors we now recognize as some of the most accomplished and significant in English literary history, produced works that made the vernacular's oddities, constraints, and defects synonymous with its virtues. Such willful eccentricity, Nicholson argues, came to be seen as both the essence and antithesis of English eloquence.
Civil War and Remembrance in Spain and the United States
Spain and the United States both experienced extremely bloody and divisive civil wars that left social and emotional wounds, many of which still endure today. In Uncommonly Savage, award-winning historian Paul Escott considers the impact of internecine violence on memory and ideology, on politics, and on the process of reconciliation. He also examines debates over reparation or moral recognition, the rise of truth and reconciliation commissions, and the legal, psychological, and religious aspects of modern international law regarding amnesty.
This pioneering work—there are no other similar works on Spain and the United States—is based upon primary sources, including magazines, newspapers, public addresses, and policies of political leaders.
God, Sex, and the U.S. House of Representatives
Cultural factions are an intrinsic part of the fabric of American politics. But does this mean that there is no room for compromise when groups hold radically different viewpoints on major issues? Not necessarily. For example, in a June 2003 Time/CNN poll, 49% of respondents identified themselves as pro-choice and 46% identified as pro-life. But in the same poll, 81% indicated that abortion should be "always legal" or "sometimes legal," suggesting that "pro-life" and "pro-choice" are not discrete positions but allow room for compromise. How do legislators legislate policy conflicts that are defined in explicitly cultural terms such as abortion, gay marriage, and school prayer? American political institutions are frequently challenged by the significant conflict between those who embrace religious traditionalism and those who embrace progressive cultural norms. Uncompromising Positions: God, Sex, and the U.S. House of Representatives investigates the politics of that conflict as it is manifested in the proceedings of the U.S. House of Representatives. Oldmixon traces the development of these two distinct cultures in contemporary American politics and discusses the decision-making and leadership tactics used by legislators to respond to this division of values. She argues that cultural conflict produces an absolutist politics that draws on religious values not amenable to compromise politics. One possible strategy to address the problem is to build bipartisan coalitions. Yet, interviews with House staffers and House members, as well as roll calls, all demonstrate that ideologically driven politicians sacrifice compromise and stability to achieve short-term political gain. Noting polls that show Americans tend to support compromise positions, Oldmixon calls on House members to put aside short-term political gain, take their direction from the example of the American public, and focus on finding viable solutions to public policy—not zealous ideology.
The Civil War of George Knox Miller, Eighth (Wade's) Confederate Cavalry
Engaging letters from a gifted and perceptive Confederate cavalry officer.
This book contains the letters of George Knox Miller who served as a line officer in the Confederate cavalry and participated in almost all of the major campaigns of the Army of Tennessee. He was, clearly, a very well-educated young man. Born in 1836 in Talladega, Alabama, he developed a great love for reading and the theater and set his sights upon getting an education that would lead to a career in law or medicine; meanwhile he worked as an apprentice in a painting firm to earn tuition. Miller then enrolled in the University of Virginia, where he excelled in his studies.
Eloquent, bordering on the lyrical, the letters provide riviting first-hand accounts of cavalry raids, the monotony of camp life, and the horror of battlefield carnage. Miller gives detailed descriptions of military uniforms, cavalry tactics, and prison conditions. He conveys a deep commitment to the Confederacy, but he was also critical of Confederate policies that he felt hindered the army's efforts. Dispersed among these war-related topics is the story of Miller's budding relationship with Celestine "Cellie" McCann, the love of his life, whom he would eventually marry. Together, the letters offer significan insight into the life, heart, mind, and attitudes of an intelligent, educated, young mid-19th-century white Southerner.
The Freudian Uncanny in Late-Twentieth-Century Theory
Explores the conceptualization of the Freudian uncanny in various late-twentieth-century theoretical and critical discourses (literary studies, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, art history, trauma studies, architecture, etc.). The Unconcept is the first genealogy of the concept of the Freudian uncanny, tracing the development, paradoxes and movements of this negative concept through various fields and disciplines from psychoanalysis, literary theory and philosophy to film studies, genre studies, sociology, religion, architecture theory, and contemporary art. Anneleen Masschelein explores the vagaries of this ‘unconcept’ in the twentieth century, beginning with Freud’s seminal essay ‘The Uncanny,’ through a period of conceptual latency, leading to the first real conceptualizations in the 1970s and then on to the present dissemination of the uncanny to exotic fields such as hauntology, the study of ghosts, robotics and artificial intelligence. She unearths new material on the uncanny from the English, French and German traditions, and sheds light on the specific status of the concept in contemporary theory and practice in the humanities. This essential reference book for researchers and students of the uncanny is written in an accessible style. Through the lens of the uncanny, the familiar contours of the intellectual history of the twentieth century appear in a new and exciting light.
Hegel's Anticipation of Psychoanalysis
Offering the first comprehensive examination of Hegel’s theory of the unconscious abyss, Jon Mills rectifies a much neglected area of Hegel scholarship. Mills shows that the unconscious is the foundation for conscious and self-conscious life and is responsible for the normative and pathological forces that fuel psychic development. In addition, Mills illustrates how Hegel’s idea of the unconscious abyss transcends his time and is a pivotal concept to his entire philosophical system—one that advances the current understanding of the psychoanalytic mind.