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Unclaimed Experience Cover

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Unclaimed Experience

Trauma, Narrative and History

Cathy Caruth

"If Freud turns to literature to describe traumatic experience, it is because literature, like psychoanalysis, is interested in the complex relation between knowing and not knowing, and it is at this specific point at which knowing and not knowing intersect that the psychoanalytic theory of traumatic experience and the language of literature meet."—from the Introduction In Unclaimed Experience, Cathy Caruth proposes that in the "widespread and bewildering experience of trauma" in our century—both in its occurrence and in our attempt to understand it—we can recognize the possibility of a history no longer based on simple models of straightforward experience and reference. Through the notion of trauma, she contends, we come to a new understanding that permits history to arise where immediate understanding is impossible. In her wide-ranging discussion, Caruth engages Freud's theory of trauma as outlined in Moses and Monotheism and Beyond the Pleasure Principle; the notion of reference and the figure of the falling body in de Man, Kleist, and Kant; the narratives of personal catastrophe in Hiroshima mon amour; and the traumatic address in Lecompte's reinterpretation of Freud's narrative of the dream of the burning child.

Uncle Sam's War of 1898 and the Origins of Globalization Cover

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Uncle Sam's War of 1898 and the Origins of Globalization

Thomas D. Schoonover

WITH A FOREWORD BY WALTER LAFEBERThe roots of American globalization can be found in the War of 1898. Then, as today, the United States actively engaged in globalizing its economic order, itspolitical institutions, and its values. Thomas Schoonover argues that this drive to expand political and cultural reach -- the quest for wealth, missionary fulfillment, security, power, and prestige -- was inherited by the United States from Europe, especially Spain and Great Britain. Uncle Sam's War of 1898 and the Origins of Globalization is a pathbreaking work of history that examines U.S. growth from its early nationhood to its first major military conflict on the world stage, also known as the Spanish-American War. As the new nation's military, industrial, and economic strength developed, the United States created policies designed to protect itself from challenges beyond its borders. According to Schoonover, a surge in U.S. activity in the Gulf-Caribbean and in Central America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was catalyzed by the same avarice and competitiveness that motivated the European adventurers to seek a route to Asia centuries earlier. Addressing the basic chronology and themes of the first century of the nation's expansion, Schoonover locates the origins of the U.S. goal of globalization. U.S. involvement in the War of 1898 reflects many of the fundamental patterns in our national history -- exploration and discovery, labor exploitation, violence, racism, class conflict, and concern for security -- that many believe shaped America's course in the twentieth and twenty-first century.

Uncle Tom's Story of His Life Cover

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Uncle Tom's Story of His Life

An Autobiography of the Rev. Josiah Henson (Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom). From 1789 to 1876.

Josiah Henson

Born into slavery in North Carolina around 1786, Moses Grandy was bequeathed to his young playmate, his original owner's son, when they were both eight years old. Hired out until he was twenty-one, Grandy describes each of his temporary masters--some cruel and some kind. His first wife is sold shortly after they marry, and he never sees her again. After saving his money whenever possible and buying his freedom for $600, Grandy is betrayed by his childhood friend, who sells him. Grandy marries again and purchases his freedom a second time, only to be once again betrayed. With the assistance of white friends, Grandy buys his freedom a third time and moves north. He is also able to purchase the freedom of his second wife, but their children remain in slavery. Grandy wrote this ###Narrative# to raise funds for the freedom of his children.

Unclean Lips Cover

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Unclean Lips

Jews, Obscenity, and American Culture

Josh Lambert

Jews have played an integral role in the history of obscenity in America. For most of the 20th century, Jewish entrepreneurs and editors led the charge against obscenity laws. Jewish lawyers battled literary censorship even when their non-Jewish counterparts refused to do so, and they won court decisions in favor of texts including UlyssesA HowlLady Chatterley’s Lover, and Tropic of Cancer. Jewish literary critics have provided some of the most influential courtroom testimony on behalf of freedom of expression.
  
The anti-Semitic stereotype of the lascivious Jew has made many historians hesitant to draw a direct link between Jewishness and obscenity. In Unclean Lips, Josh Lambert addresses the Jewishness of participants in obscenity controversies in the U.S. directly, exploring the transformative roles played by a host of neglected figures in the development of modern and postmodern American culture.
 
The diversity of American Jewry means that there is no single explanation for Jews' interventions in this field. Rejecting generalizations, this bookoffers case studies that pair cultural histories with close readings of both contested texts and trial transcripts to reveal the ways in which specific engagements with obscenity mattered to particular American Jews at discrete historical moments.
 
Reading American culture from Theodore Dreiser and Henry Miller to Curb Your Enthusiasm and FCC v. FoxUnclean Lips analyzes the variable historical and cultural factors that account for the central role Jews have played in the struggles over obscenity and censorship in the modern United States.
 
Josh Lambert is Academic Director of the Yiddish Book Center and Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
 
In The Goldstein-Goren Series in American Jewish History

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The Uncoiling Python

South African Storytellers and Resistance

Harold Scheub

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.

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Uncommon Dominion

Venetian Crete and the Myth of Ethnic Purity

By Sally McKee

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.

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An Uncommon Man

The Life and Times of Senator Claiborne Pell

By G. Wayne Miller

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.

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Uncommon Tongues

Eloquence and Eccentricity in the English Renaissance

By Catherine Nicholson

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.

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Uncommonly Savage

Civil War and Remembrance in Spain and the United States

Paul D. Escott

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.

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Uncompromising Positions

God, Sex, and the U.S. House of Representatives

Elizabeth Anne Oldmixon

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.

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