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Vanguard Performance Beyond Left and Right challenges assumptions regarding "radical" and "experimental" performance that have long dominated thinking about the avant-garde. The essays bring to light vanguard performances rarely discussed: those that support totalitarian regimes, promote conservative values, or have been effectively snapped up by right-wing regimes they sought to oppose. The volume explores a central paradox, examining how innovative performances that challenge oppressive power structures can also be deployed in deliberate, passionate support of oppressive power. Essays by top international contributors pose engaging new questions about the historical avant-garde, vanguard acts, and the complex role of artistic innovation and live performance in global politics. Focusing on performances that work against progressive and democratic ideas, the book demonstrates how many compelling performance ideals—unification, exaltation, immersion—are, in themselves, neither moral nor immoral; they are only emotional and aesthetic urges that can be powerfully channeled into a variety of social and political outlets.
Finding Nature in Philadelphia
In one section of the book, White tours the gardens of colonial botanist John Bartram; his wife, Ann; and their son, writer and naturalist William. Other chapters focus on Deborah Logan, who kept a record of her life on a large farm in the late eighteenth century, and Mary Gibson Henry, twentieth-century botanist, plant collector, and namesake of the lily Hymenocallis henryae. Throughout White weaves passages from diaries, letters, and memoirs from significant Philadephia gardeners into her own striking prose, transforming each place she examines into a palimpsest of the underlying earth and the human landscapes layered over it.
White gives a surprising portrait of the resilience and richness of the natural world in Philadelphia and of the ways that gardening can connect nature to urban space. She shows that although gardens may vanish forever, the meaning and solace inherent in the act of gardening are always waiting to be discovered anew.
Musa al Sadr and the Shia of Lebanon
In the summer of 1978, Musa al Sadr, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Shia sect in Lebanon, disappeared mysteriously while on a visit to Libya. As in the Shia myth of the "Hidden Imam," this modern-day Imam left his followers upholding his legacy and awaiting his return. Considered an outsider when he had arrived in Lebanon in 1959 from his native Iran, he gradually assumed the role of charismatic mullah, and was instrumental in transforming the Shia, a quiescent and downtrodden Islamic minority, into committed political activists.
What sort of person was Musa al Sadr? What beliefs in the Shia doctrine did his life embody? Where did he fit into the tangle of Lebanon's warring factions? What was behind his disappearance? In this fascinating and compelling narrative, Fouad Ajami resurrects the Shia's neglected history, both distant and recent, and interweaves the life and work of Musa al Sadr with the larger strands of the Shia past.
The Story of the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians
Islands—as well as entire continents—are reputed to have disappeared in many parts of the world. Yet there is little information on this subject concerning its largest ocean, the Pacific. Over the years, geologists have amassed data that point to the undeniable fact of islands having disappeared in the Pacific, a phenomenon that the oral traditions of many groups of Pacific Islanders also highlight. There are even a few instances where fragments of Pacific continents have disappeared, becoming hidden from view rather than being submerged. In this scientifically rigorous yet readily comprehensible account of the fascinating subject of vanished islands and hidden continents in the Pacific, the author ranges far and wide, from explanations of the region’s ancient history to the meanings of island myths. Using both original and up-to-date information, he shows that there is real value in bringing together myths and the geological understanding of land movements. A description of the Pacific Basin and the "ups and downs" of the land within its vast ocean is followed by chapters explaining how—long before humans arrived in this part of the world—islands and continents that no longer exist were once present. A succinct account is given of human settlement of the region and the establishment of cultural contexts for the observation of occasional catastrophic earth-surface changes and their encryption in folklore. The author also addresses the persistent myths of a "sunken continent" in the Pacific, which became widespread after European arrival and were subsequently incorporated into new age and pseudoscience explanations of our planet and its inhabitants. Finally, he presents original data and research on island disappearances witnessed by humans, recorded in oral and written traditions, and judged by geoscience to be authentic. Examples are drawn from throughout the Pacific, showing that not only have islands collapsed, and even vanished, within the past few hundred years, but that they are also liable to do so in the future.
Science, Politics, and Honeybee Health
In 2005, beekeepers in the United States began observing a mysterious and disturbing phenomenon: once-healthy colonies of bees were suddenly collapsing, leaving behind empty hives. As it explores the contours of this crisis, Vanishing Bees considers an equally urgent question: what happens when beekeepers, farmers, scientists, agrichemical corporations, and government regulators approach the problem from different vantage points and cannot see eye-to-eye? The answer may have profound consequences for every person who wants to keep fresh food on the table.
The Life and Resurrections of Francis Schlatter
Class and American Literature
Vanishing Moments analyzes how various American authors have reified class through their writing, from the first influx of industrialism in the 1850s to the end of the Great Depression in the early 1940s. Eric Schocket uses this history to document America’s long engagement with the problem of class stratification and demonstrates how deeply America’s desire to deny the presence of class has marked even its most labor-conscious cultural texts. Schocket offers careful readings of works by Herman Melville, Rebecca Harding Davis, William Dean Howells, Jack London, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Muriel Rukeyser, and Langston Hughes, among others, and explores how these authors worked to try to heal the rift between the classes. He considers the challenges writers faced before the Civil War in developing a language of class amidst the predominant concerns about race and slavery; how early literary realists dealt with the threat of class insurrection; how writers at the turn of the century attempted to span the divide between the classes by going undercover as workers; how early modernists used working-class characters and idioms to shape their aesthetic experiments; and how leftists in the 1930s struggled to develop an adequate model to connect class and literature. Vanishing Moments’ unique combination of a broad historical scope and in-depth readings makes it an essential book for scholars and students of American literature and culture, as well as for political scientists, economists, and humanists. Eric Schocket is Associate Professor of American Literature at Hampshire College. “An important book containing many brilliant arguments—hard-hitting and original. Schocket demonstrates a sophisticated acquaintance with issues within the working-class studies movement.” --Barbara Foley, Rutgers University
Saving Journalism in the Information Age