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W. C. Handy Cover

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W. C. Handy

The Life and Times of the Man Who Made the Blues

David Robertson charts W. C. Handy’s rise from a rural-Alabama childhood in the last decades of the nineteenth century to his emergence as one of the most celebrated songwriters of the twentieth century. The child of former slaves, Handy was first inspired by spirituals and folk songs, and his passion for music pushed him to leave home as a teenager, despite opposition from his preacher father. Handy soon found his way to St. Louis, where he spent a winter sleeping on cobblestone docks before lucking into a job with an Indiana brass band. It was in a minstrel show, playing to racially mixed audiences across the country, that he got his first real exposure as a professional musician, but it was in Memphis, where he settled in 1905, that he hit his full stride as a composer. At once a testament to the power of song and a chronicle of race and black music in America, W. C. Handy’s life story is in many ways the story of the birth of our country’s indigenous culture—and a riveting must read for anyone interested in the history of American music.

W. C. McKern and the Midwestern Taxonomic Method Cover

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W. C. McKern and the Midwestern Taxonomic Method

Written by R. Lee Lyman and Michael J. O'Brien

This book explains the deep influence of biological methods and theories on the practice of Americanist archaeology by exploring W. C. McKern's use of Linnaean taxonomy as the model for development of a pottery classification system.

By the early 20th century, North American archaeologists had found evidence of a plethora of prehistoric cultures displaying disparate geographic and chronological distributions. But there were no standards or algorithms for specifying when a culture was distinct or identical to another in a nearby or distant region.

Will Carleton McKern of the Milwaukee Public Museum addressed this fundamental problem of cultural classification beginning in 1929. He modeled his solution—known as the Midwestern Taxonomic Method—on the Linnaean biological taxonomy because he wanted the ability to draw historical and cultural "relationships" among cultures. McKern was assisted during development of the method by Carl E. Guthe, Thorne Deuel, James B. Griffin, and William Ritchie.

This book studies the 1930s correspondence between McKern and his contemporaries as they hashed out the method's nuances. It compares the several different versions of the method and examines the Linnaean biological taxonomy as it was understood and used at the time McKern adapted it to archaeological problems. Finally, this volume reveals how and why the method failed to provide the analytical solution envisioned by McKern and his colleagues and how it influenced the later development of Americanist archaeology.


W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet Cover

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W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet

By Edward J. Blum

Pioneering historian, sociologist, editor, novelist, poet, and organizer, W. E. B. Du Bois was one of the foremost African American intellectuals of the twentieth century. While Du Bois is remembered for his monumental contributions to scholarship and civil rights activism, the spiritual aspects of his work have been misunderstood, even negated. W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet, the first religious biography of this leader, illuminates the spirituality that is essential to understanding his efforts and achievements in the political and intellectual world.

Often labeled an atheist, Du Bois was in fact deeply and creatively involved with religion. Historian Edward J. Blum reveals how spirituality was central to Du Bois's approach to Marxism, pan-Africanism, and nuclear disarmament, his support for black churches, and his reckoning of the spiritual wage of white supremacy. His writings, teachings, and prayers served as articles of faith for fellow activists of his day, from student book club members to Langston Hughes.

A blend of history, sociology, literary criticism, and religious reflection in the model of Du Bois's best work, W. E. B. Du Bois, American Prophet recasts the life of this great visionary and intellectual for a new generation of scholars and activists.

Honorable Mention, 2007 Gustavus Myers Center Outstanding Book Awards

W. E. B. Du Bois and The Souls of Black Folk Cover

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W. E. B. Du Bois and The Souls of Black Folk

Rachel A. Shelden

Wabanaki Homeland and the New State of Maine Cover

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Wabanaki Homeland and the New State of Maine

The 1820 Journal and Plans of Survey of Joseph Treat

edited with an introduction by Micah A. Pawling

In late September 1820, hoping to lay claim to territory then under dispute between Great Britain and the United States, Governor William King of the newly founded state of Maine dispatched Major Joseph Treat to survey public lands on the Penobscot and Saint John Rivers. Traveling well beyond the limits of colonial settlement, Treat relied heavily on the cultural knowledge and expertise of John Neptune, lieutenant governor of the Penobscot tribe, to guide him across the Wabanaki homeland. Along the way Treat recorded his daily experiences in a journal and drew detailed maps, documenting the interactions of the Wabanaki peoples with the land and space they knew as home. Edited, annotated, and with an introduction by Micah Pawling, this volume includes a complete transcription of Treat's journal, reproductions of dozens of hand-drawn maps, and records pertaining to the 1820 treaty between the Penobscot Nation and the governing authorities of Maine. As Pawling points out, Treat's journal offers more than the observations of a state agent conducting a survey. It re-creates a dialogue between Euro-Americans and Native peoples, showing how different perceptions of the land were negotiated and disseminated, and exposing the tensions that surfaced when assumptions and expectations clashed. In large part because of Neptune's influence, the maps, in addition to detailing the location of Wabanaki settlements, reflect a river-oriented Native perspective that would later serve as a key to Euro-American access to the region's interior. The groundwork for cooperation between Treat and Neptune had been laid during the 1820 treaty negotiations, in which both men participated and which were successfully concluded just over a month before their expedition departed from Bangor, Maine. Despite conflicting interests and mutual suspicions, they were able to work together and cultivate a measure of trust as they traveled across northern Maine and western New Brunswick, mapping an old world together while envisioning its uncertain future.

Waccamaw Legacy Cover

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Waccamaw Legacy

Contemporary Indians Fight for Survival

Written by Patricia Lerch

An insightful and informative look into the Waccamaw Siouan's quest for identity and survival.

Waccamaw Legacy: Contemporary Indians Fight for Survival sheds light on North Carolina Indians by tracing the story of the now state-recognized Waccamaw Siouan tribe from its beginnings in the Southeastern United States, through their first contacts with Europeans, and into the 21st century, detailing the struggles these Indians have endured over time. We see how the Waccamaw took hold of popular theories about Indian tribes like the Croatan of the Lost Colony and the Cherokee as they struggled to preserve their heritage and to establish their identity.

Patricia Lerch was hired by the Waccamaw in 1981 to perform the research needed to file for recognition under the Bureau of Indian Affairs Federal Acknowledgement Program of 1978. The Waccamaw began to organize powwows in 1970 to represent publicly their Indian heritage and survival and to spread awareness of their fight for cultural preservation and independence. Lerch found herself understanding that the powwows, in addition to affirming identity, revealed important truths about the history of the Waccamaw and the ways they communicate and coexist.

Waccamaw Legacy outlines Lerch’s experience as she played a vital role in the Waccamaw Siouan's continuing fight for recognition and acceptance in contemporary society and culture.

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Wading for Bugs

Exploring Streams with the Experts

In Wading for Bugs, nearly two dozen aquatic biologists share their memorable encounters with stream insects.

The contributors, based primarily in North America, work in diverse environments—from arctic to desert, from mountain streams to river valleys. They represent a wide range of expertise as authors of standard field texts, leaders in biomonitoring and assessment programs, directors of major laboratories, and specialists in aquatic ecology and taxonomy.

The writings in Wading for Bugs allow readers to experience—through the eyes of the scientists—what it’s like to study stream insects and to make discoveries that could help develop biological indicators for stream health. General summaries introduce each insect order. Elegant insect drawings accompany each story, along with morphological, life history, and habitat information for each species or family.

Wading for Bugs will appeal to general readers as well as students, naturalists, and fisherfolk curious about streams and the insects that live in them.

Wading the Tide Cover

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Wading the Tide

Wading the Tide is an expression of profound emotions touching on a wide range of issues-personal and political-from the birth of the Cameroon nation, her political meandering, until the state of emergency declared on the North West Province in 1992. Accordingly, Doh complains, ridicules, and pays tribute, even as he instructs and guides on timeless matters of life, all in an effort to draw attention to his country's gradual, downward spiral into anomy.

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The Wages of Corruption

Corruption is endemic in Cameroon. Twice, Transparency International have accorded the country the infamous first place in corruption. As one of many concerned Cameroonians, Sammy Oke Akombi was moved and they realized that something was in fact wrong somewhere and something had to be done somehow. This collection of short stories is his contribution to the collective resolve by concerned Cameroonians to wage a war against this most unusual friend of fairness. The stories seek to elicit awareness about a social ill that is ironically championed by the very politicians, functionaries, educator, leaders and power elite whose duty it is to keep society healthy and on the rails. The stories are on corruption in different segments of society and about the people who perpetrate it. Almost everyone is immersed in it and so must make every effort to resurface from it. It takes only the will to stay alive because the wages of corruption like any other sin can only be death.

Wages of Evil Cover

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Wages of Evil

Dostoevsky and Punishment

Anna Schur

Scholars and other readers usually examine Dostoevsky’s views on punishment through the prism of his Christian commitments. For some, this means an orientation toward mercy; for others, an affirmation of suffering as a path toward redemption. Anna Schur brings to bear a wide range of sources in philosophy, criminology, psychology, and history to examine Dostoevsky's ideas. His thinking was shaped not only by his Christian ethics but also by the debates on punishment theory and practice unfolding during his lifetime. As Dostoevsky attempts to balance the various ethical and cultural imperatives, he displays ambivalence both about punishment and about mercy. This ambivalence, Schur argues, is further complicated by what Dostoevsky sees as the unfathomable quality of the self, which hinders every attempt to match crimes with punishments. The one certainty he holds is that a proper response to wrongdoing must include a concern for the wrongdoers’ moral improvement.

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