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An Affair of State
The Investigation, Impeachment, and Trial of President Clinton
Richard A. Posner
Harvard University Press, 1999

President Bill Clinton’s year of crisis, which began when his affair with Monica Lewinsky hit the front pages in January 1998, engendered a host of important questions of criminal and constitutional law, public and private morality, and political and cultural conflict.

In a book written while the events of the year were unfolding, Richard Posner presents a balanced and scholarly understanding of the crisis that also has the freshness and immediacy of journalism. Posner clarifies the issues and eliminates misunderstandings concerning facts and the law that were relevant to the investigation by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and to the impeachment proceeding itself. He explains the legal definitions of obstruction of justice and perjury, which even many lawyers are unfamiliar with. He carefully assesses the conduct of Starr and his prosecutors, including their contacts with the lawyers for Paula Jones and their hardball tactics with Monica Lewinsky and her mother. He compares and contrasts the Clinton affair with Watergate, Iran–Contra, and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, exploring the subtle relationship between public and private morality. And he examines the place of impeachment in the American constitutional scheme, the pros and cons of impeaching President Clinton, and the major procedural issues raised by both the impeachment in the House and the trial in the Senate. This book, reflecting the breadth of Posner’s experience and expertise, will be the essential foundation for anyone who wants to understand President Clinton’s impeachment ordeal.

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Ambition and Division
Legacies of the George W. Bush Presidency
Steven Schier
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009
The presidency of George W. Bush is notable for the grand scale of its ambitions, the controversy that these ambitions generated, and the risks he regularly courted in the spheres of politics, economics, and foreign policy.  Bush's ultimate goal was indeed ambitious: the completion of the conservative “regime change” first heralded by the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.  But ironically this effort sewed the very discord that ultimately took root and emerged to frustrate Bush's plans, and may even have begun to unravel aspects of the Reagan revolution he sought to institutionalize.  
     Politically, the Bush White House sought the entrenchment of consistent Republican electoral majorities.  Institutionally, the Bush administration sought to preserve control of Congress by maintaining reliable partisan Republican majorities, and to influence the federal courts with a steady stream of conservative judicial appointees.  The administration also sought increased autonomy over the executive branch by the aggressive use of executive orders and bureaucratic reorganizations in response to 9/11. 
     Many of these efforts were at least partially successful.  But ultimately the fate of the Bush presidency was tied to its greatest single gamble, the Iraq War.  The flawed prosecution of that conflict, combined with other White House management failures and finally a slumping economy, left Bush and the Republican Party deeply unpopular and the victim of strong electoral reversals in 2006 and the election victory of Barack Obama in 2008.  The American public had turned against the Bush agenda in great part because of the negative outcomes resulting from the administration's pursuit of that agenda.
     This book assembles prominent presidential scholars to measure the trajectory of Bush's aspirations, his accomplishments, and his failures. By examining presidential leadership, popular politics and policymaking in this context, the contributors begin the work of understanding the unique historical legacy of the Bush presidency.
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American Values, Religious Voices
100 Days. 100 Letters
Andrea L. Weiss and Lisa M. Weinberger
University of Cincinnati Press, 2018
In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, many Americans questioned how to respond to the results and the deep divisions in our country exposed by the campaign. Many people of faith turned to their religious communities for guidance and support. Many looked for ways to take action. In November 2016, biblical scholar Andrea L. Weiss and graphic designer Lisa M. Weinberger teamed up to create an innovative response: a national nonpartisan campaign that used letters and social media to highlight core American values connected to our diverse religious traditions.
 
American Values, Religious Voices: 100 Days, 100 Letters is a collection of letters written by some of America’s most accomplished and thoughtful scholars of religion during the first 100 days of the Trump presidency. While the letters are addressed to the president, vice president, and members of the 115th Congress and Trump administration, they speak to a broad audience of Americans looking for wisdom and encouragement at this tumultuous time in our nation’s history.
 
This unique volume assembles the 100 letters, plus four new supplemental essays and many of the graphic illustrations that enhanced the campaign.
 
Published near the midway point of the Trump presidency, this book showcases a wide range of ancient sacred texts that pertain to our most pressing contemporary issues. At a time of great division in our country, this post-election project models how people of different backgrounds can listen to and learn from one another. The letters offer insight and inspiration, reminding us of the enduring values that make our nation great.
 
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Angry Public Rhetorics
Global Relations and Emotion in the Wake of 9/11
Celeste Michelle Condit
University of Michigan Press, 2018
In Angry Public Rhetorics, Celeste Condit explores emotions as motivators and organizers of collective action—a theory that treats humans as “symbol-using animals” to understand the patterns of leadership in global affairs—to account for the way in which anger produced similar rhetorics in three ideologically diverse voices surrounding 9/11: Osama bin Laden, President George W. Bush, and Susan Sontag.

These voices show that anger is more effective for producing some collective actions, such as rallying supporters, reifying existing worldviews, motivating attack, enforcing shared norms, or threatening from positions of power; and less effective for others, like broadening thought, attracting new allies, adjudicating justice across cultural norms, or threatening from positions of weakness. Because social anger requires shared norms, collectivized anger cannot serve social justice. In order for anger to be a force for global justice, the world’s peoples must develop shared norms to direct discussion of international relations. Angry Public Rhetorics provides guidance for such public forums.
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Being and God
A Systematic Approach in Confrontation with Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jean-Luc Marion
Lorenz B. Puntel and Alan White
Northwestern University Press, 2011
Being and God argues that defensible philosophical theorization concerning the topic “God” is both possible and necessary within the framework of an adequate systematic philosophy—which must include a theory of Being—but is not possible in the absence of such a framework. The book provides critiques of philosophical approaches to this topic that have not relied on such frameworks; targets include the most important and influential treatments presented by historical, contemporary analytic, and contemporary continental philosophers. The book also further develops the systematic framework presented in Puntel’s Structure and Being (2008), extending a line of argumentation to show that the absolutely necessary dimension of Being is, when more fully explicated, appropriately named “God.”
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Bill and Hillary
The Politics of the Personal
William H. Chafe
Duke University Press, 2012
In Bill and Hillary, one of our preeminent historians, William H. Chafe, boldly argues that the trajectory of the Clintons' political lives can be understood only through the prism of their personal relationship. From the day they first met at Yale Law School, Bill and Hillary were inseparable, even though their relationship was inherently volatile. The personal dynamic between them would go on to determine their political fates. Hillary was instrumental in Bill's triumphs as Arkansas's governor, and she saved his presidential candidacy in 1992 by standing with him during the Gennifer Flowers sex scandal. He responded by delegating to her powers that no other First Lady had ever exercised. Always tempestuous, their relationship had as many lows as highs, from near divorce to stunning electoral and political successes. Chafe's penetrating insights—into subjects such as health care, Kenneth Starr, welfare reform, and the extent to which the Lewinsky scandal finally freed Hillary to become a politician in her own right—add texture and depth to our understanding of the Clintons' experience together. Bill and Hillary is the definitive account of the Clintons’ relationship and its far-reaching impact on American political life.
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Bill Clinton on Stump, State, and Stage
The Rhetorical Road to the White House
Stephen A. Smith
University of Arkansas Press, 1994
These lively and penetrating essays by outstanding scholars of political communication examine President Clinton’s rhetorical work before he took the oath of office, presenting a unique perspective on the words and texts that brought him to the presidency and the dynamics of political media throughout the campaign. In these original, valuable, and deeply insightful interpretations, the success of Clinton as a public persuader and compelling orator is analyzed, as is the whole process of political communication in America at the end of the twentieth century.
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Bob Bullock
God Bless Texas
By Dave McNeely and Jim Henderson
University of Texas Press, 2008

Renowned for his fierce devotion to the people of Texas—as well as his equally fierce rages and unpredictable temper—Bob Bullock was the most powerful political figure in Texas at the end of the twentieth century. First elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1956, Bullock held several key statewide posts before capturing the lieutenant governor's office in 1990. Though nominally the state's number two official, Bullock in fact became Texas's top power broker, wielding tremendous influence over the legislative agenda and state budget through the 1990s while also mentoring and supporting a future president—George W. Bush.

In this lively, yet thoroughly researched biography, award-winning journalists Dave McNeely and Jim Henderson craft a well-rounded portrait of Bob Bullock, underscoring both his political adroitness and his personal demons. They trace Bullock's rise through state government as Assistant Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Comptroller, and Lieutenant Governor, showing how he increased the power of every office he held. The authors spotlight Bullock's substantial achievements, which included hiring an unprecedented number of women and minorities, instituting a performance review to increase the efficiency of state agencies, restructuring the public school funding system, and creating the state's first water conservation and management plan.

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The Boy from Altheimer
From the Depression to the Boardroom
William H. Bowen
University of Arkansas Press, 2006
Bill Bowen’s memoir deals with many of the most important events and years in Arkansas history in the twentieth century. Bowen was born and raised in Altheimer, in the Arkansas Delta, a section of the country that was among the most impoverished in the nation during the Depression. His adolescence was shaped by the Depression, and as a young adult he enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and served in the U.S. Naval Reserve until 1963. After the war, Bowen became a tax attorney. He used his unique skills to refine the legal aspects of investment banking in Arkansas and became so proficient at it that he moved into the banking field to serve first as president then board chairman of one of Arkansas’s largest banks. Legal and banking experience led naturally to politics, and he became chief of staff for Gov. Bill Clinton. After Clinton announced his candidacy for president, it became Bowen’s task to protect the interests and programs of Governor Clinton in the face of intense pressure from then Lt. Gov. Jim Guy Tucker to become de facto governor. Even in retirement he continued to lead an energetic, productive life as he prepared himself for yet another career, this one in education, serving two years as dean of the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Law School, which now bears his name.
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Brother Bill
President Clinton and the Politics of Race and Class
Daryl A Carter
University of Arkansas Press, 2016

“This book is a fascinating analysis of race and class in the age of President Bill Clinton. It provides much-needed clarity in regards to the myth of the ‘First Black President.’ It contributes much to our understanding of the history that informs our present moment!”
—Cornel West


As President Barack Obama was sworn into office on January 20, 2009, the United States was abuzz with talk of the first African American president. At this historic moment, one man standing on the inaugural platform, seemingly a relic of the past, had actually been called by the moniker the “first black president” for years.

President William Jefferson Clinton had long enjoyed the support of African Americans during his political career, but the man from Hope also had a complex and tenuous relationship with this faction of his political base. Clinton stood at the nexus of intense political battles between conservatives’ demands for a return to the past and African Americans’ demands for change and fuller equality. He also struggled with the class dynamics dividing the American electorate, especially African Americans. Those with financial means seized newfound opportunities to go to college, enter the professions, pursue entrepreneurial ambitions, and engage in mainstream politics, while those without financial means were essentially left behind. The former became key to Clinton’s political success as he skillfully negotiated the African American class structure while at the same time maintaining the support of white Americans. The results were tremendously positive for some African Americans. For others, the Clinton presidency was devastating.

Brother Bill examines President Clinton’s political relationship with African Americans and illuminates the nuances of race and class at the end of the twentieth century, an era of technological, political, and social upheaval.

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Calamities of Exile
Three Nonfiction Novellas
Lawrence Weschler
University of Chicago Press, 1998
From the author of Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder, Calamities of Exile combines three gripping narratives that afford a sort of double CAT scan into the natures of both modern totalitarianism and timeless exile.

"Beautiful but harrowing chronicles of three exiles that probe the moral and personal risks of their encounters with totalitarianism. . . . Piercing and timely."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Weschler . . . combines a novelist's gift for drama with the objectivity and research skills of a journalist. . . . The result is three gripping profiles of very human but also extraordinary men."—Publishers Weekly

"[Weschler's] thorough accounting of the men's covert operations, assumed identities and strained relationships with fathers, wives, and colleagues creates a disturbing triptych of the perils of totalitarianism."—Lance Gould, New York Times Book Review

"Weschler tells these three tragic tales with an admirable combination of psychological penetration, intellectual thrust, concision and compassion."—Francis King, Spectator

"Endlessly absorbing. . . . Breathtaking."—Jeri Laber, Los Angeles Times Book Review
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Campaign
A Cartoon History of Bill Clinton's Race for the White House
Mary Ann Barton
University of Arkansas Press, 1993
This fascinating record chronicles Governor Bill Clinton’s 1992 bid for the presidency by gathering editorial cartoons from some of the nation’s premier magazines and newspapers. His meteoric rise from obscure origins as governor of a small southern state to his current position as the world’s most powerful head of state presents political cartoonists with a unique challenge.

For many people, in the United States and abroad, the dramas of the campaign created the character of Clinton. From the Gennifer Flowers debacle to Clinton’s
resurrection at the Democratic National Convention and the triumph of the election win, the incisive cartoons in this collection capture Clinton’s emerging image in a way that no written word can. The forty-five contributing artists use these cartoons to depict the breathtaking and colorful events that only a presidential campaign can produce and offer hours of entertainment for any reader.
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Canyon
Michael P. Ghiglieri
University of Arizona Press, 1992
Fasten your life jackets for a ride you'll never forget. Now the excitement of a raft trip through the Grand Canyon has been re-created by a seasoned whitewater guide with a passion to share one of the world's most fantastic journeys. Michael Ghiglieri, a professional river guide for more than 17 years, has written the first book to describe that trip from the modern boatman's point of view.

From Lee's Ferry to Diamond Creek, Ghiglieri leads you down 226 miles of wild river and through some of the most breathtaking scenery on earth. Along the way, he navigates the Colorado River's dozens of notorious rapids—many of which drop fifteen feet or more—and shares the excitement of waves and boulders, thunder and foam. Recounting a real journey through this geological wonder, Canyon interweaves heart-pounding adventure with factual insights into the world of Grand Canyon. Between the rapids, Ghiglieri relates tales of river runners past and present, lessons in geology and wildlife, observations on the impact of Glen Canyon Dam, and stories of Native inhabitants, from Anasazi ancestors to Havasupai Rastafarians. This trip also offers more than its share of human drama for the passengers aboard, leaving them with tales of their own to tell.

"Running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon is to me the most impressive journey on our planet," writes Ghiglieri, "an adventure that leaves no traveler unchanged." For anyone who has ever shared or contemplated that adventure, Canyon recreates an unforgettable ride.
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Changing Their Minds?
Donald Trump and Presidential Leadership
George C. Edwards III
University of Chicago Press, 2021
Despite popular perceptions, presidents rarely succeed in persuading either the public or members of Congress to change their minds and move from opposition to particular policies to support of them. As a result, the White House is not able to alter the political landscape and create opportunities for change. Instead, successful presidents recognize and skillfully exploit the opportunities already found in their political environments. If they fail to understand their strategic positions, they are likely to overreach and experience political disaster.
 
Donald Trump has been a distinctive president, and his arrival in the Oval Office brought new questions. Could someone with his decades of experience as a self-promoter connect with the public and win its support? Could a president who is an experienced negotiator obtain the support in Congress needed to pass his legislative programs? Would we need to adjust the theory of presidential leadership to accommodate a president with unique persuasive skills?
 
Building on decades of research and employing extensive new data, George C. Edwards III addresses these questions. He finds that President Trump has been no different than other presidents in being constrained by his environment. He moved neither the public nor Congress. Even for an experienced salesman and dealmaker, presidential power is still not the power to persuade. Equally important was the fact that, as Edwards shows, Trump was not able to exploit the opportunities he had. In fact, we learn here that the patterns of the president’s rhetoric and communications and his approach to dealing with Congress ultimately lessened his chances of success. President Trump, it turns out, was often his own agenda’s undoing.
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Citizen Spielberg
Lester D. Friedman
University of Illinois Press, 2022
Steven Spielberg's extraordinary career redefined Hollywood, but his achievement goes far beyond shattered box office records. Rejecting the view of Spielberg as a Barnumesque purveyor of spectacle, Lester D. Friedman presents the filmmaker as a major artist who pairs an ongoing willingness to challenge himself with a widely recognized technical mastery.

This new edition of Citizen Spielberg expands Friedman’s original analysis to include films of the 2010s like Lincoln and Ready Player One. Breaking down the works by genre, Friedman looks at essential aspects of Spielberg’s art, from his storytelling concerns and worldview to the uncanny connection with audiences that has powered his longtime influence as a cultural force. Friedman's examination reveals a sustained artistic vision--a vision that shows no sign of exhausting itself or audiences after Spielberg's nearly fifty years as a high-profile filmmaker.

Incisive and discerning, Citizen Spielberg offers a career-spanning appraisal of a moviemaking icon.

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Citizen Spielberg
Lester D. Friedman
University of Illinois Press, 2010
Steven Spielberg is the director or producer of over one third of the thirty highest grossing films of all time, yet most film scholars dismiss him as little more than a modern P. T. Barnum--a technically gifted and intellectually shallow showman who substitutes spectacle for substance. To date, no book has attempted to analyze the components of his worldview, the issues which animate his most significant works, the roots of his immense acceptance, and the influence his vast spectrum of imaginative products exerts on the public consciousness. 
 
In Citizen Spielberg, Lester D. Friedman fills that void with a systematic analysis of the various genres in which the director has worked, including science fiction (E.T.), adventure (Raiders trilogy), race films (The Color Purple, Amistad), and war films (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List). Friedman concludes that Spielberg’s films present a sustained artistic vision combined with a technical flair matched by few other filmmakers, and makes a compelling case for Spielberg to be considered as a major film artist.
 
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The Clinton Riddle
Perspectives on the Forty-second President
Todd G. Shields
University of Arkansas Press, 2004
In 2002 a distinguished interdisciplinary group of scholars gathered at the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society at the University of Arkansas to provide a critical evaluation of the Clinton-Gore administration. Their groundbreaking assessment of the most controversial president in modern times treats such crucial topics as race, women, and minorities; the character issue; foreign policy; and the media. This book provides a unique vantage point on the “Clinton riddle” that all future studies will need to consider.
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The Clinton Scandal and the Future of American Government
Mark J. Rozell and Clyde Wilcox, Editors
Georgetown University Press, 2000

The Clinton scandal consumed the better part of a year of American public life, bitterly dividing the nation and culminating in a constitutional crisis. In this book, thoughtful, nonpartisan essays provide an insightful and lasting analysis of one of the major political events of our time.

Here leading scholars explore the long-reaching constitutional and political implications of the scandal: how it will affect the presidency, the law, and the political process. A first group of chapters considers effects of the scandal on institutions: the presidency, Congress, the courts, the independent counsel statute, executive privilege, and the impeachment process itself. A second section addresses political factors: public opinion, the media, and presidential character and personality. A concluding essay broadly examines the implications of the scandal for governance.

These far-reaching essays address such issues as risks posed to Congressional political careers, the prospect of future presidents being subject to civil suits, the pros and cons of Kenneth Starr's investigation, the role of the media in breaking and then shaping the story, and ways of reforming the system to handle the unacceptable private behavior of future presidents.

A provocative book for readers concerned with how our government copes with such a challenge, and an essential reader for courses on the presidency or American government, this collection will stand the tests of both time and rigorous analysis.

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The Clintons of Arkansas
An Introduction by Those Who Know Them Best
Ernest Dumas
University of Arkansas Press, 1993
This collection of anecdotal stories by the people who know them best introduces Bill and Hillary to the nation as only friends can. The essays collectively place the Clintons into proper social, historical, and geographical context for anyone who wants to know the former First Family on a more personal level.
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David Lynch
Justus Nieland
University of Illinois Press, 2012
A key figure in the ongoing legacy of modern cinema, David Lynch designs environments for spectators, transporting them to inner worlds built by mood, texture, and uneasy artifice. We enter these famously cinematic interiors to be wrapped in plastic, the fundamental substance of Lynch’s work. This volume revels in the weird dynamism of Lynch’s plastic worlds. Exploring the range of modern design idioms that inform Lynch’s films and signature mise-en-scène, Justus Nieland argues that plastic is at once a key architectural and interior design dynamic in Lynch’s films, an uncertain way of feeling essential to Lynch’s art, and the prime matter of Lynch’s strange picture of the human organism.
 
Nieland’s study offers striking new readings of Lynch’s major works (Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Mulholland Dr., Inland Empire) and his early experimental films, placing Lynch’s experimentalism within the aesthetic traditions of modernism and the avant-garde; the genres of melodrama, film noir, and art cinema; architecture and design history; and contemporary debates about cinematic ontology in the wake of the digital. This inventive study argues that Lynch’s plastic concept of life--supplemented by technology, media, and sensuous networks of an electric world--is more alive today than ever.
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David Lynch Swerves
Uncertainty from Lost Highway to Inland Empire
By Martha Nochimson
University of Texas Press, 2013

Beginning with Lost Highway, director David Lynch “swerved” in a new direction, one in which very disorienting images of the physical world take center stage in his films. Seeking to understand this unusual emphasis in his work, noted Lynch scholar Martha Nochimson engaged Lynch in a long conversation of unprecedented openness, during which he shared his vision of the physical world as an uncertain place that masks important universal realities. He described how he derives this vision from the Holy Vedas of the Hindu religion, as well as from his layman’s fascination with modern physics.

With this deep insight, Nochimson forges a startlingly original template for analyzing Lynch’s later films—the seemingly unlikely combination of the spiritual landscape envisioned in the Holy Vedas and the material landscape evoked by quantum mechanics and relativity. In David Lynch Swerves, Nochimson navigates the complexities of Lost Highway, The Straight Story, Mulholland Drive, and Inland Empire with uncanny skill, shedding light on the beauty of their organic compositions; their thematic critiques of the immense dangers of modern materialism; and their hopeful conceptions of human potential. She concludes with excerpts from the wide-ranging interview in which Lynch discussed his vision with her, as well as an interview with Columbia University physicist David Albert, who was one of Nochimson’s principal tutors in the discipline of quantum physics.

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Decoding the Digital Church
Evangelical Storytelling and the Election of Donald J. Trump
Stephanie A. Martin
University of Alabama Press, 2021
A nuanced look at the rhetorical narratives used by conservative Republicans and evangelicals to make both personal and political choices
 
As a political constituency, white conservative evangelicals are generally portrayed as easy to dupe, disposed to vote against their own interests, and prone to intolerance and knee-jerk reactions. In Decoding the Digital Church: Evangelical Storytelling and the Election of Donald J. Trump, Stephanie A. Martin challenges this assumption and moves beyond these overused stereotypes to develop a refined explanation for this constituency’s voting behavior.

This volume offers a fresh perspective on the study of religion and politics and stems from the author’s personal interest in the ways her experiences with believers differ from how scholars often frame this group’s rationale and behaviors. To address this disparity, Martin examines sermons, drawing on her expertise in rhetoric and communication studies with the benefits of ethnographic research in an innovative hybrid approach she terms a “digital rhetorical ethnography.” Martin’s thorough research surveys more than 150 online sermons from America’s largest evangelical megachurches in 37 different states. Through listening closely to the words of the pastors who lead these conservative congregations, Martin describes a gentler discourse less obsessed with issues like abortion or marriage equality than stereotypes of evangelicals might suggest. Instead, the politicaleconomic sermons and stories from pastors encourage true believers
to remember the exceptional nature of the nation’s founding while also deemphasizing how much American citizenship really means.

Martin grapples with and pays serious, scholarly attention to a seeming contradiction: while the large majority of white conservative evangelicals voted in 2016 for Donald J. Trump, Martin shows that many of their pastors were deeply concerned about the candidate, the divisive nature of the campaign, and the potential effect of the race on their congregants’ devotion to democratic process itself. In-depth chapters provide a fuller analysis of our current political climate, recapping previous scholarship on the history of this growing divide and establishing the groundwork to set up the dissonance between the political commitments of evangelicals and their faith that the rhetorical ethnography addresses.
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"Destined to Fail"
Carl Seashore’s World of Eugenics, Psychology, Education, and Music
Julia Eklund Koza
University of Michigan Press, 2021

A little-known fact about the prominent US psychologist and educator Carl E. Seashore (1866–1949) is that he was deeply involved in the American eugenics movement. He was among the US academics to support eugenics long before German Nazis embraced it. A titan in a host of disciplines and a proponent of radical education reform, Seashore used his positional power to promote a constellation of education reforms consistent with central precepts of eugenics. Many of these reforms, including tracking, gifted and talented programs, and high-stakes standardized testing, were adopted and remain standard practice in the United States today. He promulgated the idea that musical talent is biologically inheritable, and he developed the first standardized tests of musical talent; these tests were used by early-twentieth-century researchers in their attempts to determine whether there are race differences in musical talent. Seashore’s ideas and work profoundly shaped music education’s research trajectory, as well as enduring “commonsense” beliefs about musical ability. An intersectional analysis, “Destined to Fail” focuses on the relationship between eugenics and Seashore’s views on ability, race, and gender. Koza concludes that Seashore promoted eugenics and its companion, euthenics, because he was a true believer. She also discusses the longstanding silences surrounding Seashore’s participation in eugenics. As a diagnosis and critique of the present, “Destined to Fail” identifies resemblances and connections between past and present that illustrate the continuing influence of eugenics—and the systems of reasoning that made early-twentieth-century eugenics imaginable and seem reasonable—on education discourse and practice today. It maps out discursive, citational, and funding connections between eugenicists of the early twentieth-century and contemporary White supremacists; this mapping leads to some of Donald Trump’s supporters and appointees.

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Digital Demagogue
Authoritarian Capitalism in the Age of Trump and Twitter
Christian Fuchs
Pluto Press, 2018
We’re all familiar by now with the ways that Donald Trump uses digital media to communicate, from the ridiculous to the terrifying. This book digs deeper into the use of those tools in politics to show how they have facilitated the rise of authoritarianism, nationalism, and right-wing ideologies around the world. Christian Fuchs here applies an updated Marxist frame, along with insights drawn from the Frankfurt School, to show the pernicious role of social media in the hands of nationalist politicians, and the ways in which it has been used to spread right-wing ideology far and wide, and make it seem like an ordinary part of contemporary political discourse. Fuchs diagnoses this problem in stark terms, but he doesn’t stop there: he also lays out ways to fight it, and analyzes the prospects for pushing past capitalism and renewing the left.
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Don Gummer
Peter Plagens
The Artist Book Foundation, 2021
The trajectory of Don Gummer’s career as a sculptor began in New York City in the late 1970s with his wall reliefs of painted wood, carefully layered geometric works exhibiting a strong architectural influence. Moving beyond wood to stone, bronze, stainless steel, aluminum, and glass as his primary materials, his artworks evolved into subtly inventive freestanding sculptures, often of monumental scale, that exhibit his unfailing attention to craftsmanship and detail. The Artist Book Foundation is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of Don Gummer, a new monograph on the artist and his highly acclaimed body of work. Gummer was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1946 and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he attended the Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University. He subsequently received both a BFA and an MFA from Yale University’s School of Fine Arts. In a 2001 interview with Peter Plagens, American artist and art critic, Gummer described his interest in sculpture as “the recontextualization of natural phenomena, of unaltered things brought into aesthetic balance by choosing and placing.” Using balance, proportion, and his unique sense of harmony, the artist is able to make durable materials seem almost buoyant. Negative space becomes an intrinsic element in his work, imparting a sense that his exquisite, seemingly permanent forms are ultimately as fleeting as any of nature’s creations would be. The artist’s works can be found in many public collections including the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio; the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Massachusetts; and Chase Manhattan Bank and Chemical Bank, both in New York City. He has received a number of awards from prestigious organizations such as the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and he was Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome. Some of his most recent sculptures appeared around Indianapolis in conjunction with his 2016 exhibition, Back Home Again.
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Don't Call Me Inspirational
A Disabled Feminist Talks Back
Harilyn Rousso
Temple University Press, 2013

 For psychotherapist, painter, feminist, filmmaker, writer, and disability activist Harilyn Rousso, hearing well-intentioned people tell her, "You're so inspirational!" is patronizing, not complimentary.

In her empowering and at times confrontational memoir, Don't Call Me Inspirational, Rousso, who has cerebral palsy, describes overcoming the prejudice against disability--not overcoming disability. She addresses the often absurd and ignorant attitudes of strangers, friends, and family. 

Rousso also examines her own prejudice toward her disabled body, and portrays the healing effects of intimacy and creativity, as well as her involvement with the disability rights community. She intimately reveals herself with honesty and humor and measures her personal growth as she goes from "passing" to embracing and claiming her disability as a source of pride, positive identity, and rebellion. 

A collage of images about her life, rather than a formal portrait, Don't Call Me Inspirational celebrates Rousso's wise, witty, productive, outrageous life, disability and all.


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Duty to Serve, Duty to Conscience
The Story of Two Conscientious Objector Combat Medics during the Vietnam War
James C. Kearney
University of North Texas Press, 2023

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Dynamics, Geometry, Number Theory
The Impact of Margulis on Modern Mathematics
Edited by David Fisher, Dmitry Kleinbock, and Gregory Soifer
University of Chicago Press, 2022
This definitive synthesis of mathematician Gregory Margulis’s research brings together leading experts to cover the breadth and diversity of disciplines Margulis’s work touches upon.
 
This edited collection highlights the foundations and evolution of research by widely influential Fields Medalist Gregory Margulis. Margulis is unusual in the degree to which his solutions to particular problems have opened new vistas of mathematics; his ideas were central, for example, to developments that led to the recent Fields Medals of Elon Lindenstrauss and Maryam Mirzhakhani. Dynamics, Geometry, Number Theory introduces these areas, their development, their use in current research, and the connections between them. Divided into four broad sections—“Arithmeticity, Superrigidity, Normal Subgroups”; “Discrete Subgroups”; “Expanders, Representations, Spectral Theory”; and “Homogeneous Dynamics”—the chapters have all been written by the foremost experts on each topic with a view to making them accessible both to graduate students and to experts in other parts of mathematics. This was no simple feat: Margulis’s work stands out in part because of its depth, but also because it brings together ideas from different areas of mathematics. Few can be experts in all of these fields, and this diversity of ideas can make it challenging to enter Margulis’s area of research. Dynamics, Geometry, Number Theory provides one remedy to that challenge.
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Familial Undercurrents
Untold Stories of Love and Marriage in Modern Iran
Afsaneh Najmabadi
Duke University Press, 2022
Not long after her father died, Afsaneh Najmabadi discovered that her father had a secret second family and that she had a sister she never knew about. In Familial Undercurrents, Najmabadi uncovers her family’s complex experiences of polygamous marriage to tell a larger story of the transformations of notions of love, marriage, and family life in mid-twentieth-century Iran. She traces how the idea of “marrying for love” and the desire for companionate, monogamous marriage acquired dominance in Tehran’s emerging urban middle class. Considering the role played in that process by late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century romance novels, reformist newspapers, plays, and other literature, Najmabadi outlines the rituals and objects---such as wedding outfits, letter writing, and family portraits---that came to characterize the ideal companionate marriage. She reveals how in the course of one generation men’s polygamy had evolved from an acceptable open practice to a taboo best kept secret. At the same time, she chronicles the urban transformations of Tehran and how its architecture and neighborhood social networks both influenced and became emblematic of the myriad forms of modern Iranian family life.
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Famous Long Ago
My Life and Hard Times with Liberation News Service
Raymond Mungo
University of Massachusetts Press, 2012
Originally published in 1970, Raymond Mungo's picaresque account of his adventures with Liberation News Service in the wild years of 1967 and 1968 has been variously described as youthful, passionate, lyrical, demented, and an iconic symbol of the sixties counterculture. A review in The Nation described it as "hip Huck Finn."

A college editor at the height of the Vietnam War, Mungo found himself smack in the middle of a mad swirl of activism and dissent, vigorously protesting every-thing from the draft to abortion laws to the university itself. Then he connected with Marshall Bloom to cofound LNS in Washington, D.C., as a news service catering to the burgeoning underground press. One thing led to another, until LNS, like so many other radical organizations, eventually disintegrated into violently warring factions. Mungo's memoir tracks its development and destruction with wicked humor and literary panache.

In an introduction to this new edition, John McMillian discusses the enduring appeal of Famous Long Ago and situates it within its broader historical context, while the author provides his own retrospective take in a new afterword.
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From Protest to President
A Social Justice Journey through the Emergence of Adult Education and the Birth of Distance Learning
George A Pruitt
Rutgers University Press, 2023
From Protest to President describes an inspirational odyssey of a young, Black activist coming of age in Mississippi and Chicago in the tumultuous 1960s and '70s, culminating in a notable thirty-five-year presidency at Thomas Edison State University.  
 
From barbershop encounters with Malcolm X to death threats at Illinois State University and gunfire at Towson State, Pruitt provides a powerful narrative poised at the intersection of social justice, higher education and politics. He recounts leadership experiences at HBCUs and public universities across the country, as he advocated for autonomy at Morgan State and fought to preserve Tennessee State University.  
 
His steadfast activism, integrity and courage led to groundbreaking work in providing access to higher education for working adults and the military.
 
From his days as a student protester in high school and college to his appearances on Capitol Hill, Pruitt has earned the reputation as a candid and influential leader in higher education.  

 
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From the Mines to the Streets
A Bolivian Activist’s Life
By Benjamin Kohl and Linda C. Farthing, with Félix Muruchi
University of Texas Press, 2011

From the Mines to the Streets draws on the life of Félix Muruchi to depict the greater forces at play in Bolivia and elsewhere in South America during the last half of the twentieth century. It traces Félix from his birth in an indigenous family in 1946, just after the abolition of bonded labor, through the next sixty years of Bolivia's turbulent history. As a teenager, Félix followed his father into the tin mines before serving a compulsory year in the military, during which he witnessed the 1964 coup d'état that plunged the country into eighteen years of military rule. He returned to work in the mines, where he quickly rose to become a union leader. The reward for his activism was imprisonment, torture, and exile. After he came home, he participated actively in the struggles against neoliberal governments, which led in 2006—the year of his sixtieth birthday—to the inauguration of Evo Morales as Bolivia's first indigenous president.

The authors weave Muruchi's compelling recollections with contextual commentary that elucidates Bolivian history. The combination of an unforgettable life story and in-depth text boxes makes this a gripping, effective account, destined to become a classic sourcebook.

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Front Row Seat
A Photographic Portrait of the Presidency of George W. Bush
By Eric Draper
University of Texas Press, 2013

America’s forty-third president, George W. Bush, presided over eight of the most dramatic years in recent history, from the 9/11 attacks early in his administration to the worldwide economic crisis of 2008. By his side, recording every event from the momentous to the intimate, was his personal White House photographer, Eric Draper. From a collection of nearly one million photographs, Draper has selected more than one hundred images of President Bush that portray both the public figure and the private man.

Front Row Seat presents a compelling, behind-the-scenes view of the presidency of George W. Bush. Through Draper’s lens, we follow Bush through moments of crisis that called for strong leadership, such as 9/11; emotional meetings with troops in war zones, wounded soldiers at home, and Katrina survivors; and happy, relaxed times with his wife Laura, daughters Barbara and Jenna, and parents President George H. W. and Barbara Bush. We also see Bush at work within his inner circle of trusted advisors, including Vice President Richard Cheney, National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Capturing moments that reveal the essence of the man, Front Row Seat is an irreplaceable portrait of George W. Bush.

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Full Fathom Five
A Daughter's Search
Mary Lee Coe Fowler
University of Alabama Press, 2008
One woman’s quest for knowledge of her father lost at sea

Mary Lee Coe Fowler was a posthumous child, born after her father, a submarine skipper in the Pacific, was lost at sea in 1943. Her mother quickly remarried into a difficult and troubled relationship, and Mary Lee’s biological father was never mentioned. It was not until her mother died and Mary Lee was a middle-aged adult that she set out to learn not only who her father was, but what happened to him and his crew, and why—and also to confront why she had shied away from asking these questions until it was nearly too late.
 
Fowler searched through old ships’ logs, letters, and naval communiqués; visited submarine museums, the Naval Academy, and other pertinent sites; interviewed old friends and crew members who knew her dad and mom or served concurrently; and slowly reconstructed the world in which they lived. Beautifully written, Fowler’s memoir reveals what she eventually learned: of the perils and harships of submarine service in wartime, of the tragic irony of how her father’s sub was probably lost, and of the long-term damage experienced by the families of those who do not come home from war.
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Guy Hocquenghem
Beyond Gay Identity
Bill Marshall
Duke University Press, 1997
Although Homosexual Desire, first published in French in 1972 and in English in 1978, has become a classic in gay male theory, no full-length study of its author, Guy Hocquenghem, has been available in English until now. From the rise of the international gay liberation movement of the late 1960s to Hocquenghem’s AIDS-related death in 1988, Bill Marshall discusses the arguments and impact of Hocquenghem’s theoretical and political work while situating this work in its biographical, historical, and intellectual contexts.
Marshall explores all aspects of Hocquenghem’s writing—journalistic, theoretical, and fictional—much of this work still untranslated. His consideration reaches beyond the aftermath of the events of May 1968 and points toward the ways in which Hocquenghem’s work might invigorate contemporary debates on a range of issues in Marxist and queer theory and in gay, lesbian, and cultural studies. These include the construction of homosexuality in social discourse, the status of "identity politics," and the role of the state and civil society in the determination of each. Demonstrating Hocquenghem’s importance within the framework of French leftist thought, Marshall links him to his contemporaries Foucault, Deleuze, and Guattari. Tracing his connections to the intellectual traditions of Benjamin, Diderot, Fourier, Lucretius, and Gnosticism, he also illustrates Hocquenghem’s place within the European intellectual tradition.Guy Hocquenghem brings an important, challenging, and overly neglected French theorist back to the main stage.
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High Risk And Big Ambition
Presidency of George W. Bush
Steven Schier
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004
Elected with no clear public mandate, George W. Bush achieved surprising legislative successes in his early months in the White House. Following September 11, 2001, his public support rose to unprecedented heights. Actions taken in the following months and years have revealed the exceptionally ambitious nature of the Bush presidency.

High Risk and Big Ambition brings together leading presidency scholars and journalists to assess the trajectory and character of Bush’s time in office. The common theme running through their contributions is that this presidency is best characterized by a series of bold political and policy risks in the service of two primary goals: the transformation of American foreign policy and the creation of a lasting Republican dominance of domestic politics.

Included are discussions of foreign policy, national security, the war in Iraq, Bush’s leadership style, religious politics, and economic policy. George W. Bush emerges as an "orthodox innovator" who skillfully deploys both personal politics and the power of his office in an effort to complete the conservative governmental agenda initiated by Ronald Reagan. Yet because of the size of his ambitions, each success sets up a greater risk of failure. That alone makes his presidency one of the most interesting and consequential in decades.
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How to Revise a True War Story
Tim O'Brien's Process of Textual Production
John K. Young
University of Iowa Press, 2017
“You can tell a true war story if you just keep on telling it,” Tim O’Brien writes in The Things They Carried. Widely regarded as the most important novelist to come out of the American war in Viet Nam, O’Brien has kept on telling true war stories not only in narratives that cycle through multiple fictional and non-fictional versions of the war’s defining experiences, but also by rewriting those stories again and again. Key moments of revision extend from early drafts, to the initial appearance of selected chapters in magazines, across typescripts and page proofs for first editions, and through continuing post-publication variants in reprints.

How to Revise a True War Story is the first book-length study of O’Brien’s archival papers at the University of Texas’s Harry Ransom Center. Drawing on extensive study of drafts and other prepublication materials, as well as the multiple published versions of O’Brien’s works, John K. Young tells the untold stories behind the production of such key texts as Going After Cacciato, The Things They Carried, and In the Lake of the Woods. By reading not just the texts that have been published, but also the versions they could have been, Young demonstrates the important choices O’Brien and his editors have made about how to represent the traumas of the war in Viet Nam. The result is a series of texts that refuse to settle into a finished or stable form, just as the stories they present insist on being told and retold in new and changing ways. In their lack of textual stability, these variants across different versions enact for O’Brien’s readers the kinds of narrative volatility that is key to the American literature emerging from the war in Viet Nam. Perhaps in this case, you can tell a true war story if you just keep on revising it.
 
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The Imaginative Vision of Abdilatif Abdalla’s Voice of Agony
Abdilatif Abdalla, edited by Annmarie Drury
University of Michigan Press, 2024
The extraordinary Swahili poetry collection Sauti ya Dhiki (Voice of Agony), is a collection of prison poems composed by Abdilatif Abdalla between 1969 and 1972. He originally wrote the poems while incarcerated by the government of Jomo Kenyatta for sedition as a result of his political activism and smuggled them out of prison on scraps of paper. Imaginative Vision is the first complete literary translation into English—translated by the late Kenyan novelist and scholar Ken Walibora Waliaula and edited by Annmarie Drury—of one of the most esteemed and influential collections of Swahili poetry of the twentieth century. 

Yet, Imaginative Vision is also something more. Even as it centers on a literary translation of a singularly beautiful and influential book of poetry, it tells English-language readers the story of that book. Supporting materials illuminate the circumstances of its inception when Abdilatif, aged 22, was arrested and tried. They explore what the volume meant to its first readers and its affiliations with subsequent extraordinary works of prison literature by Alamin Mazrui and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. They trace its links to literary art of the past, including the nineteenth-century poet Muyaka bin Haji, and to writing that followed. And they explain social and historical aspects of the Swahili coastal world that nurtured Abdilatif’s political engagement and stunning verbal art. Under the editorship of scholar, translator, and poet Annmarie Drury, contributors bring insights from their diverse backgrounds to present contextualizing material that illuminates the poems at the heart of this book.
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Imagining Politics
Interpretations in Political Science and Political Television
Stephen Benedict Dyson
University of Michigan Press, 2019

Imagining Politics critically examines two interpretations of government. The first comes from pop culture fictions about politics, the second from academic political science. Stephen Benedict Dyson argues that televised political fictions and political science theories are attempts at meaning-making, reflecting and shaping how a society thinks about its politics.

By taking fiction seriously, and by arguing that political science theory is homologous to fiction, the book offers a fresh perspective on both, using fictions such as The West Wing, House of Cards, Borgen, Black Mirror, and Scandal to challenge the assumptions that construct the discipline of political science itself.

Imagining Politics is also about a political moment in the West. Two great political shocks—Brexit and the election of Donald Trump—are set in a new context here. Dyson traces how Brexit and Trump campaigned against our image of politics as usual, and won.

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Inside Colombia
Drugs, Democracy, and War
Livingstone, Grace
Rutgers University Press, 2004

The South American nation of Colombia has seen more than forty years of unrest, conflict, and civil war. It is a country in which social violence and warfare are intricately intertwined. Colombia is also notorious for its drug trade, being one of the leading producers of cocaine in the world, and for its central role as a staging ground for the U.S. “war on drugs.” Since 9/11 the Bush administration has sought to draw political links between the Colombian drug trade, guerrilla organizations, and terrorism.

Inside Colombia offers a valuable introduction and quick reference guide to this complex nation. With chapters devoted to history, human rights issues, the economy, drugs, the controversial antidrug intervention known as Plan Colombia, and relations with the United States, the book offers an easily accessible and comprehensive overview. Readers will learn about the major players in the conflicts, significant political figures, how Colombia’s economy has fared in the twentieth century, how the country’s geography influences its politics and economy, and how U.S. intervention shapes Colombia’s political scene.

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Judging the Supreme Court
Constructions of Motives in Bush v. Gore
Clarke Rountree
Michigan State University Press, 2007

This volume questions the motives of Supreme Court justices in a landmark case: The Supreme Court's intervention in the presidential election of 2000, and its subsequent decision in favor of George W. Bush, elicited immediate, heated, and widespread debate. Critics argued that the justices used weak legal arguments to overturn the Florida Supreme Court's ruling, ending a ballot recount and awarding the presidency to Bush. More fundamentally, they questioned the motives of conservative judges who arrived at a decision in favor of the candidate who reflected their political leanings.
     Judging the Supreme Court examines this controversial case and the extensive attention it has received. To fully understand the case, Clarke Rountree argues, we must understand "judicial motives." These are comprised of more than each judge's personal opinions. Judges' motives, which Rountree calls "rhetorical performances," are as influential and publicly discussed as their decisions themselves. Before they are dissected in the media, judges' motives are carefully crafted by the decision- makers themselves, their critics, and their defenders. Justices consider not only the motives of the government, of military officials, of criminals, of public speakers, and of others, they also consider, construct, construe, spin, and deconstruct the motives of dissenters (whom they want to show are "misguided"), earlier courts, lower courts, and, especially, themselves. 
     Every judicial opinion is essentially a portrait of motives that says, "Here's what we did and here's why we did it." Well-constructed judicial motives reinforce the idea that we live under "the rule of law," while motives articulated less successfully raise questions about the legitimacy not just of individual judicial decisions but also of our political system and its foundation on an impartial judiciary. In Bush v. Gore, Rountree concludes, the judges of the majority opinion were not motivated by judicial concerns about law and justice, but rather by their own political and personal motives.

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Kin
Thinking with Deborah Bird Rose
Thom van Dooren and Matthew Chrulew, editors
Duke University Press, 2022
The contributors to Kin draw on the work of anthropologist Deborah Bird Rose (1946–2018), a foundational voice in environmental humanities, to examine the relationships of interdependence and obligation between human and nonhuman lives. Through a close engagement over many decades with the Aboriginal communities of Yarralin and Lingara in northern Australia, Rose’s work explored possibilities for entangled forms of social and environmental justice. She sought to bring the insights of her Indigenous teachers into dialogue with the humanities and the natural sciences to describe and passionately advocate for a world of kin grounded in a profound sense of the connectivities and relationships that hold us together. Kin’s contributors take up Rose’s conceptual frameworks, often pushing academic fields beyond their traditional objects and methods of study. Together, the essays do more than pay tribute to Rose’s scholarship; they extend her ideas and underscore her ongoing critical and ethical relevance for a world still enduring and resisting ecocide and genocide.

Contributors. The Bawaka Collective, Matthew Chrulew, Colin Dayan, Linda Payi Ford, Donna Haraway, James Hatley, Owain Jones, Stephen Muecke, Kate Rigby, Catriona (Cate) Sandilands, Isabelle Stengers, Anna Tsing, Thom van Dooren, Kate Wright
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Knowing and Seeing
Reflections on Fifty Years of Drawing Cities
Douglas Cooper
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019
In Knowing and Seeing, Douglas Cooper reflects on his long career as a muralist in various cities around the world, including in Pittsburgh. The essays are also personal discussing family, memories from his childhood, mentoring from his Carnegie Mellon University professors, and his collaborations. They are also instructive. Murals are not walls but provide the appearance as such and require the artist to have a different skill set that is part architect, part painter, and part builder.
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Latinos and the 2016 Election
Latino Resistance and the Election of Donald Trump
Gabriel R. Sanchez
Michigan State University Press, 2020
The 2016 election saw more Latino votes than the record voter turnout of the 2012 election. The essays in this volume provide a highly detailed analysis of the state and national impact Latino voters had in what will be remembered as one of the biggest surprises in presidential election history. Contrary to much commentary, Latino voters increased their participation rates in all states beyond the supposed peak levels that they attained in 2012. Moreover, they again displayed their overwhelming support of Democratic candidates and even improved their Democratic support in Florida. Nonetheless, their continued presence and participation in national elections was not sufficient to prevent the election of Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate who vilified Latinos and especially Latino immigrants. Each essay provides insights as to how these two competing realities coexist, while the conclusion addresses the implications of this coexistence for the future of Latinos in American politics.
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Letters from Togo
Susan Blake
University of Iowa Press, 1991
Blake's adventurous essays—her Letters from Togo—are based on the letters she wrote to her friends from Lomé, the West African capital where she spent a Fulbright year teaching American literature from 1983 to 1984. As Blake begins the process of making sense out of a vibrant, seeming anarchy, we are pulled along with her into the heart of Togo—a tiny dry strip of a country no one can even find on a map.

With her delightful prose and insight for detail Blake introduces us to Mahouna, her housekeeper, who runs a cold drink business from his refrigerator in a country where electricity is unreliable; to American Lee Ann and her Togolese family, who works at the American school to earn the fees for a private education for her children; and to the suave René, wearing silk shirts and a most seductive smile, who teeters on the edge of the Togolese and expatriate worlds.

Since Lomé is both an overgrown village and a cosmopolitan city, Blake's exhilarating, often humorous experiences range from buying a car to attending a traditional tom-tom funeral, from visiting people who hunt with bows and arrows to enduring faculty meetings, from negotiating the politics of buying produce to lecturing on Afro-American literature at the English Club. Together, her enlivening letters trace the pattern of adjusting to a foreign environment and probe the connections between Africa and this curious, energetic American. Not "out of Africa" but within it, they take advantage of time and perspective to penetrate the universal experience of being a stranger in a strange land.
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Lineages of the Literary Left
Essays in Honor of Alan M. Wald
Howard Brick, Robbie Lieberman, and Paula Rabinowitz, Editors
Michigan Publishing Services, 2015
For nearly half a century, Alan M. Wald’s pathbreaking research has demonstrated that attention to the complex lived experiences of writers on the Left provides a new context for viewing major achievements as well as instructive minor ones in United States fiction, poetry, drama, and criticism. The essays in this volume in honor of Alan M. Wald investigate aspects of intellectual, literary, and cultural movements and figures associated with left-wing politics beginning in the early twentieth century and continuing into our own time. Intimately linked with social struggle, the thinkers and actors analyzed in these diverse essays can be collectively understood to form the intertwined lineages of the Literary Left.
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Lost Among the Baining
Adventure, Marriage, and Other Fieldwork
Gail Pool
University of Missouri Press, 2015

In the late sixties, Gail Pool and her husband set off for an adventure in New Guinea. He was a graduate student in anthropology; she was an aspiring writer. They prepared, as academics do, by reading, practicing with language tapes, consulting with the nearest thing to experts, and then, excited and optimistic, off they went. But all their research could not prepare them for the reality of life in the jungle. As they warded off gargantuan insects, slogged through seemingly endless mud, and turned on each other in fatigue and frustration, they struggled to somehow connect with their enigmatic hosts, the Baining—a people who showed no desire to be studied.

Sixteen months later they returned home. Despite months of trying, they had not been able to make sense of the Baining’s culture. Worse yet, their lives no longer seemed to make sense. Pool put her journals away. Her husband abandoned the study of anthropology.

Decades later, Pool returned to her journals and found in her jumbled notes the understanding that had eluded her twenty-three–year-old self. Finally, she and her husband returned to New Guinea for a shorter visit and a warm reunion with the tribe that challenged them on so many levels and, Pool now realized, made their journey and lives deeper and richer.

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Makers of Democracy
A Transnational History of the Middle Classes in Colombia
A. Ricardo López-Pedreros
Duke University Press, 2019
In Makers of Democracy A. Ricardo López-Pedreros traces the ways in which a thriving middle class was understood to be a foundational marker of democracy in Colombia during the second half of the twentieth century. Drawing on a wide array of sources ranging from training manuals and oral histories to school and business archives, López-Pedreros shows how the Colombian middle class created a model of democracy based on free-market ideologies, private property rights, material inequality, and an emphasis on a masculine work culture. This model, which naturalized class and gender hierarchies, provided the groundwork for Colombia's later adoption of neoliberalism and inspired the emergence of alternate models of democracy and social hierarchies in the 1960s and 1970s that helped foment political radicalization. By highlighting the contested relationships between class, gender, economics, and politics, López-Pedreros theorizes democracy as a historically unstable practice that exacerbated multiple forms of domination, thereby prompting a rethinking of the formation of democracies throughout the Americas.
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Mass Deception
Moral Panic and the U.S. War on Iraq
Scott A. Bonn
Rutgers University Press, 2010
The attacks of 9/11 led to a war on Iraq, although there was neither tangible evidence that the nation's leader, Saddam Hussein, was linked to Osama bin Laden nor proof of weapons of mass destruction. Why, then, did the Iraq war garner so much acceptance in the United States during its primary stages?



Mass Deception argues that the George W. Bush administration manufactured public support for the war on Iraq. Scott A. Bonn introduces a unique, integrated, and interdisciplinary theory called "critical communication" to explain how and why political elites and the news media periodically create public panics that benefit both parties. Using quantitative analysis of public opinion polls and presidential rhetoric pre- and post-9/11 in the news media, Bonn applies the moral panic concept to the Iraq war. He critiques the war and occupation of Iraq as violations of domestic and international law. Finally, Mass Deception connects propaganda and distortion efforts by the Bush administration to more general theories of elite deviance and state crime.
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Me, Governor?
My Life in the Rough-and-Tumble World of New Jersey Politics
Richard J. Codey
Rutgers University Press, 2011
And so, a new chapter in the life of Richard J. Codey, an undertaker's son born and bred in the Garden State, began on the night of August 12, 2004--he knew from that point his life would never be the same . . . and it hasn't been. His memoir is a breezy, humorous, perceptive, and candid chronicle of local and state government from a man who lived among political movers and shakers for more than three decades. Codey became governor of New Jersey, succeeding James McGreevey, who resigned following a homosexual affair--a shattering scandal and set of circumstances that were bizarre, even for the home state of the Sopranos. At once a political autobiography, filled with lively, incisive anecdotes that record how Codey restored respectability and set a record for good politics and good government in a state so often tarnished, this is also the story about a man and his family.
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Memory and Identity in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity
A Conversation with Barry Schwartz
Tom Thatcher
SBL Press, 2014

Essential reading for scholars and students interested in sociology and biblical studies

In this collection scholars of biblical texts and rabbinics engage the work of Barry Schwartz, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology at the University of Georgia. Schwartz provides an introductory essay on the study of collective memory. Articles that follow integrate his work into the study of early Jewish and Christian texts. The volume concludes with a response from Schwartz that continues this warm and fruitful dialogue between fields.

Features:

  • Articles that integrate the study of collective memory and social psychology into religious studies
  • Essays from Barry Schwartz
  • Theories applied rather than left as abstract principles
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Missed Connections
Barbara Stenross
Temple University Press, 1999
"Why doesn't she just open up her ears and listen?" Few physical problems are as poorly understood as hearing loss. In Missed Connections, a new kind of  self-help book that combines sociological reporting with personal reflection, sociologist Barbara Stenross examines what hearing loss feels like to those who have it and which technologies and strategies can improve communication at home and in public.

Based on seven  years of research, Stenross's book tells of how -- as she sought information and solutions to help her hard-of-hearing father -- she came  to join a community group called Village Self Help for Hard of Hearing People. Taking us along to group meetings and into the homes of members, Stenross shows us -- through the personal accounts of these individuals -- the exhaustion that comes from constantly straining to listen, the frustration of missing critical comments or the or the punchlines of jokes, and the pain that hard-of-hearing family members experience when loved ones accuse them of hearing "when they want to." Full of scenes, dialogues, and conversations, Missed Connections also discusses such practical issues as how people with impaired hearing can continues to use the phone, how assistive technologies can help in public and private, why hearing aids can't always do enough, and how bluffing and silence can hurt more than help. Understanding that when one family member is hard of hearing, the whole family can suffer from "missed connections," Stenross offers in this book a useful family resource with a broad range of practical guidance.

With chapters on belonging and acceptance, do's and don'ts in public, lip-reading, hearing aids, and television, Missed Connections will interest a range of readers including deaf and hard-of-hearing people -- as well as their families, teachers, friends, employers, and counselors -- healthcare professionals, scholars, and others interested in the experience of and solutions for disability and hearing loss.
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A More Conservative Place
Intellectual Culture in the Bush Era
Paul A. Bové
Dartmouth College Press, 2013
Identifying the historical antecedents of President George W. Bush’s imperial ambitions and the sources of the reactionary thought and politics that underlie them, Paul A. Bové shows how neoconservatism represents a singular danger to democracy. At the same time, he criticizes the equally disheartening inability of the academic Left to oppose neoconservatives and its tendency to mirror their views instead. Divorced from historical knowledge and intellectual rigor, the neocon mindset reflects a cultural and historical amnesia that feeds on ignorance and conformity. Exposing the threats to national survival inherent in the alliance of right-wing politics and academic tribalism, Bové emphasizes the need to reconnect with the powers of imagination and the complexity of human historical experience. With urgency and passion, Bové shows how the neocons have succeeded in cowing or coopting academic intellectuals and how language has been used and abused for the maintenance and extension of an undemocratic regime.
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The Myth of the Imperial Presidency
How Public Opinion Checks the Unilateral Executive
Dino P. Christenson and Douglas L. Kriner
University of Chicago Press, 2020
Throughout American history, presidents have shown a startling power to act independently of Congress and the courts. On their own initiative, presidents have taken the country to war, abolished slavery, shielded undocumented immigrants from deportation, declared a national emergency at the border, and more, leading many to decry the rise of an imperial presidency. But given the steep barriers that usually prevent Congress and the courts from formally checking unilateral power, what stops presidents from going it alone even more aggressively?  The answer, Dino P. Christenson and Douglas L. Kriner argue, lies in the power of public opinion.

With robust empirical data and compelling case studies, the authors reveal the extent to which domestic public opinion limits executive might. Presidents are emboldened to pursue their own agendas when they enjoy strong public support, and constrained when they don’t, since unilateral action risks inciting political pushback, jeopardizing future initiatives, and further eroding their political capital. Although few Americans instinctively recoil against unilateralism, Congress and the courts can sway the public’s view via their criticism of unilateral policies. Thus, other branches can still check the executive branch through political means. As long as presidents are concerned with public opinion, Christenson and Kriner contend that fears of an imperial presidency are overblown.
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Of Little Faith
The Politics of George W. Bush's Faith-Based Initiatives
Amy E. Black, Douglas L. Koopman, and David K. Ryden
Georgetown University Press, 2004

George W. Bush had planned to swear his oath of office with his hand on the Masonic Bible used by both his father and George Washington, however, due to the inclement weather, a family Bible was substituted. Almost immediately on taking office, President Bush made passage of "faith-based initiatives"—the government funding of religious charitable groups—a legislative priority. However, "inclement" weather storm-tossed his hopes for faith-based initiatives as well.

What happened? Why did these initiatives, which began with such vigor and support from a popular president, fail? And what does this say about the future role of religious faith in American public life? Amy Black, Douglas Koopman, and David Ryden—all prominent political scientists—utilize a framework that takes the issue through all three branches of government and analyzes it through three very specific lenses: a public policy lens, a political party lens, and a lens of religion in the public square.

Drawing on dozens of interviews with key figures in Washington, the authors tell a compelling story, revealing the evolution of the Bush faith-based strategy from his campaign for the presidency through congressional votes to the present. They show how political rhetoric, infighting, and poor communication shipwrecked Bush's efforts to fundamentally alter the way government might conduct social services. The authors demonstrate the lessons learned, and propose a more fruitful, effective way to go about such initiatives in the future.

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Paralyzing Summer
The True Story of the Ann Arbor V.A. Hospital Poisonings and Deaths
Zibby Oneal and S. Martin Lindenauer
University of Michigan Press, 2016
In the summer of 1975, an alarming number of patients at the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Hospital began experiencing mysterious respiratory failures that left ten dead and over thirty more clinging to life. Doctors struggled to determine the cause of the attacks, and further analysis revealed each of the victims’ intravenous drip bags had been contaminated with a powerful muscle relaxant named Pavulon—a drug traditionally used in hospitals when inserting patient breathing tubes in preparation for surgery. The discovery of Pavulon was particularly disturbing because hospital safeguards made it unlikely the chemical had been introduced to patients’ drip bags by mistake. This suggested deliberate poisoning, but with no apparent connection between the victims, the motive behind the crime was unclear. The tangled investigation that followed gripped the nation’s attention, particularly after the FBI narrowed its focus to two improbable suspects: a pair of well-liked nurses from the hospital’s intensive care unit. Both were of Filipino decent, and the national media speculated racism was a major factor in the scrutiny placed on the nurses. Drawing extensively from court documents, news coverage from the time, and interviews with participants, Zibby Oneal and S. Martin Lindenauer’s Paralyzing Summer presents a gripping account of the baffling case, following the incredible twists and turns that unfolded over a two and a half year period starting July 1975.
 

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The Passion of David Lynch
Wild at Heart in Hollywood
By Martha P. Nochimson
University of Texas Press, 1997

Filmmaker David Lynch asserts that when he is directing, ninety percent of the time he doesn't know what he is doing. To understand Lynch's films, Martha Nochimson believes, requires a similar method of being open to the subconscious, of resisting the logical reductiveness of language. In this innovative book, she draws on these strategies to offer close readings of Lynch's films, informed by unprecedented, in-depth interviews with Lynch himself.

Nochimson begins with a look at Lynch's visual influences—Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon, and Edward Hopper—and his links to Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles, then moves into the heart of her study, in-depth analyses of Lynch's films and television productions. These include Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, Dune, The Elephant Man, Eraserhead, The Grandmother, The Alphabet, and Lynch's most recent, Lost Highway.

Nochimson's interpretations explode previous misconceptions of Lynch as a deviant filmmaker and misogynist. Instead, she shows how he subverts traditional Hollywood gender roles to offer an optimistic view that love and human connection are really possible.

[more]

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Paul Schrader
George Kouvaros
University of Illinois Press, 2007
As the first full-length study on Paul Schrader's films, this book examines the different styles of his work and the multiple influences on which it draws. A defining feature of Schrader's career is his capacity to engage in a range of collaborations and production contexts while returning to a consistent set of themes, character types, and dramatic scenarios. Going beyond the affirmation of a directorial vision, Schrader creates a cinema driven by issues of obsession, memory, and the difficult nature of experience. Representative of a new generation of American writer-directors of the 1970s, Schrader's films highlight the tension between old and new ways of telling a story and between the maintenance of commercial formulas and openness to individual expression.
 
George Kouvaros draws on a personal interview conducted with Schrader and the director's prior commentary to trace common motivations and impulses behind such well-known films as Light Sleeper, American Gigolo, Affliction, Auto Focus, Taxi Driver, and Patty Hearst. Kouvaros reads Schrader's films not only in terms of a number of important themes such as male obsession and estrangement, but also in regard to harder to define issues that include melancholia, trauma, and the complex linkages of violence and guilt that bind individuals to places and each other.
[more]

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Postcolonial Configurations
Dictatorship, the Racial Cold War, and Filipino America
Josen Masangkay Diaz
Duke University Press, 2023
In Postcolonial Configurations Josen Masangkay Diaz examines the making of Filipino America through the dynamics of dictatorship, coloniality, and subjectivity. Diaz explores how the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship and US policies during the Cold War that supported the regime defined the relationship between “Filipino” and “America” in ways that influenced the creation of a gendered and racialized Filipino American subject. By analyzing Philippine-US state programs for military operations, labor and immigration reform, and development and modernization plans, she shows how anticommunist liberalism and authoritarianism shaped the visibility and recognition of new forms of Filipino subjectivity. Tracing the rise of various social formations that emerged under the Marcos regime and US programs for liberal reform, from transnational Filipino and US culture and the immigrant returnee to the New Filipina woman and the humanitarian English teacher, Diaz positions literature, film, periodicals, and other cultural texts against official state records in ways that reconceptualize the meanings of Filipino America in the Cold War.
[more]

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Postmodern Presidency
Bill Clinton's Legacy in U.S. Politics
Steven Schier
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000

As America’s first truly postmodern president, Bill Clinton experienced both great highs and stunning lows in office that will shape the future course of American politics. Clinton will forever be remembered as the first elected president to be impeached, but will his tarnished legacy have lasting effects on America’s political system?

Including the conflict in Kosovo, the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, and new developments in the 2000 presidential campaign, The Postmodern Presidency is the most comprehensive and current assessment of Bill Clinton’s presidency available in print.

The book examines Clinton’s role in redefining the institution of the presidency, and his affect on future presidents’ economic and foreign policies. The contributors highlight the president’s unprecedented courtship of public opinion; how polls affected policy; how the president gained “celebrity” status; how Clinton’s “postmodern” style of public presidency helped him survive the 1994 elections and impeachment; and how all of this might impact future presidents.

This new text also demonstrates how the Clinton presidency changed party politics in the public and in Congress, with long-term implications and costs to both Republicans and his own Democratic party, while analyzing Clinton’s effect on the 1990s “culture wars,” the politics and importance of gender, and the politics and policy of race.

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Power without Constraint
The Post-9/11 Presidency and National Security
Chris Edelson
University of Wisconsin Press, 2016
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama criticized the George W. Bush administration for its unrestrained actions in matters of national security. In secret Justice Department memos, President Bush’s officials had claimed for the executive branch total authority to use military force in response to threats of terrorism. They set aside laws made by Congress, even criminal laws prohibiting torture and warrantless surveillance. Candidate Obama promised to restore the rule of law and make a clean break with the Bush approach. President Obama has not done so. Why?
            In a thorough comparison of the Bush and Obama administrations’ national security policies, Chris Edelson demonstrates that President Obama and his officials have used softer rhetoric and toned-down legal arguments, but in key areas—military action, surveillance, and state secrets—they have simply found new ways to assert power without meaningful constitutional or statutory constraints.
            Edelson contends that this legacy of the two immediately post-9/11 presidencies raises crucial questions for future presidents, Congress, the courts, and American citizens. Where is the political will to restore a balance of powers among branches of government and adherence to the rule of law? What are the limits of authority regarding presidential national security power? Have national security concerns created a permanent shift to unconstrained presidential power?
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Presidential Accountability in Wartime
President Bush, the Treatment of Detainees, and the Laws of War
Stuart Streichler
University of Michigan Press, 2023
The American presidency has long tested the capacity of the system of checks and balances to constrain executive power, especially in times of war. While scholars have examined presidents starting military conflicts without congressional authorization or infringing on civil liberties in the name of national security, Stuart Streichler focuses on the conduct of hostilities. Using the treatment of war-on-terror detainees under President George W. Bush as a case study, he integrates international humanitarian law into a constitutional analysis of the repercussions of presidential war powers for human rights around the world.

Putting President Bush’s actions in a wider context, Presidential Accountability in Wartime begins with a historical survey of the laws of war, with particular emphasis on the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Tribunal. Streichler then reconstructs the decision-making process that led to the president’s approval of interrogation methods that violated Geneva’s mandate to treat wartime captives humanely. While taking note of various accountability options—from within the executive branch to the International Criminal Court—the book illustrates the challenge in holding presidents personally responsible for violating the laws of war through an in-depth analysis of the actions taken by Congress, the Supreme Court, and the public in response. In doing so, this book not only raises questions about whether international humanitarian law can moderate wartime presidential behavior but also about the character of the presidency and the American constitutional system of government.
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Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy
William G. Howell and Terry M. Moe
University of Chicago Press, 2020
Has American democracy’s long, ambitious run come to an end? Possibly yes. As William G. Howell and Terry M. Moe argue in this trenchant new analysis of modern politics, the United States faces a historic crisis that threatens our system of self-government—and if democracy is to be saved, the causes of the crisis must be understood and defused.

The most visible cause is Donald Trump, who has used his presidency to attack the nation’s institutions and violate its democratic norms. Yet Trump is but a symptom of causes that run much deeper: social forces like globalization, automation, and immigration that for decades have generated economic harms and cultural anxieties that our government has been wholly ineffective at addressing. Millions of Americans have grown angry and disaffected, and populist appeals have found a receptive audience. These are the drivers of Trump’s dangerous presidency. And after he leaves office, they will still be there for other populists to weaponize.

What can be done to safeguard American democracy? The disruptive forces of modernity cannot be stopped. The solution lies, instead, in having a government that can deal with them—which calls for aggressive new policies, but also for institutional reforms that enhance its capacity for effective action.

The path to progress is filled with political obstacles, including an increasingly populist, anti-government Republican Party. It is hard to be optimistic. But if the challenge is to be met, we need reforms of the presidency itself—reforms that harness the promise of presidential power for effective government, but firmly protect against the fear that it may be put to anti-democratic ends.
[more]

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Primary Lessons
Sarah Bracey White
CavanKerry Press, 2013
Ripped from middle-class life in Philadelphia, and transplanted to a single-parent household in the segregated south, Sarah, a precocious black child struggles to be the master of her fate. She refuses to accept the segregation that tries to confine her—a system her mother accepts as the southern way of life. A brave memoir that testifies to the author’s fiery spirit and sense of self that sustained her through family, social and cultural upheavals.
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The Psychological Assessment of Political Leaders
With Profiles of Saddam Hussein and Bill Clinton
Jerrold M. Post, Editor
University of Michigan Press, 2005

In an age when world affairs are powerfully driven by personality, politics require an understanding of what motivates political leaders such as Hussein, Bush, Blair, and bin Laden. Through exacting case studies and the careful sifting of evidence, Jerrold Post and his team of contributors lay out an effective system of at-a-distance evaluation. Observations from political psychology, psycholinguistics and a range of other disciplines join forces to produce comprehensive political and psychological profiles, and a deeper understanding of the volatile influences of personality on global affairs.

Even in this age of free-flowing global information, capital, and people, sovereign states and boundaries remain the hallmark of the international order -- a fact which is especially clear from the events of September 11th and the War on Terrorism.

Jerrold M. Post, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry, Political Psychology, and International Affairs, and Director of the Political Psychology Program at George Washington University. He is the founder of the CIA's Center for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behavior.

[more]

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The Queer Limit of Black Memory
Black Lesbian Literature and Irresolution
Matt Richardson
The Ohio State University Press, 2013
The Queer Limit of Black Memory: Black Lesbian Literature and Irresolution identifies a new archive of Black women’s literature that has heretofore been on the margins of literary scholarship and African diaspora cultural criticism. It argues that Black lesbian texts celebrate both the strategies of resistance used by queer Black subjects and the spaces for grieving the loss of queer Black subjects that dominant histories of the African diasporas often forget. Matt Richardson has gathered an understudied archive of texts by LaShonda Barnett, S. Diane Adamz-Bogus, Dionne Brand, Sharon Bridgforth, Laurinda D. Brown, Jewelle Gomez, Jackie Kay, and Cherry Muhanji in order to relocate the queerness of Black diasporic vernacular traditions, including drag or gender performance, blues, jazz, and West African spiritual and religious practices.
 
Richardson argues that the vernacular includes queer epistemologies, or methods for accessing and exploring the realities of Black queer experience that other alternative archives and spaces of commemoration do not explore. The Queer Limit of Black Memory brings together several theorists whose work is vital within Black studies—Fred Moten, Saidiya Hartman, Hortense Spillers, Frantz Fanon, and Orlando Patterson—in service of queer readings of Black subjectivity.
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Resistance and Abolition in the Borderlands
Confronting Trump's Reign of Terror
Edited by Arturo J. Aldama and Jessica Ordaz; Foreword by Leo R. Chavez; Afterword by Karma R. Chávez
University of Arizona Press, 2024
While there is a long history of state violence toward immigrants in the United States, the essayists in this interdisciplinary collection tackle head-on the impacts of the Trump administration.

This volume provides a well-argued look at the Trump era. Insightful contributions delve into the impact of Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policies on migrants detained and returned, immigrant children separated from their parents and placed in detention centers, and migrant women subjected to sexual and reproductive abuses, among other timely topics. The chapter authors document a long list in what the book calls “Trump’s Reign of Terror.”

Organized thematically, the book has four sections: The first gathers histories about the Trump years’ roots in a longer history of anti-migration; the second includes essays on artistic and activist responses on the border during the Trump years; the third critiques the normalization of Trump’s rhetoric and actions in popular media and culture; and the fourth envisions the future.

Resistance and Abolition in the Borderlands is an essential reader for those wishing to understand the extent of the damage caused by the Trump era and its impact on Latinx people.

Contributors
Arturo J. Aldama
Rebecca Avalos
Cynthia Bejarano
Tria Blu Wakpa
Renata Carvalho Barreto
Karma R. Chávez
Leo R. Chavez
Jennifer Cullison
Jasmin Lilian Diab
Allison Glover
Jamila Hammami
Alexandria Herrera
Diana J. Lopez
Sergio A. Macías
Cinthya Martinez
Alexis N. Meza
Roberto A. Mónico
José Enrique Navarro
Jessica Ordaz
Eliseo Ortiz
Kiara Padilla
Leslie Quintanilla
J-M Rivera
Heidy Sarabia
Tina Shull
Nishant Upadhyay
Maria Vargas
Antonio Vásquez
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Revolution and Disenchantment
Arab Marxism and the Binds of Emancipation
Fadi A. Bardawil
Duke University Press, 2020
The Arab Revolutions that began in 2011 reignited interest in the question of theory and practice, imbuing it with a burning political urgency. In Revolution and Disenchantment Fadi A. Bardawil redescribes for our present how an earlier generation of revolutionaries, the 1960s Arab New Left, addressed this question. Bardawil excavates the long-lost archive of the Marxist organization Socialist Lebanon and its main theorist, Waddah Charara, who articulated answers in their political practice to fundamental issues confronting revolutionaries worldwide: intellectuals as vectors of revolutionary theory; political organizations as mediators of theory and praxis; and nonemancipatory attachments as impediments to revolutionary practice. Drawing on historical and ethnographic methods and moving beyond familiar reception narratives of Marxist thought in the postcolony, Bardawil engages in "fieldwork in theory" that analyzes how theory seduces intellectuals, cultivates sensibilities, and authorizes political practice. Throughout, Bardawil underscores the resonances and tensions between Arab intellectual traditions and Western critical theory and postcolonial theory, deftly placing intellectuals from those traditions into a much-needed conversation.
[more]

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The Rise of Trump
America's Authoritarian Spring
Matthew C. MacWilliams
Amherst College Press, 2016
The ascendance of Donald Trump to the presidential candidacy of the Republican Party has been both remarkable and, to most commentators, unlikely. In The Rise of Trump: America’s Authoritarian Spring, Matthew MacWilliams argues that Trump’s rapid rise through a bewildered Republican Party hierarchy is no anomaly; rather, MacWilliams argues, it is the most recent expression of a long-standing theme in American political life, the tendency and temptation to an ascriptive politics—a political view that builds its basic case on ascribing to any relatively disempowered group (whether defined by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, or other identifying category) a certain set of qualities that justify discriminatory treatment. The ascriptive tradition in American politics, though longstanding, has generally been kept to a relatively small minority—a minority whose rights, perhaps paradoxically, have been protected by the principles of Madisonian democracy, even though central to its worldview is the need and urgency of limiting the rights of some. It has found champions in years past in such figures as Andrew Jackson, Huey Long, Joseph McCarthy, and Pat Buchanan. But in Donald Trump this tradition has found a significant new voice, one emboldened by deeper shifts in the American political landscape. Trump’s swift and unsettling rise to the pinnacle of presidential politics may point toward the emergence of more significant and substantial questions about the future course of a democratic government committed to principles of equality and the freedom of expression, association, and conscience.
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Saints, Sinners, and Sovereign Citizens
The Endless War over the West's Public Lands
John L. Smith
University of Nevada Press, 2021
Listed as one of the Reno News & Review's "New Books from Nevada Authors," December 29, 2021

The grazing rights battle between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal government, resulting in a tense, armed standoff between Bundy’s supporters and federal law enforcement officers, garnered international media attention in 2014. Saints, Sinners, and Sovereign Citizens places the Bundy conflict into the larger context of the Sagebrush Rebellion and the long struggle over the use of federal public lands in the American West. 

Author John L. Smith skillfully captures the drama of the Bundy legal tangle amid the current political climate. Although no shots were fired during the standoff itself, just weeks later self-proclaimed Bundy supporters murdered two Las Vegas police officers and a civilian. In Eastern Oregon, other Bundy supporters occupied the federal offices of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and one of them died in a hail of bullets.

While examining the complex history of federal public land policies, Smith exposes both sides of this story. He shows that there are passionate true believers on opposite sides of the insurrection, along with government agents and politicians in Washington complicit in efforts to control public lands for their wealthy allies and campaign contributors. With the promise of billions of dollars in natural resource profits and vast tracts of environmentally sensitive lands hanging in the balance, the West’s latest range war is the most important in the nation’s history. This masterful exposé raises serious questions about the fate of America’s public lands and the vehement arguments that are framing the debate from all sides.
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San Juan
Memoir of a City
Edgardo Rodriguez Julia; Translated by Peter Grandbois
University of Wisconsin Press, 2007
     San Juan: Memoir of a City conducts readers through Puerto Rico's capital, guided by one of its most graceful and reflective writers, Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá. No mere sightseeing tour, this is culture through immersion, a circuit of San Juan's historical and intellectual vistas as well as its architecture. 
     In the allusive cityscape he recreates, Rodríguez Juliá invokes the ghosts of his childhood, of San Juan's elder literati, and of characters from his own novels. On the most tangible level, the city is a place of cabarets and cockfighting clubs, flâneurs and beach bums, smoke-filled bars and honking automobiles. Poised between a colonial past and a commercial future, the San Juan he portrays feels at times perilously close to the pitfalls of modernization. Tenement houses and fading mansions yield to strip malls and Tastee Freezes; asphalt hems in jacarandas and palm trees. "In Puerto Rico," he muses, "life is not simply cruel, it is also busy erasing our tracks." Through this book—available here in English for the first time—Rodríguez Juliá resists that erasure, thoughtfully etching a palimpsest that preserves images of the city where he grew up and rejoicing in the one where he still lives.
 
 
Best Books for Regional General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians and the Public Library Association
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Shakespeare and Trump
Jeffrey R. Wilson
Temple University Press, 2020

Should we draw an analogy between Shakespeare’s tyrants—Richard III, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and King Lear—and Donald Trump? In Shakespeare and Trump, Jeffrey Wilson applies literary criticism to real life, examining plot, character, villainy, soliloquy, tragedy, myth, and metaphor to identify the formal features of the Trump phenomenon, and its hidden causes, structure, and meanings.

Wilsonapproaches his comparison prismatically. He first considers two high-concept (read: far-fetched) Shakespeare adaptations penned by Trump’s former chief political strategist Steve Bannon. He looks at University of Pennsylvania students protesting Trump by taking down a monument to Shakespeare. He reads Trump’s first 100 days in office against Netflix’s House of Cards. Wilson also addresses the summer 2017 Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar wherein an assassination of a Trump-ian leader caused corporations to withdraw sponsorship. 

These stories reveal a surprising—and bizarre—relationship between the provincial English playwright and the billionaire President of the United States, ostensibly a medieval king living in a modern world. The comparison reveals a politics that blends villainy and comedy en route to tragedy.

[more]

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Soldiers Once and Still
Ernest Hemingway, James Salter, and Tim O'Brien
Alex Vernon
University of Iowa Press, 2007
As the world enters a new century, as it embarks on new wars and sees new developments in the waging of war, reconsiderations of the last century’s legacy of warfare are necessary to our understanding of the current world order. In Soldiers Once and Still, Alex Vernon looks back through the twentieth century in order to confront issues of self and community in veterans’ literature, exploring how war and the military have shaped the identities of Ernest Hemingway, James Salter, and Tim O’Brien, three of the twentieth century’s most respected authors. Vernon specifically explores the various ways war and the military, through both cultural and personal experience, have affected social and gender identities and dynamics in each author’s work.

Hemingway, Salter, and O’Brien form the core of Soldiers Once and Still because each represents a different warring generation of twentieth-century America: World War I with Hemingway, World War II and Korea with Salter, and Vietnam with O’Brien. Each author also represents a different literary voice of the twentieth century, from modern to mid-century to postmodern, and each presents a different battlefield experience: Hemingway as noncombatant, Salter as air force fighter pilot, and O’Brien as army grunt.

War’s pervasive influence on the individual means that, for veterans-turned-writers like Hemingway, Salter, and O’Brien, the war experience infiltrates their entire body of writing—their works can be seen not only as war literature but also as veterans’ literature. As such, their entire postwar oeuvre, regardless of whether an individual work explicitly addresses the war or the military, is open to Vernon’s exploration of war, society, gender, and literary history.

Vernon’s own experiences as a soldier, a veteran, a writer, and a critic inform this enlightening critique of American literature, offering students and scholars of American literature and war studies an invaluable tool for understanding war’s effects on the veteran writer and his society.
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Soul Covers
Rhythm and Blues Remakes and the Struggle for Artistic Identity (Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Phoebe Snow)
Michael Awkward
Duke University Press, 2007
Soul Covers is an engaging look at how three very different rhythm and blues performers—Aretha Franklin, Al Green, and Phoebe Snow—used cover songs to negotiate questions of artistic, racial, and personal authenticity. Through close readings of song lyrics and the performers’ statements about their lives and work, the literary critic Michael Awkward traces how Franklin, Green, and Snow crafted their own musical identities partly by taking up songs associated with artists such as Dinah Washington, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, George Gershwin, Billie Holiday, and the Supremes.

Awkward sees Franklin’s early album Unforgettable: A Tribute to Dinah Washington, released shortly after Washington’s death in 1964, as an attempt by a struggling young singer to replace her idol as the acknowledged queen of the black female vocal tradition. He contends that Green’s album Call Me (1973) reveals the performer’s attempt to achieve formal coherence by uniting seemingly irreconcilable aspects of his personal history, including his career in popular music and his religious yearnings, as well as his sense of himself as both a cosmopolitan black artist and a forlorn country boy. Turning to Snow’s album Second Childhood (1976), Awkward suggests that through covers of blues and soul songs, Snow, a white Jewish woman from New York, explored what it means for non-black enthusiasts to perform works considered by many to be black cultural productions. The only book-length examination of the role of remakes in American popular music, Soul Covers is itself a refreshing new take on the lives and work of three established soul artists.

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Sovereignty, Inc.
Three Inquiries in Politics and Enjoyment
William Mazzarella, Eric L. Santner, and Aaron Schuster
University of Chicago Press, 2020
What does the name Trump stand for? If branding now rules over the production of value, as the coauthors of Sovereignty, Inc. argue, then Trump assumes the status of a master brand whose primary activity is the compulsive work of self-branding—such is the new sovereignty business in which, whether one belongs to his base or not, we are all “incorporated.”
 
Drawing on anthropology, political theory, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and theater, William Mazzarella, Eric L. Santner, and Aaron Schuster show how politics in the age of Trump functions by mobilizing a contradictory and convoluted enjoyment, an explosive mixture of drives and fantasies that eludes existing portraits of our era. The current political moment turns out to be not so much exceptional as exceptionally revealing of the constitutive tension between enjoyment and economy that has always been a key component of the social order. Santner analyzes the collective dream-work that sustains a new sort of authoritarian charisma or mana, a mana-facturing process that keeps us riveted to an excessively carnal incorporation of sovereignty. Mazzarella examines the contemporary merger of consumer brand and political brand and the cross-contamination of politics and economics, warning against all too easy laments about the corruption of politics by marketing. Schuster, focusing on the extreme theatricality and self-satirical comedy of the present, shows how authority reasserts itself at the very moment of distrust and disillusionment in the system, profiting off its supposed decline. A dazzling diagnostic of our present, Sovereignty, Inc., forces us to come to terms with our complicity in Trump’s political presence and will immediately take its place in discussions of contemporary politics.
 
 
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Tell Us a Story
An African American Family in the Heartland
Shirley Motley Portwood
Southern Illinois University Press, 2000

Illinois State Historical Society's Certificate of Excellence (2002)

Supplemented by recollections from the present era, Tell Us a Story is a colorful mosaic of African American autobiography and family history set in Springfield, Illinois, and in rural southern Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas from the 1920s through the 1950s.

           

Shirley Motley Portwood shares rural, African American family and community history through a collection of vignettes about the Motley family. Initially transcribed accounts of the Motleys’ rich oral history, these stories have been passed among family members for nearly fifty years. In addition to her personal memories, Portwood presents interviews with her father, three brothers, and two sisters plus notes and recollections from their annual family reunions. The result is a composite view of the Motley family.

           

A historian, Portwood enhances the Motley family story by investigating primary data such as census, marriage, school, and land records, newspaper accounts, city directories, and other sources. The backbone of this saga, however, is oral history gathered from five generations, extending back to Portwood's grandparents, born more than one hundred years ago. Information regarding two earlier generations—her great- grandfather and great-great-grandparents, who were slaves—is based on historical research into state archives, county and local records, plantation records, and manuscript censuses.

           

A rich source for this material—the Motley family reunions—are week-long retreats where four generations gather at the John Motley house in Burlington, Connecticut, the Portwood home in Godfrey, Illinois, or other locations. Here the Motleys, all natural storytellers, pass on the family traditions. The stories, ranging from humorous to poignant, reveal much about the culture and history of African Americans, especially those from nonurban areas. Like many rural African Americans, the Motleys have a rich and often joyful family history with traditions reaching back to the slave past. They have known the harsh poverty that made even the necessities difficult to obtain and the racial prejudice that divided whites and blacks during the era of Jim Crow segregation and inequality; yet they have kept a tremendous faith in self-improvement through hard work and education.

           

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The Thinking Woman
Julienne van Loon
Rutgers University Press, 2021

While women have struggled to gain recognition in the discipline of philosophy, there is no shortage of brilliant female thinkers. What can these women teach us about ethics, politics, and the nature of existence, and how might we relate these big ideas back to the smaller everyday concerns of domestic life, work, play, love, and relationships?
Australian novelist Julienne van Loon goes on a worldwide quest to answer these questions, by engaging with eight world-renowned thinkers who have deep insights on humanity and society: media scholar Laura Kipnis, novelist Siri Hustvedt, political philosopher Nancy Holmstrom, psychoanalytic theorist Julia Kristeva, domestic violence reformer Rosie Batty, peace activist Helen Caldicott, historian Marina Warner, and feminist philosopher Rosi Braidotti. As she speaks to these women, she reflects on her own experiences. Combining the intimacy of a memoir with the intellectual stimulation of a theoretical text, The Thinking Woman draws novel connections between the philosophical, personal, and political. Giving readers a new appreciation for both the ethical complexities and wonder of everyday life, this book is inspiration to all thinking people.

[more]

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The Toddler in Chief
What Donald Trump Teaches Us about the Modern Presidency
Daniel W. Drezner
University of Chicago Press, 2020
“It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. . . . And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.”—An anonymous senior administrative official in an op-ed published in a New York Times op-ed, September 5, 2018
 
Every president faces criticism and caricature. Donald Trump, however, is unique in that he is routinely characterized in ways more suitable for a toddler. What’s more, it is not just Democrats, pundits, or protestors who compare the president to a child; Trump’s staffers, subordinates, and allies on Capitol Hill also describe Trump like a small, badly behaved preschooler.

            In April 2017, Daniel W. Drezner began curating every example he could find of a Trump ally describing the president like a toddler. So far, he’s collected more than one thousand tweets—a rate of more than one a day. In The Toddler-in-Chief, Drezner draws on these examples to take readers through the different dimensions of Trump’s infantile behavior, from temper tantrums to poor impulse control to the possibility that the President has had too much screen time. How much damage can really be done by a giant man-baby? Quite a lot, Drezner argues, due to the winnowing away of presidential checks and balances over the past fifty years. In these pages, Drezner follows his theme—the specific ways in which sharing some of the traits of a toddler makes a person ill-suited to the presidency—to show the lasting, deleterious impact the Trump administration will have on American foreign policy and democracy.

            The “adults in the room” may not be able to rein in Trump’s toddler-like behavior, but, with the 2020 election fast approaching, the American people can think about whether they want the most powerful office turned into a poorly run political day care facility. Drezner exhorts us to elect a commander-in-chief, not a toddler-in-chief. And along the way, he shows how we must rethink the terrifying powers we have given the presidency.
 
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A Trauma Artist
Tim O'Brien and the Fiction of Vietnam
Mark A. Heberle
University of Iowa Press, 2001
A Trauma Artist examines how O'Brien's works variously rewrite his own traumatization during the war in Vietnam as a never-ending fiction that paradoxically "recovers" personal experience by both recapturing and (re)disguising it. Mark Heberle considers O'Brien's career as a writer through the prisms of post-traumatic stress disorder, postmodernist metafiction, and post-World War II American political uncertainties and public violence.
        Based on recent conversations with O'Brien, previously published interviews, and new readings of all his works through 1999, this book is the first study to concentrate on the role and representation of trauma as the central focus of all O'Brien's works, whether situated in Vietnam, in post-Vietnam America, or in the imagination of protagonists suspended between the two. By doing so, Heberle redefines O'Brien as a major U.S. writer of the late twentieth century whose representations of self-damaging experiences and narratives of recovery characterize not only the war in Vietnam but also relationships between fathers and sons and men and women in the post-traumatic culture of the contemporary United States.
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Tree Lines
Valerie P Cohen
University of Nevada Press, 2017
Tree Lines unites striking ink drawings of high-altitude pine trees with poetic vignettes about how people interact with mountain environments. The drawings and text work together to form a direct artistic encounter with timberline conifers. The husband and wife team of Valerie and Michael Cohen employ a unique process whereby she draws in isolation, gives him her drawings, and he then writes whatever he’s inspired to create. Neither offers the other any kind of feedback or instruction. The result is an accessible and deeply engaging work that is also extremely well researched; the Cohens bring a lifetime of scholarship in literature, history, and the environment to this work.

The drawings are black-and-white, pen-and-ink representations of high alpine ecosystems. The prose is stripped bare, abbreviated in an epigrammatic style that is poetic and spontaneous. Trees represented here are the Western Juniper or Sierra Juniper, the Limber, and the Bristlecone Pine—three species of long-lived, slow-growing conifers that grow across the Great Basin. While they represent only a small portion of the vegetative culture high in the western mountains, the Cohens use representation as abstraction as is utilized by writers and artists to convey a unique kind of microcosm of our natural environment. This book compares to such classics as Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, and Berger’s Ways of Seeing, which open up lines of observation, analysis, and art for a new generation of readers. 
 
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Trucks
Recent Works by John Himmelfarb
Scott Griffin
The Artist Book Foundation, 2014
With sculpture, paintings, prints, and drawings, award-winning artist John Himmelfarb explores the iconic American truck. An in-depth consideration of the vehicles that are intrinsically and culturally significant to the American landscape, TRUCKS: Recent Works by John Himmelfarb showcases the artist’s diverse and lighthearted approach, adeptly shifting between mediums, style, and message during his decade-long contemplation of trucks and their specific functions. Under his skillful hands, the utilitarian vehicles of commerce and construction become unique and provocative art forms. In 2005 and 2006, the truck as narrative becomes center stage for Himmelfarb’s work. With his seamless, animated traverse of multiple mediums, viewers cannot help but smile as they appreciate the common truck through unique perspectives. In 2007, another tectonic change occurs in Himmelfarb’s pursuit of his theme: as a result of a three-month residency at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s Arts/Industry program, he begins his first meaningful foray into three-dimensional works. Himmelfarb’s artworks can be found in distinguished international collections including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Baltimore Art Museum; the British Museum, London; the Boston Public Library Print Collection; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the University of Michigan Art Museum, Ann Arbor.
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The Truth That Never Hurts 25th anniversary edition
Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom
Barbara Smith
Rutgers University Press, 2024
Read an excerpt "Chicago Firsthand" (click here).

Barbara Smith has been doing groundbreaking work since the early 1970s, describing a Black feminism for Black women. Her work in Black women's literary traditions; in examining the sexual politics of the lives of women of color; in representing the lives of Black lesbians and gay men; and in making connections between race, class, sexuality and gender is gathered in The Truth That Never Hurts. This collection contains some of her major essays on Black women's literature, Black lesbian writing, racism in the women's movement, Black-Jewish relations, and homophobia in the Black community. Her forays into these areas ignited dialogue about topics that few other writers were addressing at the time, and which, sadly, remain pertinent to this day. This twenty-fifth anniversary edition, in a beautiful new package, also contains the essays from the original about the 1968 Chicago convention demonstrations; attacks on the NEA; the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas Senate hearings; and police brutality against Rodney King and Abner Louima, which, after twenty-five years, still have the urgency they did when they were first written.  
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The Truth That Never Hurts
Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom
Smith, Barbara
Rutgers University Press, 2000
 The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom brings together more than two decades of literary criticism and political thought about gender, race, sexuality, power, and social change. As one of the first writers in the United States to claim black feminism for black women, Barbara Smith has done groundbreaking work in defining black women’s literary traditions and in making connections between race, class, sexuality, and gender.

Smith’s essay “Toward a Black Feminist Criticism,” is often cited as a major catalyst in opening the field of black women’s literature. Pieces about racism in the women’s movement, black and Jewish relations, and homophobia in the Black community have ignited dialogue about topics that few other writers address. The collection also brings together topical political commentaries on the 1968 Chicago convention demonstrations; attacks on the NEA; the Anita Hill–Clarence Thomas Senate hearings; and police brutality against Rodney King and Abner Louima. It also includes a never-before-published personal essay on racial violence and the bonds between black women that make it possible to survive.
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Twilight of the American State
Pierre Schlag
University of Michigan Press, 2023

The sudden emergence of the Trump nation surprised nearly everyone, including journalists, pundits, political consultants, and academics. When Trump won in 2016, his ascendancy was widely viewed as a fluke. Yet time showed it was instead the rise of a movement—angry, militant, revanchist, and unabashedly authoritarian.

How did this happen? Twilight of the American State offers a sweeping exploration of how law and legal institutions helped prepare the grounds for this rebellious movement. The controversial argument is that, viewed as a legal matter, the American state is not just a liberal democracy, as most Americans believe. Rather, the American state is composed of an uneasy and unstable combination of different versions of the state—liberal democratic, administered, neoliberal, and dissociative. Each of these versions arose through its own law and legal institutions. Each emerged at different times historically. Each was prompted by deficits in the prior versions. Each has survived displacement by succeeding versions. All remain active in the contemporary moment—creating the political-legal dysfunction America confronts today.

Pierre Schlag maps out a big picture view of the tribulations of the American state. The book abjures conventional academic frameworks, sets aside prescriptions for quick fixes, dispenses with lamentations about polarization, and bypasses historical celebrations of the American Spirit.

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Under the Cover of Chaos
Trump and the Battle for the American Right
Lawrence Grossberg
Pluto Press, 2018
One of the ways that people—voters, other politicians, and members of the media—have dealt with the rise of Donald Trump has been to dismiss him as an outlier, treating his irrationality, cruelty, and bombast as marks of his own character rather than signs of anything larger. Lawrence Grossberg’s Under the Cover of Chaos makes that argument impossible. In damning detail, Grossberg here lays bare the deep roots of Trumpism in the broader history of postwar US conservatism.
            Rather than a break with some imagined pure, nuanced conservatism, Grossberg shows, Trump’s manic nonsense is actually a continuation, the result of a long struggle between the new right and the reactionary right. What is new, he shows, is that the reactionary right has been legitimated—and has brought its political strategy of sowing chaos into the heart of mainstream politics. From there, Grossberg goes on to analyze the national mood—and to explain how that plays out in the actions of both Trump supporters and opponents—and lays out a possible nightmare future: a vision of a political system controlled by corporate interests, built on a deliberate dismantling of modern politics. 
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The Vote
Bush, Gore, and the Supreme Court
Edited by Cass R. Sunstein and Richard A. Epstein
University of Chicago Press, 2001
Though George W. Bush took office in January, the nation is still recovering from the prolonged and complex process by which he was elected. The Florida electoral controversy and the subsequent decisions by both the Florida courts and the U.S. Supreme Court left citizens and scholars alike divided over the role of the judiciary in the electoral arena. Now, after a few months of reflection, leading constitutional scholarsCass R. Sunstein, Richard A. Epstein, Pamela S. Karlan, Richard A. Posner, and John Yoo, among others—weigh in on the Supreme Court's actions, which remain sensible, legally legitimate, and pragmatically defensible to some and an egregious abuse of power to others. Representing the full spectrum of views and arguments, The Vote offers the most timely and considered guide to the ultimate consequences and significance of the Supreme Court's decision.

The contributors to this volume were highly visible in the national media while the controversy raged, and here they present fully fleshed-out arguments for the positions they promoted on the airwaves. Readers will find in The Vote equally impassioned defenses for and indictments of the Court's actions, and they will come to understand the practical and theoretical implications of the Court's ruling in the realms of both law and politics. No doubt a spate of books will appear on the 2000 presidential election, but none will claim as distinguished a roster of contributors better qualified to place these recent events in their appropriate historical, legal, and political contexts.

Leading constitutional scholars render their verdicts on the 2000 presidential election controversy

Contributors:

Richard A. Epstein

Elizabeth Garrett

Samuel Issacharoff

Pamela S. Karlan

Michael W. McConnell

Frank I. Michelman

Richard H. Pildes

Richard A. Posner

David A. Strauss

Cass R. Sunstein

John Yoo

An earlier electronic edition of The Vote was available on the University of Chicago Press Web site.
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W Stands for Women
How the George W. Bush Presidency Shaped a New Politics of Gender
Michaele L. Ferguson and Lori J. Marso, eds.
Duke University Press, 2007
Taking seriously the “W Stands for Women” rhetoric of the 2004 Bush–Cheney campaign, the contributors to this collection investigate how “W” stands for women. They argue that George W. Bush has hijacked feminist language toward decidedly antifeminist ends; his use of feminist rhetoric is deeply and problematically connected to a conservative gender ideology. While it is not surprising that conservative views about gender motivate Bush’s stance on so-called “women’s issues” such as abortion, what is surprising—and what this collection demonstrates—is that a conservative gender ideology also underlies a range of policies that do not appear explicitly related to gender, most notably foreign and domestic policies associated with the post-9/11 security state. Any assessment of the lasting consequences of the Bush presidency requires an understanding of the gender conservatism at its core.

In W Stands for Women ten feminist scholars analyze various aspects of Bush’s persona, language, and policy to show how his administration has shaped a new politics of gender. One contributor points out the shortcomings of “compassionate conservatism,” a political philosophy that requires a weaker class to be the subject of compassion. Another examines Lynndie England’s participation in the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in relation to the interrogation practices elaborated in the Army Field Manual, practices that often entail “feminizing” detainees by stripping them of their masculine gender identities. Whether investigating the ways that Bush himself performs masculinity or the problems with discourse that positions non-Western women as supplicants in need of saving, these essays highlight the far-reaching consequences of the Bush administration’s conflation of feminist rhetoric, conservative gender ideology, and neoconservative national security policy.

Contributors. Andrew Feffer, Michaele L. Ferguson, David S. Gutterman, Mary Hawkesworth, Timothy Kaufman-Osborn, Lori Jo Marso, Danielle Regan, R. Claire Snyder, Iris Marion Young, Karen Zivi

Michaela Ferguson and Karen Zivi appeared on KPFA’s Against the Grain on September 11, 2007. Listen to the audio.
Michaela Ferguson and Lori Jo Marso appeared on WUNC’s The State of Things on August 30, 2007. Listen to the audio.

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White Boy
A Memoir
Mark D. Naison
Temple University Press, 2002
How does a Jewish boy who spent the bulk of his childhood on the basketball courts of Brooklyn wind up teaching in one of the city's pioneering black studies departments? Naison's odyssey begins as Brooklyn public schools respond to a new wave of Black migrants and Caribbean immigrants, and established residents flee to virtually all-white parts of the city or suburbs. Already alienated by his parents' stance on race issues and their ambitions for him, he has started on a separate ideological path by the time he enters Columbia College. Once he embarks on a long-term interracial relationship, becomes a member of SDS, focuses his historical work on black activists, and organizes community groups in the Bronx, his immersion in the radical politics of the 1960s has emerged as the center of his life. Determined to keep his ties to the Black community, even when the New Left splits along racial lines, Naison joined the fledgling African American studies program at Fordham, remarkable then as now for its commitment to interracial education.This memoir offers more than a participant's account of the New Left's racial dynamics; it eloquently speaks to the ways in which political commitments emerge from and are infused with the personal choices we all make.
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With or Without
Reading Postwar German Women Poets
Charlotte Ann Melin
Northwestern University Press, 2013

With or Without explores the role of German women’s poetry in the contemporary literary discourse of the latter half of the twentieth century. Melin highlights the significant role that women played in the shaping of postwar German poetry as a whole and also their deep engagement with the broader issues of modernism, postmodernism, and related discourses about the relationship between individual experience, communal ideals, and interpersonal expression. Melin shows that for German writers poetry became the genre that had the capacity to project subjectivity, voice, and authenticity.

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Writing Vietnam, Writing Life
Caputo, Heinemann, O'Brien, Butler
Tobey C. Herzog
University of Iowa Press, 2008

Philip Caputo, Larry Heinemann, Tim O'Brien, and Robert Olen Butler: four young midwestern Americans coming of age during the 1960s who faced a difficult personal decision—whether or not to fight in Vietnam. Each chose to participate. After coming home, these four veterans became prizewinning authors telling the war stories and life stories of soldiers and civilians. The four extended conversations included in Writing Vietnam, Writing Life feature revealing personal stories alongside candid assessments of each author's distinct roles as son, soldier, writer, and teacher of creative writing.

As Tobey Herzog's thoughtful interviews reveal, these soldier-authors have diverse upbringings, values, interests, writing careers, life experiences, and literary voices. They hold wide-ranging views on, among other things, fatherhood, war, the military, religion, the creative process, the current state of the world, and the nature of both physical and moral courage. For each author, the conversation and richly annotated chronology provide an overview of the writer's life, the intersection of memory and imagination in his writing, and the path of his literary career. Together, these four life stories also offer mini-tableaux of the fascinating and troubling time of 1960s and 1970s America. Above all, the conversations reveal that each author is linked forever to the Vietnam War, the country of Vietnam, and its people.

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