The authors of this collection interrogate the political health of African political parties and evaluate the theory and practice of party functions, ideology and structure. Through fresh analysis using a variety of case studies, they question the democratic credentials of African political parties and propose new methods for achieving inclusive, broad-based representation.
Themes include the evolution and institutionalisation of African political parties; the unique historical, political and social circumstances that shaped their structures and functions.Morten Bøås In the governance trajectory, the authors question the relationship between African political parties and government; political parties and representation; political parties and electoral systems; and political parties and parliament. Case studies include Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and many others.
The African Renaissance and the Afro-Arab Spring addresses the often unspoken connection between the powerful call for a political-cultural renaissance that emerged with the end of South African apartheid and the popular revolts of 2011 that dramatically remade the landscape in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. Looking between southern and northern Africa, the transcontinental line from Cape to Cairo that for so long supported colonialism, its chapters explore the deep roots of these two decisive events and demonstrate how they are linked by shared opposition to legacies of political, economic, and cultural subjugation. As they work from African, Islamic, and Western perspectives, the book’s contributors shed important light on a continent’s difficult history and undertake a critical conversation about whether and how the desire for radical change holds the possibility of a new beginning for Africa, a beginning that may well reshape the contours of global affairs.
Why, despite decades of high levels of foreign aid, has development been so disappointing in most of Sub-Saharan Africa, leading to rising numbers of poor and fueling political instabilities? While not ignoring the culpability of Africans in these problems, Carol Lancaster finds that much of the responsibility is in the hands of the governments and international aid agencies that provide assistance to the region. The first examination of its kind, Aid to Africa investigates the impact of bureaucratic politics, special interest groups, and public opinion in aid-giving countries and agencies. She finds that aid agencies in Africa often misdiagnosed problems, had difficulty designing appropriate programs that addressed the local political environment, and failed to coordinate their efforts effectively.
This balanced but tough-minded analysis does not reject the potential usefulness of foreign aid but does offer recommendations for fundamental changes in how governments and multilateral aid agencies can operate more effectively.
AIDS and Africa are indelibly linked in popular consciousness, but despite widespread awareness of the epidemic, much of the story remains hidden beneath a superficial focus on condoms, sex workers, and antiretrovirals. Africa gets lost in this equation, Daniel Jordan Smith argues, transformed into a mere vehicle to explain AIDS, and in AIDS Doesn’t Show Its Face, he offers a powerful reversal, using AIDS as a lens through which to view Africa.
Drawing on twenty years of fieldwork in Nigeria, Smith tells a story of dramatic social changes, ones implicated in the same inequalities that also factor into local perceptions about AIDS—inequalities of gender, generation, and social class. Nigerians, he shows, view both social inequality and the presence of AIDS in moral terms, as kinds of ethical failure. Mixing ethnographies that describe everyday life with pointed analyses of public health interventions, he demonstrates just how powerful these paired anxieties—medical and social—are, and how the world might better alleviate them through a more sensitive understanding of their relationship.
Before a post-divorce road trip Chris Ames had been ensconced in French domesticity, with a wife, two children, and a regular job. Returning to Paris after that trip, he became an American vagabond and seeker who, lacking sufficient means and motivation to pay the rent and invest again in permanence, opted for homelessness. He soon found an unexpected place to pitch his tent—an abandoned golf course. Ames recounts a full year spent living there, with little baggage, through snow and heat, while commuting to his job as an English teacher in the city. Developing his urban-survivor skills, he rekindles relationships, starts others, offers glimpses of Parisian society—homeless and not—and ruminates on direction and the lack thereof.
Ames circles serious questions, rarely losing a sense of irony, bewilderment, or amusement, especially at his circumstances, with their inherent discomforts, risks, and not-so-reassuring self-revelation. As readers see him stumble into renewed social bonds, his skewed searching and unconventional existence will engage and sometimes befuddle them.
“I’m not saying become homeless, but do understand it opens many doors, and helps us appreciate the doors we can close.”—from the introduction
Winner of the Nonfiction Award in the Utah Division of Arts and Museums Original Writing Competition
Wade Clark Roof and William McKinney argue that a new voluntarism is slowly eroding the old social and economic boundaries that once defined and separated religious groups and is opening new cleavages along moral and life-style lines. Nowhere has the impact of these changes been more profoundly felt than by the often-overlooked religious communities of the American center, or mainline--Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish.
"American Mainline Religion" provides a new "mapping" of the families of American religion and the underlying social, cultural, and demographic forces that will reshape American religion in the century to come. Going beyond the headlines in daily newspapers, Roof and McKinney document the decline of the Protestant establishment, the rise of a more assimilated and public-minded Roman Catholicism, the place of black Protestantism and Judaism, and the resurgence of conservative Protestantism as a religious and cultural force.
How does anxiety impact narratives about African history, culture, and society?
This volume demonstrates the richness of anxiety as an analytical lens within African studies. Contributors call attention to ways of thinking about African spaces—physical, visceral, somatic, and imagined—as well as about time and temporality. Through a multidisciplinary approach, the volume also brings histories of anxiety in colonial settings into conversation with work on the so-called negative emotions in disciplines beyond history. While anxiety has long been acknowledged for its ability to unsettle colonial narratives, to reveal the vulnerability of the colonial enterprise, this volume shows it can equally complicate contemporary narratives, such as those of sustainable development, migration, sexuality, and democracy. These essays therefore highlight the need to take emotions seriously as contemporary realities with particular histories that must be carefully mapped out.
On February 28, 1993, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) launched the largest assault in its history against a small religious community in central Texas. One hundred agents armed with automatic and semi automatic weapons invaded the compound, purportedly to execute a single search and arrest warrant. The raid went badly; four agents were killed, and by the end of the day the settlement was surrounded by armored tanks and combat helicopters. After a fifty-one day standoff, the United States Justice Department approved a plan to use CS gas against those barricaded inside. Whether by accident or plan, tanks carrying the CS gas caused the compound to explode in fire, killing all seventy-four men, women, and children inside.
Could the tragedy have been prevented? Was it necesary for the BATF agents to do what they did? What could have been done differently? Armageddon in Waco offers the most detailed, wide-ranging analysis of events surrounding Waco. Leading scholars in sociology, history, law, and religion explore all facets of the confrontation in an attempt to understand one of the most confusing government actions in American history.
The book begins with the history of the Branch Davidians and the story of its leader, David Koresh. Chapters show how the Davidians came to trouble authorities, why the group was labeled a "cult," and how authorities used unsubstantiated allegations of child abuse to strengthen their case against the sect.
The media's role is examined next in essays that considering the effect on coverage of lack of time and resources, the orchestration of public relations by government officials, the restricted access to the site or to countervailing evidence, and the ideologies of the journalists themselves. Several contributors then explore the relation of violence to religion, comparing Waco to Jonestown.
Finally, the role played by "experts" and "consultants" in defining such conflicts is explored by two contributors who had active roles as scholarly experts during and after the siege The legal and consitutional implications of the government's actions are also analyzed in balanced, clearly written detail.
Body, Remember: A Memoir
Kenny Fries University of Wisconsin Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3556.R568Z464 2003 | Dewey Decimal 818.5409
In this poetic, introspective memoir, Kenny Fries illustrates his intersecting identities as gay, Jewish, and disabled. While learning about the history of his body through medical records and his physical scars, Fries discovers just how deeply the memories and psychic scars run. As he reflects on his relationships with his family, his compassionate doctor, the brother who resented his disability, and the men who taught him to love, he confronts the challenges of his life. Body, Remember is a story about connection, a redemptive and passionate testimony to one man’s search for the sources of identity and difference.
At the close of the twentieth century, black artists began to figure prominently in the mainstream American art world for the first time. Thanks to the social advances of the civil rights movement and the rise of multiculturalism, African American artists in the late 1980s and early ’90s enjoyed unprecedented access to established institutions of publicity and display. Yet in this moment of ostensible freedom, black cultural practitioners found themselves turning to the history of slavery.
Bound to Appear focuses on four of these artists—Renée Green, Glenn Ligon, Lorna Simpson, and Fred Wilson—who have dominated and shaped the field of American art over the past two decades through large-scale installations that radically departed from prior conventions for representing the enslaved. Huey Copeland shows that their projects draw on strategies associated with minimalism, conceptualism, and institutional critique to position the slave as a vexed figure—both subject and object, property and person. They also engage the visual logic of race in modernity and the challenges negotiated by black subjects in the present. As such, Copeland argues, their work reframes strategies of representation and rethinks how blackness might be imagined and felt long after the end of the “peculiar institution.” The first book to examine in depth these artists’ engagements with slavery, Bound to Appear will leave an indelible mark on modern and contemporary art.
Jaimey Fisher University of Illinois Press, 2013 Library of Congress PN1998.3.P467F57 2013 | Dewey Decimal 791.430233092
In eleven feature films across two decades, Christian Petzold has established himself as the most critically celebrated director in contemporary Germany. The best-known and most influential member of the Berlin School, Petzold's career reflects the trajectory of German film from 1970s New German Cinema to more popular fare in the 1990s and back again to critically engaged and politically committed filmmaking.
In the first book-length study on Petzold in English, Jaimey Fisher frames Petzold's cinema at the intersection of international art cinema and sophisticated genre cinema. This approach places his work in the context of global cinema and invites comparisons to the work of directors like Pedro Almodovar and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who repeatedly deploy and reconfigure genre cinema to their own ends. These generic aspects constitute a cosmopolitan gesture in Petzold's work as he interprets and elaborates on cult genre films and popular genres, including horror, film noir, and melodrama. Fisher explores these popular genres while injecting them with themes like terrorism, globalization, and immigration, central issues for European art cinema. The volume also includes an extended original interview with the director about his work.
Sprawling commercial and residential development in outer suburbs and exurban areas has for a number of years masked increasingly severe socioeconomic problems in suburban America. In recent decades, income declines, crime increases, and tax base erosion have affected many suburbs to an extent previously seen only in central cities.In Confronting Suburban Decline, William H. Lucy and David L. Phillips examine conditions and trends in cities and suburbs since 1960, arguing that beginning in the 1980s, the United States entered a "post-suburban" era of declining suburbs with maturation of communities accompanied by large-scale deterioration. The authors examine: why suburban decline has become widespread how the "tyranny of easy development decisions" often results in new housing being built outside of areas that people prefer how strategic planning can help assess dangers how some suburbs have stabilized or revived how interactions between residential mobility and the age, size, and location of housing can help policy makers anticipate dangers and opportunities facing neighborhoods and jurisdictions Making the case that a high quality natural and built environment is key to achieving economic stability, the authors set forth a series of policy recommendations with federal, state, regional, and local dimensions that can help contribute to that goal.In-depth case studies are provided of Richmond, Virginia and Washington, D.C., along with examples from Minnesota, Oregon, Maryland, Tennessee, and other locations. In addition, the book offers information and statistics on income, population, and racial transitions in 554 suburbs in the nation's twenty-four largest metropolitan areas.Confronting Suburban Decline provides a detailed look at the causes of and responses to urban and suburban decline. Planners and policymakers as well as students and researchers involved with issues of land use, economic development, regional planning, community development, or intergovernmental relations will find it a valuable resource.
Counting the Tiger’s Teeth narrates a crucial turning point in Nigerian history, the Agbekoya rebellion (“Peasants Reject Poverty”) of 1968–70, as chronicled by Toyin Falola, reflecting on his firsthand experiences as a teenage witness to history. Falola, the foremost scholar of Africa of this generation, illuminates the complex factors that led to this armed conflict and details the unfolding of major events and maneuvers. The narrative provides unprecedented, even poetic, access to the social fabric and dynamic cosmology of the farming communities in rebellion as they confronted the modernizing state. The postcolonial government exercised new modes of power that corrupted or neglected traditional forms of authority, ignoring urgent pleas for justice and fairness by the citizenry. What emerges, as the rural communities organized for and executed the war, is a profound story of traditional culture’s ingenuity and strength in this epic struggle over the future direction of a nation. Falola reveals the rebellion’s ambivalent legacy, the uncertainties of which inform even the present historical moment. Like Falola’s prizewinning previous memoir, A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt, this engagingly written book performs the essential service of providing a way of walking with ancestors, remembering the dead, reminding the living, and converting orality into a permanent text.
The Culture of Inequality
Michael Lewis University of Massachusetts Press, 1993 Library of Congress HN65.L443 1993 | Dewey Decimal 306.0973
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Elites and the Politics of Accountability in Africa examines the ways that accountability offers an effective interpretive lens to the social, cultural, and institutional struggles of both the elites and ordinary citizens in Africa. Each chapter investigates questions of power, its public deliberation, and its negotiation in Africa by studying elites through the framework of accountability. The book enters conversations about political subjectivity and agency, especially from ongoing struggles around identities and belonging, as well as representation and legitimacy. Who speaks to whom? And on whose behalf do they speak? The contributors to this volume offer careful analyses of how such concerns are embedded in wider forms of cultural, social, and institutional discussions about transparency, collective responsibility, community, and public decision-making processes. These concerns affect prospects for democratic oversight, as well as questions of alienation, exclusivity, privilege and democratic deficit. The book situates our understanding of the emergence, meaning, and conceptual relevance of elite accountability, to study political practices in Africa. It then juxtaposes this contextualization of accountability in relation to the practices of African elites. Elites and the Politics of Accountability in Africa offers fresh, dynamic, and multifarious accounts of elites and their practices of accountability and locally plausible self-legitimation, as well as illuminating accounts of contemporary African elites in relation to their socially and historicallysituated outcomes of contingency, composition, negotiation, and compromise.
Fine Boys: A Novel
Eghosa Imasuen Ohio University Press, 2021 Library of Congress PR9387.9.I47F56 2021 | Dewey Decimal 823.92
A coming-of-age tale told from the perspective of Nigeria’s Generation X, caught amid the throes of a nascent pro-democracy movement, demoralizing corruption, and campus violence.
Ewaen is a Nigerian teenager, bored at home in Warri and eager to flee from his parents’ unhappy marriage and incessant quarreling. When Ewaen is admitted to the University of Benin, he makes new friends who, like him, are excited about their newfound independence. They hang out in parking lots, trading gibes in pidgin and English and discovering the pleasures that freedom affords them. But when university strikes begin and ruthlessly violent confraternities unleash mayhem on their campus, Ewaen and his new friends must learn to adapt—or risk becoming the confras' next unwilling recruits.
In his trademark witty, colloquial style, critically acclaimed author Eghosa Imasuen presents everyday Nigerian life against the backdrop of the pro-democracy riots of the 1980s and 1990s, the lost hopes of June 12 (Nigeria’s Democracy Day), and the terror of the Abacha years. Fine Boys is a chronicle of time, not just in Nigeria, but also for its budding post-Biafran generation.
In Foreign Intervention in Africa after the Cold War—interdisciplinary in approach and intended for nonspecialists—Elizabeth Schmidt provides a new framework for thinking about foreign political and military intervention in Africa, its purposes, and its consequences. She focuses on the quarter century following the Cold War (1991–2017), when neighboring states and subregional, regional, and global organizations and networks joined extracontinental powers in support of diverse forces in the war-making and peace-building processes. During this period, two rationales were used to justify intervention: a response to instability, with the corollary of responsibility to protect, and the war on terror.
Often overlooked in discussions of poverty and violence in Africa is the fact that many of the challenges facing the continent today are rooted in colonial political and economic practices, in Cold War alliances, and in attempts by outsiders to influence African political and economic systems during the decolonization and postindependence periods. Although conflicts in Africa emerged from local issues, external political and military interventions altered their dynamics and rendered them more lethal. Foreign Intervention in Africa after the Cold War counters oversimplification and distortions and offers a new continentwide perspective, illuminated by trenchant case studies.
Both on the continent and off, “Africa” is spoken of in terms of crisis: as a place of failure and seemingly insurmountable problems, as a moral challenge to the international community. What, though, is really at stake in discussions about Africa, its problems, and its place in the world? And what should be the response of those scholars who have sought to understand not the “Africa” portrayed in broad strokes in journalistic accounts and policy papers but rather specific places and social realities within Africa?
In Global Shadows the renowned anthropologist James Ferguson moves beyond the traditional anthropological focus on local communities to explore more general questions about Africa and its place in the contemporary world. Ferguson develops his argument through a series of provocative essays which open—as he shows they must—into interrogations of globalization, modernity, worldwide inequality, and social justice. He maintains that Africans in a variety of social and geographical locations increasingly seek to make claims of membership within a global community, claims that contest the marginalization that has so far been the principal fruit of “globalization” for Africa. Ferguson contends that such claims demand new understandings of the global, centered less on transnational flows and images of unfettered connection than on the social relations that selectively constitute global society and on the rights and obligations that characterize it.
Ferguson points out that anthropologists and others who have refused the category of Africa as empirically problematic have, in their devotion to particularity, allowed themselves to remain bystanders in the broader conversations about Africa. In Global Shadows, he urges fellow scholars into the arena, encouraging them to find a way to speak beyond the academy about Africa’s position within an egregiously imbalanced world order.
In the Province of the Gods
Kenny Fries University of Wisconsin Press, 2021 Library of Congress PS3556.R568Z46 2017 | Dewey Decimal 818.5403
Kenny Fries embarks on a journey of profound self-discovery as a disabled foreigner in Japan, a society historically hostile to difference. As he visits gardens, experiences Noh and butoh, and meets artists and scholars, he also discovers disabled gods, one-eyed samurai, blind chanting priests, and A-bomb survivors. When he is diagnosed as HIV positive, all his assumptions about Japan, the body, and mortality are shaken, and he must find a way to reenter life on new terms.
From its most cosmopolitan urban centers to the rural Midwest, the United States is experiencing a rising tide of religious interest. While terrorist attacks keep Americans fixed on an abhorrent vision of militant Islam, popular films such as The Passion of the Christ and The Da Vinci Code make blockbuster material of the origins of Christianity. The 2004 presidential election, we are told, was decided on the basis of religiously driven moral values. A majority of Americans are reported to believe that religious differences are the biggest obstacle to world peace.
Beneath the superficial banter of the media and popular culture, however, are quieter conversations about what it means to be religious in America today—conversations among recent immigrants about how to adapt their practices to life in new land, conversations among young people who are finding new meaning in religions rejected by their parents, conversations among the religiously unaffiliated about eclectic new spiritualities encountered in magazines, book groups, or online. Interfaith Encounters in America takes a compelling look at these seldom acknowledged exchanges, showing how, despite their incompatibilities, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Hindu Americans, among others, are using their beliefs to commit to the values of a pluralistic society rather than to widen existing divisions.
Chapters survey the intellectual exchanges among scholars of philosophy, religion, and theology about how to make sense of conflicting claims, as well as the relevance and applicability of these ideas “on the ground” where real people with different religious identities intentionally unite for shared purposes that range from national public policy initiatives to small town community interfaith groups, from couples negotiating interfaith marriages to those exploring religious issues with strangers in online interfaith discussion groups.
Written in engaging and accessible prose, this book provides an important reassessment of the problems, values, and goals of contemporary religion in the United States. It is essential reading for scholars of religion, sociology, and American studies, as well as anyone who is concerned with the purported impossibility of religious pluralism.
Immigration and the growing Latino population of the United States have become such contentious issues that it can be hard to have a civil conversation about how Latinoization is changing the face of America. So in the summer of 2007, Louis Mendoza set out to do just that. Starting from Santa Cruz, California, he bicycled 8,500 miles around the entire perimeter of the country, talking to people in large cities and small towns about their experiences either as immigrants or as residents who have welcomed—or not—Latino immigrants into their communities. He presented their enlightening, sometimes surprising, firsthand accounts in Conversations Across Our America: Talking About Immigration and the Latinoization of the United States. Now, in A Journey Around Our America, Mendoza offers his own account of the visceral, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions of traveling the country in search of a deeper, broader understanding of what it means to be Latino in the United States in the twenty-first century. With a blend of first- and second-person narratives, blog entries, poetry, and excerpts from conversations he had along the way, Mendoza presents his own aspirations for and critique of social relations, political ruminations, personal experiences, and emotional vulnerability alongside the stories of people from all walks of life, including students, activists, manual laborers, and intellectuals. His conversations and his experiences as a Latino on the road reveal the multilayered complexity of Latino life today as no academic study or newspaper report ever could.
Hye Seung Chung University of Illinois Press, 2012 Library of Congress PN1998.3.K585C58 2012 | Dewey Decimal 791.430233092
This study investigates the controversial motion pictures written and directed by the independent filmmaker Kim Ki-duk, one of the most acclaimed Korean auteurs in the English-speaking world. Propelled by underdog protagonists who can only communicate through shared corporeal pain and extreme violence, Kim's graphic films have been classified by Western audiences as belonging to sensationalist East Asian "extreme" cinema, and Kim has been labeled a "psychopath" and "misogynist" in South Korea.
Drawing upon both Korean-language and English-language sources, Hye Seung Chung challenges these misunderstandings, recuperating Kim's oeuvre as a therapeutic, yet brutal cinema of Nietzschean ressentiment (political anger and resentment deriving from subordination and oppression). Chung argues that the power of Kim's cinema lies precisely in its ability to capture, channel, and convey the raw emotions of protagonists who live on the bottom rungs of Korean society. She provides historical and postcolonial readings of victimization and violence in Kim's cinema, which tackles such socially relevant topics as national division in Wild Animals and The Coast Guard and U.S. military occupation in Address Unknown. She also explores the religious and spiritual themes in Kim's most recent works, which suggest possibilities of reconciliation and transcendence.
Legacies, Logics, Logistics brings together a set of essays, written both before and after the financial crisis of 2007–08, by eminent Africanist and economic anthropologist Jane I. Guyer. Each was written initially for a conference on a defined theme. When they are brought together and interpreted as a whole by Guyer, these varied essays show how an anthropological and socio-historical approach to economic practices—both in the West and elsewhere—can illuminate deep facets of economic life that the big theories and models may fail to capture.
Focusing on economic actors—whether ordinary consumers or financial experts—Guyer traces how people and institutions hold together past experiences (legacies), imagined scenarios and models (logics), and situational challenges (logistics) in a way that makes the performance of economic life (on platforms made of these legacies, logics, and logistics) work in practice. Individual essays explore a number of topics—including time frames and the future, the use of percentages in observations and judgments, the explanation of prices, the coexistence of different world currencies, the reapplication of longtime economic theories in new settings, and, crucially, how we talk about the economy, how we use stable terms to describe a turbulent system. Valuable as standalone pieces, the essays build into a cogent method of economic anthropology.
In the 1950s, 99 percent of adult Americans said they believed in God. How, James Hudnut-Beumler asks, did this consensus about religion turn into the confrontational debates over religion in the 1960s? He argues that post-World War II suburban conformity made church-going so much a part of middle-class values and life that religion and culture became virtually synonymous. Secular critics like David Riesman, William Whyte, C. Wright Mills, and Dwight Macdonald, who blamed American culture for its conformism and lack of class consciousness, and religious critics like Will Herberg, Gibson Winter, and Peter Berger, who argued that religion had lost its true roots by incorporating only the middle class, converged in their attacks on popular religion.
Although most Americans continued to live and worship as before, a significant number of young people followed the critics' call for a faith that led to social action, but they turned away from organized religion and toward the counterculture of the sixties. The critics of the 1950s deserve credit for asking questions about the value of religion as it was being practiced and the responsibilities of the affluent to the poor—and for putting these issues on the social and cultural agenda of the next generation.
Women’s labor—producing both crops and children—has long been the linchpin of male status and power throughout Africa. This book lucidly interprets the intricate relations of gender to state-building in Africa by looking historically at control over production and reproduction, from the nineteenth century to the present. Miriam Goheen examines struggles over power within the Nso chiefdom in the highlands of Western Cameroon, between the chiefdom and the state, and between men and women, as the women increasingly reject traditional marriages.
Based on a decade of fieldwork, this work tracks the negotiations between chiefs and subchiefs and women and men over ritual power, economic power, and administrative power. Though Nso men obviously dominate their society at both the local level and nationally, women have had power of their own by virtue of their status as women. Men may own the land, for example, but women control the crops through their labor . Goheen explains clearly the place of gender in very complex historical processes, such as land tenure systems, title societies, chieftancy, marriage systems, changing ideas of symbolic capital, and internal and external politics.
In examining women’s resistance to traditional patterns of marriage, Goheen raises the question of whether such actions truly change the balance of power between the sexes, or whether resistance to marriage is instead fostering the formation of a new elite class, since it is only the better-educated women of wealthier families who can change the dynamic of power and labor within the household.
The issues raised in this book are not unique to Nso but apply throughout the African subcontinent. Written in a straightforward way with much of the theoretical argument in footnotes, Men Own the Fields, Women Own the Crops marshals important arguments of wide relevance in present-day Africa.
This powerful book critiques mercenary involvement in post-Cold War African conflicts. The contributors investigate the links between the rise in internal conflicts and the proliferation of mercenary activities in the 1990s; the distinction in the methods adopted by Cold War mercenaries and their contemporary counterparts; the convoluted network between private armies; business interests and sustained poverty in Africa’s poorest countries; and the connection between mercenary activities and arms proliferation. Countries discussed include Sierra Leone, Zaire, Angola, Uganda and Congo.
This pathbreaking study presents a feminist analysis of the politics of membership in the South Korean nation over the past four decades. Seungsook Moon examines the ambitious effort by which South Korea transformed itself into a modern industrial and militarized nation. She demonstrates that the pursuit of modernity in South Korea involved the construction of the anticommunist national identity and a massive effort to mold the populace into useful, docile members of the state. This process, which she terms “militarized modernity,” treated men and women differently. Men were mobilized for mandatory military service and then, as conscripts, utilized as workers and researchers in the industrializing economy. Women were consigned to lesser factory jobs, and their roles as members of the modern nation were defined largely in terms of biological reproduction and household management.
Moon situates militarized modernity in the historical context of colonialism and nationalism in the twentieth century. She follows the course of militarized modernity in South Korea from its development in the early 1960s through its peak in the 1970s and its decline after rule by military dictatorship ceased in 1987. She highlights the crucial role of the Cold War in South Korea’s militarization and the continuities in the disciplinary tactics used by the Japanese colonial rulers and the postcolonial military regimes. Moon reveals how, in the years since 1987, various social movements—particularly the women’s and labor movements—began the still-ongoing process of revitalizing South Korean civil society and forging citizenship as a new form of membership in the democratizing nation.
Elegant prose and imaginative ironies bring these compelling short stories to life in this first English-language collection from Mexican author Roberto Ransom. Each of the ten stories is filled with fascinating, yet enigmatic and sometimes elusive characters: an alligator in a bathtub, an invisible toad who appears only to a young boy, the beautiful redheaded daughter of a mushroom collector, a deceased journalist who communicates in code, and even Leonardo Da Vinci himself, meditating on The Last Supper. One of Mexico’s most original writers, Ransom explores these characters’ emotional depths as they move through their fantastical worlds that, while at times unfamiliar, offer brave and profound insights into our own.
Missing Persons, Animals, and Artists is the follow-up to Ransom’s highly acclaimed A Tale of Two Lions, praised by Ignacio Padilla as “the best Mexican literary work I have read in recent years. . . . [It] heralds a pen capable of that rarest of privileges in our letters: attaining the comic and profoundly human through a perfect simplicity.” This collection of short stories has been translated with great care by Daniel Shapiro.
Nigeria is famous for "419" e-mails asking recipients for bank account information and for scandals involving the disappearance of billions of dollars from government coffers. Corruption permeates even minor official interactions, from traffic control to university admissions. In Moral Economies of Corruption Steven Pierce provides a cultural history of the last 150 years of corruption in Nigeria as a case study for considering how corruption plays an important role in the processes of political change in all states. He suggests that corruption is best understood in Nigeria, as well as in all other nations, as a culturally contingent set of political discourses and historically embedded practices. The best solution to combatting Nigerian government corruption, Pierce contends, is not through attempts to prevent officials from diverting public revenue to self-interested ends, but to ask how public ends can be served by accommodating Nigeria's history of patronage as a fundamental political principle.
"Toyin Falola has given us what is truly rare in modern African writing: a seriously funny, racy, irreverent package of memories, and full of the most wonderful pieces of poetry and ordinary information. It is a matter of some interest, that the only other volume A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt reminds one of is Ake, by Wole Soyinka. What is it about these Yorubas?"
-Ama Ata Aidoo
"A splendid coming-of-age story so full of vivid color and emotion, the words seem to dance off the page. But this is not only Falola's memoir; it is an account of a new nation coming into being and the tensions and negotiations that invariably occur between city and country, tradition and modernity, men and women, rich and poor. A truly beautiful book."
-Robin D. G. Kelley
"More than a personal memoir, this book is a rich minihistory of contemporary Nigeria recorded in delicious detail by a perceptive eyewitness who grew up at the crossroads of many cultures."
"The reader is irresistibly drawn into Falola's world. The prose is lucid. There is humor. This work is sweet. Period."
-Ngugi wa Thiongo'o
A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt gathers the stories and reflections of the early years of Toyin Falola, the grand historian of Africa and one of the greatest sons of Ibadan, the notable Yoruba city-state in Nigeria.
Redefining the autobiographical genre altogether, Falola miraculously weaves together personal, historical, and communal stories, along with political and cultural developments in the period immediately preceding and following Nigeria's independence, to give us a unique and enduring picture of the Yoruba in the mid-twentieth century. This is truly a literary memoir, told in language rich with proverbs, poetry, song, and humor.
Falola's memoir is far more than the story of one man's childhood experiences; rather, he presents us with the riches of an entire culture and community-its history, traditions, pleasures, mysteries, household arrangements, forms of power, struggles, and transformations.
The only book that deals with the religious dimensions of malls. First published in 1986, it has been updated and expanded to include a new chapter on airports and ballparks as forms of the mall, and it also now includes a critical response.
Since the end of the cold war, Africa has seen a dramatic rise in new political and religious phenomena, including an eviscerated privatized state, neoliberal NGOs, Pentecostalism, a resurgence in accusations of witchcraft, a culture of scamming and fraud, and, in some countries, a nearly universal wish to emigrate. Drawing on fieldwork in Togo, Charles Piot suggests that a new biopolitics after state sovereignty is remaking the face of one of the world’s poorest regions.
In a country where playing the U.S. Department of State’s green card lottery is a national pastime and the preponderance of cybercafés and Western Union branches signals a widespread desire to connect to the rest of the world, Nostalgia for the Future makes clear that the cultural and political terrain that underlies postcolonial theory has shifted. In order to map out this new terrain, Piot enters into critical dialogue with a host of important theorists, including Agamben, Hardt and Negri, Deleuze, and Mbembe. The result is a deft interweaving of rich observations of Togolese life with profound insights into the new, globalized world in which that life takes place.
Peacebuilding, Power, and Politics in Africa is a critical reflection on peacebuilding efforts in Africa. The authors expose the tensions and contradictions in different clusters of peacebuilding activities, including peace negotiations; statebuilding; security sector governance; and disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration. Essays also address the institutional framework for peacebuilding in Africa and the ideological underpinnings of key institutions, including the African Union, NEPAD, the African Development Bank, the Pan-African Ministers Conference for Public and Civil Service, the UN Peacebuilding Commission, the World Bank, and the International Criminal Court. The volume includes on-the-ground case study chapters on Sudan, the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the Niger Delta, Southern Africa, and Somalia, analyzing how peacebuilding operates in particular African contexts.
The authors adopt a variety of approaches, but they share a conviction that peacebuilding in Africa is not a script that is authored solely in Western capitals and in the corridors of the United Nations. Rather, the writers in this volume focus on the interaction between local and global ideas and practices in the reconstitution of authority and livelihoods after conflict. The book systematically showcases the tensions that occur within and between the many actors involved in the peacebuilding industry, as well as their intended beneficiaries. It looks at the multiple ways in which peacebuilding ideas and initiatives are reinforced, questioned, reappropriated, and redesigned by different African actors.
A joint project between the Centre for Conflict Resolution in Cape Town, South Africa, and the Centre of African Studies at the University of Cambridge.
How are we to explain the resurgence of customary chiefs in contemporary Africa? Rather than disappearing with the tide of modernity, as many expected, indigenous sovereigns are instead a rising force, often wielding substantial power and legitimacy despite major changes in the workings of the global political economy in the post–Cold War era—changes in which they are themselves deeply implicated.
This pathbreaking volume, edited by anthropologists John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff, explores the reasons behind the increasingly assertive politics of custom in many corners of Africa. Chiefs come in countless guises—from university professors through cosmopolitan businessmen to subsistence farmers–but, whatever else they do, they are a critical key to understanding the tenacious hold that “traditional” authority enjoys in the late modern world. Together the contributors explore this counterintuitive chapter in Africa’s history and, in so doing, place it within the broader world-making processes of the twenty-first century.
In The Postcolonial State in Africa, Crawford Young offers an informed and authoritative comparative overview of fifty years of African independence, drawing on his decades of research and first-hand experience on the African continent.
Young identifies three cycles of hope and disappointment common to many of the African states (including those in North Africa) over the last half-century: initial euphoria at independence in the 1960s followed by disillusionment with a lapse into single-party autocracies and military rule; a period of renewed confidence, radicalization, and ambitious state expansion in the 1970s preceding state crisis and even failure in the disastrous 1980s; and a phase of reborn optimism during the continental wave of democratization beginning around 1990. He explores in depth the many African civil wars—especially those since 1990—and three key tracks of identity: Africanism, territorial nationalism, and ethnicity.
Only more recently, Young argues, have the paths of the fifty-three African states begun to diverge more dramatically, with some leading to liberalization and others to political, social, and economic collapse—outcomes impossible to predict at the outset of independence.
“This book is the best volume to date on the politics of the last 50 years of African independence.”—International Affairs
“The book shares Young’s encyclopedic knowledge of African politics, providing in a single volume a comprehensive rendering of the first 50 years of independence. The book is sprinkled with anecdotes from his vast experience in Africa and that of his many students, and quotations from all of the relevant literature published over the past five decades. Students and scholars of African politics alike will benefit immensely from and enjoy reading The Postcolonial State in Africa.”—Political Science Quarterly
“The study of African politics will continue to be enriched if practitioners pay homage to the erudition and the nobility of spirit that has anchored the engagement of this most esteemed doyen of Africanists with the continent.”—African History Review
“The book’s strongest attribute is the careful way that comparative political theory is woven into historical storytelling throughout the text. . . . Written with great clarity even for all its detail, and its interwoven use of theory makes it a great choice for new students of African studies.”—Australasian Review of African Studies
What is Public religion? How does it manifest the sacred? These are the fundamental questions Robert Wuthnow addresses in Producing the Sacred.
Wuthnow uses as a guiding assumption the idea that cultural expressions, religious or otherwise, do not simply happen but are produced. He considers the major kinds of organizations that produce public religion--congregations, hierarchies, special interests, academies, and public rituals--showing how these organizational vehicles shape public religion's messages and how specific types of religious organization draw resources from their environments. He also reveals the implicit and unintended ways in which sacredness is expressed in modern society.
A volume in the series Public Expressions of Religion in America
Religious activities have been of continuing importance in the rise of protest against postcolonial governments in Eastern Africa. Governments have attempted to “manage“ religious affairs in both Muslim and Christian areas. Religious denominations have acted as advocates of human rights and in opposition to one-party-state regimes. Islamic fundamentalism changed with the ending of the Cold War.
The book is divided into four parts: The Challenge of Islam; Christianity, Sectarianism, and Politics in Uganda; Christians and Muslim in Kenyan Politics; and Cross-cultural Complications. An introductory essay by Michael Twaddle provides and overview of the changing character of politico-religious conflict in Eastern Africa. Holger Bernt Hansen summarizes the presentation with a discussion of dilemmas and challenges in the study of religion and politics.
Prayer in public schools, abortion, gay and lesbian rights—these bitterly divisive issues dominate American politics today, revealing deep disagreements over basic moral values. In a highly readable account that draws on legal arguments, political theory, and philosophy, Ronald F. Thiemann explores the proper role of religious convictions in American public life. He proposes that religion can and should play an active, positive part in our society even as it maintains a fundamental commitment to pluralist, democratic values.
Arguing that both increased secularism and growing religious diversity since the 1960s have fragmented commonly held values, Thiemann observes that there has been an historical ambivalence in American attitudes towards religion in public life. He proposes abandoning the idea of an absolute wall between church and state and all the conceptual framework built around that concept in interpreting the first amendment. He returns instead to James Madison's views and the Constitutional principles of liberty, equality, and toleration. Refuting both political liberalism (as too secular) and communitarianism (as failing to meet the challenge of pluralism), Thiemann offers a new definition of liberalism that gives religions a voice in the public sphere as long as they heed the Constitutional principles of liberty, equality, and toleration or mutual respect.
The American republic, Thiemann notes, is a constantly evolving experiment in constructing a pluralistic society from its many particular communities. Religion can act as a positive force in its moral renewal, by helping to shape common cultural values.
All those interested in finding solutions to today's divisive political discord, in finding ways to disagree civilly in a democracy, and in exploring the extent to which religious convictions should shape the development of public policies will find that this book offers an important new direction for religion and the nation.
In the case of Nigeria, scholarship on religious politics has not adequately taken into account the pluralistic context and the idealistic pretensions of the state that inhibit the possibility of forging an enduring civic amity among Nigeria’s diverse groups. Ilesanmi proposes a new philosophy or model of religio-political interaction, which he calls dialogic politics. Dialogic politics celebrates pluralism and suggests that religious institutions he construed as mediating structures functioning as buffers between individual citizens in search of existential meaning and cultural identity and the impersonal state, which tends to gravitate toward instrumental objectives. Ilesanmi’s study offers a fresh perspective on the complex relations between political attitudes and religious convictions.
When DJ Lee’s dear friend vanishes in the vast Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana, she travels there to seek answers. The journey unexpectedly brings to an end her fifteen-year quest to uncover the buried history of her family in this remote place. Although Lee doesn’t find all the answers, she comes away with a penetrating memoir that weaves her present-day story with past excursions into the region, wilderness history, and family secrets.
As she grapples with wild animal stand-offs, bush plane flights in dense fog, raging forest fires, and strange characters who have come to the wilderness to seek or hide, Lee learns how she can survive emotionally and how the wilderness survives as an ecosystem. Her growing knowledge of the life cycles of salmon and wolverine, the regenerative role of fire, and Nimíipuu land practices helps her find intimacy in this remote landscape.
Skillfully intertwining history, outdoor adventure, and mystery, Lee’s memoir is an engaging contribution to the growing body of literature on women and wilderness and a lyrical tribute to the spiritual connection between people and the natural world.
David T. Johnson University of Illinois Press, 2012 Library of Congress PN1998.3.L544J86 2012 | Dewey Decimal 791.430233092
Richard Linklater's filmmaking choices seem to defy basic patterns of authorship. From his debut with the inventive independent narrative Slacker, the Austin-based director's divergent films have included the sci-fi noir A Scanner Darkly, the socially conscious Fast Food Nation, the kid-friendly The School of Rock, the teen ensemble Dazed and Confused, and the twin romances Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Yet throughout his varied career spanning two decades, Linklater has maintained a sense of integrity while working within a broad range of budgets, genres, and subject matters.
Identifying a critical commonality among so much variation, David T. Johnson analyzes Linklater's preoccupation with the concept of time in many of his films, focusing on its many forms and aspects: the subjective experience of time and the often explicit, self-aware ways that characters discuss that experience; time and memory, and the ways that characters negotiate memory in the present; the moments of adolescence and early adulthood as crucial moments in time; the relationship between time and narrative in film; and how cinema, itself, may be becoming antiquated. While Linklater's focus on temporality often involves a celebration of the present that is not divorced from the past and future, Johnson argues that this attendance to the present also includes an ongoing critique of modern American culture. Crucially filling a gap in critical studies of this American director, the volume concludes with an interview with Linklater discussing his career.
"One of the more provocative studies of why middle America is making increasing use of ritual healing and what that choice tells us of problems with biomedical care in technological institutions. . . . A welcome addition to anthropological studies of ritual healing in other societies, and it illuminates a huge component of our health care system that is poorly understood."--Arthur Kleinman, M.D., Harvard University "An all too rare volume, namely a scholarly work on the practice of healing in suburban or what we might call middle-class America. McGuire, perhaps uniquely, has set out the religious or 'ritual' healing beliefs and practices that are usually strictly segregated and kept apart. . . . Anyone who takes seriously the need to understand 'healing' . . . should obtain this book."--Health and Healing "The power of the book is in the larger cultural analysis it offers . . . a valuable contribution to medical sociology."--Sociological Analysis "This welcome study of nonmedical healing among upper-middle-class and middle-class persons in Essex County, New Jersey, clearly shows how individuals become attracted to and influenced by alternative healing techniques."--Choice "Develops an innovative sociological approach to the study of alternative healing practices through a methodologically sound qualitative study. . . . The high quality of research and conceptualization and the meticulous documentation of the relevant literature make [this book] essential reading for those interested in the sociology and anthropology of religion and of medicine, and in the study of health and illness in contemporary America."--Contemporary Sociology "A major contribution."--The Christian Century "The remarkable strength of this book about the exotic in the commonplace is that it demonstrates both that ritual healing is widespread in the heartland of medical technology, and that the wide variety of ritual healing practices are based on similar structures."--Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry Meredith B. McGuire is professor of sociology at Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, and the author of Pentecostal Catholics and other books. Debra Kantor is acting director of education and training for the New Jersey Medical School National Tuberculosis Center.
“Africa is no more prone to violent conflicts than other regions. Indeed, Africa’s share of the more than 180 million people who died from conflicts and atrocities in the twentieth century is relatively modest.… This is not to underestimate the immense impact of violent conflicts on Africa; it is merely to emphasize the need for more balanced debate and commentary.”
—From the introduction by Paul Tiyambe Zeleza
Violent conflicts have exacted a heavy toll on Africa’s societies, polities, and economies. This book presents African scholars’ views of why conflicts start in their continent. The causes of conflict are too often examined by scholars from the countries that run the proxy wars and sell the arms to fuel them. This volume offers theoretically sophisticated, empirically grounded, and compelling analyses of the roots of African conflicts.
Somalia came to the world's attention in 1992 when television and newspapers began to report on the terrifyingly violent war and the famine that resulted. Half a million Somalis died that year, and over a million fled the country. Cameras followed US troops as they landed on the beaches at Mogadishu to lead what became an ill-fated UN intervention to end hunger and restore peace.
In this book, Somali women write and talk about the war, their experiences and the unacceptable choices they often faced. They explain clearly, in their own words, the changes, challenges – and sometimes the opportunities – that war brought, and how they coped with them.
Key themes include the slaughter and loss of men, who were the prime target for killings; rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war; changing roles in the family and within the pastoralist economy; women mobilising for peace; and leading social recovery in a war-torn society.
This book is not only an important record of women's experience of war, but also provides researchers and students of gender and conflict with rare first hand accounts highlighting the impact of war on gender relations, and women's struggle for equal political rights in a situation of state collapse.
Today the colonial empires of the world are shrinking, and the new nations which have emerged from the colonial past are rapidly developing into an important force in international affairs—the "third world." They are faced by a common problem, the urgent necessity to transform a peasant society into a modern industrial economy, and they are united by a common outlook, absolute opposition to all forms of colonialism and neocolonialism.
In this work Peter Worsley analyzes the unique political forms that have evolved as a result of these two basic conditions. In his view the third world has rejected both of the great ideologies of today. Their new solutions are unique in world history, being based on populism, socialism, and, often, the one-party state, which, although anathema to the Western liberal, is a natural development in societies united by the common enemy of colonialism.
"No one seriously concerned with the greatest problem of our time, the division of the world between the developed, industrialized, 'affluent' countries and les nations prolétaires, can afford to miss this book. . . . Professor Worsley has succeeded in giving us more solid information about underdeveloped parts of the world than can be found in any other book of comparable length."—The Times Literary Supplement
"Peter Worsley . . . has written an excellent descriptive analysis of the evolution and present state of a third force in world politics. Africa, Asia, and the Middle East have . . . given society not only a new philosophy with new goals but charismatic philosophers who have the potential to make the philosophy of the third world a vital presence to be reckoned with. . . . a brilliant book."—Peter Schwab, Journal of Modern African Studies
Africa's role in the global economy is evolving as a result of new corporate strategies, changing trade regulations, and innovative ways of overseeing the globalized production and distribution of goods both within Africa and internationally. African participants in the global economy, now faced with demands for higher levels of performance and quality, have generated occasional successes but also many failures. Peter Gibbon and Stefano Ponte describe the central processes that are integrating some African firms into the global economy while at the same time marginalizing others. They show the effects of these processes on African countries, and the farms and firms within them. The authors use an innovative combination of global value chain analysis—which links production, trade, and consumption—and convention theory, an approach to understanding the conduct of business. In doing so, Gibbon and Ponte present a timely overview of the economic challenges that lay ahead in Africa, and point to ways to best address them.
As ambassador to Turkey during the Cyprus crisis (1965–1968), Parker T. Hart provides an insider’s view of the management of that crisis in NATO and Greek-Turkish relations. Greece and most Greek Cypriots favored enosis (union with Greece), but Turkey and the Turk Cypriots were prepared to go to war to prevent such an annexation. A massacre of Turk Cypriot villagers in November 1967 focused the anger of Turkey, which was prepared to send troops to Cyprus to equalize the preponderance of forces led by General George Grivas. The determined mediation of special presidential envoy Cyrus R. Vance prevented the initiation of all-out hostilities. Vance engineered a withdrawal of mainland Greek forces in excess of existing treaty levels in exchange for a standdown of Turkish forces. The Vance mission diffused the crisis and salvaged the integrity of NATO, and a Greek-Turkish agreement to sponsor and encourage intercommunal negotiations followed. Hart has relied on his own papers from the period, as well as on United Nations sources from the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, and on the papers of the other key participants in the Crisis, Ambassador to Greece Phillips Talbot, Ambassador to Cyprus Taylor G. Belcher, and Cyrus Vance, to provide a rare play-by-play analysis of the crisis and its resolution.
Writing in the New York Times Magazine, Max Frankel characterized Unsecular Media as a book that "leaves you thinking about the saintly role that religion has acquired in our allegedly irreligious media."
Mark Silk's book is the first to offer a comprehensive description and analysis of how American news media cover religion.
Africa has witnessed a number of transitions to democracy in recent years. Coinciding with this upsurge in democratic transitions have been spectacular experiences of social disintegration.An alternative to discourses of the “failed” and “collapsed” state in Africa is an approach that takes seriously the complex historical processes underlying the political development of individual nation states. The chapters in this volumethrow light on the ways in which violence, political culture, and development have interacted in recent African history.
Effective peace agreements are rarely accomplished by idealists. The process of moving from situations of entrenched oppression, armed conflict, open warfare, and mass atrocities toward peace and reconciliation requires a series of small steps and compromises to open the way for the kind of dialogue and negotiation that make political stability, the beginning of democracy, and the rule of law a possibility.
For over forty years, Charles Villa-Vicencio has been on the front lines of Africa's battle for racial equality. In Walk with Us and Listen, he argues that reconciliation needs honest talk to promote trust building and enable former enemies and adversaries to explore joint solutions to the cause of their conflicts. He offers a critical assessment of the South African experiment in transitional justice as captured in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and considers the influence of ubuntu, in which individuals are defined by their relationships, and other traditional African models of reconciliation. Political reconciliation is offered as a cautious model against which transitional politics needs to be measured. Villa-Vicencio challenges those who stress the obligation to prosecute those allegedly guilty of gross violation of human rights, replacing this call with the need for more complementarity between the International Criminal Court and African mechanisms to achieve the greater goals of justice and peace building.
In this stunning debut novel, a child dissects the darkness at the heart of her British diplomatic family. Living in Nigeria on the brink of civil war, Anna—also known as Jake—becomes blood brothers with Dave, the Korean American daughter of a C.I.A. operative. They do push-ups, collect pornography, and plot lives of unmarried freedom while around them a country disintegrates. Luscious, terrifying, and raw, Nigeria itself becomes a lesson in endurance, suffering, love.
Stories are layered upon stories: Anna's grandmother tells stories about life as a white woman on the Gold Coast; the clairvoyant and closeted "Aunt" Elsie gives Anna a story of transformation to hold onto in the coming tumult of adolescence. Yet Where Bones Dance also spirals down to the stories that are not told—sexual abuse, the myth of benign colonialism, the chaos of postcolonial Africa. Sensual and fantastical by turns, this moving, funny, immensely readable book delivers an understanding of the interplay of sexuality, gender, race, and war that is sophisticated beyond the years of its intrepid narrator.
Winner, Georges Bugnet Award for Novel, Alberta Literary Awards, Writers Guild of Alberta
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians and the Public Library Association
American artist Jean Lowe’s work revolves around the intersection of art history, popular culture, environmentalism, commerce, and politics. Your Place in the Multiverse: Jean Lowe is a survey of her work drawn from the past seventeen years featuring many of her most important installations. Lowe employs wit and satire to create work that is both entertaining and seductive as well as intellectually provocative. Lowe is an American pop/conceptual multimedia artist whose work carefully and humorously unpacks the ironies and challenges of our 21st century culture. This will be the first museum exhibition of Lowe’s work since 2000 and the first publication on her work to include scholarly essays by two art historians.
Dating from 2003-2020, the exhibition consists of fourteen separate installations: Empire Style, 2003; Dr’s Notes, 2004; Baby Grand, 2005; Love for Sale and Look 20 Years Younger, 2008-11; Discount Barn, 2008-2020; Bookshelf Prints, 2013; Last Call, 2013-20; Posters and Pallet, 2014; Last Call, 2017-21, Forgotten Corner, 2019; Garden Carpet, 2019; Art and About with Bill Mackelry, 2019-2020, Town Crier (Self-Portrait as Analog), 2020, and POW!, 2021. Lowe’s installations are primarily comprised of unpretentious media such as papier-mâché and paint, which are coupled with a sophisticated and literary use of language, and a loose painterly style. Room-sized and incorporating artist made furniture, rugs, and even pianos, these beautifully-staged installations are often overwhelming, playing both on sensory overload and the irony of abundance as presented daily in our consumer culture. Through her work Lowe references European art, especially German Baroque and French Empire style, for their exceptionally ornamental and theatrical style. By conflating the French Empire style with the stylistics of American consumer culture, and big box store marketing, Lowe offers up a striking, thoughtful and revealing comparison of cultural contexts.
POW! (2020) and Art and About with Bill Mackelry (2019-2020), shown for the first time in this exhibition, look at the imbalance of male to female power in the art-world. Art and About with Bill Mackelry is a video piece in which Lowe stars as a mock male interviewer named Bill Mackelry, who interviews the artist Jean Lowe on a visual arts talk show. The installation POW! will be filled with ersatz portraits of women as fierce, crazy hags by painters such as Picasso, Willem De Kooning, and Frances Bacon painted directly on the wall.
Your Place in the Multiverse: Jean Lowe is organized by Executive Director and Chief Curator Katie Lee-Koven for the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art. This fully illustrated accompanying publication, of the same title, will be the first to include art historical essays with in-depth analysis of Lowe’s work written by USU Art History Assistant Professor Marissa Vigneault and John C. Welchman, professor of Art History and Critical Studies at the University of California, San Diego.
This is a funny, moving story about life in a small town, from the point of view of a pregnant lesbian. Louise A. Blum, author of the critically acclaimed novel Amnesty, now tells the story of her own life and her decision to be out, loud, and pregnant. Mixing humor with memorable prose, Blum recounts how a quiet, conservative town in an impoverished stretch of Appalachia reacts as she and a local woman, Connie, fall in love, move in together, and determine to live their life together openly and truthfully.
The town responds in radically different ways to the couple’s presence, from prayer vigils on the village green to a feature article in the family section of the local newspaper. This is a cautionary, wise, and celebratory tale about what it’s like to be different in America—both the good and the bad. A depiction of small town life with all its comforts and its terrors, this memoir speaks to anyone who has ever felt like an outsider in America. Blum tells her story with a razor wit and deft precision, a story about two "girls with grit," and the child they decide to raise, right where they are, in small town America.