In Agency and Embodiment, Carrie Noland examines the ways in which culture is both embodied and challenged through the corporeal performance of gestures. Arguing against the constructivist metaphor of bodily inscription dominant since Foucault, Noland maintains that kinesthetic experience, produced by acts of embodied gesturing, places pressure on the conditioning a body receives, encouraging variations in cultural practice that cannot otherwise be explained.
Drawing on work in disciplines as diverse as dance and movement theory, phenomenology, cognitive science, and literary criticism, Noland argues that kinesthesia—feeling the body move—encourages experiment, modification, and, at times, rejection of the routine. Noland privileges corporeal performance and the sensory experience it affords in order to find a way beyond constructivist theory’s inability to produce a convincing account of agency. She observes that despite the impact of social conditioning, human beings continue to invent surprising new ways of altering the inscribed behaviors they are called on to perform. Through lucid close readings of Marcel Mauss, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Bill Viola, André Leroi-Gourhan, Henri Michaux, Judith Butler, Frantz Fanon, Jacques Derrida, and contemporary digital artist Camille Utterback, Noland illustrates her provocative thesis, addressing issues of concern to scholars in critical theory, performance studies, anthropology, and visual studies.
Agency in Ancient Writing
Joshua Englehardt University Press of Colorado, 2012 Library of Congress P211.7.A44 2012 | Dewey Decimal 411.7
Individual agents are frequently evident in early writing and notational systems, yet these systems have rarely been subjected to the concept of agency as it is traceable in archeology. Agency in Ancient Writing addresses this oversight, allowing archeologists to identify and discuss real, observable actors and actions in the archaeological record.
Embracing myriad ways in which agency can be interpreted, ancient writing systems from Mesoamerica, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Crete, China, and Greece are examined from a textual perspective as both archaeological objects and nascent historical documents. This allows for distinction among intentions, consequences, meanings, and motivations, increasing understanding and aiding interpretation of the subjectivity of social actors. Chapters focusing on acts of writing and public recitation overlap with those addressing the materiality of texts, interweaving archaeology, epigraphy, and the study of visual symbol systems.
Agency in Ancient Writing leads to a more thorough and meaningful discussion of agency as an archaeological concept and will be of interest to anyone interested in ancient texts, including archaeologists, historians, linguists, epigraphers, and art historians, as well as scholars studying agency and structuration theory.
Every child in America deserves to know that a path to a successful life exists and that they have the power to follow it. But many never set foot on that path because they grow up hearing the message that systemic forces control their destinies, or that they are at fault for everything that has gone wrong in their lives.
These children often come from difficult circumstances. Many are raised by young, single parents, live in disadvantaged neighborhoods, attend substandard schools, and lack the moral safeguards of religious and civic institutions. As a result, they can be dispirited into cycles of learned helplessness rather than inspired to pursue their own possibilities.
Yet this phenomenon is not universal. Some children thrive where others do not. Why? Are there personal behaviors and institutional supports that have proven to make a difference in helping young people chart a course for their futures? Agency answers with a loud and clear “yes!”
This book describes four pillars that can uplift every young person as they make the passage into adulthood: Family, Religion, Education, and Entrepreneurship. Together, these pillars embody the true meaning of freedom, wherein people are motivated to embrace the ennobling responsibilities of building healthy social structures and shaping the outcomes of their own lives.
For that reason, Ian Rowe calls the four pillars the FREE framework. With this framework in place, children are empowered to develop agency, which Rowe defines as the force of one’s free will, guided by moral discernment. Developing agency is the alternative to the debilitating ‘blame-the-system’ and ‘blame-the-victim’ narratives. It transcends our political differences and beckons all who dare to envision lives unshackled by present realities.
In addition to making the case for agency, Rowe shares his personal story of success coming from an immigrant family. He defends America as an ever-improving country worthy of our esteem. He corrects misguided calls for “anti-racism” and “equity,” and champions a game plan for creating new agents of agency, dedicated to promoting the aspirational spirit of America’s children, and showing them the path that will set them FREE.
How do civilians control the military? In the wake of September 11, the renewed presence of national security in everyday life has made this question all the more pressing. In this book, Peter Feaver proposes an ambitious new theory that treats civil-military relations as a principal-agent relationship, with the civilian executive monitoring the actions of military agents, the "armed servants" of the nation-state. Military obedience is not automatic but depends on strategic calculations of whether civilians will catch and punish misbehavior.
This model challenges Samuel Huntington's professionalism-based model of civil-military relations, and provides an innovative way of making sense of the U.S. Cold War and post-Cold War experience--especially the distinctively stormy civil-military relations of the Clinton era. In the decade after the Cold War ended, civilians and the military had a variety of run-ins over whether and how to use military force. These episodes, as interpreted by agency theory, contradict the conventional wisdom that civil-military relations matter only if there is risk of a coup. On the contrary, military professionalism does not by itself ensure unchallenged civilian authority. As Feaver argues, agency theory offers the best foundation for thinking about relations between military and civilian leaders, now and in the future.
The multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft has become one of the most popular computer games of the past decade, introducing millions around the world to community-based play. Within the boundaries set by its design, the game encourages players to appropriate and shape the game, resulting in highly diverse and creative forms of participation. Battlefields of Negotiation analyzes the complex relationship between groups of World of Warcraft players and the game’s owners and developers. A timely look at an important digital phenomenon, the book sheds new light on complex consumer-producer relationships in the increasingly participatory but still tightly controlled world of online games.
A window into the lives of nine non-traditional doctoral students and their journeys to become scholars.
This book provides a window into the lives of nine non-traditional doctoral students. As mature, part-time, international students enrolled in a professional doctorate program, the students reflect on the transformation process of becoming scholars, as their narratives provide breadth and depth to themes that represent a diverse cross-section of cultures, identities, and communities. The volume brings the “human face” behind the doctoral journey to the forefront, as the narratives draw much-needed attention to the personal journey that inevitably parallels and intersects with the academic journey. Although the narratives are drawn from a professional doctor-in-education program based in the United Kingdom, the struggles will resonate with a much wider range of doctoral students and academics, sparking lively discussion, debate, and reflection. A must-read for students preparing to embark on the doctoral journey, this book will be essential reading for leaders of doctoral programs who wish to equip students with important knowledge about the challenges ahead.
This startling volume explores the traumas and possibilities of embodiment as it is lived in a political world. Unveiling the influence of phenomenology, particularly that of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, on contemporary thought. Bodies of Resistance cuts across the disciplines of philosophy, political theory, literature, and cultural studies to explore anew how we are at once produced by yet resistant to cultural norms.
Women’s agency: Is it a matter of an individual’s capacity for autonomy? Or of the social conditions that facilitate freedom? Combining theoretical and empirical perspectives, Carisa R. Showden investigates what exactly makes an agent and how that agency influences the ways women make inherently sensitive and difficult choices—specifically in instances of domestic violence, assisted reproduction, and sex work.
In Showden’s analysis, women’s agency emerges as an individual and social construct, rooted in concrete experience, complex and changing over time. She traces the development and deployment of agency, illustrating how it plays out in the messy workings of imperfect lives. In a series of case studies, she considers women within situations of intimate partner violence, reproductive decision making, and sex work such as prostitution and pornography. Each narrative offers insight into how women articulate their self-understanding and political needs in relation to the pressures they confront.
Showden’s understanding of women’s agency ultimately leads her to review possible policy and legal interventions that could improve the conditions within which agency develops and that could positively enhance women’s ability to increase and exercise their political and personal options.
This edited collection explores the notion of agency by tracing the role and activities of consumers from the pre-internet age into the possible future. Using an overview of the historical creation of consumer identity, Consumer Identities demonstrates that active consumption is not merely a product of the digital age; it has always been a means by which a person can develop identity. Grounded in the acknowledgment that identity is a constructed and contested space, the authors analyze emerging dynamics in contemporary consumerism, ongoing tensions of structure and agency in consumer identities, and the ways in which identity construction could be influenced in the future. By exploring consumer identity through examples in pop culture, the authors have created a scholarly work that will appeal to industry professionals as well as academics.
Decisions, Agency, and Advising considers the role of students’ own agency in the placement of multilingual writers—including international students and US residents or citizens who are nonnative users of English—in US college composition programs. Grounded in qualitative research and concerned equally with theory and practice, the book explores how multilingual students exercise agency in their placement decisions and how student agency can inform the overall programmatic placement of multilingual students into first-year composition courses.
Tanita Saenkhum follows eleven multilingual students who made their decisions about placement into first-year composition courses during one academic year at a large public university. She identifies the need for the process of making placement decisions to be understood more clearly, describes how to use that knowledge to improve placement practices for these students—particularly in advising—and offers hands-on recommendations for writing programs.
Decisions, Agency, and Advising is a significant contribution to the field and particularly valuable to writing program administrators, academic advisors, writing teachers, researchers investigating second language writing and writing program administration, composition and second language writing scholars, and graduate students.
Seizing the space opened by the early 1990s democratization movement, Muslim women are carving an active, influential, but often-overlooked role for themselves during a time of great change. Engaging Modernity provides a compelling portrait of Muslim women in Niger as they confronted the challenges and opportunities of the late twentieth century.
Based on thorough scholarly research and extensive fieldwork—including a wealth of interviews—Ousseina Alidou’s work offers insights into the meaning of modernity for Muslim women in Niger. Mixing biography with sociological data, social theory and linguistic analysis, this is a multilayered vision of political Islam, education, popular culture, and war and its aftermath. Alidou offers a gripping look at one of the Muslim world’s most powerful untold stories.
Runner-up, Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize, Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association, 2007
Continued public outcries over such issues as young models in sexually suggestive ads and intimate relationships between teachers and students speak to one of the most controversial fears of our time: the entanglement of children and sexuality. In this book, Steven Angelides confronts that fear, exploring how emotional vocabularies of anxiety, shame, and even contempt not only dominate discussions of youth sexuality but also allow adults to avoid acknowledging the sexual agency of young people. Introducing case studies and trends from Australia, the United Kingdom, and North America, he challenges assumptions on a variety of topics, including sex education, age-of-consent laws, and sexting. Angelides contends that an unwillingness to recognize children’s sexual agency results not in the protection of young people but in their marginalization.
This collection of essays by scholars from England, Germany, and the United States brings together important and innovative work on gender relations in German history from the early modern period to the 1950s. Offering fresh insights and challenging interpretations, the essays demonstrate how the norms of political, social, and sexual behavior for both sexes are the objects of regulation and control, and are matters of conflict, debate, and negotiation. A substantial introduction reviews the historiography relating the major themes of the collection. Topics include childbirth, abortion, and the female body in early modern Germany; the roots of German feminism; gender, class, and medicine during World War I and during the Weimar republic; female homosexuality during the Nazi period; East and West German reconstruction following World War II and the formation of a gendered consumer culture. This book will stimulate readers to think more deeply about the importance of gender in German history, and prove to be an invaluable resource for those interested in women’s studies and in German and European history.
Contributors. Lynn Abrams, Elizabeth Harvey, Dagmar Herzog, Kate Lacey, Katherine Pence, Ulinka Rublack, Claudia Schoppman, Regina Schulte, Cornelie Usborne, Heide Wunder
In Global Visions of Violence, the editors and contributors argue that violence creates a lens, bridge, and method for interdisciplinary collaboration that examines Christianity worldwide in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. By analyzing the myriad ways violence, persecution, and suffering impact Christians and the imagination of Christian identity globally, this interdisciplinary volume integrates the perspectives of ethicists, historians, anthropologists, and ethnographers to generate new conversations. Taken together, the chapters in this book challenge scholarship on Christian growth that has not accounted for violence while analyzing persecution narratives that can wield data toward partisan ends. This allows Global Visions of Violence to push urgent conversations forward, giving voice to projects that illuminate wide and often hidden landscapes that have been shaped by global visions of violence, and seeking solutions that end violence and turn toward the pursuit of justice, peace, and human rights among suffering Christians.
Identity and Agency in Cultural Worlds
Dorothy Holland; William S. Lachicotte, Jr.; Debra Skinner; and Carole Cain Harvard University Press, 2001 Library of Congress HM101.I28935 1998 | Dewey Decimal 306
This landmark book addresses the central problem in anthropological theory today: the paradox that humans are products of social discipline yet producers of remarkable improvisation.
Synthesizing theoretical contributions by Vygotsky, Bakhtin and Bourdieu, Holland and her co-authors examine the processes by which people are constituted as agents as well as subjects of culturally constructed, socially imposed worlds. They develop a theory of self-formation in which identities become the pivot between discipline and agency: turning from experiencing one's scripted social positions to making one's way into cultural worlds as a knowledgeable and committed participant. They emphasize throughout that "identities" are not static and coherent, but variable, multivocal and interactive.
Ethnographic illumination of this complex theoretical construction comes from vividly described fieldwork in vastly different microcultures: American college women "caught" in romance; persons in U.S. institutions of mental health care; members of Alcoholics Anonymous groups; and girls and women in the patriarchal order of Hindu villages in central Nepal.
Ultimately, Identity and Agency in Cultural Worlds offers a liberating yet tempered understanding of agency, for it shows how people, across the limits of cultural traditions and social forces of power and domination, improvise and find spaces to re-describe themselves, creating their cultural worlds anew.
Though the old saying claims that man is the measure of all things, the authors of Inside the Politics of Technology argue that the distinction implied between autonomous humans and neutral instruments of technology is an illusion. On the contrary, the technologies humans create simultaneously shape humans themselves.
By means of case studies of technologies as diverse as video cameras, electric cars, pregnancy tests, and genetic screenings, this volume considers the implications of this "co-production" of technology and society for our philosophical and political ideas. Are only humans endowed with social, political, and moral agency, or does our technology share those qualities? And if so, how should we understand—or practice—a politics of technology?
Who invents masks, and why? Such questions have rarely been asked, due to stereotypes of anonymous African artists locked into the reproduction of "traditional" models of representation. Rather than accept this view of African art as timeless and unchanging, Z. S. Strother spent nearly three years in Zaire studying Pende sculpture. Her research reveals the rich history and lively contemporary practice of Central Pende masquerade. She describes the intensive collaboration among sculptors and dancers that is crucial to inventing masks. Sculptors revealed that a central theme in their work is the representation of perceived differences between men and women. Far from being unchanging, Pende masquerades promote unceasing innovation within genres and invention of new genres. Inventing Masks demonstrates, through first hand accounts and lavish illustrations, how Central Pende masquerading is a contemporary art form fully responsive to twentieth-century experience.
"Its presentation, its exceptionally lively style, the perfection of its illustrations make this a stunning book, perfectly fitting for the study of a performing art and its content is indeed seminal. . . . A breakthrough."—Jan Vansina, African Studies Review
In recent decades, Kenya has witnessed profound changes in its economic, cultural, and environmental landscapes resulting from its interactions with China. University students are competing for scholarships to study in China, coastal artisanal fishers are increasingly worried about Chinese-owned trawlers depleting fish stocks, fishers on Lake Victoria are grappling with the impact of frozen tilapia from China, and unemployed youth are seeking a fair shot at working on one of Kenya’s multimillion-dollar Chinese-funded infrastructure projects. Anita Plummer’s Kenya’s Engagement with China investigates the tension between official Kenyan and Chinese state narratives and individual Kenyans’ reactions to China’s presence to provide insight into how everyday Kenyans exercise their political agency. The competing discourses Plummer uncovers in person, in the news, and online reveal how Kenyans use China to question local power structures, demand policy change, and articulate different visions for their country’s future. This critical text represents the next step in research on Sino-African relations.
Lavender Fields uses autoethnography to explore how Black girls and women are living with and through COVID-19. It centers their pain, joys, and imaginations for a more just future as we confront all the inequalities that COVID-19 exposes.
Black women and girls in the United States are among the hardest hit by the pandemic in terms of illnesses, deaths, evictions, and increasing economic inequality. Riffing off Alice Walker’s telling of her search for Zora Neal Hurston, the authors of these essays and reflections offer raw tellings of Black girls’ and women’s experiences written in real time, as some of the contributors battled COVID-19 themselves.
The essays center Black girls and women and their testimonies in hopes of moving them from the margin to the center. With a diversity of voices and ages, this volume taps into the Black feminine interior, that place where Audre Lorde tells us that feelings lie, to access knowledge—generational, past, and contemporary—to explore how Black women navigate COVID-19. Using womanism and spirituality, among other modalities, the authors explore deep feelings, advancing Black feminist theorizing on Black feminist praxis and methodology.
In centering the stories of Black girls and women’s experiences with COVID-19, this work brings much-needed justice and equity to conversations about the pandemic. Just as Walker worked diligently to find Hurston, Lavender Fields attempts to “find” Black women amid all we are experiencing, ensuring visibility and attention.
Kyrah K. Brown
Brianna Y. Clark
LeConté J. Dill
Maryam O. Funmilayo
Julia S. Jordan-Zachery
Angela K. Lewis-Maddox
J. Mercy Okaalet
Chizoba Uzoamaka Okoroma
Diabetes, referred to as an epidemic for more than a decade, remains one of our most significant health issues in the twenty-first century. Because self-management is an important component of living with the disease, the biomedical concept of patient agency has long stressed notions of individual responsibility and autonomy. However, dramatic shifts in both health care and cultural practices call for a reassessment of traditional definitions of patient agency.
Lora Arduser’s Living Chronic: Agency and Expertise in the Rhetoric of Diabetes answers this call with a unique rhetorical examination of one of the most critical issues in contemporary health: how we live and work with being chronic. Through her perceptive analysis of the discourse of both people with diabetes and health care providers, Arduser presents a new model for patient agency—one that advocates for a relational, fluid concept of agency that blurs the boundaries between medical experts and patients. Her thought-provoking use of bodily and rhetorical plasticity crafts a multidimensional picture of patient agency that profoundly affects how rhetorical scholars, people living with chronic illness, and health care providers can forge patient-centered discourse and practices.
Why should Salman Rushdie describe his truth telling as an act of swallowing impure “haram” flesh from which the blood has not been drained? Why should Rudyard Kipling cast Kim, the imperial child–agent, as a body/text written upon and damaged by empire? Why should E. M. Forster evoke through the Indian landscape the otherwise unspeakable racial or homosexual body in his writing? In Making Words Matter: The Agency of Colonial and Postcolonial Literature, Ambreen Hai argues that these writers focus self–reflectively on the unstable capacity of words to have material effects and to be censored, and that this central concern with literary agency is embedded in, indeed definitive of, colonial and postcolonial literature.
Making Words Matter contends that the figure of the human body is central to the self–imagining of the text in the world because the body uniquely concretizes three dimensions of agency: it is at once the site of autonomy, instrumentality, and subjection. Hai’s work exemplifies a new trend in postcolonial studies: to combine aesthetics and politics and to offer a historically and theoretically informed mode of interpretation that is sophisticated, lucid, and accessible.
This is the first study to identify and examine the rich convergence of issues and to chart their dynamic. Hai opens up the field of postcolonial literary studies to fresh questions, engaging knowledgeably with earlier scholarship and drawing on interdisciplinary theory to read both well known and lesser–known texts in a new light. It should be of interest internationally to students and scholars in a variety of fields including British, Victorian, modernist, colonial, or postcolonial literary studies, queer or cultural studies, South Asian studies, history, and anthropology.
This ambitious book by one of the most original and provocative thinkers in science studies offers a sophisticated new understanding of the nature of scientific, mathematical, and engineering practice and the production of scientific knowledge.
Andrew Pickering offers a new approach to the unpredictable nature of change in science, taking into account the extraordinary number of factors—social, technological, conceptual, and natural—that interact to affect the creation of scientific knowledge. In his view, machines, instruments, facts, theories, conceptual and mathematical structures, disciplined practices, and human beings are in constantly shifting relationships with one another—"mangled" together in unforeseeable ways that are shaped by the contingencies of culture, time, and place.
Situating material as well as human agency in their larger cultural context, Pickering uses case studies to show how this picture of the open, changeable nature of science advances a richer understanding of scientific work both past and present. Pickering examines in detail the building of the bubble chamber in particle physics, the search for the quark, the construction of the quarternion system in mathematics, and the introduction of computer-controlled machine tools in industry. He uses these examples to address the most basic elements of scientific practice—the development of experimental apparatus, the production of facts, the development of theory, and the interrelation of machines and social organization.
Three flags fly in the palace courtyard of Òyótúnjí African Village. One represents black American emancipation from slavery, one black nationalism, and the third the establishment of an ancient Yorùbá Empire in the state of South Carolina. Located sixty-five miles southwest of Charleston, Òyótúnjí is a Yorùbá revivalist community founded in 1970. Mapping Yorùbá Networks is an innovative ethnography of Òyótúnjí and a theoretically sophisticated exploration of how Yorùbá òrìsà voodoo religious practices are reworked as expressions of transnational racial politics. Drawing on several years of multisited fieldwork in the United States and Nigeria, Kamari Maxine Clarke describes Òyótúnjí in vivid detail—the physical space, government, rituals, language, and marriage and kinship practices—and explores how ideas of what constitutes the Yorùbá past are constructed. She highlights the connections between contemporary Yorùbá transatlantic religious networks and the post-1970s institutionalization of roots heritage in American social life.
Examining how the development of a deterritorialized network of black cultural nationalists became aligned with a lucrative late-twentieth-century roots heritage market, Clarke explores the dynamics of Òyótúnjí Village’s religious and tourist economy. She discusses how the community generates income through the sale of prophetic divinatory consultations, African market souvenirs—such as cloth, books, candles, and carvings—and fees for community-based tours and dining services. Clarke accompanied Òyótúnjí villagers to Nigeria, and she describes how these heritage travelers often returned home feeling that despite the separation of their ancestors from Africa as a result of transatlantic slavery, they—more than the Nigerian Yorùbá—are the true claimants to the ancestral history of the Great Òyó Empire of the Yorùbá people. Mapping Yorùbá Networks is a unique look at the political economy of homeland identification and the transnational construction and legitimization of ideas such as authenticity, ancestry, blackness, and tradition.
What does medieval literature look like from the point of view not of knights and ladies, but of treasure, and rings, nets and the grail? How does medieval literature imagine the agency of material things, and what exactly distinguishes human subjects from inanimate objects? Medieval Things: Agency, Materiality, and Narratives of Objects in Medieval German Literature and Beyond brings together a theoretically informed and politically engaged new materialist approach with a study of how everyday objects are understood in medieval literature. Bettina Bildhauer argues that medieval narratives can inspire current critical theory on agency and materiality. She focuses on famous and forgotten German narratives from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries, including Wolfram of Eschenbach’s Parzival and the epic Song of the Nibelungs, and sets them in their global context. Many such tales can be reconceptualized as “thing biographies”—stories that follow the trajectory not of a human hero but of a coin, a gown, a treasure, or a ring. Many also use nets and networks to conceptualize dangerous structures of knowledge. Shine, glamour, and charisma emerge as particularly powerful ways in which material things exert a kind of agency that is neither pseudo-human nor fetishistic. In analyzing details like these from medieval literature, Bildhauer thus contributes in new ways to current theory on agency and materiality.
Micro-Politics was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Patricia S. Mann explains our current period as a time of social transformation resulting from an "unmooring" of women, men, and children from the nuclear family, gender relations having replaced economic relations as the primary site of social tension and change in our lives. The feminist movement has evolved, according to Mann, into a popularly based postfeminist struggle to reconstruct relationships between women and men within everyday contexts of work, family, education, and politics.
Mann formulates a "postmodern" theory of political agency, utilizing it to explain political events such as the Hill-Thomas Senate hearings and their social aftermath. While liberal and progressive theories have explained political agency in terms of individual or group forms of identity, Mann suggests another alternative. Individuals such as Anita Hill are drawn into socially meaningful struggles in the context of their daily lives-as we all are potentially participating in micro-political forms of activism in a variety of institutional contexts. These dynamic micropolitical situations involve intersecting dimensions of race, class, and sexuality, as well as gender. Within specific conflicts, individuals rearticulate their notions of desire and responsibility, and their expectations for recognition and reward; according to Mann political agency resides in these choices. Addressing some of the most important controversies in political philosophy, Mann weaves together strands of the "participatory politics" of the 1960s and the multicultural politics of the 1990s. In doing so, she offers a new basis for understanding social change.
New Materialisms brings into focus and explains the significance of the innovative materialist critiques that are emerging across the social sciences and humanities. By gathering essays that exemplify the new thinking about matter and processes of materialization, this important collection shows how scholars are reworking older materialist traditions, contemporary theoretical debates, and advances in scientific knowledge to address pressing ethical and political challenges. In the introduction, Diana Coole and Samantha Frost highlight common themes among the distinctive critical projects that comprise the new materialisms. The continuities they discern include a posthumanist conception of matter as lively or exhibiting agency, and a reengagement with both the material realities of everyday life and broader geopolitical and socioeconomic structures.
Coole and Frost argue that contemporary economic, environmental, geopolitical, and technological developments demand new accounts of nature, agency, and social and political relationships; modes of inquiry that privilege consciousness and subjectivity are not adequate to the task. New materialist philosophies are needed to do justice to the complexities of twenty-first-century biopolitics and political economy, because they raise fundamental questions about the place of embodied humans in a material world and the ways that we produce, reproduce, and consume our material environment.
Contributors Sara Ahmed Jane Bennett Rosi Braidotti Pheng Cheah Rey Chow William E. Connolly Diana Coole Jason Edwards Samantha Frost Elizabeth Grosz Sonia Kruks Melissa A. Orlie
Portraits in the Andes examines indigenous and mestizo self-representation through the medium of photography from the early to mid twentieth century. As Jorge Coronado reveals, these images offer a powerful counterpoint to the often-slanted, predominant view of indigenismo produced by the intellectual elite.
Photography offered an inexpensive and readily available technology for producing portraits and other images that allowed lower- and middle-class racialized subjects to create their own distinct rhetoric and vision of their culture. The powerful identity-marking vehicle that photography provided to the masses has been overlooked in much of Latin American cultural studies—which have focused primarily on the elite’s visual arts. Coronado's study offers close readings of Andean photographic archives from the early- to mid-twentieth century, to show the development of a consumer culture and the agency of marginalized groups in creating a visual document of their personal interpretations of modernity.
In readings of Walter Benjamin's work, religion often marks a boundary between scholarly camps, but it rarely receives close and sustained scrutiny. Benjamin's most influential writings pertain to modern art and culture, but he frequently used religious language while rejecting both secularism and religious revival. Benjamin was, in today's terms, postsecular. Postsecular Benjamin explicates Benjamin's engagements with religious traditions as resources for contemporary debates on secularism, conflict, and identity. Brian Britt argues that what animates this work on tradition is the question of human agency, which he pursues through lively and sustained experimentation with ways of thinking, reading, and writing.
News media and popular culture in the United States have produced a conventional narrative of the outcomes of sexual abuse: someone perpetrates sexual violence, goes to trial, and is then punished with prison time. Survivors recede into the background, becoming minor characters in their own stories as intrepid prosecutors, police officers, and investigators gather evidence and build a case.
Leland G. Spencer explains how the stories we tell about sexual assault serve to reinforce rape culture, privileging criminal punishment over social justice and community-based responses to sexual violence. Examining a broad range of popular media, including news coverage of the Brock Turner case, Naomi Iizuka’s popular play Good Kids, the television program Criminal Minds, and the book turned television show 13 Reasons Why, Spencer demonstrates how these representations shore up the carceral state, perpetuate rape myths, blame victims, and excuse those who harm. While increased discussion about sexual violence represents feminist progress, these narratives assume that policing and prosecution are the only means of achieving justice, sidelining other potential avenues for confronting perpetrators and supporting victims.
Recent debates on Medicare reform focus on prescription drug coverage, expanding managed-care choices, or technical issues of payment policy. Despite all the heat generated by these issues, Edward F. Lawlor's new book, Redesigning the Medicare Contract, demonstrates that fundamental questions of purpose and policy design for Medicare have been largely ignored.
Challenging conventional ideas, Lawlor suggests that we look at Medicare as a contract between the federal government, the program's beneficiaries, and health care providers. Medicare reform, then, would involve rewriting this contract so that it more successfully serves the interests of both beneficiaries and taxpayers. To do this, Lawlor argues that we must improve the agency of the program—the informational, organizational, and incentive elements that assure Medicare program carries out beneficiary and taxpayer interests in providing the most appropriate, high-quality care possible. The book includes a chapter devoted solely to concepts and applications that give definition to this brand of agency theory. Lawlor's innovative agency approach is matched with lucid explanation of the more comprehensive groundwork in the history and politics of the Medicare program.
Lawlor's important and timely book reframes the Medicare debate in a productive manner and effectively analyzes alternatives for reform. Lawlor argues that effective policy design for Medicare requires greater appreciation of the vulnerability of beneficiaries, the complexity of the program itself, its wide geographical variations in services and financing, and the realistic possibilities for government and private sector roles. Tackling difficult problems like end-of-life and high-tech care—and offering sensible solutions—Redesigning the Medicare Contract will interest political scientists, economists, policy analysts, and health care professionals alike.
Food is more than simple sustenance. It feeds our minds as well as our bodies. It nurtures us emotionally as well as physically. It holds memories. In fact, one of the surprising consequences of globalization and urbanization is the expanding web of emotional attachments to farmland, to food growers, and to place. And there is growing affection, too, for home gardening and its “grow your own food” ethos. Without denying the gravity of the problems of feeding the earth’s population while conserving its natural resources, Seeds of Resistance, Seeds of Hope reminds us that there are many positive movements and developments that demonstrate the power of opposition and optimism.
This broad collection brings to the table a bag full of tools from anthropology, sociology, genetics, plant breeding, education, advocacy, and social activism. By design, multiple voices are included. They cross or straddle disciplinary, generational, national, and political borders. Contributors demonstrate the importance of cultural memory in the persistence of traditional or heirloom crops, as well as the agency exhibited by displaced and persecuted peoples in place-making and reconstructing nostalgic landscapes (including gardens from their homelands). Contributions explore local initiatives to save native and older seeds, the use of modern technologies to conserve heirloom plants, the bioconservation efforts of indigenous people, and how genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been successfully combated. Together they explore the conservation of biodiversity at different scales, from different perspectives, and with different theoretical and methodological approaches. Collectively, they demonstrate that there is reason for hope.
Early childhood can be a time of rich discovery, a period when educators have an opportunity to harness their students’ fascination to create unique learning opportunities. Some teachers engage with their students’ ideas in ways that make learning collaborative--but not all students have access to these kinds of learning environments.
In Segregation by Experience, the authors filmed and studied a a first-grade classroom led by a Black immigrant teacher who encouraged her diverse group of students to exercise their agency. When the researchers showed the film to other schools, everyone struggled. Educators admired the teacher but didn’t think her practices would work with their own Black and brown students. Parents of color—many of them immigrants—liked many of the practices, but worried that they would compromise their children. And the young children who viewed the film thought that the kids in the film were terrible, loud, and badly behaved; they told the authors that learning was supposed to be quiet, still, and obedient. In Segregation by Experience Jennifer Keys Adair and Kiyomi Sánchez-Suzuki Colegrove show us just how much our expectations of children of color affect what and how they learn at school, and they ask us to consider which children get to have sophisticated, dynamic learning experiences at school and which children are denied such experiences because of our continued racist assumptions about them.
The central value of first-year composition is often questioned, typically accompanied by characterizations of FYC as a “service” course. This collection counters those perceptions, sharing with readers a new FYC story, one that demonstrates a new “service” that the course provides to first-year students, a service that accommodates the realities of writing—that it is never just writing and that the writing process entails much more than plugging in the “right” words (that mean the same to everyone) in predetermined forms. The collection offers insights into effective FYC pedagogies and opportunities for readers to consider and think about their own teaching and their identities as FYC instructors. It offers prompts for reflection, suggestions for further reading, and multimedia components that can deepen and enrich our understandings of teaching FYC and instill a sense of agency for teaching FYC effectively and advocating for its value and relevance.
What do we mean when we say, "I made the time pass more quickly," or, "I’m creating some ‘me’ time"? InThe Textures of Time, Michael Flaherty examines how we alter or customize our experience of time. His detailed analysis reveals different strategies we use to try to manipulate time, further describing and defining those strategies within six discrete time categories: Duration, Frequency, Sequence, Timing, Allocation, and Taking Time.
Using in-depth interviews and analyzing responses through a sociological lens, Flaherty unearths folk theories and practices, which he calls "time work," that construct circumstances in order to provoke desired forms of temporal experience. As such, time is not justinflicted on us; rather, its various textures result from our intervention, and/or from our efforts to create different forms of temporal experience. These first-person accounts also highlight ongoing tensions between agency and determinism in social groups. Ultimately, in keeping with his central thesis, Flaherty's lucid prose make this book a quick read, and the strategies he describes reveal the profound and inventive ways we "manage the clock."
Few would deny that getting ahead is a legitimate goal of learning, but the phrase implies a cruel hierarchy: a student does not simply get ahead, but gets ahead of others. In These Kids, Kysa Nygreen turns a critical eye on this paradox. Offering the voices and viewpoints of students at a “last chance” high school in California, she tells the story of students who have, in fact, been left behind.
Detailing a youth-led participatory action research project that she coordinated, Nygreen uncovers deep barriers to educational success that are embedded within educational discourse itself. Struggling students internalize descriptions of themselves as “at risk,” “low achieving,” or “troubled”—and by adopting the very language of educators, they also adopt its constraints and presumption of failure. Showing how current educational discourse does not, ultimately, provide an adequate vision of change for students at the bottom of the educational hierarchy, she levies a powerful argument that social justice in education is impossible today precisely because of how we talk about it.
Poems written by children are not typically part of the literary canon. Because of cultural biases that frame young people as intellectually and artistically immature, these works are often excluded or dismissed as juvenilia. Rachel Conrad contends that youth-composed poems should be read as literary works in their own right—works that are deserving of greater respect in literary culture.
Time for Childhoods presents a selection of striking twentieth-and twenty-first-century American poetry written by young people, and highlights how young poets imagined and shaped time for their own poetic purposes. Through close engagement with archival materials, as well as select interviews and correspondence with adult mentors, Conrad discerns how young writers figured social realities and political and racial injustices, and discusses what important advocates such as Gwendolyn Brooks and June Jordan can teach us about supporting the agency of young poets. This essential study demonstrates that young poets have much to contribute to ongoing conversations about time and power.
In Tropicopolitans Srinivas Aravamudan reconstructs the colonial imagination of the eighteenth century. By exploring representations of peoples and cultures subjected to colonial discourse, he makes a case for the agency—or the capacity to resist domination—of those oppressed. Aravamudan’s analysis of texts that accompanied European commercial and imperial expansion from the Glorious Revolution through the French Revolution reveals the development of anticolonial consciousness prior to the nineteenth century. “Tropicalization” is the central metaphor of this analysis, a term that incorporates both the construction of various dynamic tropes by which the colonized are viewed and the site of the study, primarily the tropics. Tropicopolitans, then, are those people who bear and resist the representations of colonialist discourse. In readings that expose new relationships between literary representation and colonialism in the eighteenth century, Aravamudan considers such texts as Behn’s Oroonoko, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Captain Singleton, Addison’s Cato, and Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and The Drapier’s Letters. He extends his argument to include analyses of Johnson’s Rasselas, Beckford’s Vathek, Montagu’s travel letters, Equiano’s autobiography, Burke’s political and aesthetic writings, and Abbé de Raynal’s Histoire des deux Indes. Offering a radical approach to literary history, this study provides new mechanisms for understanding the development of anticolonial agency. Introducing eighteenth-century studies to a postcolonial hermeneutics, Tropicopolitans will interest scholars engaged in postcolonial studies, eighteenth-century literature, and literary theory.
Warfare is a constant in human history. According to the contributors to this volume, archaeologists have assumed that—within certain socioenvironmental parameters—war is always essentially the same phenomenon and follows a common logic, breaking out under similar conditions and having analogous effects on the people involved. In pursuit of this idea, archaeologists have built models to account for the occurrence of war in various times and places. The models are then tested against prehistoric evidence to make the causes and conduct of war predictable and data-based.
However, contributors argue, this model-and-evidence approach has given rise to multiple competing hypotheses and ambiguity rather than to full, coherent explanations of what turns out to be surprisingly complex acts of war. The chapters in Warfare in Cultural Context contend that agency and culture, inherited values and dispositions (such as religion and other cultural practices), beliefs, and institutions are always woven into the conduct of war.
This revealing book focuses on the ways that specific people construed their interests and life projects, and their problems and possibilities, and consequently chose among alternative courses of action. Using archaeological and ethnohistorical data from various parts of the world, the contributors explore the multiple avenues for the cultural study of warfare that these ideas make possible. Contributions focus on cultural aspects of warfare in Mesoamerica, South America, North America, and Southeast Asia. Case studies include warfare among the Maya, Inca, southwestern Pueblos, Mississippian cultures, and the Enga of Papua New Guinea.
When cases of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) by predatory men are reported in the media, it is often presented that a young, innocent girl has been abused by bad men with their demand for sex and profit. This narrative has shaped popular understandings of young people in the commercialized sex trades, sparking new policy responses. However, the authors of Youth Who Trade Sex in the U.S. challenge this dominant narrative as incomplete. Carisa Showden and Samantha Majic investigate young people’s engagement in the sex trades through an intersectional lens.
The authors examine the dominant policy narrative’s history and the political circumstances generating its emergence and current form. With this background, Showden and Majic review and analyze research published since 2000 about young people who trade sex since 2000 to develop an intersectional “matrix of agency and vulnerability” designed to improve research, policy, and community interventions that center the needs of these young people. Ultimately, they derive an understanding of the complex reality for most young people who sell or trade sex, and are committed to ending such exploitation.