In this timely work, Eric Freyfogle probes the long-simmering struggles in the American West to address water-related problem. The big challenge is to resolve water shortages and meet high-valued water needs while also improving river ecosystems. These water conflicts, he suggests, have less to do with our contentious political differences than they do with longstanding core elements of American culture—inherited, shared ways of understanding our place in nature that no longer make good sense. Particularly troublesome are the ways we fragment it, valuing its parts as discrete commodities. Also at play is our cultural inability to think clearly about how best to draw the line between the legitimate use of nature and the abuse of it.
Building on these cultural critiques, Freyfogle takes up the issue of private property rights, highlighting the longstanding flexibility of this key American institution as well as the moral imperative to ensure that property rights aren’t used in ways that harm communities. Outdated understandings about private property, he concludes, have further confused our understanding and made sensible solutions to water problems even harder to imagine. Water-policy reform won’t happen, Freyfogle argues, until we reconsider how we understand nature and take charge of the institution of ownership, recasting it so as to increase the benefits it generates for everyone. If we can do that, solutions to water troubles could prove easier than we expect. The work concludes with an original, sweeping policy proposal to resolve the West’s water shortages and meet environmental needs in ways fair to all.
This lecture was presented on March 22, 2017, at the 22nd annual symposium sponsored by the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment at the S. J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah.
In Who Says?, scholars of rhetoric, composition, and communications seek to revise the elitist “rhetorical tradition” by analyzing diverse topics such as settlement house movements and hip-hop culture to uncover how communities use discourse to construct working-class identity. The contributors examine the language of workers at a concrete pour, depictions of long-haul truckers, a comic book series published by the CIO, the transgressive “fat” bodies of Roseanne and Anna Nicole Smith, and even reality television to provide rich insights into working-class rhetorics. The chapters identify working-class tropes and discursive strategies, and connect working-class identity to issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Using a variety of approaches including ethnography, research in historic archives, and analysis of case studies, Who Says? assembles an original and comprehensive collection that is accessible to both students and scholars of class studies and rhetoric.
Held annually, the McCall, Idaho, winter carnival has become a modern tradition. A festival and celebration, it is also a source of community income and opportunity for shared community effort; a chance to display the town attractively to outsiders and to define and assert McCall's identity; and consequently, a source of disagreement among citizens over what their community is, how it should be presented, and what the carnival means.
Though rooted in the broad traditions of community festival, annual civic events, often sponsored by chambers of commerce, such as that in McCall, are as much expressions of popular culture and local commerce as of older traditions. Yet they become dynamic, newer community traditions, with artistic, informal, and social meanings and practices that make them forms of folklore as well as commoditized culture. Winter Carnival is the first volume in a new Utah State University Press series titled Ritual, Festival, and Celebration and edited by folklorist Jack Santino.
Chicago's packinghouse workers were not the hopeless creatures depicted by Upton Sinclair in The Jungle, but active agents in the early twentieth century transformation that swept urban industrial America.
In his case study of Chicago's Union Stockyards, Barrett focuses on the workers - older skilled immigrants, new immigrant common laborers, migrant blacks, and young women workers - and the surrounding neighborhoods. The lives and communities of these workers accurately convey the experience of mass-production work, the quality of working-class life, the process of class formation and fragmentation, and the changing character of class relations.
Because Packingtown's struggle for existence was linked directly to the character of work and employment in the industry, unionization played an important role in the lives of these workers. Although unionization was associated with both improving the quality of life and creating a viable community, workers were divided by race, ethnic identity, and skill. Work and Community in the Jungle discusses a wide range of social, economic, and cultural factors that resulted in class cohesion and fragmentation.
Addressing the broader problem of relations between capital and labor, Barrett demonstrates the effects of government intervention on labor organization, negotiation, and conflict. Shop-floor workers banded together to develop new strategies and forms of organization in their struggle with management for control.
Barrett employs contemporary social surveys and a computer-assisted analysis of census data to illustrate the physical and social characteristics of the workers' environment. He analyzes this data in the context of the relationships between community, ethnicity, family, work experience, and industrial characteristics.
A number of years ago, Douglas Harper moved to northern New York to teach in a small college. Upon his arrival there his department chairman noted his eight-year-old Saab and said, "You'll be meeting Willie." Haper spent the next years establishing not only a working relationship but a friendship with Willie. In Working Knowledge, he introduces us to Willie, a mechanic and jack-of-all-trades. With this engaging and insightful profile—part biography, part ethnography, and part photo essay—Harper documents what Willie does and how he does it. Harper's dignified portrait captures a disappearing feature of modern life—the essential human factor in the world of work.
Why have some working women succeeded at organizing in spite of obstacles to labor activity? Under what circumstances were they able to form alliances with male workers? Carole Turbin explores these and other questions by examining the case of Troy, New York, which in the 1860s produced nearly all the nation's detachable shirt collars and cuffs. Troy's collar laundresses were largely Irish immigrants; their union was officially the nation's first women's labor organization, and one of the best organized. Turbin's study develops new perspectives on gender and shows that women's family ties are not necessarily a conservative influence but may encourage women's and men's collective action.
"By going 'beyond the conventional wisdom' about gender, class, and ethnicity, [Turbin] has found ways to tell us more about the nineteenth-century collar workers of Troy than we possibly could have imagined discovering a decade ago." -- Choice
Growing up in the Maragoli community in Kenya, Kenda Mutongi encountered a perplexing contradiction. While the young teachers at her village school railed against colonialism, many of her elders, including her widowed mother, praised their former British masters. In this moving book, Mutongi explores how both the challenges and contradictions of colonial rule and the frustrations and failures of independence shaped the lives of Maragoli widows and their complex relations with each other, their families, and the larger community.
Throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, rates of widowhood have been remarkably high in Kenya. Yet despite their numbers, widows and their families exist at the margins of society, and their lives act as a barometer for the harsh realities of rural Kenya. Mutongi here argues that widows survive by publicly airing their social, economic, and political problems, their “worries of the heart.” Initially aimed at the men in their community, and then their colonial rulers, this strategy changed after independence as widows increasingly invoked the language of citizenship to demand their rights from the new leaders of Kenya—leaders whose failure to meet the needs of ordinary citizens has led to deep disenchantment and altered Kenyans’ view of their colonial past. An innovative blend of ethnography and historical research, Worries of the Heart is a poignant narrative rich with insights into postcolonial Africa.