Research into biography has historically focused almost wholly on the lives of people in the wealthier nations of the Global North. This book corrects that with a focus on the biographical histories of people—seen as part of larger groups or collectives, whether religious or political—from the Global South, with a particular focus on Africa and the Middle East. Taking the perspective of biographical research and figurational sociology, the essays gathered here break new ground in the study of biography.
For years the subject of human disability has engaged those in the biological, social and cognitive sciences, while at the same time, it has been curiously neglected within the humanities. The Body and Physical Difference seeks to introduce the field of disability studies into the humanities by exploring the fantasies and fictions that have crystallized around conceptions of physical and cognitive difference. Based on the premise that the significance of disabilities in culture and the arts has been culturally vexed as well as historically erased, the collection probes our society's pathological investment in human variability and "aberrancy." The contributors demonstrate how definitions of disability underpin fundamental concepts such as normalcy, health, bodily integrity, individuality, citizenship, and morality--all terms that define the very essence of what it means to be human.
The book provides a provocative range of topics and perspectives: the absence of physical "otherness" in Ancient Greece, the depiction of the female invalid in Victorian literature, the production of tragic innocence in British and American telethons, the reconstruction of Civil War amputees, and disability as the aesthetic basis for definitions of expendable life within the modern eugenics movement. With this new, secure anchoring in the humanities, disability studies now emerges as a significant strain in contemporary theories of identity and social marginality.
Moving beyond the oversimplication that disabled people are marginalized and made invisible by able-ist assumptions and practices, the contributors demonstrate that representation is founded upon the perpetual exhibition of human anomalies. In this sense, all art can be said to migrate toward the "freakish" and the "grotesque." Such a project paradoxically makes disability the exception and the rule of the desire to represent that which has been traditionally out-of-bounds in polite discourse.
The Body and Physical Difference has relevance across a wide range of academic specialties such as cultural studies, the sociology of medicine, history, literature and medicine, the allied health professions, rehabilitation, aesthetics, philosophical discourses of the body, literary and film studies, and narrative theory.
David T. Mitchell is Assistant Professor of English, Northern Michigan University. Sharon L. Snyder teaches film and literature at Northern Michigan University.
"The ethnography of Japan is currently being reshaped by a new generation of Japanologists, and the present work certainly deserves a place in this body of literature. . . . The combination of utility with beauty makes Kondo's book required reading, for those with an interest not only in Japan but also in reflexive anthropology, women's studies, field methods, the anthropology of work, social psychology, Asian Americans, and even modern literature."—Paul H. Noguchi, American Anthropologist
"Kondo's work is significant because she goes beyond disharmony, insisting on complexity. Kondo shows that inequalities are not simply oppressive-they are meaningful ways to establish identities."—Nancy Rosenberger, Journal of Asian Studies
In this intriguing volume, Gerhild Scholz Williams explores the roles of magic and demonology in France and Germany in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. She guides the reader through a variety of texts--many of them popular and influential in their day--to illuminate how magic came to shape people's perceptions of a changing world. This comprehensive study looks at magic as an intellectual and cultural language, as an attempt to explain the world, and as a means to control and confine women, whose propensity for satanic dalliance threatened not just their own souls but the health of the larger society.
". . . Williams has done an exemplary job of analyzing the intersection of the discourses of magic (as related to women and witchcraft), discovery, and religious diversity/dissidence to explain how the confluence of these discourses eventually 'determined who occupied society's center and who was forced to move to, or remain at, its margins.' . . . Gerhild Scholz Williams is no dilettante grazing in the greener pastures of other disciplines. She has been laboring assiduously in these neighboring fields for years now, and it is breathtaking to see how all of her disparate projects have come together so elegantly articulated in this one volume." --Susan L. Cocalis, German Studies Review
Gerhild Scholz Williams is Professor of German and Comparative Literature, Washington University, St. Louis.
Discourses in African Musicology: J.H. Kwabena Nketia Festschrift highlights the proceedings of a 2011 conference at the University of Ghana in honor of Professor J.H. Kwabena Nketia on his 90th birthday. Professor Nketia was instrumental in shaping the field of ethnomusicology and providing the foundation for an African Musicology. The conference gave scholars and performers an occasion to explore the multi-faceted subject of African music studies, and provided its many attendees the opportunity to extend the scholarly discourse on African music.
This inventive work explores Mark’s Gospel within the contexts of the empires of Rome and Europe. In a unique dual analysis, the book highlights how empire is not only part of the past but also of a present colonial heritage. The book first outlines postcolonial criticism and discusses the challenges it poses for biblical scholarship, then scrutinizes the complex ways with which nineteenth-century commentaries on Mark’s Gospel interplayed with the formation of European colonial identities. It examines the stance of Mark’s Gospel vis-à-vis the Roman Empire and analyzes the manner in which the fibers of empire within Mark are interwoven, reproduced, negotiated, modified and subverted. Finally, it offers synthesizing suggestions for bringing Mark beyond a colonial heritage. The book’s candid use of postcolonial criticism illustrates how a contemporary perspective can illuminate and shed new light on an ancient text in its imperial setting.
The Discourses of Science
Marcello Pera University of Chicago Press, 1994 Library of Congress Q175.P3826313 1994 | Dewey Decimal 500
In this much anticipated revision and translation of Scienza e Retorica, Marcello Pera argues that rhetoric is central to the making of scientific knowledge.
Pera begins with an attack of what he calls the "Cartesian syndrome"—the fixation on method common to both defenders of traditional philosophy of science and its detractors. He argues that in assuming the primacy of methodological rules, both sides get it wrong. Scientific knowledge is neither the simple mirror of nature nor a cultural construct imposed by contingent interests, thus we must replace the idea of scientific method with that of scientific rhetoric.
Pera proposes a new dialectics of science to overcome the tension between normative and descriptive philosophies of science by focusing on the rhetoric in the proposition, defense, and argumentation of theories. Examining the uses of rhetoric in debates drawn from Galileo's Dialogues, Darwin's Origins, and the Big Bang-Steady State controversy in cosmology, Pera shows how the conduct of science involves not just nature and the inquiring mind, but nature, the inquiring mind, and a questioning community which, through the process of attack, defense, and dispute, determines what is science. Rhetoric, then, is an essential element in the constitution of science as the practice of persuasive argumentation through which results gain acceptance.
Michael Foucault called sex “the explanation for everything, our master key.” In Discourses of Sexuality, fourteen distinguished scholars, artists, and critics examine sexuality from a fascinating array of perspectives. The book’s opening section reopens the question of “the history of sexuality;” it is followed by “Regimes of Knowledge and Desire,” which explores gender and sexuality in the Elizabethan period, sexual desire and the market economy during the Industrial Revolution, and Freud’s notions of sexuality of “perversion.” The next section, “The Constructed Body,” examines conceptions, representations, and implications of the body through written and visual representation. The last part of the book, “AIDS and the Crisis of Modernity,” looks at the place of AIDS in the study of sexuality, provides an analysis of Nicholas Nixon’s portraits of people with AIDS, and demonstrates the importance of rediscovering values that help us to live with human variety and social diversity.
Japan today is haunted by the ghosts its spectacular modernity has generated. Deep anxieties about the potential loss of national identity and continuity disturb many in Japan, despite widespread insistence that it has remained culturally intact. In this provocative conjoining of ethnography, history, and cultural criticism, Marilyn Ivy discloses these anxieties—and the attempts to contain them—as she tracks what she calls the vanishing: marginalized events, sites, and cultural practices suspended at moments of impending disappearance.
Ivy shows how a fascination with cultural margins accompanied the emergence of Japan as a modern nation-state. This fascination culminated in the early twentieth-century establishment of Japanese folklore studies and its attempts to record the spectral, sometimes violent, narratives of those margins. She then traces the obsession with the vanishing through a range of contemporary reconfigurations: efforts by remote communities to promote themselves as nostalgic sites of authenticity, storytelling practices as signs of premodern presence, mass travel campaigns, recallings of the dead by blind mediums, and itinerant, kabuki-inspired populist theater.
The acquisition and deployment of resources—natural and otherwise—will always be at the forefront of geopolitical discourse. At a time when the finite nature of these resources becomes clearer every day, that’s especially true. This book uses a humanities-influenced lens to examine how ideas of weakness affect the stockpiling and usage of resources, delving into the question of self-assessments by people and states alike can influence their handling of resources.
Discourses on Livy
Niccolò Machiavelli University of Chicago Press, 1996 Library of Congress JC143.M16313 1996 | Dewey Decimal 937
Discourses on Livy is the founding document of modern republicanism, and Harvey C. Mansfield and Nathan Tarcov have provided the definitive English translation of this classic work. Faithful to the original Italian text, properly attentive to Machiavelli's idiom and subtlety of thought, it is eminently readable. With a substantial introduction, extensive explanatory notes, a glossary of key words, and an annotated index, the Discourses reveals Machiavelli's radical vision of a new science of politics, a vision of "new modes and orders" that continue to shape the modern ethos.
"[Machiavelli] found in Livy the means to inspire scholars for five centuries. Within the Discourses, often hidden and sometimes unintended by their author, lie the seeds of modern political thought. . . . [Mansfield and Tarcov's] translation is careful and idiomatic."—Peter Stothard, The Times
"Translated with painstaking accuracy—but also great readability."—Weekly Standard
"A model of contemporary scholarship and a brave effort at Machiavelli translation that allows the great Florentine to speak in his own voice."—Choice
Can computer science solve our social problems? With Discourses on Social Software Jan Van Eijck and Rineke Verbrugge suggest it can, offering the reader a fascinating introduction to the innovative field of social software. Compiling a series of discussions involving a logician, a computer scientist, a philosopher, and a number of researchers from various other academic fields, this collection details the many ways in which the seemingly abstract disciplines of logic and computer science can be used to analyze and solve contemporary social problems.
This volume examines how power was framed in Visigothic society and how a diverse population with a complex and often conflicting cultural inheritance was thereby held together as a single kingdom. Indeed, through this dynamic process a new, early medieval society emerged. Understanding this transformation is no simple matter, as it involved the deployment of an array of political and cultural resources: the production of knowledge, the appropriation of Patristic literature, controlling and administering rural populations, reconceptualizing the sacred, capital punishment and exile, controlling the manufacture of currency, and defining Visigothic society in relation to other polities such as the neighbouring Byzantine state. In order to achieve an analysis of these different phenomena, this volume brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines. This interdisciplinary approach therefore expands the available sources and reformulates topics of traditional scholarship in order to engage with a renewal of Visigothic Studies and reformulate the paradigm of study itself. As a result, this volume rethinks frameworks of power in the Peninsula along not only historical and archaeological but also anthropological terms, presenting the reader with a new understanding of Iberian society as a whole.
German Literature on the Middle East explores the dynamic between German-speaking and Middle Eastern states and empires from the time of the Crusades to the end of the Cold War. This insightful study illuminates the complex relationships among literary and other writings on the one hand, and economic, social, and political processes and material dimensions on the other. Focusing on German-language literary and nonfiction writings about the Middle East (including historical documents, religious literature, travel writing, essays, and scholarship), Nina Berman evaluates the multiple layers of meaning contained in these works by emphasizing the importance of culture contact; a wide web of political, economic, and social practices; and material dimensions as indispensible factors for the interpretive process.
This analysis of literary and related writing reveals that German views about the Middle East evolved over the centuries and that various forms of action toward the Middle East differed substantially as well. Ideas about religion, culture, race, humanism, nation, and modernity, which emerged successively but remain operative to this day, have fashioned Germany's changed attitudes toward the Middle East. Exploring the interplay between textual discourses and social, political, and economic practices and materiality, German Literature on the Middle East offers insights that challenge accepted approaches to the study of literature, particularly approaches that insist on the centrality of the linguistic construction of the world. In addition, Berman presents evidence that the German encounter with the Middle East is at once distinct and yet at the same time characterized by patterns shared with other European countries. By addressing the individual nature of the German encounter in the larger European context, this study fills a considerable gap in current scholarship.
The interdisciplinary approach of German Literature on the Middle East will be of interest to the humanities in general, and specifically to scholars of German studies, comparative literature, Middle Eastern studies, and history.
Nina Berman is Professor of Comparative Studies at The Ohio State University.
Jacket image: Map of Europe by Giovanni Magini, from his “Geography.” Venice, . From the University of Michigan Map Library.
Political Map of the World, April 2008. From the University of Texas Perry-Castañeda Library, Map Collection.
“I am my language,” says the poet Gloria Anzaldúa, because language is at the heart of who we are. But what happens when a person has more than one language? Is there an overlay of language on identity, and do we shift identities as we shift languages? More important, what identities do children construct for themselves when they use different languages in particular ways?
In this book, Norma González uses language as a window on the multiple levels of identity construction in children—as well as on the complexities of life in the borderlands—to explore language practices and discourse patterns of Mexican-origin mothers and the language socialization of their children. She shows how the unique discourses that result from the interplay of two cultures shape perceptions of self and community, and how they influence the ways in which children learn and families engage with their children’s schools.
González demonstrates that the physical presence of the border profoundly affects the practices and ideologies of Mexican-origin women and children. She then argues that language and cultural background should be used as a basis for building academic competencies, and she demonstrates why the evocative/emotive dimension of language should play a major part in studies of discourse, language socialization, and language ideology.
Drawing on women’s own narratives of their experiences as both mothers and borderland residents, I Am My Language is firmly rooted in the words of common people in their everyday lives. It combines personal odyssey with cutting-edge ethnographic research, allowing us to hear voices that have been muted in the academic and public policy discussions of “what it means to be Latina/o” and showing us new ways to connect language to complex issues of education, political economy, and social identity.
Jazz Among the Discourses
Krin Gabbard Duke University Press, 1995 Library of Congress ML3507.J36 1995 | Dewey Decimal 781.6509
The study of jazz comes of age with this anthology. One of the first books to consider jazz outside of established critical modes, Jazz Among the Discourses brings together scholars from an array of disciplines to question and revise conventional methods of writing and thinking about jazz. Challenging "official jazz histories," the contributors to this volume view jazz through the lenses of comparative literature; African American studies; music, film, and communication theory; English literature; American studies; history; and philosophy. With uncommon rigor and imagination, their essays probe the influence of various discourses—journalism, scholarship, politics, oral history, and entertainment—on writing about jazz. Employing modes of criticism and theory that have transformed study in the humanities, they address questions seldom if ever raised in jazz writing: What are the implications of building jazz history around the medium of the phonograph record? Why did jazz writers first make the claim that jazz is an art? How is an African American aesthetic articulated through the music? What are the consequences of the interaction between the critic and the jazz artist? How does the improvising artist navigate between chaos and discipline? Along with its companion volume, Representing Jazz, this versatile anthology marks the arrival of jazz studies as a mature, intellectually independent discipline. Its rethinking of conventional jazz discourse will further strengthen the position of jazz studies within the academy.
Contributors. John Corbett, Steven B. Elworth, Krin Gabbard, Bernard Gendron, William Howland Kenney, Eric Lott, Nathaniel Mackey, Burton Peretti, Ronald M. Radano, Jed Rasula, Lorenzo Thomas, Robert Walser
Machiavelli's New Modes and Orders is the only full-length interpretive study on Machiavelli's controversial and ambiguous work, Discourses on Livy. These discourses, considered by some to be Machiavelli's most important work, are thoroughly explained in a chapter-by-chapter commentary by Harvey C. Mansfield, one of the world's foremost interpreters of this remarkable philosopher.
Mansfield's aim is to discern Machiavelli's intention in writing the book: he argues that Machiavelli wanted to introduce new modes and orders in political philosophy in order to make himself the founder of modern politics. Mansfield maintains that Machiavelli deliberately concealed part of his intentions so that only the most perceptive reader could see beneath the surface of the text and understand the whole of his book. Previously out of print, Mansfield's penetrating study brings to light the hidden thoughts lurking in the details of the Discourses on Livy to inform and challenge its readers at every step along the way.
The title of Susan Hirsch's study of disputes involving Swahili Muslims in coastal Kenya reflects the image of gender relations most commonly associated with Islamic law. Men need only "pronounce" divorce to resolve marital conflicts, while embattled and embittered wives must persevere by silently enduring marital hardships. But Hirsch's observations of Islamic courts uncover how Muslim women actively use legal processes to transform their domestic lives, achieving victories on some fronts but reinforcing their image as subordinate to men through the speech they produce in court.
Pronouncing and Persevering focuses closely on the language used in disputes, particularly how men and women narrate their claims and how their speech shapes and is shaped by gender hierarchy in postcolonial Swahili society. Based on field research and court testimony, Hirsch's book debunks the conventional view that women are powerless under Islamic law and challenges the dichotomies through which Islam and gender relations are currently understood.
The phrase “The Black Legend” was coined in 1912 by a Spanish journalist in protest of the characterization of Spain by other Europeans as a backward country defined by ignorance, superstition, and religious fanaticism, whose history could never recover from the black mark of its violent conquest of the Americas. Challenging this stereotype, Rereading the Black Legend contextualizes Spain’s uniquely tarnished reputation by exposing the colonial efforts of other nations whose interests were served by propagating the “Black Legend.”
A distinguished group of contributors here examine early modern imperialisms including the Ottomans in Eastern Europe, the Portuguese in East India, and the cases of Mughal India and China, to historicize the charge of unique Spanish brutality in encounters with indigenous peoples during the Age of Exploration. The geographic reach and linguistic breadth of this ambitious collection will make it a valuable resource for any discussion of race, national identity, and religious belief in the European Renaissance.
Juxtaposing the insights of feminism with those of marxism, psychoanalysis, and deconstruction, this unique collection creates new common ground for women's studies and Renaissance studies. An outstanding array of scholars—literary critics, art critics, and historians—reexamines the role of women and their relations with men during the Renaissance. In the process, the contributors enrich the emerging languages of and about women, gender, and sexual difference.
Throughout, the essays focus on the structures of Renaissance patriarchy that organized power relations both in the state and in the family. They explore the major conequences of patriarchy for women—their marginalization and lack of identity and power—and the ways in which individual women or groups of women broke, or in some cases deliberately circumvented, the rules that defined them as a secondary sex. Topics covered include representations of women in literature and art, the actual work done by women both inside and outside of the home, and the writings of women themselves. In analyzing the rhetorical strategies that "marginalized" historical and fictional women, these essays counter scholarly and critical traditions that continue to exhibit patriarchal biases.
In Sweet Reason, Susan Wells presents a rhetorical model for understanding the diverse discourses of modernity. Wells describes modernity as a system of texts which we are only now learning to read. In order to comprehend how these texts organize our world, she argues, we must grasp how reason and desire interact to create meaning. To this end, Wells offers a rhetoric based on an understanding of meaning as intersubjectivity created through the work of language. Wells elaborates this "rhetoric of intersubjectivity" by drawing on both Jürgen Habermas's concept of communicative rationality and on Jacques Lacan's theory of desire, affirming the significance of reason and desire for rhetorical studies. From scientific articles to classroom altercations, contemporary government hearings to Mantaigne's Essays, Wells organizes several using rhetoric as an art, and she shows how rhetoric operates in practice.
Susan Wells is associate professor of English at Temple University.