Winner of the 2005 Pfizer Prize from the History of Science Society.
What actually took place in the private laboratory of a mid-seventeenth century alchemist? How did he direct his quest after the secrets of Nature? What instruments and theoretical principles did he employ?
Using, as their guide, the previously misunderstood interactions between Robert Boyle, widely known as "the father of chemistry," and George Starkey, an alchemist and the most prominent American scientific writer before Benjamin Franklin as their guide, Newman and Principe reveal the hitherto hidden laboratory operations of a famous alchemist and argue that many of the principles and practices characteristic of modern chemistry derive from alchemy. By analyzing Starkey's extraordinary laboratory notebooks, the authors show how this American "chymist" translated the wildly figurative writings of traditional alchemy into quantitative, carefully reasoned laboratory practice—and then encoded his own work in allegorical, secretive treatises under the name of Eirenaeus Philalethes. The intriguing "mystic" Joan Baptista Van Helmont—a favorite of Starkey, Boyle, and even of Lavoisier—emerges from this study as a surprisingly central figure in seventeenth-century "chymistry." A common emphasis on quantification, material production, and analysis/synthesis, the authors argue, illustrates a continuity of goals and practices from late medieval alchemy down to and beyond the Chemical Revolution.
For anyone who wants to understand how alchemy was actually practiced during the Scientific Revolution and what it contributed to the development of modern chemistry, Alchemy Tried in the Fire will be a veritable philosopher's stone.
Providing the first overview of Asia’s emerging biosciences landscape, this timely and important collection brings together ethnographic case studies on biotech endeavors such as genetically modified foods in China, clinical trials in India, blood collection in Singapore and China, and stem-cell research in Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. While biotech policies and projects vary by country, the contributors identify a significant trend toward state entrepreneurialism in biotechnology, and they highlight the ways that political thinking and ethical reasoning are converging around the biosciences. As ascendant nations in a region of postcolonial emergence, with an “uncanny surplus” in population and pandemics, Asian countries treat their populations as sources of opportunity and risk. Biotech enterprises are allied to efforts to overcome past humiliations and restore national identity and political ambition, and they are legitimized as solutions to national anxieties about food supplies, diseases, epidemics, and unknown biological crises in the future. Biotechnological responses to perceived risks stir deep feelings about shared fate, and they crystallize new ethical configurations, often re-inscribing traditional beliefs about ethnicity, nation, and race. As many of the essays in this collection illustrate, state involvement in biotech initiatives is driving the emergence of “biosovereignty,” an increasing pressure for state control over biological resources, commercial health products, corporate behavior, and genetic based-identities. Asian Biotech offers much-needed analysis of the interplay among biotechnologies, economic growth, biosecurity, and ethical practices in Asia.
Contributors Vincanne Adams Nancy N. Chen Stefan Ecks Kathleen Erwin Phuoc V. Le Jennifer Liu Aihwa Ong Margaret Sleeboom-Faulkner Kaushik Sunder Rajan Wen-Ching Sung Charis Thompson Ara Wilson
In a dual biography crafted around the famous encounter between the French philosopher who wrote about power and the Russian empress who wielded it with great aplomb, Robert Zaretsky invites us to reflect on the fraught relationship between politics and philosophy, and between a man of thought and a woman of action.
In modern Latin America, profound social inequalities have persisted despite the promise of equality. Nara B. Milanich argues that social and legal practices surrounding family and kinship have helped produce and sustain these inequalities. Tracing families both elite and plebeian in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Chile, she focuses on a group largely invisible in Latin American historiography: children. The concept of family constituted a crucial dimension of an individual’s identity and status, but also denoted a privileged set of gendered and generational dependencies that not all people could claim. Children of Fate explores such themes as paternity, illegitimacy, kinship, and child circulation over the course of eighty years of Chile’s modern history to illuminate the ways family practices and ideologies powerfully shaped the lives of individuals as well as broader social structures.
Milanich pays particular attention to family law, arguing that liberal legal reforms wrought in the 1850s, which left the paternity of illegitimate children purposely unrecorded, reinforced not only patriarchal power but also hierarchies of class. Through vivid stories culled from judicial and notarial sources and from a cache of documents found in the closet of a Santiago orphanage, she reveals how law and bureaucracy helped create an anonymous underclass bereft of kin entitlements, dependent on the charity of others, and marginalized from public bureaucracies. Milanich also challenges the recent scholarly emphasis on state formation by highlighting the enduring importance of private, informal, and extralegal relations of power within and across households. Children of Fate demonstrates how the study of children can illuminate the social organization of gender and class, liberalism, law, and state power in modern Latin America.
Countess Sofia Panina lived a remarkable life. Born into an aristocratic family in imperial Russia, she found her true calling in improving the lives of urban workers. Her passion for social service and reputation as the "Red Countess" led her to political prominence after the fall of the Romanovs. She became the first woman to hold a cabinet position and the first political prisoner tried by the Bolsheviks. The upheavals of the 1917 Revolution forced her to flee her beloved country, but instead of living a quiet life in exile she devoted the rest of her long life to humanitarian efforts on behalf of fellow refugees.
Based on Adele Lindenmeyr's detailed research in dozens of archival collections, Citizen Countess establishes Sofia Panina as an astute eyewitness to and passionate participant in the historical events that shaped her life. Her experiences shed light on the evolution of the European nobility, women's emancipation and political influence of the time, and the fate of Russian liberalism.
Among the greatest challenges facing humanity in the twenty-first century is that of sustaining a healthy civil society, which depends upon managing the tension between individual and collective interests. Bruce R. Sievers explores this issue by investigating ways to balance the public and private sides of modern life in a manner that allows realization of the ideal of individual freedom and, at the same time, makes possible the effective pursuit of the common good. He traces the development of civil society from the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic and the eighteenth-century Scottish Enlightenment, analyzes its legacy for modern political life, and explores how historical trends in the formation of civil society and philanthropy aid or impede our achievement of public goods in the modern era.
The argument of Delirious Milton is that Milton's creative power is drawn from a rift at the center of his consciousness over the question of creation itself. This rift forces the poet to oscillate deliriously between two incompatible perspectives, at once affirming and denying the presence of spirit in what he creates. From one perspective, the act of creation is centered in God and the purpose of art is to imitate and praise the Creator. From the other perspective, the act of creation is centered in the human, in the built environment of the modern world.
Can Europe survive after abandoning the national loyalties—and religious traditions—that provided meaning? And what will happen to the United States as it goes down a similar path?
The eminent French political philosopher Pierre Manent addresses these questions in his brilliant meditation on Europe’s experiment in maximizing individual and social rights. By seeking to escape from the “national form,” he shows, the European Union has weakened the very institutions that made possible liberty and self-government in the first place. Worse still, the “spiritual vacuity” that characterizes today’s secular Europe—and, increasingly, the United States—is ultimately untenable.
In 1997, after General Motors shuttered a massive complex of factories in the gritty industrial city of Flint, Michigan, signs were placed around the empty facility reading, “Demolition Means Progress,” suggesting that the struggling metropolis could not move forward to greatness until the old plants met the wrecking ball. Much more than a trite corporate slogan, the phrase encapsulates the operating ethos of the nation’s metropolitan leadership from at least the 1930s to the present. Throughout, the leaders of Flint and other municipalities repeatedly tried to revitalize their communities by demolishing outdated and inefficient structures and institutions and overseeing numerous urban renewal campaigns—many of which yielded only more impoverished and more divided metropolises. After decades of these efforts, the dawn of the twenty-first century found Flint one of the most racially segregated and economically polarized metropolitan areas in the nation.
In one of the most comprehensive works yet written on the history of inequality and metropolitan development in modern America, Andrew R. Highsmith uses the case of Flint to explain how the perennial quest for urban renewal—even more than white flight, corporate abandonment, and other forces—contributed to mass suburbanization, racial and economic division, deindustrialization, and political fragmentation. Challenging much of the conventional wisdom about structural inequality and the roots of the nation’s “urban crisis,” Demolition Means Progress shows in vivid detail how public policies and programs designed to revitalize the Flint area ultimately led to the hardening of social divisions.
When and why do democratic political actors change the electoral rules, particularly regarding who is included in a country’s political representation? The incidences of these major electoral reforms have been on the rise since 1980.
Electoral Reform and the Fate of New Democracies argues that elite inexperience may constrain self-interest and lead elites to undertake incremental approaches to reform, aiding the process of democratic consolidation. Using a multimethods approach, the book examines three consecutive periods of reform in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim majority country and third largest democracy, between 1999 and 2014. Each case study provides an in-depth process tracing of the negotiations leading to new reforms, including key actors in the legislature, domestic civil society, international experts, and government bureaucrats. A series of counterfactual analyses assess the impact the reforms had on actual election outcomes, versus the possible alternative outcomes of different reform options discussed during negotiations. With a comparative analysis of nine cases of iterated reform processes in other new democracies, the book confirms the lessons from the Indonesian case and highlights key lessons for scholars and electoral engineers.
Empire Burlesque traces the emergence of the contemporary global context within which American critical identity is formed. Daniel T. O’Hara argues that globalization has had a markedly negative impact on American cultural criticism, circumscribing both its material and imaginative potential, reducing much of it to absurdity. By highlighting the spectacle of its own self-parody, O’Hara aims to shock U.S. cultural criticism back into a sense of ethical responsibility.
Empire Burlesque presents several interrelated analyses through readings of a range of writers and cultural figures including Henry James, Freud, Said, De Man, Derrida, and Cordwainer Smith (an academic, spy, and classic 1950s and 1960s science fiction writer). It describes the debilitating effects of globalization on the university in general and the field of literary studies in particular, it critiques literary studies’ embrace of globalization theory in the name of a blind and vacant modernization, and it meditates on the ways critical reading and writing can facilitate an imaginative alternative to institutionalized practices of modernization. Drawing on Lacanian psychoanalytical theory, it diagnoses contemporary American Studies as typically driven by the mindless abjection and transference of professional identities.
A provocative commentary on contemporary cultural criticism, Empire Burlesque will inform debates on the American university across the humanities, particularly among those in literary criticism, cultural studies, and American studies.
The Italian peasantry has often been described as tragic, backward, hopeless, downtrodden, static, and passive. In Fate and Honor, Family and Village, Rudolph Bell argues against the characterizationmore by reconstructing the complete demographic history of four country villages since 1800. He analyzes births, marriages, and deaths in terms of four concepts that capture mroe accurately and sympathetically the essence of the Italian peasant life: fortuna (fate), onore (honor, dignity), famiglia (family), and campanilismo (village).
Fortuna is the cultural wellspring of Italian peasant society, the world view from which all social life flows. The concept of fortuna does not refer to philosophical questions, predestination, or value judgments. Rather, fortuna is the sum total of all explanations of outcomes perceived to be beyond human control. Thus, in Bell's view, high mortality does not lead peasants to a resigned acceptance of their fate; instead, they rely on honor, reciprocal exchanges of favors, and marriage to forge new links in their familial and social networks. With thorough documentation in graphs and tables, the author evaluates peasant reactions to time, work, family, space, migration, and protest to portray rural Italians as active, flexible, and shrewd, participating fully in shaping their destinies.
Bell asserts that the real problem of the Mezzogiorno is not one of resistance to technology, of high birth rates, or even of illiteracy. It is one of solving technical questions in ways that foster dependency. The historical and sociological practice of treating peasant culture as backward, secondary, and circumscribed only encourages disruption and ultimately blocks the road to economic and political justice in a postmodern world.
The Fate of Difficulty in the Poetry of Our Time offers original readings of poems composed in this century—poems that are challenging to follow, challenging to understand, challenging to discuss, and challenging to enjoy. Difficult poetry of the past relied on allusion, syntactic complexity, free association, and strange juxtapositions. The new poetry breaks with the old in its stunning variety; its questioning of inherited values, labels, and narratives; its multilingualism; its origin in and production of unnamed affects; and its coherence around critical and social theorists as much as other poets.
The essays in this volume include poets writing on the works of a younger generation (Lyn Hejinian on Paolo Javier, Bob Perelman on Rachel Zolf, Roberto Tejada on Rosa Alcalá), influential writers addressing the work of peers (Ben Lerner on Maggie Nelson, Michael W. Clune on Aaron Kunin), critics making imaginative leaps to encompass challenging work (Brian M. Reed on Sherwin Bitsui, Siobhan Philips on Juliana Spahr), and younger scholars coming to terms with poets who continue to govern new poetic experimentation (Joseph Jeon on Myung Mi Kim, Lytle Shaw on Lisa Robertson).
In pairings that are both intuitive (Marjorie Perloff on Craig Dworkin) and unexpected (Langdon Hammer on Srikanth Reddy), The Fate of Difficulty in the Poetry of Our Time illuminates the myriad pathways and strategies for exploring difficult poetry of the present.
In 1975, when political scientist Benedict Anderson reached Wat Phai Rong Wua, a massive temple complex in rural Thailand conceived by Buddhist monk Luang Phor Khom, he felt he had wandered into a demented Disneyland. One of the world’s most bizarre tourist attractions, Wat Phai Rong Wua was designed as a cautionary museum of sorts; its gruesome statues depict violent and torturous scenes that showcase what hell may be like. Over the next few decades, Anderson, who is best known for his work, Imagined Communities, found himself transfixed by this unusual amalgamation of objects, returning several times to see attractions like the largest metal-cast Buddha figure in the world and the Palace of a Hundred Spires. The concrete statuaries and perverse art in Luang Phor’s personal museum of hell included, “side by side, an upright human skeleton in a glass cabinet and a life-size replica of Michelangelo’s gigantic nude David, wearing fashionable red underpants from the top of which poked part of a swollen, un-Florentine penis,” alongside dozens of statues of evildoers being ferociously punished in their afterlife.
In The Fate of Rural Hell, Anderson unravels the intrigue of this strange setting, endeavoring to discover what compels so many Thai visitors to travel to this popular spectacle and what order, if any, inspired its creation. At the same time, he notes in Wat Phai Rong Wua the unexpected effects of the gradual advance of capitalism into the far reaches of rural Asia.
Both a one-of-a-kind travelogue and a penetrating look at the community that sustains it, The Fate of Rural Hell is sure to intrigue and inspire conversation as much as Wat Phai Rong Wua itself.
Texas has often been overlooked in Civil War scholarship, but this examination shows that the Lone Star State—though definitely unusual—was decidedly Southern. Eleven noted historians examine the ways the civil war touched every aspect of life in Texas and approach the subject from varied perspectives—military, social, and cultural history; public history; and historical memory—to provide a greater understanding of the roles of women and slaves during the war, and how veterans and the aftermath of loss helped pave the way for the Texas of today.
The Amazon rain forest covers more than five million square kilometers, amid the territories of nine different nations. It represents over half of the planet’s remaining rain forest. Is it truly in peril? What steps are necessary to save it? To understand the future of Amazonia, one must know how its history was forged: in the eras of large pre-Columbian populations, in the gold rush of conquistadors, in centuries of slavery, in the schemes of Brazil’s military dictators in the 1960s and 1970s, and in new globalized economies where Brazilian soy and beef now dominate, while the market in carbon credits raises the value of standing forest.
Susanna Hecht and Alexander Cockburn show in compelling detail the panorama of destruction as it unfolded, and also reveal the extraordinary turnaround that is now taking place, thanks to both the social movements, and the emergence of new environmental markets. Exploring the role of human hands in destroying—and saving—this vast forested region, The Fate of the Forest pivots on the murder of Chico Mendes, the legendary labor and environmental organizer assassinated after successful confrontations with big ranchers. A multifaceted portrait of Eden under siege, complete with a new preface and afterword by the authors, this book demonstrates that those who would hold a mirror up to nature must first learn the lessons offered by some of their own people.
From cave paintings to the latest Siberian finds, woolly mammoths have fascinated people across Europe, Asia, and North America for centuries. Remains of these enormous prehistoric animals were among the first fossils to be recognized as such, and they have played a crucial role in the birth and development of paleontology. In this lively, wide-ranging look at the fate of the mammoth, Claudine Cohen reanimates this large mammal with heavy curved tusks and shaggy brown hair through its history in science, myth, and popular culture.
Cohen uses the mammoth and the theories that naturalists constructed around it to illuminate wider issues in the history of science, showing how changing views about a single object reveal the development of scientific methods, practices, and ideas. How are fossils discovered, reconstructed, displayed, and interpreted? What stories are told about them, by whom, and how do these stories reflect the cultures and societies in which they are told?
To find out, Cohen takes us on a grand tour of the study of mammoth remains, from England, Germany, and France to Russia and America, and from the depths of Africa to the frozen frontiers of Alaska and Siberia, where intact mammoth corpses have been discovered in the permafrost. Along the way, she shows how paleontologists draw on myth and history, as well as on scientific evidence, to explore the deep history of the earth and of life. Cohen takes her history from the sixteenth century right up to the present, when researchers are using molecular biology to retrieve mammoth DNA, calling up dreams of cloning the mammoth and one day seeing herds of woolly mammoths roaming the frozen steppes.
Much recent critical theory has dismissed or failed to take seriously the question of the self. French theorists—such as Derrida, Barthes, Benveniste, Foucault, Lacan, and Lévi-Strauss—have in various ways proclaimed the death of the subject, often turning to German intellectual tradition to authorize their views. Stanley Corngold’s heralded book, The Fate of the Self, published for the first time in paperback with a spirited new preface, appears at a time when the relationship between the self and literature is a matter of renewed concern. Originally published in 1986 (Columbia University Press), the book examines the poetic self of German intellectual tradition in light of recent French and American critical theory. Focusing on seven major German writers—Hölderlin, Dilthey, Nietzsche, Mann, Kafka, Freud, and Heidegger—Corngold shows that their work does not support the desire to discredit the self as an origin of meaning and value but reconstructs the allegedly fragmented poetic self through effects of position and style. Offering new and subtle models of selfhood, The Fate of the Self is a source of rich insight into the work of these authors, refracted through poststructuralist critical perspectives.
An Exploration of the Human Experience in One of the Civil War’s Most Important and Devastating Battles
The Union assault on the critical Confederate stronghold of Fredericksburg, Virginia, along the Rappahannock River in December 1862 was one of the most significant and storied battles of the Civil War. It was fought in order to secure confidence in the North for Lincoln’s administration after 18 months of Confederate victories, Union setbacks, and directionless Northern leadership. The result was a complete and stunning Confederate victory and one of the bloodiest losses for the Union Army. Federal General Ambrose E. Burnside and his Army of the Potomac planned to overrun Fredericksburg and move on to Richmond, the Confederate capital. The opposing general, Robert E. Lee, and his Army of Northern Virginia prepared Fredericksburg’s defense. Thousands of Union troops were able to successfully cross the Rappahannock River despite withering small arms fire and proceeded to brutally sack the city, terrorizing its remaining civilian inhabitants while the Confederates fell back to a line of heights to the west. Burnside soon ordered his generals to attack with the intention of flanking the Confederate defenders. Unable to dislodge or go around the enemy, Burnside was forced to withdraw without a victory after suffering appalling casualties.
In The Fate of War: Fredericksburg, 1862, historian and professional psychologist Duane Schultz uses this key moment in Civil War history to address how soldiers and civilians react to the stress of war. Rather than a traditional military history—and there are a number of excellent accounts of troop movements and strategy at Fredericksburg—The Fate of War explores the human element in battle; the motivations, passions, and emotions of the people who fought on both sides. Using letters, diaries, and memoirs, including those of Clara Barton and Walt Whitman, Schultz reveals what individuals can force themselves to do in the name of duty, patriotism, and dedication to a cause, or the ultimate fear of letting down their friends. Schultz’s account, grounded in careful research, is a record of the triumph and failure, courage and cowardice, compassion and cruelty of the people—the ordinary and high-ranking, soldier and civilian, men and women—who came together one terrible day.
As democracy has swept the globe, the question of why some democracies succeed while others fail has remained a pressing concern. In this theoretically innovative, richly historical study, Michael Bernhard looks at the process by which new democracies choose their political institutions, showing how these fundamental choices shape democracy's survival.
Offering a new analytical framework that maps the process by which basic political institu-tions emerge, Bernhard investigates four paradigmatic episodes of democracy in two countries: Germany during the Weimar period and after World War II, and Poland between the world wars and after the fall of communism.
Students of democracy will appreciate the broad applicability of Bernhard's findings, while area specialists will welcome the book's accessible and detailed historical accounts.
Lionel Trilling was one of the twentieth century's most widely read and influential American literary critics. Mark Krupnick traces Trilling’s career from the 1920s through the 1970s, following the shifting intellectual and ideological currents in his thought. Krupnick places Trilling’s criticism and fiction in the context of his New York intellectual group, illuminating the connection between Trilling’s preoccupation with self-definition and his struggle to achieve a cultural overview in a period marked by contradictions, polarizations, and reversals. He provides not only the best single assessment of Trilling but also an incisive history of American literary criticism through the mid-twentieth century.
The Connecticut shoreline is made up of varying landscapes--the sandy coastline at Madison, the rocky shore at Branford, the replenished beach at Greenwich, and the erosion at Old Saybrook. A Moveable Shore offers a general user’s guide to the Connecticut shore. In a town-by-town journey down the 254-mile coastline, Peter C. Patton and James M. Kent explore in detail the history of specific sites, the climatic and geological forces that shape the shore, and regulations regarding land-use development. In addition, they provide a guide to coastal field trips. Beginning with the hurricane of 1938, the biggest natural disaster to strike Connecticut since its settlement by Europeans, the authors demonstrate the continuing pattern of development of coastal land prone to flooding and high winds. Although the Connecticut coast faces Long Island and Block Island sounds, it is subject to the same natural hazards, land-use risks, and regulations as opean ocean shorelines. Global climatic events--glaciation, global warming, and rising sea levels--influence the shape and composition of the Connecticut shoreline, as do small-scale forces such as wind, waves, and tides. Patton and Kent seek to instill a respect for the force of natural events and provide a guide for lessening the dangers of construction and development. A practical question-and-answer chapter explains what homeowners need to know to meet land-use regulations along the coast. In a state where the entire population lives within 100 miles of the coast, this important book will serve as a citizens’ guide to living with the Connecticut shore and will be of interest to coastal residents, developers, geologists, policymakers, and vacationers.
Ray and Barbara Bane worked as teachers in Barrow and Wainwright, Alaska, in the early 1960s—but they didn’t simply teach the children of their Iñupiat Eskimo and Koyukon friends and neighbors: they fully embraced their lifestyle. Doing so, they realized how closely intertwined life in the region was with the land, and, specifically, how critical wilderness was to the ancient traditions and wisdom that undergirded the Native way of life. That slow realization came to a head during a 1,200-mile dogsled trip from Hughes to Barrow in 1974—a trip that led them to give up teaching in favor of working, through the National Park Service, to preserve Alaska’s wilderness.
This book tells their story, a tale of dedication and tireless labor in the face of suspicion, resistance, and even violence. At a time when Alaska’s natural bounty remains under threat, Our Perfect Wild shows us an example of the commitment—and love—that will be required to preserve it.
What is the role of the senses in the creation and reception of poetry? How does poetry carry on the long tradition of making experience and suffering understood by others? With Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, Susan Stewart traces the path of the aesthetic in search of an explanation for the role of poetry in our culture. The task of poetry, she tells us, is to counter the loneliness of the mind, or to help it glean, out of the darkness of solitude, the outline of others. Poetry, she contends, makes tangible, visible, and audible the contours of our shared humanity. It sustains and transforms the threshold between individual and social existence.
Herself an acclaimed poet, Stewart not only brings the intelligence of a critic to the question of poetry, but the insight of a practitioner as well. Her new study draws on reading from the ancient Greeks to the postmoderns to explain how poetry creates meanings between persons. Poetry and the Fate of the Senses includes close discussions of poems by Stevens, Hopkins, Keats, Hardy, Bishop, and Traherne, of the sense of vertigo in Baroque and Romantic works, and of the rich tradition of nocturnes in visual, musical, and verbal art. Ultimately, Stewart explores the pivotal role of poetry in contemporary culture. She argues that poetry can counter the denigration of the senses and can expand our imagination of the range of human expression.
Poetry and the Fate of the Senses won the 2004 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in Memory of Newton Arvin, administered for the Truman Capote Estate by the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. It also won the Phi Beta Kappa Society's 2002 Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism.
Ask most Americans what they think of politics and you'll likely get an earful. With suspicion and distrust of public servants running high, many citizens seem dispirited by the very process that has made the United States a showcase for democracy.
Now ask Tom Volgy. This former mayor of a major western city, who is also a political scientist, contends that most elected officials are the very opposite of what the public thinks: honest, hardworking people whose real work goes unnoticed by most of their constituents and the media.
Volgy has interviewed more than 300 elected officials—mayors, city council members, legislators—from all over the United States to offer a decidedly contrarian view of politics. He explores the lives and working conditions of elected officials at the local level— the area of democracy closest to the public— to show that officeholders are for the most part average citizens, not the slick lawyers or political pros we usually imagine them to be. Most are motivated by a sense of civic duty, and they often work for token salaries, yet once elected they give up their personal lives and fall prey to every conceivable brickbat of public and media outrage.
In Politics in the Trenches, Volgy shows what really happens behind the scenes of government. He contrasts perception with reality regarding the rewards and perks of office. He examines the process of experimentation in the political laboratory and shows how the news media distort it. He provides a case study of homelessness to illustrate the system's constraints and limitations. And he offers a chapter on a typical week in office that will be an eye-opener for most readers.
Although admittedly there are many flaws in the democratic political process, observes Volgy, all are correctable as long as citizens believe in the essential worth of the system itself. His book offers a fresh perspective on democratic governance and tackles tough issues such as campaign finance reform, urging citizens to understand the process before they condemn its players out of hand. More than that, this is a call to action, warning us that we could lose true democracy if we don't get involved.
How, why, and according to whose definitions and requirements does a culture self-consciously create memory and project its fate? In this remarkable book—the first in English to treat Russian history as theatre and cultural performance—Spencer Golub reveals the performative nature of Russian history in the twentieth century and the romantic imprisonment/self-imprisonment of the creative intelligentsia within this scenario.
"In this passionate, erudite, and far-ranging book, Kroeber renews for our multi-cultural age a fundamental argument: the stories we tell, hear, read, and see make a difference to the lives we read."--Jonathan Arac, University of Pittsburgh
In this highly readable and thoroughly original book, Karl Kroeber questions the assumptions about storytelling we have inherited from the exponents of modernism and postmodernism. These assumptions have led to overly formalistic and universalizing conceptions of narrative that mystify the social functions of storytelling. Even "politically correct" critics have Eurocentrically defined story as too "primitive" to be taken seriously as art. Kroeber reminds us that the fundamental value of storytelling lies in retelling, this paradoxical remaking anew that constitutes story's role as one of the essential modes of discourse. His work develops some recent anthropological and feminist criticism to delineate the participative function of audience in narrative performances.
In depicting how audiences contribute to storytelling transactions, Kroeber carries us into a surprising array of examples, ranging from a Mesopotamian sculpture to Derek Walcott's Omeros; startling juxtapositions, such as Cervantes to Vermeer; and innovative readings of familiar novels and paintings. Tom Wolfe's comparison of his Bonfire of the Vanities to Vanity Fair is critically analyzed, as are the differences between Thackeray's novel and Joyce's Ulysses and Flaubert's Madame Bovary. Other discussions focus on traditional Native American stories, Henry James's The Ambassadors, Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler, and narrative paintings of Giotto, Holman Hunt, and Roy Lichtenstein. Kroeber deploys the ideas of Ricoeur and Bakhtin to reassess dramatically the field of narrative theory, demonstrating why contemporary narratologists overrate plot and undervalue story's capacity to give meaning to the contingencies of real experience. Retelling/Rereading provides solid theoretical grounding for a new understanding of storytelling's strange role in twentieth-century art and of our need to develop a truly multicultural narrative criticism.
The history of Algerian Jews has thus far been viewed from the perspective of communities on the northern coast, who became, to some extent, beneficiaries of colonialism. But to the south, in the Sahara, Jews faced a harsher colonial treatment. In Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria, Sarah Abrevaya Stein asks why the Jews of Algeria’s south were marginalized by French authorities, how they negotiated the sometimes brutal results, and what the reverberations have been in the postcolonial era.
Drawing on materials from thirty archives across six countries, Stein tells the story of colonial imposition on a desert community that had lived and traveled in the Sahara for centuries. She paints an intriguing historical picture—of an ancient community, trans-Saharan commerce, desert labor camps during World War II, anthropologist spies, battles over oil, and the struggle for Algerian sovereignty. Writing colonialism and decolonization into Jewish history and Jews into the French Saharan one, Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria is a fascinating exploration not of Jewish exceptionalism but of colonial power and its religious and cultural differentiations, which have indelibly shaped the modern world.
It can seem as though the Cold War division of Europe was inevitable. But Stalin was more open to a settlement on the continent than is assumed. In this powerful reassessment of the postwar order, Norman Naimark returns to the four years after WWII to illuminate European leaders’ efforts to secure national sovereignty amid dominating powers.
Today, small populations of timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) quietly inhabit parts of Rutland County in Vermont, and Warren, Washington, and Essex counties in New York. Because the species is endangered, the exact locations of established dens in this area are a closely guarded secret. Insider, naturalist, and author Jon Furman has devoted years to the study of the snake’s past and present range, its habitat and biology, the period in Vermont and upstate New York history during which timber rattlesnakes were ruthlessly hunted for a bounty, and the outlook for this severely threatened species in both states. Soundly anchored in the latest scientific data, Furman proffers an accessible and engaging account of contemporary fieldwork and first-person interviews with herpetologists and old-time bounty hunters. For expert and lay readers interested in snakes and reptiles, northeastern fauna and natural history, conservation, and endangered species, this volume clearly explicates the timber rattlesnake’s biology as well as what happens and what to do when one bites. It also explores the troubling decline of the northeastern population caused by bounty hunting between the 1890s and the early 1970s, other past and present threats to the species’ survival, and what measures are being taken—and additional ones that must be taken—to ensure that timber rattlesnakes survive and thrive in the northeast. Historical and contemporary illustrations bring these reptiles and their world to life. Timber Rattlesnakes in Vermont & New York shines a new light on a maligned and misunderstood species.
The baby abandoned on the doorstep is a phenomenon that has virtually disappeared from our experience, but in the early modern world, unwanted children were a very real problem for parents, government officials, and society. The Unwanted Child skillfully recreates sixteenth-century Nuremberg to explore what befell abandoned, neglected, abused, or delinquent children in this critical period.
Joel F. Harrington tackles this question by focusing on the stories of five individuals. In vivid and poignant detail, he recounts the experiences of an unmarried mother-to-be, a roaming mercenary who drifts in and out of his children’s lives, a civic leader handling the government’s response to problems arising from unwanted children, a homeless teenager turned prolific thief, and orphaned twins who enter state care at the age of nine. Braiding together these compelling portraits, Harrington uncovers and analyzes the key elements that link them, including the impact of war and the vital importance of informal networks among women. From the harrowing to the inspiring, The Unwanted Child paints a gripping picture of life on the streets five centuries ago.
"...a book as rich in detail as it is devastating in its argument." -SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
"Water Follies deserves a place alongside the late Marc Reisner's classic Cadillac Desert." -ENVIRONMENT
"a lively account of hydrology" -NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
"if you want to scare yourself silly, read Water Follies, by Robert Jerome Glennon. In it you'll learn how America is irrigating itself to death-just like the Sumerians-while sucking its groundwater aquifers dry." -TORONTO GLOBE & MAIL
"Even if you are not working with water issues, you should read this book for a wider awareness of the depth and importance of groundwater impacts, right down to the bottle of water you are probably drinking right now." -CONSERVATION IN PRACTICE
"To law professor Robert Glennon, the names Perrier and Poland pack a fearful punch, for they and the other huge producers of bottled water are feeding a craze that puts the environment on the brink of disaster." -PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
The Santa Cruz River that once flowed through Tucson, Arizona is today a sad mirage of a river. Except for brief periods following heavy rainfall, it is bone dry. The cottonwood and willow trees that once lined its banks have died, and the profusion of birds and wildlife recorded by early settlers are nowhere to be seen. The river is dead. What happened? Where did the water go. As Robert Glennon explains in Water Follies, what killed the Santa Cruz River -- and could devastate other surface waters across the United States -- was groundwater pumping. From 1940 to 2000, the volume of water drawn annually from underground aquifers in Tucson jumped more than six-fold, from 50,000 to 330,000 acre-feet per year. And Tucson is hardly an exception -- similar increases in groundwater pumping have occurred across the country and around the world. In a striking collection of stories that bring to life the human and natural consequences of our growing national thirst, Robert Glennon provides an occasionally wry and always fascinating account of groundwater pumping and the environmental problems it causes. Robert Glennon sketches the culture of water use in the United States, explaining how and why we are growing increasingly reliant on groundwater. He uses the examples of the Santa Cruz and San Pedro rivers in Arizona to illustrate the science of hydrology and the legal aspects of water use and conflicts. Following that, he offers a dozen stories -- ranging from Down East Maine to San Antonio's River Walk to Atlanta's burgeoning suburbs -- that clearly illustrate the array of problems caused by groundwater pumping. Each episode poses a conflict of values that reveals the complexity of how and why we use water. These poignant and sometimes perverse tales tell of human foibles including greed, stubbornness, and, especially, the unlimited human capacity to ignore reality. As Robert Glennon explores the folly of our actions and the laws governing them, he suggests common-sense legal and policy reforms that could help avert potentially catastrophic future effects. Water Follies, the first book to focus on the impact of groundwater pumping on the environment, brings this widespread but underappreciated problem to the attention of citizens and communities across America.
This magisterial book offers comprehensive accounts of the professional itineraries of three women in the silent film in the Netherlands, France and North America. Annette Förster presents a careful assessment of the long career of Dutch stage and film actress Adriënne Solser; an exploration of the stage and screen careers of French actress and filmmaker Musidora and Canadian-born actress and filmmaker Nell Shipman; an analysis of the interaction between the popular stage and the silent cinema from the perspective of women at work in both realms; fresh insights into Dutch stage and screen comedy, the French revue and the American Northwest drama of the 1910s; and much more, all grounded in a wealth of archival research.