In Odd Man Out, Carol Armstrong offers an important study of Edgar Degas's work and reputation. Armstrong grapples with contradictory portrayals of Degas as odd man out within the modernist canon: he was a realist whom realists rejected; he was a storyteller in pictures who did not satisfy novelist-critics; he painted modern life yet was no modernist; he belonged to the impressionist group yet was no impressionist. She confronts these and other contradictions by analyzing the critical vocabularies used to describe Degas's work.
By reading several groups of the artist's images through the lens of a sequence of critical texts, Armstrong shows how our critical and popular expectations of Degas are overturned and subverted. Each of these groups of images is matched to different interpretive moves, each highlighting distinct themes: economics and vocation; narrative and semiotics; gender and corporeality; and the author and self. Armstrong's provocative analysis celebrates the tantalizing qualities of the artist's elusive career: the pluralism of his work, its conflation of positivistic and negational tactics, the modern and the traditional, the abstract and the representational.
"A lucid and searching study. . . . Armstrong has produced one of the most elegant and persuasive examples of the historian's use of 19th-century art criticism. In the process, she has achieved a reading of the artist which makes a difference to the way we understand the difference of Degas himself."—Neil McWilliam, Times Higher Education Supplement
"This is a brilliant, original, and beautifully articulated study. Carol Armstrong's scholarship is impressive in its richness, ambition, and sophistication: Degas's works have rarely been given such detailed, penetrating, and suggestive readings as those offered in this book."—Linda Nochlin, Yale University
"With brilliant insight and incisive analytical intelligence, Carol Armstrong introduces new ways to conceptualize the structural ambiguities of Degas's work. Her subtle and probing readings clarify the fundamental contrariness of Degas's images—their disturbing negativity, their anti-modern modernism. Odd Man Out catapults the criticism of Degas from the hinterlands of traditional art history to the foreground of contemporary critical theory in both literature and the visual arts."—Charles Bernheimer, University of Pennsylvania
George W. Bush had planned to swear his oath of office with his hand on the Masonic Bible used by both his father and George Washington, however, due to the inclement weather, a family Bible was substituted. Almost immediately on taking office, President Bush made passage of "faith-based initiatives"—the government funding of religious charitable groups—a legislative priority. However, "inclement" weather storm-tossed his hopes for faith-based initiatives as well.
What happened? Why did these initiatives, which began with such vigor and support from a popular president, fail? And what does this say about the future role of religious faith in American public life? Amy Black, Douglas Koopman, and David Ryden—all prominent political scientists—utilize a framework that takes the issue through all three branches of government and analyzes it through three very specific lenses: a public policy lens, a political party lens, and a lens of religion in the public square.
Drawing on dozens of interviews with key figures in Washington, the authors tell a compelling story, revealing the evolution of the Bush faith-based strategy from his campaign for the presidency through congressional votes to the present. They show how political rhetoric, infighting, and poor communication shipwrecked Bush's efforts to fundamentally alter the way government might conduct social services. The authors demonstrate the lessons learned, and propose a more fruitful, effective way to go about such initiatives in the future.
In Opportunity Lost, Marcus D. Pohlmann examines the troubling issue of why Memphis city school students are underperforming at alarming rates. His provocative interdisciplinary analysis, combining both history and social science, examines the events before and after desegregation, compares a city school to an affluent suburban school to pinpoint imbalances, and offers critical assessments of various educational reforms.
Employing a rich trove of data to demonstrate the realities of racial and economic inequality, Pohlmann underscores the difficulties that plague the urban schools and their students-problems that persist despite the fact that the city schools often have more resource advantages than the county schools: better student-to-teacher ratios, more teachers with advanced degrees, and even greater spending on each student. Pohlmann demonstrates that post-industrial economic shifts and continuing racial exclusion have resulted in a predominance of low-income students at these schools. This economic disadvantage has had a lasting impact on performance among students at all grade levels and has not been reversed simply by increasing resources.
In addition to his analysis of the problems, Pohlmann lays out educational reforms that run the gamut from early intervention and parental involvement to increasing class size and teacher compensation, improving time utilization, and more. Pohlmann's illuminating and original study has wide application for a problem that bedevils inner-city children everywhere and prevents the promise of equality from reaching all of our nation's citizens.
Marcus D. Pohlmann is professor of political science at Rhodes College. He is the author of Governing the Postindustrial City; coauthor, with Michael P. Kirby, of Racial Politics at the Crossroads: Memphis Elects W. W. Herenton; and editor of the six-volume African American Political Thought.
Community activists were delighted with the passage of the Community Reinvestment Act, but they came to realize that it would take more than the word of law to bring about real change. This book gives voice to the activists who took it upon themselves to agitate for increased investment by financial institutions in their local communities. They tell of their struggles to get banks, mortgage companies and others to rethink their lending policies. Their stories, drawn from experiences in Chicago, New York, Milwaukee, Boston, Pittsburgh, and other cities around the country, offer insight into the way our political/economic system really works.
In 1981, when Raymond Abbott was a twelve-year-old sixth-grader in Camden, New Jersey, poor city school districts like his spent 25 percent less per student than the state’s wealthy suburbs did. That year, Abbott became the lead plaintiff in a landmark class-action lawsuit demanding that the state provide equal funding for rich and poor schools. Over the next twenty-five years, as the non-profit law firm representing the plaintiffs won ruling after ruling from the New Jersey Supreme Court, Abbott dropped out of school, fought a cocaine addiction, and spent time in prison before turning his life around.
Raymond Abbott’s is just one of the many human stories that have too often been forgotten in the policy battles New Jersey has waged for two generations over equal funding for rich and poor schools. Other People’s Children, the first book to tell the story of this decades-long school funding battle, interweaves the public story—an account of legal and political wrangling over laws and money—with the private stories of the inner-city children who were named plaintiffs in the state’s two school funding lawsuits, Robinson v. Cahill and Abbott v. Burke. Although these cases have shaped New Jersey’s fiscal and political landscape since the 1970s, most recently in legislative arguments over tax reform, the debate has often been too abstract and technical for most citizens to understand. Written in an accessible style and based on dozens of interviews with lawyers, politicians, and the plaintiffs themselves, Other People’s Children crystallizes the arguments and clarifies the issues for general readers.
Beyond its implications for New Jersey, this book is an important contribution to the conversations taking place in all states about the nation’s responsibility for its poor, and the role of public schools in providing equal opportunities and promising upward mobility for hard-working citizens, regardless of race or class.
Recent crises in emerging markets have been heavily driven by balance-sheet or net-worth effects. Episodes in countries as far-flung as Indonesia and Argentina have shown that exchange rate adjustments that would normally help to restore balance can be destabilizing, even catastrophic, for countries whose debts are denominated in foreign currencies. Many economists instinctually assume that developing countries allow their foreign debts to be denominated in dollars, yen, or euros because they simply don't know better.
Presenting evidence that even emerging markets with strong policies and institutions experience this problem, Other People's Money recognizes that the situation must be attributed to more than ignorance. Instead, the contributors suggest that the problem is linked to the operation of international financial markets, which prevent countries from borrowing in their own currencies. A comprehensive analysis of the sources of this problem and its consequences, Other People's Money takes the study one step further, proposing a solution that would involve having the World Bank and regional development banks themselves borrow and lend in emerging market currencies.
From New York to Singapore, from Chicago to London, the trading floors of the world’s financial markets are icons of global capitalism. Images of them are used on the news all the time—traders burying their heads in their hands when the market is down, their arms flailing in a frenzy when fortunes are rising—to convey the current state of the economy. But these marketplaces, and the cultural life that sustains them, are dissolving into the ether of the digital age: powerful financial institutions are shutting down the trading pits, replacing face-to-face exchanges with an electronic network where traders sit, face to screen, finger to mouse, and compete in a global arena made up of digits and charts.
Out of the Pits considers the implications of this sea change for everyone involved, from the traders and brokers to the market as a whole. Caitlin Zaloom takes us down to the floor at the Chicago Board of Trade and into a digital dealing room in the City of London. Drawing on her own firsthand experiences as a clerk and a trader and on her unusual access to these key sites of global finance, she explainshow changes at the world’s leading financial exchanges have transformed economic cultures and the craft of speculation; how people and places are responding to the digital transition; how traders are remaking themselves to compete in the contemporary marketplace; and how brokers, business managers, and software designers are collaborating to build new financial markets.
A penetrating and richly detailed account of how cities, culture, and technology shape everyday life in the new global economy, Out of the Pits will be must reading for business buffs or anyone who has ever wondered how financial markets work.