Africa Every Day presents an exuberant, thoughtful, and necessary counterpoint to the prevailing emphasis in introductory African studies classes on war, poverty, corruption, disease, and human rights violations on the continent. These challenges are real and deserve sustained attention, but this volume shows that adverse conditions do not prevent people from making music, falling in love, playing sports, participating in festivals, writing blogs, telling jokes, making videos, playing games, eating delicious food, and finding pleasure in their daily lives.
Across seven sections—Celebrations and Rites of Passage; Socializing and Friendship; Love, Sex, and Marriage; Sports and Recreation; Performance, Language, and Creativity; Technology and Media; and Labor and Livelihoods—the accessible, multidisciplinary essays in Africa Every Day address these creative and dynamic elements of daily life, without romanticizing them. Ultimately, the book shows that forms of leisure and popular culture in Africa are best discussed in terms of indigenization, adaptation, and appropriation rather than the static binary of European/foreign/global and African. Most of all, it invites readers to reflect on the crucial similarities, rather than the differences, between their lives and those of their African counterparts.
Contributors: Hadeer Aboelnagah, Issahaku Adam, Joseph Osuolale Ayodokun, Victoria Abiola Ayodokun, Omotoyosi Babalola, Martha Bannikov, Mokaya Bosire, Emily Callaci, Deborah Durham, Birgit Englert, Laura Fair, John Fenn, Lara Rosenoff Gauvin, Michael Gennaro, Lisa Gilman, Charlotte Grabli, Joshua Grace, Dorothy L. Hodgson, Akwasi Kumi-Kyereme, Prince F. M. Lamba, Cheikh Tidiane Lo, Bill McCoy, Nginjai Paul Moreto, Jacqueline-Bethel Tchouta Mougoué, James Nindi, Erin Nourse, Eric Debrah Otchere, Alex Perullo, Daniel Jordan Smith, Maya Smith, Steven Van Wolputte, and Scott M. Youngstedt.
The publishing phenomenon of summer reading, often focused on novels set in vacation destinations, started in the nineteenth century, as both print culture and tourist culture expanded in the United States. As an emerging middle class increasingly embraced summer leisure as a marker of social status, book publishers sought new market opportunities, authors discovered a growing readership, and more readers indulged in lighter fare.
Drawing on publishing records, book reviews, readers' diaries, and popular novels of the period, Donna Harrington-Lueker explores the beginning of summer reading and the backlash against it. Countering fears about the dangers of leisurely reading -- especially for young women -- publishers framed summer reading not as a disreputable habit but as a respectable pastime and welcome respite. Books for Idle Hours sheds new light on an ongoing seasonal publishing tradition.
Freewheeling sexuality and gender experimentation defined the social and moral landscape of 1890s San Francisco. Middle class whites crafting titillating narratives on topics such as high divorce rates, mannish women, and extramarital sex centered Chinese and Japanese immigrants in particular. Amy Sueyoshi draws on everything from newspapers to felony case files to oral histories in order to examine how whites' pursuit of gender and sexual fulfillment gave rise to racial caricatures. As she reveals, white reporters, writers, artists, and others conflated Chinese and Japanese, previously seen as two races, into one. There emerged the Oriental--a single pan-Asian American stereotype weighted with sexual and gender meaning. Sueyoshi bridges feminist, queer, and ethnic studies to show how the white quest to forge new frontiers in gender and sexual freedom reinforced--and spawned--racial inequality through the ever evolving Oriental. Informed and fascinating, Discriminating Sex reconsiders the origins and expression of racial stereotyping in an American city.
Has the "American Dream" become an unrealistic utopian fantasy, or have we simply forgotten what we are working for? In his topical book, Free Time, Benjamin Kline Hunnicutt examines the way that progress, once defined as more of the good things in life as well as more free time to enjoy them, has come to be understood only as economic growth and more work, forevermore.
Hunnicutt provides an incisive intellectual, cultural, and political history of the original "American Dream" from the colonial days to the present. Taking his cue from Walt Whitman's "higher progress," he follows the traces of that dream, cataloging the myriad voices that prepared for and lived in an opening "realm of freedom."
Free Time reminds Americans of the forgotten, best part of the "American Dream"-that more and more of our lives might be lived freely, with an enriching family life, with more time to enjoy nature, friendship, and the adventures of the mind and of the spirit.
Vacations are a delimited period during which social rules and responsibilities are eased, removed, or shifted, and people have increased autonomy over what they choose to do. Recent trends in the travel industry emphasize the appeal of vacations for voluntary identity changes—when bankers can become bikers for a week or when “Momcations” allow mothers to leave their families behind. But how do our vacations allow us to shape our identity?
Getting Away from It All is a study of individuality and flexibility and the intersection of self-definition and social constraint. Karen Stein interviews vacationers about their travels and down time, focusing on “identity transitions.” She shows how objects, settings, temporal environments and social interactions limit or facilitate identity shifts, and how we arrange our vacations to achieve the shifts we desire. Stein also looks at the behavior, values, attitudes, and worldview of individuals to illuminate how people engage in either identity work or identity play.
Vacations say a lot about individuals. They signal class and economic standing and reveal aspirations and goals. Getting Away from It All insists that vacations are about more than just taking time off to relax and rejuvenate—they are about having some time to work on the person one wants to be.
Scott C. Martin examines leisure as a “contested cultural space” in which nineteenth-century Americans articulated and developed ideas about ethnicity, class, gender, and community. This new perspective demonstrates how leisure and sociability mediated the transition from an agricultural to an industrial society. Martin argues persuasively that southwestern Pennsylvanians used leisure activities to create identities and define values in a society being transformed by market expansion. The transportation revolution brought new commercial entertainments and recreational opportunities but also fragmented and privatized customary patterns of communal leisure.
By using leisure as a window on the rapid changes sweeping through the region, Martin shows how southwestern Pennsylvanians used voluntary associations, private parties, and public gatherings to construct social identities better suited to their altered circumstances. The prosperous middle class devised amusements to distinguish them from workers who, in turn, resisted reformers’ attempts to constrain their use of free time. Ethnic and racial minorities used holiday observances and traditional celebrations to define their place in American society, while women tested the boundaries of the domestic sphere through participation in church fairs, commercial recreation, and other leisure activities.
This study illuminates the cultural history of the region and offers broader insights into perceptions of free time, leisure, and community in antebellum America.
A compelling analysis of how "middling" Americans entertained themselves and how these entertainments changed over time.
The changing styles of middle-class home entertainments, Melanie Dawson argues, point to evolving ideas of class identity in U.S. culture. Drawing from 19th- and early-20th-century fiction, guidebooks on leisure, newspaper columns, and a polemical examination of class structures, Laboring to Play interrogates the ways that leisure performances (such as parlor games, charades, home dramas, and tableaux vivants) encouraged participants to test out the boundaries that were beginning to define middle-class lifestyles.
From 19th-century parlor games involving grotesque physical contortions to early-20th-century recitations of an idealized past, leisure employments mediated between domestic and public spheres, individuals and class-based affiliations, and ideals of egalitarian social life and visible hierarchies based on privilege. Negotiating these paradigms, home entertainments provided their participants with unique ways of performing displays of individual ambitions within a world of polite social interaction.
Laboring to Play deals with subjects as wide ranging as social performances, social history (etiquette and gentility), literary history, representations of childhood, and the history of the book.
This anthropological study examines the relationship between leisure and death, specifically how leisure practices are used to meditate upon—and mediate—life. Considering travelers who seek enjoyment but encounter death and dying, tourists who accidentally face their own mortality while vacationing, those who intentionally seek out pleasure activities that pertain to mortality and risk, and those who use everyday leisure practices like social media or dogwalking to cope with death, Leisure and Death delves into one of the most provocative subsets of contemporary cultural anthropology.
These nuanced and well-developed ethnographic case studies deal with different and distinct examples of the intertwining of leisure and death. They challenge established conceptions of leisure and rethink the associations attached to the prospect of death. Chapters testify to encounters with death on a personal and scholarly level, exploring, for example, the Cliffs of Moher as not only one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland but one of the most well-known suicide destinations as well, and the estimated 30 million active posthumous Facebook profiles being repurposed through proxy users and transformed by continued engagement with the living. From the respectful to the fascinated, from the macabre to the morbid, contributors consider how people deliberately, or unexpectedly, negotiate the borderlands of the living.
An engaging, timely book that explores how spaces of death can be transformed into spaces of leisure, Leisure and Death makes a significant contribution to the burgeoning interdisciplinary literature on leisure studies and dark tourism. This book will appeal to students, scholars, and laypeople interested in tourism studies, death studies, cultural studies, heritage studies, anthropology, sociology, and marketing.
Contributors: Kathleen M. Adams, Michael Arnold, Jane Desmond, Keith Egan, Maribeth Erb, James Fernandez, Martin Gibbs, Rachel Horner-Brackett, Shingo Iitaka, Tamara Kohn, Patrick Laviolette, Ruth McManus, James Meese, Bjorn Nansen, Stravoula Pipyrou, Hannah Rumble, Cyril Schafer
Out of the “lemons” handed to Mexican American workers in Corona, California--low pay, segregated schooling, inadequate housing, and racial discrimination--Mexican men and women made “lemonade” by transforming leisure spaces such as baseball games, parades, festivals, and churches into politicized spaces where workers voiced their grievances, debated strategies for advancement, and built solidarity. Using oral history interviews, extensive citrus company records, and his own experiences in Corona, José Alamillo argues that Mexican Americans helped lay the groundwork for civil rights struggles and electoral campaigns in the post-World War II era.
Probing behind the "wide-open
city" moniker Butte has worn so well, Mining Cultures shows
how the western city evolved from a male-dominated mining enclave to a
community in which men and women participated on a more equal basis as
leisure patterns changed and consumer culture grew.
Mary Murphy's engagingly written
book is the first serious look at how women worked and spent their leisure
time in a city dominated by men's work--mining. In bringing Butte to life,
she draws on church weeklies, high school yearbooks, holiday rituals,
movie plots, and news of local fashion, in addition to the more customary
court cases, newspapers, and interviews.
Her lively chronicle of the
growth of consumer culture in Butte is richly illustrated. It will interest
those in western and women's history, leisure and consumerism studies,
and labor and immigration history, as well as general readers. A volume in the series Women in American History, edited by Anne Firor Scott, Nancy A. Hewitt, and Stephanie Shaw
“Readers will not go wrong ‘wasting’ the time it takes to cavort with the eternal truths presented, with such an enervating spirit of fun, in On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs.” —National Catholic Register
“It is a book lightly written, laced with references to Charlie Brown and other cartoons, but deceptively heavy. I found myself inclined—almost forced—to pause after every section and think about Schall’s words.” —Touchstone
“Schall’s call to take seriously the unseriousness things of life is clearly, cleverly, and creatively stated.” —Perspectives on Political Science
“This new collection on what it is to be an educated human does not disappoint.” —New Oxford Review
To the ears of ceaselessly busy and ambitious modern Westerners, it will come as a shock, and perhaps as an insult, to be told that human affairs are “unserious.” But this fundamental truth is exactly what James Schall, following Plato, has to teach us in this wise and witty book.
Schall cites Charlie Brown, Aristotle, and Samuel Johnson with the same sobriety—the sobriety that sees the truth in what is delightful and even amusing. Singing, dancing, playing, contemplating, and other “useless” human activities are not merely forms of escape from more important things—politics, work, social activism, etc.—but an indication of the very nature of the highest things themselves.
On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs is an instructive volume whose countercultural message is of vital importance.
The first decades of the twentieth century were years of dramatic change in Zanzibar, a time when the social, economic, and political lives of island residents were in incredible flux, framed by the abolition of slavery, the introduction of colonialism, and a tide of urban migration. Pastimes and Politics explores the era from the perspective of the urban poor, highlighting the numerous and varied ways that recently freed slaves and other immigrants to town struggled to improve their individual and collective lives and to create a sense of community within this new environment. In this study Laura Fair explores a range of cultural and social practices that gave expression to slaves’ ideas of emancipation, as well as how such ideas and practices were gendered.
Pastimes and Politics examines the ways in which various cultural practices, including taarab music, dress, football, ethnicity, and sexuality, changed during the early twentieth century in relation to islanders’ changing social and political identities. Professor Fair argues that cultural changes were not merely reflections of social and political transformations. Rather, leisure and popular culture were critical practices through which the colonized and former slaves transformed themselves and the society in which they lived.
Methodologically innovative and clearly written, Pastimes and Politics is accessible to specialists and general readers alike. It is a book that should find wide use in courses on African history, urbanization, popular culture, gender studies, or emancipation.
Prowess--extraordinary skill and ability, especially in sports--has always been important to Americans, even in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Nancy L. Struna explores the significance, meaning, and structure of competitive matches and displays of physical prowess for both men and women in colonial culture. Engrossingly written for the general reader as well as sport and leisure historians, People of Prowess is a pioneering work that explores a rarely examined
area of colonial history and society.
Much has been written about the workings of communist governments in the USSR and the Soviet bloc, yet there is still a great deal to explore regarding their relationship to the everyday lives of the citizens living under them. This third volume builds on the editors’ Style and Socialism and Socialist Spaces, showing how the rise of consumer culture took a unique form in these countries.
Essays from top scholars address topics ranging from fashion and game shows to smoking and camping. The authors of the essays in this collection investigate the ways in which pleasurable activities, like many other facets of daily life, were both a space in which these communist governments tried to insinuate themselves and thereby further expand the reach of their authority,
and also an opportunity for people to assert their individuality.
In this rich and unique reference, David L. Jewell compiles the first anthology of reflections on leisure, play, and recreation.
As he began to collect these considered opinions, Jewell was pleased to discover that many people from quite diverse backgrounds shared his belief in the redeeming value of leisure, play, and recreation.
Jewell was less pleased, however, to note how often these judicious opinions have been ignored. Disproportionately high budget cuts in parks and recreation services demonstrate too clearly society’s view of leisure activities as frivolous and expendable. By selecting these voices of reason and making them available in a single volume, Jewell hopes to emphasize the "frailties of a capitalistic society’s demeaning perception" of anything other than work.
The Scene of Foreplay: Theater, Labor, and Leisure in 1960s New York suggests "foreplay" as a theoretical framework for understanding a particular mode of performance production. That mode exists outside of predetermined structures of recognition in terms of professionalism, artistic achievement, and a logic of eventfulness. Foreplay denotes a peculiar way of working and inhabiting time in performance. It is recognized as emblematic of a constellation of artists in the 1960s New York scene, including Ellen Stewart, John Vaccaro, Ruby Lynn Reyner, Jackie Curtis, Andy Warhol, Tom Eyen, Jack Smith, and Penny Arcade.
Matching an original approach to historical materials and theoretical reflection, Palladini addresses the peculiar forms of production, reproduction, and consumption developed in the 1960s as labors of love, creating for artists a condition of “preliminarity” toward professional work and also functioning as a counterforce within productive economy, as a prelude where value is not yet assigned to labor.
The Scene of Foreplay proposes that such labors of love can be considered both as paradigmatic for contemporary forms of precarious labor and also resonating with echoes from marginal histories of the performing arts, in a nonlinear genealogy of queer resistance to ideas of capitalist productivity and professionalism. The book offers much for those interested in performance theory as well asin the history of theater and performance arts in the 1960s.
This classic study still provides one of the most acute descriptions available of an often misunderstood subculture: that of fantasy role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. Gary Alan Fine immerses himself in several different gaming systems, offering insightful details on the nature of the games and the patterns of interaction among players—as well as their reasons for playing.
Developed just after the close of the Civil War, the Springfield Gas Machine was a unique commercial and domestic gas lighting system marketed for use in homes and businesses outside of a city’s gas works. The self-contained unit was perfectly suited to accommodate an expanding rural and suburban U.S. landscape as middle- and upper-class American families were looking to find simplicity in the countryside without losing any modern comforts of the city. Industries, too, were looking for a means to operate more efficiently and implement longer work hours for various production operations. Perhaps more important, owners of the Springfield system could retain control of their light production during a time when corporations were reaping large benefits from their monopolistic hold over municipal gas works.
In addition to detailing preserved Springfield systems across the country, Donald W. Linebaugh uses newspapers and magazine articles, advertisements, patents, and even mail-order catalogs to tell the story of this one-of-a-kind unit. The Gilbert and Barker Manufacturing Company's innovative business plan established them as a leader in the manufacture of gas lighting devices. By taking gasoline from an oft-discarded byproduct of refining crude oil to a viable fuel source, the company paved the way for other gas-powered appliances to improve household management strategies and industrial production. In capturing the pre-automobile market for gasoline, Gilbert and Barker attracted the attention of the Standard Oil Trust, presaging the oil-industry dominance over gasoline production that continues today.
The story of the Springfield gas machine ends in the early twentieth century as the advent of electricity proved more available to the masses with considerably less expense. However, gas lighting was, for its time, a major innovation in domestic and commercial lighting, and it changed daily life and social behaviors in the late nineteenth century as the comforts of home became a reality for suburban and rural Americans.
No longer the dreary sheep farm at the end of the world, the New Zealand of the new millennium is a hot global ticket, heralded for its bicultural dynamism, laid-back lifestyle, and scenery extraordinary enough to pass for Tolkien’s Middle Earth. How this image was crafted is the story The Tourist State tells. In a series of narratives that address the embodied dimensions of biopolitics and explore the collision of race, performance, and the cultural poetics of the state, Margaret Werry exposes the real drama behind the new New Zealand, revealing how a nation was sold to the world—and to itself.
The story stretches back to the so-called Liberal Era at the beginning of the twentieth century, in which the young settler colony touted itself as the social laboratory of the world. Focusing on where tourism and liberal governmentality coincide, The Tourist State takes us from military diplomacy at the dawn of the American Pacific to the exotic blandishments of Broadway and Coney Island, from landscape preservation to health reform and town planning, from blockbuster film to knowledge economy policy.
Weaving together interpretive history, performance ethnography, and cultural criticism, Werry offers new ways to think about race and indigeneity—and about the role of human agency in state-making.
During the first half of the twentieth century, Winnipeg Beach proudly marketed itself as the Coney Island of the West. Located just north of Manitoba's bustling capital, it drew 40,000 visitors a day and served as an important intersection between classes, ethnic communities, and perhaps most importantly, between genders. In Winnipeg Beach, Dale Barbour takes us into the heart of this turn-of-the-century resort area and introduces us to some of the people who worked, played and lived in the resort. Through photographs, interviews, and newspaper clippings he presents a lively history of this resort area and its surprising role in the evolution of local courtship and dating practices, from the commoditization of the courting experience by the Canadian Pacific Railway's "Moonlight Specials," through the development of an elaborate amusement area that encouraged public dating, and to its eventual demise amid the moral panic over sexual behaviour during the 1950s and '60s.
"An extraordinarily informative scholarly history of the debate over working hours from 1920 to 1940."
--New York Times Book Review
For more than a century preceding the Great Depression, work hours were steadily reduced. Intellectuals, labor leaders, politicians, and workers saw this reduction in work as authentic progress and the resulting increase in leisure time as a cultural advance. Benjamin Hunnicutt examines the period from 1920 to 1940 during which the shorter hour movement ended and the drive for economic expansion through increased work took over. He traces the political, intellectual, and social dialogues that changed the American concept of progress from dreams of more leisure in which to pursue the higher things in life to an obsession with the importance of work and wage-earning.
During the 1920s with the development of advertising, the "gospel of consumption" began to replace the goal of leisure time with a list of things to buy. Business, which increasingly viewed shorter hours as a threat to economic growth, persuaded the worker that more work brought more tangible rewards. The Great Depression shook the newly proclaimed gospel as well as everyone's faith in progress.
Although work-sharing became a temporary solution to the shortage of jobs and massive unemployment, when faced with legislation that would limit the work week to thirty hours, Roosevelt and his New Deal advisors adopted the gospel of consumption's tests for progress and created more work by government action. The New Deal campaigned for the right to work a full time job--and won.
"Work Without End presents a compelling history of the rise and fall of the 40-hour work week, explains bow Americans became trapped in a prison of work that allows little room for family, bobbies or civic participation and suggests bow they can free themselves from relentless overwork. [This book] is a sober reconsideration of a topic that is critical to America's future. It suggests that progress doesn't mean much if there is not time for love as well as work, and liberation is an empty achievement if the work it frees one to do is truly without end."
--The Washington Post
"Hunnicutt, with this excellent book, becomes the first United States historian to examine fully why this momentous change occurred."
--The Journal of American History
"Hunnicutt's achievement is to ask the questions, and to provide the first extended answer which takes in the full array of economic, social, and political forces behind the â€˜end of shorter hours' in the crucial first half of the twentieth century."
--Journal of Economic History
"This thoroughly documented history [is] a valuable book well worth reading."
--Libertarian Labor Review
"This is an important book in the emerging debate about alternatives to full employment. Hunnicutt is a skilled historian who is on to an important issue, writes well, and can bring many different kinds of historical sources to bear on the problem."
--Fred Block, University of Pennsylvania
"Work Without End is a disturbing but impressive indictment of both big business and the New Deal program of Franklin D. Roosevelt.... Hunnicutt presents an unusual but persuasive description of a successful conspiracy to deprive American workers of their vision of a shorter-hours work week and the individual and societal liberation which would flow from it."
--Labor Studies Journal