Americans have chosen to invest one small part of their history, the settlement of the western wilderness, with extraordinary significance. The lost frontier of the 1800s remains not merely a source of excitement and romance but of inspiration, providing a set of unique and imperishable core-values: individualism, self-reliance, and a clear sense of right and wrong. As a construct of the imagination, our creation of the West is exceptional. Since this construct has little to do with history, David H. Murdoch argues that our beliefs about the West amount to a modern functional myth. In addition to presenting a sustained analysis of how and why the myth originated, Murdoch demonstrates that the myth was invented, for the most part deliberately, and then outgrew the purposes of its inventors. The American West answers the questions that have too often been either begged or ignored. Why should the West become the focus for myth in the first place, and why, given the long process of western settlement, is the cattleman's West so central and the cowboy, of all prototypes, the mythic hero? And why should the myth have retained its potency up to the last decade of the twentieth century?
"A stimulating and readable venture in the history of ideas. Blending arguments and material from philosophy, theology, history and science, Rue addresses a fundamental problem in Western Culture: the crisis of meaning and the eclipse of the shared value system upon which personal wholeness and social coherence in the West have been based."
Paul Radin, famed ethnographer of the Winnebago, joined Fisk University in the late 1920s. During his three-year appointment, he and graduate student Andrew Polk
Watson collected autobiographies and religious conversion narratives from elderly African Americans. Their texts represent the first systematic record of slavery as told by
former slaves. That innovative, subject-centered research complemented like-minded scholarship by African American historians reacting against the disparaging portrayals of black people by white historians. Radin’s manuscript focusing on this research was never published. Utilizing the Fisk archives, the unpublished manuscript, and other archival and published sources, Anthropology and Radical Humanism revisits the Radin-Watson collection and allied research at Fisk. Radin regarded each narrative as the unimpeachable self-representation of a unique, thoughtful individual, precisely the perspective marking his earlier Winnebago work. As a radical humanist within Boasian anthropology, Radin was an outspoken critic of racial explanations of human affairs then pervading not only popular thinking but also historical and sociological scholarship. His research among African Americans and Native Americans thus places him in the vanguard of the anti-racist scholarship marking American anthropology. Anthropology and Radical Humanism sets Paul Radin’s findings within the broader context of his discipline, African American culture, and his career-defining work among the Winnebago.
Comparison is an indispensable intellectual operation that plays a crucial role in the formation of knowledge. Yet comparison often leads us to forego attention to nuance, detail, and context, perhaps leaving us bereft of an ethical obligation to take things correspondingly as they are. Examining the practice of comparison across the study of history, language, religion, and culture, distinguished scholar of religion Bruce Lincoln argues in Apples and Oranges for a comparatism of a more modest sort.
Lincoln presents critiques of recent attempts at grand comparison, and enlists numerous theoretical examples of how a more modest, cautious, and discriminating form of comparison might work and what it can accomplish. He does this through studies of shamans, werewolves, human sacrifices, apocalyptic prophecies, sacred kings, and surveys of materials as diverse and wide-ranging as Beowulf, Herodotus’s account of the Scythians, the Native American Ghost Dance, and the Spanish Civil War.
Ultimately, Lincoln argues that concentrating one's focus on a relatively small number of items that the researcher can compare closely, offering equal attention to relations of similarity and difference, not only grants dignity to all parties considered, it yields more reliable and more interesting—if less grandiose—results. Giving equal attention to the social, historical, and political contexts and subtexts of religious and literary texts also allows scholars not just to assess their content, but also to understand the forces, problems, and circumstances that motivated and shaped them.
Investigating the central role that theories of the visual arts and creativity played in the development of fascism in France, Mark Antliff examines the aesthetic dimension of fascist myth-making within the history of the avant-garde. Between 1909 and 1939, a surprising array of modernists were implicated in this project, including such well-known figures as the symbolist painter Maurice Denis, the architects Le Corbusier and Auguste Perret, the sculptors Charles Despiau and Aristide Maillol, the “New Vision” photographer Germaine Krull, and the fauve Maurice Vlaminck.
Antliff considers three French fascists: Georges Valois, Philippe Lamour, and Thierry Maulnier, demonstrating how they appropriated the avant-garde aesthetics of cubism, futurism, surrealism, and the so-called Retour à l’Ordre (“Return to Order”), and, in one instance, even defined the “dynamism” of fascist ideology in terms of Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein’s theory of montage. For these fascists, modern art was the mythic harbinger of a regenerative revolution that would overthrow existing governmental institutions, inaugurate an anticapitalist new order, and awaken the creative and artistic potential of the fascist “new man.”
In formulating the nexus of fascist ideology, aesthetics, and violence, Valois, Lamour, and Maulnier drew primarily on the writings of the French political theorist Georges Sorel, whose concept of revolutionary myth proved central to fascist theories of cultural and national regeneration in France. Antliff analyzes the impact of Sorel’s theory of myth on Valois, Lamour, and Maulnier. Valois created the first fascist movement in France; Lamour, a follower of Valois, established the short-lived Parti Fasciste Révolutionnaire in 1928 before founding two fascist-oriented journals; Maulnier forged a theory of fascism under the auspices of the journals Combat and Insurgé.
Pro basketball player Rasheed Wallace often exclaimed the pragmatic truth “Ball don’t lie!” during a game. It is a protest against a referee’s bad calls. But the slogan, which originated in pickup games, brings the reality of a racialized urban playground into mainstream American popular culture.
In Ball Don’t Lie!, Yago Colás traces the various forms of power at work in the intersections between basketball and language from the game’s invention to the present day. He critiques existing popular myths concerning the history of basketball, contextualizes them, and presents an alternative history of the sport inspired by innovations. Colás emphasizes the creative prerogative of players and the ways in which their innovations shape—and are shaped by—broader cultural and social phenomena.
Ball Don't Lie! shows that basketball cannot be reduced to a single, fixed or timeless essence but instead is a continually evolving exhibition of physical culture that flexibly adapts to and sparks changes in American society.
All groups tell stories about their beginnings. Such tales are oft-repeated, finely wrought, and usually much beloved. Among those institutions most in need of an impressive creation account is the state: it’s one of the primary ways states attempt to legitimate themselves. But such founding narratives invite revisionist retellings that modify details of the story in ways that undercut, ironize, and even ridicule the state’s ideal self-representation. Medieval accounts of how Norway was unified by its first king provide a lively, revealing, and wonderfully entertaining example of this process.
Taking the story of how Harald Fairhair unified Norway in the ninth century as its central example, Bruce Lincoln illuminates the way a state’s foundation story blurs the distinction between history and myth and how variant tellings of origin stories provide opportunities for dissidence and subversion as subtle—or not so subtle—modifications are introduced through details of character, incident, and plot structure. Lincoln reveals a pattern whereby texts written in Iceland were more critical and infinitely more subtle than those produced in Norway, reflecting the fact that the former had a dual audience: not just the Norwegian court, but also Icelanders of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, whose ancestors had fled from Harald and founded the only non-monarchic, indeed anti-monarchic, state in medieval Europe.
Between History and Myth will appeal not only to specialists in Scandinavian literature and history but also to anyone interested in memory and narrative.
In its early transition to democracy following Franco’s death in 1975, Spain rapidly embraced neoliberal practices and policies, some of which directly impacted cultural production. In a few short years, the country commercialized its art and literary markets, investing in “cultural tourism” as a tool for economic growth and urban renewal. The artist novel began to proliferate for the first time in a century, but these novels—about artists and art historians—have received little critical attention beyond the descriptive. In Between Market and Myth, Vater studies select authors—Julio Llamazares, Ángeles Caso, Clara Usón, Almudena Grandes, Nieves Herrero, Paloma Díaz-Mas, Lourdes Ortiz, and Enrique Vila-Matas—whose largely realist novels portray a clash between the myth of artistic freedom and artists’ willing recruitment or cooptation by market forces or political influence. Today, in an era of rising globalization, the artist novel proves ideal for examining authors' ambivalent notions of creative practice when political patronage and private sector investment complicate belief in artistic autonomy.
Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
Between the 1890s and the early 1920s, the boll weevil slowly ate its way across the Cotton South from Texas to the Atlantic Ocean. At the turn of the century, some Texas counties were reporting crop losses of over 70 percent, as were areas of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi. By the time the boll weevil reached the limits of the cotton belt, it had destroyed much of the region’s chief cash crop—tens of billions of pounds of cotton, worth nearly a trillion dollars.
As staggering as these numbers may seem, James C. Giesen demonstrates that it was the very idea of the boll weevil and the struggle over its meanings that most profoundly changed the South—as different groups, from policymakers to blues singers, projected onto this natural disaster the consequences they feared and the outcomes they sought. Giesen asks how the myth of the boll weevil’s lasting impact helped obscure the real problems of the region—those caused not by insects, but by landowning patterns, antiquated credit systems, white supremacist ideology, and declining soil fertility. Boll Weevil Blues brings together these cultural, environmental, and agricultural narratives in a novel and important way that allows us to reconsider the making of the modern American South.
German historians long assumed that the German Kingdom was created with Henry the Fowler's coronation in 919. The reigns of both Henry the Fowler, and his son Otto the Great, were studied and researched mainly through Widukind of Corvey's chronicle Res Gestae Saxonicae. There was one source on Ottonian times that was curiously absent from most of the serious research: Liudprand of Cremona's Antapodosis. The study of this chronicle leads to a reappraisal of the tenth century in Western Europe showing how mythology of the dynasty was constructed. By looking at the later reception (through later Middle Ages and then on 19th and 20th century historiography) the author showcases the longevity of Ottonian myths and the ideological expressions of the tenth century storytellers.
During the colonial period in Guyana, the country’s coastal lands were worked by enslaved Africans and indentured Indians. In Creole Indigeneity, Shona N. Jackson investigates how their descendants, collectively called Creoles, have remade themselves as Guyana’s new natives, displacing indigenous peoples in the Caribbean through an extension of colonial attitudes and policies.
Looking particularly at the nation’s politically fraught decades from the 1950s to the present, Jackson explores aboriginal and Creole identities in Guyanese society. Through government documents, interviews, and political speeches, she reveals how Creoles, though unable to usurp the place of aboriginals as First Peoples in the New World, nonetheless managed to introduce a new, more socially viable definition of belonging, through labor. The very reason for bringing enslaved and indentured workers into Caribbean labor became the organizing principle for Creoles’ new identities.
Creoles linked true belonging, and so political and material right, to having performed modern labor on the land; labor thus became the basis for their subaltern, settler modes of indigeneity—a contradiction for belonging under postcoloniality that Jackson terms “Creole indigeneity.” In doing so, her work establishes a new and productive way of understanding the relationship between national power and identity in colonial, postcolonial, and anticolonial contexts.
The Tomáraho, a subgroup of the Ishir (Chamacoco) of Paraguay, are one of the few remaining indigenous populations who have managed to keep both their language and spiritual beliefs intact. They have lived for many years in a remote region of the Gran Chaco, having limited contact with European or Latin American cultures. The survival of the Tomáraho has been tenuous at best; at the time of this writing there were only eighty-seven surviving members.
Ticio Escobar, who lived extensively among the Tomáraho, draws on his acquired knowledge of Ishir beliefs to confront them with his own Western ideology, and records a unique dialogue between cultures that counters traditional anthropological interpretation. The Curse of Nemur--which is part field diary, part art critique, and part cultural anthropology—offers us a view of the world from an entirely new perspective, that of the Ishir. We acquire deep insights into their powerful and enigmatic narrative myths, which find expression in the forms of body painting, feather decoration, dream songs, shamanism, and ritual.
Through dramatic photographs, native drawings, extensive examination of color and its importance in Ishir art, and Escobar’s lucid observation, The Curse of Nemur illuminates the seamless connection of religious practice and art in Ishir culture. It offers a glimpse of an aesthetic “other,” and in so doing, causes us to reexamine Western perspectives on the interpretation of art, belief, and Native American culture.
Curt Flood, former star center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, is a hero to many for selflessly sacrificing his career to challenge the legality of baseball’s reserve system. Although he lost his case before the Supreme Court, he has become for many a martyr in the eventually successful battle for free agency. Sportswriters and fans alike have helped to paint a picture of Flood as a larger-than-life figure, a portrait that, unhappily, cannot stand closer inspection. This book reveals the real Curt Flood—more man than myth.
Flood stirred up a hornet’s nest by refusing to be traded from the Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies after the 1969 season, arguing that Major League Baseball’s reserve system reduced him to the status of bondage. Flood decided to resist a system in which his contract could be traded without his consent and in which he was not at liberty to negotiate his services in an open market. Stuart Weiss examines the man behind the decision, exploring the span of Flood’s life and shedding light on his relationships with those who helped shape his determination to sue baseball and providing a new perspective on the lawsuit that found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Although a superb player, Flood was known to be temperamental and sensitive; in suing Major League Baseball he transformed his grievances against the Cardinals front office into an attack on how the business of big-league ball was conducted. Weiss shows that Flood was far from the stereotypical “dumb jock” but was rather a proud, multifaceted black man in a business run by white moguls. By illuminating Flood’s private side, rarely seen by the public, he reveals how Flood misled a gullible press on a regular basis and how his 1971 memoir, The Way It Is, didn’t tell it the way it really was.
Drawing on previously untapped sources, Weiss examines more fully and deeply than other writers the complexities of Flood’s decision to pursue his lawsuit—and demonstrates that the picture of Flood as a martyr for free agency is a myth. He suggests why, of all the players traded or sold through the years, it was Flood who brought this challenge. Weiss also explains how Flood’s battle against the reserve system cannot be understood in isolation from the personal experiences that precipitated it, such as his youth in a dysfunctional home, his troubled first marriage, his financial problems, and his unwavering commitment to the Cardinals.
The Curt Flood Story is a realistic account of an eloquent man who presented a warm, even vulnerable, face to the public as well as to friends, while hiding his inner furies. It shows that Flood was neither a hero nor a martyr but a victim of unique circumstances and his own life.
The first book-length rhetorical history and analysis of the insanity defense
The insanity defense is considered one of the most controversial, most misunderstood, and least straightforward subjects in the American legal system. Disorder in the Court: Morality, Myth, and the Insanity Defense traces the US legal standards for the insanity defense as they have evolved from 1843, when they were first codified in England, to 1984, when the US government attempted to revise them through the Insanity Defense Reform Act. Throughout this period “insanity” existed primarily as a legal term rather than a medical one; yet the testimony of psychiatric experts is required in cases in which an insanity defense is raised.
The adjudication of such cases by courtroom practice is caught between two different but overlapping discourses, the legal and the medical, both of which have historically sought to assert and maintain firm disciplinary boundaries. Both expert and lay audiences have struggled to understand and apply commonplace definitions of sanity, and the portrayal of the insanity defense in popular culture has only served to further frustrate such understandings.
Andrea L. Alden argues that the problems with understanding the insanity defense are, at their foundation, rhetorical. The legal concept of what constitutes insanity and, therefore, an abdication of responsibility for one’s actions does not map neatly onto the mental health professions’ understandings of mental illness and how that affects an individual’s ability to understand or control his or her actions. Additionally, there are multiple layers of persuasion involved in any effort to convince a judge, jury—or a public, for that matter—that a defendant is or is not responsible for his or her actions at a particular moment in time.
Alden examines landmark court cases such as the trial of Daniel McNaughtan, Durham v. United States, and the trial of John Hinckley Jr. that signal the major shifts in the legal definitions of the insanity defense. Combining archival, textual, and rhetorical analysis, Alden offers a close reading of texts including trial transcripts, appellate court opinions, and relevant medical literature from the time period. She contextualizes these analyses through popular texts—for example, newspaper articles and editorials—showing that while all societies have maintained some version of mental illness as a mitigating factor in their penal systems, the insanity defense has always been fraught with controversy.
Farm Prices was first published in 1958. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Few domestic questions are so controversial as the farm problem, yet the average city man finds it difficult to understand the basic issues involved. In this book Professor Cochrane describes for the layman the nature and causes of the commercial farm problem and the rural poverty problem and provides the basis for making informed judgments about these problems and their possible solutions. He analyzes the economic and political forces which are at work in the farm economy, explains the organization of modern agriculture, showing the unique structure of farming, and draws a vivid picture of the revolutionary developments which have taken place in agriculture. He discusses behavior patterns of farmers and consumers as they relate to the farm economy, and the role of government in the farm industry and in the lives of farmers.
Farm prices are constantly fluctuating, and out of this price variability emerge such serious and continuing farm problems as variable incomes, low incomes over extended periods, and uncertainty in production planning. In this study Professor Cochrane seeks to get at the root of the trouble by, first, exploring and exposing what he considers a basic fallacy in our present day thinking and approach to the farm problem. This is the widely held myth of an automatically adjusting agriculture, an agriculture that is always out of balance because of an "emergency." This myth, he points out, beclouds the issues involved in the whole farm problem.
The farm price myth splits two ways in the public mind, Mr. Cochrane explains, but these divergent attitudes represent differences only in mechanics, not in principle, and they are equally effective in obscuring the real picture. One segment of the public believes that agriculture, if left alone for a while, would gravitate toward and stabilize at some desirable level and pattern of prices, production, and incomes. The other segment believes that the same result would occur if agriculture were given a temporary, helping hand by the government. Mr. Cochrane shows the fallacies inherent in both of these convictions by presenting an integrated, overall picture of farm price behavior as it really exists. On a basis of this realistic view, he presents the two alternatives or hard policy choices that he believes the American farmer faces today.
Willard W. Cochrane is Professor Emeritus of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of a number of books, including The City Man's Guide to the Farm Problem and Farm Prices: Myth and Reality. He previously served as an economist with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is the co-author of Economics of American Agriculture and Economics of Consumption.
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.
Popular science readers embrace epics—the sweeping stories that claim to tell the history of all the universe, from the cosmological to the biological to the social. And the appeal is understandable: in writing these works, authors such as E. O. Wilson or Steven Weinberg deliberately seek to move beyond particular disciplines, to create a compelling story weaving together natural historical events, scientific endeavor, human discovery, and contemporary existential concerns.
In AFinal Story, Nasser Zakariya delves into the origins and ambitions of these scientific epics, from the nineteenth century to the present, to see what they reveal about the relationship between storytelling, integrated scientific knowledge, and historical method. While seeking to transcend the perspectives of their own eras, the authors of the epics and the debates surrounding them are embedded in political and social struggles of their own times, struggles to which the epics in turn respond. In attempts to narrate an approach to a final, true account, these synthesizing efforts shape and orient scientific developments old and new. By looking closely at the composition of science epics and the related genres developed along with them, we are able to view the historical narrative of science as a form of knowledge itself, one that discloses much about the development of our understanding of and relationship to science over time.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Building has become an icon of modern architecture. And the fact that it was demolished only forty-six years after its 1904 completion makes Jack Quinan’s study of the building—which housed a Buffalo, New York, soap company—all the more valuable.
Quinan’s history draws on engineering documents, personal accounts of the building, and other papers he acquired from the family of Darwin D. Martin, a Larkin executive who proposed commissioning Wright to design the company’s offices. With access to these rare sources, Quinan reveals how a young Wright landed the commission and traces the evolution of his cutting-edge plans. Quinan then takes Wright studies to a new level, examining the Larkin Building as a structure at the center of economic and personal relationships.
Illustrated with more than one hundred photographs, floor plans, maps, and diagrams, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Larkin Building provides a concise but complete record of how the building was conceived, built, evaluated, and finally demolished in what has been called a tragic loss for American architecture.
In this work the distinguished religious historian Georges Dumézil considers how the early mythology of a people can be creatively transposed into the epic of their origin or the "history" of their kings, or the source of their fiction. The Saga of Hadingus, written by a twelfth-century Danish "historian," Saxo-Grammaticus, provides an extraordinarily interesting instance of this kind of transposition. By comparing this work to a myth as it was handed down to Saxo, Professor Dumézil demonstrates how the saga can be seen as a literary structure derived from the religious structure of the myth.
As Professor Dumézil and others have shown, some Indo-European peoples, after their conversion to Christianity, have reordered an earlier mythology to constitute the epic of their origins. For instance, Celtic mythology became history in one case and a source of fiction in another; and from the two texts, Welsh and Irish, by comparison one can reconstruct the original myth.
The Scandinavian nations provide a unique case, for here the pre-Christian texts are still read and have preserved much of the area's mythology in its original form. In addition, we have the work of Saxo and other known writers who composed and signed human transpositions of this mythology purporting to be history. This permits Professor Dumézil to make observations of a rare kind, for knowing something of the author's personality facilitates an understanding of the process of transposition itself.
Professor Dumézil shows how Saxo began by wanting only to tell the story of Denmark and its rulers as nobly as he could—and then later on to extend that narrative back in time. This led him to the only extant Scandinavian literature—that centered on Iceland—that he reordered and reinterpreted to the greater glory of Denmark.
In order to provide a content for the reign of the third king of the Danish Skoldunger dynasty, Hadingus, Saxo simply reworked a Scandinavian account of the career of the god Njördr. In this light Professor Dumézil reads The Saga of Hadingus as a fascinating substitution of a psychological and completely personal narrative for a story of purely social value.
This book contains six appendixes including two that consider the relationship between myth and folklore. They complement Professor Dumézil's careful exegeses and imaginative scholarship to make this the most important, specialized work on Scandinavian mythology available in English.
Brakke writes a pioneering study of the way the demon role relates to religious thinking and to cultural anxieties. The author’s sources include biographies of exceptional monks, collections of monastic sayings and stories, letters from ascetic teachers to their disciples, sermons, community rules, and biblical commentaries. When monks imagined the resistance that they had to overcome in cultivating their selves or the temptation that offered an easier path, they saw supernatural beings that could take the shapes of animals, women, boys, and false angels in their attempts to seduce monks away from their devotion to God. And when they considered the inclinations in their own selves that opposed their best intentions, they concluded that demons introduced such problematic “thoughts” to their minds. Although the last twenty years has seen an explosion of scholarship on early Christian asceticism, producing brilliant explorations of the body, sexual renunciation, fasting, and gender, combat with demons has been left relatively unexplored.
The recent announcement that Google will digitize the holdings of several major libraries sent shock waves through the book industry and academe. Google presented this digital repository as a first step towards a long-dreamed-of universal library, but skeptics were quick to raise a number of concerns about the potential for copyright infringement and unanticipated effects on the business of research and publishing.
Jean-Noël Jeanneney, president of France’s Bibliothèque Nationale, here takes aim at what he sees as a far more troubling aspect of Google’s Library Project: its potential to misrepresent—and even damage—the world’s cultural heritage. In this impassioned work, Jeanneney argues that Google’s unsystematic digitization of books from a few partner libraries and its reliance on works written mostly in English constitute acts of selection that can only extend the dominance of American culture abroad. This danger is made evident by a Google book search the author discusses here—one run on Hugo, Cervantes, Dante, and Goethe that resulted in just one non-English edition, and a German translation of Hugo at that. An archive that can so easily slight the masters of European literature—and whose development is driven by commercial interests—cannot provide the foundation for a universal library.
As a leading librarian, Jeanneney remains enthusiastic about the archival potential of the Web. But he argues that the short-term thinking characterized by Google’s digital repository must be countered by long-term planning on the part of cultural and governmental institutions worldwide—a serious effort to create a truly comprehensive library, one based on the politics of inclusion and multiculturalism.
Harriet Tubman is one of America’s most beloved historical figures, revered alongside luminaries including Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Harriet Tubman: Myth, Memory, and History tells the fascinating story of Tubman’s life as an American icon. The distinguished historian Milton C. Sernett compares the larger-than-life symbolic Tubman with the actual “historical” Tubman. He does so not to diminish Tubman’s achievements but rather to explore the interplay of history and myth in our national consciousness. Analyzing how the Tubman icon has changed over time, Sernett shows that the various constructions of the “Black Moses” reveal as much about their creators as they do about Tubman herself.
Three biographies of Harriet Tubman were published within months of each other in 2003–04; they were the first book-length studies of the “Queen of the Underground Railroad” to appear in almost sixty years. Sernett examines the accuracy and reception of these three books as well as two earlier biographies first published in 1869 and 1943. He finds that the three recent studies come closer to capturing the “real” Tubman than did the earlier two. Arguing that the mythical Tubman is most clearly enshrined in stories told to and written for children, Sernett scrutinizes visual and textual representations of “Aunt Harriet” in children’s literature. He looks at how Tubman has been portrayed in film, painting, music, and theater; in her Maryland birthplace; in Auburn, New York, where she lived out her final years; and in the naming of schools, streets, and other public venues. He also investigates how the legendary Tubman was embraced and represented by different groups during her lifetime and at her death in 1913. Ultimately, Sernett contends that Harriet Tubman may be America’s most malleable and resilient icon.
In 2014, the first three volumes of Heidegger’s Black Notebooks—the personal and philosophical notebooks that he kept during the war years—were published in Germany. These notebooks provide the first textual evidence of anti-Semitism in Heidegger’s philosophy, not simply in passing remarks, but as incorporated into his philosophical and political thinking itself. In Heidegger and the Myth of a Jewish World Conspiracy, Peter Trawny, the editor of those notebooks, offers the first evaluation of Heidegger’s philosophical project in light of the Black Notebooks.
While Heidegger’s affiliation with National Socialism is well known, the anti-Semitic dimension of that engagement could not be fully told until now. Trawny traces Heidegger’s development of a grand “narrative” of the history of being, the “being-historical thinking” at the center of Heidegger’s work after Being and Time. Two of the protagonists of this narrative are well known to Heidegger’s readers: the Greeks and the Germans. The world-historical antagonist of this narrative, however, has remained hitherto undisclosed: the Jews, or, more specifically, “world Judaism.” As Trawny shows, world Judaism emerges as a racialized, destructive, and technological threat to the German homeland, indeed, to any homeland whatsoever. Trawny pinpoints recurrent, anti-Semitic themes in the Notebooks, including Heidegger’s adoption of crude cultural stereotypes, his assigning of racial reasons to philosophical decisions (even undermining his Jewish teacher, Edmund Husserl), his endorsement of a Jewish “world conspiracy,” and his first published remarks on the extermination camps and gas chambers (under the troubling aegis of a Jewish “self-annihilation”). Trawny concludes with a thoughtful meditation on how Heidegger’s achievements might still be valued despite these horrifying facets. Unflinching and systematic, this is one of the most important assessments of one of the most important philosophers in our history.
On museum visits, we pass by beautiful, well-preserved vases from ancient Greece—but how often do we understand what the images on them depict? In Image and Myth, Luca Giuliani tells the stories behind the pictures, exploring how artists of antiquity had to determine which motifs or historical and mythic events to use to tell an underlying story while also keeping in mind the tastes and expectations of paying clients.
Covering the range of Greek style and its growth between the early Archaic and Hellenistic periods, Giuliani describes the intellectual, social, and artistic contexts in which the images were created. He reveals that developments in Greek vase painting were driven as much by the times as they were by tradition—the better-known the story, the less leeway the artists had in interpreting it. As literary culture transformed from an oral tradition, in which stories were always in flux, to the stability of written texts, the images produced by artists eventually became nothing more than illustrations of canonical works. At once a work of cultural and art history, Image and Myth builds a new way of understanding the visual culture of ancient Greece.
The German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II left a lasting mark on Dutch memory and culture. This book is the first to explore depictions of that period in films made a generation later, between 1962 and 1986. As Dutch public opinion towards the war altered over the postwar decades, the historical trajectory of Dutch recovery and reconstruction-political, economic, and, most complicated of all, psychological-came to be revealed, often unconsciously, in the films of the period.
For African American men without a high school diploma, being in prison or jail is more common than being employed—a sobering reality that calls into question post-Civil Rights era social gains. Nearly 70 percent of young black men will be imprisoned at some point in their lives, and poor black men with low levels of education make up a disproportionate share of incarcerated Americans. In Invisible Men, sociologist Becky Pettit demonstrates another vexing fact of mass incarceration: most national surveys do not account for prison inmates, a fact that results in a misrepresentation of U.S. political, economic, and social conditions in general and black progress in particular. Invisible Men provides an eye-opening examination of how mass incarceration has concealed decades of racial inequality. Pettit marshals a wealth of evidence correlating the explosion in prison growth with the disappearance of millions of black men into the American penal system. She shows that, because prison inmates are not included in most survey data, statistics that seemed to indicate a narrowing black-white racial gap—on educational attainment, work force participation, and earnings—instead fail to capture persistent racial, economic, and social disadvantage among African Americans. Federal statistical agencies, including the U.S. Census Bureau, collect surprisingly little information about the incarcerated, and inmates are not included in household samples in national surveys. As a result, these men are invisible to most mainstream social institutions, lawmakers, and nearly all social science research that isn't directly related to crime or criminal justice. Since merely being counted poses such a challenge, inmates' lives—including their family background, the communities they come from, or what happens to them after incarceration—are even more rarely examined. And since correctional budgets provide primarily for housing and monitoring inmates, with little left over for job training or rehabilitation, a large population of young men are not only invisible to society while in prison but also ill-equipped to participate upon release. Invisible Men provides a vital reality check for social researchers, lawmakers, and anyone who cares about racial equality. The book shows that more than a half century after the first civil rights legislation, the dismal fact of mass incarceration inflicts widespread and enduring damage by undermining the fair allocation of public resources and political representation, by depriving the children of inmates of their parents' economic and emotional participation, and, ultimately, by concealing African American disadvantage from public view.
One of the unique voices in our century, James Merrill was known for his mastery of prosody; his ability to write books that were not just collected poems but unified works in which each individual poem contributed to the whole; and his astonishing evolution from the formalist lyric tradition that influenced his early work to the spiritual epics of his later career. Merrill's accomplishments were recognized with a Pulitzer Prize in 1977 for Divine Comedies and a National Book Critics Circle Award in 1983 for The Changing Light at Sandover.
In this meticulously researched, carefully argued work, Evans Lansing Smith argues that the nekyia, the circular Homeric narrative describing the descent into the underworld and reemergence in the same or similar place, confers shape and significance upon the entirety of James Merrill’s poetry. Smith illustrates how pervasive this myth is in Merrill’s work – not just in The Changing Light at Sandover, where it naturally serves as the central premise of the entire trilogy, but in all of the poet’s books, before and after that central text.
By focusing on the details of versification and prosody, Smith demonstrates the ingenious fusion of form and content that distinguishes Merrill as a poet. Moving beyond purely literary interpretations of the poetry, Smith illuminates the numerous allusions to music, art, theology, philosophy, religion, and mythology found throughout Merrill’s work.
Focusing on cases involving major military action, foreign aid authorization, and key controversial votes in both legislative branches, Hinckley shows that—appearances to the contrary—Congress more often than not votes with the President, and has done so for the last few decades. Despite occasional flurries of activity on carefully chosen symbolic issues, most foreign policy issues never even make the Congressional agenda. Those that do are often dispatched with demands for reports that are left unread or with tough restrictions having built-in "escape provisions." Both branches, Hinckley argues, encourage this image of conflict and profit from the symbolic political capital it produces. This process comes to light in her analysis of aid to Nicaragua.
What Hinckley reveals is sharply at odds with conventional wisdom and unflattering to both the executive and the legislative branches of government. More than a critical reassessment, this book also proposes reforms than might result in real congressional participation in the making of foreign policy. With its insight into how our system of checks and balances works—and doesn't—this book takes a first step toward making the peoples' representatives accountable for crucial American interests in foreign matters.
Light as a feather, stiff as a board, light as a feather, stiff as board: anyone who has ever been to a slumber party can probably still conjure these words from deep within their psyche. Sure, anyone can fly these days so long as they have a credit card and government-issued ID, but what does it take to perform that more fundamental magic, to levitate? In this fascinating book, Peter Adey hovers over the peculiar stories of those who have dreamed of, believed in, or—can you believe your eyes—practiced levitation, offering a wide-ranging history of a unique phenomenon that can be found in countless cultures.
As Adey argues, levitation is best thought of as a pre- or parallel pursuit to that of aviation—but one that doesn’t cheat by employing aeronautical machinery. As he shows, many people have been certain that it is absolutely possible to float unaided. Early modern scientists believed in the force of levity as an opposite to that of gravity. Many traditional societies have deep-rooted shamanic traditions of spirit and dream flight. And many ancient religions have age-old accounts of ascetic saints hovering in sublime ecstasy. In more recent times, magicians and mesmerists have wowed audiences by seeming to float by the powers of thought alone. Science-fiction writers and urban planners alike have countless designs of floating cities hovering high above the earth, and even artists have experimented with levitation to find new forms of expression—one need just think of Yves Klein’s “Leap into the Void.”
Touching upon these and many other examples, Adey demonstrates how significant this magical act has been in our cultural, scientific, and spiritual lives. From poetry to philosophy to technology to even law, he lifts up levitation as a fascinating wonder in our shared imaginations.
Since the dawn of Romanticism, artists and intellectuals in Germany have maintained an abiding interest in the gods and myths of antiquity while calling for a new mythology suitable to the modern age. In this study, George S. Williamson examines the factors that gave rise to this distinct and profound longing for myth. In doing so, he demonstrates the entanglement of aesthetic and philosophical ambitions in Germany with some of the major religious conflicts of the nineteenth century.
Through readings of key intellectuals ranging from Herder and Schelling to Wagner and Nietzsche, Williamson highlights three crucial factors in the emergence of the German engagement with myth: the tradition of Philhellenist neohumanism, a critique of contemporary aesthetic and public life as dominated by private interests, and a rejection of the Bible by many Protestant scholars as the product of a foreign, "Oriental" culture. According to Williamson, the discourse on myth in Germany remained bound up with problems of Protestant theology and confessional conflict through the nineteenth century and beyond.
A compelling adventure in intellectual history, this study uncovers the foundations of Germany's fascination with myth and its enduring cultural legacy.
From the late Middle Ages to The Marriage of Figaro to Mel Gibson's Braveheart, the ultimate symbol of feudal barbarism has been the droit de cuissage, or right of a feudal lord to sleep with the bride of a vassal on her wedding night. The droit de cuissage even resurfaced in the debate over the French Penal Code of 1992 as a synonym for sexual harassment.
But, as Alain Boureau elegantly demonstrates in this book, the droit de cuissage is a myth. Under contextual examination, nearly all the supposed evidence for this custom melts away—yet belief in it has survived for seven hundred years. Boureau shows how each era turned the mythical custom to its own ends. For instance, in the late Middle Ages, monarchists raised the specter of the droit de cuissage to rally public opinion against local lords, and partisans of the French Revolution pointed to it as proof of the corruption of the Ancien Régime.
A fascinating case study of the folklore of sexuality, The Lord's First Night also offers evocative insights into popular (mis)conceptions of the Middle Ages.
On the French edition: "A richly informative study of attitudes to the past and the manipulation of history down the ages."—Peter Linehan, Times Literary Supplement
In this major new work, J. N. Hillgarth investigates how Spain was seen by non-Spaniards in the period when it was the leading power in Europe. The author brings together a wide range of sources that elucidate Spanish history and Spanish character. He demonstrates the ways that propaganda has distorted both these things in the past and even continues to do so in the present.
In the first of the volume's four parts, the author discusses the reasons--geographic, political, and religious--why Spain has proved a hard country to understand. Hillgarth looks at travelers to Spain, from pilgrims to diplomats, spies, exiles, and foreign residents. In its second part, special attention is devoted to the interaction between Christians, Jews, and Muslims, including Jewish and Muslim exiles and secret Jews within Spain.
In its third section, The Mirror of Spain explores reactions to Spain by those who saw it from the outside, the Italians, Dutch, French, and English. One chapter deals with the English, Scottish, and Irish Catholics, who, like the Jewish and Muslim exiles, played a double role in that they were at once "insiders" and outsiders. Finally, Hillgarth attempts to show how two crucial centuries have affected the way Spain has been seen down to the present.
The Mirror of Spain draws on a wide range of sources in different languages. It relies on documents in the Public Record Office and the British Library, the Archivo General de Simancas and the collections of the colleges founded by exiles in Spain, and on major libraries in Venice and Jerusalem. The volume will be of interest to a broad spectrum of scholars--to medievalists, historians of Spain, scholars of political and literary thought, and all those interested in notions of national identity.
J. N. Hillgarth has taught for many years at the University of Toronto and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and has received awards and honors from a wide variety of distinguished institutions in Europe and North America.
Brian Frost chronicles the history of the vampire in myth and literature, providing a sumptuous repast for all devotees of the bizarre. In a wide-ranging survey, including plot summaries of hundreds of novels and short stories, the reader meets an amazing assortment of vampires from the pages of weird fiction, ranging from the 10,000-year-old femme fatale in Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Conqueror to the malevolent fetus in Eddy C. Bertin’s “Something Small, Something Hungry.” Nostalgia buffs will enjoy a discussion of the vampire yarns in the pulp magazines of the interwar years, while fans of contemporary vampire fiction will also be sated.
Myth and Archive presents a new theory of the origin and evolution of Latin American literature and the emergence of the modern novel. In this influential, award-winning exploration of Latin American writing from colonial times to the present, Roberto González Echevarría dispenses with traditional literary history to reveal the indebted relationship of the novel to legal, scientific, and anthropological discourses. Providing ways to link literary and nonliterary narratives, González Echevarría examines a variety of archival writings—from the chronicles of the discovery and conquest of the New World to scientific travel narratives and records of criminal confessions—and explores the relationship of these writings to novels by authors such as García Márquez, Borges, Barnet, Sarmiento, Carpentier, and Garcilaso de la Vega. Moving beyond demonstrating that early forms of creative narrative had their geneses in the sixteenth-century authoritative discourse of the Spanish Empire, González Echevarría shows how this same originating process has been repeated in other key moments in the history of the Latin American narrative. He shows how the discourse of scientific discovery was the model for much nineteenth-century literature, as well as how anthropological writings on the nature of language and myth have come to shape the ideology and form of literature in the twentieth century. This most recent form of Latin American narrative creates its own mythic form through an atavistic return to its legal origins—the archive. This acclaimed book—originally published in 1990—will be of continuing interest to historians, anthropologists, literary theorists, and students of Latin American culture.
The first in-depth analysis of some of the most important epic poems of the Spanish Golden Age, Myth and Identity in the Epic of Imperial Spain breathes new life into five of these long- neglected texts. Elizabeth Davis demonstrates that the epic must not be overlooked, for doing so creates a significant gap in one's ability to appraise not only the cultural practice of the imperial age, but also the purest expression of its ideology.
Davis's study focuses on heroic poetry written from 1569 to 1611, including Alonso de Ercilla's La Araucana, undeniably the most significant epic poem of its time. Also included are Diego de Hojeda's La Christiada, Juan Rufo's La Austriada,. Lope de Vega's Jerusalén Conquistada, and Cristóbal de Virués's Historia del Monserrate.
Examining these epics as the major site for the construction of cultural identities and Renaissance nationalist myths, Davis analyzes the means by which the epic constructs a Spanish sense of self. Because this sense of identity is not easily susceptible to direct representation, it is often derived in opposition to an "other," which serves to reaffirm Spanish cultural superiority. The Spanish Christian caballeros are almost always pitted against Amerindians, Muslims, Jews, or other adversaries portrayed as backward or heathen for their cultural and ethnic differences.
The pro-Castilian elite of sixteenth-century Spain faced the daunting task of constructing unity at home in the process of expansion and conquest abroad, yet ethnic and regional differences in the Iberian Peninsula made the creation of an imperial identity particularly difficult. The epic, as Davis shows, strains to convey the overriding image of a Spain that appears more unified than the Spanish empire ever truly was.
An important reexamination of the Golden Age canon, Myth and Identity in the Epic of Imperial Spain brings a new twist to the study of canon formation. While Davis does not ignore more traditional approaches to the literary text, she does apply recent theories, such as deconstruction and feminist criticism, to these poems, resulting in an innovative examination of the material.
Confronting such issues as canonicity, gender, the relationship between literature and Golden Age culture, and that between art and power, this publication offers scholars a new perspective for assessing Golden Age and Transatlantic studies.
An interdisciplinary collection for scholars and students interested in the connections between myth and scripture
In this collection scholars suggest that using “myth” creates a framework within which to set biblical writings in both cultural and literary comparative contexts. Reading biblical accounts alongside the religious narratives of other ancient civilizations reveals what is commonplace and shared among them. The fruit of such work widens and enriches our understanding of the nature and character of biblical texts, and the results provide fresh evidence for how biblical writings became “scripture.”
Essays that explore how myth sheds light on the emergence of scripture
Examples drawn from the Ancient Near East, Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Greco-Roman world
Using material remains, as well as the evidence of contemporary Greek history, rhetoric, and poetry, David Castriota interprets the Athenian monuments as vehicles of an official ideology intended to celebrate and justify the present in terms of the past.
Castriota focuses on the strategy of ethical antithesis that asserted Greek moral superiority over the “barbaric” Persians, whose invasion had been repelled a generation earlier. He examines how, in major public programs of painting and sculpture, the leading artists of the period recast the Persians in the guise of wild and impious mythic antagonists to associate them with the ethical flaws or weaknesses commonly ascribed to women, animals, and foreigners. The Athenians, in contrast, were compared to mythic protagonists representing the excellence and triumph of Hellenic culture.
Castriota’s study is innovative in emphasizing the ethical implication of mythic precedents, which required substantial alterations to render them more effective as archetypes for the defense of Greek culture against a foreign, morally inferior enemy. The book looks in new ways at how the patrons and planners sought to manipulate viewer response through the selective presentation or repackaging of mythic traditions.
Achievement tests play an important role in modern societies. They are used to evaluate schools, to assign students to tracks within schools, and to identify weaknesses in student knowledge. The GED is an achievement test used to grant the status of high school graduate to anyone who passes it. GED recipients currently account for 12 percent of all high school credentials issued each year in the United States. But do achievement tests predict success in life?
The Myth of Achievement Tests shows that achievement tests like the GED fail to measure important life skills. James J. Heckman, John Eric Humphries, Tim Kautz, and a group of scholars offer an in-depth exploration of how the GED came to be used throughout the United States and why our reliance on it is dangerous. Drawing on decades of research, the authors show that, while GED recipients score as well on achievement tests as high school graduates who do not enroll in college, high school graduates vastly outperform GED recipients in terms of their earnings, employment opportunities, educational attainment, and health. The authors show that the differences in success between GED recipients and high school graduates are driven by character skills. Achievement tests like the GED do not adequately capture character skills like conscientiousness, perseverance, sociability, and curiosity. These skills are important in predicting a variety of life outcomes. They can be measured, and they can be taught.
Using the GED as a case study, the authors explore what achievement tests miss and show the dangers of an educational system based on them. They call for a return to an emphasis on character in our schools, our systems of accountability, and our national dialogue.
Eric Grodsky, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Andrew Halpern-Manners, Indiana University Bloomington
Paul A. LaFontaine, Federal Communications Commission
Janice H. Laurence, Temple University
Lois M. Quinn, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Pedro L. Rodríguez, Institute of Advanced Studies in Administration
John Robert Warren, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
In this work, acclaimed Jungian James Hillman examines the concepts of myth, insights, eros, body, and the mytheme of female inferiority, as well as the need for the freedom to imagine and to feel psychic reality. By examining these ideas, and the role they have played both in and outside of the therapeutic setting, Hillman mounts a compelling argument that, rather than locking them away in some inner asylum or subjecting them to daily self-treatment, man's "peculiarities" can become an integral part of a rich and fulfilling daily life.
Originally published by Northwestern University Press in 1972, this work had a profound impact on a nation emerging self-aware from the 1960s, as well as on the era's burgeoning feminist movement. It remains a profound critique of therapy and the psychological viewpoint, and it is one of Hillman's most important and enduring works.
The transformation of the myth of Apollo and Daphne in literary treatments from Ovid through the Spanish Golden Age are studied in theme and variation, showing how the protean figures of the myth meant different things to different ages, each age fashioning the lovers in its own image. The Myth of Apollo and Daphne focuses on the themes of love, agon, and the grotesque and their transformations as the writers, through a kind of artificial mythopoeia, invent variants for the tale, altering the ancient model to create their new, distinctive visions.
The idea that the three branches of U.S. government are equal in power is taught in classrooms, proclaimed by politicians, and referenced in the media. But, as David Siemers shows, that idea is a myth, neither intended by the Founders nor true in practice. Siemers explains how adherence to this myth normalizes a politics of gridlock, in which the action of any branch can be checked by the reaction of any other. The Founders, however, envisioned a separation of functions rather than a separation of powers. Siemers argues that this view needs to replace our current view, so that the goals set out in the Constitution’s Preamble may be better achieved.
This book refutes one of the cornerstone beliefs of economics and political science: that economic markets are more efficient than the processes and institutions of democratic government.
Wittman first considers the characteristic of efficient markets—informed, rational participants competing for well-defined and easily transferred property rights—and explains how they operate in democratic politics. He then analyzes how specific political institutions are organized to operate efficiently. "Markets" such as the the Congress in the United States, bureaucracies, and pressure groups, he demonstrates, contribute to efficient political outcomes. He also provides a theory of institutional design to explain how these political "markets" arise. Finally, Wittman addresses the methodological shortcomings of analyses of political market failure, and offers his own suggestions for a more effective research strategy.
Ultimately, he demonstrates that nearly all of the arguments claiming that economic markets are efficient apply equally well to democratic political markets; and, conversely, that economic models of political failure are not more valid than the analogous arguments for economic market failure.
A great many theorists have argued that the defining feature of modernity is that people no longer believe in spirits, myths, or magic. Jason Ā. Josephson-Storm argues that as broad cultural history goes, this narrative is wrong, as attempts to suppress magic have failed more often than they have succeeded. Even the human sciences have been more enchanted than is commonly supposed. But that raises the question: How did a magical, spiritualist, mesmerized Europe ever convince itself that it was disenchanted?
Josephson-Storm traces the history of the myth of disenchantment in the births of philosophy, anthropology, sociology, folklore, psychoanalysis, and religious studies. Ironically, the myth of mythless modernity formed at the very time that Britain, France, and Germany were in the midst of occult and spiritualist revivals. Indeed, Josephson-Storm argues, these disciplines’ founding figures were not only aware of, but profoundly enmeshed in, the occult milieu; and it was specifically in response to this burgeoning culture of spirits and magic that they produced notions of a disenchanted world.
By providing a novel history of the human sciences and their connection to esotericism, The Myth of Disenchantment dispatches with most widely held accounts of modernity and its break from the premodern past.
From the moment the first English-speaking explorers and settlers arrived on the North American continent, many have described its various locations and environments as empty. Indeed, much of American national history and culture is bound up with the idea that parts of the landscape are empty and thus open for colonization, settlement, economic improvement, claim staking, taming, civilizing, cultivating, and the exploitation of resources. In turn, most Euro-American nonfiction written about the landscape has treated it either as an object to be acted upon by the author or an empty space, unspoiled by human contamination, to which the solitary individual goes to be refreshed and rejuvenated.
In The Myth of Emptiness and the New American Literature of Place, Wendy Harding identifies an important recent development in the literature of place that corrects the misperceptions resulting from these tropes. Works by Rick Bass, Charles Bowden, Ellen Meloy, Jonathan Raban, Rebecca Solnit, and Robert Sullivan move away from the tradition of nature writing, with its emphasis on the solitary individual communing with nature in uninhabited places, to recognize the interactions of human and other-than-human presences in the land. In different ways, all six writers reveal a more historically complex relationship between Americans and their environments. In this new literature of place, writers revisit abandoned, threatened, or damaged sites that were once represented as devoid of human presence and dig deeper to reveal that they are in fact full of the signs of human activity. These writers are interested in the role of social, political, and cultural relationships and the traces they leave on the landscape.
Throughout her exploration, Harding adopts a transdisciplinary perspective that draws on the theories of geographers, historians, sociologists, and philosophers to understand the reasons for the enduring perception of emptiness in the American landscape and how this new literature of place works with and against these ideas. She reminds us that by understanding and integrating human impacts into accounts of the landscape, we are better equipped to fully reckon with the natural and cultural crisis that engulfs all landscapes today.
The Myth of Ephraim Tutt explores the true and previously untold story behind one of the most elaborate literary hoaxes in American history.
Arthur Train was a Harvard-educated and well-respected attorney. He was also a best-selling author. Train’s greatest literary creation was the character Ephraim Tutt, a public-spirited attorney and champion of justice.Guided by compassion and a strong moral compass, Ephraim Tutt commanded a loyal following among general readers and lawyers alike—in fact, Tutt’s fictitious cases were so well-known that attorneys, judges, and law faculty cited them in courtrooms and legal texts. People read Tutt’s legal adventures for more than twenty years, all the while believing their beloved protagonist was merely a character and that Train’s stories were works of fiction.
But in 1943 a most unusual event occurred: Ephraim Tutt published his own autobiography. The possibility of Tutt’s existence as an actual human being became a source of confusion, spurring heated debates. One outraged reader sued for fraud, and the legendary lawyer John W. Davis rallied to Train’s defense. While the public questioned whether the autobiography was a hoax or genuine, many book reviewers and editors presented the book as a work of nonfiction.
In The Myth of Ephraim Tutt Molly Guptill Manning explores the controversy and the impact of the Ephraim Tutt autobiography on American culture. She also considers Tutt’s ruse in light of other noted incidents of literary hoaxes, such as those ensuing from the publication of works by Clifford Irving, James Frey, and David Rorvik, among others.
As with other outstanding fictitious characters in the literary canon, Ephraim Tutt took on a life of his own. Out of affection for his favorite creation, Arthur Train spent the final years of his life crafting an autobiography that would ensure Tutt’s lasting influence—and he was spectacularly successful in this endeavor. Tutt, as the many letters written to him attest, gave comfort to his readers as they faced the challenging years of the Great Depression and World War II and renewed their faith in humanity and justice. Although Tutt’s autobiography bewildered some of his readers, the great majority were glad to have read the “life” story of this cherished character.
The Myth of Human Races
Alain F. Corcos Michigan State University Press, 1997 Library of Congress GN269.C69 1997 | Dewey Decimal 305.8
The idea that human races exist is a socially constructed myth that has no grounding in science. Regardless of skin, hair, or eye color, stature or physiognomy, we are all of one species. Nonetheless, scientists, social scientists, and pseudo-scientists have, for three centuries, tried vainly to prove that distinctive and separate "races" of humanity exist. These protagonists of race theory have based their flawed research on one or more of five specious assumptions: - humanity can be classified into groups using identifiable physical characteristics, - human characteristics are transmitted "through the blood," - distinct human physical characteristics are inherited together, - physical features can be linked to human behavior, - human groups or "races" are by their very nature unequal and, therefore, they can be ranked in order of intellectual, moral, and cultural superiority. The Myth of Human Races systematically dispels these fallacies and unravels the web of flawed research that has been woven to demonstrate the superiority of one group of people over another.
The Myth of Liberalism
John P. Safranek Catholic University of America Press, 2015 Library of Congress JC574.S24 2015 | Dewey Decimal 320.51
Individual freedom looms large in political and ethical thought. Nevertheless, the theoretical foundations underlying modern liberalism continue to be contested by proponents and opponents alike. The Myth of Liberalism offers a unique contribution to this debate by following through on the often-underdeveloped suggestion that liberal principles are untenable because they are self-contradictory. By analyzing and ultimately refuting each of the proposed underpinnings of liberalism - liberty, equality, rights, privacy, autonomy, or dignity - Safranek concludes that contemporary liberalism is a myth: it is not a coherent political philosophy as much as a collection of causes masked by emotively potent political rhetoric.
This study aims to supply the first contextually precise account of the male gender anxieties and ambivalences haunting the culture of Irish nationalism in the period between the Act of Union and the founding of the Irish Free State. To this end, Joseph Valente focuses upon the Victorian ethos of manliness or manhood, the specific moral and political logic of which proved crucial to both the translation of British rule into British hegemony and the expression of Irish rebellion as Irish psychomachia. The influential operation of this ideological construct is traced through a wide variety of contexts, including the career of Ireland's dominant Parliamentary leader, Charles Stewart Parnell; the institutions of Irish Revivalism--cultural, educational, journalistic, and literary; the writings of both canonical authors (Yeats, Synge, Gregory, and Joyce) and subcanonical authors (James Stephens, Patrick Pearse, Lennox Robinson); and major political movements of the time, including suffragism, Sinn Fein, Na Fianna E Éireann, and the Volunteers.
The construct of manliness remains very much alive today, underpinning the neo-imperialist marriage of ruthless aggression and the sanctities of duty, honor, and sacrifice. Mapping its earlier colonial and postcolonial formations can help us to understand its continuing geopolitical appeal and danger.
The classics of Western culture are out, not being taught, replaced by second-rate and Third World texts. White males are a victimized minority on campuses across the country, thanks to affirmative action. Speech codes have silenced anyone who won’t toe the liberal line. Feminists, wielding their brand of sexual correctness, have taken over. These are among the prevalent myths about higher education that John K. Wilson explodes. The phrase "political correctness" is on everyone’s lips, on radio and television, and in newspapers and magazines. The phenomenon itself, however, has been deceptively described. Wilson steps into the nation’s favorite cultural fray to reveal that many of the most widely publicized anecdotes about PC are in fact more myth than reality. Based on his own experience as a student and in-depth research, he shows what’s really going on beneath the hysteria and alarmism about political correctness and finds that the most disturbing examples of thought policing on campus have come from the right. The image of the college campus as a gulag of left-wing totalitarianism is false, argues Wilson, created largely through the exaggeration of deceptive stories by conservatives who hypocritically seek to silence their political opponents. Many of today’s most controversial topics are here: multiculturalism, reverse discrimination, speech codes, date rape, and sexual harassment. So are the well-recognized protagonists in the debate: Dinesh D’Souza, William Bennett, and Lynne Cheney, among others. In lively fashion and in meticulous detail, Wilson compares fact to fiction and lays one myth after another to rest, revealing the double standard that allows "conservative correctness" on college campuses to go unchallenged.
The Myth of Pope Joan
Alain Boureau University of Chicago Press, 2001 Library of Congress BX958.F2B6813 2001 | Dewey Decimal 262.13
In the ninth century, a brilliant young woman named Joan disguised herself as a man so that she could follow her lover into the then-exclusively male world of scholarship. She proved so successful that she ascended the Catholic hierarchy in Rome and was eventually elected pope. Her pontificate lasted two years, until she became pregnant and died after giving birth during a public procession from the Vatican.
Or so the legend goes—a legend that was fabricated sometime in the thirteenth century, according to Alain Boureau, and which has persisted in one form or another down to the present day. In this fascinating saga of belief and rhetoric, politics and religion, Boureau investigates the historical and ecclesiastical circumstances under which the myth of Pope Joan was constructed and the different uses to which it was put over the centuries. He shows, for instance, how Catholic clerics justified the exclusion of women from the papacy and the priesthood by employing the myth in misogynist moral tales, only to find the popess they had created turned against them in anti-Catholic propaganda during the Reformation.
In this compelling and cogently argued book, Tom Wessels demonstrates how our current path toward progress, based on continual economic expansion and inefficient use of resources, runs absolutely contrary to three foundational scientific laws that govern all complex natural systems. It is a myth, he contends, that progress depends on a growing economy. Wessels explains his theory with his three laws of sustainability: (1) the law of limits to growth, (2) the second law of thermodynamics, which exposes the dangers of increased energy consumption, and (3) the law of self-organization, which results in the marvelous diversity of such highly evolved systems as the human body and complex ecosystems. These laws, scientifically proven to sustain life in its myriad forms, have been cast aside since the eighteenth century, first by Western economists, political pragmatists, and governments attracted by the idea of unlimited growth, and more recently by a global economy dominated by large corporations, in which consolidation and oversimplification create large-scale inefficiencies in both material and energy usage. Wessels makes scientific theory readily accessible by offering examples of how the laws of sustainability function in the complex systems we can observe in the natural world around us. He shows how systems such as forests can be templates for developing sustainable economic practices that will allow true progress. Demonstrating that all environmental problems have their source in a disregard for the laws of sustainability that is based on the myth of progress, he concludes with an impassioned argument for cultural change.
The Myth of Quetzalcoatl is a translation of Alfredo López Austin’s 1973 book Hombre-Dios: Religión y politica en el mundo náhuatl. Despite its pervasive and lasting influence on the study of Mesoamerican history, religion in general, and the Quetzalcoatl myth in particular, this work has not been available in English until now.
The importance of Hombre-Dios and its status as a classic arise from its interdisciplinary approach, creative use of a wide range of source material, and unsurpassed treatment of its subject—the nature and content of religious beliefs and rituals among the native populations of Mesoamerica and the manner in which they fused with and helped sanctify political authority and rulership in both the pre- and post-conquest periods. Working from a wide variety of previously neglected documentary sources, incorporating myth, archaeology, and the ethnography of contemporary Native Americans including non-Nahua peoples, López Austin traces the figure of Quetzalcoatl as a “Man-God” from pre-conquest times, while Russ Davidson’s translator’s note, Davíd Carrasco's foreword, and López Austin’s introduction place the work within the context of modern scholarship.
López Austin’s original work on Quetzalcoatl is a pivotal work in the field of anthropology, and this long-overdue English translation will be of significance to historians, anthropologists, linguists, and serious readers interested in Mesoamerica.
The Myth of Race
Robert Wald Sussman Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress HT1521.S83 2014 | Dewey Decimal 305.8
Although eugenics is now widely discredited, some groups and individuals claim a new scientific basis for old racist assumptions. Pondering the continuing influence of racist research and thought, despite all evidence to the contrary, Robert Sussman explains why—when it comes to race—too many people still mistake bigotry for science.
Why do we make every schoolchild and college student take science? Does every American really need to be scientifically literate? In this provocative book, Morris Shamos, a physicist and science educator of very broad experience, argues that universal scientific literacy is a futile goal, and urges a critical review of the purpose of general education in science. Shamos argues that a meaningful scientific literacy cannot be achieved in the first place, and the attempt is a misuse of human resources on a grand scale. He is skeptical about forecasts of Òcritical shortfalls in scientific manpowerÓ and about the motives behind crash programs to get more young people into the science pipeline. Finally, he is convinced that, as presently taught, the vast majority of students come out of science classes with neither an intellectual grasp nor a pragmatic appreciation of science.
Shamos advocates instead a practical science education curriculum that grants the impossibility of every American learning enough science to make independent judgments about major scientific issues. Rather than giving children the heavy diet of scientific terms and facts they now get, he would emphasize: an appreciation of science as an ongoing cultural enterprise; an awareness of technologyÕs impact on one's personal health, safety, and surroundings; and the need to use experts wisely in resolving science/society issues.
Whether you loved or hated your science classes, you will find Morris ShamosÕs arguments about the future of science education required reading. Teachers, parents, scientists, science educators, school administrators, legislators, and science and human resources policy analysts will be especially interested in this book.
Who, exactly, were the French bourgeoisie? Unlike the Anglo-Americans, who widely embraced middle-class ideals and values, the French--even the most affluent and conservative--have always rejected and maligned bourgeois values and identity.In this new approach to the old question of the bourgeoisie, Sarah Maza focuses on the crucial period before, during, and after the French Revolution, and offers a provocative answer: the French bourgeoisie has never existed.
Throughout the history of the United States, the nation’s presidents have shown a startling power to act independently of Congress and the courts. Using such tools as executive orders and memoranda, presidents have taken the country to war, abolished slavery, authorized widespread electronic surveillance, shielded undocumented immigrants from deportation, and more. As a result, executive authority has at times been accused of verging on the imperial. In this book, Dino P. Christenson and Douglas L. Kriner consider an oft-overlooked question: Given the strength of unilateral executive action and the steep barriers for Congress and the courts to successfully check it, what stops presidents from asserting control even more broadly than they already do? The answer, Christenson and Kriner argue, lies in the reactions of everyday Americans.
With robust empirical data and compelling case studies, the authors reveal the extent to which domestic public opinion limits executive might. Presidents are emboldened to pursue their own agendas when they enjoy high levels of public support, and constrained when they are down in the polls, as unilateral action could jeopardize future initiatives and render presidents even more politically vulnerable. Although they find little evidence that the public instinctively recoils against the use of unilateral action, Congress and the courts can sway the public’s view via their criticism of unilateral policies. Thus, other branches can still check the executive branch through political means. On the whole, as long as presidents are concerned with public opinion, Christenson and Kriner contend that fears of an imperial presidency are overblown. However, a president who responds only to the narrow base and ignores the mass public could pose a unique threat to checks and balances.
Why do Americans seem to sue at the slightest provocation? The answer may surprise you: we don’t! For every “Whiplash Charlie” who sees a car accident as a chance to make millions, for every McDonald’s customer to pursue a claim over a too-hot cup of coffee, many more Americans suffer injuries but make no claims against those responsible or their insurance companies. The question is not why Americans sue but why we don’t sue more often, and the answer can be found in how we think about injury and personal responsibility.
With this book, David M. Engel demolishes the myth that America is a litigious society. The sobering reality is that the vast majority of injury victims—more than nine out of ten—rely on their own resources, family and friends, and government programs to cover their losses. When real people experience serious injuries, they don’t respond as rational actors. Trauma and pain disrupt their thoughts, and potential claims are discouraged by negative stereotypes that pervade American television and popular culture. (Think Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad, who keeps a box of neck braces in his office to help clients exaggerate their injuries.) Cultural norms make preventable injuries appear inevitable—or the victim’s fault. We’re taught to accept setbacks stoically and not blame someone else. But this tendency to “lump it” doesn’t just hurt the victims; it hurts us all. As politicians continue to push reforms that miss the real problem, we risk losing these claims as a way to quickly identify unsafe products and practices. Because injuries disproportionately fall on people with fewer resources, the existing framework creates a social underclass whose needs must be met by government programs all citizens shoulder while shielding those who cause the harm.
It’s time for America to have a more responsible, blame-free discussion about injuries and the law. With The Myth of the Litigious Society, Engel takes readers clearly and powerfully through what we really know about injury victims and concludes with recommendations for how we might improve the situation.
The Myth of Water is a cycle of thirty-four poems by award-winning Alabama poet and writer Jeanie Thompson in the voice of world-renowned Alabamian Helen Keller. In their sweep, the poems trace Keller’s metamorphosis from a native of a bucolic Alabama town to her emergence as a beloved, international figure who championed the rights of the deaf-blind worldwide.
Thompson’s artfully concatenated vignettes form a mosaic that maps the insightful mind behind the elegant and enigmatic persona Keller projected. Thompson takes readers on the journey of Keller’s life, from some of the thirty-seven countries she visited, including the British Isles, Europe, and Japan to the wellsprings of her emotional awakening and insight. The poems are paired with fascinating biographical anecdotes from Keller’s life and samplings from her writing, which infuse the work with richly-rewarding biographical detail.
The poems in The Myth of Water reveal the discerning subtlety, resiliency, and complexity of the person Thompson perceives Helen Keller to have been. Through a combination of natural intuition, manual signs, Braille alphabets, and lip reading, Keller came to grasp the revolving tapestry of the seasons and the infinite colors of human relationships.
Not a biography or a fictional retelling, The Myth of Water attempts to unlock what moved Keller to her life of service and self-examination. This is a deeply personal story of coming through—not overcoming—a double disability to a fully realized life in which a woman gives her heart to the world.
This new edition of William Doty's critically acclaimed study provides a comprehensive guidebook to the many schools of interpretation in this burgeoning field.
William Doty's popular text has been hailed as the most comprehensive work of its kind. Extensively rewritten and completely restructured, the new edition provides further depth and perspective and is even more accessible to students of myth. It includes expanded coverage of postmodern and poststructuralist perspectives, the Gernet Center, mythic iconography, neo-Jungian approaches, and cultural studies, and it summarizes what is new in the study of Greek myth, iconography, French classical scholarship, and ritual studies. It also features a comprehensive index of names and topics, a glossary, an up-to-date annotated bibliography, and a guide to myth on the Internet.
Presenting all major myth theorists from antiquity to the present, Mythography is an encyclopedic work that offers a cross-disciplinary approach to the study of myth. By reflecting the dramatic increase in interest in myth among both scholars and general readers since publication of the first edition, it remains a key study of modern approaches to myth and an essential guide to the wealth of mythographic research available today.
William G. Doty is Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at The University of Alabama and editor of Mythosphere: A Journal for Image, Myth, and Symbol.
Six myths lie at the heart of the American experience. Taken as aspirational, four of those myths remind us of our noblest ideals, challenging us to realize our nation's promise while galvanizing the sense of hope and unity we need to reach our goals. Misused, these myths allow for illusions of innocence that fly in the face of white supremacy, the primal American myth that stands at the heart of all the others.
Based on interviews and life histories collected over more than twenty-five years of study on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, Marla N. Powers conveys what it means to be an Oglala woman. Despite the myth of the Euramerican that sees Oglala women as inferior to men, and the Lakota myth that seems them as superior, in reality, Powers argues, the roles of male and female emerge as complementary. In fact, she claims, Oglala women have been better able to adapt to the dominant white culture and provide much of the stability and continuity of modern tribal life. This rich ethnographic portrait considers the complete context of Oglala life—religion, economics, medicine, politics, old age—and is enhanced by numerous modern and historical photographs.
"It is a happy event when a fine scholarly work is rendered accessible to the general reader, especially so when none of the complexity of the subject matter is sacrificed. Oglala Women is a long overdue revisionary ethnography of Native American culture."—Penny Skillman, San Francisco Chronicle Review
"Marla N. Powers's fine study introduced me to Oglala women 'portrayed from the perspectives of Indians,' to women who did not pity themselves and want no pity from others. . . . A brave, thorough, and stimulating book."—Melody Graulich, Women's Review of Books
"Powers's new book is an intricate weaving . . . and her synthesis brings all of these pieces into a well-integrated and insightful whole, one which sheds new light on the importance of women and how they have adapted to the circumstances of the last century."—Elizabeth S. Grobsmith, Nebraska History
For a decade straddling the turn of the twentieth century, Mark Hanna was one of the most famous men in America. Portrayed as the puppet master controlling the weak-willed William McKinley, Hanna was loved by most Republicans and reviled by Democrats, in large part because of the way he was portrayed by the media of the day. Newspapers and other media outlets that supported McKinley reported positively about Hanna, but those sympathetic to William Jennings Bryan, the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 1896 and 1900, attacked Hanna far more aggressively than they attacked McKinley himself. Their portrayal of Hanna was wrong, but powerful, and this negative image of him survives to this day.
In this study of Mark Hanna’s career in presidential politics, William T. Horner demonstrates the flaws inherent in the way the news media cover politics. He deconstructs the myths that surround Hanna and demonstrates the dangerous and long-lasting effect that inaccurate reporting can have on our understanding of politics. When Karl Rove emerged as the political adviser to George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns, reporters quickly began to compare Rove to Hanna even a century after Hanna’s death. The two men played vastly different roles for the presidents they served, but modern reporters consistently described Rove as the second coming of Mark Hanna, another political Svengali.
Ohio’s Kingmaker is a compelling story about a fascinating character in American politics and serves to remind us of the power of (mis)perceptions.
On Descartes’ Passive Thought is the culmination of a life-long reflection on the philosophy of Descartes by one of the most important living French philosophers. In it, Jean-Luc Marion examines anew some of the questions left unresolved in his previous books about Descartes, with a particular focus on Descartes’s theory of morals and the passions.
Descartes has long been associated with mind-body dualism, but Marion argues here that this is a historical misattribution, popularized by Malebranche and popular ever since both within the academy and with the general public. Actually, Marion shows, Descartes held a holistic conception of body and mind. He called it the meum corpus, a passive mode of thinking, which implies far more than just pure mind—rather, it signifies a mind directly connected to the body: the human being that I am. Understood in this new light, the Descartes Marion uncovers through close readings of works such as Passions of the Soul resists prominent criticisms leveled at him by twentieth-century figures like Husserl and Heidegger, and even anticipates the non-dualistic, phenomenological concepts of human being discussed today. This is a momentous book that no serious historian of philosophy will be able to ignore.
Internationally acclaimed as a journalist, war correspondent, interviewer, and novelist, Oriana Fallaci’s public persona reached almost mythic proportions. It is a myth Fallaci herself created, according to Santo L. Aricò, who probes the psychological forces that motivated one of the twentieth century’s most famous and successful women writers.
Using his own extensive interviews with the writer, Aricò maps out Fallaci’s journey through life, paying particular attention to her ongoing and painstaking attempts to establish her own mythical status. He first examines her career as a literary journalist, emphasizing the high quality of her writing. From there, he concentrates on how Fallaci’s personal image began to emerge in her writings, as well as the way in which, through her powerful narratives, she catapulted herself into the public eye as her own main character.
Between 1932 and 1934, José Clemente Orozco painted the twenty-four-panel mural cycle entitled The Epic of American Civilization in Dartmouth College's Baker-Berry Library. An artifact of Orozco's migration from Mexico to the United States, the Epic represents a turning point in his career, standing as the only fresco in which he explores both US-American and Mexican narratives of national history, progress, and identity. While his title invokes the heroic epic form, the mural indicts history as complicit in colonial violence. It questions the claims of Manifest Destiny in the United States and the Mexican desire to mend the wounds of conquest in pursuit of a postcolonial national project. In Orozco's American Epic Mary K. Coffey places Orozco in the context of his contemporaries, such as Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, and demonstrates the Epic's power as a melancholic critique of official indigenism, industrial progress, and Marxist messianism. In the process, Coffey finds within Orozco's work a call for justice that resonates with contemporary debates about race, immigration, borders, and nationality.
Other People's Myths celebrates the universal art of storytelling, and the rich diversity of stories that people live by. Drawing on Biblical parables, Greek myths, Hindu epics, and the modern mythologies of Woody Allen and soap operas, Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty encourages us to feel anew the force of myth and tradition in our lives, and in the lives of other cultures. She shows how the stories of mythology—whether of Greek gods, Chinese sages, or Polish rabbis—enable all cultures to define themselves. She raises critical questions about the way we interpret mythical stories, especially the way different cultures make use of central texts and traditions. And she offers a sophisticated way of looking at the roles myths play in all cultures.
Originally published in 1982, James Clifford's analytical biography of Maurice Leenhardt (1878–1954)—missionary, anthropologist, founder of French Oceanic studies, historian of religion, and colonial reformer—received wide critical acclaim for its insight into the colonial history of anthropology. Drawing extensively on unpublished letters and journals, Clifford traces Leenhardt's life from his work as a missionary on the island of New Caledonia (1902–1926) to his subsequent return to Paris where he became an academic anthropologist at the École Practique des Hautes Études, where he followed Marcel Mauss and was succeeded in 1951 by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Clifford sees in Leenhardt's career a foreshadowing of contemporary anthropological concerns with reflexivity, cultural hybridity, and colonial and post-colonial entanglements.
Plato the Myth Maker
Luc Brisson University of Chicago Press, 1999 Library of Congress B398.M8B55 1998 | Dewey Decimal 184
The word myth is commonly thought to mean a fictional story, but few know that Plato was the first to use the term muthos in that sense. He also used muthos to describe the practice of making and telling stories, the oral transmission of all that a community keeps in its collective memory. In the first part of Plato the Myth Maker, Luc Brisson reconstructs Plato's multifaceted description of muthos in light of the latter's Atlantis story. The second part of the book contrasts this sense of myth with another form of speech that Plato believed was far superior: the logos of philosophy.
Gerard Naddaf's substantial introduction shows the originality and importance both of Brisson's method and of Plato's analysis and places it in the context of contemporary debates over the origin and evolution of the oral tradition.
"[Brisson] contrasts muthos with the logos found at the heart of the philosophical reading. [He] does an excellent job of analyzing Plato's use of the two speech forms, and the translator's introduction does considerable service in setting the tone."—Library Journal
In eight brilliant essays, Fox explores many of the major playas of the American West , examining locations as diverse as Nellis Air Force Base and Frenchman Flat, where the federal government has tested experimental aircraft and atomic weaponry; the Great Salt Lake Desert, where land-speed records have been broken; and the Black Rock Desert of Northern Nevada, site of the colorful Burning Man arts festival. He analyzes the geological and climatological conditions that created the playas and the historical role that playas played in the exploration and settlement of the West. And he offers lucid and keenly perceptive discussions of the ways that artists have responded to the playas, from the ancient makers of geoglyphs to the work of contemporary artists who have found inspiration in these enigmatic spaces, including earthworks builder Michael Heizer, photographer Richard Misrach, and painter Michael Moore. The ensemble is a compelling combination of natural history, philosophy, and art criticism, a thoughtful meditation on humankind's aversion to and fascination with the void.
Plotinus, the Roman philosopher (c. 204-270 CE) who is widely regarded as the founder of Neoplatonism, was also the creator of numerous myths, images, and metaphors. They have influenced both secular philosophers and Christian and Muslim theologians, but have frequently been dismissed by modern scholars as merely ornamental. In this book, distinguished philosopher Stephen R. L. Clark shows that they form a vital set of spiritual exercises by which individuals can achieve one of Plotinus’s most important goals: self-transformation through contemplation.
Clark examines a variety of Plotinus’s myths and metaphors within the cultural and philosophical context of his time, asking probing questions about their contemplative effects. What is it, for example, to “think away the spatiality” of material things? What state of mind is Plotinus recommending when he speaks of love, or drunkenness, or nakedness? What star-like consciousness is intended when he declares that we were once stars or are stars eternally? What does it mean to say that the soul goes around God? And how are we supposed to “bring the god in us back to the god in all”? Through these rich images and structures, Clark casts Plotinus as a philosopher deeply concerned with philosophy as a way of life.
"[An] important essay by a philosopher who more convincingly than any other I can think of demonstrates the continuing significance of his vocation in the life of our culture."—Karsten Harries, The New York Times Book Review
With The Presence of Myth, Kolakowski demonstrates that no matter how hard man strives for purely rational thought, there has always been-and always will be-a reservoir of mythical images that lend "being" and "consciousness" a specifically human meaning.
"Kolakowski undertakes a philosophy of culture which extends to all realms of human intercourse—intellectual, artistic, scientific, and emotional. . . . [His] book has real significance for today, and may well become a classic in the philosophy of culture."—Anglican Theological Review
Spanning a period of four tumultuous decades from the mid-1930s through the mid-1970s, this study reassesses the ways in which Chicagoans negotiated the extraordinary challenges of rape, as either victims or accused perpetrators. Drawing on extensive trial testimony, government reports, and media coverage, Dawn Rae Flood examines how individual men and women, particularly African Americans, understood and challenged rape myths and claimed their right to be protected as American citizens--protected by the State against violence, and protected from the State's prejudicial investigations and interrogations. Flood shows how defense strategies, evolving in concert with changes in the broader cultural and legal environment, challenged assumptions about black criminality while continuing to deploy racist and sexist stereotypes against the victims. Thoughtfully combining legal studies, medical history, and personal accounts, Flood pays special attention to how medical evidence was considered in rape cases and how victim-patients were treated by hospital personnel. She also analyzes medical testimony in modern rape trials, tracing the evolution of contemporary "rape kit" procedures as shaped by legal requirements, trial strategies, feminist reform efforts, and women's experiences.
Ulysses S. Grant once remarked that the Battle of Shiloh “has been perhaps
less understood, or, to state the case more accurately, more persistently
misunderstood, than any other engagement . . . during the entire rebellion.”
In Rethinking Shiloh, Timothy B. Smith seeks to rectify these persistent
myths and misunderstandings, arguing that some of Shiloh’s story is either
not fully examined or has been the result of a limited and narrow collective
memory established decades ago. Continuing the work he began in The
Untold Story of Shiloh, Smith delves even further into the story of Shiloh
and examines in detail how the battle has been treated in historiography and
The nine essays in this collection uncover new details about the
battle, correct some of the myths surrounding it, and reveal new avenues of
exploration. The topics range from a compelling analysis and description of
the last hours of General Albert Sidney Johnston to the effect of the New
Deal on Shiloh National Military Park and, subsequently, our understanding
of the battle. Smith’s careful analyses and research bring attention to
the many relatively unexplored parts of Shiloh such as the terrain, the
actual route of Lew Wallace’s march, and post-battle developments that
affect currently held perceptions of thatfamed clash between Union and
Confederate armies in West Tennessee.
Studying Shiloh should alert readers and historians to the likelihood
of misconceptions in other campaigns and wars—including today’s military
conflicts. By reevaluating aspects of the Battle of Shiloh often ignored by
military historians, Smith’s book makes significant steps toward a more
complete understanding and appreciation of the Shiloh campaign in all of its
Timothy B. Smith teaches history at the University of Tennessee, Martin. His most recent books include The Golden Age of Battlefield Preservation: The Decade of the 1890s and the Establishment of America’s First Five Military Parks, Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front, and Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation.
John Muthyala's Reworlding America moves beyond the U.S.-centered approach of traditional American literary criticism. In this groundbreaking book, Muthyala argues for a transgeographical perspective from which to study the literary and cultural histories of the Americas.
By emphasizing transnational migration, border crossing, and colonial modernity, Reworlding America exposes how national, ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural boundaries have been continually created and transgressed—with profound consequences for the peoples of the Americas.
Drawing from cultural studies, anthropology, literature, and history, Muthyala examines the literatures of the Americas in terms of their intimate relationship to questions of cultural survival, identity formation, and social power. He goes beyond nationalist, ethnocentric, and religious frameworks used to conceptualize American literary history and examines the connection between modernity and colonialism.
Reworlding America's significance extends into the realm of education, history, ethnography, and literary and cultural studies and contributes to the larger project of refashioning the role of English and American studies in a transborder, postnational global culture.
Based on two years of fieldwork in Belau, an Austronesian culture in western Micronesia, The Sacred Remains is an outstanding example of the new approach to ethnographic writing that challenges Western views of the history of non-Western societies.
Richard J. Parmentier employs semiotic methods to analyze both linguistic and nonlinguistic signs representing Belauan history, showing that these signs also organize social and political structures. He identifies four pervasive semiotic patterns that appear rhetorically in myths, chants, and historical narratives and graphically in the arrangement of certain classes of stones, including village boundary markers, burial platforms, exchange valuables, and monoliths found at abandoned sites in the islands.
While not neglecting historical evidence from Western sources, Parmentier contends that the history of Belau cannot be understood without taking into full account indigenous categories of space, time, and transformation and without recognizing the importance of Belauan social actions that construct, interpret, and transmit historical knowledge. Supporting his analysis of Belauan history with concrete ethnographic demonstration, Parmentier presents a work of central importance for Austronesianists, anthropologists, and historians.
We often think of classical Greek society as a model of rationality and order. Yet as Walter Burkert demonstrates in these influential essays on the history of Greek religion, there were archaic, savage forces surging beneath the outwardly calm face of classical Greece, whose potentially violent and destructive energies, Burkert argues, were harnessed to constructive ends through the interlinked uses of myth and ritual.
For example, in a much-cited essay on the Athenian religious festival of the Arrephoria, Burkert uncovers deep connections between this strange nocturnal ritual, in which two virgin girls carried sacred offerings into a cave and later returned with something given to them there, and tribal puberty initiations by linking the festival with the myth of the daughters of Kekrops. Other chapters explore the origins of tragedy in blood sacrifice; the role of myth in the ritual of the new fire on Lemnos; the ties between violence, the Athenian courts, and the annual purification of the divine image; and how failed political propaganda entered the realm of myth at the time of the Persian Wars.
In the decades before the rise of the Third Reich, “Secret Germany” was a phrase used by the circle of writers around the poet Stefan George to describe a collective political and poetic project: the introduction of the highest values of art into everyday life, the secularization of myth and the mythologization of history. In this book, Furio Jesi takes up the term in order to trace the contours of that political, artistic, and aesthetic thread as it runs through German literary and artistic culture in the period—which, in the 1930s, became absorbed by Nazism as part of its prophecy of a triumphant future. Drawing on thinkers like Carl Jung and writers such as Thomas Mann and Rainer Maria Rilke, Jesi reveals a literary genre that was transformed, tragically, into a potent political myth.
In Sex in the World of Myth, David Leeming argues that sex is as important in myths as it is in our daily lives. Casting myths as our cultural dreams, Leeming shows that sex is pervasive in all mythologies because it has obsessed and confused us like nothing else. He reveals how sexual myths, like all myths, can have many purposes. The reproductive acts of the ancient Greek goddess Gaia, for instance, may reflect a pre-Olympian matriarchal social system, while tales of the unbridled sexual deeds of the Polynesian Maui, and many others, speak to a natural fascination with the power and mystery of sexual drives. Both a survey of the sex lives of the world’s mythological figures and their deep meaning, Sex in the World of Myth demonstrates that even when such myths are meant to elicit laughter or titillation, the participation in them of sacred heroes and deities means they are in some sense religious—tales offering us partial answers to the nature of existence in general, and of human sexuality in particular.
What does it mean to have an emotional response to poetry and music? And, just as important but considered less often, what does it mean not to have such a response? What happens when lyric utterances—which should invite consolation, revelation, and connection—somehow fall short of the listener’s expectations?
As Seth Lerer shows in this pioneering book, Shakespeare’s late plays invite us to contemplate that very question, offering up lyric as a displaced and sometimes desperate antidote to situations of duress or powerlessness. Lerer argues that the theme of lyric misalignment running throughout The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, Henry VIII, and Cymbeline serves a political purpose, a last-ditch effort at transformation for characters and audiences who had lived through witch-hunting, plague, regime change, political conspiracies, and public executions.
A deep dive into the relationship between aesthetics and politics, this book also explores what Shakespearean lyric is able to recuperate for these “victims of history” by virtue of its disjointed utterances. To this end, Lerer establishes the concept of mythic lyricism: an estranging use of songs and poetry that functions to recreate the past as present, to empower the mythic dead, and to restore a bit of magic to the commonplaces and commodities of Jacobean England. Reading against the devotion to form and prosody common in Shakespeare scholarship, Lerer’s account of lyric utterance’s vexed role in his late works offers new ways to understand generational distance and cultural change throughout the playwright’s oeuvre.
"The most systematic and comprehensive effort yet made to assess the role played by Darwinian ideas in the writings of English-speaking social theorists of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries."
"In seeking to set the record straight, Bannister cuts through the amalgam with an intellectual shredder, exposing the illogic and incompatibility involved in fusing Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species with Herbert Spencer's Social Statics.... Bannister's familiarity with relevant texts and their reception by contemporary social theorists, scholars, and critics on both sides of the Atlantic is impressive."
--Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"A fine contribution to Anglo-American intellectual history."
--Journal of American History
Setting the tone for the collection,
NASA chief historian Roger D. Launius and Howard McCurdy maintain that
the nation's presidency had become imperial by the mid-1970s and that
supporters of the space program had grown to find relief in such a presidency,
which they believed could help them obtain greater political support and
funding. Subsequent chapters explore the roles and political leadership,
vis-à-vis government policy, of presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy,
Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan.
In the 20th century, Europe was haunted by a specter of its own imagining: Judeo-Bolshevism. Fear of a Jewish Bolshevik plot to destroy the nations of Europe took hold during the Russian Revolution and spread across the continent. Paul Hanebrink shows that the myth of ethno-religious threat is still alive today, in Westerners’ fear of Muslims.
The McCarthy-era witch hunts marked the culmination of an anticommunist crusade launched after the First World War. With Bolshevism triumphant in Russia and public discontent shaking the United States, conservatives at every level of government and business created a network dedicated to sweeping away the "spider web" of radicalism they saw threatening the nation. In this groundbreaking study, Nick Fischer shines a light on right-wing activities during the interwar period. Conservatives, eager to dispel communism's appeal to the working class, railed against a supposed Soviet-directed conspiracy composed of socialists, trade unions, peace and civil liberties groups, feminists, liberals, aliens, and Jews. Their rhetoric and power made for devastating weapons in their systematic war for control of the country against progressive causes. But, as Fischer shows, the term spider web far more accurately described the anticommunist movement than it did the makeup and operations of international communism. Fischer details how anticommunist myths and propaganda influenced mainstream politics in America, and how its ongoing efforts paved the way for the McCarthyite Fifties--and augured the conservative backlash that would one day transform American politics.
Hindu and Greek mythologies teem with stories of women and men who are doubled, who double themselves, who are seduced by gods doubling as mortals, whose bodies are split or divided. In Splitting the Difference, the renowned scholar of mythology Wendy Doniger recounts and compares a vast range of these tales from ancient Greece and India, with occasional recourse to more recent "double features" from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to Face/Off.
Myth, Doniger argues, responds to the complexities of the human condition by multiplying or splitting its characters into unequal parts, and these sloughed and cloven selves animate mythology's prodigious plots of sexuality and mortality. Doniger's comparisons show that ultimately differences in gender are more significant than differences in culture; Greek and Indian stories of doubled women resemble each other more than they do tales of doubled men in the same culture. In casting Hindu and Greek mythologies as shadows of each other, Doniger shows that culture is sometimes but the shadow of gender.
Sometimes the crack of the bat or the roar of the crowd fails to capture the meaning of sports as athletes themselves understand it. Books about sports have ignored this dimension of the subject, particularly the athletes’ own autobiographical accounts. In Sporting Lives, the first book to examine the two popular realms of sports and autobiography, James Pipkin looks at recurring patterns found in athletes’ accounts of their lives and sporting experiences, examining language, metaphor, rhetorical strategies, and other elements to analyze sports from the inside out.
Sporting Lives takes a fresh look at memoirs from baseball, football, basketball, golf, and other sports to explore how American athletes see themselves: not only how those images mesh with popular perceptions of them as heroes or celebrities but also how their accounts differ from those of sports journalists and other outsiders. Drawing on the life stories of such well-known figures as Wilt Chamberlain, Babe Ruth, and Martina Navratilova—both as-told-to and self-authored works—Pipkin follows players from the “echoing green” of eternal youth to the sometimes cultlike and isolated status of fame, interpreting recurring patterns both in the living of their lives and in the telling of them. He even considers Dennis Rodman’s four autobiographies to show how the contradictions of his self-portrayals reflect the Janus-faced quality of sports in the era of celebrity culture.
As Pipkin shows, the life of the athlete involves more than mere athleticism; it is also a world of nostalgia and sentiment, missed opportunities and lost youth. He sheds light on athletes’ common obsession with youth and body image—including gender and racial considerations—and explores their descriptions of being “in a zone,” that transcendent state when everything seems to click. And he considers the time that all athletes dread, when their bodies begin to betray them . . . and the cheering stops.
While the lives of athletes may often suggest the magic of Peter Pan, Pipkin’s engaging study reveals that they are in many ways more like the Lost Boys. Sporting Lives shows that the meaning of sports is intertwined with the telling. It is both an eminently readable book for fans and a critically sophisticated analysis that will engage scholars of literature, sports or media studies, and American popular culture.
The Story of Myth
Sarah Iles Johnston Harvard University Press, 2018 Library of Congress BL783.J64 2019 | Dewey Decimal 292.13
Sarah Iles Johnston argues that the nature of myths as gripping tales starring vivid characters enabled them to do their most important work: sustaining belief in the gods and heroes of Greek religion. She shows how Greek myths—and the stories told by all cultures—affect our shared view of the cosmos and the creatures who inhabit it.
Sudden Death and the Myth of CPR
Stefan Timmermans, foreword by Bern Shen Temple University Press, 1999 Library of Congress RC87.9.T56 1999 | Dewey Decimal 616.1025
Sudden Death and the Myth of CPR is for anyone who has taken a CPR course or who believes the images from television dramas. It is also for families of victims and survivors of CPR. It will engage emergency personnel, others in the medical field, and anyone concerned with ethical issues of death and dying.
Anyone who has ever taken a CPR course has wondered, "What would happen if I actually had to use CPR?" In Western societies, the lifesaving power of resuscitation has the status of a revered cultural myth. It promises life in the face of sudden death, but the reality is that lives are rarely saved. Medical researchers estimate the survival rate for out-of-hospital CPR to be between 1 and 3 percent. Sudden Death and the Myth of CPR explores the history of this medical innovation and the promotion of its effectiveness.
The overuse of resuscitation, Timmermans explains, defines people's experience with sudden death, something he learned firsthand by following the practice of lifesaving from street corner to emergency room. He argues that very few people are successfully resuscitated without brain damage despite the promotion of CPR's effectiveness through powerful media images. In vivid accounts of the day-to-day practices of cardiopulmonary resuscitation in one of the only studies o f sudden death, Timmermans records the astonishingly frank comments of emergency personnel. Doctors, nurses, social workers, and paramedics express emotions from cynicism about going through the futile motions to genuine concern for victims' family members.
If a person who was supposed to keep on living dies at the end of a resuscitative attempt, how socially meaningful is the dying? Timmermans asks tough questions and addresses the controversial ethical issues about the appropriateness of interfering with life and death. He suggests policy reform and the restoration of dignity to sudden death.
In Theorizing Myth, Bruce Lincoln traces the way scholars and others have used the category of "myth" to fetishize or deride certain kinds of stories, usually those told by others.
He begins by showing that mythos yielded to logos not as part of a (mythic) "Greek miracle," but as part of struggles over political, linguistic, and epistemological authority occasioned by expanded use of writing and the practice of Athenian democracy. Lincoln then turns his attention to the period when myth was recuperated as a privileged type of narrative, a process he locates in the political and cultural ferment of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Here, he connects renewed enthusiasm for myth to the nexus of Romanticism, nationalism, and Aryan triumphalism, particularly the quest for a language and set of stories on which nation-states could be founded.
In the final section of this wide-ranging book, Lincoln advocates a fresh approach to the study of myth, providing varied case studies to support his view of myth—and scholarship on myth—as ideology in narrative form.
Challenging the widely held belief that Nicaragua has been ethnically homogeneous since the nineteenth century, To Die in This Way reveals the continued existence and importance of an officially “forgotten” indigenous culture. Jeffrey L. Gould argues that mestizaje—a cultural homogeneity that has been hailed as a cornerstone of Nicaraguan national identity—involved a decades-long process of myth building.
Through interviews with indigenous peoples and records of the elite discourse that suppressed the expression of cultural differences and rationalized the destruction of Indian communities, Gould tells a story of cultural loss. Land expropriation and coerced labor led to cultural alienation that shamed the indigenous population into shedding their language, religion, and dress. Beginning with the 1870s, Gould historicizes the forces that prompted a collective movement away from a strong identification with indigenous cultural heritage to an “acceptance” of a national mixed-race identity.
By recovering a significant part of Nicaraguan history that has been excised from the national memory, To Die in This Way critiques the enterprise of third world nation-building and thus marks an important step in the study of Latin American culture and history that will also interest anthropologists and students of social and cultural historians.
Few tales of artistic triumph can rival the story of Zeuxis. As first reported by Cicero and Pliny, the painter Zeuxis set out to portray Helen of Troy, but when he realized that a single model could not match Helen’s beauty, he combined the best features of five different models. A primer on mimesis in art making, the Zeuxis myth also illustrates ambivalence about the ability to rely on nature as a model for ideal form.In Too Beautiful to Picture, Elizabeth C. Mansfield engages the visual arts, literature, and performance to examine the desire to make the ideal visible. She finds in the Zeuxis myth evidence of a cultural primal scene that manifests itself in gendered terms. Mansfield considers the many depictions of the legend during the Renaissance and questions its absence during the eighteenth century. Offering interpretations of Angelica Kauffman’s paintings, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Mansfield also considers Orlan’s carnal art as a profound retelling of the myth. Throughout, Mansfield asserts that the Zeuxis legend encodes an unconscious record of the West’s reliance on mimetic representation as a vehicle for metaphysical solace.Elizabeth C. Mansfield is associate professor of art history at the University of the South.
Transfiguring America is the product of more than ten years of research and numerous published articles on Margaret Fuller, arguably America's first feminist theorist and one of the most important woman writers in the nineteenth century. Focusing on Fuller's development of a powerful language that paired cultural critique with mythmaking, Steele shows why her writing had such a vital impact on the woman's rights movement and modern conceptions of gender.
This groundbreaking study pays special attention to the ways in which Fuller's feminist consciousness and social theory emerged out of her mourning for herself and others, her dialogue with Emersonian Transcendentalism, and her eclectic reading in occult and mythical sources. Transfiguring America is the first book to provide detailed analyses of all of Fuller's major texts, including her mystical Dial essays, correspondence with Emerson, Summer on the Lakes, 1844 poetry, Woman in the Nineteenth Century, and New York Tribune essays written both in New York and Europe.
Starting from her own profound sense of loss as a marginalized woman, Fuller eventually recognized the ways in which the foundational myths of American society, buttressed by conservative religious ideologies, replicated dysfunctional images of manhood and womanhood. With Woman in the Nineteenth Century, after exploring the roots of oppression in her essays and poetry, Fuller advanced the cause of woman's rights by conceptualizing a more fluid and equitable model of gender founded upon the mythical reconfiguration of human potential. But as her horizons expanded, Fuller demanded not only political equality for women, but also emotional, intellectual, and spiritual freedom for all victims of social oppression.
By the end of her career, Steele shows, Fuller had blended personal experience and cultural critique into the imaginative reconstruction of American society. Beginning with a fervent belief in personal reform, she ended her career with the apocalyptic conviction that the dominant myths both of selfhood and national identity must be transfigured. Out of the ashes of personal turmoil and political revolution, she looked for the phoenix of a revitalized society founded upon the ideal of political justice.
This comprehensive view of the Orpheus myth in modern art focuses on an extremely rich artistic symbol and cuts through all the clichés to explore truly significant problems of meaning. The author takes a new approach to the iconography of major modern artists by incorporating psychological and literary analysis, as well as biography.
The three parts of the book explore the ways in which artists have identified with different aspects of the often paradoxical Orpheus myth. The first deals with artists such as Paul Klee, Carl Milles, and Barbara Hepworth. In the second, Max Beckmann, Oskar Kokoschka, and Isamu Noguchi are discussed. Artists examined in the final part include Pablo Picasso, Jacques Lipchitz, Ethel Schwabacher, and Cy Twombly. The author documents her argument with more than sixty illustrations.
How do humans stop fighting? Where do the gods of myth come from? What does it mean to go mad? Mark R. Anspach tackles these and other conundrums as he draws on ethnography, literature, psychotherapy, and the theory of René Girard to explore some of the fundamental mechanisms of human interaction. Likening gift exchange to vengeance in reverse, the first part of the book outlines a fresh approach to reciprocity, while the second part traces the emergence of transcendence in collective myths and individual delusions. From the peacemaking rituals of prestate societies to the paradoxical structure of consciousness, Anspach takes the reader on an intellectual journey that begins with the problem of how to deceive violence and ends with the riddle of how one can deceive oneself.
#MeToo. #BlackLivesMatter. #NeverAgain. #WontBeErased. Though both the right- and left-wing media claim “objectivity” in their reporting of these and other contentious issues, the American public has become increasingly cynical about truth, fact, and reality. In The View from Somewhere, Lewis Raven Wallace dives deep into the history of “objectivity” in journalism and how its been used to gatekeep and silence marginalized writers as far back as Ida B. Wells.
At its core, this is a book about fierce journalists who have pursued truth and transparency and sometimes been punished for it—not just by tyrannical governments but by journalistic institutions themselves. He highlights the stories of journalists who question “objectivity” with sensitivity and passion: Desmond Cole of the Toronto Star; New York Times reporter Linda Greenhouse; Pulitzer Prize-winner Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah; Peabody-winning podcaster John Biewen; Guardian correspondent Gary Younge; former Buzzfeed reporter Meredith Talusan; and many others. Wallace also shares his own experiences as a midwestern transgender journalist and activist who was fired from his job as a national reporter for public radio for speaking out against “objectivity” in coverage of Trump and white supremacy.
With insightful steps through history, Wallace stresses that journalists have never been mere passive observers—the choices they make reflect worldviews tinted by race, class, gender, and geography. He upholds the centrality of facts and the necessary discipline of verification but argues against the long-held standard of “objective” media coverage that asks journalists to claim they are without bias. Using historical and contemporary examples—from lynching in the nineteenth century to transgender issues in the twenty-first—Wallace offers a definitive critique of “objectivity” as a catchall for accurate journalism. He calls for the dismissal of this damaging mythology in order to confront the realities of institutional power, racism, and other forms of oppression and exploitation in the news industry.
Now more than ever, journalism that resists extractive, exploitive, and tokenistic practices toward marginalized people isn’t just important—it is essential. Combining Wallace’s intellectual and emotional journey with the wisdom of others’ experiences, The View from Somewhere is a compelling rallying cry against journalist neutrality and for the validity of news told from distinctly subjective voices.
The turn of the 20th century represented one of the most chaotic periods in the nation's history, as immigrants, Native Americans, and African Americans struggled with their roles as Americans while white America feared their encroachments on national identity. This book examines Theodore Roosevelt’s public rhetoric—speeches, essays, and narrative histories—as he attempted to craft one people out of many. Leroy G. Dorsey observes that Roosevelt's solution to the problem appeared straightforward: everyone could become "Americans, pure and simple" if they embraced his notion of "Americanism." Roosevelt grounded his idea of Americanism in myth, particularly the frontier myth—a heroic combination of individual strength and character. When nonwhites and immigrants demonstrated these traits, they would become true Americans, earning an exalted status that they had heretofore been denied.
Dorsey’s analysis illuminates how Roosevelt's rhetoric achieved a number of delicate, if problematic, balancing acts. Roosevelt gave his audiences the opportunity to accept a national identity that allowed "some" room for immigrants and nonwhites, while reinforcing their status as others, thereby reassuring white Americans of their superior place in the nation. Roosevelt’s belief in an ordered and unified nation did not overwhelm his private racist attitudes, Dorsey argues, but certainly competed with them. Despite his private sentiments, he recognized that racist beliefs and rhetoric were divisive and bad for the nation’s progress. The resulting message he chose to propagate was thus one of a rhetorical, if not literal, melting pot.
By focusing on Roosevelt’s rhetorical constructions of national identity, as opposed to his personal exploits or his role as a policy maker, We Are All Americans offers new insights into Roosevelt’s use of public discourse to bind the nation together during
On April 22, 2015, Boston University professor Saida Grundy set off a Twitter storm with her provocative question: “Why is white America so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?” White Guys on Campus is a critical examination of race in higher education, centering Whiteness, in an effort to unveil the frequently unconscious habits of racism among White male undergraduates. Nolan L. Cabrera moves beyond the “few bad apples” frame of contemporary racism, and explores the structures, policies, ideologies, and experiences that allow racism to flourish. This book details many of the contours of contemporary, systemic racism, while engaging the possibility of White students to participate in anti-racism. Ultimately, White Guys on Campus calls upon institutions of higher education to be sites of social transformation instead of reinforcing systemic racism, while creating a platform to engage and challenge the public discourse of “post- racialism.”