Film festivals are an ever-growing part of the film industry, but most considerations of them focus almost entirely on their role in the business of filmmaking.
This book breaks new ground by bringing scholars from a range of disciplines together with industry professionals to explore the concept of festivals as spaces through an activist lens, as spaces where the sociopolitical identities of communities and individuals are confronted and shaped. Tracing the growth of activist and human rights-focused films from the 1970s to the present, and using case studies from San Francisco, Brazil, Bristol, and elsewhere, the book addresses such contentious topics as whether activist films can achieve humanitarian aims or simply offer “cinema of suffering.” Ultimately, the contributors attack the question of just how effective festivals are at producing politically engaged spectators?
During the early national and antebellum eras, black leaders in New York City confronted the tenuous nature of Northern emancipation. Despite the hope of freedom, black New Yorkers faced a series of sociopolitical issues including the persistence of Southern slavery, the threat of forced removal, racial violence, and the denial of American citizenship. Even efforts to create community space within the urban landscape, such as the African Burial Ground and Seneca Village, were eventually demolished to make way for the city's rapid development. In this illuminating history, Leslie M. Alexander chronicles the growth and development of black activism in New York from the formation of the first black organization, the African Society, in 1784 to the eve of the Civil War in 1861. In this critical period, black activists sought to formulate an effective response to their unequal freedom. Examining black newspapers, speeches, and organizational records, this study documents the creation of mutual relief, religious, and political associations, which black men and women infused with African cultural traditions and values.
As Alexander reveals, conflicts over early black political strategy foreshadowed critical ideological struggles that would bedevil the black leadership for generations to come. Initially, black leaders advocated racial uplift through a sense of communalism and connection to their African heritage. Yet by the antebellum era, black activists struggled to reconcile their African identity with a growing desire to gain American citizenship. Ultimately, this battle resulted in competing agendas; while some leaders argued that the black community should dedicate themselves to moral improvement and American citizenship, others began to consider emigrating to Africa or Haiti. In the end, the black leadership resolved to assert an American identity and to expand their mission for full equality and citizenship in the United States. This decision marked a crucial turning point in black political strategy, for it signaled a new phase in the quest for racial advancement and fostered the creation of a nascent Black Nationalism.
In After the Public Turn, author Frank Farmer argues that counterpublics and the people who make counterpublics—“citizen bricoleurs”—deserve a more prominent role in our scholarship and in our classrooms. Encouraging students to understand and consider resistant or oppositional discourse is a viable route toward mature participation as citizens in a democracy.
Farmer examines two very different kinds of publics, cultural and disciplinary, and discusses two counterpublics within those broad categories: zine discourses and certain academic discourses. By juxtaposing these two significantly different kinds of publics, Farmer suggests that each discursive world can be seen, in its own distinct way, as a counterpublic, an oppositional social formation that has a stake in widening or altering public life as we know it.
Drawing on major figures in rhetoric and cultural theory, Farmer builds his argument about composition teaching and its relation to the public sphere, leading to a more sophisticated understanding of public life and a deeper sense of what democratic citizenship means for our time.
Murder, street brawls, marital squabbles, infidelity, official corruption, public insults, and rebellion are just a few of the social layers Reuben Zahler investigates as he studies the dramatic shifts in Venezuela as it transformed from a Spanish colony to a modern republic. His book Ambitious Rebels illuminates the enormous changes in honor, law, and political culture that occurred and how ordinary men and women promoted or rejected those changes.
In a highly engaging style, Zahler examines gender and class against the backdrop of Venezuelan institutions and culture during the late colonial period through post-independence (known as the “middle period”). His fine-grained analysis shows that liberal ideals permeated the elite and popular classes to a substantial degree while Venezuelan institutions enjoyed impressive levels of success. Showing remarkable ambition, Venezuela’s leaders aspired to transform a colony that adhered to the king, the church, and tradition into a liberal republic with minimal state intervention, a capitalistic economy, freedom of expression and religion, and an elected, representative government.
Subtle but surprisingly profound changes of a liberal nature occurred, as evidenced by evolving standards of honor, appropriate gender roles, class and race relations, official conduct, courtroom evidence, press coverage, economic behavior, and church-state relations. This analysis of the philosophy of the elites and the daily lives of common men and women reveals in particular the unwritten, unofficial norms that lacked legal sanction but still greatly affected political structures.
Relying on extensive archival resources, Zahler focuses on Venezuela but provides a broader perspective on Latin American history. His examination provides a comprehensive look at intellectual exchange across the Atlantic, comparative conditions throughout the Americas, and the tension between traditional norms and new liberal standards in a postcolonial society.
The American Voter Revisited
Michael S. Lewis-Beck, William G. Jacoby, Helmut Norpoth, and Herbert F. Weisberg University of Michigan Press, 2008 Library of Congress JK1967.A834 2008 | Dewey Decimal 324.60973
Today we are politically polarized as never before. The presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 will be remembered as two of the most contentious political events in American history. Yet despite the recent election upheaval, The American Voter Revisited discovers that voter behavior has been remarkably consistent over the last half century. And if the authors are correct in their predictions, 2008 will show just how reliably the American voter weighs in, election after election.
The American Voter Revisited re-creates the outstanding 1960 classic The American Voter---which was based on the presidential elections of 1952 and 1956---following the same format, theory, and mode of analysis as the original. In this new volume, the authors test the ideas and methods of the original against presidential election surveys from 2000 and 2004. Surprisingly, the contemporary American voter is found to behave politically much like voters of the 1950s.
"Simply essential. For generations, serious students of American politics have kept The American Voter right on their desk. Now, everyone will keep The American Voter Revisited right next to it."
---Larry J. Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and author of A More Perfect Constitution
"The American Voter Revisited is destined to be the definitive volume on American electoral behavior for decades. It is a timely book for 2008, with in-depth analyses of the 2000 and 2004 elections updating and extending the findings of the original The American Voter. It is also quite accessible, making it ideal for graduate students as well as advanced undergrads."
---Andrew E. Smith, Director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center
"A theoretically faithful, empirically innovative, comprehensive update of the original classic."
---Sam Popkin, Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego
Michael S. Lewis-Beck is F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa. William G. Jacoby is Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University. Helmut Norpoth is Professor of Political Science at Stony Brook University. Herbert F. Weisberg is Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University.
As the waves of Occupy movements gradually recede, we soon forget the political hope and passions these events have offered. Instead, we are increasingly entrenched in the simplified dichotomies of Left and Right, us and them, hating others and victimizing oneself. Studying Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement, which might be the largest Occupy movement in recent years, The Appearing Demos urges us to re-commit to democracy at a time when democracy is failing on many fronts and in different parts of the world.
The 79-day-long Hong Kong Umbrella Movement occupied major streets in the busiest parts of the city, creating tremendous inconvenience to this city famous for capitalist order and efficiency. It was also a peaceful collective effort of appearance, and it was as much a political event as a cultural one. The urge for expressing an independent cultural identity underlined both the Occupy movement and the remarkably rich cultural expressions it generated. While understanding the specificity of Hong Kong’s situations, The Appearing Demos also comments on some global predicaments we are facing in the midst of neoliberalism and populism. It directs our attention from state-based sovereignty to city-based democracy, and emphasizes the importance of participation and cohabitation. The book also examines how the ideas of Hannah Arendt are useful to those happenings much beyond the political circumstances that gave rise to her theorization. The book pays particular attention to the actual intersubjective experiences during the protest. These experiences are local, fragile, and sometimes inarticulable, therefore resisting rationality and debates, but they define the fullness of any individual, and they also make politics possible. Using the Umbrella Movement as an example, this book examines the “freed” political agents who constantly take others into consideration in order to guarantee the political realm as a place without coercion and discrimination. In doing so, Pang Laikwan demonstrates how politics means neither to rule nor to be ruled, and these movements should be defined by hope, not by goals.
Scholars of democracy long looked to the Federal Republic of Germany as a notable “success story,” a model for how to transition from a violent, authoritarian regime to a peaceable nation of rights. Although this account has been contested since its inception, the narrative has proved resilient—and it is no surprise that the current moment of crisis that Western democracies are experiencing has provoked new interest in how democracies come to be. The Arts of Democratization: Styling Political Sensibilities in Postwar West Germany casts a fresh look at the early years of this fledgling democracy and draws attention to the broad range of ways democracy and the democratic subject were conceived and rendered at this time.
These essays highlight the contradictory and competing impulses that ran through the project to democratize postwar society and cast a critical eye toward the internal biases that shaped the model of Western democracy. In so doing, the contributions probe critical questions that we continue to grapple with today. How did postwar thinkers understand what it meant to be democratic? Did they conceive of democratic subjectivity in terms of acts of participation, a set of beliefs or principles, or perhaps in terms of particular feelings or emotions? How did the work to define democracy and its subjects deploy notions of nation, race, and gender or sexuality? As this book demonstrates, the case of West Germany offers compelling ways to think more broadly about the emergence of democracy. The Arts of Democratization offers lessons that resonate with the current moment as we consider what interventions may be necessary to resuscitate democracy today.
Social media provides ethno-racial immigrant groups—especially those who cannot vote due to factors such as lack of citizenship and limited English proficiency—the ability to mobilize and connect around collective issues. Online spaces and discussion forums have encouraged many Asian Americans to participate in public policy debates and take action on social justice issues. This form of digital group activism serves as an adaptive political empowerment strategy for the fastest-growing and largest foreign-born population in America. Asian American Connective Action in the Age of Social Media illuminates how associating online can facilitate and amplify traditional forms of political action.
James Lai provides diverse case studies on contentious topics ranging from affirmative action debates to textbook controversies to emphasize the complexities, limitations, and challenges of connective action that is relevant to all racial groups. Using a detailed multi-methods approach that includes national survey data and Twitter hashtag analysis, he shows how traditional immigrants, older participants, and younger generations create online consensus and mobilize offline to foment political change. In doing so, Lai provides a nuanced glimpse into the multiple ways connective action takes shape within the Asian American community.