Civil wars, corporate exploitation, AIDS, and Ebola—but also democracy, burgeoning cities, and unprecedented communication and mobility: the future of Africa has never been more uncertain. Indeed, that future is one of the most complex issues in contemporary anthropology, as evidenced by the incredible wealth of ideas offered in this landmark volume. A consortium comprised of some of the most important scholars of Africa today, this book surveys an intellectual landscape of opposed perspectives in order to think within the contradictions that characterize this central question: Where is Africa headed?
The experts in this book address Africa’s future as it is embedded within various social and cultural forms emerging on the continent today: the reconfiguration of the urban, the efflorescence of signs and wonders and gospels of prosperity, the assorted techniques of legality and illegality, lotteries and Ponzi schemes, apocalyptic visions, a yearning for exile, and many other phenomena. Bringing together social, political, religious, and economic viewpoints, the book reveals not one but multiple prospects for the future of Africa. In doing so, it offers a pathbreaking model of pluralistic and open-ended thinking and a powerful tool for addressing the vexing uncertainties that underlie so many futures around the world.
In the dark of the blackout before the curtain rises, the theater holds its many worlds suspended on the verge of appearance. How can a performance sustain this sense of potentiality that grounds all live production? Or if a stage-world does begin, what kinds of future might appear within its frame? Conceiving of the theater as a cultural institution devoted to experimenting with the future, this book begins and ends on the dramatic stage; in between it traverses literature, dance, sculpture, and performance art to explore the various futures we make in a live event.
After Live conceives of traditional dramatic theater as a place for taming the future and then conceptualizes how performance beyond this paradigm might stage the unruly nature of futurity. Chapters offer insights into the plays of Beckett, Churchill, Eno, and Gombrowicz, devised theater practices, and include an extended exploration of the Italian director Romeo Castellucci. Through the lens of potentiality, other chapters present novel approaches to minimalist sculpture and dance, then reflect on how the beholder him or herself is called upon to perform when confronted by such work.
Thomas Aquinas and Jean-Paul Sartre are usually identified with completely different philosophical traditions: intellectualism and voluntarism. In this original study, Stephen Wang shows, instead, that there are some profound similarities in their understanding of freedom and human identity.
In the early years of the new millennium, the practice of democracy in America and around the world faces tremendous dangers: the proliferation of transnational corporations, the spread of oppressive fundamentalism, and environmental collapse. Within the United States, opposition to increasingly antidemocratic political and economic policies has been either nonexistent or unsuccessful. This trend includes, but far exceeds, the Bush administration’s policies from the Patriot Act and the war on Iraq to the “Clear Channelization” of the media and the private development of public lands.
In Beyond Gated Politics, political theorist and grassroots activist Romand Coles argues that the survival of democracy depends on recognizing the failings of disengaged liberal democracy—the exclusions and subjugations that accompany every democratic “we,” for example—and experimenting with more radical modes of democratic theory and action. Among those brought into the conversation are John Howard Yoder, John Rawls, Alisdair MacIntyre, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Audre Lorde.
Coles, whose work is deeply informed by his own experiences as an activist, pays close attention to the actual practice of democracy with particular interest in emerging social movements. In doing so, he not only moves beyond the paradigms of political liberalism, deliberative democracy, and communitarian republicanism, but also cultivates multidimensional modes of public discourse that reflect and sustain the creative tension at the heart of democratic life and responsibility.
Romand Coles is professor of political theory at Duke University. His previous books include Rethinking Generosity: Critical Theory and the Politics of Caritas and Self/Power/Other: Political Theory and Dialogical Ethics.
With socialism in eclipse and market economies gaining acceptance worldwide, a new kind of ethics is needed to address social injustice and inequity. Richard C. Bayer debunks the present direction of mainstream social ethical theory by advancing market systems themselves as a means toward promoting justice and meeting human needs.
Observing that the primary vehicle for Christian ethics since the New Deal has been the welfare state, Bayer argues instead that market systems can provide a basis for reconciling capitalism and Christianity in both theory and practice. He proposes Christian personalism as an ethical approach that emphasizes the dignity of the human person and promotes the achievement of personal development through participation in a modified market economy.
Bayer's work draws on Catholic social thought and orthodox economics, adopting a post-Keynesian approach that deemphasizes the role of the state in the achievement of economic justice. As an example of a personalist economic reform agenda, he describes a "share economy" that advances solidarity among workers, promises greater economic efficiency, and increases employee participation in profit-sharing and decision-making.
Capitalism and Christianity integrates moral arguments with economic analysis to challenge prevailing thought in contemporary Christian social ethics. By incorporating key insights of liberalism while providing constructive criticism of that perspective, it creatively addresses both personal development and the common good.
AIDS is now the leading cause of death in Africa, where twenty-eight million people are HIV-positive, and where some twelve million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. In Zimbabwe, 45 percent of children under the age of five are HIV-positive, and the epidemic has shortened life expectancy by twenty-two years. A fifteen-year-old in Botswana or South Africa has a one-in-two chance of dying of AIDS. AIDS deaths are so widespread in sub-Saharan Africa that small children now play a new game called “Funerals.”
The Children of Africa Confront AIDS depicts the reality of how African children deal with the AIDS epidemic, and how the discourse of their vulnerability affects acts of coping and courage. A project of the Institute for the African Child at Ohio University, The Children of Africa Confront AIDS cuts across disciplines and issues to focus on the world's most marginalized population group, the children of Africa.
Editors Arvind Singhal and Stephen Howard join conversations between humanitarian and political activists and academics, asking, “What shall we do?” Such discourse occurs in African contexts ranging from a social science classroom in Botswana to youth groups in Kenya and Ghana. The authors describe HIV/AIDS in its macro contexts of vulnerable children and the continent's democratization movements and also in its national contexts of civil conflict, rural poverty, youth organizations, and agencies working on the ground.
Singhal, Howard, and other contributors draw on compelling personal experience in descriptions of HIV/AIDS interventions for children in difficult circumstances and present thoughtful insights into data gathered from surveys and observations concerning this terrible epidemic.
Here, in a new edition, is Nelson Goodman’s provocative philosophical classic—a book that, according to Science, “raised a storm of controversy” when it was first published in 1954, and one that remains on the front lines of philosophical debate.
How is it that we feel confident in generalizing from experience in some ways but not in others? How are generalizations that are warranted to be distinguished from those that are not? Goodman shows that these questions resist formal solution and his demonstration has been taken by nativists like Chomsky and Fodor as proof that neither scientific induction nor ordinary learning can proceed without an a priori, or innate, ordering of hypotheses.
In his new foreword to this edition, Hilary Putnam forcefully rejects these nativist claims. The controversy surrounding these unsolved problems is as relevant to the psychology of cognitive development as it is to the philosophy of science. No serious student of either discipline can afford to misunderstand Goodman’s classic argument.
It’s a question that has puzzled philosophers and theologians for centuries and is at the heart of numerous political, social, and personal concerns: Do we have free will? In this cogent and compelling book, Julian Baggini explores the concept of free will from every angle, blending philosophy, sociology, and cognitive science to find rich new insights on the intractable questions that have plagued us. Are we products of our culture, or free agents within it? Are our neural pathways fixed early on by a mixture of nature and nurture, or is the possibility of comprehensive, intentional psychological change always open to us? And what, exactly, are we talking about when we talk about “freedom” anyway?
Freedom Regained brings the issues raised by the possibilities—and denials—of free will to thought-provoking life, drawing on scientific research and fascinating encounters with everyone from artists to prisoners to dissidents. He looks at what it means for us to be material beings in a universe of natural laws. He asks if there is any difference between ourselves and the brains from which we seem never able to escape. He throws down the wildcards and plays them to the fullest: What about art? What about addiction? What about twins? And he asks, of course, what this all means for politics.
Ultimately, Baggini challenges those who think free will is an illusion. Moving from doubt to optimism to a hedged acceptance of free will, he ultimately lands on a satisfying conclusion: it is something we earn. The result is a highly engaging, new, and more positive understanding of our sense of personal freedom, a freedom that is definitely worth having.
Debates about editorial proprieties have been at the center of Emily Dickinson scholarship since the 1981 publication of the two-volume Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson, edited by Ralph W. Franklin. Many critics have since investigated the possibility that autograph poems might have primacy over their printed versions, and it has been suggested that to read Dickinson in any standard typographic edition is effectively to read her in translation, at one remove from her actual practices. More specifically, it has been claimed that line arrangements, the shape of words and letters, and the particular angle of dashes are all potentially integral to any given poem’s meaning, making a graphic contribution to its contents. In Measures of Possibility, Domhnall Mitchell sets out to test the hypothesis of Dickinson’s textual radicalism, and its consequences for readers, students, and teachers, by looking closely at features such as spacing, the physical direction of the writing, and letter-shapes in handwritten lyric and epistolary texts. Through systematic contextualization and cross-referencing, Mitchell provides the reader with a critical apparatus by which to measure the extent to which contemporary approaches to Dickinson’s autograph procedures can reasonably be formulated as corresponding to the poet’s own purposes.
Kurt Mosser argues that reading Kant's Critique of Pure Reason as an argument for such a logic of experience makes more defensible many of Kant's most controversial claims, and makes more accessible Kant's notoriously difficult text.
“When I was starting College Presidents for Gun Safety, one of the concerns I heard was the idea that there were just too many issues on which to articulate an opinion. Where would it stop? Where would we draw the line? . . . In light of this latest tragedy, on a college campus that could have been any of ours, I would say: ‘We are nowhere near the line yet.’” (Lawrence Schall, quoted in “Tragedy at Umpqua,” by Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed, October 2, 2015)
In this short work, Elizabeth Boquet explores the line Lawrence Schall describes above, tracing the overlaps and intersections of a lifelong education around guns and violence, as a student, a teacher, a feminist, a daughter, a wife, a citizen and across the dislocations and relocations that are part of a life lived in and around school. Weaving narratives of family, the university classroom and administration, her husband’s work as a police officer, and her work with students and the Poetry for Peace effort that her writing center sponsors in the local schools, she recounts her efforts to respond to moments of violence with a pedagogy of peace. “Can we not acknowledge that our experiences with pain anywhere should render us more, not less, capable of responding to it everywhere?” she asks. “Compassion, it seems to me, is an infinitely renewable resource.”
In a book that itself exemplifies the dialogic scholarship it proposes, Kay Halasek reconceives composition studies from a Bakhtinian perspective, focusing on both the discipline's theoretical assumptions and its pedagogies.
Framing her discussions at every level of the discipline—theoretical, historical, pedagogical—Halasek provides an overview of portions of the Bakhtinian canon relevant to composition studies, explores the implications of Mikhail Bakhtin's work in the teaching of writing and for current debates about the role of theory in composition studies, and provides a model of scholarship that strives to maintain dialogic balance between practice and theory, between composition studies and Bakhtinian thought.
Halasek's study ranges broadly across the field of composition, painting in wide strokes a new picture of the discipline, focusing on the finer details of the rhetorical situation, and teasing out the implications of Bakhtinian thought for classroom practice by examining the nature of critical reading and writing, the efficacy and ethics of academic discourse, student resistance, and critical and conflict pedagogy. The book ends by setting out a pedagogy of possibility, what Halasek terms elsewhere a "post-critical pedagogy" that redefines and redirects current discussions of home versus academic literacies and discourses.
Since September 11, 2001, the imagination of "low probability, high consequence" events has become a distinctive feature of contemporary politics. Uncertain futures—devastation by terrorist attack, cyber crime, flood, financial market collapse—must be discerned and responded to as possibilities, however improbable they may be. In The Politics of Possibility, Louise Amoore examines this development, tracing its genealogy through the diverse worlds of risk management consulting, computer science, commercial logistics, and data visualization. She focuses on the increasingly symbiotic relationship between commercial opportunities and state security threats, a relation that turns the trusted, iris-scanned traveler into "a person of national security interest," and the designer of risk algorithms for casino and insurance fraud into a homeland security resource. Juxtaposing new readings of Agamben, Foucault, Derrida, Massumi, and Connolly with interpretations of post–9/11 novels and artworks, Amoore analyzes the "politics of possibility" and its far-reaching implications for society, associative life, and political accountability.
Possibility and Necessity was first published in 1987. 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.
Jean Piaget was preoccupied, later in life, with the developing child's understanding of possibility—how the child becomes aware of the potentially unlimited scope of possible actions and learns to choose among them. Piaget's approach to this question took on a new openness to real-life situations, less deterministic than his earlier, ground-breaking work in cognitive development. The resulting two-volume work—his last—was published in France in 1981 and 1983 and is not available for the first time in English translation. Possibility and Necessity combines theoretical interpretation with detailed summaries of the experiments that Piaget and his colleagues used to test their hypotheses.
Piaget's intent, in Volume 1, is to explore the process whereby possibilities are formed. He chooses to understand "the possible" not as something predetermined by initial conditions; rather, in his use of the term, possibilities are constantly coming into being, and have no static characteristics—each arises from an event which has produced an opening onto it, and its actualization will in turn give rise to other openings. In perceiving that a possibility can be realized, and in acting upon it, the child creates something that did not exist before.
To observe this process, Piaget and his associates devised a series of thirteen problems appropriate for children ranging in age from four or five to eleven or twelve; they were asked to name all possible ways three dice might be arranged, for example, or a square of paper sectioned. The experimenters had two primary aims—to discover to what extent the child's capacity to see possibilities develops with age, and to determine the place in cognitive development of this capacity—does it precede or follow the advent of operational thought structures? In charting this process, Piaget discerns a growing interaction between possibility and necessity. How the child comes to understand necessity and achieves a dynamic synthesis—or equilibrium — between the possible and the necessary is discussed by Piaget and his colleagues in Volume 2, The Role of Necessity in Cognitive Development, also published by Minnesota.
Possibility and Necessity was first published in 1987. 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.
This two-volume work—Jean Piaget's last—was published in France in 1981 and 1983 and is available now for the first time in English translation. Reflecting the preoccupations and methodologies of his later years, Possibility and Necessity combines theoretical interpretation with detailed summaries of the experiments Piaget and his colleagues used to test their hypotheses.
Volume 2 presents a series of experiments documenting the way children between the ages of four or five and eleven to thirteen come to develop a grasp of necessity and its role in understanding the world about them. The experiments show how children proceed from an initial level (at four or five years) of pseudo-necessities, where they see the world as necessarily what it appears to be without the existence of other possibilities, to an intermediate level (at six to ten years), where pseudo-necessities give way to increasingly rich arrays of possibilities, and a final stage (at eleven to thirteen years), where children are able to select among these multiple possibilities the one that fits all the data. This stage represents the optimal level of understanding reality, which is now seen by the child as infinitely variable yet coherent and lawful. Psychologically, this lawfulness corresponds to a sense of necessity, or certainty.
Volume 2 thus completes the theory presented in Volume 1 (The Role of Possibility in Cognitive Development) by showing how cognitive development is mediated on the one hand by a dialectical process of ever-expanding possibilities and, on the other, by increasingly delimiting necessities. In demonstrating how this process operates in psychological development—and in pointing out analogies in the history of science — Piaget gave his genetic epistemology its final and most accomplished form. The acquisition of knowledge is thus shown to be the result of two complementary processes: the formation of possibilities and the grasping of necessary laws and constraints in the construction of a reasoned representation of the external world.
In this systematic historical analysis, Nino Langiulli focuses on a key philosophical issue, possibility, as it is refracted through the thought of the Italian philosopher Nicola Abbagnano. Langiulli examines Abbagnano's attempt to raise possibility to a level of prime importance and investigates his understanding of existence. In so doing, the author offers a sustained exposition of and argument with the account of possibility in the major thinkers of the Western tradition—Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Kierkegaard. He also makes pertinent comments on such philosophers as Diodorus Cronus, William of Ockham, Spinoza, Hobbes, and Hegel, as well as such logicians as DeMorgan and Boole.
Nicola Abbagnano, who died in 1990, recently came to the attention of the general public as an influential teacher of author Umberto Eco. Creator of a dictionary of philosophy and author of a multiple-volume history of Western philosophy, Abbagnano was the only philosopher, according to Langiulli, to argue that "to be is to be possible."
Even though the concept of probability and the discipline of statistics are grounded in the concept of possibility, philosophers throughout history have grappled with the problem of defining it. Possibility has been viewed by some as an empty concept, devoid of reality, and by others as reducible to actuality or necessity—concepts which are opposite to it. Langiulli analyzes and debates Abbagnano's treatment of necessity as secondary to possibility, and he addresses the philosopher's conversation with his predecessors as well as his European and American contemporaries.
In the series Themes in the History of Philosophy, edited by Edith Wyschogrod.
In this volume, Maria Cerezo examines Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus as a response to some of Frege's and Russel's logical problems. In analyzing the tractarian conditions for the possibility of language, she explains the two main theories of the proposition in Tractatus: the truth-functions theory and the picture theory. Cerezo shows that Wittgenstein initially separates the account of the structure of a proposition from the explanation of its expression. However, contrary to his intention, the combination of these theories creates new difficulties, since the requirements of each theory cannot be fully respected by the others. Cerezo also argues that Wittgenstein's theory of language cannot be fully understood unless attention is paid to his theory of expression and his doctrine of projection by the metaphysical subject.
The Possibility of Music
Stephen-Paul Martin University of Alabama Press, 2007 Library of Congress PS3563.A7292P67 2007 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
An exhilarating collection about the limits of language, narrative, and identity.
The Possibility of Music is an imaginative reconstruction of America in the early 21st century. What would our post-9/11 society look like if it were viewed through a series of funhouse mirrors?
Each of Stephen-Paul Martin’s stories is a response to this question, a prose exploration that redefines what it means to write fiction in a world in which the Sistein Chapel has become the Mall of America. Nightmarish at times, playfully amusing at others, Martin’s prose is relentlessly inventive and challenging, relocating the experimental tradition of Joyce, Kafka, Borges, and Marquez in a contemporary context in which intelligent communication has become both impossible and increasingly necessary.
"I’d always told myself that if I ever wrote my own music," the narrator of one story says, "every composition would become its own distinct struggle with aesthetic questions that emerged as the process unfolded." In good part, that’s what animates The Possibility of Music, a book in which John Coltrane’s "Love Supreme" moves through characters and stories like a soundtrack.
"The Possibility of Popular Justice is essential reading for scholars and practitioners of community mediation and should be very high on the list of anyone seriously concerned with dispute resolution in general. The book offers many rewards for the advanced student of law and society studies." --Law and Politics Book Review
"These immensely important articles--fifteen in all--take several academic perspectives on the [San Francisco Community Boards] program's diverse history, impact, and implications for 'popular justice.' These articles will richly inform the program, polemical, and political perspectives of anyone working on 'alternative programs' of any sort." -- IARCA Journal
"Few collections are so well integrated, analytically penetrating, or as readable as this fascinating account. It is a 'must read' for anyone interested in community mediation." --William M. O'Barr, Duke University
"You do not have to be involved in mediation to appreciate this book. The authors use the case as a launching pad to evaluate the possibilities and 'impossibilities' of building community in complex urban areas and pursuing popular justice in the shadow of state law." --Deborah M. Kolb, Harvard Law School and Simmons College
Sally Engle Merry is Professor of Anthropology, Wellesley College. Neal Milner is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Program on Conflict Resolution, University of Hawaii.
The Possibility of Practical Reason explores the foundational questions of moral psychology: How can any of our behavior qualify as acting for a reason? How can any considerations qualify as reasons for us to act? David Velleman argues that both possibilities depend on there being a constitutive aim of action?something that makes for success in action as such. These twelve essays?five of which were not included in the previous edition, two of them previously unpublished?discuss topics such as freedom of the will, shared intention, the relation between value and practical reasoning, the foundations of decision theory, and the motivational role of the imagination.
A volume in the Poets on Poetry series, which collects critical works by contemporary poets, gathering together the articles, interviews, and book reviews by which they have articulated the poetics of a new generation.
Elizabeth Alexander is considered one of the country's most gifted contemporary poets, and the publication of her essays in The Black Interior in 2004 established her as an astute critic and cultural commentator as well. Arnold Rampersad has called Alexander "one of the brightest stars in our literary sky . . . a superb, invaluable commentator on the American scene." In this new collection of her essays, reviews, and interviews, Alexander again focuses on African American artistic production, particularly poetry, and the cultural contexts in which it is created and experienced.
The book's first section, "Black Arts 101," takes up the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Sterling Brown, Lucille Clifton, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Rita Dove (among others); artist Romare Bearden; dancer Bill T. Jones; and dramatist August Wilson. A second section, "Black Feminist Thinking," provides engaging meditations ranging from "My Grandmother's Hair" and "A Very Short History of Black Women and Food" to essays on the legacies of Toni Cade, Audre Lorde, and June Jordan. The collection's final section, "Talking," includes interviews, a commencement address---"Black Graduation"---and the essay "Africa and the World."
Elizabeth Alexander received a B.A. from Yale University, an M.A. from Boston University, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania. She has published four books of poems: The Venus Hottentot (1990); Body of Life (1996); Antebellum Dream Book (2001); and, most recently, American Sublime (2005), which was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Her play, Diva Studies, was produced at the Yale School of Drama. She is presently Professor of American and African American Studies at Yale University.
Fifty years after the release of the film version of Harper Lee’s acclaimed novel To Kill a Mockingbird, this collection of original essays takes a fresh look at a classic text in legal scholarship. The contributors revisit and examine Atticus, Scout, and Jem Finch, their community, and the events that occur there through the interdisciplinary lens of law and humanities scholarship. The readings in this volume peel back the film’s visual representation of the many-layered social world of Maycomb, Alabama, offering sometimes counterintuitive insights through the prism of a number of provocative contemporary theoretical and interpretive questions. What, they ask, is the relationship between the subversion of social norms and the doing of justice or injustice? Through what narrative and visual devices are some social hierarchies destabilized while others remain hegemonic? How should we understand the sacrifices characters make in the name of justice, and comprehend their failures in achieving it? Asking such questions casts light on the film’s eccentricities and internal contradictions and suggests the possibility of new interpretations of a culturally iconic text. The book examines the context that gave meaning to the film’s representation of race and how debates about family, community, and race are played out and reframed in law. Contributors include Colin Dayan, Thomas L. Dumm, Susan Sage Heinzelman, Linda Ross Meyer, Naomi Mezey, Imani Perry, and Ravit Reichman.