front cover of African Pentecostals in Catholic Europe
African Pentecostals in Catholic Europe
The Politics of Presence in the Twenty-First Century
Annalisa Butticci
Harvard University Press, 2016

Over the past thirty years, Italy—the historic home of Catholicism—has become a significant destination for migrants from Nigeria and Ghana. Along with suitcases and dreams of a brighter future, these Africans bring their own form of Christianity, Pentecostalism, shaped by their various cultures and religious worlds. At the heart of Annalisa Butticci’s beautifully sculpted ethnography of African Pentecostalism in Italy is a paradox. Pentecostalism, traditionally one of the most Protestant of Christian faiths, is driven by the same concern as Catholicism: real presence.

In Italy, Pentecostals face harsh anti-immigrant sentiment and limited access to economic and social resources. At times, they find safe spaces to worship in Catholic churches, where a fascinating encounter unfolds that is equal parts conflict and communion. When Pentecostals watch Catholics engage with sacramental objects—relics, statues, works of art—they recognize the signs of what they consider the idolatrous religions of their ancestors. Catholics, in turn, view Pentecostal practices as a mix of African religions and Christian traditions. Yet despite their apparently irreconcilable differences and conflicts, they both share a deeply sensuous and material way to make the divine visible and tangible. In this sense, Pentecostalism appears much closer to Catholicism than to mainstream Protestantism.

African Pentecostals in Catholic Europe offers an intimate glimpse at what happens when the world’s two fastest growing Christian faiths come into contact, share worship space, and use analogous sacramental objects and images. And it explains how their seemingly antithetical practices and beliefs undergird a profound commonality.

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After King Philip’s War
Presence and Persistence in Indian New England
Edited by Colin G. Calloway
Dartmouth College Press, 1997
The 1676 killing of Metacomet, the tribal leader dubbed "King Philip" by colonists, is commonly seen as a watershed event, marking the end of a bloody war, dissolution of Indian society in New England, and even the disappearance of Native peoples from the region. This collection challenges that assumption, showing that Indians adapted and survived, existing quietly on the fringes of Yankee society, less visible than before but nonetheless retaining a distinct identity and heritage. While confinement on tiny reservations, subjection to increasing state regulation, enforced abandonment of traditional dress and means of support, and racist policies did cause dramatic changes, Natives nonetheless managed to maintain their Indianness through customs, kinship, and community.
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Capturing the Beat Moment
Cultural Politics and the Poetics of Presence
Erik Mortenson
Southern Illinois University Press, 2010

CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

Examining “the moment” as one of the primary motifs of Beat writing, Erik Mortenson offers the first book to investigate immediacy and its presence and importance in Beat writing. Capturing the Beat Moment: Cultural Politics and the Poetics of Presence places an expanded canon of Beat writers in an early postmodern context that highlights their importance in American poetics and provides an account of Beat practices that reveal how gender and race affect Beat politics of the moment.

Mortenson argues that Beat writers focused on action, desire, and spontaneity to establish an authentic connection to the world around them and believed that “living in the moment” was the only way in which they might establish the kind of life that led to good writing. With this in mind, he explores the possibility that, far from being the antithesis of their times, the Beats actually were a product of them. Mortenson outlines the effects of gender and race on Beat writing in the postwar years, as well as the Beats’ attempts to break free of the constrictive notions of time and space prevalent during the 1950s.

Mortenson discusses such topics as the importance of personal visionary experiences; the embodiment of sexuality and the moment of ecstasy in Beat writing; how the Beats used photographs to evoke the past; and the ways that Beat culture was designed to offer alternatives to existing political and social structures. Throughout the volume, Mortenson moves beyond the Kerouac-Ginsberg-Burroughs triumvirate commonly associated with Beat literature, discussing women—such as Diane di Prima, Janine Pommy Vega, and Joyce Johnson—and African American writers, including Bob Kaufman and Amiri Baraka. With the inclusion of these authors comes a richer understanding of the Beat writers’ value and influence in American literary history.

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Chaucer on Screen
Absence, Presence, and Adapting the Canterbury Tales
Kathleen C Kelly and Tison Pugh
The Ohio State University Press, 2016
Unlike William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and other great authors who have enjoyed continued success in Hollywood, Geoffrey Chaucer has largely been shunted to the margins of the cinematic world. Chaucer on Screen: Absence, Presence, and Adapting the Canterbury Tales, edited by Kathleen Coyne Kelly and Tison Pugh, investigates the various translations of Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales to film and television, tracing out how the legacies of the great fourteenth-century English poet have been revisited and reinterpreted through visual media. Contributors to this volume address the question of why Chaucer is so rarely adapted to the screen, and then turn to the occasional, often awkward, attempts to adapt his narratives, including such works as Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s lyrical A Canterbury Tale (1944), Pier Paolo Pasolini’s still-controversial I racconti di Canterbury (1972), Bud Lee’s soft-core The Ribald Tales of Canterbury (1985), Brian Helgeland’s A Knight’s Tale (2001), and BBC television productions, among others. Chaucer on Screen aims to rethink some of the premises of adaptation studies and to erase the ideological lines between textual sources and visual reimaginings in the certainty that many pleasures, scholarly and otherwise, can found in multiple media across disparate eras.
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Etty Hillesum and the Flow of Presence
A Voegelinian Analysis
Meins G. S. Coetsier
University of Missouri Press, 2008

Although she died cruelly at Auschwitz at the age of twenty-nine, Etty Hillesum left a lasting legacy of mystical thought in her letters and diaries. Hillesum was a complex and powerful witness to the openness of the human spirit to the call of God, even under the most harrowing circumstances. Her life was as much shaped by Hitler’s regime as was that of philosopher Eric Voegelin, and as Meins Coetsier reveals, her thought lends itself to interpretation from a uniquely Voegelinian perspective.

Etty Hillesum and the Flow of Presence analyzes the life and writings of Hillesum from the standpoint of Voegelin’s views on consciousness—especially his philosophy of luminous participation in the transcendent ground of being. Through a careful reading of her letters and diaries, Coetsier reveals the inner development of Hillesum’s mystically grounded resistance to Nazism as he guides readers through the symbolism of her spiritual journey, making effective use of Voegelin’s analytics of experience and symbolization to trace her path to spiritual truth.

Intertwining the lives, works, and visions of these two mystical thinkers, Coetsier demonstrates his mastery of both Voegelin’s philosophy and Hillesum’s Dutch-language materials. He shows how mystical attunement to the “flow of presence”—Voegelin’s designation for human responsiveness to the divine—is the key to the development of Hillesum’s life and writings. He displays a special affinity for the suffering and grace-filled transformation that she underwent as she approached the end of her life and gained insight into the ultimate purpose of each individual’s contribution to the well-being and maintenance of the human spirit.

Retrieving one of the lesser-known but most compelling figures of the Holocaust, Etty Hillesum and the Flow of Presence is an original contribution to both Voegelin and Hillesum scholarship that reflects these writers’ strong valuation of the human person. It presents Hillesum’s life and work in an original and provocative context, shedding new light on her experiences and their symbolizations while further broadening the application of Voegelin’s thought

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A Gift of Presence
The Theology and Poetry of the Eucharist in Thomas Aquinas
Jan Heiner Tück
Catholic University of America Press, 2018
Jan-Heiner Tück presents a work that explores the sacramental theology, lived spirituality, and Eucharistic poetry of the Church’s doctor communis, St. Thomas Aquinas. Although Aquinas’ Eucharistic poetry has long occupied an important place in the Church’s liturgical prayer and her repertoire of sacred music, the depth of these poems remains hidden until one grasps the rich sacramental theology underlying it. Consequently, Tück first offers a detailed but approachable primer of Aquinas’ theology of the sacraments, before diving deeply into the Angelic Doctor’s theology and poetry of the Eucharist. The Scriptural accounts stand at the heart of the systematic framework developed by Aquinas, and thus significant attention is devoted to showing the harmony between the accounts of Christ’s passion and the detailed exposition of the Summa theologiae. Moreover, the Eucharistic controversies of the ninth and eleventh centuries provide the contrapuntal context in which Aquinas did his thinking, praying, and writing. Not surprisingly, therefore, the response he crafts to these controversies draws upon both speculative powers and contemplative prayer, brought together in the unity of Aquinas’ theology and spirituality. The net result is a twofold treasure for the Church: a careful systematic presentation of Eucharistic theology and the lived devotional expression of the same in the carefully constructed—and now much beloved—stanzas of Pange lingua gloriosi, Lauda Sion, Adoro te devote, etc. By revealing the lively interplay of the saint’s powerful speculative intellect and a heart steeped in love for the Eucharistic Lord, Tück offers a sophisticated exposition of Aquinas’ Eucharistic poetry and the roots it sinks into a wider theological framework. Finally, the contemporary significance and power of Aquinas’ work is drawn out, not only in the rarefied realm of intellectual inquiry but also in the everyday expanse of ordinary life.
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History and Presence
Robert A. Orsi
Harvard University Press, 2016

A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year

Beginning with metaphysical debates in the sixteenth century over the nature of Christ’s presence in the host, the distinguished historian and scholar of religion Robert Orsi imagines an alternative to the future of religion that early moderns proclaimed was inevitable.

“Orsi’s evoking of the full reality of the holy in the world is extremely moving, shot through with wonder and horror.”
—Caroline Walker Bynum, Common Knowledge

“This is a meticulously researched, humane, and deeply challenging book. The men and women studied in this book do not belong to ‘a world we have lost.’ They belong to a world we have lost sight of.”
—Peter Brown, Princeton University

“[A] brilliant, theologically sophisticated exploration of the Catholic experience of God’s presence through the material world… On every level—from its sympathetic, honest, and sometimes moving ethnography to its astute analytical observations—this book is a scholarly masterpiece.”
—A. W. Klink, Choice

“Orsi recaptures God’s breaking into the world … The book does an excellent job of explaining both the difficulties and values inherent in recognizing God in the world.”
Publishers Weekly

“This book is classic Orsi: careful, layered, humane, and subtle…a thought-provoking, expertly arranged tour of precisely those abundant, excessive phenomena which scholars have historically found so difficult to think.”
—Sonja Anderson, Reading Religion

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In the Presence of Angels
Andrea R. Garrison
Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2013

In October 2004, Andrea Garrison’s mother, Mattie Pearl, passed into the spiritual world. The weeks leading up to her crossing were a powerful time for Andrea and the rest of her family as Mattie Pearl shared her love, her insights, and her visions of heaven with those around her.

Andrea knew from the time she was a little girl that there was a spiritual reality beyond what we could see, and her mother encouraged her to explore different understandings of the Divine. As an adult, Andrea encountered the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and was struck by the similarities between his theology and her experiences. Her quest to find others who knew about the Swedish mystic led her to new friends and, ultimately, a deeper exploration of her family history.

Originally published as The Crossing Over of Mattie Pearl, this expanded edition tells more about Andrea’s family history, including the role her father played in her life, as well as her reflections on Emanuel Swedenborg. Anyone who has mourned the loss of a loved one or been curious about the other side will be inspired and uplifted by this true story of a remarkable woman.

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Jesus-Shock
Peter Kreeft
St. Augustine's Press, 2008

Jesus Shock is the second in a series of short works on seminal concerns of the impact that Jesus Christ made in the world. The first work, The Philosophy of Jesus (St. Augustine’s Press, 2007), explored philosophy in light of Jesus, rather than the other way around. The present work investigates the reception Jesus received both in His lifetime and continuously to the present time, not only from His enemies, but from His friends, a reception of shock, astonishment, even disgust.
  Perhaps a few remarks from the book best explains it:

The point of the book:
 The point of the title: Imagine a storm has downed a telephone wire so that everyone who touches it is shocked in every cell of his body. Well, the storm of God’s crazy love has “downed” (incarnated) Jesus, and everyone who touches this “live wire” is shocked in every cell of his soul.
 The question of the book: Why is “Jesus” the most non-neutral, the most controversial, the most embarrassing name in the world? Why is talking about Jesus like talking about sex?
 This whole book is really about a single movie line, the greatest line in the greatest movie in history. Bet you know what it is.
 Jesus-Shock is about the Real Presence of Christ in the Gospels and in the Eucharist. It
is not about the theology of the Real Presence, but about the experience of Him there, and about the experience of everyone in the Gospels who met Him.

 What was the bitterest controversy of the Protestant Reformation, both between Protestants and Catholics and between different Protestant denominations, the one that had both sides calling the other not just heretics but devils?   
 Answer: It was not Justification by Faith, the hallmark of the Reformation, even though that question is about nothing less momentous than how to be saved, how to get to Heaven. It was not the relation between religion and politics, even though that was a matter of life or death (literally, on battlefields and at guillotines and hangings) and not just a matter of truth or falsity, or of good or evil. It was not about the sufficiency of the Bible, or the corruption in the Church, or the relation between the Bible and the Church. It was not about the Pope, and the governance of the Church. It was not about Mary or saints or angels or Purgatory. It was not about the Incarnation or the Trinity or the Atonement.
 It was about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

 Jesus-Shock, in addressing this controversy forcefully and faithfully, shows the reasons why to this day the name of “Jesus” stirs up controversy, even revulsion, in polite society. In the true spirit of ecumenism, it also points the way toward a true rapprochement among His modern-day disciples.

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Likeness and Presence
A History of the Image before the Era of Art
Hans Belting
University of Chicago Press, 1993
Before the Renaissance and Reformation, holy images were treated not as "art" but as objects of veneration which possessed the tangible presence of the Holy. In this magisterial book, Hans Belting traces the long history of the sacral image and its changing role in European culture.
Likeness and Presence looks at the beliefs, superstitions, hopes, and fears that come into play as people handle and respond to sacred
images, and presents a compelling interpretation of the place of the image in Western history.

"A rarity within its genre—an art-historical analysis of iconography which is itself iconoclastic. . . . One of the most intellectually exciting and historically grounded interpretations of Christian iconography." —Graham Howes, Times Literary Supplement

"Likeness and Presence offers the best source to survey the facts of what European Christians put in their churches. . . . An impressively detailed contextual analysis of medieval objects." —Robin Cormack, New York Times Book Review

"I cannot begin to describe the richness or the imaginative grandeur of Hans Belting's book. . . . It is a work that anyone interested in art, or in the history of thought about art, should regard as urgent reading. It is a tremendous achievement."—Arthur C. Danto, New Republic
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The Mass
The Presence of the Sacrifice of the Cross
Charles Cardinal Journet
St. Augustine's Press, 2008

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A Ministry of Presence
Chaplaincy, Spiritual Care, and the Law
Winnifred Fallers Sullivan
University of Chicago Press, 2014
Most people in the United States today no longer live their lives under the guidance of local institutionalized religious leadership, such as rabbis, ministers, and priests; rather, liberals and conservatives alike have taken charge of their own religious or spiritual practices. This shift, along with other social and cultural changes, has opened up a perhaps surprising space for chaplains—spiritual professionals who usually work with the endorsement of a religious community but do that work away from its immediate hierarchy, ministering in a secular institution, such as a prison, the military, or an airport, to an ever-changing group of clients of widely varying faiths and beliefs.

In A Ministry of Presence, Winnifred Fallers Sullivan explores how chaplaincy works in the United States—and in particular how it sits uneasily at the intersection of law and religion, spiritual care, and government regulation. Responsible for ministering to the wandering souls of the globalized economy, the chaplain works with a clientele often unmarked by a specific religious identity, and does so on behalf of a secular institution, like a hospital. Sullivan's examination of the sometimes heroic but often deeply ambiguous work yields fascinating insights into contemporary spiritual life, the politics of religious freedom, and the never-ending negotiation of religion's place in American institutional life.
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Mystics
Presence and Aporia
Edited by Michael Kessler and Christian Sheppard
University of Chicago Press, 2003
When we speak of mystics, we normally think of people who have confessed extraordinary experiences of divine presence. But mysticism can also refer to the ways that people have described and explained such phenomena—ways that challenge our normal modes of thinking and believing. And the study of mystics can show problems inherent to experience and language—how to speak and think about what affects people but lies beyond language or thought.

Mystics presents a collection of previously unpublished essays by prominent scholars that consider both the idea of mystics and mysticism. The contributors offer detailed discussions of a variety of mystics from history, including Dionysius the Areopagite, Thomas Aquinas, Joan of Arc, Nicholas of Cusa, Saint Teresa of Avila, Martin Luther, and George Herbert. Essays on mysticism in George Bataille, Maurice Blanchot, and contemporary technology bring the volume into the twenty-first century.

For anyone interested in the state of current thinking about mysticism, this collection will be an essential touchstone.

Contributors:
Thomas A. Carlson, Alexander Golitzin, Kevin Hart, Amy Hollywood, Michael Kessler, Jean-Luc Marion, Bernard McGinn, Françoise Meltzer, Susan Schreiner, Regina M. Schwartz, Christian Sheppard, David Tracy
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One Man Show
Poetics and Presence in the Iliad and Odyssey
Katherine Kretler
Harvard University Press, 2019

This book plumbs the virtues of the Homeric poems as scripts for solo performance. Despite academic focus on orality and on composition in performance, we have yet to fully appreciate the Iliad and Odyssey as the sophisticated scripts that they are. What is lost in the journey from the stage to the page?

Readers may be readily impressed by the vividness of the poems, but they may miss out on the strange presence or uncanniness that the performer evoked in ancient audience members such as Plato and Aristotle. This book focuses on the performer not simply as transparent mediator, but as one haunted by multiple stories and presences, who brings suppressed voices to the surface.

Performance is inextricable from all aspects of the poems, from image to structure to background story. Background stories previously neglected, even in some of the most familiar passages (such as Phoenix’s speech in Iliad 9) are brought to the surface, and passages readers tend to rush through (such as Odysseus’s encounter with Eumaeus) are shown to have some of the richest dramatic potential. Attending to performance enlivens isolated features in a given passage by showing how they work together.

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Oriental Shadows
The Presence of the East in Early American Literature
Jim Egan
The Ohio State University Press, 2011

Through the use of several iconic early American authors (Anne Bradstreet, James Kirkpatrick, Benjamin Franklin, and Edgar Allan Poe), Jim Egan’s Oriental Shadows: The Presence of the East in Early American Literature explores the presence of “the East” in American writing.

The specter of the East haunted the literature of colonial British America and the new United States, from the earliest promotional pamphlets to the most aesthetically sophisticated works of art of the American Renaissance. Figures of Persia, China, Arabia, and other Oriental people, places, and things played crucial roles in many British American literary works, serving as key images in early American writers’ efforts to demonstrate that early American culture could match—and perhaps even surpass—European standards of refinement. These writers offered the East as a solution to America’s perceived inferior civilized status by suggesting that America become more civilized not by becoming more European but instead by adopting aesthetic styles and standards long associated with an East cast as superior aesthetically to both America and Europe.

In bringing to light this largely overlooked archive of images within the American literary canon, Oriental Shadows suggests that the East played a key role in the emergence of a distinctively American literary tradition and, further, that early American identity was born as much from figures of the East as it was from the colonists’ encounters with the frontier.
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Philosophical Witnessing
The Holocaust as Presence
Berel Lang
Brandeis University Press, 2012
In this volume, eminent scholar Berel Lang brings the perspective of philosophical analysis to bear on issues related to the Holocaust. Setting out from a conception of philosophical “witnessing” that expands and illuminates the standard view of the witness, he confronts the question of what philosophy can add to the views of the Holocaust provided in other disciplines. Drawing on the philosophical areas of political theory, ethics, aesthetics, and the philosophy of history, he draws attention especially to the post-Holocaust emphasis on the concepts of genocide and “group rights.” Lang’s study, which emphasizes the moral choices that now face post-Holocaust thought, inspires the reader to think of the Holocaust in new ways, showing how its continued presence in contemporary consciousness affects areas of thought and practice not directly associated with that event.
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PLOTINUS Ennead VI.4 and VI.5
On the Presence of Being, One and the Same, Everywhere as a Whole: Translation with an Introduction and Commentary
Eyjólfur K. Emilsson
Parmenides Publishing, 2015
Ennead VI.4-5, originally written as a single treatise, contains Plotinus’ most general and sustained exposition of the relationship between the intelligible and the sensible realms, addressing and coalescing two central issues in Platonism: the nature of the soul-body relationship and the nature of participation. Its main question is, How can soul animate bodies without sharing their extension? The treatise seems to have had considerable impact: it is much reflected in Porphyry’s important work, Sententiae, and the doctrine of reception according to the capacity of the recipient, for which this treatise is the main source, resonated in medieval thinkers.   
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Presence and Absence
A Philosophical Investigation of Language and Being
Robert Sokolowski
Catholic University of America Press, 2017
Presence and Absence is a book of importance for all who are actively engaged in the philosophical enterprise, whatever their differing persuasions. It shows philosophy to be flourishing in the midst of its own self-proclaimed signs of morbidity.” – The Review of Metaphysics

“A splendid, provocative and profound work, this book explores the manifold ways in which the contrast of presence and absence operate to establish the possibility of human discourse and truthfulness…belongs in every philosophy collection.” – Choice

“Quite simply a superb book, which deserves more than one careful reading. A fresh, unified treatment of a grand philosophical theme, the theme of the connections between thought, truth, and being.” – Man and World

“A thoughtful book about thoughtfulness and truthfulness and their ontological conditions. Simply put, this is a book that will reward its careful reader a hundredfold, for Sokolowski is a speaker who says things in ways that are provocative, exciting, and invariably insightful.” – Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology

“Has few peers in phenomenological literature.” – International Philosophical Quarterly

“[Sokolowski is] an original thinker of the first rank, who has significantly furthered the path of phenomenological philosophy. As well as being an exciting synthesis, a thinking of the previously unthought in predecessors, and a ground-breaking movement, this work is written with a sensitivity to language and its graceful use that one would hope for from one exploring its richness and power.” – Human Studies
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Presence and Desire
Essays on Gender, Sexuality, Performance
Jill Dolan
University of Michigan Press, 1994
Explores current controversies and significant concerns in feminist theater and performance
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Presence and Resistance
Postmodernism and Cultural Politics in Contemporary American Performance
Philip Auslander
University of Michigan Press, 1994
Examines performance art in the 1980s and new modes of political art in a media-saturated culture
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Presence and Social Obligation
An Essay on the Share
James Ferguson
Prickly Paradigm Press, 2021
In precarious and tumultuous times, schemes of social support, including cash transfers, are increasingly indispensable. Yet the inadequacy of the nation-state frame of membership that such schemes depend on is becoming evermore evident, as non-citizens form a growing proportion of the populations that welfare states attempt to govern. In Presence and Social Obligation, James Ferguson argues that conceptual resources for solving this problem are closer to hand than we might think. Drawing on a rich anthropology of sharing, he argues that the obligation to share never depends only on membership, but also on presence: on being “here.” Presence and Social Obligation strives to demonstrate that such obligatory sharing based on presence can be observed in the way that marginalized urban populations access state services, however unequally, across the global South. Examples show that such sharing with non-nationals is not some sort of utopian proposal but part of the everyday life of the modern service-delivering state. Presence and Social Obligation is a critical yet refreshing approach to an ever-growing way of being together.
 
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Presence in the Flesh
The Body in Medicine
Katharine Young
Harvard University Press, 1997

Any woman who has been examined by a gynecologist could tell Descartes a thing or two about the mind/body problem. Is her body an object? Is it the self? Is it both, and if so, how? Katharine Young takes up this problem in a book that looks at medicine's means of separating self and body--and at the body's ways of resisting.

Disembodiment--rendering the body an object and the self bodyless--is the foundational gesture of medicine. How, then, does medical practice acknowledge the presence of the person in the objectified body? Young considers in detail the "choreography" such a maneuver requires--and the different turns it takes during a routine exam, or surgery, or even an autopsy. Distinctions between public and private, inside and outside, assume new meanings as medical practice proceeds from one venue to the next--waiting room to examining table, anteroom to operating theater, from the body's exterior to its internal organs. Young inspects the management of these and other "boundaries"--as a physician adds layers of clothing and a patient removes layers, as the rules of objective and subjective discourse shift, as notions of intimacy determine the etiquette of exchanges between doctor and patient.

From embodied positions within the realm of medicine and disembodied positions outside it, Young richly conveys the complexity of presence in the flesh.

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The Presence of Light
Divine Radiance and Religious Experience
Edited by Matthew T. Kapstein
University of Chicago Press, 2004
There is perhaps no greater constant in religious intuition and experience than the presence of light. In spiritual traditions East and West, light is not only ubiquitous but something that assumes strikingly similar forms in altogether different historical and cultural settings. This study examines light as an aspect of religiously valued experiences and its entailments for mystical theology, philosophy, politics, and religious art.

The essays in this volume make an important contribution to religious studies by proposing that it is misleading to conceive of religious experience in terms of an irreconcilable dichotomy between universality and cultural construction. An esteemed group of contributors, representing the study of Asian and Western religious traditions from a range of disciplinary perspectives, suggests that attention to various forms of divine radiance shows that there is indeed a range of principles that, if not universal, are nevertheless very widely occurring and amenable to fruitful comparative inquiry. What results is a work of enormous scope, demonstrating compelling cross-connections that will be of value to scholars of comparative religions, mysticism, and the relationship between art and the sacred.

Contributors:
* Catherine B. Asher
* Raoul Birnbaum
* Sarah Iles Johnston
* Matthew T. Kapstein
* Andrew Louth
* Paul E. Muller-Ortega
* Elliot R. Wolfson
* Mimi Hall Yiengpruksawan
* Hossein Ziai
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The Presence of Myth
Leszek Kolakowski
University of Chicago Press, 1989
"[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
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¡Presente!
The Politics of Presence
Diana Taylor
Duke University Press, 2020
In ¡Presente! Diana Taylor asks what it means to be physically and politically present in situations where it seems that nothing can be done. As much an act, a word, an attitude, a theoretical intervention, and a performance pedagogy, Taylor maps ¡presente! at work in scenarios ranging from conquest, through colonial enactments and resistance movements, to present moments of capitalist extractivism and forced migration in the Americas. ¡Presente!—present among, with, and to; a walking and talking with others; an ontological and epistemic reflection on presence and subjectivity as participatory and relational, founded on mutual recognition—requires rethinking and unlearning in ways that challenge colonial epistemologies. Showing how knowledge is not something to be harvested but a process of being, knowing, and acting with others, Taylor models a way for scholarship to be present in political struggles.
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A Story of Ruins
Presence and Absence in Chinese Art and Visual Culture
Wu Hung
Reaktion Books, 2013
This richly illustrated book examines the changing significance of ruins as vehicles for cultural memory in Chinese art and visual culture from ancient times to the present. The story of ruins in China is different from but connected to “ruin culture” in the West. This book explores indigenous Chinese concepts of ruins and their visual manifestations, as well as the complex historical interactions between China and the West since the eighteenth century.

Wu Hung leads us through an array of traditional and contemporary visual materials, including painting, architecture, photography, prints, and cinema. A Story of Ruins shows how ruins are integral to traditional Chinese culture in both architecture and pictorial forms. It traces the changes in their representation over time, from indigenous methods of recording damage and decay in ancient China, to realistic images of architectural ruins in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, to the strong interest in urban ruins in contemporary China, as shown in the many artworks that depict demolished houses and decaying industrial sites. The result is an original interpretation of the development of Chinese art, as well as a unique contribution to global art history.
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Varieties of Presence
Alva Noë
Harvard University Press, 2012

The world shows up for us—it is present in our thought and perception. But, as Alva Noë contends in his latest exploration of the problem of consciousness, it doesn’t show up for free. The world is not simply available; it is achieved rather than given. As with a painting in a gallery, the world has no meaning—no presence to be experienced—apart from our able engagement with it. We must show up, too, and bring along what knowledge and skills we’ve cultivated. This means that education, skills acquisition, and technology can expand the world’s availability to us and transform our consciousness.

Although deeply philosophical, Varieties of Presence is nurtured by collaboration with scientists and artists. Cognitive science, dance, and performance art as well as Kant and Wittgenstein inform this literary and personal work of scholarship intended no less for artists and art theorists, psychologists, cognitive scientists, and anthropologists than for philosophers.

Noë rejects the traditional representational theory of mind and its companion internalism, dismissing outright the notion that conceptual knowledge is radically distinct from other forms of practical ability or know-how. For him, perceptual presence and thought presence are species of the same genus. Both are varieties of exploration through which we achieve contact with the world. Forceful reflections on the nature of understanding, as well as substantial examination of the perceptual experience of pictures and what they depict or model are included in this far-ranging discussion.

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