The Fateful Triangle
Stuart Hall Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress GN495.6.H34 2017 | Dewey Decimal 305.8
In this work drawn from lectures delivered in 1994 a founding figure of cultural studies reflects on the divisive, deadly consequences of our politics of identification. Stuart Hall untangles the power relations that permeate race, ethnicity, and nationhood and shows how oppressed groups broke apart old hierarchies of difference in Western culture.
The essays turn about a single theme, the loss of the capacity to deal constructively with ambiguity in the modern era. Levine offers a head-on critique of the modern compulsion to flee ambiguity. He centers his analysis on the question of what responses social scientists should adopt in the face of the inexorably ambiguous character of all natural languages. In the course of his argument, Levine presents a fresh reading of works by the classic figures of modern European and American social theory—Durkheim, Freud, Simmel and Weber, and Park, Parsons, and Merton.
Lately, it seems as if we wake up to a new atrocity each day. Every morning is now a ritual of scrolling through our Twitter feeds or scanning our newspapers for the latest updates on fresh horrors around the globe. Despite the countless protests we attend, the phone calls we make, or the streets we march, it sometimes feels like no matter how hard we fight, the relentless crush of injustice will never abate.
David Shulman knows intimately what it takes to live your beliefs, to return, day after day, to the struggle, despite knowing you are often more likely to lose than win. Interweaving powerful stories and deep meditations, Freedom and Despair offers vivid firsthand reports from the occupied West Bank in Palestine as seen through the eyes of an experienced Israeli peace activist who has seen the Israeli occupation close up as it impacts on the lives of all Palestinian civilians.
Alongside a handful of beautifully written and often shocking tales from the field, Shulman meditates deeply on how to understand the evils around him, what it means to persevere as an activist decade after decade, and what it truly means to be free. The violent realities of the occupation are on full display. We get to know and understand the Palestinian shepherds and farmers and Israeli volunteers who face this situation head-on with nonviolent resistance. Shulman does not hold back on acknowledging the daily struggles that often leave him and his fellow activists full of despair. Inspired by these committed individuals who are not prepared to be silent or passive, Shulman suggests a model for ordinary people everywhere. Anyone prepared to take a risk and fight their oppressive political systems, he argues, can make a difference—if they strive to act with compassion and to keep hope alive.
This is the moving story of a man who continues to fight for good in the midst of despair. An indispensable book in our era of reactionary politics and refugee crises, political violence and ecological devastation, Freedom and Despair is a gripping memoir of struggle, activism, and hope for peace.
-- With support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the UK and the Deutsches Historisches Institut Moskau --The French Language in Russia provides the fullest examination and discussion to date of the adoption of the French language by the elites of imperial Russia during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is interdisciplinary, approaching its subject from the angles of various kinds of history and historical sociolinguistics. Beyond its bearing on some of the grand narratives of Russian thought and literature, this book may afford more general insight into the social, political, cultural, and literary implications and effects of bilingualism in a speech community over a long period. It should also enlarge understanding of francophonie as a pan-European phenomenon. On the broadest plane, it has significance in an age of unprecedented global connectivity, for it invites us to look beyond the experience of a single nation and the social groups and individuals within it in order to discover how languages and the cultures and narratives associated with them have been shared across national boundaries.
Unifying concepts are essential when studying history. They provide students and scholars with ways to organize their thoughts, research, and writings. However, these concepts are also the focus of myriad conflicts within the field. Social history has experienced more than its share of such conflicts since its inception some forty years ago. In recent times the fields of “the social” and of “culture” have sometimes been presented as mutually exclusive and even hostile. Once again, conceptual innovation in history has been cast as a closure by which the new drives out the old: in this case, cultural history radically displacing social history. The Future of Class in History analyzes the effect of the conflict that followed the “turn to culture” in historical work by examining the use of class and demonstrates how practitioners in multiple fields can collaborate to produce the highest quality scholarship.
“Offers new ways of thinking about ‘class’ and ‘society’ in a world in which such categories have been radically called into question.”
—Sherry Ortner, University of California, Los Angeles
“Brilliantly charts social history’s past achievement, present dilemma, and future promise in a work distinguished by intellectual openness and generosity.”
—James A. Epstein, Vanderbilt University
“Eley and Nield seek to rescue the deluded follower of social history from the enormous condescension of the cultural turn. They succeed admirably, making the case for a new hybrid socio-cultural history.”
—Donald Reid, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“This terrific double act has once again produced a text that demands to be read by all those tired of the juxtaposition of social and cultural histories and still interested in the problematic of class and the politics of its past and present.”
—James Vernon, University of California, Berkeley
“Eley and Nield tackle a contentious debate with a gracious plea for collaboration. Their strong desire to get past the ‘culture wars’ and to engage social and cultural historians in fruitful dialogue is a welcome move, stylishly executed.”
—Philippa Levine, University of Southern California
Geoff Eley is Professor of History at the University of Michigan.
Keith Nield is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Hull.