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All through the Town
The School Bus as Educational Technology
Antero Garcia
University of Minnesota Press, 2023

The role of the humble school bus in transforming education in America

Everyone knows the yellow school bus. It’s been invisible and also omnipresent for a century. Antero Garcia shows how the U.S. school bus, its form unaltered for decades, is the most substantial piece of educational technology to ever shape how schools operate. As it noisily moves young people across the country every day, the bus offers the opportunity for a necessary reexamination of what “counts” as educational technology. Particularly in light of these buses being idled in pandemic times, All through the Town questions what we take for granted and what we overlook in public schooling in America, pushing for liberatory approaches to education that extend beyond notions of school equity.

Forerunners: Ideas First is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital publications. Written between fresh ideas and finished books, Forerunners draws on scholarly work initiated in notable blogs, social media, conference plenaries, journal articles, and the synergy of academic exchange. This is gray literature publishing: where intense thinking, change, and speculation take place in scholarship.


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Ante-Bellum Alabama
Town and Country
Weymouth T. Jordan
University of Alabama Press, 1986
Offers insights into important facets of Alabama’s ante-bellum history
Ante-Bellum Alabama: Town and Country was written to give the reader insight into important facets of Alabama’s ante-bellum history. Presented in the form of case studies from the pre-Civil War period, the book deals with a city, a town, a planter’s family, rural social life, attitudes concerning race, and Alabama’s early agricultural and industrial development.
Ante-bellum Alabama’s primary interest was agriculture; the chief crop was King Cotton; and most of the people were agriculturalists. Towns and cities came into existence to supply the agricultural needs of the state and to process and distribute farm commodities. Similarly, Alabama’s industrial development began with the manufacture of implements for farm use, in response to the state’s agricultural needs. Rural-agriculture influences dominated the American scene; and in this respect Alabama was typical of her region as well as of most of the United States.

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A Novel of a Town
Jeffrey Lewis
Haus Publishing, 2018
Bealport, Maine is one of the forgotten towns of America, a place that all too often seems to have its best days behind it. And perhaps nothing symbolizes that more than the old shoe factory—“NORUMBEGA Makers of Fine Footwear Since 1903”—that has been perpetually on the brink of failure, and is now up for sale. But maybe there’s hope? A private equity savant with a fondness for the factory’s shoes buys it—and thus sets in motion a story with profound implications for the town, and for the larger question of how we live today. The factory is a hobby for him, but it represents infinitely more for the residents of Bealport: not only their livelihoods but their self-respect, their connectedness, their sense of self-sufficiency are all bound up in it. Can this high-flying outsider understand that? How will he negotiate the complicated long-term relationships that define the town and its families?

In Bealport, Jeffrey Lewis takes us inside the town, revealing its secrets, acknowledging its problems, and honoring its ambitions. Brilliantly deploying a large cast from all walks of life, this novel reveals small town America in the early twenty-first century through the interwoven secrets and desires of its residents, and through them delivers a striking portrait of America at a moment of national uncertainty.

Bealport, called “a hugely satisfying read” by the Evening Standard and “deeply appealing” by the Times Literary Supplement, is now available in paperback.

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The Civilization of Crime
Violence in Town and Country since the Middle Ages
Edited by Eric A. Johnson and Eric H. Monkkonen
University of Illinois Press, 1996
Along with most of the rest
        of Western culture, has crime itself become more "civilized"?
        This book exposes as myths the beliefs that society has become more violent
        than it has been in the past and that violence is more likely to occur
        in cities than in rural areas.
      The product of years of study
        by scholars from North America and Europe, The Civilization of Crime
        shows that, however violent some large cities may be now, both rural and
        urban communities in Sweden, Holland, England, and other countries were
        far more violent during the late Middle Ages than any cities are today.
      Contributors show that the
        dramatic change is due, in part, to the fact that violence was often tolerated
        or even accepted as a form of dispute settlement in village-dominated
        premodern society. Interpersonal violence declined in the seventeenth
        and eighteenth centuries, as dispute resolution was taken over by courts
        and other state institutions and the church became increasingly intolerant
        of it.
      The book also challenges a
        number of other historical-sociological theories, among them that contemporary
        organized crime is new, and addresses continuing debate about the meaning
        and usefulness of crime statistics.
      CONTRIBUTORS: Esther Cohen,
        Herman Diederiks, Florike Egmond, Eric A. Johnson, Michele Mancino, Eric
        H. Monkkonen, Eva Österberg, James A. Sharpe, Pieter Spierenburg,
        Jan Sundin, Barbara Weinberger

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Country Comes to Town
The Music Industry and the Transformation of Nashville
Jeremy Hill
University of Massachusetts Press, 2015
Country music evokes a simple, agrarian past, with images of open land and pickup trucks. While some might think of the genre as a repository of nostalgia, popular because it preserves and reveres traditional values, Jeremy Hill argues that country music has found such expansive success because its songs and its people have forcefully addressed social and cultural issues as well as geographic change. Hill demonstrates how the genre and its fans developed a flexible idea of “country,” beyond their rural roots, and how this flexibility allowed fans and music to “come to town,” to move into and within urban spaces, while retaining a country “character.” To understand how the genre has become the far-reaching commercial phenomenon that it is today, Hill explores how various players within the country music fold have grappled with the notion of place. He shows both how the industry has transformed the city of Nashville and how country music—through song lyrics, imagery associated with the music, and branding—has reshaped ideas about the American landscape and character. As the genre underwent significant change in the last decades of the twentieth century, those who sought to explain its new styles and new locations relied on a traditional theme: “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy.” Hill demonstrates how this idea—that you can still be “country” while no longer living in a rural place—has been used to expand country’s commercial appeal and establish a permanent home in the urban space of Nashville.

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Country Comes to Town
The Music Industry and the Transformation of Nashville
Hill Jeremy
University of Massachusetts Press

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Don’t Make Me Go to Town
Ranchwomen of the Texas Hill Country
By Rhonda Lashley Lopez
University of Texas Press, 2011

Many people dream of "someday buying a small quaint place in the country, to own two cows and watch the birds," in the words of Texas ranchwoman Amanda Spenrath Geistweidt. But only a few are cut out for the unrelenting work that makes a family ranching operation successful. Don't Make Me Go to Town presents an eloquent photo-documentary of eight women who have chosen to make ranching in the Texas Hill Country their way of life. Ranging from young mothers to elderly grandmothers, these women offer vivid accounts of raising livestock in a rugged land, cut off from amenities and amusements that most people take for granted, and loving the hard lives they've chosen.

Rhonda Lashley Lopez began making photographic portraits of Texas Hill Country ranchwomen in 1993 and has followed their lives through the intervening years. She presents their stories through her images and the women's own words, listening in as the ranchwomen describe the pleasures and difficulties of raising sheep, Angora goats, and cattle on the Edwards Plateau west of Austin and north of San Antonio. Their stories record the struggles that all ranchers face—vagaries of weather and livestock markets, among them—as well as the extra challenges of being women raising families and keeping things going on the home front while also riding the range. Yet, to a woman, they all passionately embrace family ranching as a way of life and describe their efforts to pass it on to future generations.


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Growing Up with the Town
Family and Community on the Great Plains
Dorothy Hubbard Schwieder
University of Iowa Press, 2002
In this unusual blend of chronological and personal history, Dorothy Hubbard Schwieder combines scholarly sources with family memories to create a loving and informed history of Presho, South Dakota, and her family's life there from the time of settlement in 1905 to the mid 1950s.
Schwieder tells the story of this small town in the West River country, with its harsh and unpredictable physical environment, through the activities of her father, Walter Hubbard, and his family of ten children. Walter Hubbard’s experiences as a business owner and town builder and his attitudes toward work, education, and family both reflected and shaped the lives of Presho's inhabitants and the town itself.
While most histories of the Plains focus on farm life, Schwieder writes entirely about small-town society. She uses newspaper accounts, state and county histories, census data, interviews with residents, and the childhood memories of herself and her nine siblings to create an entwined, first-hand social and economic portrait of life on main street from the perspective of its citizens. 

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A History of Chicago, Volume II
From Town to City 1848-1871
Bessie Louise Pierce
University of Chicago Press, 1940
The first major history of Chicago ever written, A History of Chicago covers the city’s great history over two centuries, from 1673 to 1893.

Originally conceived as a centennial history of Chicago, the project became, under the guidance of renowned historian Bessie Louise Pierce, a definitive, three-volume set describing the city’s growth—from its humble frontier beginnings to the horrors of the Great Fire, the construction of some of the world’s first skyscrapers, and the opulence of the 1893 World’s Fair. Pierce and her assistants spent over forty years transforming historical records into an inspiring human story of growth and survival.

Rich with anecdotal evidence and interviews with the men and women who made Chicago great, all three volumes will now be available for the first time in years. A History of Chicago will be essential reading for anyone who wants to know this great city and its place in America.

“With this rescue of its history from the bright, impressionable newspapermen and from the subscription-volumes, Chicago builds another impressive memorial to its coming of age, the closing of its first ‘century of progress.’”—E. D. Branch, New York Times (1937)


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In the Company of Diamonds
De Beers, Kleinzee, and the Control of a Town
Peter Carstens
Ohio University Press, 2001

After the 1925 discovery of diamonds in the semi-desert of the northwest coast of South Africa, De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. virtually proclaimed its dominion over the whole region. In the town of Kleinzee, the company owns all the real estate and infrastructure, and controls and administers both the town and the industry.

Peter Carstens’s In the Company of Diamonds draws a stark and startling portrait of this closed community, one that analyzes the power and hegemonic techniques used to acquire that power and maintain it.

As a prototypical company town, Kleinzee is subordinated to the industry and will of the owners. Employees and workers are variously differentiated and ordered according to occupation, ethnic variation, and other social criteria, a pattern reflected most markedly in the allocation of housing. Managers live in large, ranch-style houses, while contract workers are lodged in single-sex compounds.

As a community type, company towns like Kleinzee are not entirely unique, and Professor Carstens successfully draws a number of structural parallels with other closed and incomplete social formations such as Indian reservations, military bases, colleges, prisons, and mental hospitals.


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Maine’s Lithographic Landscapes
Town and City Views, 1830-1870
Earle G. Shettleworth Jr.
Brandeis University Press, 2020

During the nineteenth century, Americans celebrated their towns and cities through printed landscapes. In Maine, lithographs were commissioned from such leading artists as Fitz Henry Lane and talented, lesser known local artists, such as Esteria Butler. This book reproduces many of these works and provides insights into how these growing centers of commerce and industry viewed themselves and wished to be viewed by others. 

It’s the perfect book for those who love Maine, both full-time residents and those who make it a beloved summer destination. 

Published in association with the Bowdoin College Museum of Art on the occasion of the bicentennial of Maine statehood.


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The Prairie Garden
Seventy Native Plants You Can Grow in Town or Country
J. Robert Smith with Beatrice S. Smith
University of Wisconsin Press, 1980

Prairie plants are among the toughest of all ornamentals. While they fascinate gardeners with their beauty and versatility, they require little maintenance. They are highly resistant to insect and disease damage, and they need not be replanted every year.

    In recent years, the idea of growing prairie plants has gained increasing appeal among gardeners. Bob and Beatrice Smith have prepared this practical growing guide—based on their more than fourteen years of experience and experimentation—for all people who wish to grow prairie plants. The Smiths, who have grown all the plants they discuss here, share their wealth of experience with the reader. They recommend the best sites, tell how to plan and prepare the site and how to treat and plant seeds, and share important tips on propagation, transplanting, and managing the prairie garden or landscape. To aid in both planning and identification, the book includes full-color illustrations of all seventy plants.  


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Public Health in the Town of Boston, 1630–1822
John B. Blake
Harvard University Press

In this book, based almost exclusively on original source material, Dr. Blake takes a detailed look at the public health history of the town of Boston. Historically, the author tells us, public health may be viewed as the science and art of preventing disease and promoting health through organized community activity. A significant part of this study is the insight it offers into the early attitudes toward disease and death as well as other basic political, social, and economic questions.

Dr. Blake outlines the development of public health practice from occasional emergency measures to a continuing program for the prevention and control of certain epidemic diseases. The introduction and increasing use of smallpox inoculation and later of vaccination are described and their importance evaluated. The book also discusses the further developments in the 1790s and the following two decades that resulted from a series of yellow-fever epidemics in northern seaports, including the establishment of a board of health and its efforts to prevent recurrence of this disease. The prevention of other endemic infectious diseases, though far more important in their effect on the community’s health, was largely neglected. Nevertheless, the principles of notification, isolation, and quarantine had been established and the need for governmental activity to protect the public health, for special public health officials, and for expenditure of tax money for public health purposes had been recognized.

This study, restricted in time to the period before Boston became a city (1630–1822), deals with the early years of the public health movement, a period that has been largely neglected. In comparing Boston’s experience with that of other colonies and England, Dr. Blake presents the European background in both the theory and practice of epidemiology and public health. The colonies themselves, whose differences caused many contemporaries to despair of their ever becoming a single nation, were yet bound by an essential homogeneity. “By and large they had the same language, the same religion, the same inheritance of British social and political ideals. And by and large they had the same diseases. Thus the history of public health in Boston becomes significant for the whole American experience.”


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Saltillo, 1770-1810
Town and Region in the Mexican North
Leslie S. Offutt
University of Arizona Press, 2001
At the end of the eighteenth century, the community of Saltillo in northeastern Mexico was a thriving hub of commerce. Over the previous hundred years its population had doubled to 11,000, and the town was no longer limited to a peripheral role in the country's economy. Leslie Offutt examines the social and economic history of this major late-colonial trading center to cast new light on our understanding of Mexico's regional history. Drawing on a vast amount of original research, Offutt contends that northern Mexico in general has too often been misportrayed as a backwater frontier region, and she shows how Saltillo assumed a significance that set it apart from other towns in the northern reaches of New Spain. Saltillo was home to a richly textured society that stands in sharp contrast to images portrayed in earlier scholarship, and Offutt examines two of its most important socioeconomic groups—merchants and landowners—to reveal the complexity and vitality of the region's agriculture, ranching, and trade. By delineating the business transactions, social links, and political interaction between these groups, she shows how leading merchants came to dominate the larger society and helped establish the centrality of the town. She also examines the local political sphere and the social basis of officeholding—in which merchants generally held higher-status posts—and shows that, unlike other areas of late colonial Mexico, Saltillo witnessed little conflict between creoles and peninsulars. The growing significance of this town and region exemplifies the increasing complexity of Mexico's social, economic, and political landscape in the late colonial era, and it anticipates the phenomenon of regionalism that has characterized the nation since Independence. Offutt's study reassesses traditional assumptions regarding the social and economic marginality of this trading center, and it offers scholars of Mexican and borderlands studies alike a new way of looking at this important region.

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The Small City and Town
A Conference on Community Relations
Roland Vaile
University of Minnesota Press, 1930
The Small City and Town was first published in 1930. 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 volume presents papers originally presented to a 1929 conference on community relations held at the University of Minnesota. The conference was designed to assess the place of the small city and town in the modern economic organization. Topics of discussion are devoted to the economic relationships of the small town including: banking; merchandising and manufacturing; forestry; highways and transit; public media; school systems; and budgetary and accounting procedure. In total, the conference proceedings point toward the outline of a program for community engineering and administration.

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Time and the Town
A Provincetown Chronicle
Adele Heller
Rutgers University Press, 1991
Time and the Town was the last of Mary Heaton Vorse's books. It is about many things —a town and its people, the author, a certain kind of idyllic life. As much as anything else, it is the biography of the house Vorse bought in 1907 and lived in, off and on, for the next thirty-six years. The moods of the house mirrored her own. "Our houses," she wrote, "are our biographies, the stories of our defeats and victories."

Tinged with nostalgia and disenchantment, the book describes a Provincetown that has changed, a place on the verge of modernity. It is no longer a major fishing port. It has become a place whose business is tourism. Contrasting the old and the new, Vorse celebrates the enduring character of the town itself. She tells stories that are engaging and charming, droll and fabulous. The wrinkled Mrs. Mary Mooncusser who, though drunk and stark naked, conducts herself with great decorum when Vorse pays her a call, might have stepped out of the pages of Sherwood Anderson or Eudora Welty. In another anecdote, the townspeople scour the beaches for cases of booze dumped into the sea by rumrunners and are briefly inflated with the spirit of ancestral smugglers and buccaneers.

Vorse herself remained something of an outsider in Provincetown, despite her evident affection for the place and its inhabitants. They surely regarded her as simply another of those artist-intellectuals--many of whom appear in the pages of this book. The "off-Cape" outsiders put the town in the national limelight but took no interest in local matters. Vorse here ponders local matters exclusively, almost, one suspects, as a way of forgetting the more complex matters that occupied her--her agonies of parental guilt, her resentment of domestic obligations, her third marriage, her depressions and breakdowns. The town is in that sense beyond time.

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To Dwell among Friends
Personal Networks in Town and City
Claude S. Fischer
University of Chicago Press, 1982

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"Too Good a Town"
William Allen White, Community, and the Emerging Rhetoric of Middle America
Edward G. Agran
University of Arkansas Press, 1999

For fifty years, William Allen White, first as a reporter and later as the long-time editor of the Emporia Gazette, wrote of his small town and its Mid-American values. By tailoring his writing to the emerging urban middle class of the early twentieth century, he won his “gospel of Emporia” a nationwide audience and left a lasting impact on he way America defines itself.

Investigating White’s life and his extensive writings, Edward Gale Agran explores the dynamic thought of one of America’s best-read and most-respected social commentators. Agran shows clearly how White honed his style and transformed the myth of conquering the western frontier into what became the twentieth-century ideal of community building.

Once a confidante of and advisor to Theodore Roosevelt, White addressed, and reflected in his work, all the great social and political oscillations of his time—urbanization and industrialism, populism, and progressivism, isolationism internationalism, Prohibition, and New Deal reform. Again and again, he asked the question “What’s the matter?” about his times and townspeople, then found the middle ground. With great care and discernment, Agran gathers the man strains of White’s messages, demonstrating one writer’s pivotal contribution to our idea of what it means to be an American.


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Town and Country
Race Relations in an Urban-Rural Context, Arkansas, 1865–1905
John Graves
University of Arkansas Press, 1990

A thoroughly researched and extensively documented look at race relations in Arkansas druing the forty years after the Civil War, Town and Country focuses on the gradual adjustment of black and white Arkansans to the new status of the freedman, in both society and law, after generations of practicing the racial etiquette of slavery.

John Graves examines the influences of the established agrarian culture on the developing racial practices of the urban centers, where many blacks living in the towns were able to gain prominence as doctors, lawyers, successful entrepreneurs, and political leaders. Despite the tension, conflict, and disputes within and between the voice of the government and the voice of the people in an arduous journey toward compromise, Arkansas was one of the most progressive states during Reconstruction in desegregating its people.

Town and Country makes a significant contribution to the history of the postwar South and its complex engagement with the race issue.


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Town in the Empire
Government, Politics, and Society in Seventeenth Century Popayán
By Peter Marzahl
University of Texas Press, 1979

During the seventeenth century, many of the fundamental characteristics of Spanish America were established. Peter Marzahl adds significantly to our understanding of this period with this study of Popayán, a town in what was then part of New Granada and is now Colombia. New Granada was something of a backwater of the empire, but very likely Popayán was more typical of everyday colonial life than the major centers that have drawn most attention from historians.

In the first part of his study, Marzahl describes both town and region, depicts economic activities (agriculture, gold mining, trade), and analyzes urban and rural society. Of particular interest is his discussion of the complex interaction among the different ethnic groups: Spaniards, Mestizos, Indians, and Blacks. In the longer second part he presents a detailed account of the makeup and operations of the town councils. His extensive research in primary sources makes possible a thorough examination of Popayán's administration and politics and their relationship to economic and social patterns. He also describes the councils' relations with the provincial governors, the viceregal authorities in Bogotá, and the Church. Because this study treats a neglected period and region and, in so doing, offers fresh materials and insights, it is an important contribution to our knowledge and comprehension of colonial Spanish America.


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The Town of N
Leonid Dobychin
Northwestern University Press, 1998
Leonid Dobychin's The Town of N, an unrecognized masterpiece of the Soviet 1930s, virtually vanished, together with its author, following its publication in 1935 and the subsequent vilification of Dobychin by Leningrad's cultural authorities. It portrays a fallen provincial world reminiscent of the town of N found in Gogol's Dead Souls, a place populated with characters who are petty, grasping, perfidious, and cruel, quite unlike the positive heroes of socialist realist novels.

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The Town of Whispering Dolls
Susan Neville, Foreword by Shelley Jackson
University of Alabama Press, 2020
Stories haunted by the remains of the industrial Midwest, the opioid epidemic, and the technology of war
Located somewhere in the rust belt in the early twenty-first century, residents of the town of Whispering Dolls dream of a fabled and illusory past, even as new technologies reshape their world into something different and deeply strange. Dolls walk down the streets, cradling their empty heads and letting the wind turn them into flutes. A politician heads to Washington, DC, and leaves a toxic underground plume in his wake. A woman eats car parts instead of confronting the children who have forgotten her. A young woman falls in love with the robot who took her job at the candy factory.
In The Town of Whispering Dolls, it is usually the grandmothers and the children who grieve. Feeling invisible, in the story “Here,” a woman who has buried her children looks up at the sky where commercial and military jets fly overhead and tries to express her rage to the rich and powerful: “Keep flying above us in your planes. From one coast to the other, keep right on flying over us! We test your bombs and your beloved warriors. Here. Right here. Look down.”


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Prints & Drawings of Britain before 1800
Bernard Nurse
Bodleian Library Publishing, 2020
Many provincial towns in Britain grew dramatically in size and importance in the eighteenth century. Ports such as Glasgow and Liverpool greatly expanded, while industrial centers such as Birmingham and Manchester flourished. Market towns outside London developed as commercial centers or as specialty destinations: visitors could find spa treatments in Bath, horse racing in Newmarket, and naval services in Portsmouth. Containing more than one hundred images of country towns in England, Wales, and Scotland, this book draws on the extensive Gough collection in the Bodleian Library. Contemporary prints and drawings provide a powerful visual record of the development of the town in this period, and finely drawn prospects and maps—made with greater accuracy than ever before—reveal their early development. This book also includes perceptive observations from the journals and letters of collector Richard Gough (1735–1809), who traveled throughout the country on the cusp of the industrial age.

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Urbanization in Viking Age and Medieval Denmark
From Landing Place to Town
Maria Corsi
Amsterdam University Press, 2020
This study traces the history of urbanization in Denmark from c. 500-1350 and explores how interconnected political, religious, economic factors were instrumental in bringing about the growth of towns. Prior to urban development, certain specialized sites such as elite residences and coastal landing places performed many of the functions that would later be taken over by medieval towns. Fundamental changes in political power, the coming of Christianity, and economic development over the course of the Viking and Middle Ages led to the abandonment of these sites in favour of new urban settlements that would come to form the political, religious, and economic centres of the medieval kingdom. Bringing together both archaeological and historical sources, this study illustrates not only how certain cultural and economic shifts were crucial to the development of towns, but also the important role urbanization had in the transition from Viking to medieval Denmark.

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Wake the Town and Tell the People
Dancehall Culture in Jamaica
Norman C. Stolzoff
Duke University Press, 2000
Jamaican dancehall has long been one of the most vital and influential cultural and artistic forces within contemporary global music. Wake the Town and Tell the People presents, for the first time, a lively, nuanced, and comprehensive view of this musical and cultural phenomenon: its growth and historical role within Jamaican society, its economy of star making, its technology of production, its performative practices, and its capacity to channel political beliefs through popular culture in ways that are urgent, tangible, and lasting.
Norman C. Stolzoff brings a fan’s enthusiasm to his broad perspective on dancehall, providing extensive interviews, original photographs, and anthropological analysis from eighteen months of fieldwork in Kingston. Stolzoff argues that this enormously popular musical genre expresses deep conflicts within Jamaican society, not only along lines of class, race, gender, sexuality, and religion but also between different factions struggling to gain control of the island nation’s political culture. Dancehall culture thus remains a key arena where the future of this volatile nation is shaped. As his argument unfolds, Stolzoff traces the history of Jamaican music from its roots in the late eighteenth century to 1945, from the addition of sound systems and technology during the mid-forties to early sixties, and finally through the post-independence years from the early sixties to the present.
Wake the Town and Tell the People offers a general introduction for those interested in dancehall music and culture. For the fan or musicologist, it will serve as a comprehensive reference book.

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