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The Altruism Reader
Selections from Writings on Love, Religion, and Science
Thomas Oord
Templeton Press, 2007

This anthology brings together, for the first time, leading essays and book chapters from theologians, philosophers, and scientists on their research on ethics, altruism, and love. Because the general consensus today is that scholarship in moral theory requires empirical research, the arguments of the leading scholars presented in this book will be fundamental to those examining issues in love, ethics, religion, and science.

The first half of The Altruism Reader offers essential selections from religious texts, leading contemporary scholars, and cutting-edge ethicists. Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism are represented. Among the highly respected writers are Thomas Aquinas, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, John Polkinghorne, Stephen Pope, Louis Fischer, Amira Shamma Abdin, Katharine Doob Sakenfeld, and Daniel Day Williams.

The book’s second half features primary readings on love and altruism from the sciences. Here the focus is on anthropology, psychology, sociology, biology, and neurology, with material written by Daniel C. Batson, David Sloan Wilson, Robert Wright, Stephen G. Post, Robert Axelrod, Richard Dawkins, Holmes Rolston III, and other renowned scientists and philosophers.

“Virtually all people act—and often talk—as if they have some clue about love. We speak about loving food, falling in love, loving God, feeling loved, and loving a type of music. We say that love hurts, love waits, love stinks, and love means never having to say you’re sorry. We use the word and its derivatives in a wide variety of ways . . . . My definition of love is this: To love is to act intentionally, in sympathetic response to others (including God), to promote well-being.” —Thomas Jay Oord

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Bonds of Affection
Civic Charity and the Making of America--Winthrop, Jefferson, and Lincoln
Matthew S. Holland
Georgetown University Press, 2007

Notions of Christian love, or charity, strongly shaped the political thought of John Winthrop, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln as each presided over a foundational moment in the development of American democracy. Matthew Holland examines how each figure interpreted and appropriated charity, revealing both the problems and possibilities of making it a political ideal.

Holland first looks at early American literature and seminal speeches by Winthrop to show how the Puritan theology of this famed 17th century governor of the Massachusetts Colony (he who first envisioned America as a "City upon a Hill") galvanized an impressive sense of self-rule and a community of care in the early republic, even as its harsher aspects made something like Jefferson's Enlightenment faith in liberal democracy a welcome development . Holland then shows that between Jefferson's early rough draft of the Declaration of Independence and his First Inaugural Jefferson came to see some notion of charity as a necessary complement to modern political liberty.

However, Holland argues, it was Lincoln and his ingenious blend of Puritan and democratic insights who best fulfilled the promise of this nation's "bonds of affection." With his recognition of the imperfections of both North and South, his humility in the face of God's judgment on the Civil War, and his insistence on "charity for all," including the defeated Confederacy, Lincoln personified the possibilities of religious love turned civic virtue.

Weaving a rich tapestry of insights from political science and literature and American religious history and political theory, Bonds of Affection is a major contribution to the study of American political identity. Matthew Holland makes plain that civic charity, while commonly rejected as irrelevant or even harmful to political engagement, has been integral to our national character.

The book includes the full texts of Winthrop's speech "A Model of Christian Charity"; Jefferson's rough draft of the Declaration and his First Inaugural; and Lincoln's Second Inaugural.

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The Business of Charity
The Woman's Exchange Movement, 1832-1900
Kathleen Waters Sander
University of Illinois Press, 1998

In the nineteenth century, Woman's Exchanges formed a vast national network that created economic alternatives for financially vulnerable women in a world that permitted few respectable employment options. Many remain in business. 

Kathleen Waters Sander delves into the history of Woman's Exchanges and looks at the women who led the organizations—and those who used them to stave off poverty. One of the nation's oldest continuously operating voluntary movements, Exchanges like the Philadelphia Ladies' Depository and the Dorcas Society were fashionable, popular shops where women who had fallen on hard times could sustain themselves. By selling their handiwork on consignment, they not only earned money but avoided the stigma of seeking public employment. As Sander shows, Exchanges evolved into an important forum for entrepreneurial growth. They also provide an example of how women used the voluntary sector, which had so successfully served as a conduit for their political and social reforms, to advance opportunities for economic independence.

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By knowledge & by love
charity and knowledge in the moral theology of St. Thomas Aquinas
Michael S. Sherwin
Catholic University of America Press, 2005
By Knowledge and By Love represents a major contribution to Thomistic moral theology and philosophy by providing a thoughtful examination of Aquinas' psychology of action and his theology of charity.
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Cachita's Streets
The Virgin of Charity, Race, and Revolution in Cuba
Jalane D. Schmidt
Duke University Press, 2015
Cuba’s patron saint, the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, also called Cachita, is a potent symbol of Cuban national identity. Jalane D. Schmidt shows how groups as diverse as Indians and African slaves, Spanish colonial officials, Cuban independence soldiers, Catholic authorities and laypeople, intellectuals, journalists and artists, practitioners of spiritism and Santería, activists, politicians, and revolutionaries each have constructed and disputed the meanings of the Virgin. Schmidt examines the occasions from 1936 to 2012 when the Virgin's beloved, original brown-skinned effigy was removed from her national shrine in the majority black- and mixed-race mountaintop village of El Cobre and brought into Cuba's cities. There, devotees venerated and followed Cachita's image through urban streets, amassing at large-scale public ceremonies in her honor that promoted competing claims about Cuban religion, race, and political ideology. Schmidt compares these religious rituals to other contemporaneous Cuban street events, including carnival, protests, and revolutionary rallies, where organizers stage performances of contested definitions of Cubanness. Schmidt provides a comprehensive treatment of Cuban religions, history, and culture, interpreted through the prism of Cachita.
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Captains of Charity
The Writing and Wages of Postrevolutionary Atlantic Benevolence
Mary Kathleen Eyring
University of New Hampshire Press, 2017
In this thematically rich book, Mary Kathleen Eyring examines authors whose writings were connected with their charitable endeavors, which addressed the worst by-products of the brisk maritime commerce in Atlantic seaport cities in the first half of the nineteenth century. She argues that charitable institutions and societies emerged in this era because they captured and contained the discontent of imperiled and impoverished groups, thereby effectively thwarting the development of a revolutionary class in America.

According to Eyring, the men and women who most successfully wrote about and engaged in benevolent work strategically connected their work with the affluence generated by maritime commerce. The water trades supported the growth of the American publishing industry, but they also generated both vast inequities in wealth and physically and economically hazardous conditions that, in the absence of a welfare state, required the intervention of benevolent societies. Laborers in Atlantic port cities barred from lucrative professions by gender, race, physical ability, or social status found a way to make a living wage by conjoining the literary with the charitable—and attaching both to a profit structure. In so doing, they transformed the nature of American benevolence and gave rise to the nonprofit sector, which has since its inception provided discontented laborers with a forum in which to express their critique of for-profit American enterprise, by imitating it.

In Captains of Charity, Eyring looks at writers who overcame their marginalized status by bringing together the strands of maritime industry, publishing, and benevolence. These include Richard Allen and Absalom Jones, two black clergymen who managed a massive relief effort when refugees fleeing revolution in Haiti transported the yellow fever virus to Philadelphia in 1793; Nancy Prince, a free woman of color who sought her livelihood in the Protestant missions of Jamaica in the years immediately following Britain's emancipation of laborers in its Caribbean colonies; Sarah Josepha Hale, who parlayed the social influence she had gained as the founder of a seaman's aid society in Boston into a role as editor of the hugely popular periodical Godey's Lady's Book; and Sarah Pogson Smith, who donated the proceeds of her writing to such prominent charitable causes as the New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and then capitalized on the goodwill this charity work generated among her wealthy friends in New York City, Philadelphia, and Charleston.

Hardcover is un-jacketed.
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Charity and Children in Renaissance Florence
The Ospedale degli Innocenti, 1410-1536
Philip Gavitt
University of Michigan Press, 1991

Alongside the architectural splendor and intellectual brilliance of early Renaissance Florence there existed a second world of poverty, misery, social despair, and child abandonment. The Ospedale degli Innocenti (Hospital of the Innocents), designed and built between 1419 and 1445 by the renowned architect Filippo Brunelleschi, united these disparate worlds. Christian charity and compassion, as well as the humanist commitment to social perfection, family values, and love for children, were intertwined with a civic pride in which charity curried God's favor and invoked God's blessings on the city's fortunes.

Based on a close and attentive reading of archival material from the hospital and from the Florentine State Archives, Charity and Children in Renaissance Florence both chronicles the concerns and ambivalence of parents who abandoned children and follows the lives of the hospital's inhabitants from childhood to death. The book also demonstrates how hospital officials deliberately duplicated the structure and values of the Florentine family within the hospital walls. Gavitt's research shows that early modern foundling hospitals were not charnel houses where parents knowingly and impersonally abandoned their unwanted children to certain death. Charity and Children in Renaissance Florence provokes reflection on the contrast between our own views on the care of homeless children and those of the Italian Renaissance.

Winner of the Society for Italian Historical Studies 1988 Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript.

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Charity and Condescension
Victorian Literature and the Dilemmas of Philanthropy
Daniel Siegel
Ohio University Press, 2012

Charity and Condescension explores how condescension, a traditional English virtue, went sour in the nineteenth century, and considers how the failure of condescension influenced Victorian efforts to reform philanthropy and to construct new narrative models of social conciliation. In the literary work of authors like Dickens, Eliot, and Tennyson, and in the writing of reformers like Octavia Hill and Samuel Barnett, condescension—once a sign of the power and value of charity—became an emblem of charity’s limitations.

This book argues that, despite Victorian charity’s reputation for idealistic self-assurance, it frequently doubted its own operations and was driven by creative self-critique. Through sophisticated and original close readings of important Victorian texts, Daniel Siegel shows how these important ideas developed even as England struggled to deal with its growing underclass and an expanding notion of the state’s responsibility to its poor.

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Charity and Religion in Medieval Europe
James William Brodman
Catholic University of America Press, 2009
Challenges conventional views of medieval piety by demonstrating how the ideology of charity and its vision of the active life provided an important alternative to the ascetical, contemplative tradition emphasized by most historians
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CHARITY
THE PRACTICE OF NEIGHBORLINESS
Emanuel Swedenborg
Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 1995

Charity is not only about giving to those in need, but in a broader sense about loving your neighbor and doing good things for other people without thought of reward. So wrote Swedish visionary Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), who believed that charity, along with faith, was part of the foundation of spiritual practice.

This work combines two of Swedenborg's unpublished manuscripts to form a practical, inspirational handbook for applying the principle of doing good to daily life.

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Churches and Charity in the Immigrant City
Religion, Immigration, and Civic Engagement in Miami
Stepick, Alex
Rutgers University Press, 2009
In addition to being a religious country--over ninety percent of Americans believe in God--the United States is also home to more immigrants than ever before. Churches and Charity in the Immigrant City focuses on the intersection of religion and civic engagement among Miami's immigrant and minority groups. The contributors examine the role of religious organizations in developing social relationships and how these relationships affect the broader civic world. Essays, for example, consider the role of leadership in the promotion and creation of "civic social capital" in a Haitian Catholic church, transnational ties between Cuban Catholics in Miami and Havana, and several African American congregations that serve as key comparisons of civic engagement among minorities. This book is important not only for its theoretical contributions to the sociology of religion, but also because it gives us a unique glimpse into immigrants' civic and religious lives in urban America.
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Cultures of Charity
Women, Politics, and the Reform of Poor Relief in Renaissance Italy
Nicholas Terpstra
Harvard University Press, 2013

Renaissance Italians pioneered radical changes in ways of helping the poor, including orphanages, workhouses, pawnshops, and women’s shelters. Nicholas Terpstra shows that gender was the key factor driving innovation. Most of the recipients of charity were women. The most creative new plans focused on features of women’s poverty like illegitimate births, hunger, unemployment, and domestic violence. Signal features of the reforms, from forced labor to new instruments of saving and lending, were devised specifically to help young women get a start in life.

Cultures of Charity is the first book to see women’s poverty as the key factor driving changes to poor relief. These changes generated intense political debates as proponents of republican democracy challenged more elitist and authoritarian forms of government emerging at the time. Should taxes fund poor relief? Could forced labor help build local industry? Focusing on Bologna, Terpstra looks at how these fights around politics and gender generated pioneering forms of poor relief, including early examples of maternity benefits, unemployment insurance, food stamps, and credit union savings plans.

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The Disability Rights Movement
From Charity to Confrontation
Doris Fleischer
Temple University Press, 2011

In this updated edition, Doris Zames Fleischer and Frieda Zames expand their encyclopedic history of the struggle for disability rights in the United States, to include the past ten years of disability rights activism.The book includes a new chapter on the evolving impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the continuing struggle for cross-disability civil and human rights, and the changing perceptions of disability.

The authors provide a probing analysis of such topics as deinstitutionalization, housing, health care, assisted suicide, employment, education, new technologies, disabled veterans, and disability culture.

Based on interviews with over one hundred activists, The Disability Rights Movement tells a complex and compelling story of an ongoing movement that seeks to create an equitable and diverse society, inclusive of people with disabilities.

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Disability Rights Movement
From Charity to Confrontation
Doris Fleischer
Temple University Press, 2000
Based on interviews with almost  a hundred activists, this book provides a detailed history of the struggle for disability rights in the United States. It is a complex story of shifts in consciousness and shifts in policy, of changing focuses on particular disabilities such as blindness, deafness, polio, quadriplegia, psychiatric and developmental disabilities, chronic conditions (for example, cancer and heart disease), and AIDS, and of activism and policymaking across disabilities.

Referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act as "every American's insurance policy," the authors recount the genesis of this civil rights approach to disability, from the almost forgotten disability activism of the 1930s to the independent living movement of the 1970s to the call for disability pride of the 1990s. Like other civil rights struggles, the disability rights movement took place in the streets and in the courts as activists fought for change in the schools, the workplace, and in the legal system. They continue to fight for effective access to the necessities of everyday life -- to telephones, buses, planes, public buildings, restaurants, and toilets.

The history of disability rights mirrors the history of the country. Both World Wars sparked changes in disability policy and  changes in medical technology as veterans without without limbs and with other disabilities return home. The empowerment of people with disabilities has become another chapter in the struggles over identity politics that began in the 1960s. Today, with the expanding ability of people with disabilities to enter the workforce, and a growing elderly population increasingly significant at a time when HMOs are trying to contain healthcare expenditures.
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From Charity to Enterprise
The Development of American Social Work in a Market Economy
Stanley Wenocur and Michael Reisch
University of Illinois Press, 1989
How did social work evolve as a profession in the United States? Stanley Wenocur and Michael Reisch examine the history of social work and provide a theoretical model of professionalization for analyzing its development. They offer a provocative view of American social work as an enterprise seeking exclusive control over the definition, production, and distribution of an essential commodition.
 
Now in paperback for the first time, From Charity to Enterprise sets the professionalization of social work into a dynamic social context. The explicit political and economic framework of Wenocur and Reisch's model enables the authors to examine how various subgroups within social work lost or gained control of the professional enterprise at various points.
 
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From Charity to Social Work
Mary E. Richmond and the Creation of an American Profession
Elizabeth N. Agnew
University of Illinois Press, 2003
Mary E. Richmond (1861-1928) was a contemporary of Jane Addams and an influential leader in the American charity organization movement.  In this biography--the first in-depth study of Richmond's life and work--Elizabeth N. Agnew examines the contributions of this important, if hitherto under-valued, woman to the field of charity and to its development into professional social work.
 
Orphaned at a young age and largely self-educated, Richmond initially entered charity work as a means of self-support, but came to play a vital role in transforming philanthropy--previously seen as a voluntary expression of individual altruism--into a valid, organized profession. Her career took her from charity organization leadership in Baltimore and Philadelphia to an executive position with the prestigious Russell Sage Foundation in New York City.
 
Richmond's progressive civic philosophy of social work was largely informed by the social gospel movement. She strove to find practical applications of the teachings of Christianity in response to the social problems that accompanied rapid industrialization, urbanization, and poverty. At the same time, her tireless efforts and personal example as a woman created an appealing, if ambiguous, path for other professional women. A century later her legacy continues to echo in social work and welfare reform.
 
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Having People, Having Heart
Charity, Sustainable Development, and Problems of Dependence in Central Uganda
China Scherz
University of Chicago Press, 2014
Believing that charity inadvertently legitimates social inequality and fosters dependence, many international development organizations have increasingly sought to replace material aid with efforts to build self-reliance and local institutions. But in some cultures—like those in rural Uganda, where Having People, Having Heart takes place—people see this shift not as an effort toward empowerment but as a suspect refusal to redistribute wealth. Exploring this conflict, China Scherz balances the negative assessments of charity that have led to this shift with the viewpoints of those who actually receive aid.
           
Through detailed studies of two different orphan support organizations in Uganda, Scherz shows how many Ugandans view material forms of Catholic charity as deeply intertwined with their own ethics of care and exchange. With a detailed examination of this overlooked relationship in hand, she reassesses the generally assumed paradox of material aid as both promising independence and preventing it. The result is a sophisticated demonstration of the powerful role that anthropological concepts of exchange, value, personhood, and religion play in the politics of international aid and development.
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Kindness and Joy
Expressing the Gentle Love
Harold G Koenig
Templeton Press, 2006

This book includes guidance as well as information and inspiration. There are practical recommendations on how to perform acts of kindness in personal lives and at work, toward friends, colleagues, and family members—even with one's enemies. Suggestions are also offered on ways to encourage others to be kind so they, too, can experience the joy that results.

 

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Lincoln and the Politics of Christian Love
Grant N. Havers
University of Missouri Press, 2009
America has seen faith-based initiatives and “the audacity of hope” in twenty-first-century politics, but few participants in our political scene have invoked the other Christian virtue of charity as a guiding principle. Abraham Lincoln extolled the merit of “loving thy neighbor as thyself,” especially as a critique of the hypocrisy of slavery, but a discussion of Christian love is noticeably absent from today’s debates about religion and democracy.

In this provocative book, Grant Havers argues that charity is a central tenet of what Lincoln once called America’s “political religion.” He explores the implications of making Christian love the highest moral standard for American democracy, showing how Lincoln’s legacy demands that a true democracy be charitable toward all—and that only a people who lived according to such ideals could succeed in building democracy as Lincoln understood it.

Havers argues that it is simplistic to conflate Lincoln’s invocation of “with charity for all” with his abiding support for the ideal of human equality. The ethic of charity in his view also brought a uniquely Christian realism to the universalism of democracy. He also describes how, since World War I, intellectuals and political leaders have denied that there exists a necessary relation between democracy and Christian love, proposing that democracy is sufficiently ethical without reliance on a specific religious tradition. Today’s neoconservatives and liberals instead posit a universal yearning for democracy that requires no foundation in the ethic of charity. Havers shows that this democratic universalism, espoused by those who believe a “chosen people” should uphold the natural rights of humanity, is alien to the sober thought of both the founders and Lincoln.

This carefully argued work defends Lincoln’s understanding of charity as essential to democracy while emphasizing the difficulty of fusing this ethic with the desire to spread democracy to people who do not share America’s Christian heritage. In considering the prospect of America’s leaders rediscovering a moral foreign policy based on charity rather than the costly idolization of democracy, Lincoln and the Politics of Christian Love makes a timely contribution to the wider debate over both the meaning of religion in American politics and the mission of America in the world—and opens a new window on Lincoln’s lasting legacy.
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No Charity in the Wilderness
Poems
Shaun T. Griffin
University of Nevada Press, 2024
No Charity in the Wilderness is a long journey into the new American West. From the southern border to the isolating two-lane highways in the desert, this collection is a prayer of reconciliation with so much that troubles us—those who live without resources or voices—and their possible future in this ever-changing landscape of desire.

Griffin has spent many decades in the high desert trying to find the way forward—when what he knows has been challenged and still there is breath on the horizon. One day an ancient Chinese poet comes to visit: "Snow deepens/ to quiet what I once believed, and Wang Wei stoops from the spine:/ this is how you become silence." Even if you doubt the old poet's counsel, like Griffin, you want to journey with him into the wilderness.  
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Octave Mirbeau
Two Plays: "Business is Business" and "Charity"
Translated and Adapted by Richard J. Hand
Intellect Books, 2012

Octave Mirbeau was one of the most prolific literary figures of France’s storied Belle Époque, and his innovative theatrical works are only recently being rediscovered and appreciated by modern audiences. Here for the first time in English-language translation are his two most celebrated and successful plays: Business is Business, a classical comedy of manners recalling Molière; and Charity, a satirical comedy centered around the exploitation of adolescents in a dubious charity home. In addition to the play texts, this volume also includes an introduction contextualizing the works and the translation and adaptation process.

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On Love and Charity
Readings from the Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard (Thomas Aquinas in Translation)
Saint Thomas Aquinas
Catholic University of America Press, 2008
No description available
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On Repentance and Almsgiving
Saint John Chrysostom
Catholic University of America Press, 1998
No description available
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Piety and Charity in Late Medieval Florence
John Henderson
University of Chicago Press, 1997
John Henderson examines the relationship between religion and society in late medieval Florence through the vehicle of the religious confraternity, one of the most ubiquitous and popular forms of lay association throughout Europe. This book provides a fascinating account of the development of confraternities in relation to other communal and ecclesiastical institutions in Florence. It is one of the most detailed analyses of charity in late medieval Europe.

"[A] long-awaited book. . . . [It is] the most complete survey of confraternities and charity, not only for Florence, but for any Italian city state to date. . . . This book recovers more vividly than other recent works what it meant to be a member of a confraternity in the late middle ages."—Samuel K. Cohn, Jr., Economic History Review

"Henderson offers new and fascinating information. . . . A stimulating and suggestive book that deserves a wide readership." —Gervase Rosser, Times Higher Education Supplement

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Poverty and Charity in Early Modern Theater and Performance
Robert Henke
University of Iowa Press, 2015
Whereas previous studies of poverty and early modern theatre have concentrated on England and the criminal rogue, Poverty and Charity in Early Modern Theatre and Performance takes a transnational approach, which reveals a greater range of attitudes and charitable practices regarding the poor than state poor laws and rogue books suggest. Close study of German and Latin beggar catalogues, popular songs performed in Italian piazzas, the Paduan actor-playwright Ruzante, the commedia dell’arte in both Italy and France, and Shakespeare demonstrate how early modern theatre and performance could reveal the gap between official policy and actual practices regarding the poor.

The actor-based theatre and performance traditions examined in this study, which persistently explore felt connections between the itinerant actor and the vagabond beggar, evoke the poor through complex and variegated forms of imagination, thought, and feeling. Early modern theatre does not simply reflect the social ills of hunger, poverty, and degradation, but works them through the forms of poverty, involving displacement, condensation, exaggeration, projection, fictionalization, and marginalization. As the critical mass of medieval charity was put into question, the beggar-almsgiver encounter became more like a performance. But it was not a performance whose script was prewritten as the inevitable exposure of the dissembling beggar. Just as people’s attitudes toward the poor could rapidly change from skepticism to sympathy during famines and times of acute need, fictions of performance such as Edgar’s dazzling impersonation of a mad beggar in Shakespeare’s King Lear could prompt responses of sympathy and even radical calls for economic redistribution.
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Poverty, Charity, and Motherhood
Maternal Societies in Nineteenth-Century France
Christine Adams
University of Illinois Press, 2010
This far-reaching study of maternal societies in post-revolutionary France focuses on the philanthropic work of the Society for Maternal Charity, the most prominent organization of its kind. Administered by middle-class and elite women and financed by powerful families and the government, the Society offered support to poor mothers, helping them to nurse and encouraging them not to abandon their children. In Poverty, Charity, and Motherhood, Christine Adams traces the Society's key role in shaping notions of maternity and in shifting the care of poor families from the hands of charitable volunteers with religious-tinged social visions to paid welfare workers with secular goals such as population growth and patriotism.
 
Adams plumbs the origin and ideology of the Society and its branches, showing how elite women in Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Rouen, Marseille, Dijon, and Limoges tried to influence the maternal behavior of women and families with lesser financial means and social status. A deft analysis of the philosophy and goals of the Society details the members' own notions of good mothering, family solidarity, and legitimate marriages that structured official, elite, and popular attitudes concerning gender and poverty in France. These personal attitudes, Adams argues, greatly influenced public policy and shaped the country's burgeoning social welfare system.
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Shaping the Discourse on Space
Charity and Its Wards in Nineteenth-Century San Juan, Puerto Rico
By Teresita Martínez-Vergne
University of Texas Press, 1999

As an inchoate middle class emerged in Puerto Rico in the early nineteenth century, its members sought to control not only public space, but also the people, activities, and even attitudes that filled it. Their instruments were the San Juan town council and the Casa de Beneficencia, a state-run charitable establishment charged with responsibility for the poor.

In this book, Teresita Martínez-Vergne explores how municipal officials and the Casa de Beneficencia shaped the discourse on public and private space and thereby marginalized the worthy poor and vagrants, "liberated" Africans, indigent and unruly women, and destitute children. Drawing on extensive and innovative archival research, she shows that the men who comprised the San Juan ayuntamiento and the board of charity regulated the public discourse on topics such as education, religious orthodoxy, hygiene, and family life, thereby establishing norms for "correct" social behavior and chastising the "deviant" lifestyles of the working poor.

This research clarifies the ways in which San Juan's middle class defined itself in the midst of rapid social and economic change. It also offers new insights into notions of citizenship and the process of nation-building in the Caribbean.

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Unexpected Grace
Stories of Faith, Science, and Altruism
Bill Kramer
Templeton Press, 2007

In Unexpected Grace Bill Kramer offers a rare look into the human side of the world of scientific research. He goes behind the scenes of four scientific investigations on diverse aspects of the study of unlimited love and offers uplifting portraits of human beings struggling to understand and improve the complex issues facing them. He explores the dynamics between the researchers, the subjects they study, and the participants in the studies, and eloquently tells their personal stories. The stories touch on vastly different social and human issues, but all are connected by love.

The first is the story of Courtney Cowart, who was part of a group of theologians who met at Trinity Place in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, not knowing her experience would become the subject of a study. The story of how the group struggled to survive and the formation of a practical, effective altruistic community is heartrending and inspiring. This is followed by a description of a University of California Santa Cruz psychology department study on the dynamics of friendship and prejudice that completely changed the perceptions of those involved.

The third study, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, focused on the benefits of religion on mental and physical health, which led its researcher to a greater understanding of forgiveness, humility, and grace. The final powerful story is about a physiology of love study conducted in Iowa City. Here, a functional MRI is the vehicle for measuring empathy and brings the researcher to wonder, "Is there a point at which empathy shuts down and we turn away?" Ultimately she comes to recognize that past experiences influences our ability to respond emphatically.
 
Each story candidly unveils the transformations the researchers and their subjects experienced in the course of their work. This illuminating book, with its unique insights, will appeal to educators, researchers, students, study participants, and everyone who wonders what goes on behind the scenes of investigative studies.

 

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