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Africa as a Living Laboratory
Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge, 1870-1950
Helen Tilley
University of Chicago Press, 2011

Tropical Africa was one of the last regions of the world to experience formal European colonialism, a process that coincided with the advent of a range of new scientific specialties and research methods. Africa as a Living Laboratory is a far-reaching study of the thorny relationship between imperialism and the role of scientific expertise—environmental, medical, racial, and anthropological—in the colonization of British Africa.

A key source for Helen Tilley’s analysis is the African Research Survey, a project undertaken in the 1930s to explore how modern science was being applied to African problems. This project both embraced and recommended an interdisciplinary approach to research on Africa that, Tilley argues, underscored the heterogeneity of African environments and the interrelations among the problems being studied. While the aim of British colonialists was unquestionably to transform and modernize Africa, their efforts, Tilley contends, were often unexpectedly subverted by scientific concerns with the local and vernacular. Meticulously researched and gracefully argued, Africa as a Living Laboratory transforms our understanding of imperial history, colonial development, and the role science played in both.

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Art in Doubt
Tolstoy, Nabokov, and the Problem of Other Minds
Tatyana Gershkovich
Northwestern University Press, 2021

Leo Tolstoy’s and Vladimir Nabokov’s radically opposed aesthetic worldviews emanate from a shared intuition—that approaching a text skeptically is easy, but trusting it is hard
 
Two figures central to the Russian literary tradition—Tolstoy, the moralist, and Nabokov, the aesthete—seem to have sharply conflicting ideas about the purpose of literature. Tatyana Gershkovich undermines this familiar opposition by identifying a shared fear at the root of their seemingly antithetical aesthetics: that one’s experience of the world might be entirely one’s own, private and impossible to share through art.
 
Art in Doubt: Tolstoy, Nabokov, and the Problem of Other Minds reconceives the pair’s celebrated fiction and contentious theorizing as coherent, lifelong efforts to reckon with the problem of other people’s minds. Gershkovich demonstrates how the authors’ shared yearning for an impossibly intimate knowledge of others formed and deformed their fiction and brought them through parallel logic to their rival late styles: Tolstoy’s rustic simplicity and Nabokov’s baroque complexity. Unlike those authors for whom the skeptical predicament ends in absurdity or despair, Tolstoy and Nabokov both hold out hope that skepticism can be overcome, not by force of will but with the right kind of text, one designed to withstand our impulse to doubt it. Through close readings of key canonical works—Anna Karenina, The Kreutzer Sonata, Hadji Murat, The Gift, Pale Fire—this book brings the twin titans of Russian fiction to bear on contemporary debates about how we read now, and how we ought to.

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The Authoritarian State (CW4)
An Essay on the Problem of the Austrian State
Eric Voegelin, Edited & Intro by Gilbert Weiss, Translated by Ruth Hein, & Historical Commentary by Erika Weinzierl
University of Missouri Press, 1999

Published in Vienna in 1936, The Authoritarian State by Eric Voegelin has remained virtually unknown to the public until now. Sales of the German edition were halted following the Nazi invasion of Austria in 1938, and the entire printing was later destroyed by wartime bombing. In this volume, Voegelin offers a critical examination of the most prominent European theories of state and constitutional law of the period while providing a political and historical analysis of the Austrian situation. He discusses the dismissal of Parliament in 1933, the civil war, the murder of Federal Chancellor Dollfuss, the adoption of the "Authoritarian Constitution" of 1934, and the predicament of being sandwiched between Hitler and Mussolini.

A radical critique of Hans Kelsen's pure theory of law lies at the heart of this work, marking Voegelin's definitive departure from Neo-Kantian epistemology. For the first time, Voegelin elaborates on the important distinction between theoretical concepts and political symbols as a basis for explaining the nontheoretical and speculative character of ideologies, both left and right. He shows that total and authoritarian are symbols of ideological self-interpretation that have no theoretical value, a distinction basic to his later work in The New Science of Politics.

Available for the first time in English, The Authoritarian State is a valuable addition to the Voegelin canon and to the field of intellectual history in general.

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Before Truth
Lonergan, Aquinas, and the Problem of Wisdom
Jeremy Wilkins
Catholic University of America Press, 2018
It’s frequently said that we live in a “post-truth” age. That obviously can’t be true, but it does name a real problem on our hands. Getting things right is hard, especially if they’re complicated. It takes preparation, diligence, and honesty. Wisdom, according to Thomas Aquinas, is the quality of right judgment. This book is about the problem of becoming wise, the problem “before truth.” It is about that problem particularly as it comes up for religious, philosophical, and theological truth claims. Before Truth: Lonergan, Aquinas, and the Problem of Wisdom proposes that Bernard Lonergan’s approach to these problems can help us become wise. One of the special problems facing Christian believers today is our awareness of how much our tradition has developed. This development has occurred along a path shot through with contingencies. Theologians have to be able to articulate how and why doctrines, institutions, and practices that have developed—and are still developing—should nevertheless be worthy of our assent and devotion.
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Climate in Motion
Science, Empire, and the Problem of Scale
Deborah R. Coen
University of Chicago Press, 2018
Today, predicting the impact of human activities on the earth’s climate hinges on tracking interactions among phenomena of radically different dimensions, from the molecular to the planetary. Climate in Motion shows that this multiscalar, multicausal framework emerged well before computers and satellites. Extending the history of modern climate science back into the nineteenth century, Deborah R. Coen uncovers its roots in the politics of empire-building in central and eastern Europe. She argues that essential elements of the modern understanding of climate arose as a means of thinking across scales in a state—the multinational Habsburg Monarchy, a patchwork of medieval kingdoms and modern laws—where such thinking was a political imperative. Led by Julius Hann in Vienna, Habsburg scientists were the first to investigate precisely how local winds and storms might be related to the general circulation of the earth’s atmosphere as a whole. Linking Habsburg climatology to the political and artistic experiments of late imperial Austria, Coen grounds the seemingly esoteric science of the atmosphere in the everyday experiences of an earlier era of globalization. Climate in Motion presents the history of modern climate science as a history of “scaling”—that is, the embodied work of moving between different frameworks for measuring the world. In this way, it offers a critical historical perspective on the concepts of scale that structure thinking about the climate crisis today and the range of possibilities for responding to it. 
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Community, Cosmopolitanism and the Problem of Human Commonality
Vered Amit and Nigel Rapport
Pluto Press, 2012

In this follow up to their widely read earlier volume, The Trouble with Community, Vered Amit and Nigel Rapport ask: 'Do notions of community remain central to our sense of who we are, in the dislocating context of globalization, or can we see beyond community closures to a human whole?'

This volume explores the variable nature of contemporary sociality. It focuses on the ethical, organizational and emotional claims and opportunities sought or fashioned for mobilizing and evading social collectivities in a world of mobile subjects. Here is an examination of the tensions and interactions between everyday forms of fluid fellowship, culturally normative claims to identity, and opportunities for realizing a universal humanity.

The book offers a new perspective on human commonality through a dialogue between two eminent anthropologists who come from distinct, but complementary positions.

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Cultural Capital
The Problem of Literary Canon Formation
John Guillory
University of Chicago Press, 2023
An enlarged edition to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of John Guillory’s formative text on the literary canon.

Since its publication in 1993, John Guillory’s Cultural Capital has been a signal text for understanding the codification and uses of the literary canon. Cultural Capital reconsiders the social basis for aesthetic judgment and exposes the unequal distribution of symbolic and linguistic knowledge on which culture has long been based. Drawing from Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology, Guillory argues that canon formation must be understood less as a question of the representation of social groups and more as a question of the distribution of cultural capital in schools, which regulate access to literacy, to the practices of reading and writing.
 
Now, as the crisis of the canon has evolved into the so-called crisis of the humanities, Guillory’s groundbreaking, incisive work has never been more urgent. As scholar and critic Merve Emre writes in her introduction to this enlarged edition: “Exclusion, selection, reflection, representation—these are the terms on which the canon wars of the last century were fought, and the terms that continue to inform debates about, for instance, decolonizing the curriculum and the rhetoric of antiracist pedagogy.”
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Cultural Capital
The Problem of Literary Canon Formation
John Guillory
University of Chicago Press, 1993
John Guillory challenges the most fundamental premises of the canon debate by resituating the problem of canon formation in an entirely new theoretical framework. The result is a book that promises to recast not only the debate about the literary curriculum but also the controversy over "multiculturalism" and the current "crisis of the humanities." Employing concepts drawn from Pierre Bourdieu's sociology, Guillory argues that canon formation must be understood less as a question of the representation of social groups than as a question of the distribution of "cultural capital" in the schools, which regulate access to literacy, to the practices of reading and writing.
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Deconstruction, Feminist Theology, and the Problem of Difference
Subverting the Race/Gender Divide
Ellen T. Armour
University of Chicago Press, 1999
The term "feminism" conjures up the promise of resistance to the various forms of oppression women face. But feminism's ability to fulfill this promise has been undermined by its failure to deal adequately with the difference that race makes for gender. In this book, Ellen T. Armour forges an alliance between deconstruction and feminist theology and theory by demonstrating deconstruction's usefulness in addressing feminism's trouble with race.

Armour shows how the writings of Jacques Derrida and Luce Irigaray can be used to uncover feminism's white presumptions so that race and gender can be thought of differently. In clear, concise terms she explores the possibilities and limitations for feminist theology of Derrida's conception of "woman" and Irigaray's "multiple woman," as well as Derrida's thinking on race and Irigaray's work on religion. Armour then points a way beyond the race/gender divide with the help of African-American theorists such as bell hooks, Hortense Spillers, and Patricia Hill Collins.

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Dostoevsky's Dialectics and the Problem of Sin
Ksana Blank
Northwestern University Press, 2010

In Dostoevsky’s Dialectics and the Problem of Sin, Ksana Blank borrows from ancient Greek, Chinese, and Christian dialectical traditions to formulate a dynamic image of Dostoevsky’s dialectics—distinct from Hegelian dialectics—as a philosophy of “compatible contradictions.” Expanding on the classical triad of Goodness, Beauty, and Truth, Blank guides us through Dostoevsky’s most difficult paradoxes: goodness that begets evil, beautiful personalities that bring about grief, and criminality that brings about salvation.

Dostoevsky’s philosophy of contradictions, this book demonstrates, contributes to the development of antinomian thought in the writings of early twentieth-century Russian religious thinkers and to the development of Bakhtin’s dialogism. Dostoevsky’s Dialectics and the Problem of Sin marks an important and original intervention into the enduring debate over Dostoevsky’s spiritual philosophy.


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Drifting among Rivers and Lakes
Southern Song Dynasty Poetry and the Problem of Literary History
Michael A. Fuller
Harvard University Press, 2013

What drives literary change? Does literature merely follow shifts in a culture, or does it play a distinctive role in shaping emergent trends? Michael Fuller explores these questions while examining the changes in Chinese shi poetry from the late Northern Song dynasty (960–1127) to the end of the Southern Song (1127–1279), a period of profound social and cultural transformation.

Shi poetry written in response to events was the dominant literary genre in Song dynasty China, serving as a central form through which literati explored meaning in their encounters with the world. By the late Northern Song, however, old models for meaning were proving inadequate, and Daoxue (Neo-Confucianism) provided an increasingly attractive new ground for understanding the self and the world. Drifting among Rivers and Lakes traces the intertwining of the practice of poetry, writings on poetics, and the debates about Daoxue that led to the cultural synthesis of the final years of the Southern Song and set the pattern for Chinese society for the next six centuries. Examining the writings of major poets and Confucian thinkers of the period, Fuller discovers the slow evolution of a complementarity between poetry and Daoxue in which neither discourse was self-sufficient.

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Emily Dickinson's Approving God
Divine Design and the Problem of Suffering
Patrick J. Keane
University of Missouri Press, 2008
As much a doubter as a believer, Emily Dickinson often expressed views about God in general—and God with respect to suffering in particular. In many of her poems, she contemplates the question posed by countless theologians and poets before her: how can one reconcile a benevolent deity with evil in the world?
            Examining Dickinson’s perspectives on the role played by a supposedly omnipotent and all-loving God in a world marked by violence and pain, Patrick Keane initially focuses on her poem “Apparently with no surprise,” in which frost, a “blonde Assassin,” beheads a “happy Flower,” a spectacle presided over by “an Approving God.” This tiny lyric,Keane shows, epitomizes the poet’s embattled relationship with the deity of her Calvinist tradition.
            Although the problem of sufferingis usually couched in terms of natural disasters or human injustice, Dickinson found new ways of considering it. By choosing a flower as her innocent “victim,” she bypassed standard “answers” to the dilemma (suffering as justified punishment for wickedness, or as attributable to the assertion of free will) in order to focus on the problem in its purest symbolic form. Keane goes on toprovide close readings of many of Dickinson’s poems and letters engaging God, showing how she addressed the challenges posed—by her own experience and by an innate skepticism reinforced by a nascent Darwinism—to the argument from design and the concept of a benevolent deity.
            More than a dissection of a single poem, Keane’s book is a sweeping personal reflection on literature and religion, faith and skepticism, theology and science. He traces the evolving history of the Problem of Suffering from the Hebrew Scriptures (Job and Ecclesiastes), through the writings of Paul, Augustine, and Aquinas, to the most recent theological and philosophical studies of the problem. Keane is interested in how readers today respond to Emily Dickinson’s often combative poems about God; at the same time, she is located as a poet whose creative life coincided with the momentous changes and challenges to religious faith associated with Darwin andNietzsche.Keane also considers Dickinson’s poems and letters in the context of the great Romantic tradition, as it runs fromMilton throughWordsworth, demonstrating how thework of these poets (perhaps surprisingly in the case of the latter)helps illuminate Dickinson’s poetry and thought.  
            Because Dickinson the poet was also Emily the gardener, her love of flowers was an appropriate vehicle for her observations on mortality and her expressions of doubt. Emily Dickinson’s Approving God is a graceful study that reveals not only the audacity of Dickinson’s thought but also its relevance to modern readers. In light of ongoing confrontations between Darwinism and design, science and literal conceptions of a divine Creator, it is an equally provocative read for students of literature and students of life.
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Eric Voegelin and the Problem of Christian Political Order
Jeffrey C. Herndon
University of Missouri Press, 2007

  Although some critics of Eric Voegelin’s later work have faulted his failure to deal with the historical Jesus and to address the implications of Christianity for social and political life, the recent publication of Voegelin’s History of Political Ideas has allowed a more complete assessment of his position regarding the Christian political order. This book addresses that criticism through an analysis of Voegelin’s early work.

            In Eric Voegelin and the Problem of Christian Political Order, Jeffrey C. Herndon analyzes the development of Voegelin’s thought regarding the origins of Christianity in the person of Jesus, the development of the church in the works of Paul, and the relationship between an immanent institutional order symbolizing the divine presence and the struggle for social and political order. Focusing on the tension between a spiritual phenomenon based on Pauline faith and the institutionalization of that experience in the church, Herndon offers one of the first examinations of the relationship of the History of Political Ideas to Voegelin’s larger body of work.

            In his wide-ranging study, Herndon explores Voegelin’s examination of the problem of Christian political order from the inception of Christianity through the Great Reformation. He also presents a clarification of Voegelin’s theory of civilizational foundation and of Voegelin’s philosophy of history with regard to Christianity and Western political order.

            Herndon addresses not only the nagging problem in Voegelin scholarship regarding his relationship with the historical Jesus but also the “Pauline compromises with the world” that enabled Christianity to become the instrument by which the West was civilized. He also shows that Voegelin’s interpretation of the historical pressures released by the Great Reformation is important to an understanding of his later work regarding the negative effect of Christian symbols in the creation of ideological disorder.

            Eric Voegelin and the Problem of Christian Political Order clarifies issues in Voegelin studies regarding the intersection between political theory and Christian concerns, addressing the relation of religious experience to the public sphere of political life in the West and helping to explain Voegelin’s contention that the death of the spirit is the price of progress. It offers scholars a perspective heretofore lacking in Voegelin scholarship and a clearer view of Voegelin’s understanding of the Christian dispensation and its influence on the course of Western development, history, and philosophy.

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The Evolving Self
Problem and Process in Human Development
Robert Kegan
Harvard University Press, 1982

The Evolving Self focuses upon the most basic and universal of psychological problems—the individual’s effort to make sense of experience, to make meaning of life. According to Robert Kegan, meaning-making is a lifelong activity that begins in earliest infancy and continues to evolve through a series of stages encompassing childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. The Evolving Self describes this process of evolution in rich and human detail, concentrating especially on the internal experience of growth and transition, its costs and disruptions as well as its triumphs.

At the heart of our meaning-making activity, the book suggests, is the drawing and redrawing of the distinction between self and other. Using Piagetian theory in a creative new way to make sense of how we make sense of ourselves, Kegan shows that each meaning-making stage is a new solution to the lifelong tension between the universal human yearning to be connected, attached, and included, on the one hand, and to be distinct, independent, and autonomous on the other. The Evolving Self is the story of our continuing negotiation of this tension. It is a book that is theoretically daring enough to propose a reinterpretation of the Oedipus complex and clinically concerned enough to suggest a variety of fresh new ways to treat those psychological complaints that commonly arise in the course of development.

Kegan is an irrepressible storyteller, an impassioned opponent of the health-and-illness approach to psychological distress, and a sturdy builder of psychological theory. His is an original and distinctive new voice in the growing discussion of human development across the life span.

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front cover of The Federal Civil Service System and the Problem of Bureaucracy
The Federal Civil Service System and the Problem of Bureaucracy
The Economics and Politics of Institutional Change
Ronald N. Johnson and Gary D. Libecap
University of Chicago Press, 1994
The call to "reinvent government"—to reform the government bureaucracy of the United States—resonates as loudly from elected officials as from the public. Examining the political and economic forces that have shaped the American civil service system from its beginnings in 1883 through today, the authors of this volume explain why, despite attempts at an overhaul, significant change in the bureaucracy remains a formidable challenge.
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Financial Policies and the World Capital Market
The Problem of Latin American Countries
Edited by Pedro Aspe Armella, Rudiger Dornbusch, and Maurice Obstfeld
University of Chicago Press, 1983

The essays brought together in this volume share a common objective: To bring a unifying methodological approach to the analysis of financial problems in developing, open economies. While the primary focus is on contemporary Latin America, the methods employed and the lessons learned are of wider applicability. The papers address the financial integration issue from three different perspectives. In some cases, a country study is the vehicle for an econometric investigation of a particular external linkage. In other cases, an individual country's experience suggests an economic model in which the stylized facts may be analyzed and developed. A third direction is unabashedly theoretical and formulates more general principles which are broadly applicable rather than country-specific.

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Framing the Problem
Causes and Consequences of a Shrinking Great Salt Lake
Kevin D. Perry
University of Utah Press, 2024
The Great Salt Lake ecosystem is on the verge of collapse due to unsustainably large water diversions, the ongoing megadrought, and climate change. Plummeting lake levels will result in a cascade of tremendous economic, ecological, and human health problems if no action is taken. One consequence of particular concern to the public is the potential for exposure to arsenic-laden dust emanating from the exposed portions of the Great Salt Lake lakebed. Framing the Problem explores how climate change has affected the lake, the consequences of low lake levels, and potential strategies for saving this ecological oasis.
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Glossolalia and the Problem of Language
Nicholas Harkness
University of Chicago Press, 2021
Speaking in tongues, also known as glossolalia, has long been a subject of curiosity as well as vigorous theological debate. A worldwide phenomenon that spans multiple Christian traditions, glossolalia is both celebrated as a supernatural gift and condemned as semiotic alchemy. For some it is mystical speech that exceeds what words can do, and for others it is mere gibberish, empty of meaning. At the heart of these differences is glossolalia’s puzzling relationship to language.

Glossolalia and the Problem of Language investigates speaking in tongues in South Korea, where it is practiced widely across denominations and congregations. Nicholas Harkness shows how the popularity of glossolalia in Korea lies at the intersection of numerous, often competing social forces, interwoven religious legacies, and spiritual desires that have been amplified by Christianity’s massive institutionalization. As evangelicalism continues to spread worldwide, Glossolalia and the Problem of Language analyzes one of its most enigmatic practices while marking a major advancement in our understanding of the power of language and its limits.
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God the Problem
Gordon D. Kaufman
Harvard University Press, 1972

The most discussed and most significant issue on the religious scene today is whether it is possible, or even desirable, to believe in God. Mr. Kaufman's valuable study does not offer a doctrine of God, but instead explores why God is a problem for many moderns, the dimensions of that problem, and the inner logic of the notion of God as it has developed in Western culture.

His object is to determine the function or significance of talk about God: how the concept of God is generated in human experience; the special problems in turn generated by this concept (for example, the intelligibility of the idea of transcendence, the problem of theodicy) and how they are met; and under what circumstances the idea of God is credible or important or even indispensable. He does not try to prove God's existence or nonexistence, but elucidates what the concept of God means and the important human needs it fulfills.

Four of the eleven essays have been previously published, at least in part; seven are completely new.

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The Happy Life; Answer to Skeptics; Divine Providence and the Problem of Evil; Soliloquies
Saint Augustine
Catholic University of America Press, 1948
No description available
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Hegel and the Problem of Multiplicity
Andrew Haas
Northwestern University Press, 2000
At the center of Hegel and the Problem of Multiplicity is the question: what could the term "multiplicity" mean for philosophy? Andrew Haas contends that most contemporary philosophical understandings of multiplicity are either Aristotelian or Kantian and that these approaches have solidified into a philosophy guided by categories of identity and different—categories to which multiplicity as such cannot be reduced. The Hegelian conception of multiplicity, Haas suggests, is opposed to both categories—or, in fact, supersedes them. To come to terms with this critique, Haas undertakes a rigorous, technical analysis of Hegel's Science of Logic. The result is a reading of the concept of multiplicity as multiple, that is, as multiplicities.
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Henry Cow
The World Is a Problem
Benjamin Piekut
Duke University Press, 2019
In its open improvisations, lapidary lyrics, errant melodies, and relentless pursuit of spontaneity, the British experimental band Henry Cow pushed rock music to its limits. Its rotating personnel, sprung from rock, free jazz, and orchestral worlds, synthesized a distinct sound that troubled genre lines, and with this musical diversity came a mixed politics, including Maoism, communism, feminism, and Italian Marxism. In Henry Cow: The World Is a Problem Benjamin Piekut tells the band’s story—from its founding in Cambridge in 1968 and later affiliation with Virgin Records to its demise ten years later—and analyzes its varied efforts to link aesthetics with politics. Drawing on ninety interviews with Henry Cow musicians and crew, letters, notebooks, scores, journals, and meeting notes, Piekut traces the group’s pursuit of a political and musical collectivism, offering up its history as but one example of the vernacular avant-garde that emerged in the decades after World War II. Henry Cow’s story resonates far beyond its inimitable music; it speaks to the avant-garde’s unpredictable potential to transform the world.
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Immanuel Wallerstein and the Problem of the World
System, Scale, Culture
David Palumbo-Liu, Bruce Robbins, and Nirvana Tanoukhi, eds.
Duke University Press, 2011
In this collection of essays, leading cultural theorists consider the meaning and implications of world-scale humanist scholarship by engaging with Immanuel Wallerstein’s world-systems analysis. The renowned sociologist developed his influential critical framework to explain the historical and continuing exploitation of the rest of the world by the West. World-systems analysis reflects Wallerstein’s conviction that understanding global inequality requires thinking on a global scale. Humanists have often criticized his theory as insufficiently attentive to values and objects of knowledge such as culture, agency, difference, subjectivity, and the local. The editors of this collection do not deny the validity of those criticisms; instead, they offer Wallerstein’s world-systems analysis as a well-developed vision of the world scale for humanists to think with and against. Scholars of comparative literature, gender, geography, history, law, race, and sociology consider what thinking on the world scale might mean for particular disciplinary practices, knowledge formations, and objects of study. Several essays offer broader reflections on what is at stake for the study of culture in decisions to adopt or reject world-scale thinking. In a brief essay, Immanuel Wallerstein situates world-systems analysis vis-à-vis the humanities.

Contributors. Gopal Balakrishnan, Tani E. Barlow, Neil Brenner, Richard E. Lee, Franco Moretti, David Palumbo-Liu, Bruce Robbins, Helen Stacy, Nirvana Tanoukhi, Immanuel Wallerstein, Kären Wigen

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Improper Influence
Campaign Finance Law, Political Interest Groups, and the Problem of Equality
Thomas Gais
University of Michigan Press, 1998
Why is there still so much dissatisfaction with the role of special interest groups in financing American election campaigns, even though no aspect of interest group politics has been so thoroughly regu-lated and constrained? This book argues that part of the answer lies in the laws themselves, which prevent many hard-to-organize citizen groups from forming effective political action committees (PACs), while actually helping business groups organize PACs.
Thomas L. Gais points out that many laws that regulate group involvement in elections ignore the real difficulties of political mobilization, and he concludes that PACs and the campaign finance laws reflect a fundamental discrepancy between grassroots ideals and the ways in which broadly based groups actually get organized.
". . . . of fundamental scholarly and practical importance. The implications for 'reform' are controversial, flatly contradicting other recent reform proposals . . . . I fully expect that Improper Influence will be one of the most significant books on campaign finance to be published in the 1990s." --Michael Munger, Public Choice
"It is rare to find a book that affords a truly fresh perspective on the role of special interest groups in the financing of U.S. elections. It is also uncommon to find a theoretically rigorous essay confronting a topic usually grounded in empirical terms. . . . Improper Influence scores high on both counts and deserves close attention from students of collective action, campaign finance law, and the U.S. political process more generally." --American Political Science Review
Thomas L. Gais is Senior Fellow, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, State University of New York.
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John Jewel and the Problem of Doctrinal Authority
W. M. Southgate
Harvard University Press

John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury, was, after Archbishop Parker, the most important English churchman in the decisive Elizabethan era. His organizational work and voluminous doctrinal writings contributed largely to the stabilization of the Anglican Church in the early years of Elizabeth's reign. Among the most effective apologists in an age noted for them, an eminent humanist and patristic scholar, Bishop jewel brought the spirit of the new enlightenment to bear on the problem of authority which naturally arose after the Reformation's initial years of rupture and polemics.

A thorough knowledge of Christian tradition and scriptural interpretation enabled Jewel to find a solution that avoided authoritarianism on the one hand and its opposite extreme of total dependence on individual inspiration on the other. The English Church of his time, strengthened by this solid basis for a continuing via media and by the brilliance of Bishop jewel's exposition of it, took cognizance of its own identity, and the Establishment emerged a reality.

A later generation of Anglican apologists, faced with the challenge of Puritanism, also leaned heavily on the theories Jewel developed. This study of his work and character thus holds a key to the understanding of several of the most important ideas and institutions to evolve during these formative periods of modern civilization.

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Leo Strauss and the Problem of Political Philosophy
Michael P. Zuckert and Catherine H. Zuckert
University of Chicago Press, 2014
Leo Strauss and his alleged political influence regarding the Iraq War have in recent years been the subject of significant media attention, including stories in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.Time magazine even called him “one of the most influential men in American politics.” With The Truth about Leo Strauss, Michael and Catherine Zuckert challenged the many claims and speculations about this notoriously complex thinker. Now, with Leo Strauss and the Problem of Political Philosophy, they turn their attention to a searching and more comprehensive interpretation of Strauss’s thought as a whole, using the many manifestations of the “problem of political philosophy” as their touchstone.
 
For Strauss, political philosophy presented a “problem” to which there have been a variety of solutions proposed over the course of Western history. Strauss’s work, they show, revolved around recovering—and restoring—political philosophy to its original Socratic form. Since positivism and historicism represented two intellectual currents that undermined the possibility of a Socratic political philosophy, the first part of the book is devoted to Strauss’s critique of these two positions. Then, the authors explore Strauss’s interpretation of the history of philosophy and both ancient and modern canonical political philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, and Locke. Strauss’s often-unconventional readings of these philosophers, they argue, pointed to solutions to the problem of political philosophy. Finally, the authors examine Strauss’s thought in the context of the twentieth century, when his chief interlocutors were Schmitt, Husserl, Heidegger, and Nietzsche.
 
The most penetrating and capacious treatment of the political philosophy of this complex and often misunderstood thinker, from his early years to his last works, Leo Strauss and the Problem of Political Philosophy reveals Strauss’s writings as an attempt to show that the distinctive characteristics of ancient and modern thought derive from different modes of solving the problem of political philosophy and reveal why he considered the ancient solution both philosophically and politically superior.
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Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge
A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy
Charles Arthur Willard
University of Chicago Press, 1996
In this witty and provocative study of democracy and its critics, Charles Willard debunks liberalism, arguing that its exaggerated ideals of authenticity, unity, and community have deflected attention from the pervasive incompetence of "the rule of experts." He proposes a ground of communication that emphasizes common interests rather than narrow disputes.

The problem of "unity" and the public sphere has driven a wedge between libertarians and communitarians. To mediate this conflict, Willard advocates a shift from the discourse of liberalism to that of epistemics. As a means of organizing the ebb and flow of consensus, epistemics regards democracy as a family of knowledge problems—as ways of managing discourse across differences and protecting multiple views.

Building a bridge between warring peoples and warring paradigms, this book also reminds those who presume to instruct government that they are obliged to enlighten it, and that to do so requires an enlightened public discourse.
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Milosz and the Problem of Evil
Lukasz Tischner; Translated from the Polish by Stanley Bill
Northwestern University Press, 2015

While scholars have chronicled Czesław Miłosz’s engagement with religious belief, no previous book-length treatment has focused on his struggles with theodicy in both poetry and thought. Miłosz wrestled with the problem of believing in a just God given the powerful evidence to the contrary in the natural world as he observed it and in the horrors of World War II and its aftermath in Poland. Rather than attempt to survey Miłosz’s vast oeuvre, Łukasz Tischner focuses on several key works—The Land of Ulro, The World, The Issa Valley, A Treatise on Morals, A Treatise on Poetry, and From the Rising of the Sun—carefully tracing the development of Miłosz’s moral arguments, especially in relation to the key texts that influenced him, among them the Bible, the Gnostic writings, and the works of Blake, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Scho­penhauer. The result is a book that examines Miłosz as both a thinker and an artist, shedding new light on all aspects of his oeuvre.

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Negative Liberties
Morrison, Pynchon, and the Problem of Liberal Ideology
Cyrus R. K. Patell
Duke University Press, 2001
Since the nineteenth century, ideas centered on the individual, on Emersonian self-reliance, and on the right of the individual to the pursuit of happiness have had a tremendous presence in the United States—and even more so after the Reagan era. But has this presence been for the good of all? In Negative Liberties Cyrus R. K. Patell revises important ideas in the debate about individualism and the political theory of liberalism. He does so by adding two new voices to the current discussion—Toni Morrison and Thomas Pynchon—to examine the different ways in which their writings embody, engage, and critique the official narrative generated by U.S. liberal ideology.
Pynchon and Morrison reveal the official narrative of individualism as encompassing a complex structure of contradiction held in abeyance. This narrative imagines that the goals of the individual are not at odds with the goals of the family or society and in fact obscures the existence of an unholy truce between individual liberty and forms of oppression. By bringing these two fiction writers into a discourse dominated by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Isaiah Berlin, John Rawls, George Kateb, Robert Bellah, and Michael Sandel, Patell unmasks the ways in which contemporary U.S. culture has not fully shed the oppressive patterns of reasoning handed down by the slaveholding culture from which American individualism emerged.
With its interdisciplinary approach, Negative Liberties will appeal to students and scholars of American literature, culture, sociology, and politics.
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Nietzsche and the Problem of Sovereignty
Richard J. White
University of Illinois Press, 1997
      From The Birth of Tragedy on, Nietzsche worked to comprehend the
        nature of the individual. Richard White shows how Nietzsche was inspired
        and guided by the question of personal "sovereignty" and how
        through his writings he sought to provoke the very sovereignty he described.
        White argues that Nietzsche is a philosopher our contemporary age must
        therefore come to understand if we are ever to secure a genuinely meaningful
        direction for the future. Profoundly relevant to our era, Nietzsche's
        philosophy addresses a version of individuality that allows us to move
        beyond the self-dispossession of mass society and the alternative of selfish
        individualism--to fully understand how one becomes what one is.
      A volume in the International Nietzsche Studies series, edited by
        Richard Schacht
 
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Paying with Their Bodies
American War and the Problem of the Disabled Veteran
John M. Kinder
University of Chicago Press, 2015
Christian Bagge, an Iraq War veteran, lost both his legs in a roadside bomb attack on his Humvee in 2006. Months after the accident, outfitted with sleek new prosthetic legs, he jogged alongside President Bush for a photo op at the White House. The photograph served many functions, one of them being to revive faith in an American martial ideal—that war could be fought without permanent casualties, and that innovative technology could easily repair war’s damage. When Bagge was awarded his Purple Heart, however, military officials asked him to wear pants to the ceremony, saying that photos of the event should be “soft on the eyes.” Defiant, Bagge wore shorts.

America has grappled with the questions posed by injured veterans since its founding, and with particular force since the early twentieth century: What are the nation’s obligations to those who fight in its name? And when does war’s legacy of disability outweigh the nation’s interests at home and abroad? In Paying with Their Bodies, John M. Kinder traces the complicated, intertwined histories of war and disability in modern America. Focusing in particular on the decades surrounding World War I, he argues that disabled veterans have long been at the center of two competing visions of American war: one that highlights the relative safety of US military intervention overseas; the other indelibly associating American war with injury, mutilation, and suffering. Kinder brings disabled veterans to the center of the American war story and shows that when we do so, the history of American war over the last century begins to look very different. War can no longer be seen as a discrete experience, easily left behind; rather, its human legacies are felt for decades.

The first book to examine the history of American warfare through the lens of its troubled legacy of injury and disability, Paying with Their Bodies will force us to think anew about war and its painful costs.
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Phenomenology and the Problem of History
A Study of Husserl's Transcendental Philosophy
David Carr
Northwestern University Press, 2009
In Phenomenology and the Problem of History, David Carr examines the paradox involving Husserl's transcendental philosophy and his later historicist theory. Rejecting the arguments of earlier critics that compromise aspects of Husserl's writing, Carr proposes a model of the transcendental philosopher who balances necessary historical reduction with a strict mind to historical context. 
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The Poet Without a Name
Gray's Elegy and the Problem of History
Henry Weinfield
Southern Illinois University Press, 1991

Henry Weinfield offers a new reading not only of the Elegy itself but also of its place in English literary history. His central argument is that in Gray’s Elegy the thematic constellation of poverty, anonymity, alienation, and unfulfilled potential—or what Weinfield calls the "problem of history"—is fully articulated for the first time, and that, as a result, the Elegy represents an important turning-point in the history of English poetry.

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The Problem of American Realism
Studies in the Cultural History of a Literary Idea
Michael Davitt Bell
University of Chicago Press, 1993
Ever since William Dean Howells declared his "realism war" in the 1880s, literary historians have regarded the rise of realism and naturalism as the signal development in post-Civil War American fiction. Questioning this generalization, Michael Davitt Bell investigates the role that these terms played in the social and literary discourse of the 1880s and 1890s. He argues that "realism" and "naturalism" were ideological categories used to promote a version of "reality" based on radically anti-"literary" and heavily gendered assumptions.

In chapters on William Dean Howells, Frank Norris, Mark Twain, Henry James, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser, and Sarah Orne Jewett, Bell examines the effects that ideas about realism and naturalism had on writers. He demonstrates that, for many of them, claiming to be a realist or a naturalist was a way to provide assurance that one was a "real" man rather than an "effeminate" artist.
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The Problem of Assessment in Art and Design
Edited by Trevor Rayment
Intellect Books, 2007
 Due to the inevitably subjective nature of art, the issue of evaluating the work of art students will always be controversial. In The Problem of Assessment in Art and Design, a distinguished group of art educators and experts examine this divisive topic across the educational spectrum, from elementary schools to university campuses.
This volume analyzes the present state of art and design assessment from both historical and philosophical perspectives, pointing the way toward possible directions for reform and reconciling the conflict between objective evaluation and individual creativity.
 
“The chapters provide an historical and philosophical analysis of the present state of assessment in art and design in England where assessment in art and design is considered to be essential, but where the assessment procedures are controversial and vehemently contested. Without providing any practical, definitive answers the authors map out some possible directions for reform.”—Teresa Eça, Apecv, Portugal
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The Problem of Beauty
Aesthetic Thought and Pursuits in Northern Song Dynasty China
Ronald C. Egan
Harvard University Press, 2006

During the Northern Song dynasty (960-1126), new ground was broken in aesthetic thought, particularly in the fields of art collecting, poetry criticism, connoisseurship of flowers, and the song lyric. Collectively these activities constitute much of what was distinctive about Northern Song culture. Yet the subjects treated here were unprecedented when they appeared; consequently, bold exploration was coupled with anxiety about the worth of these interests, especially given the Confucian biases against these pursuits.

Despite differences in each area, certain overarching themes surface repeatedly. Together, these interests and choices suggest a logic behind the new directions of literati culture in the Northern Song. By focusing on the "problem of beauty," the author calls attention to the difficulties that Northern Song innovators faced in justifying these new pursuits.

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The Problem of Diglossia in Arabic
A Comparative Study of Classical and Iraqi Arabic
Salih J. Altoma
Harvard University Press

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A Problem of Fit
How the Complexity of College Pricing Hurts Students—and Universities
Phillip B. Levine
University of Chicago Press, 2022
A critical examination of the complex system of college pricing—how it works, how it fails, and how fixing it can help both students and universities.

How much does it cost to attend college in the United States today? The answer is more complex than many realize. College websites advertise a sticker price, but uncovering the actual price—the one after incorporating financial aid—can be difficult for students and families. This inherent uncertainty leads some students to forgo applying to colleges that would be the best fit for them, or even not attend college at all. The result is that millions of promising young people may lose out on one of society’s greatest opportunities for social mobility. Colleges suffer too, losing prospective students and seeing lower enrollments and less socioeconomic diversity. If markets require prices to function well, then the American higher-education system—rife as it is with ambiguity in its pricing—amounts to a market failure.

In A Problem of Fit, economist Phillip B. Levine explains why institutions charge the prices they do and discusses the role of financial aid systems in facilitating—and discouraging—access to college. Affordability issues are real, but price transparency is also part of the problem. As Levine makes clear, our conversations around affordability and free tuition miss a larger truth: that the opacity of our current college-financing systems is a primary driver of inequities in education and society. In a clear-eyed assessment of educational access and aid in a post-COVID-19 economy, A Problem of Fit offers a trenchant new argument for educational reforms that are well within reach.
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The Problem of Genesis in Husserl's Philosophy
Jacques Derrida
University of Chicago Press, 2003
Derrida's first book-length work, The Problem of Genesis in Husserl's Philosophy, was originally written as a dissertation for his diplôme d'études supérieures in 1953 and 1954. Surveying Husserl's major works on phenomenology, Derrida reveals what he sees as an internal tension in Husserl's central notion of genesis, and gives us our first glimpse into the concerns and frustrations that would later lead Derrida to abandon phenomenology and develop his now famous method of deconstruction.

For Derrida, the problem of genesis in Husserl's philosophy is that both temporality and meaning must be generated by prior acts of the transcendental subject, but transcendental subjectivity must itself be constituted by an act of genesis. Hence, the notion of genesis in the phenomenological sense underlies both temporality and atemporality, history and philosophy, resulting in a tension that Derrida sees as ultimately unresolvable yet central to the practice of phenomenology.

Ten years later, Derrida moved away from phenomenology entirely, arguing in his introduction to Husserl's posthumously published Origin of Geometry and his own Speech and Phenomena that the phenomenological project has neither resolved this tension nor expressly worked with it. The Problem of Genesis complements these other works, showing the development of Derrida's approach to phenomenology as well as documenting the state of phenomenological thought in France during a particularly fertile period, when Levinas, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Ricoeur, and Tran-Duc-Thao, as well as Derrida, were all working through it. But the book is most important in allowing us to follow Derrida's own development as a philosopher by tracing the roots of his later work in deconstruction to these early critical reflections on Husserl's phenomenology.

"A dissertation is not merely a prerequisite for an academic job. It may set the stage for a scholar's life project. So, the doctoral dissertations of Max Weber and Jacques Derrida, never before available in English, may be of more than passing interest. In June, the University of Chicago Press will publish Mr. Derrida's dissertation, The Problem of Genesis in Husserl's Philosophy, which the French philosopher wrote in 1953-54 as a doctoral student, and which did not appear in French until 1990. From the start, Mr Derrida displayed his inventive linguistic style and flouting of convention."—Danny Postel, Chronicle of Higher Education
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The Problem of Jobs
Liberalism, Race, and Deindustrialization in Philadelphia
Guian A. McKee
University of Chicago Press, 2008
Contesting claims that postwar American liberalism retreated from fights against unemployment and economic inequality, The Problem of Jobs reveals that such efforts did not collapse after the New Deal but instead began to flourish at the local, rather than the national, level.

With a focus on Philadelphia, this volume illuminates the central role of these local political and policy struggles in shaping the fortunes of city and citizen alike. In the process, it tells the remarkable story of how Philadelphia’s policymakers and community activists energetically worked to challenge deindustrialization through an innovative series of job retention initiatives, training programs, inner-city business development projects, and early affirmative action programs. Without ignoring the failure of Philadelphians to combat institutionalized racism, Guian McKee's account of their surprising success draws a portrait of American liberalism that evinces a potency not usually associated with the postwar era. Ultimately interpreting economic decline as an arena for intervention rather than a historical inevitability, The Problem of Jobs serves as a timely reminder of policy’s potential to combat injustice.
 
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The Problem of Order
What Unites and Divides Society
Dennis Wrong
Harvard University Press

At the end of the twentieth century, many fear that the bonds holding civil society together have come undone. Yet, as the noted scholar Dennis Wrong shows us, our generation is not alone in fearing a breakdown of social ties and a descent into violent conflict. Modern masters such as Hobbes, Rousseau, Freud, Mead, Parsons, Marx, Durkheim, and Weber tried to understand what in human nature provokes social cooperation and solidarity and what arouses conflict and chaos.

To minimize discord and promote civility, society must grasp the psychological and sociological elements of human nature involved in attaining that end. The author affords an illuminating perspective on our own efforts to create a well-functioning system that allows for productive and meaningful lives and remains open to change and growth. This important book reveals the individual and social processes that offer potential for reconciliation in the present and the future.

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The Problem of Perception
A. D. Smith
Harvard University Press, 2002

In a major contribution to the theory of perception, A. D. Smith presents a truly original defense of direct realism--the view that in perception we are directly aware of things in the physical world.

The Problem of Perception offers two arguments against direct realism--one concerning illusion, and one concerning hallucination--that no current theory of perception can adequately rebut. Smith then develops a theory of perception that does succeed in answering these arguments; and because these arguments are the only two that present direct realism with serious problems arising from the nature of perception, direct realism emerges here for the first time as an ultimately tenable position within the philosophy of perception.

At the heart of Smith's theory is a new way of drawing the distinction between perception and sensation, along with an unusual treatment of the nature of objects of hallucination. With in-depth reference to both the analytical and the phenomenological literature on perception, and with telling criticism of alternative views, Smith's groundbreaking work will be of value to philosophers of perception in both the analytical and the phenomenological tradition, as well as to psychologists of perception.

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The Problem of Piracy in the Early Modern World
Maritime Predation, Empire, and the Construction of Authority at Sea
John Coakley
Amsterdam University Press, 2024
In the early modern period, both legal and illegal maritime predation was a common occurrence, but the expansion of European maritime empires exacerbated existing and created new problems of piracy across the globe. This collection of original case studies addresses these early modern problems in three sections: first, states’ attempts to exercise jurisdiction over seafarers and their actions; second, the multiple predatory marine practices considered ‘piracy’; and finally, the many representations made about piracy by states or the seafarers themselves. Across nine chapters covering regions including southeast Asia, the Atlantic archipelago, the North African states, and the Caribbean Sea, the complexities of defining and criminalizing maritime predation is explored, raising questions surrounding subjecthood, interpolity law, and the impacts of colonization on the legal and social construction of ocean, port, and coastal spaces. Seeking the meanings and motivations behind piracy, this book reveals that while European states attempted to fashion piracy into a global and homogenous phenomenon, it was largely a local and often idiosyncratic issue.
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The Problem of Race in the Twenty-first Century
Thomas C. Holt
Harvard University Press, 2002

"The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line," W. E. B. Du Bois wrote in 1903, and his words have proven sadly prophetic. As we enter the twenty-first century, the problem remains--and yet it, and the line that defines it, have shifted in subtle but significant ways. This brief book speaks powerfully to the question of how the circumstances of race and racism have changed in our time--and how these changes will affect our future.

Foremost among the book's concerns are the contradictions and incoherence of a system that idealizes black celebrities in politics, popular culture, and sports even as it diminishes the average African-American citizen. The world of the assembly line, boxer Jack Johnson's career, and The Birth of a Nation come under Holt's scrutiny as he relates the malign progress of race and racism to the loss of industrial jobs and the rise of our modern consumer society. Understanding race as ideology, he describes the processes of consumerism and commodification that have transformed, but not necessarily improved, the place of black citizens in our society.

As disturbing as it is enlightening, this timely work reveals the radical nature of change as it relates to race and its cultural phenomena. It offers conceptual tools and a new way to think and talk about racism as social reality.

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The Problem of Shape in The Prelude
The Conflict of Private and Public Speech
Jonathan R. Grandine
Harvard University Press
Wordsworth found expression for both his public and his private speech in the expansive form and peculiar organization of The Prelude; this fact, together with the problems and limitations that resulted, is the subject of Jonathan Grandine's study.
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Problem of the Century
Racial Stratification in the United States
Elijah Anderson
Russell Sage Foundation, 2001
In 1899 the great African American scholar, W.E.B. DuBois, published The Philadelphia Negro, the first systematic case study of an African American community and one of the foundations of American sociology. DuBois prophesied that the color line would be the problem of the twentieth century. One hundred years later, Problem of the Century reflects upon his prophecy, exploring the ways in which the color line is still visible in the labor market, the housing market, education, family structure, and many other aspects of life at the turn of a new century. The book opens with a theoretical discussion of the way racial identity is constructed and institutionalized. When the government classifies races and confers group rights upon them, is it subtly reenforcing damaging racial divisions, or redressing the group privileges that whites monopolized for so long? The book also delineates the social dynamics that underpin racial inequality. The contributors explore the causes and consequences of high rates of mortality and low rates of marriage in black communities, as well as the way race affects a person's chances of economic success. African Americans may soon lose their historical position as America's majority minority, and the book also examines how race plays out in the sometimes fractious relations between blacks and immigrants. The final part of the book shows how the color line manifests itself at work and in schools. Contributors find racial issues at play on both ends of the occupational ladder—among absentee fathers paying child support from their meager earnings and among black executives prospering in the corporate world. In the schools, the book explores how race defines a student's peer group and how peer pressure affects a student's grades. Problem of the Century draws upon the distinguished faculty of sociologists at the University of Pennsylvania, where DuBois conducted his research for The Philadelphia Negro. The contributors combine a scrupulous commitment to empirical inquiry with an eclectic openness to different methods and approaches. Problem of the Century blends ethnographies and surveys, statistics and content analyses, census data and historical records, to provide a far-reaching examination of racial inequality in all its contemporary manifestations.
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The Problem of the Color[blind]
Racial Transgression and the Politics of Black Performance
Brandi Wilkins Catanese
University of Michigan Press, 2011

"Catanese's beautifully written and cogently argued book addresses one of the most persistent sociopolitical questions in contemporary culture. She suggests that it is performance and the difference it makes that complicates the terms by which we can even understand 'multicultural' and 'colorblind' concepts. A tremendously illuminating study that promises to break new ground in the fields of theatre and performance studies, African American studies, feminist theory, cultural studies, and film and television studies."
---Daphne Brooks, Princeton University

"Adds immeasurably to the ways in which we can understand the contradictory aspects of racial discourse and performance as they have emerged during the last two decades.  An ambitious, smart, and fascinating book."
---Jennifer DeVere Brody, Duke University

Are we a multicultural nation, or a colorblind one? The Problem of the Color[blind] examines this vexed question in American culture by focusing on black performance in theater, film, and television. The practice of colorblind casting---choosing actors without regard to race---assumes a performing body that is somehow race neutral. But where, exactly, is race neutrality located---in the eyes of the spectator, in the body of the performer, in the medium of the performance? In analyzing and theorizing such questions, Brandi Wilkins Catanese explores a range of engaging and provocative subjects, including the infamous debate between playwright August Wilson and drama critic Robert Brustein, the film career of Denzel Washington, Suzan-Lori Parks's play Venus, the phenomenon of postblackness (as represented in the Studio Museum in Harlem's "Freestyle" exhibition), the performer Ice Cube's transformation from icon of gangsta rap to family movie star, and the controversial reality television series Black. White. Concluding that ideologies of transcendence are ahistorical and therefore unenforceable, Catanese advances the concept of racial transgression---a process of acknowledging rather than ignoring the racialized histories of performance---as her chapters move between readings of dramatic texts, films, popular culture, and debates in critical race theory and the culture wars.

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The Problem of the Essential Indexical and Other Essays, Expanded Edition
John Perry
CSLI, 2000
No word in English is shorter than the word ``I.'' And yet no word is more important in philosophy. When Descartes said ``I think therefore I am'' he produced something that was both about himself and a universal formula. The word ``I'' is called an ``indexical'' because its meaning always depends on who says it. Other examples of indexicals are ``you,'' ``here,'' ``this'' and ``now.''

John Perry discusses how these kinds of words work, and why they express important philosophical thoughts. He shows that indexicals pose a challenge to traditional assumptions about language and thought. Over the years a number of these papers, now included in this book, have sparked lively debates and have been influential in philosophy, linguistics and other areas of cognitive science.

With seven new papers, including the previously unpublished ``What Are Indexicals?,'' the present volume expands on an earlier version of this book published in the early nineties. Also included are the well-known papers ``Frege on Demonstratives,'' ``Cognitive Significance and New Theories of Reference,'' ``Evading the Slingshot,'' ``The Prince and the Phone booth'' (coauthored with Mark Crimmins), ``Fodor on Psychological Explanations'' (coauthored with David Israel), and related papers on situation semantics, direct reference, and the structure of belief. This book also includes afterwords written by the author that discuss responses to his work by Gareth Evans, Robert Stalnaker, Barbara Partee, Howard Wettstein and others.
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The Problem of the Fetish
William Pietz
University of Chicago Press, 2022
A groundbreaking account of the origins and history of the idea of fetishism.
 
In recent decades, William Pietz’s innovative history of the idea of the fetish has become a cult classic. Gathered here, for the first time, is his complete series of essays on fetishism, supplemented by three texts on Marx, blood sacrifice, and the money value of human life. Tracing the idea of the fetish from its origins in the Portuguese colonization of West Africa to its place in Enlightenment thought and beyond, Pietz reveals the violent emergence of a foundational concept for modern theories of value, belief, desire, and difference. This book cements Pietz’s legacy of engaging questions about material culture, object agency, merchant capitalism, and spiritual power, and introduces a powerful theorist to a new generation of thinkers.
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The Problem of the Future World
W. E. B. Du Bois and the Race Concept at Midcentury
Eric Porter
Duke University Press, 2010
The Problem of the Future World is a compelling reassessment of the later writings of the iconic African American activist and intellectual W. E. B. Du Bois. As Eric Porter points out, despite the outpouring of scholarship devoted to Du Bois, the broad range of writing he produced during the 1940s and early 1950s has not been thoroughly examined in its historical context, nor has sufficient attention been paid to the theoretical interventions he made during those years. Porter locates Du Bois’s later work in relation to what he calls “the first postracial moment.” He suggests that Du Bois’s midcentury writings are so distinctive and so relevant for contemporary scholarship because they were attuned to the shape-shifting character of modern racism, and in particular to the ways that discredited racial taxonomies remained embedded and in force in existing political-economic arrangements at both the local and global levels. Porter moves the conversation about Du Bois and race forward by building on existing work about the theorist, systematically examining his later writings, and looking at them from new perspectives, partly by drawing on recent scholarship on race, neoliberalism, and empire. The Problem of the Future World shows how Du Bois’s later writings help to address race and racism as protean, global phenomena in the present.
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The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Gender
Marquis Bey
University of Minnesota Press, 2020

A complex articulation of the ways blackness and nonnormative gender intersect—and a deeper understanding of how subjectivities are formed

A deep meditation on and expansion of the figure of the Negro and insurrectionary effects of the “X” as theorized by Nahum Chandler, The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Gender thinks through the problematizing effects of blackness as, too, a problematizing of gender. Through the paraontological, the between, and the figure of the “X” (with its explicit contemporary link to nonbinary and trans genders) Marquis Bey presents a meditation on black feminism and gender nonnormativity. Chandler’s text serves as both an argumentative tool for rendering the “radical alternative” in and as blackness as well as demonstrating the necessarily trans/gendered valences of that radical alternative.

Forerunners is a thought-in-process series of breakthrough digital works. 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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The Problem of Theatrical Autonomy
Analysing Theatre as a Social Practice
Joshua Edelman
Amsterdam University Press, 2016
As any devoted theatregoer will attest, watching a performance is a unique experience, as the social setting, rules, and standards of theatre often combine to create a feeling of liberation from the everyday world. This book explores the phenomenon of theatre as simultaneously distinct from and yet connected to society as a whole. Combining theoretical reflections with materials from European case studies, the authors offer intriguing new methods for the sociological study of theatre while contributing equally to theatre and performance studies.
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The Problem of Unbelief in the Sixteenth Century
The Religion of Rabelais
Lucien Febvre
Harvard University Press, 1982

Lucien Febvre’s magisterial study of sixteenth century religious and intellectual history, published in 1942, is at long last available in English, in a translation that does it full justice. The book is a modern classic. Febvre, founder with Marc Bloch of the journal Annales, was one of France’s leading historians, a scholar whose field of expertise was the sixteenth century. This book, written late in his career, is regarded as his masterpiece. Despite the subtitle, it is not primarily a study of Rabelais; it is a study of the mental life, the mentalité, of a whole age.

Febvre worked on the book for ten years. His purpose at first was polemical: he set out to demolish the notion that Rabelais was a covert atheist, a freethinker ahead of his time. To expose the anachronism of that view, he proceeded to a close examination of the ideas, information, beliefs, and values of Rabelais and his contemporaries. He combed archives and local records, compendia of popular lore, the work of writers from Luther and Erasmus to Ronsard, the verses of obscure neo-Latin poets. Everything was grist for his mill: books about comets, medical texts, philological treatises, even music and architecture. The result is a work of extraordinary richness of texture, enlivened by a wealth of concrete details—a compelling intellectual portrait of the period by a historian of rare insight, great intelligence, and vast learning.

Febvre wrote with Gallic flair. His style is informal, often witty, at times combative, and colorful almost to a fault. His idiosyncrasies of syntax and vocabulary have defeated many who have tried to read, let alone translate, the French text. Beatrice Gottlieb has succeeded in rendering his prose accurately and readably, conveying a sense of Febvre’s strong, often argumentative personality as well as his brilliantly intuitive feeling for Renaissance France.

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The Problem with Education Technology (Hint
It's Not the Technology)
Ben Fink
Utah State University Press, 2016

Education is in crisis—at least, so we hear. And at the center of this crisis is technology. New technologies like computer-based classroom instruction, online K–12 schools, MOOCs (massive open online courses), and automated essay scoring may be our last great hope—or the greatest threat we have ever faced.

In The Problem with Education Technology, Ben Fink and Robin Brown look behind the hype to explain the problems—and potential—of these technologies. Focusing on the case of automated essay scoring, they explain the technology, how it works, and what it does and doesn’t do. They explain its origins, its evolution (both in the classroom and in our culture), and the controversy that surrounds it. Most significantly, they expose the real problem—the complicity of teachers and curriculum-builders in creating an education system so mechanical that machines can in fact often replace humans—and how teachers, students, and other citizens can work together to solve it.

Offering a new perspective on the change that educators can hope, organize, and lobby for, The Problem with Education Technology challenges teachers and activists on “our side,” even as it provides new evidence to counter the profit-making, labor-saving logics that drive the current push for technology in the classroom.


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The Problem with Feeding Cities
The Social Transformation of Infrastructure, Abundance, and Inequality in America
Andrew Deener
University of Chicago Press, 2020
For most people, grocery shopping is a mundane activity. Few stop to think about the massive, global infrastructure that makes it possible to buy Chilean grapes in a Philadelphia supermarket in the middle of winter. Yet every piece of food represents an interlocking system of agriculture, manufacturing, shipping, logistics, retailing, and nonprofits that controls what we eat—or don’t.

The Problem with Feeding Cities is a sociological and historical examination of how this remarkable network of abundance and convenience came into being over the last century. It looks at how the US food system transformed from feeding communities to feeding the entire nation, and it reveals how a process that was once about fulfilling basic needs became focused on satisfying profit margins. It is also a story of how this system fails to feed people, especially in the creation of food deserts. Andrew Deener shows that problems with food access are the result of infrastructural failings stemming from how markets and cities were developed, how distribution systems were built, and how organizations coordinate the quality and movement of food. He profiles hundreds of people connected through the food chain, from farmers, wholesalers, and supermarket executives, to global shippers, logistics experts, and cold-storage operators, to food bank employees and public health advocates. It is a book that will change the way we see our grocery store trips and will encourage us all to rethink the way we eat in this country.
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The Problem with Work
Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics, and Postwork Imaginaries
Kathi Weeks
Duke University Press, 2011
In The Problem with Work, Kathi Weeks boldly challenges the presupposition that work, or waged labor, is inherently a social and political good. While progressive political movements, including the Marxist and feminist movements, have fought for equal pay, better work conditions, and the recognition of unpaid work as a valued form of labor, even they have tended to accept work as a naturalized or inevitable activity. Weeks argues that in taking work as a given, we have “depoliticized” it, or removed it from the realm of political critique. Employment is now largely privatized, and work-based activism in the United States has atrophied. We have accepted waged work as the primary mechanism for income distribution, as an ethical obligation, and as a means of defining ourselves and others as social and political subjects. Taking up Marxist and feminist critiques, Weeks proposes a postwork society that would allow people to be productive and creative rather than relentlessly bound to the employment relation. Work, she contends, is a legitimate, even crucial, subject for political theory.
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Protest, Policy, and the Problem of Violence against Women
A Cross-National Comparison
S. Laurel Weldon
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002

Violence against women is one of the most insidious social ills facing the world today. Yet governmental response is inconsistent, ranging from dismissal to aggressive implementation of policies and programs to combat the problem. In her comparative study of thirty-six democratic governments, Laurel Weldon examines the root causes and consequences of the differences in public policy from Northern Europe to Latin America.

She reveals that factors that often influence the development of social policies do not determine policies on violence against women. Neither economic level, religion, region, nor the number of women in government determine governmental responsiveness to this problem. Weldon demonstrates, for example, that Nordic governments take no more action to combat violence against women than Latin American governments, even though the Swedish welfare state is often considered a leader in social policy, particularly with regard to women’s issues.

Instead, the presence of independently organized, active women’s movements plays a greater role in placing violence against women on the public agenda. The breadth and scope of governmental response is greatly enhanced by the presence of an office dedicated to promoting women’s status.

Weldon closes with practical lessons and insights to improve government action on violence against women and other important issues of social justice and democracy.

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Reforming the World
Social Activism and the Problem of Fiction in Nineteenth-Century America
Maria Carla Sanchez
University of Iowa Press, 2009
Reforming the World considers the intricate relationship between social reform and spiritual elevation and the development of fiction in the antebellum United States. Arguing that novels of the era engaged with questions about the proper role of fiction taking place at the time, Maria Carla Sánchez illuminates the politically and socially motivated involvement of men and women in shaping ideas about the role of literature in debates about abolition, moral reform, temperance, and protest work. She concludes that, whereas American Puritans had viewed novels as risqué and grotesque, antebellum reformers elevated them to the level of literature—functioning on a much higher intellectual and moral plane.
     In her informed and innovative work, Sánchez considers those authors both familiar (Lydia Maria Child, Harriet Jacobs, and Harriet Beecher Stowe) and those all but lost to history (Timothy Shay Arthur). Along the way, she refers to some of the most notable American writers in the period (Emerson, Thoreau, and Poe). Illuminating the intersection of reform and fiction, Reforming the World visits important questions about the very purpose of literature, telling the story of “a revolution that never quite took place," one that had no grandiose or even catchy name. But it did have numerous settings and participants: from the slums of New York, where prostitutes and the intemperate made their homes, to the offices of lawyers who charted the downward paths of broken men, to the tents for revival meetings, where land and souls alike were “burned over” by the grace of God.

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Shakespeare and the Problem of Meaning
Norman Rabkin
University of Chicago Press, 1981
"Rabkin selects The Merchant of Venice, Henry V, Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Richard III, Macbeth, Coriolanus, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest as the plays on which to build his argument, and he teaches us a great deal about these plays. . . . To convince the unbelievingthat that the plays do mean, but that the meaning is coterminous with the experience of the plays themselves, Rabkin finds a strategy more subtle than thesis and rational argument, a strategy designed to make us see for ourselves why thematic descriptions are inadequate, see for ourselves tath the plays mean more than and statement about them can ever suggest." –Barbara A. Mowat, Auburn University

"Norman Rabkin's new book is a very different kind of good book. Elegantly spare, sharp, undogmatic. . . . The relationship between the perception of unity and the perception of artistic achievement is a basic conundrum, and it is one that Mr. Rabkin has courageously placed at the center of his discussion." –G. K. Hunter, Sewanee Review

"Rabkin's book is brilliant, taut, concise, beautifully argued, and sensitively responsive to the individuality of particular Shakespeare plays." –Anne Barton, New York Review of Books
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Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty
Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women Workers
M. Murphy
Duke University Press, 2006
Before 1980, sick building syndrome did not exist. By the 1990s, it was among the most commonly investigated occupational health problems in the United States. Afflicted by headaches, rashes, and immune system disorders, office workers—mostly women—protested that their workplaces were filled with toxic hazards; yet federal investigators could detect no chemical cause. This richly detailed history tells the story of how sick building syndrome came into being: how indoor exposures to chemicals wafting from synthetic carpet, ink, adhesive, solvents, and so on became something that relatively privileged Americans worried over, felt, and ultimately sought to do something about. As M. Murphy shows, sick building syndrome provides a window into how environmental politics moved indoors.

Sick building syndrome embodied a politics of uncertainty that continues to characterize contemporary American environmental debates. Murphy explores the production of uncertainty by juxtaposing multiple histories, each of which explains how an expert or lay tradition made chemical exposures perceptible or imperceptible, existent or nonexistent. They show how uncertainty emerged from a complex confluence of feminist activism, office worker protests, ventilation engineering, toxicology, popular epidemiology, corporate science, and ecology. In an illuminating case study, she reflects on EPA scientists’ efforts to have their headquarters recognized as a sick building. Murphy brings all of these histories together in what is not only a thorough account of an environmental health problem but also a much deeper exploration of the relationship between history, materiality, and uncertainty.

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Slavery
A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life
Stanley M. Elkins
University of Chicago Press, 1987
This third edition of Stanley M. Elkin's classic study offers two new chapters by the author. The first, "Slavery and Ideology," considers the discussion and criticism occasioned by this controversial work. Elkins amplifies his original purpose in writing the book and takes into consideration the substantial body of critical commentary. He also attempts a prediction on the course of future research and discussion.
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Things, Thoughts, Words, and Actions
The Problem of Language in Late Eighteenth-Century British Rhetorical Theory
H. Lewis Ulman
Southern Illinois University Press, 1994

H. Lewis Ulman here examines the roles of language theory in eighteenth-century British rhetorics, linking those roles to philosophical issues informing twentieth-century rhetorical theory. In doing so, Ulman develops a general model of the "problem of language" for rhetorical theory, a model that transcends the impasse between realism and skepticism that marks both eighteenth- and twentieth-century rhetorical theory.

The nature of language was never more central to rhetorical theory than in the second half of the eighteenth century. Yet, until now, the articulation of theories of language and the arts of rhetoric in eighteenth-century Britain has received little attention. Ulman examines the role of grammar and theories of language in the formation of eighteenth-century rhetorical theory, investigating the significance of language theory for such key concerns of eighteenth-century rhetoric as verbal criticism, style, and elocution. His study highlights what he understands as the central motive of late eighteenth-century British rhetoricians—to construct for their particular cultural context philosophically rigorous accounts of verbal communication based on carefully articulated theories of thought and language.

Toward this end, Ulman examines three eighteenth-century British rhetorical treatises: George Campbell’s Philosophy of Rhetoric, Hugh Blair’s Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, and Thomas Sheridan’s Course of Lectures on Elocution. He then identifies the continuities and discontinuities between the problem of language for eighteenth- and twentieth-century rhetorical theory and proposes a pluralistic stance toward the problem of language in rhetoric as an alternative to the theoretical standoff that currently characterizes the debate between realist and antirealist rhetorics.

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UNHCR’s Parallel Universe
Marking the Contours of a Problem
Marjoleine Zieck
Amsterdam University Press, 2010

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Unveiling the Color Line
W. E. B. Du Bois on the Problem of Whiteness
Lisa J. McLeod
University of Massachusetts Press, 2024

In The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois brilliantly details the African American experience. Yet the renowned sociologist was also an astute chronicler of white people, particularly their racism. As Unveiling the Color Line demonstrates, Du Bois’s trenchant analysis of whiteness and white supremacy began in his earliest work—his 1890 speech on Jefferson Davis—and continued in every major book he published in his more than sixty-year career, up to The Black Flame Trilogy.

Lisa J. McLeod traces the development of Du Bois’s conception of whiteness, and the racism inherent to it, as an all-encompassing problem, whether predicated on ignorance, moral failure, or the inability to recognize the humanity in other people. In clear, elegant prose, McLeod investigates Du Bois’s complex and nuanced thinking, putting his insights into dialogue with contemporary racial theorists to demonstrate his continuing value to present-day critical thought and activism.

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Voice and Phenomenon
Introduction to the Problem of the Sign in Husserl's Phenomenology
Jacques Derrida, Translated from the French by Leonard Lawlor
Northwestern University Press, 2011
Published in 1967, when Derrida is 37 years old, Voice and Phenomenon appears at the same moment as Of Grammatology and Writing and Difference. All three books announce the new philosophical project called “deconstruction.” Although Derrida will later regret the fate of the term “deconstruction,” he will use it throughout his career to define his own thinking. While Writing and Difference collects essays written over a 10 year period on diverse figures and topics, and Of Grammatology aims its deconstruction at “the age of Rousseau,” Voice and Phenomenon shows deconstruction engaged with the most important philosophical movement of the last hundred years: phenomenology. 

Only in relation to phenomenology is it possible to measure the importance of deconstruction. Only in relation to Husserl’s philosophy is it possible to understand the novelty of Derrida’s thinking. Voice and Phenomenon therefore may be the best introduction to Derrida’s thought in general. To adapt Derrida’s comment on Husserl’s Logical Investigations, it contains “the germinal structure” of Derrida’s entire thought. Lawlor’s fresh translation of Voice and Phenomenon brings new life to Derrida’s most seminal work.
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What Emotions Really Are
The Problem of Psychological Categories
Paul E. Griffiths
University of Chicago Press, 1997
In this provocative contribution to the philosophy of science and mind, Paul E. Griffiths criticizes contemporary philosophy and psychology of emotion for failing to take in an evolutionary perspective and address current work in neurobiology and cognitive science. Reviewing the three current models of emotion, Griffiths points out their deficiencies and constructs a basis for future models that pay equal attention to biological fact and conceptual rigor.

"Griffiths has written a work of depth and clarity in an area of murky ambiguity, producing a much-needed standard at the border of science, philosophy, and psychology. . . . As he presents his case, offering a forthright critique of past and present theories, Griffiths touches on such issues as evolution, social construction, natural kinds (categories corresponding with real distinctions in nature), cognition, and moods. While addressing specialists, the book will reward general readers who apply themselves to its remarkably accessible style."—Library Journal

"What Emotions Really Are makes a strong claim to be one of the best books to have emerged on the subject of human emotion."—Ray Dolan, Nature

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Who Owns the Problem?
Africa and the Struggle for Agency
Pius Adesanmi
Michigan State University Press, 2020
How may we conceptualize Africa in the driver’s seat of her own destiny in the twenty-first century? How practically may her cultures become the foundation and driving force of her innovation, development, and growth in the age of the global knowledge economy? How may the Africanist disciplines in the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences be revamped to rise up to these challenges through new imaginaries of intersectional reflection? This book assembles lectures given by Pius Adesanmi that address these questions. Adesanmi sought to create an African world of signification in which verbal artistry interpellates performer and audience in a heuristic process of knowledge production. The narrative and delivery of his arguments, the antiphonal call and response, and the aspects of Yoruba oratory and verbal resources all combine with diction and borrowings from Nigerian popular culture to create a distinct African performative mode. This mode becomes a form of resistance, specifically against the pressure to conform to Western ideals of the packaging, standardization, and delivery of knowledge. Together, these short essays preserve the
committed and passionate voice of an African writer lost far too soon. Adesanmi urges his readers to commit themselves to Africa’s cultural agency.
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front cover of Without Sympathy or Enthusiasm
Without Sympathy or Enthusiasm
The Problem of Administrative Compassion
Victor A. Thompson
University of Alabama Press, 2007

This classic study brings to bear the findings and principles of political science, sociology, psychology, and economics on various proposals for the solution of ills traditionally associated with governmental administration.

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The Yellow River
The Problem of Water in Modern China
David A. Pietz
Harvard University Press, 2015

Flowing through the heart of the North China Plain—home to 200 million people—the Yellow River sustains one of China’s core regions. Yet this vital water supply has become highly vulnerable in recent decades, with potentially serious repercussions for China’s economic, social, and political stability. The Yellow River is an investigative expedition to the source of China’s contemporary water crisis, mapping the confluence of forces that have shaped the predicament that the world’s most populous nation now faces in managing its water reserves.

Chinese governments have long struggled to maintain ecological stability along the Yellow River, undertaking ambitious programs of canal and dike construction to mitigate the effects of recurrent droughts and floods. But particularly during the Maoist years the North China Plain was radically re-engineered to utilize every drop of water for irrigation and hydroelectric generation. As David A. Pietz shows, Maoist water management from 1949 to 1976 cast a long shadow over the reform period, beginning in 1978. Rapid urban growth, industrial expansion, and agricultural intensification over the past three decades of China’s economic boom have been realized on a water resource base that was acutely compromised, with effects that have been more difficult and costly to overcome with each passing decade. Chronicling this complex legacy, The Yellow River provides important insight into how water challenges will affect China’s course as a twenty-first-century global power.

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