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Anthropology and the Will to Meaning
A Postcolonial Critique
Vassos Argyrou
Pluto Press, 2002

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Cosella Wayne
Or, Will and Destiny
Cora Wilburn, edited and introduced by Jonathan D. Sarna
University of Alabama Press, 2019
The first novel written and published in English by an American Jewish woman
 
Published serially in the spiritualist journal Banner of Light in 1860, Cosella Wayne: Or, Will and Destiny is the first coming-of-age novel, written and published in English by an American Jewish woman, to depict Jews in the United States and transforms what we know about the history of early American Jewish literature. The novel never appeared in book form, went unmentioned in Jewish newspapers of the day, and studies of nineteenth-century American Jewish literature ignore it com­pletely. Yet the novel anticipates many central themes of American Jewish writing: intermar­riage, generational tension, family dysfunction, Jewish-Christian relations, immigration, poverty, the place of women in Jewish life, the nature of romantic love, and the tension between destiny and free will.
 
The narrative recounts a relationship be­tween an abusive Jewish father and the re­bellious daughter he molested as well as that daughter’s struggle to find a place in the com­plex social fabric of nineteenth-century Amer­ica. It is also unique in portraying such themes as an unmarried Jewish woman’s descent into poverty, her forlorn years as a starving or­phaned seamstress, her apostasy and return to Judaism, and her quest to be both Jewish and a spiritualist at one and the same time.
 
Jonathan Sarna, who introduces the volume, discovered Cosella Wayne while pursuing research at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem. This edition is supplemented with selections from Cora Wilburn’s recently rediscovered diary, which are reprinted in the appendix. Together, these materials help to situate Cosella Wayne within the life and times of one of nineteenth-century American Jewry’s least known and yet most prolific female authors.
 
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Duns Scotus on the Will and Morality
John Duns Scotus
Catholic University of America Press, 1997
No description available
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Éamon de Valera
A Will to Power
Ronan Fanning
Harvard University Press, 2016

Éamon de Valera embodies Irish independence much as de Gaulle personifies French resistance and Churchill exemplifies British resolve. Ronan Fanning offers a reappraisal of the man who remains the most famous, and most divisive, political figure in modern Irish history, reconciling de Valera’s shortcomings with a recognition of his achievement as the statesman who single-handedly severed Ireland’s last ties to England.

Born in New York in 1882, de Valera was sent away to be raised by his mother’s family in Ireland, where a solitary upbringing forged the extraordinary self-sufficiency that became his hallmark. Conservative in his youth, he changed his name from Edward to Éamon when he became a member of the Gaelic League, the Irish language revival movement, in 1908. Five years later, he joined the Irish Volunteers, a nationalist military organization, and participated in the 1916 Easter Rising. Escaping execution afterward, he used his prestige as the senior surviving rebel officer to become the leader of Ireland’s revolutionary nationalists. But the iron will that was usually his strength became a fateful weakness when he stubbornly rejected the Anglo-Irish Treaty, sparking the Irish Civil War of 1922–1923.

De Valera’s vision for Ireland was blinkered: he had little interest in social and economic progress. But without him, Ireland might never have achieved independence. The nation was spared decades of unproductive debate on the pros and cons of remaining tied to Britain, and by 1973 it had enough self-confidence to surrender some of its sovereignty by joining the European Community.

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Gadget Consciousness
Collective Thought, Will and Action in the Age of Social Media
Joss Hands
Pluto Press, 2019
What impact does our relentless fixation on the gadget have on the struggle for new kinds of solidarity, political articulation, and intelligence? In this groundbreaking study, Joss Hands explores the new political and social forces that are emerging in the age of social media, and examines how they are transforming our individual and class consciousness. Exploring a range of manifestations in the digital commons, he investigates what forms digital solidarity can take and asks how the communisms of the past might shape the solidarities of the future.
 
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Habits and Holiness
Ethics, Theology, and Biopsychology
Ezra, OP Sullivan
Catholic University of America Press, 2021
The topic of habitus is one of Thomas Aquinas’s greatest contributions to moral theology, but it has been generally neglected in theological scholarship until now. Habits and Holiness is the first work in English to explore Aquinas’s rich theology of habit in all of its grandeur and depth. Habits and Holiness shows that most facets of human life and behavior are greatly influenced by habits, which Thomas appraises as an analogous concept that is much broader than previous scholarship has recognized. Habits and Holiness accomplishes three tasks. First, it gives a complete and coherent account of Aquinas’s account of habitus. Most accounts of Aquinas’s view of habitus focus almost exclusively on “Treatise on Habits” in the Summa Theologiae I-II, qq. 49-54, and speak of habitus in reference to the virtues. However, Aquinas speaks of habitus in many other places, especially his commentaries on Aristotle’s works and his commentaries on Sacred Scripture. Aquinas employs the concept of habitus to explain a wide variety of human inclinations, such as instincts, personal and societal custom, acquired skills and virtues, original sin, grace, infused virtues, and Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Second, this book indicates how biological psychology illuminates and enriches Aquinas’s account of habit, and vice versa. Finally, Habits and Holiness provides readers with a framework for interpreting and utilizing the vast amount of practical habit literature that exists: it offers a practical analysis of habit development found in Aquinas’s works and those of empirical studies. The topic of habits is a golden thread that helps readers find their way through Aquinas’s extensive writings on morals. By describing the many kinds of habits we possess, and their widespread but often hidden effects in our lives, this book offers a new and unique reevaluation of many issues central to the moral life. It addresses childhood development, pagan virtue, akrasia, circumstances that limit free choice, how heroic virtue operates, and more. By seeing habits in general as a prism for understanding human action and its influences, Habits and Holiness provides a unique and appealing synthesis of Thomistic virtue theory, the contemporary science of habits, and best practices for eliminating bad habits and living good habits.
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Heidegger and the Will
On the Way to Gelassenheit
Bret W. Davis
Northwestern University Press, 2007
The problem of the will has long been viewed as central to Heidegger's later thought. In the first book to focus on this problem, Bret W. Davis clarifies key issues from the philosopher's later period—particularly his critique of the culmination of the history of metaphysics in the technological "will to will" and the possibility of Gelassenheit or "releasement" from this willful way of being in the world—but also shows that the question of will is at the very heart of Heidegger's thinking, a pivotal issue in his path from Being and Time (1926) to "Time and Being" (1962).

Moreover, the book demonstrates why popular critical interpretations of Heidegger's relation to the will are untenable, how his so-called "turn" is not a simple "turnaround" from voluntarism to passivism. Davis explains why the later Heidegger's key notions of "non-willing" and "Gelassenheit" do not imply a mere abandonment of human action; rather, they are signposts in a search for an other way of being, a "higher activity" beyond the horizon of the will. While elucidating this search, his work also provides a critical look at the ambiguities, tensions, and inconsistencies of Heidegger's project, and does so in a way that allows us to follow the inner logic of the philosopher's struggles. As meticulous as it is bold, this comprehensive reinterpretation will change the way we think about Heidegger's politics and about the thrust of his philosophy as a whole.
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Illegible Will
Coercive Spectacles of Labor in South Africa and the Diaspora
Hershini Bhana Young
Duke University Press, 2017
In Illegible Will Hershini Bhana Young engages with the archive of South African and black diasporic performance to examine the absence of black women's will from that archive. Young argues for that will's illegibility, given the paucity of materials outlining the agency of black historical subjects. Drawing on court documents, novels, photographs, historical records, websites, and descriptions of music and dance, Young shows how black will can be conjured through critical imaginings done in concert with historical research. She critically imagines the will of familiar subjects such as Sarah Baartman and that of obscure figures such as the eighteenth-century slave Tryntjie of Madagascar, who was executed in 1713 for attempting to poison her mistress. She also investigates the presence of will in contemporary expressive culture, such as the Miss Landmine Angola beauty pageant, placing it in the long genealogy of the freak show. In these capacious case studies Young situates South African performance within African diasporic circuits of meaning throughout Africa, North America, and South Asia, demonstrating how performative engagement with archival absence can locate that which was never recorded.
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Maladies of the Will
The American Novel and the Modernity Problem
Jennifer L. Fleissner
University of Chicago Press, 2022
An examination of the nineteenth-century American novel that argues for a new genealogy of the concept of the will.

What if the modern person were defined not by reason or sentiment, as Enlightenment thinkers hoped, but by will? Western modernity rests on the ideal of the autonomous subject, charting a path toward self-determination. Yet novelists have portrayed the will as prone to insufficiency or excess—from indecision to obsession, wild impulse to melancholic inertia. Jennifer Fleissner’s ambitious book shows how the novel’s attention to the will’s maladies enables an ongoing interrogation of modern premises from within.

Maladies of the Will reveals the nineteenth-century American novel’s relation to a wide-ranging philosophical tradition, highly relevant to our own tumultuous present. In works from Moby-Dick and The Scarlet Letter to Elizabeth Stoddard’s The Morgesons and Charles W. Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition, the will’s grandeur and its perversity emerge as it alternately aligns itself with and pits itself against a bigger Will—whether of God, the state, society, history, or life itself. Today, when invocations of autonomy appear beside the medicalization of many behaviors, and democracy’s tenet of popular will has come into doubt, Maladies of the Will provides a map to how we got here, and how we might think these vital dilemmas anew.
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Modern Philosophies of the Will
Reiner Schürmann
Diaphanes, 2020
Through the lenses of Kant, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, this edited volume traces the development of the relation between the will and the law as self-given. Modern Philosophies of the Will explores a variety of topics including: the ontological turn in philosophy of the will; the will’s playful character and the problem of teleology; the will as principle of morality as discussed by Kant, of life­forms as discussed by Nietzsche, and of technology as discussed by Heidegger; the formal identity of legislation; and transgression of the law. This volume traces three strategies in the development of the philosophy of will from Kant to Heidegger, through rationality and irrationality of the will, the ontological turn, and law.
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Music Is Power
Popular Songs, Social Justice, and the Will to Change
Brad Schreiber
Rutgers University Press, 2024
Honorable Mention, 2019 Foreword INDIES Awards - Performing Arts & Music
Honorable Mention, Graphis 2021 Design Annual Competition​

Popular music has long been a powerful force for social change. Protest songs have served as anthems regarding war, racism, sexism, ecological destruction, and so many other crucial issues.
 
Music Is Power takes us on a guided tour through the past one hundred years of politically conscious music, from Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie to Green Day and NWA. Covering a wide variety of genres, including reggae, country, metal, psychedelia, rap, punk, folk, and soul, Brad Schreiber demonstrates how musicians can take a variety of approaches— angry rallying cries, mournful elegies to the victims of injustice, or even humorous mockeries of authority—to fight for a fairer world. While shining a spotlight on Phil Ochs, Gil Scott-Heron, the Dead Kennedys and other seminal, politicized artists, he also gives readers a new appreciation of classic acts such as Lesley Gore, James Brown, and Black Sabbath, who overcame limitations in their industry to create politically potent music
 
Music Is Power tells fascinating stories about the origins and the impact of dozens of world-changing songs, while revealing political context and the personal challenges of legendary artists from Bob Dylan to Bob Marley.

Supplemental material (Artist and Title List): https://d3tto5i5w9ogdd.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/24001955/Music_Is_Power_Supplementary_Artist_Title_List.doc
 
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National Will to Fight
Why Some States Keep Fighting and Others Don’t
McNerney
RAND Corporation, 2018
In this report, RAND researchers explore the factors, contexts, and mechanisms that shape a national government’s decision to continue or end military and other operations during a conflict (i.e., national will to fight). To help U.S. leaders better understand and influence will to fight, the researchers propose an exploratory model of 15 variables that can be tailored and applied to a wide set of conflict scenarios.
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Nietzsche's Sister and the Will to Power
A Biography of Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche
Carol Diethe
University of Illinois Press, 2002
A penetrating study of the sister who betrayed and endangered her famous brother's legacy

In 1901, a year after her brother Friedrich's death, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche published The Will to Power, a hasty compilation of writings he had never intended for print. In Nietzsche's Sister and the Will to Power, Carol Diethe contends that Förster-Nietzsche's own will to power and her desire to place herself--not her brother--at the center of cultural life in Germany are centrally responsible for Nietzsche's reputation as a belligerent and proto-Fascist thinker.

Offering a new look at Nietzsche's sister from a feminist perspective, this spirited and erudite biography examines why Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche recklessly consorted with anti-Semites, from her own husband to Hitler himself, out of convenience and a desire for revenge against a brother whose love for her waned after she caused the collapse of his friendship with Lou Salomé. The book also examines their family dynamics, Nietzsche's dismissal of his sister's early writing career, and the effects of limited education on intelligent women. Diethe concludes by detailing Förster-Nietzsche's brief marriage and her subsequent colonial venture in Paraguay, maintaining that her sporadic anti-Semitism was, like most things in her life, an expedient tool for cultivating personal success and status.

A volume in the series International Nietzsche Studies, edited by Richard Schacht

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Practical Reason, Aristotle, and Weakness of the Will
Norman O. Dahl
University of Minnesota Press, 1984

Practical Reason, Aristotle, and Weakness of the Will was first published in 1984. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

One of the central problems in recent moral philosophy is the apparent tension between the "practical" or "action-guiding" side of moral judgments and their objectivity. That tension would not exist if practical reason existed (if reason played a substantial role in producing motivation) and if recognition of obligation were one of the areas in which practical reason operated. In Practical Reason, Aristotle, and the Weakness of the Will,Norman Dahl argies that, despite widespread opinion to the contrary, Aristotle held a position on practical reason that both provides an objective basis for ethics and satisfies an important criterion of adequacy—that it acknowledges genuine cases of weakness of the will. In arguing for this, Dahl distinguishes Aristotle's position from that of David Hume, who denied the existence of practical reason. An important part of his argument is an account of the role that Aristotle allowed the faculty nous to play in the acquisition of general ends. Relying both on this argument and on an examination of passages from Aristotle's ethics and psychology, Dahl argues that Aristotle recognized that a genuine conflict of motives can occur in weakness of the will. This provides him with the basis for an interpretation that finds Aristotle acknowledging genuine cases of weakness of the will.

Dahl's arguments have both a philosophical and a historical point. He argues that Aristotle's position on practical reason deserves to be taken seriously, a conclusion he reinforces by comparing that position with more recent attempts, by Kant, Nagel, and Rawls, to base ethics on practical reason.

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Threads of Life
Autobiography and the Will
Richard Freadman
University of Chicago Press, 2001
Many autobiographers share profound questions about human life with their readers—questions like: To what extent was my life imposed on me? To what extent did I bring it about through particular choices and actions, through the activity of my own will? Indeed, the issue of the will is central to autobiographical writing, and some of the greatest autobiographies give extended consideration to the will—its nature; its powers; its limitations; the forms of freedom, constraint, and expression it finds in various cultures; its role in particular human lives.

In this new study, unprecedented in subject and scope, Richard Freadman offers the first sustained account of how changing theological, philosophical, and psychological accounts of the human will have been reflected in the writing of autobiography, and of how autobiography in its turn has helped shape various understandings of the will. Early chapters trace narrative representations of the will from antiquity (the Greeks and Augustine) to postmodernism (Derrida and Barthes), with particular emphasis on late modernity's culture of the will. Later chapters then present detailed and powerfully original readings of autobiographical texts by Louis Althusser, Roland Barthes, B. F. Skinner, Ernest Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir, Arthur Koestler, Stephen Spender, and Diana Trilling.

Freadman's interdisciplinary approach to autobiography and the will includes a theoretical defense of the view that autobiographers are, in varying degrees, agents in their own texts. Threads of Life argues that late modernity has inherited deeply conflicted attitudes to the will. Freadman suggests that these attitudes, now deeply embedded in contemporary cultural discourse, need reexamining. In this, he contends, 'reflective autobiography' has an important part to play.
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Weakness of Will from Plato to the Present (Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy, Volume 49)
Tobias Hoffmann
Catholic University of America Press, 2008
In thirteen original essays, eminent scholars of the history of philosophy and of contemporary philosophy examine weakness of will, or incontinence--the phenomenon of acting contrary to one's better judgment.
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The Will of a People
A Critical Anthology of Great African American Speeches
Edited with Introductions by Richard W. Leeman and Bernard K. Duffy
Southern Illinois University Press, 2012

Drawing upon nearly two hundred years of recorded African American oratory, The Will of a People: A Critical Anthology of Great African American Speeches,edited by Richard W. Leeman and Bernard K. Duffy, brings together in one unique volume some of this tradition’s most noteworthy speeches, each paired with an astute introduction designed to highlight its most significant elements.

Arranged chronologically, from Maria Miller Stewart’s 1832 speech “Why Sit Ye Here and Die?” to President Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural address, these orations are tied to many of the key themes and events of American history, as well as the many issues and developments in American race relations. These themes, events, and issues include the changing roles of women, Native American relations, American “manifest destiny,” abolitionism, the industrial revolution, Jim Crow, lynching, World War I and American self-determination, the rise of the New Deal and government social programs, the Civil Rights Movement and desegregation, the Vietnam War, Nixon and Watergate, gay and lesbian rights, immigration, and the rise of a mediated culture. Leeman and Duffy have carefully selected the most eloquent and relevant speeches by African Americans, including those by Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Booker T. Washington, Mary Church Terrell, W. E. B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Barbara Jordan, Jesse Jackson, and Marian Wright Edelman, many of which have never received significant scholarly attention.

The Will of a People is the first book to pair the full texts of the most important African American orations with substantial introductory essays intended to guide the reader’s understanding of the speaker, the speech, its rhetorical interpretation, and the historical context in which it occurred. Broadly representative of the African American experience, as well as what it means to be American, this valuable collection will serve as an essential guide to the African American oratory tradition.

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The Will of the Many
How the Alterglobalisation Movement is Changing the Face of Democracy
Marianne Maeckelbergh
Pluto Press, 2009

Never before has the idea of democracy enjoyed the global dominance it holds today, but neoliberalism has left the practice of democracy in deep crisis.

Marianne Maeckelbergh argues that the most promising model for global democracy is not coming from traditional political parties or international institutions, but from the global networks of resistance to neoliberal economics, known collectively as the Alter-globalisation movement. Through extensive ethnography of decision-making practices within these movements, Maeckelbergh describes an alternative form of global democracy in the making.

Perfect for activists and students of political anthropology, this powerful and enlightening book offers radical changes.

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The Will of the People
The Revolutionary Birth of America
T. H. Breen
Harvard University Press, 2019

“Important and lucidly written…The American Revolution involved not simply the wisdom of a few great men but the passions, fears, and religiosity of ordinary people.”
—Gordon S. Wood


In this boldly innovative work, T. H. Breen spotlights a crucial missing piece in the stories we tell about the American Revolution. From New Hampshire to Georgia, it was ordinary people who became the face of resistance. Without them the Revolution would have failed. They sustained the commitment to independence when victory seemed in doubt and chose law over vengeance when their communities teetered on the brink of anarchy.

The Will of the People offers a vivid account of how, across the thirteen colonies, men and women negotiated the revolutionary experience, accepting huge personal sacrifice, setting up daring experiments in self-government, and going to extraordinary lengths to preserve the rule of law. After the war they avoided the violence and extremism that have compromised so many other revolutions since. A masterful storyteller, Breen recovers the forgotten history of our nation’s true founders.

“The American Revolution was made not just on the battlefields or in the minds of intellectuals, Breen argues in this elegant and persuasive work. Communities of ordinary men and women—farmers, workers, and artisans who kept the revolutionary faith until victory was achieved—were essential to the effort.”
—Annette Gordon-Reed

“Breen traces the many ways in which exercising authority made local committees pragmatic…acting as a brake on the kind of violent excess into which revolutions so easily devolve.”
Wall Street Journal

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The Will to Believe
William James
Harvard University Press, 1979
The Will to Believe addresses several of the most important and perplexing problems of philosophy. In ten lucid essays James deals with such subjects as causality and free will, the definition of the good life and the Good itself, the importance of the individual in society, and the intellectual claims of scientific method. Linking all these essays, most of which were delivered as lectures to popular audiences, is James's deep belief that philosophy does not operate in a vacuum but is influenced by our passional and volitional natures.As Edward H. Madden points out in his substantial introduction, these essays, written over a span of seventeen years, represent not so much a fixed system of ideas as a patient searching, an organic development of James's thought in response to his own criticism and that of others.This is the sixth volume to be published in The Works of William James, an authoritative edition sponsored by the American Council of Learned Societies.
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The Will To Create
Goethe’s Philosophy of Nature
Astrida Orle Tantillo
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002

Better known as a poet and dramatist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) was also a learned philosopher and natural scientist. Astrida Orle Tantillo offers the first comprehensive analysis of his natural philosophy, which she contends is rooted in creativity.

Tantillo analyzes Goethe’s main scientific texts, including his work on physics, botany, comparative anatomy, and metereology. She critically examines his attempts to challenge the basic tenets of Newtonian and Cartesian science and to found a new natural philosophy. In individual chapters devoted to different key principles, she reveals how this natural philosophy—which questions rationalism, the quantitative approach to scientific inquiry, strict gender categories, and the possibility of scientific objectivity—illuminates Goethe’s standing as both a precursor and critic of modernity.

Tantillo does not presuppose prior knowledge of Goethe or science, and carefully avoids an overreliance on specialized jargon. This makes The Will to Create accessible to a wide audience, including philosophers, historians of science, and literary theorists, as well as general readers.

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The Will to Improve
Governmentality, Development, and the Practice of Politics
Tania Murray Li
Duke University Press, 2007
The Will to Improve is a remarkable account of development in action. Focusing on attempts to improve landscapes and livelihoods in Indonesia, Tania Murray Li carefully exposes the practices that enable experts to diagnose problems and devise interventions, and the agency of people whose conduct is targeted for reform. Deftly integrating theory, ethnography, and history, she illuminates the work of colonial officials and missionaries; specialists in agriculture, hygiene, and credit; and political activists with their own schemes for guiding villagers toward better ways of life. She examines donor-funded initiatives that seek to integrate conservation with development through the participation of communities, and a one-billion-dollar program designed by the World Bank to optimize the social capital of villagers, inculcate new habits of competition and choice, and remake society from the bottom up.

Demonstrating that the “will to improve” has a long and troubled history, Li identifies enduring continuities from the colonial period to the present. She explores the tools experts have used to set the conditions for reform—tools that combine the reshaping of desires with applications of force. Attending in detail to the highlands of Sulawesi, she shows how a series of interventions entangled with one another and tracks their results, ranging from wealth to famine, from compliance to political mobilization, and from new solidarities to oppositional identities and violent attack. The Will to Improve is an engaging read—conceptually innovative, empirically rich, and alive with the actions and reflections of the targets of improvement, people with their own critical analyses of the problems that beset them.

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The Will to Win
American Military Advisors in Korea, 1946–1953
Bryan R. Gibby
University of Alabama Press, 2012
The Will to Win focuses on the substantial role of US military advisors to the Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) from 1946 until 1953 in one of America’s early attempts at nation building.
 
Gibby describes ROKA’s structure, mission, challenges, and successes, thereby linking the South Korean army and their US advisors to the traditional narrative of this “forgotten war.” The work also demonstrates the difficulties inherent in national reconstruction, focusing on barriers in culture and society, and the effects of rapid decolonization combined with intense nationalism and the appeal of communism to East Asia following the destruction of the Japanese empire. Key conclusions include the importance of individual advisors, the significance of the prewar advisory effort, and the depth of the impact these men had on individual Korean units and in a few cases on the entire South Korean army.
 
The success or failure of South Korean government in the decade following the end of World War II hinged on the loyalty, strength, and fighting capability of its army, which in turn relied on its American advisors. Gibby argues that without a proficient ROKA, the 1953 armistice, still in effect today, would not have been possible. He reexamines the Korean conflict from its beginning in 1945—particularly Korean politics, military operations, and armed forces—and demonstrates the crucial role the American military advisory program and personnel played to develop a more competent and reliable Korean army.
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Willful Subjects
Sara Ahmed
Duke University Press, 2014
In Willful Subjects Sara Ahmed explores willfulness as a charge often made by some against others. One history of will is a history of attempts to eliminate willfulness from the will. Delving into philosophical and literary texts, Ahmed examines the relation between will and willfulness, ill will and good will, and the particular will and general will. Her reflections shed light on how will is embedded in a political and cultural landscape, how it is embodied, and how will and willfulness are socially mediated. Attentive to the wayward, the wandering, and the deviant, Ahmed considers how willfulness is taken up by those who have received its charge. Grounded in feminist, queer, and antiracist politics, her sui generis analysis of the willful subject, the figure who wills wrongly or wills too much, suggests that willfulness might be required to recover from the attempt at its elimination.
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Winds of Will
Emily Dickinson and the Sovereignty of Democratic Thought
Paul Crumbley
University of Alabama Press, 2010
In this study, Paul Crumbley asserts that, contrary to popular opinion, Emily Dickinson consistently communicated political views through her poetry. Dickinson’s life of self-isolation—today her most notable personal characteristic—by no means extended into the political sphere, he argues. While she rarely addressed political issues directly and was curiously disengaged from the liberal causes and female reform movements of her time, Dickinson’s poems are deeply rooted both in matters of personal sovereignty and reader choice. The significant choices Dickinson extends to the reader underscore the democratic dimensions of reading her work, and of reading itself as a political act.
 
Crumbley employs close readings of Dickinson’s poems and letters, highlighting the many changing—and often contradictory—voices in her work, both throughout her oeuvre and in individual poems themselves. In Dickinson’s letters Crumbley finds just as many unique and conflicting voices; thus, both her personal correspondence and the poems make political demands by placing the burden of interpretation on the reader.
 
Rather than reflecting explicit political values, Dickinson’s work chronicles an ongoing decision-making process that magnifies the role of individual choice, not the advocacy of specific outcomes. In the end, Dickinson’s readers must either accept an isolated lyric subjectivity or invest that subjectivity with the substance necessary for engagement with the larger world.

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