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Violent Accounts

by Robert N. Kraft

Violent Accounts presents a compelling study of how ordinary people commit extraordinary acts of violence and how perpetrators and victims manage in the aftermath. Grounded in extensive, qualitative analysis of perpetrator testimony, the volume reveals the individual experiences of perpetrators as well as general patterns of influence that lead to collective violence. Drawing on public testimony from the amnesty hearings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the book interweaves hundreds of hours of testimony from seventy-four violent perpetrators in apartheid South Africa, including twelve major cases that involved direct interactions between victims and perpetrators. The analysis of perpetrator testimony covers all tiers on the hierarchy of organized violence, from executives who translated political doctrine into general strategies, to managers who translated these general strategies into specific plans, to the staff--the foot soldiers--who carried out the destructive plans of these managers. Vivid and accessible, Violent Accounts is a work of innovative scholarship that transcends the particulars of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to reveal broader themes and unexpected insights about perpetrators of collective violence, the confrontations between victims and perpetrators in the aftermath of this violence, the reality of multiple truths, the complexities of reconciliation, and lessons of restorative justice.

Against Wind and Tide

by Ousmane K. Power-Greene

Against Wind and Tide tells the story of African American's battle against the American Colonization Society (ACS), founded in 1816 with the intention to return free blacks to its colony Liberia. Although ACS members considered free black colonization in Africa a benevolent enterprise, most black leaders rejected the ACS, fearing that the organization sought forced removal. As Ousmane K. Power-Greene's story shows, these African American anticolonizationists did not believe Liberia would ever be a true "black American homeland." In this study of anticolonization agitation, Power-Greene draws on newspapers, meeting minutes, and letters to explore the concerted effort on the part of nineteenth century black activists, community leaders, and spokespersons to challenge the American Colonization Society's attempt to make colonization of free blacks federal policy. The ACS insisted the plan embodied empowerment. The United States, they argued, would never accept free blacks as citizens, and the only solution to the status of free blacks was to create an autonomous nation that would fundamentally reject racism at its core. But the activists and reformers on the opposite side believed that the colonization movement was itself deeply racist and in fact one of the greatest obstacles for African Americans to gain citizenship in the United States. Power-Greene synthesizes debates about colonization and emigration, situating this complex and enduring issue into an ever broader conversation about nation building and identity formation in the Atlantic world.

Controlling Paris

by Jonathan M. House

When not at war, armies are often used to control civil disorders, especially in eras of rapid social change and unrest. But in nineteenth century Europe, without the technological advances of modern armies and police forces, an army's only advantages were discipline and organization--and in the face of popular opposition to the regime in power, both could rapidly deteriorate. Such was the case in France after the Napoleonic Wars, where a cumulative recent history of failure weakened an already fragile army's ability to keep the peace. After the February 1848 overthrow of the last king of France, the new republican government proved remarkably resilient, retaining power while pursuing moderate social policies despite the concerted efforts of a variety of radical and socialist groups. These efforts took numerous forms, ranging from demonstrations to attempted coups to full-scale urban combat, and culminated in the crisis of the June Days. At stake was the future of French government and the social and economic policy of France at large. In Controlling Paris, Jonathan M. House offers us a study of revolution from the viewpoint of the government rather than the revolutionary. It is not focused on military tactics so much as on the broader issues involved in controlling civil disorders: relations between the government and its military leaders, causes and social issues of public disorder, political loyalty of troops in crisis, and excessive use of force to control civil disorders. Yet somehow, despite all these disadvantages, the French police and armed forces prevented regime change far more often than they failed to do so.

That Pride of Race and Character

by Caroline E. Light

"It has ever been the boast of the Jewish people, that they support their own poor," declared Kentucky attorney Benjamin Franklin Jonas in 1856. "Their reasons are partly founded in religious necessity, and partly in that pride of race and character which has supported them through so many ages of trial and vicissitude." In That Pride of Race and Character, Caroline E. Light examines the American Jewish tradition of benevolence and charity and explores its southern roots. Light provides a critical analysis of benevolence as it was inflected by regional ideals of race and gender, showing how a southern Jewish benevolent empire emerged in response to the combined pressures of post-Civil War devastation and the simultaneous influx of eastern European immigration. In an effort to combat the voices of anti-Semitism and nativism, established Jewish leaders developed a sophisticated and cutting-edge network of charities in the South to ensure that Jews took care of those considered "their own" while also proving themselves to be exemplary white citizens. Drawing from confidential case files and institutional records from various southern Jewish charities, the book relates how southern Jewish leaders and their immigrant clients negotiated the complexities of "fitting in" in a place and time of significant socio-political turbulence. Ultimately, the southern Jewish call to benevolence bore the particular imprint of the region's racial mores and left behind a rich legacy.

Stray Wives

by Mary Beth Sievens

Whereas my husband, Enoch Darling, has at sundry times used me in so improper and cruel a manner, as to destroy my happiness and endanger my life, and whereas he has not provided for me as a husband ought, but expended his time and money unadvisedly, at taverns . . . . I hereby notify the public that I am obliged to leave him. Phebe Darling, January 13, 1796Hundreds of provocative notices such as this one ran in New England newspapers between 1790 and 1830. These elopement notices--advertisements paid for by husbands and occasionally wives to announce their spouses' desertions as well as the personal details of their marital conflicts--testify to the difficulties that many couples experienced, and raise questions about the nature of the marital relationship in early national New England.Stray Wives examines marriage, family, gender, and the law through the lens of these elopement notices. In conjunction with legal treatises, court records, and prescriptive literature, Mary Beth Sievens highlights the often tenuous relationships among marriage law, marital ideals, and lived experience in the early Republic, an era of exceptional cultural and economic change.Elopement notices allowed couples to negotiate the meaning of these changes, through contests over issues such as gender roles, consumption, economic support, and property ownership. Sievens reveals the ambiguous, often contested nature of marital law, showing that husbands' superior status and wives' dependence were fluid and negotiable, subject to the differing interpretations of legal commentators, community members, and spouses themselves.

A Critical Introduction to Religion in the Americas

by Michelle A. Gonzalez

A Critical Introduction to Religion in the Americas argues that we cannot understand religion in the Americas without understanding its marginalized communities. Despite frequently voiced doubts among religious studies scholars, it makes the case that theology, and particularly liberation theology, is still useful, but it must be reframed to attend to the ways in which religion is actually experienced on the ground. That is, a liberation theology that assumes a need to work on behalf of the poor can seem out of touch with a population experiencing huge Pentecostal and Charismatic growth, where the focus is not on inequality or social action but on individual relationships with the divine. By drawing on a combination of historical and ethnographic sources, this volume provides a basic introduction to the study of religion and theology in the Latino/a, Black, and Latin American contexts, and then shows how theology can be reframed to better speak to the concerns of both religious studies and the real people the theologians' work is meant to represent. Informed by the dialogue partners explored throughout the text, this volume presents a hemispheric approach to discussing lived religious movements. While not dismissive of liberation theologies, this approach is critical of their past and offers challenges to their future as well as suggestions for preventing their untimely demise. It is clear that the liberation theologies of tomorrow cannot look like the liberation theologies of today. Instructor's Guide

Clarity, Cut, and Culture

by Susan Falls

Images of diamonds appear everywhere in American culture. And everyone who has a diamond has a story to tell about it. Our stories about diamonds not only reveal what we do with these tiny stones, but also suggest how we create value, meaning, and identity through our interactions with material culture in general. Things become meaningful through our interactions with them, but how do people go about making meaning? What can we learn from an ethnography about the production of identity, creation of kinship, and use of diamonds in understanding selves and social relationships? By what means do people positioned within a globalized political-economy and a compelling universe of advertising interact locally with these tiny polished rocks? This book draws on 12 months of fieldwork with diamond consumers in New York City as well as an analysis of the iconic De Beers campaign that promised romance, status, and glamour to anyone who bought a diamond to show that this thematic pool is just one resource among many that diamond owners draw upon to engage with their own stones. The volume highlights the important roles that memory, context, and circumstance also play in shaping how people interpret and then use objects in making personal worlds. It shows that besides operating as subjects in an ad-burdened universe, consumers are highly creative, idiosyncratic, and theatrical agents.

The Colorblind Screen

by Sarah E. Turner Sarah Nilsen

The election of President Barack Obama signaled for many the realization of a post-racial America, a nation in which racism was no longer a defining social, cultural, and political issue. While many Americans espouse a "colorblind" racial ideology and publicly endorse the broad goals of integration and equal treatment without regard to race, in actuality this attitude serves to reify and legitimize racism and protects racial privileges by denying and minimizing the effects of systematic and institutionalized racism. In The Colorblind Screen, the contributors examine television's role as the major discursive medium in the articulation and contestation of racialized identities in the United States. While the dominant mode of televisual racialization has shifted to a "colorblind" ideology that foregrounds racial differences in order to celebrate multicultural assimilation, the volume investigates how this practice denies the significant social, economic, and political realities and inequalities that continue to define race relations today. Focusing on such iconic figures as President Obama, LeBron James, and Oprah Winfrey, many chapters examine the ways in which race is read by television audiences and fans. Other essays focus on how visual constructions of race in dramas like 24, Sleeper Cell, and The Wanted continue to conflate Arab and Muslim identities in post-9/11 television. The volume offers an important intervention in the study of the televisual representation of race, engaging with multiple aspects of the mythologies developing around notions of a "post-racial" America and the duplicitous discursive rationale offered by the ideology of colorblindness.

The Divided Mind of the Black Church

by Raphael G. Warnock

What is the true nature and mission of the church? Is its proper Christian purpose to save souls, or to transform the social order? This question is especially fraught when the church is one built by an enslaved people and formed, from its beginning, at the center of an oppressed community's fight for personhood and freedom. Such is the central tension in the identity and mission of the black church in the United States. For decades the black church and black theology have held each other at arm's length. Black theology has emphasized the role of Christian faith in addressing racism and other forms of oppression, arguing that Jesus urged his disciples to seek the freedom of all peoples. Meanwhile, the black church, even when focused on social concerns, has often emphasized personal piety rather than social protest. With the rising influence of white evangelicalism, biblical fundamentalism, and the prosperity gospel, the divide has become even more pronounced. In The Divided Mind of the Black Church, Raphael G. Warnock, Senior Pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, the spiritual home of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., traces the historical significance of the rise and development of black theology as an important conversation partner for the black church. Calling for honest dialogue between black and womanist theologians and black pastors, this fresh theological treatment demands a new look at the church's essential mission.

Scheherazade's Children

by Marina Warner Philip F. Kennedy

Scheherazade's Children gathers together leading scholars to explore the reverberations of the tales of the Arabian Nights across a startlingly wide and transnational range of cultural endeavors. The contributors, drawn from a wide array of disciplines, extend their inquiries into the book's metamorphoses on stage and screen as well as in literature--from India to Japan, from Sanskrit mythology to British pantomime, from Baroque opera to puppet shows. Their highly original research illuminates little-known manifestations of the Nights, and provides unexpected contexts for understanding the book's complex history. Polemical issues are thereby given unprecedented and enlightening interpretations. Organized under the rubrics of Translating, Engaging, and Staging, these essays view the Nights corpus as a uniquely accretive cultural bundle that absorbs the works upon which it has exerted influence. In this view, the Arabian Nights is a dynamic, living and breathing cross-cultural phenomenon that has left its mark on fields as disparate as the European novel and early Indian cinema. While scholarly, the writers' approach is also lively and entertaining, and the book is richly illustrated with unusual materials to deliver a sparkling and highly original exploration of the Arabian Nights' radiating influence on world literature, performance, and culture.

Servants of Allah

by Sylviane A. Diouf

Despite the explosion in work on African American and religious history, little is known about Black Muslims who came to America as slaves. Most assume that what Muslim faith any Africans did bring with them was quickly absorbed into the new Christian milieu. But, surprisingly, as Sylviane Diouf shows in this new, meticulously researched volume, Islam flourished during slavery on a large scale. Servants of Allah presents a history of African Muslim slaves, following them from Africa to the Americas. It details how, even while enslaved many Black Muslims managed to follow most of the precepts of their religion. Literate, urban, and well traveled, Black Muslims drew on their organization and the strength of their beliefs to play a major part in the most well known slave uprisings. Though Islam did not survive in the Americas in its orthodox form, its mark can be found in certain religions, traditions, and artistic creations of people of African descent. But for all their accomplishments and contributions to the cultures of the African Diaspora, the Muslim slaves have been largely ignored. Servants of Allah is the first book to examine the role of Islam in the lives of both individual practitioners and in the American slave community as a whole, while also shedding light on the legacy of Islam in today's American and Caribbean cultures. Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 1999.

The Television Will Be Revolutionized, Second Edition

by Amanda D. Lotz

Many proclaimed the "end of television" in the early years of the twenty-first century, as capabilities and features of the boxes that occupied a central space in American living rooms for the preceding fifty years were radically remade. In this revised, second edition of her definitive book, Amanda D. Lotz proves that rumors of the death of television were greatly exaggerated and explores how new distribution and viewing technologies have resurrected the medium. Shifts in the basic practices of making and distributing television have not been hastening its demise, but are redefining what we can do with television, what we expect from it, how we use it--in short, revolutionizing it. Television, as both a technology and a tool for cultural storytelling, remains as important today as ever, but it has changed in fundamental ways. The Television Will Be Revolutionized provides a sophisticated history of the present, examining television in what Lotz terms the "post-network" era while providing frameworks for understanding the continued change in the medium. The second edition addresses adjustments throughout the industry wrought by broadband delivered television such as Netflix, YouTube, and cross-platform initiatives like TV Everywhere, as well as how technologies such as tablets and smartphones have changed how and where we view. Lotz begins to deconstruct the future of different kinds of television--exploring how "prized content," live television sports and contests, and linear viewing may all be "television," but very different types of television for both viewers and producers. Through interviews with those working in the industry, surveys of trade publications, and consideration of an extensive array of popular shows, Lotz takes us behind the screen to explore what is changing, why it is changing, and why the changes matter. Instructor's Guide

Policing Hatred

by Jeannine Bell

Policing Hatred explores the intersection of race and law enforcement in the controversial area of hate crime. The nation's attention has recently been focused on high-profile hate crimes such as the dragging death of James Byrd and the torture-murder of Matthew Shepard. This book calls attention to the thousands of other individuals who each year are attacked because of their race, religion, or sexual orientation. The study of hate crimes challenges common assumptions regarding perpetrators and victims: most of the accused tend to be white, while most of their victims are not. Policing Hatred is an in-depth ethnographic study of how hate crime law works in practice, from the perspective of those enforcing it. It examines the ways in which the police handle bias crimes, and the social impact of those efforts. Bell exposes the power that law enforcement personnel have to influence the social environment by showing how they determine whether an incident will be charged as a bias crime. Drawing on her unprecedented access to a police hate crime unit, Bell's work brings to life the stories of female, Black, Latino, and Asian American detectives, in addition to those of their white male counterparts. Policing Hatred also explores the impact of victim's identity on each officers handling of bias crimes and addresses how the police treat defendants' First Amendment rights. Bell's vivid evidence from the field argues persuasively for the need to have the police diligently address even low-level offenses, such as vandalism, given their devastating cumulative effects on society.

New York Jews and the Civil War

by Howard B. Rock

The Civil War, a watershed event in American history, marked a climactic moment in the history of New York's Jewish community. Jews served and died on the battlefield, attended to wounded soldiers, sewed uniforms for soldiers and mourned the death of their President with as much depth as the Christian population. Never had American citizenship felt more compatible with Jewish identity, and never were the rewards of a newfound industrialized American prosperity more within reach. Howard Rock tells the tale of this important era in Jewish history, which would transform New York City Jews into the largest Jewish community in the world.

Contemporary Arab-American Literature

by Carol Fadda-Conrey

The last couple of decades have witnessed a flourishing of Arab-American literature across multiple genres. Yet, increased interest in this literature is ironically paralleled by a prevalent bias against Arabs and Muslims that portrays their long presence in the US as a recent and unwelcome phenomenon. Spanning the 1990s to the present, Carol Fadda-Conrey takes in the sweep of literary and cultural texts by Arab-American writers in order to understand the ways in which their depictions of Arab homelands, whether actual or imagined, play a crucial role in shaping cultural articulations of US citizenship and belonging. By asserting themselves within a US framework while maintaining connections to their homelands, Arab-Americans contest the blanket representations of themselves as dictated by the US nation-state. Deploying a multidisciplinary framework at the intersection of Middle-Eastern studies, US ethnic studies, and diaspora studies, Fadda-Conrey argues for a transnational discourse that overturns the often rigid affiliations embedded in ethnic labels. Tracing the shifts in transnational perspectives, from the founders of Arab-American literature, like Gibran Kahlil Gibran and Ameen Rihani, to modern writers such as Naomi Shihab Nye, Joseph Geha, Randa Jarrar, and Suheir Hammad, Fadda-Conrey finds that contemporary Arab-American writers depict strong yet complex attachments to the US landscape. She explores how the idea of home is negotiated between immigrant parents and subsequent generations, alongside analyses of texts that work toward fostering more nuanced understandings of Arab and Muslim identities in the wake of post-9/11 anti-Arab sentiments.

What's Gone Wrong?

by Alex Boraine

This is the book that Alex Boraine never wanted to write. As a native South African and a witness to the worst years of apartheid, he has known many of the leaders of the African National Congress in exile. He shared the jubilation of millions of South Africans when the ANC won the first democratic elections in 1994 and took up the reins of government under the presidency of Nelson Mandela. Now, two decades later, he is forced to wonder what exactly has gone wrong in South Africa. Intolerance and corruption are the hallmarks of the governing party, while the worsening state of education, health, safety and security and employment strengthen the claim that South Africa is a failing state. Boraine explores this urgent and critical issue from the vantage point of wide experience as a minister, parliamentarian, co-founder of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) and Vice Chairperson of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Committee. He digs deep into the history of the ANC and concludes that both in exile and today, the ANC is slavishly committed to one party as the dominant ruling factor. All else - the Executive, Parliament, the Judiciary, civil society and the media - take second and third place. The ANC, Boraine claims, seeks to control every institution. What's Gone Wrong? pulls no punches, but it also goes beyond strong criticism and offers a number of constructive proposals, including the re-alignment of politics as a way of preventing South Africa becoming a failed state. As South Africa mourns the loss of Mandela and embarks on another national election, with the ANC likely to begin a third decade of rule, this incisive, detailed critique is required reading for all who are interested in the fate of this young nation.

Privilege Revealed

by Stephanie M. Wildman

Affirmative action remains a hotly contested issue on our political landscape, yet the institutionalized systems of privilege which uphold the status quo remain unchallenged. Many Americans who advocate a merit-based, race-free worldview do not acknowledge the systems of privilege which benefit them. For example, many Americans rely on a social and sometimes even financial inheritance from previous generations. This inheritance, unlikely to be forthcoming if one's ancestors were slaves, privileges whiteness, maleness, and heterosexuality. In this important volume, scholars positioned differently with respect to white privilege examine how privilege of all forms manifests itself and how we can, and must, be aware of invisible privilege in our daily lives. Individual chapters focus on language, the workplace, the implications of comparing racism and sexism, race-based housing privilege, the dream of diversity and the cycle of exclusion, the rule of law and invisible systems of privilege, and the power of law to transform society.

The Exquisite Corpse of Asian America

by Rachel C. Lee

The Exquisite Corpse of Asian America addresses this central question: if race has been settled as a legal or social construction and not as biological fact, why do Asian American artists, authors, and performers continue to scrutinize their body parts? Engaging novels, poetry, theater, and new media from both the U.S. and internationally--such as Kazuo Ishiguro's science fiction novel Never Let Me Go or Ruth Ozeki's My Year of Meats and exhibits like that of Body Worlds in which many of the bodies on display originated from Chinese prisons--Rachel C. Lee teases out the preoccupation with human fragments and posthuman ecologies in the context of Asian American cultural production and theory. She unpacks how the designation of "Asian American" itself is a mental construct that is paradoxically linked to the biological body. Through chapters that each use a body part as springboard for reading Asian American texts, Lee inaugurates a new avenue of research on biosociality and biopolitics within Asian American criticism, focused on the literary and cultural understandings of pastoral governmentality, the divergent scales of embodiment, and the queer (cross)species being of racial subjects. She establishes an intellectual alliance and methodological synergy between Asian American studies and Science and Technology Studies (STS), biocultures, medical humanities, and femiqueer approaches to family formation, carework, affect, and ethics. In pursuing an Asian Americanist critique concerned with speculative and real changes to human biologies, she both produces innovation within the field and demonstrates the urgency of that critique to other disciplines.

Get a Job

by Robert D. Crutchfield

Are the unemployed more likely to commit crimes? Does having a job make one less likely to commit a crime? Criminologists have found that individuals who are marginalized from the labor market are more likely to commit crimes, and communities with more members who are marginal to the labor market have higher rates of crime. Yet, as Robert Crutchfield explains, contrary to popular expectations, unemployment has been found to be an inconsistent predictor of either individual criminality or collective crime rates. In Get a Job, Crutchfield offers a carefully nuanced understanding of the links among work, unemployment, and crime. Crutchfield explains how people's positioning in the labor market affects their participation in all kinds of crimes, from violent acts to profit-motivated offenses such as theft and drug trafficking. Crutchfield also draws on his first-hand knowledge of growing up in a poor, black neighborhood in Pittsburgh and later working on the streets as a parole officer, enabling him to develop a more complete understanding of how work and crime are related and both contribute to, and are a result of, social inequalities and disadvantage. Well-researched and informative, Get a Job tells a powerful story of one of the most troubling side effects of economic disparities in America.

Take Charge!

by John Vinton

For people over the age of sixty, New York City is a cluttered attic-a mess of valuables that cannot be ignored, but that for the most part remains buried in jargon, agencies, regulations, and eligibility forms. New York City is, after all, a place that offers seniors everything from discount tickets for Broadway shows to social service agencies for those who speak foreign languages including Spanish, Cantonese or Tagalog. It is a place of endless benefits for those who can dig through the junk in the attic, organize what is there and still have the desire to leave the house. Take Charge! The Complete Guide to Senior Living in New York City is the first book to gather, in a single volume, information and advice for people over sixty who want to make the most of the city. Here at last is an all-inclusive guide that addresses every concern for senior New Yorkers, from entertainment and healthcare to housing and taxes. Take Charge! reaches beyond merely listing phone numbers and programs to giving advice on a number of areas, from choosing an HMO, a reverse mortgage, or an elder law attorney, to receiving travel discounts and negotiating home care. Containing everything a person over sixty needs to know to make the most of life in New York City, Take Charge! is the only comprehensive guide available for New York seniors and their families.

Transforming Citizenships

by Isaac West

Transforming Citizenships engages the performativity of citizenship as it relates to transgender individuals and advocacy groups. Instead of reading the law as a set of self-executing discourses, Isaac West takes up transgender rights claims as performative productions of complex legal subjectivities capable of queering accepted understandings of genders, sexualities, and the normative forces of the law. Drawing on an expansive archive, from the correspondence of a transwoman arrested for using a public bathroom in Los Angeles in 1954 to contemporary lobbying efforts of national transgender advocacy organizations, West advances a rethinking of law as capacious rhetorics of citizenship, justice, equality, and freedom. When approached from this perspective, citizenship can be recuperated from its status as the bad object of queer politics to better understand how legal discourses open up sites for identification across identity categories and enable political activities that escape the analytics of heteronormativity and homonationalism.

Raising Generation Rx

by Linda M. Blum

Recent years have seen an explosion in the number of children diagnosed with "invisible disabilities" such as ADHD, mood and conduct disorders, and high-functioning autism spectrum disorders. Whether they are viewed as biological problems in brain wiring or as results of the increasing medicalization of childhood, the burden of dealing with the day-to-day trials and complex medical and educational decisions falls almost entirely on mothers. Yet few ask how these mothers make sense of their children's troubles, and to what extent they feel responsibility or blame. Raising Generation Rx offers a groundbreaking study that situates mothers' experiences within an age of neuroscientific breakthrough, a high-stakes knowledge-based economy, cutbacks in public services and decent jobs, and increased global competition and racialized class and gender inequality. Through in-depth interviews, observations of parents' meetings, and analyses of popular advice, Linda Blum examines the experiences of diverse mothers coping with the challenges of their children's "invisible disabilities" in the face of daunting social, economic, and political realities. She reveals how mothers in widely varied households learn to advocate for their children in the dense bureaucracies of the educational and medical systems; wrestle with anguishing decisions about the use of psychoactive medications; and live with the inescapable blame and stigma in their communities. Instructor's Guide

The Original Torah

by S. David Sperling

Is the Torah true? Do the five books of Moses provide an accurate historical account of the people of ancient Israel's origins? In The Original Torah, S. David Sperling argues that, while there is no archeological evidence to support much of the activity chronicled in the Torah, a historical reality exists there if we know how to seek it. By noting the use of foreign words or mentions of technological innovations scholars can often pinpoint the date and place in which a text was written. Sperling examines the stories of the Torah against their historical and geographic backgrounds and arrives at a new conclusion: the tales of the Torah were originally composed as allegories whose purpose was distinctly and intentionally political. The book illustrates how the authors of the Pentateuch advanced their political and religious agenda by attributing deeds of historical figures like Jeroboam and David to ancient allegorical characters like Abraham and Jacob. If "Abraham" had made peace with Philistines, for example, then David could rely on a precedent to do likewise. The Original Torah provides a new interpretive key to the foundational document of both Judaism and Christianity.

Those Damned Immigrants

by Ediberto Román Michael A. Olivas

The election of Barack Obama prompted people around the world to herald the dawning of a new, postracial era in America. Yet a scant one month after Obama's election, Jose Oswaldo Sucuzhanay, a 31-year old Ecuadorian immigrant, was ambushed by a group of white men as he walked arm and arm with his brother. Yelling anti-Latino slurs, the men beat Sucuzhanay into a coma. He died 5 days later. The incident is one of countless attacks--ranging from physical violence to raids on homes and workplaces to verbal abuse--that Latino/a immigrants have confronted for generations in America. And these attacks--physical and otherwise--are accepted by a substantial number of American citizens and elected officials, who are virulently opposed to immigrant groups crossing the Mexican border. Quick to cast all Latino/a immigrants as illegal, opponents have placed undocumented workers at the center of their anti-immigrant movement, and as such, many different types of native Spanish-speakers in this country (legal, illegal, citizen, guest), have been targeted as being responsible for increasing crime rates, a plummeting economy, and an erosion of traditional American values and culture. In Those Damned Immigrants, Ediberto Román takes on critics of Latina/o immigration, drawing on empirical evidence to refute charges of links between immigration and crime, economic downfall, and a weakening of Anglo culture. Román utilizes government statistics, economic data, historical records, and social science research to provide a counter-narrative to what he argues is a largely one-sided public discourse on Latino/a immigration.

Diaspora Lobbies and the US Government

by Renata Segura Josh Dewind

As a nation of immigrants, the United States has long accepted that citizens who identify with an ancestral homeland may hold dual loyalties; yet Americans have at times regarded the persistence of foreign ties with suspicion, seeing them as a sign of potential disloyalty and a threat to national security. Diaspora Lobbies and the US Government brings together a group of distinguished scholars of international politics and international migration to examine this contradiction in the realm of American policy making, ultimately concluding that the relationship between diaspora groups and the government can greatly affect foreign policy. This relationship is not unidirectional--as much as immigrants make an effort to shape foreign policy, government legislators and administrators also seek to enlist them in furthering American interests. From Israel to Cuba and from Ireland to Iraq, the case studies in this volume illustrate how potential or ongoing conflicts raise the stakes for successful policy outcomes. Contributors provide historical and sociological context, gauging the influence of diasporas based on population size and length of time settled in the United States, geographic concentration, access to resources from their own members or through other groups, and the nature of their involvement back in their homelands. This collection brings a fresh perspective to a rarely discussed aspect of the design of US foreign policy and offers multiple insights into dynamics that may determine how the United States will engage other nations in future decades.

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