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Immigrants and the American City

by Thomas Muller

American immigrants are often considered symbols of hope and promise. Presidential candidates point to their immigrant roots, Ellis Island is celebrated as a national monument, and the melting pot remains a popular, if somewhat tarnished, American analogy. At the same time, images of impoverished Mexicans swarming across the Mexican-American border and boatloads of desperate Haitian and Cuban refugees depict America as a nation under siege. While governments and business interests generally welcome aliens for the economic benefits they generate, the success of these groups paradoxically stirs distrust and envy, leading to discrimination, oppression, and, in some cases, eviction. Surveying the political and economic history of American immigration, Thomas Muller compellingly argues that the clamor at America's gate should be a cause of pride, not anxiety; a sign of vigor, not an omen of decline. Illustrating that recent waves of immigration have facilitated urban renewal, Muller emphasizes the many ways in which aliens have lessened our cities' social problems rather than contributing to them. Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and San Francisco, traditional gateways to other continents, have all benefited from the contributions of immigrants. To assess perceived and actual costs of absorbing the new immigrants, Muller examines their impact on city income, housing, minority jobs, public services, and wages. But Muller argues that noneconomic concerns (such as recent attempts to formalize English as the country's official language) frequently mirror deeply-rooted fears that could explain the cyclical pattern of American attitudes toward immigrants over the last three centuries. The nation, he contends, may again be turning inward, initiating a period of growing hostility toward the foreign-born. Nonetheless, higher entry levels for skilled immigrants would improve the technological standing of the U.S., increase the standard of living for the middle class, and facilitate the resurgence of our inner cities.

Original Sin

by Samuel A. Marcosson

Originalism is the practice of reviewing constitutional cases by seeking to discern the framers' and ratifiers' intent. Original Sin argues that the "jurisprudence of original intent," represented on the current Supreme Court by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, has failed on its own terms. Attempts to determine the framers' intent have not brought greater determinacy and legitimacy to the process of constitutional interpretation. Instead, the method has been marked by the very flaws-including self-interested reasoning and the manipulation of doctrine-that originalists argue marred the jurisprudence of the judicial "activists" of the Warren Court. Original Sin brings a rigorous review of the performance of the "new originalists" to the debate, applying their methodology to real cases. Marcosson focuses on the judicial decisions of Clarence Thomas, an avowed originalist who nevertheless advocates "color blind" readings of the Constitution which are at odds with the framers' ideas concerning anti-miscegenation and other laws. After critiquing what he sees as a troubling use of originalism and explaining why it has failed to provide a consistent basis for constitutional decision-making, the author goes on to offer an alternative approach: one that lends greater legitimacy to the Court's interpretations of the Constitution.

Kids Gone Wild

by Joel Best Kathleen A. Bogle

Winner of the 2015 Brian McConnell Book Award presented by the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research To hear mainstream media sources tell it, the sex lives of modern teenagers outpace even the smuttiest of cable television shows. Teen girls "sext" explicit photos to boys they like; they wear "sex bracelets" that signify what sexual activities they have done, or will do; they team up with other girls at "rainbow parties" to perform sex acts on groups of willing teen boys; they form "pregnancy pacts" with their best girlfriends to all become teen mothers at the same time. From The Today Show, to CNN, to the New York Times, stories of these events have been featured widely in the media. But are most teenage--or younger--children really going to sex parties and having multiple sexual encounters in an orgy-like fashion? Researchers say no--teen sex is actually not rampant and teen pregnancy is at low levels. But why do stories like these find such media traffic, exploiting parents' worst fears? How do these rumors get started, and how do they travel around the country and even across the globe? In Kids Gone Wild, best-selling authors Joel Best and Kathleen A. Bogle use these stories about the fears of the growing sexualization of childhood to explore what we know about contemporary legends and how both traditional media and the internet perpetuate these rumors while, at times, debating their authenticity. Best and Bogle describe the process by which such stories spread, trace how and to where they have moved, and track how they can morph as they travel from one medium to another. Ultimately, they find that our society's view of kids raging out of control has drastic and unforeseen consequences, fueling the debate on sex education and affecting policy decisions on everything from the availability of the morning after pill to who is included on sex offender registries. A surprising look at the truth behind the sensationalism in our culture, Kids Gone Wild is a much-needed wake-up call for a society determined to believe the worst about its young people.

More Than Medicine

by Jennifer Nelson

In 1948, the Constitution of the World Health Organization declared, "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Yet this idea was not predominant in the United States immediately after World War II, especially when it came to women's reproductive health. Both legal and medical institutions--and the male legislators and physicians who populated those institutions--reinforced women's second class social status and restricted their ability to make their own choices about reproductive health care. In More Than Medicine, Jennifer Nelson reveals how feminists of the '60s and '70s applied the lessons of the new left and civil rights movements to generate a women's health movement. The new movement shifted from the struggle to revolutionize health care to the focus of ending sex discrimination and gender stereotypes perpetuated in mainstream medical contexts. Moving from the campaign for legal abortion to the creation of community clinics and feminist health centers, Nelson illustrates how these activists revolutionized health care by associating it with the changing social landscape in which women had power to control their own life choices. More Than Medicine poignantly reveals how social justice activists in the United States gradually transformed the meaning of health care, pairing traditional notions of medicine with less conventional ideas of "healthy" social and political environments.

The People's News

by Joseph E. Uscinski

In an ideal world, journalists act selflessly and in the public interest regardless of the financial consequences. However, in reality, news outlets no longer provide the most important and consequential stories to audiences; instead, news producers adjust news content in response to ratings, audience demographics, and opinion polls. While such criticisms of the news media are widely shared, few can agree on the causes of poor news quality. The People's News argues that the incentives in the American free market drive news outlets to report news that meets audience demands, rather than democratic ideals.In short, audiences' opinions drive the content that so often passes off as "the news." The People's News looks at news not as a type of media but instead as a commodity bought and sold on the market, comparing unique measures of news content to survey data from a wide variety of sources. Joseph Uscinski's rigorous analysis shows news firms report certain issues over others - not because audiences need to know them, but rather, because of market demands. Uscinski also demonstrates that the influence of market demands also affects the business of news, prohibiting journalists from exercising independent judgment and determining the structure of entire news markets as well as firm branding. Ultimately, the results of this book indicate profit-motives often trump journalistic and democratic values.The findings also suggest that the media actively responds to audiences, thus giving the public control over their own information environment. Uniting the study of media effects and media content, The People's News presents a powerful challenge to our ideas of how free market media outlets meet our standards for impartiality and public service.

Aksum and Nubia

by George Hatke

Aksum and Nubia assembles and analyzes the textual and archaeological evidence of interaction between Nubia and the Ethiopian kingdom of Aksum, focusing primarily on the fourth century CE. Although ancient Nubia and Ethiopia have been the subject of a growing number of studies in recent years, little attention has been given to contact between these two regions. Hatke argues that ancient Northeast Africa cannot be treated as a unified area politically, economically, or culturally. Rather, Nubia and Ethiopia developed within very different regional spheres of interaction, as a result of which the Nubian kingdom of Kush came to focus its energies on the Nile Valley, relying on this as its main route of contact with the outside world, while Aksum was oriented towards the Red Sea and Arabia. In this way Aksum and Kush coexisted in peace for most of their history, and such contact as they maintained with each other was limited to small-scale commerce. Only in the fourth century CE did Aksum take up arms against Kush, and even then the conflict seems to have been related mainly to security issues on Aksum's western frontier. Although Aksum never managed to hold onto Kush for long, much less dealt the final death-blow to the Nubian kingdom, as is often believed, claims to Kush continued to play a role in Aksumite royal ideology as late as the sixth century. Aksum and Nubia critically examines the extent to which relations between two ancient African states were influenced by warfare, commerce, and political fictions. Online edition available as part of the NYU Library's Ancient World Digital Library and in partnership with the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW).

Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings

by Juana María Rodríguez

Finalist for the 2015 LGBT Studies Award presented by the Lambda Literary Foundation Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures and Other Latina Longings proposes a theory of sexual politics that works in the interstices between radical queer desires and the urgency of transforming public policy, between utopian longings and everyday failures. Considering the ways in which bodily movement is assigned cultural meaning, Juana María Rodríguez takes the stereotypes of the hyperbolically gestural queer Latina femme body as a starting point from which to discuss how gestures and forms of embodiment inform sexual pleasures and practices in the social realm. Centered on the sexuality of racialized queer female subjects, the book's varied archive--which includes burlesque border crossings, daddy play, pornography, sodomy laws, and sovereignty claims--seeks to bring to the fore alternative sexual practices and machinations that exist outside the sightlines of mainstream cosmopolitan gay male culture. Situating articulations of sexual subjectivity between the interpretive poles of law and performance, Rodríguez argues that forms of agency continually mediate among these various structures of legibility--the rigid confines of the law and the imaginative possibilities of the performative. She reads the strategies of Puerto Rican activists working toward self-determination alongside sexual performances on stage, in commercial pornography, in multi-media installations, on the dance floor, and in the bedroom. Rodríguez examines not only how projections of racialized sex erupt onto various discursive mediums but also how the confluence of racial and gendered anxieties seeps into the gestures and utterances of sexual acts, kinship structures, and activist practices. Ultimately, Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings reveals ­--in lyrical style and explicit detail­--how sex has been deployed in contemporary queer communities in order to radically reconceptualize sexual politics.

Transpacific Antiracism

by Yuichiro Onishi

Transpacific Antiracism introduces the dynamic process out of which social movements in Black America, Japan, and Okinawa formed Afro-Asian solidarities against the practice of white supremacy in the twentieth century. Yuichiro Onishi argues that in the context of forging Afro-Asian solidarities, race emerged as a political category of struggle with a distinct moral quality and vitality. This book explores the work of Black intellectual-activists of the first half of the twentieth century, including Hubert Harrison and W. E. B. Du Bois, that took a pro-Japan stance to articulate the connection between local and global dimensions of antiracism. Turning to two places rarely seen as a part of the Black experience, Japan and Okinawa, the book also presents the accounts of a group of Japanese scholars shaping the Black studies movement in post-surrender Japan and multiracial coalition-building in U.S.-occupied Okinawa during the height of the Vietnam War which brought together local activists, peace activists, and antiracist and antiwar GIs. Together these cases of Afro-Asian solidarity make known political discourses and projects that reworked the concept of race to become a wellspring of aspiration for a new society.

Refining Expertise

by Gwen Ottinger

Winner of the 2015 Rachel Carson Prize presented by the Society for Social Studies of Science Residents of a small Louisiana town were sure that the oil refinery next door was making them sick. As part of a campaign demanding relocation away from the refinery, they collected scientific data to prove it. Their campaign ended with a settlement agreement that addressed many of their grievances--but not concerns about their health. Yet, instead of continuing to collect data, residents began to let refinery scientists' assertions that their operations did not harm them stand without challenge. What makes a community move so suddenly from actively challenging to apparently accepting experts' authority? Refining Expertise argues that the answer lies in the way that refinery scientists and engineers defined themselves as experts. Rather than claiming to be infallible, they began to portray themselves as responsible--committed to operating safely and to contributing to the well-being of the community. The volume shows that by grounding their claims to responsibility in influential ideas from the larger culture about what makes good citizens, nice communities, and moral companies, refinery scientists made it much harder for residents to challenge their expertise and thus re-established their authority over scientific questions related to the refinery's health and environmental effects. Gwen Ottinger here shows how industrial facilities' current approaches to dealing with concerned communities--approaches which leave much room for negotiation while shielding industry's environmental and health claims from critique--effectively undermine not only individual grassroots campaigns but also environmental justice activism and far-reaching efforts to democratize science. This work drives home the need for both activists and politically engaged scholars to reconfigure their own activities in response, in order to advance community health and robust scientific knowledge about it.

Creole Religions of the Caribbean

by Joseph M. Murphy Margarite Fernandez Olmos Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert

Creolization--the coming together of diverse beliefs and practices to form new beliefs and practices-is one of the most significant phenomena in Caribbean religious history. Brought together in the crucible of the sugar plantation, Caribbean peoples drew on the variants of Christianity brought by European colonizers, as well as on African religious and healing traditions and the remnants of Amerindian practices, to fashion new systems of belief.Creole Religions of the Caribbean offers a comprehensive introduction to the syncretic religions that have developed in the region. From Vodou, Santería, Regla de Palo, the Abakuá Secret Society, and Obeah to Quimbois and Espiritismo, the volume traces the historical-cultural origins of the major Creole religions, as well as the newer traditions such as Pocomania and Rastafarianism. Chapters devoted to specific traditions trace their history, their pantheons and major rituals, and their current-day expressions in the Caribbean and in the diaspora. The volume also provides a general historical background of the Caribbean region. Creole Religions of the Caribbean is the first text to provide a study of the Creole religions of the Caribbean and will be an indispensable guide to the development of these rich religious traditions and practices.With 23 black and white illustrations

No Undocumented Child Left Behind

by Michael A. Olivas

The 1982 U. S. Supreme Court case of Plyler v. Doe, which made it possible for undocumented children to enroll in Texas public schools, was a watershed moment for immigrant rights in the United States. The Court struck down both a state statute denying funding for education to undocumented children and a municipal school district's attempt to charge an annual $1,000 tuition fee for each undocumented student to compensate for the lost state funding. Yet while this case has not returned to the Supreme Court, it is frequently contested at the state and local level. In No Undocumented Child Left Behind, Michael A. Olivas tells a fascinating history of the landmark case, examining how, 30 years later, Plyler v. Doe continues to suffer from implementation issues and requires additional litigation and vigilance to enforce the ruling. He takes a comprehensive look at the legal regime it established regarding the education of undocumented school children, moves up through its implementation, including direct and indirect attacks on it, and closes with the ongoing, highly charged debates over the Development, Relief, and Education for Minors (DREAM) Act, which aims to give conditional citizenship to undocumented college students who graduated from US high schools and have been in the country for at least five years. Listen to Michael Olivas on WYPF 88.1 FM, as he takes a look back 30 years to the Supreme Court case that made it possible for undocumented children to enroll in public schools and the highly-charged political and legal battles that have ensued.

Trial by Jury

by James Oldham

While the right to be judged by one's peers in a court of law appears to be a hallmark of American law, protected in civil cases by the Seventh Amendment to the Constitution, the civil jury is actually an import from England. Legal historian James Oldham assembles a mix of his signature essays and new work on the history of jury trial, tracing how trial by jury was transplanted to America and preserved in the Constitution.Trial by Jury begins with a rigorous examination of English civil jury practices in the late eighteenth century, including how judges determined one's right to trial by jury and who composed the jury. Oldham then considers the extensive historical use of a variety of "special juries," such as juries of merchants for commercial cases and juries of women for claims of pregnancy. Special juries were used for centuries in both English and American law, although they are now considered antithetical to the idea that American juries should be drawn from jury pools that reflect reasonable cross-sections of their communities. An introductory overview addresses the relevance of Anglo-American legal tradition and history in understanding America's modern jury system.

African Immigrant Religions in America

by Regina Gemignani Jacob Olupona

African immigration to North America has been rapidly increasing. Yet, little has been written about this significant group of immigrants and the particular religious traditions that they are transplanting on our shores, as scholars continue largely to focus instead on immigrants from Europe and Asia.African Immigrant Religions in America focuses on new understandings and insights concerning the presence and relevance of African immigrant religious communities in the United States. It explores the profound significance of religion in the lives of immigrants and the relevance of these growing communities for U.S. social life. It describes key social and historical aspects of African immigrant religion in the U.S. and builds a conceptual framework for theory and analysis.The volume broadens our understandings of the ways in which new immigration is changing the face of Christianity in the U.S. and adds needed breadth to the study of the black church, incorporating the experiences of African immigrant religious communities in America.

Critical Rhetorics of Race

by Michael G. Lacy Kent A. Ono

According to many pundits and cultural commentators, the U.S. is enjoying a post-racial age, thanks in part to Barack Obama's rise to the presidency. This high gloss of optimism fails, however, to recognize that racism remains ever present and alive, spread by channels of media and circulated even in colloquial speech in ways that can be difficult to analyze. In this groundbreaking collection edited by Michael G. Lacy and Kent A. Ono, scholars seek to examine this complicated and contradictory terrain while moving the field of communication in a more intellectually productive direction. An outstanding group of contributors from a range of academic backgrounds challenges traditional definitions and applications of rhetoric. From the troubling media representations of black looters after Hurricane Katrina and rhetoric in news coverage about the Columbine and Virginia Tech massacres to cinematic representations of race in Crash, Blood Diamond, and Quentin Tarantino's films, these essays reveal complex intersections and constructions of racialized bodies and discourses, critiquing race in innovative and exciting ways. Critical Rhetorics of Race seeks not only to understand and navigate a world fraught with racism, but to change it, one word at a time.

The Brooklyn Cyclones

by Ben Osborne

When professional baseball returned to Brooklyn in 2001, fans were jubilant and the media swarmed. After losing the Brooklyn Dodgers to California 44 years ago, Brooklyn baseball fans could once again claim a team of their own: the Cyclones, a Class A affiliate of the New York Mets. The Brooklyn Cyclones: Hardball Dreams and the New Coney Island recounts that first season of the Cyclones. From the construction of the incredible Keyspan Park at Coney Island to their improbable successes on the field, Ben Osborne tells the story of the Cyclones' delicate first year of operation. We see the story up close and personal through the eyes of two very different young men. The first is Anthony Otero, who was raised in a Coney Island housing project and loves baseball, but has never seen a game in person until the Cyclones land in his neighborhood. The second is Brett Kay, a young man from California who has never been to New York, until he becomes the catcher for the Brooklyn Cyclones. From the plans of politicians like Rudy Giuliani and Howard Golden, to the poverty of Coney Island's citizens, The Brooklyn Cyclones reveals the stories behind the headlines to show that the reality of creating a new sports team often involves broken promises and shattered dreams. Osborne includes chapters on the Cyclones' rivalry with the Staten Island Yankees, the Cyclones' chances of capturing the New York-Penn League title, and an epilogue updating Kay's, Otero's, and the Cyclones' progress through the 2003 season. Ultimately, Ben Osborne shows how, for these two young men, the Brooklyn Cyclones created dreams the same way the Brooklyn Dodgers allowed the boys of Flatbush to dream about one day playing in the Big Leagues.

Dancing in Chains

by Rodney D. Olsen

"Dancing in Chains is far more than a sensitive biography (though it is surely that); it is also a model of psychologically informed social and cultural history. Olsen recognizes that psychic conflicts often play themselves out on a higher plane, that psychic and intellectual history are intertwined. He presents a wonderful nuanced picture of Howells."-Jackson Lears,Rutgers University In this insightful study of the childhood and youth of William Dean Howells, Dancing in Chains demonstrates how the turbulent social and cultural changes of the early nineteenth century shaped the young Howells's emotional and intellectual life. His early diaries, letters, poetry, fiction, and newspaper columns are used to illustrate Olsen's argument, which also in turn throws light on the dominant tensions in antebellum America. Accepting the emergent middle-class ethos of civilized morality, with its new conceptions of child rearing and gender spheres, Howells's parents urged him to achieve self-control and individual success while also teaching him to seek the good of others rather than his own glory. For Howells the conflicts coalesced at the time of his leaving home, an increasing common rite of passage for antebellum youth. Trying to affirm his sense of literary vocation, he tested his aspirations against the family's Swedenborgian religious convictions and the antislavery commitments of his village while experimenting with competing literary ideologies in the process of meeting the demands of the new mass reading audience. For Howells the resulting tensions eased toward the end of his youth but reappeared in his more mature works of fiction and social criticism in later years. Portraying the ordeal of coming of age during a momentous period of American history, Dancing in Chains is a fascinating study with a broad appeal to general readers as well as scholars.

Embracing the Other

by Samuel P. Oliner Lawrence Baron Lawrence Blum Pearl Oliner

All but buried for most of the twentieth century, the concept of altruism has re-emerged in this last quarter as a focus of intense scholarly inquiry and general public interest. In the wake of increased consciousness of the human potential for destructiveness, both scholars and the general public are seeking interventions which will not only inhibit the process, but may in fact chart a new creative path toward a global community. Largely initiated by a group of pioneering social psychologists, early questions on altruism centered on its motivation and development primarily in the context of contrived laboratory experiments. Although publications on the topic have been considerable over the last several years, and now represent the work of representatives from many disciplines of inquiry, this volume is distinguished from others in several ways.Embracing the Other emerged primarily as a response to recent research on an extraordinary manifestation of real-life altruism, namely to recent studies of non-Jewish rescuers of Jews during World War II. It is the work of a multi-disciplinary and international group of scholars, including philosophers, social psychologists, historians, sociologists, and educators, challenging several prevailing conceptual definitions and motivational sources of altruism. The book combines both new empirical and historical research as well as theoretical and philosophical approaches and includes a lengthy section addressing the practical implications of current thinking on altruism for society at large. The result is a multi-textured work, addressing critical issues in varied disciplines, while centered on shared themes.

Beyond the Bonus March and GI Bill

by Stephen R. Ortiz

The period between World Wars I and II was a time of turbulent political change, with suffragists, labor radicals, demagogues, and other voices clamoring to be heard. One group of activists that has yet to be closely examined by historians is World War I veterans. Mining the papers of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion (AL), Stephen R. Ortiz reveals that veterans actively organized in the years following the war to claim state benefits (such as pensions and bonuses), and strove to articulate a role for themselves as a distinct political bloc during the New Deal era.Beyond the Bonus March and GI Bill is unique in its treatment of World War I veterans as significant political actors during the interwar period. Ortiz's study reinterprets the political origins of the "Second" New Deal and Roosevelt's electoral triumph of 1936, adding depth not only to our understanding of these events and the political climate surrounding them, but to common perceptions of veterans and their organizations. In describing veteran politics and the competitive dynamics between the AL and the VFW, Ortiz details the rise of organized veterans as a powerful interest group in modern American politics.

When Law Fails

by Charles J. Ogletree Jr. Austin Sarat

Since 1989, there have been over 200 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States. On the surface, the release of innocent people from prison could be seen as a victory for the criminal justice system: the wrong person went to jail, but the mistake was fixed and the accused set free. A closer look at miscarriages of justice, however, reveals that such errors are not aberrations but deeply revealing, common features of our legal system.The ten original essays in When Law Fails view wrongful convictions not as random mistakes but as organic outcomes of a misshaped larger system that is rife with faulty eyewitness identifications, false confessions, biased juries, and racial discrimination. Distinguished legal thinkers Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., and Austin Sarat have assembled a stellar group of contributors who try to make sense of justice gone wrong and to answer urgent questions. Are miscarriages of justice systemic or symptomatic, or are they mostly idiosyncratic? What are the broader implications of justice gone awry for the ways we think about law? Are there ways of reconceptualizing legal missteps that are particularly useful or illuminating? These instructive essays both address the questions and point the way toward further discussion.When Law Fails reveals the dramatic consequences as well as the daily realities of breakdowns in the law's ability to deliver justice swiftly and fairly, and calls on us to look beyond headline-grabbing exonerations to see how failure is embedded in the legal system itself. Once we are able to recognize miscarriages of justice we will be able to begin to fix our broken legal system.Contributors: Douglas A. Berman, Markus D. Dubber, Mary L. Dudziak, Patricia Ewick, Daniel Givelber, Linda Ross Meyer, Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Austin Sarat, Jonathan Simon, and Robert Weisberg.

The Road to Abolition?

by Charles J. Ogletree Jr. Austin Sarat

At the start of the twenty-first century, America is in the midst of a profound national reconsideration of the death penalty. There has been a dramatic decline in the number of people being sentenced to death as well as executed, exonerations have become common, and the number of states abolishing the death penalty is on the rise. The essays featured in The Road to Abolition? track this shift in attitudes toward capital punishment, and consider whether or not the death penalty will ever be abolished in America.The interdisciplinary group of experts gathered by Charles J. Ogletree Jr., and Austin Sarat ask and attempt to answer the hard questions that need to be addressed if the death penalty is to be abolished. Will the death penalty end only to be replaced with life in prison without parole? Will life without the possibility of parole become, in essence, the new death penalty? For abolitionists, might that be a pyrrhic victory? The contributors discuss how the death penalty might be abolished, with particular emphasis on the current debate over lethal injection as a case study on why and how the elimination of certain forms of execution might provide a model for the larger abolition of the death penalty.

When Mothers Kill

by Michelle Oberman Cheryl L. Meyer

Winner of the 2008 Outstanding Book Award by the Academy of Criminal Justice SciencesMichelle Oberman and Cheryl L. Meyer don't write for news magazines or prime-time investigative television shows, but the stories they tell hold the same fascination. When Mothers Kill is compelling. In a clear, direct fashion the authors recount what they have learned from interviewing women imprisoned for killing their children. Readers will be shocked and outraged-as much by the violence the women have endured in their own lives as by the violence they engaged in-but they will also be informed and even enlightened.Oberman and Meyer are leading authorities on their subject. Their 2001 book, Mothers Who Kill Their Children, drew from hundreds of newspaper articles as well as from medical and social science journals to propose a comprehensive typology of maternal filicide. In that same year, driven by a desire to test their typology-and to better understand child-killing women not just as types but as individuals-Oberman and Meyer began interviewing women who had been incarcerated for the crime. After conducting lengthy, face-to-face interviews with forty prison inmates, they returned and selected eight women to speak with at even greater length. This new book begins with these stories, recounted in the matter-of-fact words of the inmates themselves.There are collective themes that emerge from these individual accounts, including histories of relentless interpersonal violence, troubled relationships with parents (particularly with mothers), twisted notions of romantic love, and deep conflicts about motherhood. These themes structure the books overall narrative, which also includes an insightful examination of the social and institutional systems that have failed these women. Neither the mothers nor the authors offer these stories as excuses for these crimes.

After the Crime

by Susan L. Miller

Too often, the criminal justice system silences victims, which leaves them frustrated, angry, and with many unanswered questions. Despite their rage and pain, many victims want the opportunity to confront their offenders and find resolution. After the Crime explores a victim-offender dialogue program that offers victims of severe violence an opportunity to meet face-to-face with their incarcerated offenders. Using rich in-depth interview data, the book follows the harrowing stories of crimes of stranger rape, domestic violence, marital rape, incest, child sexual abuse, murder, and drunk driving, ultimately moving beyond story-telling to provide an accessible scholarly analysis of restorative justice.Susan Miller argues that the program has significantly helped the victims who chose to face their offenders in very concrete, transformative ways. Likewise, the offenders have also experienced positive changes in their lives in terms of creating greater accountability and greater victim empathy. After the Crime explores their transformative experiences with restorative justice, vividly illustrating how one program has worked in conjunction with the criminal justice system in order to strengthen victim empowerment.

Children and War

by Robert Coles James Marten

"This anthology is breathtaking in its geographic and temporal sweep."-Canadian Journal of History The American media has recently "discovered" children's experiences in present-day wars. A week-long series on the plight of child soldiers in Africa and Latin America was published in Newsday and newspapers have decried the U.S. government's reluctance to sign a United Nations treaty outlawing the use of under-age soldiers. These and numerous other stories and programs have shown that the number of children impacted by war as victims, casualties, and participants has mounted drastically during the last few decades. Although the scale on which children are affected by war may be greater today than at any time since the world wars of the twentieth century, children have been a part of conflict since the beginning of warfare. Children and War shows that boys and girls have routinely contributed to home front war efforts, armies have accepted under-aged soldiers for centuries, and war-time experiences have always affected the ways in which grown-up children of war perceive themselves and their societies. The essays in this collection range from explorations of childhood during the American Revolution and of the writings of free black children during the Civil War to children's home front war efforts during World War II, representations of war and defeat in Japanese children's magazines, and growing up in war-torn Liberia. Children and War provides a historical context for two centuries of children's multi-faceted involvement with war.

Talking Trash

by Julie Manga

When The Phil Donahue Show topped the ratings in 1979, it ushered in a new era in daytime television. Mixing controversial social issues, light topics, and audience participation, it created a new genre, one that is still flourishing, despite being harshly criticized, over two decades later. Now, the daytime TV landscape is littered with talk shows. But why do people watch these shows? How do they make sense of them? And how do these shows affect their viewers' sense of what constitutes appropriate public debate? In Talking Trash, Julie Engel Manga offers a fascinating exploration of these questions and reveals the wide range of reasons viewers are drawn to "trash talk." Focusing on such shows as Oprah!, Jerry Springer, Ricki Lake, Jenny Jones, and Maury Povitch, and drawing upon interviews with women who watch these shows, Talking Trash is the first examination of the talk show phenomenon from the viewers' perspective. In taking this approach, Manga is able to understand what talk shows mean to the women who watch them. And by refusing to judge either the shows or their viewers as good or bad, she is able to grasp how viewers relate to these shows-as escape, entertainment, uninhibited public discourse, or an accurate reflection of their own hardships and heartaches. Manga concludes that while the form of "trash-talk" shows may be relatively new, the socio-cultural experience they embody has been with us for a long time. Absorbing, entertaining, and keenly perceptive, Talking Trash illuminates the complex viewer response to "trash talk" and examines the cultural politics surrounding this wildly controversial popular phenomenon.

Mothers Who Kill Their Children

by Michelle Oberman Kelly White Cheryl L. Meyer Michelle Rone

A special kind of horror is reserved for mothers who kill their children. Cases such as those of Susan Smith, who drowned her two young sons by driving her car into a lake, and Melissa Drexler, who disposed of her newborn baby in a restroom at her prom, become media sensations. Unfortunately, in addition to these high-profile cases, hundreds of mothers kill their children in the United States each year. The question most often asked is, why? What would drive a mother to kill her own child? Those who work with such cases, whether in clinical psychology, social services, law enforcement or academia, often lack basic understandings about the types of circumstances and patterns which might lead to these tragic deaths, and the social constructions of motherhood which may affect women's actions. These mothers oftentimes defy the myths and media exploitation of them as evil, insane, or lacking moral principles, and they are not a homogenous group. In obvious ways, intervention strategies should differ for a teenager who denies her pregnancy and then kills her newborn and a mother who kills her two toddlers out of mental illness or to further a relationship. A typology is needed to help us to understand the different cases that commonly occur and the patterns they follow in order to make possible more effective prevention plans. Mothers Who Kill Their Children draws on extensive research to identify clear patterns among the cases of women who kill their children, shedding light on why some women commit these acts. The characteristics the authors establish will be helpful in creating more meaningful policies, more targeted intervention strategies, and more knowledgeable evaluations of these cases when they arise.

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