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Voices of Emancipation

by Elizabeth A. Regosin Donald R. Shaffer

Voices of Emancipation seeks to recover the lives and words of former slaves in vivid detail, mining the case files of the U.S. Pension Bureau, which administered a huge pension system for Union veterans and their survivors in the decades following the Civil War. The files contain an invaluable, first-hand perspective of slavery, emancipation, black military service, and freedom. Moreover, as Pension Bureau examiners began interviewing black Union veterans and their families shortly after the Civil War, the files are arguably among the earliest sources of ex-slaves reflecting on their lives, occurring decades before better-known WPA Slave Narratives of the 1930s took place.Voices of Emancipation explores the words of former slaves topically, beginning with recollections of slavery, moving on to experiences of military service in the Civil War, the transition to freedom, and finally to reflections on marriage and family before and after emancipation. With an introduction that places the pension files in context and presents the themes of the book, and historical commentary interwoven throughout the excerpts of the interviews themselves, Elizabeth A. Regosin and Donald R. Shaffer effectively introduce the files and the treasures they contain to students and general readers, but also provide specialists with an indispensable research tool.

The Collapse of Fortress Bush

by Alasdair Roberts

When the Bush presidency began to collapse, pundits were quick to tell a tale of the "imperial presidency" gone awry, a story of secretive, power-hungry ideologues who guided an arrogant president down the road to ruin. But the inside story of the failures of the Bush administration is both much more complex and alarming, says leading policy analyst Alasdair Roberts. In the most comprehensive, balanced view of the Bush presidency to date, Roberts portrays a surprisingly weak president, hamstrung by bureaucratic, constitutional, cultural and economic barriers and strikingly unable to wield authority even within his own executive branch.The Collapse of Fortress Bush shows how the president fought-and lost-key battles with the defense and intelligence communities. From Homeland Security to Katrina, Bush could not coordinate agencies to meet domestic threats or disasters. Either the Bush administration refused to exercise authority, was thwarted in the attempt to exercise authority, or wielded authority but could not meet the test of legitimacy needed to enact their goals. Ultimately, the vaunted White House discipline gave way to public recriminations among key advisers. Condemned for secretiveness, the Bush administration became one of the most closely scrutinized presidencies in the modern era.Roberts links the collapse of the Bush presidency to deeper currents in American politics and culture, especially a new militarism and the supremacy of the Reagan-era consensus on low taxes, limited government, and free markets. Only in this setting was it possible to have a "total war on terrorism" in which taxes were reduced, private consumption was encouraged, and businesses were lightly regulated.A balanced, incisive account by a skilled observer of U.S. government, The Collapse of Fortress Bush turns the spotlight from the powerful cabal that launched the war in Iraq to tell a much more disturbing story about American power and the failure of executive leadership.

Chained to the Desk (Third Edition)

by Bryan E. Robinson

Americans love a hard worker. The worker who toils eighteen-hour days and eats meals on the run between appointments is usually viewed with a combination of respect and awe. But for many, this lifestyle leads to family problems, a decline in work productivity, and ultimately to physical and mental collapse. Intended for anyone touched by what Robinson calls "the best-dressed problem of the twenty-first century," Chained to the Desk provides an inside look at workaholism's impact on those who live and work with work addicts--partners, spouses, children, and colleagues--as well as the appropriate techniques for clinicians who treat them. Originally published in 1998, this groundbreaking book from best-selling author and widely respected family therapist Bryan E. Robinson was the first comprehensive portrait of the workaholic. In this new and fully updated third edition, Robinson draws on hundreds of case reports from his own original research and years of clinical practice. The agonies of workaholism have grown all the more challenging in a world where the computer, cell phone, and iPhone allow twenty-four-hour access to the office, even on weekends and from vacation spots. Adult children of workaholics describe their childhood pain and the lifelong legacies they still carry, and the spouses or partners of workaholics reveal the isolation and loneliness of their vacant relationships. Employers and business colleagues discuss the cost to the company when workaholism dominates the workplace. Chained to the Desk both counsels and consoles. It provides a step-by-step guide to help readers spot workaholism, understand it, and recover.

This Is Not a President

by Diane Rubenstein

Read The Chronicle of Higher Ed Author InterviewIn This Is Not a President, Diane Rubenstein looks at the postmodern presidency - from Reagan and George H. W. Bush, through the current administration, and including Hillary. Focusing on those seemingly inexplicable gaps or blind spots in recent American presidential politics, Rubenstein interrogates symptomatic moments in political rhetoric, popular culture, and presidential behavior to elucidate profound and disturbing changes in the American presidency and the way it embodies a national imaginary.In a series of essays written in real time over the past four presidential administrations, Rubenstein traces the vernacular use of the American presidency (as currency, as grist for popular biography, as fictional TV material) to explore the ways in which the American presidency functions as a "transitional object" that allows the American citizen to meet or discover the president while going about her everyday life. The book argues that it is French theory - primarily Lacanian psychoanalysis and the radical semiotic theories of Jean Baudrillard - that best accounts for American political life today. Through episodes as diverse as Iran Contra, George H. W. Bush vomiting in Japan, the 1992 Republican convention, the failed nomination of Lani Guinier, and the Iraq War, This Is Not a President brilliantly situates our collective investment in American political culture.

The Emergence of Mexican America

by John-Michael Rivera

Winner of the 2006 Thomas J. Lyon Book Award in Western American Literary Studies, presented by the Western Literature AssociationIn The Emergence of Mexican America, John-Michael Rivera examines the cultural, political, and legal representations of Mexican Americans and the development of US capitalism and nationhood. Beginning with the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848 and continuing through the period of mass repatriation of US Mexican laborers in 1939, Rivera examines both Mexican-American and Anglo-American cultural production in order to tease out the complexities of the so-called "Mexican question." Using historical and archival materials, Rivera's wide-ranging objects of inquiry include fiction, non-fiction, essays, treaties, legal materials, political speeches, magazines, articles, cartoons, and advertisements created by both Mexicans and Anglo Americans. Engaging and methodologically venturesome, Rivera's study is a crucial contribution to Chicano/Latino Studies and fields of cultural studies, history, government, anthropology, and literary studies.

Habeas Corpus after 9/11

by Jonathan Hafetz

The U.S. detention center at Guantánamo Bay has long been synonymous with torture, secrecy, and the abuse of executive power. It has come to epitomize lawlessness and has sparked protracted legal battles and political debate. For too long, however, Guantánamo has been viewed in isolation and has overshadowed a larger, interconnected global detention system that includes other military prisons such as Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, secret CIA jails, and the transfer of prisoners to other countries for torture. Guantánamo is simply--and alarmingly--the most visible example of a much larger prison system designed to operate outside the law.Habeas Corpus after 9/11 examines the rise of the U.S.-run global detention system that emerged after 9/11 and the efforts to challenge it through habeas corpus (a petition to appear in court to claim unlawful imprisonment). Habeas expert and litigator Jonathan Hafetz gives us an insider's view of the detention of "enemy combatants" and an accessible explanation of the complex forces that keep these systems running. In the age of terrorism, some argue that habeas corpus is impractical and unwise. Hafetz advocates that it remains the single most important check against arbitrary and unlawful detention, torture, and the abuse of executive power.

The Politics of Disgust

by Ange-Marie Hancock

Winner of the 2006 Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Organized Section Best First Book Award from the American Political Science Association Winner of the 2006 W.E.B. DuBois Book Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists Ange-Marie Hancock argues that longstanding beliefs about poor African American mothers were the foundation for the contentious 1996 welfare reform debate that effectively "ended welfare as we know it." By examining the public identity of the so-called welfare queen and its role in hindering democratic deliberation, The Politics of Disgust shows how stereotypes and politically motivated misperceptions about race, class and gender were effectively used to instigate a politics of disgust. The ongoing role of the politics of disgust in welfare policy is revealed here by using content analyses of the news media, the 1996 congressional floor debates, historical evidence and interviews with welfare recipients themselves. Hancock's incisive analysis is both compelling and disturbing, suggesting the great limits of today's democracy in guaranteeing not just fair and equitable policy outcomes, but even a fair chance for marginalized citizens to participate in the process.

After Whiteness

by Mike Hill

View the Table of Contents.Read the Introduction. "Beautifully written and rigorously argued, After Whiteness is the most important theoretical statement on white racial formation since 'whiteness studies' began its current academic sojourn. By reading debates about multiculturalism, ethnicity, and the desire for difference as part of the material practices of the U.S. university system, it engages questions of race, humanistic inquiry, intellectual labor, and the democratic function of critical thought. The result is a critically nuanced analysis that promises to solidify Mike Hill's reputation as one of the finest thinkers of his generation."-Robyn Wiegman, Duke University "Mike Hill's After Whiteness is an important, provocative and timely book."-Against the Current "A lucid, fiercely argued, brilliantly conceived, richly provocative work in an emergent and growing area of cultural studies. After Whiteness sets new directions in American literary and cultural studies, and will become a landmark in the field."-Sacvan Bercovitch, Harvard University"Americanists across the disciplines will find Hill's analysis insightful and brilliant. A must for any scholar who wishes to, in Ralph Ellison's words, 'go to the territory.'"-Sharon Holland, University of Illinois at ChicagoAs each new census bears out, the rise of multiracialism in the United States will inevitably result in a white minority. In spite of the recent proliferation of academic studies and popular discourse on whiteness, however, there has been little discussion of the future: what comes after whiteness? On the brink of what many are now imagining as a post-white American future, it remains a matter of both popular and academic uncertainty as to what will emerge in its place.After Whiteness aims to address just that, exploring the remnants of white identity to ask how an emergent post-white national imaginary figure into public policy issues, into the habits of sexual intimacy, and into changes within public higher education. Through discussions of the 2000 census and debates over multiracial identity, the volatile psychic investments that white heterosexual men have in men of color-as illustrated by the Christian men's group the Promise Keepers and the neo-fascist organization the National Alliance-and the rise of identity studies and diversity within the contemporary public research university, Mike Hill surveys race among the ruins of white America. At this crucial moment, when white racial change has made its ambivalent cultural debut, Hill demonstrates that the prospect of an end to whiteness haunts progressive scholarship on race as much as it haunts the paranoid visions of racists.

Artwalks in New York

by Lucy D. Rosenfeld Marina Harrison

Completely updated, the new edition of this acclaimed guide brings us 33 tours of public art, covering the length of the island, from the Cloisters and Harlem in northern Manhattan, to Central Park and the museum mile, to Rockefeller Center and Chelsea, and all the way down to the southern tip at Battery Park City. This indispensable guide also covers the outer boroughs, from Snug Harbor, Staten Island to the Socrates Sculpture Park and the Noguchi Museum in Queens, from Wave Hill in the Bronx all the way to the botanical gardens in Brooklyn. The perfect guidebook for residents and tourists alike, Harrison and Rosenfeld uncover nooks and crannies off the beaten track alongside favored treasures, reminding us all why New York City is the art capital of the world. Artwalks in New York contains: Completely revised and updated entries, including seven new walks, reflecting the ever-changing city Includes over 25 walking tour maps, directions, and suggested visitation hours Listings of museums, art and auction galleries, art-filled public spaces, hotel lobbies, gardens, restaurants, subway stations, public sculpture and murals, and more Hundreds of interesting facts, anecdotes, and tidbits about New York City art from two expert guides

Race Woman

by Gerald Horne

One of the most intriguing activists and artists of the twentieth century, Shirley Graham Du Bois also remains one of the least studied and understood. In Race Woman, Gerald Horne draws a revealing portrait of this controvertial figure who championed the civil rights movement in America, the liberation struggles in Africa and the socialist struggles in Maoist China. Through careful analysis and use of personal correspondence, interviews, and previously unexamined documents, Horne explores her work as a Harlem Renaissance playwright, biographer, composer, teacher, novelist, Left political activist, advisor and inspiration, who was a powerful historical actor.

The Supreme Court and Election Law

by Richard Hasen

In the first comprehensive study of election law since the Supreme Court decided Bush v. Gore, Richard L. Hasen rethinks the Court's role in regulating elections. Drawing on the case files of the Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist courts, Hasen roots the Court's intervention in political process cases to the landmark 1962 case, Baker v. Carr. The case opened the courts to a variety of election law disputes, to the point that the courts now control and direct major aspects of the American electoral process.The Supreme Court does have a crucial role to play in protecting a socially constructed "core" of political equality principles, contends Hasen, but it should leave contested questions of political equality to the political process itself. Under this standard, many of the Court's most important election law cases from Baker to Bush have been wrongly decided.

The Color of Fascism

by Gerald Horne

What does it mean that Lawrence Dennis--arguably the "brains" behind U.S. fascism--was born black but spent his entire adult life passing for white? Born in Atlanta in 1893, Dennis began life as a highly touted African American child preacher, touring nationally and arousing audiences with his dark-skinned mother as his escort. However, at some point between leaving prep school and entering Harvard University, he chose to abandon his family and his former life as an African American in order to pass for white. Dennis went on to work for the State Department and on Wall Street, and ultimately became the public face of U.S. fascism, meeting with Mussolini and other fascist leaders in Europe. He underwent trial for sedition during World War II, almost landing in prison, and ultimately became a Cold War critic before dying in obscurity in 1977. Based on extensive archival research, The Color of Fascism blends biography, social history, and critical race theory to illuminate the fascinating life of this complex and enigmatic man. Gerald Horne links passing and fascism, the two main poles of Dennis's life, suggesting that Dennis's anger with the U.S. as a result of his upbringing in Jim Crow Georgia led him to alliances with the antagonists of the U.S. and that his personal isolation which resulted in his decision to pass dovetailed with his ultimate isolationism. Dennis's life is a lasting testament to the resilience of right-wing thought in the U.S. The first full-scale biographical portrait of this intriguing figure, The Color of Fascism also links the strange career of a prominent American who chose to pass.

West Indian in the West

by Percy Hintzen

As new immigrant communities continue to flourish in U.S. cities, their members continually face challenges of assimilation in the organization of their ethnic identities. West Indians provide a vibrant example. In West Indian in the West, Percy Hintzen draws on extensive ethnographic work with the West Indian community in the San Francisco Bay area to illuminate the ways in which social context affects ethnic identity formation. The memories, symbols, and images with which West Indians identify in order to differentiate themselves from the culture which surrounds them are distinct depending on what part of the U.S. they live in. West Indian identity comes to take on different meanings within different locations in the United States. In the San Francisco Bay area, West Indians negotiate their identity within a system of race relations that is shaped by the social and political power of African Americans. By asserting their racial identity as black, West Indians make legal and official claims to resources reserved exclusively for African Americans. At the same time, the West Indian community insulates itself from the problems of the black/white dichotomy in the U.S. by setting itself apart. Hintzen examines how West Indians publicly assert their identity by making use of the stereotypic understandings of West Indians which exist in the larger culture. He shows how ethnic communities negotiate spaces for themselves within the broader contexts in which they live.

Elizabeth Bowen

by Renee Carine Hoogland

Immensely popular during her lifetime, the Ango-Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973) has since been treated as a peripheral figure on the literary map. If only in view of her prolific outputten novels, nearly eighty short stories, and a substantial body of non- fictionBowen is a noteworthy novelist. The radical quality of her work, however, renders her an exceptional one. Surfacing in both subject matter and style, her fictions harbor a subversive potential which has hitherto gone unnoticed. Using a wide range of critical theories-from semiotics to psychoanalysis, from narratology to deconstruction-this book presents a radical re-reading of a selection of Bowen's novels from a lesbian feminist perspective. Taking into account both cultural contexts and the author's non-fictional writings, the book's main focus is on configurations of gender and sexuality. Bowen's fiction constitutes an exploration of the unstable and destabilizing effects of sexuality in the interdependent processes of subjectivity and what she herself referred to as so-called reality.

Charles Dickens and the Image of Women

by David K. Holbrook

How successful is Dickens in his portrayal of women? Dickens has been represented (along with William Blake and D.H. Lawrence) as one who championed the life of the emotions often associated with the "feminine." Yet some of his most important heroines are totally submissive and docile. Dickens, of course, had to accept the conventions of his time. It is obvious, argues Holbrook, that Dickens idealized the father-daughter relationship, and indeed, any such relationship that was unsexual, like that of Tom Pinch and his sister-but why? Why, for example, is the image of woman so often associated with death, as in Great Expectations? Dickens's own struggles over relationships with women have been documented, but much less has been said about the unconscious elements behind these problems. Using recent developements in psychoanalytic object-relations theory, David Holbrook offers new insight into the way in which the novels of Dickens-particularly Bleak House, Little Dorrit, and Great Expectations-both uphold emotional needs and at the same time represent the limits of his view of women and that of his time.

The End of the American Avant Garde

by Stuart D. Hobbs

"By 1966, the composer Virgil Thomson would write, "Truth is, there is no avant-garde today." How did the avant garde dissolve, and why? In this thought-provoking work, Stuart D. Hobbs traces the avant garde from its origins to its eventual appropriation by a conservative political agenda, consumer culture, and the institutional world of art.

To Be An American

by Bill Ong Hing

The impetus behind California's Proposition 187 clearly reflects the growing anti-immigrant sentiment in this country. Many Americans regard today's new immigrants as not truly American, as somehow less committed to the ideals on which the country was founded. In clear, precise terms, Bill Ong Hing considers immigration in the context of the global economy, a sluggish national economy, and the hard facts about downsizing. Importantly, he also confronts the emphatic claims of immigrant supporters that immigrants do assimilate, take jobs that native workers don't want, and contribute more to the tax coffers than they take out of the system. A major contribution of Hing's book is its emphasis on such often-overlooked issues as the competition between immigrants and African Americans, inter-group tension, and ethnic separatism, issues constantly brushed aside both by immigrant rights groups and the anti-immigrant right. Drawing on Hing's work as a lawyer deeply involved in the day-to-day life of his immigrant clients, To Be An American is a unique blend of substantive analysis, policy, and personal experience.

Science Studies

by David J. Hess

Thrust into the public eye by the contentious "Science Wars"--played out most recently by physicist Alan Sokal's hoax--the nascent field of science studies takes on the political, historical, and cultural dimensions of technology and the sciences. Science Studies is the first comprehensive survey of the field, combining a concise overview of key concepts with an original and integrated framework. In the process of bringing disparate fields together under one tent, David J. Hess realizes the full promise of science studies, long uncomfortably squeezed into traditional disciplines. He provides a clear discussion of the issues and misunderstandings that have arisen in these interdisciplinary conversations. His survey is up-to-date and includes recent developments in philosophy, sociology, anthropology, history, cultural studies, and feminist studies. By moving from the discipline-bound blinders of a sociology, history, philosophy, or anthropology of science to a transdisciplinary field, science studies, Hess argues, will be able to provide crucial conceptual tools for public discussions about the role of science and technology in a democratic society.

Can Bacteria Cause Cancer?

by David J. Hess

Growing numbers of cancer patients are exploring diet, food supplements, herbs, and nontoxic immunotherapies like bacterial vaccines as a means of therapy. Yet most cancer research organizations refuse to even evaluate these alternatives. Can Bacteria Cause Cancer? argues convincingly that unless this neglected world of alternative therapies is properly scrutinized, the medical Vietnam of the twentieth century may well affect one in two people by the twenty-first century. David J. Hess investigates one of the great medical mysteries of the twentieth century-the relationship between bacteria and chronic disease. Recently scientists have overturned long-held beliefs by demonstrating that bacterial infections cause many ulcers; they are now reconsidering the role of bacterial infections in other chronic diseases, such as arthritis. Is it possible, Hess asks, that bacteria can contribute to the many other known causes of cancer? To answer this intriguing question, Hess takes us into the world of alternative cancer researchers. Maintaining that their work has been actively suppressed rather than simply dismissed, he examines their claims--that bacterial vaccines have led to some dramatic cases of long-term cancer remission-and the scientific potential of their theories. Economic interests and cultural values, he demonstrates, have influenced the rush toward radiation and chemotherapy and the current cul-de-sac of toxic treatments. More than a medical mystery story, Can Bacteria Cause Cancer? is a dramatic case study of the failure of the war on cancer.

Christianity and the Holocaust of Hungarian Jewry

by Moshe Y. Herczl

The complicity of the Hungarian Christian church in the mass extermination of Hungarian Jews by the Nazis is a largely forgotten episode in the history of the Holocaust. Using previously unknown correspondence and other primary source materials, Moshe Y. Herczl recreates the church's actions and its disposition toward Hungarian Jewry. Herczl provides a scathing indictment of the church's lack of compassion toward-and even active persecution of-Hungary's Jews during World War II.

Campus Wars

by Kenneth J. Heineman

"At the same time that the dangerous war was being fought in the jungles of Vietnam, Campus Wars were being fought in the United States by antiwar protesters. Kenneth J. Heineman found that the campus peace campaign was first spurred at state universities rather than at the big-name colleges. His useful book examines the outside forces, like military contracts and local communities, that led to antiwar protests on campus."-Herbert Mitgang, The New York Times"Shedding light on the drastic change in the social and cultural roles of campus life, Campus Wars looks at the way in which the campus peace campaign took hold and became a national movement."-History Today "Heineman's prodigious research in a variety of sources allows him to deal with matters of class, gender, and religion, as well as ideology. He convincingly demonstrates that, just as state universities represented the heartland of America, so their student protest movements illustrated the real depth of the anguish over US involvement in Vietnam. Highly recommended."-Choice "Represents an enormous amount of labor and fills many gaps in our knowledge of the anti-war movement and the student left."-Irwin Unger, author of These United States The 1960s left us with some striking images of American universities: Berkeley activists orating about free speech atop a surrounded police car; Harvard SDSers waylaying then-Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara; Columbia student radicals occupying campus buildings; and black militant Cornell students brandishing rifles, to name just a few. Tellingly, the most powerful and notorious image of campus protest is that of a teenage runaway, arms outstretched in anguish, kneeling beside the bloodied corpse of Jeff Miller at Kent State University. While much attention has been paid to the role of elite schools in fomenting student radicalism, it was actually at state institutions, such as Kent State, Michigan State, SUNY, and Penn State, where anti-Vietnam war protest blossomed. Kenneth Heineman has pored over dozens of student newspapers, government documents, and personal archives, interviewed scores of activists, and attended activist reunions in an effort to recreate the origins of this historic movement. In Campus Wars, he presents his findings, examining the involvement of state universities in military research - and the attitudes of students, faculty, clergy, and administrators thereto - and the manner in which the campus peace campaign took hold and spread to become a national movement. Recreating watershed moments in dramatic narrative fashion, this engaging book is both a revisionist history and an important addition to the chronicle of the Vietnam War era.

God is a Conservative

by Kenneth J. Heineman

From Billy Graham and Ronald Regan to Newt Gingrich and William Bennett, God is a Conservative provides an important look at the role of religion in conservative politics in modern America. Kenneth J. Heineman reveals the profoundly religious nature of contemporary conservatism, offering an intriguing look at the social history of moral politics over the last three decades, and the still tremulous aftershocks of the New Deal. With a new Preface that examines the Bush presidency, including a provocative analysis of his re-election, and the rising influence of the Conservative Right, God is a Conservative is essential reading for understanding today's American political landscape.

The Smart Culture

by Robert L. Hayman Jr.

What exactly is intelligence? Is it social achievement? Professional success? Is it common sense? Or the number on an IQ test? Interweaving engaging narratives with dramatic case studies, Robert L. Hayman, Jr., has written a history of intelligence that will forever change the way we think about who is smart and who is not. To give weight to his assertion that intelligence is not simply an inherent characteristic but rather one which reflects the interests and predispositions of those doing the measuring, Hayman traces numerous campaigns to classify human intelligence. His tour takes us through the early craniometric movement, eugenics, the development of the IQ, Spearman's "general" intelligence, and more recent works claiming a genetic basis for intelligence differences. What Hayman uncovers is the maddening irony of intelligence: that "scientific" efforts to reduce intelligence to a single, ordinal quantity have persisted--and at times captured our cultural imagination--not because of their scientific legitimacy, but because of their longstanding political appeal. The belief in a natural intellectual order was pervasive in "scientific" and "political" thought both at the founding of the Republic and throughout its nineteenth-century Reconstruction. And while we are today formally committed to the notion of equality under the law, our culture retains its central belief in the natural inequality of its members. Consequently, Hayman argues, the promise of a genuine equality can be realized only when the mythology of "intelligence" is debunked--only, that is, when we recognize the decisive role of culture in defining intelligence and creating intelligence differences. Only culture can give meaning to the statement that one person-- or one group--is smarter than another. And only culture can provide our motivation for saying it. With a keen wit and a sharp eye, Hayman highlights the inescapable contradictions that arise in a society committed both to liberty and to equality and traces how the resulting tensions manifest themselves in the ways we conceive of identity, community, and merit.

Deconstruction Is/In America

by H. R. Dodge Anselm Haverkamp

What impact has deconstruction had on the way we read American culture? And how is American culture itself peculiarly deconstructive? To address these questions, this volume brings together some of the most provocative thinkers associated with deconstruction, among them Jacques Derrida, Judith Butler, and Avital Ronnel. Ranging across a wide field, from the ethics of reading to the rhetoric of performance, the contributors offer provocative insights into a new sense of the political. The America of the volume's title turns out to be the place where the politics and poetics of responsibility meet. It is also the place where we confront the tension between difference and profound otherness.

Black Rage Confronts the Law

by Paul Harris

In 1971, Paul Harris pioneered the modern version of the black rage defense when he successfully defended a young black man charged with armed bank robbery. Dubbed one of the most novel criminal defenses in American history by Vanity Fair, the black rage defense is enormously controversial, frequently dismissed as irresponsible, nothing less than a harbinger of anarchy. Consider the firestorm of protest that resulted when the defense for Colin Ferguson, the gunman who murdered numerous passengers on a New York commuter train, claimed it was considering a black rage defense. In this thought-provoking book, Harris traces the origins of the black rage defense back through American history, recreating numerous dramatic trials along the way. For example, he recounts in vivid detail how Clarence Darrow, defense attorney in the famous Scopes Monkey trial, first introduced the notion of an environmental hardship defense in 1925 while defending a black family who shot into a drunken white mob that had encircled their home. Emphasizing that the black rage defense must be enlisted responsibly and selectively, Harris skillfully distinguishes between applying an environmental defense and simply blaming society, in the abstract, for individual crimes. If Ferguson had invoked such a defense, in Harris's words, it would have sent a superficial, wrong-headed, blame-everything-on-racism message. Careful not to succumb to easy generalizations, Harris also addresses the possibilities of a white rage defense and the more recent phenomenon of cultural defenses. He illustrates how a person's environment can, and does, affect his or her life and actions, how even the most rational person can become criminally deranged, when bludgeoned into hopelessness by exploitation, racism, and relentless poverty.

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