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American History in Transition

From Religion to Science

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Yoshinari Yamaguchi

In American History in Transition, Yoshinari Yamaguchi provides fresh insights into early efforts in American history writing, ranging from Jeremy Belknap’s Massachusetts Historical Society to Emma Willard’s geographic history and Francis Parkman’s history of deep time to Henry Adams’s thermodynamic history. Although not a well-organized set of professional researchers, these historians shared the same concern: the problems of temporalization and secularization in history writing.
As the time-honored framework of sacred history was gradually outdated, American historians at that time turned to individual facts as possible evidence for a new generalization, and tried different “scientific” theories to give coherency to their writings. History writing was in its transitional phase, shifting from religion to science, deduction to induction, and static to dynamic worldview.

Herder on Empathy and Sympathy

Einfühlung und Sympathie im Denken Herders

Edited by Eva Piirimäe, Liina Lukas and Johannes Schmidt

The English-German collection Herder on Empathy and Sympathy/ Einfühlung und Sympathie im Denken Herders considers the meaning and role of the concepts of empathy and sympathy in Herder’s thought. Herder invokes sympathy in a number of disciplinary domains ranging from metaphysics, biology, anthropology, epistemology, psychology, morality, politics, history, aesthetics to homiletics. It shows that while Herder belongs to a long line of thinkers who view sympathy as a metaphysical principle contributing to the interconnectedness of all parts of nature, he offers new insights about intra-/inter-species sympathetic communication and distinctively human varieties of sympathy for which he reserves the term “sich einfühlen”. Acknowledging the limits of the natural capacity for “sich einfühlen”, Herder nonetheless calls for its reflective cultivation in various domains.

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Konstanze N'Guessan

In Histories of Independence in Côte d’Ivoire: an Ethnography of the Past Konstanze N’Guessan deals with memory work in Côte d’Ivoire and bridges an ethnographic approach with the insights of newer theoretical approaches in historiography. Adopting a long-term perspective from the late 1950s to the present, she attempts to disentangle the condensation of meanings of the lieu de memoire “Ivorian independence” and explores how different practices of recalling the past complement and/or contradict each other. Histories of independence in Côte d’Ivoire looks at national-day celebrations, academic historiography, oral tradition and memory politics in order to understand how (political) actors mobilize the past in order to produce pleasant presents and futures.

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Samarpita Mitra

In Periodicals, Readers and the Making of a Modern Literary Culture: Bengal at the Turn of the Twentieth Century Samarpita Mitra studies literary periodicals as a particular print form, and reveals how their production and circulation were critical to the formation of a Bengali public sphere during the turn of the twentieth century. Given its polyphonic nature, capacity for sustaining debates and adaptability by readers with diverse reading competencies, periodicals became the preferred means for dispensing modern education and entertainment through the vernacular. The book interrogates some of the defining debates that shaped readers’ perspectives on critical social issues and explains how literary culture was envisioned as an indicator of the emergent nation. Finally it looks at the Bengali-Muslim and women’s periodicals and their readerships and argues that the presence of multiple literary voices make it impossible to speak of Bengali literary culture in any singular terms.

'His Pen and Ink Are a Powerful Mirror'

Andalusi, Judaeo-Arabic, and Other Near Eastern Studies in Honor of Ross Brann

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Edited by Adam Bursi, S.J. Pearce and Hamza Zafer

'His Pen and Ink are a Powerful Mirror' is a volume of collected essays in honor of Ross Brann, written by his students and friends on the occasion of his 70th birthday. The essays engage with a diverse range of Andalusi and Mediterranean literature, art, and history. Each essay begins from the organic hybridity of Andalusi literary and cultural history as its point of departure, introduce new texts, ideas, and objects into the disciplinary conversation or radically reassesses well-known ones, and represent the theoretical, methodological, and material impacts Brann has had and continues to have on the study of the literature and culture of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in al-Andalus.

Contributors include: Ali Humayn Akhtar, Esperanza Alfonso, Peter Cole, Jonathan Decter, Elisabeth Hollender, Uriah Kfir, S.J. Pearce, F.E. Peters, Arturo Prats, Cynthia Robinson, Tova Rosen, Aurora Salvatierra, Raymond P. Scheindlin, Jessica Streit, David Torollo.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The Division of Labour, The Politics of the Imagination and The Concept of Federal Government

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Michael Sonenscher

This is a book about the political thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Its aim is to explain why, for Rousseau, thinking about politics – whether as democratic sovereignty, representative government, institutionalised power, imaginative vision or a moment of decision – lay at the heart of what he called his “grand, sad system.” This book tracks the gradual emergence of the various components of that system and describes the connections between them. The result is a new and fresh interpretation of one of Europe’s most famous political thinkers, showing why Rousseau can be seen as one of the first theorists of the modern concept of civil society and a key source of the problematic modern idea of a federal system.

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Edited by Efraim Podoksik

Doing Humanities in Nineteenth-Century Germany, edited by Efraim Podoksik, is a collaborative project by leading scholars in German studies that examines the practices of theorising and researching in the humanities as pursued by German thinkers and scholars during the long nineteenth century, and the relevance of those practices for the humanities today.
Each chapter focuses on a particular branch of the humanities, such as philosophy, history, classical philology, theology, or history of art. The volume both offers a broad overview of the history of German humanities and examines an array of particular cases that illustrate their inner dilemmas, ranging from Ranke’s engagement with the world of poetry to Max Weber’s appropriation of the notion of causality.

Waiting for the End of the World

European Dimensions, 950–1200

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Tsvetelin Stepanov

The French president Charles de Gaulle spoke of a Europe “from the Atlantic to the Urals”. Europe was spatially formed with these topographic parameters from the late 10th century onwards, with the massive Christianization of its inhabitants. At that time, however, all three monotheistic religions already had a steady presence there. Could such a macro-space be thought-and-narrated from a macro-perspective, in view of its medieval past? This has already been done through common ʻdenominatorsʻ such as the Migration Period, wars, trade, spread of Christianity. Could it also be seen through a common religious-philosophical and spiritual phenomenon – the Anticipation of the End of the world among Christians, Muslims, and Jews? This book gives a positive answer to the last question.

Anna Seghers

The Challenge of History

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Edited by Helen Fehervary, Christiane Zehl Romero and Amy Kepple Strawser

Anna Seghers: The Challenge of History features essays by leading scholars devoted to this most important German writer whose novels and stories have been read by millions worldwide. The volume is intended for teachers and students of literature and for general readers. The contributions address facets of Seghers’s large body of work which is characterized by reflections on political events shaping world history and written in a highly imaginative array of narrative styles. The first section focuses on the author’s famous novel The Seventh Cross. Articles in the next two sections analyze her reactions to crises that marked the twentieth century and her connections to other relevant thinkers of her time. The last section features new translations of Seghers’s works.

Ernst Bloch’s Speculative Materialism

Ontology, Epistemology, Politics

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Cat Moir

In Ernst Bloch’s Speculative Materialism: Ontology, Epistemology, Politics, Cat Moir offers a new interpretation of the philosophy of Ernst Bloch. The reception of Bloch’s work has seen him variously painted as a naïve realist, a romantic nature philosopher, a totalitarian thinker, and an irrationalist whose obscure literary style stands in for a lack of systematic rigour. Moir challenges these conceptions of Bloch by reconstructing the ontological, epistemological, and political dimensions of his speculative materialism. Through a close, historically contextualised reading of Bloch’s major work of ontology, Das Materialismusproblem, seine Geschichte und Substanz (The Materialism Problem, its History and Substance), Moir presents Bloch as one of the twentieth century’s most significant critical thinkers.