The Poverty of Work

Selling Servant, Slave and Temporary Labor on the Free Market

Series:

David Van Arsdale

In The Poverty of Work, Van Arsdale goes inside the world of temping and discovers a type of work dreadfully insecure yet growing rapidly. Furthermore, through a comprehensive historiography, he illustrates how employment agencies moved from England to North America during the colonial period, where they sold workers into many deprived employment statuses, including indentured servitude and slavery.

Van Arsdale contends that had the history of employment agencies been better understood, they would have likely been abolished with slavery, or at the very least, more tightly controlled by government. Today, left largely unregulated, employment agencies are powerful corporations generating astonishing revenue by selling flexible, on-demand temporary workers. Unfortunately, this labor is trapping millions in a cycle of unemployment, despair, and poverty.

Series:

Joyce E. Williams and Vicky M. MacLean

Settlement Sociology in the Progressive Years claims for sociology a lost history and paradigm only recently acknowledged for shaping the American sociological tradition. Williams and MacLean trace the key works of early scholar activists through the leading settlement houses in Chicago, New York and Boston. The roots of sociology as a public enterprise for social reform are restored to the canon through early research, teaching and social advocacy. The settlement paradigm of “neighborly relations” combining the visions of social gospelers and first-wave feminists will resonate for a renewed public sociology today. Key to this paradigm was the movement to "settle" in neighborhoods and become active in the struggle for social change in a period of rapid industrialization, immigration, and urbanization.

The Chinese Cornerstone of Modern Banking

The Canton Guaranty System and the Origins of Bank Deposit Insurance 1780-1933

Series:

Frederic Delano Grant, Jr.

Modern bank insurance is traced to its roots in The Chinese Cornerstone of Modern Banking: The Canton Guaranty System and the Origins of Bank Deposit Insurance 1780-1933. Frederic Delano Grant, Jr. provides new understandings of the Canton System, collective responsibility for debt at Canton, and the history of deposit insurance.

The Canton Guaranty System inspired radical reform in New York in 1829 – the ancestor of all modern deposit insurance. Yet it was never the success imagined, and soon failed. In the Opium War, the Chinese government as implicit guarantor was forced to pay its debts in full on 23 July 1843. The afflictions of the Chinese system, including moral hazard, too big to fail, and unenforced laws, remain familiar today.

A New Kind of Public

Community, Solidarity, and Political Economy in New Deal Cinema, 1935-1948

Series:

Graham Cassano

In 1936, director John Ford claimed to be making movies for “a new kind of public” that wanted more honest pictures. Graham Cassano’s A New Kind of Public: Community, solidarity, and political economy in New Deal cinema, 1935-1948 argues that this new kind of public was forged in the fires of class struggle and economic calamity. Those struggles appeared in Hollywood productions, as the movies themselves tried to explain the causes and consequence of the Great Depression. Using the tools of critical Marxism and cultural theory, Cassano surveys Hollywood’s political economic explanations and finds a field of symbolic struggle in which radical visions of solidarity and conflict competed with the dominant class ideology for the loyalty of this new audience.

Series:

Thomas C. Grey

In Formalism and Pragmatism in American Law Thomas Grey gives a full account of each of these modes of legal thought, with particular attention to the versions of them promulgated by their influential exponents Christopher Columbus Langdell and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Grey argues that legal pragmatism as understood by Holmes is the best jurisprudential framework for a modern legal system. He enriches his theoretical account with treatments of central issues in three important areas of law in the United States: constitutional interpretation, property, and torts.

Series:

Edited by Troy Paddock

World War I and Propaganda offers a new look at a familiar subject. The contributions to this volume demonstrate that the traditional view of propaganda as top-down manipulation is no longer plausible. Drawing from a variety of sources, scholars examine the complex negotiations involved in propaganda within the British Empire, in occupied territories, in neutral nations, and how war should be conducted. Propaganda was tailored to meet local circumstances and integrated into a larger narrative in which the war was not always the most important issue. Issues centering on local politics, national identity, preservation of tradition, or hopes of a brighter future all played a role in different forms of propaganda.
Contributors are Christopher Barthel, Donata Blobaum, Robert Blobaum, Mourad Djebabla, Christopher Fischer, Andrew T. Jarboe, Elli Lemonidou, David Monger, Javier Pounce,Catriona Pennell, Anne Samson, Richard Smith, Kenneth Andrew Steuer, María Inés Tato, and Lisa Todd.

Revolutionary Teamsters

The Minneapolis Truckers’ Strikes of 1934

Series:

Bryan D. Palmer

Minneapolis in the early 1930s was anything but a union stronghold. An employers' association known as the Citizens' Alliance kept labour organisations in check, at the same time as it cultivated opposition to radicalism in all forms. This all changed in 1934. The year saw three strikes, violent picket-line confrontations, and tens of thousands of workers protesting in the streets.

Bryan D. Palmer tells the riveting story of how a handful of revolutionary Trotskyists, working in the largely non-union trucking sector, led the drive to organise the unorganised, to build one large industrial union. What emerges is a compelling narrative of class struggle, a reminder of what can be accomplished, even in the worst of circumstances, with a principled and far-seeing leadership.

Series:

Andrew Keller Estes

In Cormac McCarthy and the Writing of American Spaces Andrew Estes examines ideas about the land as they emerge in the later fiction of this important contemporary author. McCarthy's texts are shown to be part of larger narratives about American environments. Against the backdrop of the emerging discipline of environmental criticism, Estes investigates the way space has been constructed in U.S. American writing. Cormac McCarthy is found to be heir to diametrically opposed concepts of space: as something Americans embraced as either overwhelmingly positive and reinvigorating or as rather negative and threatening. McCarthy's texts both replicate this binary thinking about American environments and challenge readers to reconceive traditional ways of seeing space. Breaking new ground as to how literary landscapes and spaces are critically assessed this study seeks to examine the many detailed descriptions of the physical world in McCarthy on their own terms. Adding to so-called 'second wave' environmental criticism, it reaches beyond an earlier, limited understanding of the environment as 'nature' to consider both natural landscapes and built environments. Chapter one discusses the field of environmental criticism in reference to McCarthy while chapter two offers a brief narrative of conceptions of space in the U.S. Chapter three highlights trends in McCarthy criticism. Chapters four through eight provide close readings of McCarthy's later novels, from Blood Meridian to The Road.

East of Eden

New and Recent Essays

Series:

Edited by Michael J. Meyer and Henry Veggian

This volume includes one dozen new and recent essays on John Steinbeck’s East of Eden (1952). First commissioned by the late Professor Michael J. Meyer, a renowned Steinbeck scholar, the volume was originally designed to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the novel’s publication. The collection contains critical writings from a variety of literary fields. These include the biographical essay, travel essay, essays on varied themes in Steinbeck’s works, writings on critical approaches to Steinbeck and also a new essay on Elia Kazan’s film adaptation of the novel. This volume is of interest for the Steinbeck scholar, the literary critic and also the casual reader seeking new ways to understand Steinbeck’s novel.

"Mouths on Fire with Songs"

Negotiating Multi-Ethnic Identities on the Contemporary North American Stage

Series:

Caroline De Wagter

This book, the first cross-cultural study of post-1970s anglophone Canadian and American multi-ethnic drama, invites assessment of the thematic and aesthetic contributions of this theater in today’s globalized culture. A growing number of playwrights of African, South and East Asian, and First Nations heritage have engaged with manifold socio-political and aesthetic issues in experimental works combining formal features of more classical European dramatic traditions with such elements of ethnic culture as ancestral music and dance, to interrogate the very concepts of theatricality and canonicity. Their “mouths on fire” (August Wilson), these playwrights contest stereotyped notions of authenticity. In¬spired by songs of anger, passion, experience, survival, and regeneration, the plays analyzed bespeak a burning desire to break the silence, to heal and empower. Foregrounding questions of hybridity, diaspora, cultural memory, and nation, this comparative study includes discussion of some twenty-five case studies of plays by such authors as M.J. Kang, August Wilson, Suzan–Lori Parks, Djanet Sears, Chay Yew, Padma Viswanathan, Rana Bose, Diane Glancy, and Drew Hayden Taylor. Through its cross-cultural and cross-national prism, “Mouths on Fire with Songs” shows that multi-ethnic drama is one of the most diverse and dynamic sites of cultural production in North America today.