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A New Kind of Public

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

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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.

Revolutionary Teamsters

The Minneapolis Truckers’ Strikes of 1934

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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.

"Mouths on Fire with Songs"

Negotiating Multi-Ethnic Identities on the Contemporary North American Stage

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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.

Opting Out

Deviance and Generational Identities in American Post-War Cult Fiction

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Ana Sobral

Opting Out explores the theme of deviance as a form of protest in famous cult novels that have left an indelible mark on contemporary American culture – from Jack Kerouac's On the Road to Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. Adopting a generational lens, it centers on the deviant heroes and literary spokesmen of two major cohorts: the Baby Boomers and Generation X. Here for the first time the cult texts that defined these generations are submitted to a critical analysis that allows them to enter into a dialogue – or rather a heated debate – with each other. This opens new perspectives on the generation gap in America since 1945, offering a dynamic look at the role of youth as agents of social change and cultural innovation.
The volume is of interest to students and researchers in contemporary American literature and culture, as well as to fans of cult fiction in general. The interdisciplinary approach to the themes of generational conflict and deviant behaviour also makes a significant contribution to the fields of sociology, contemporary history and cultural studies.

Addressing Modernity

Social Systems Theory and U.S. Cultures

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Edited by Hannes Bergthaller and Carsten Schinko

Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social systems is one of the most ambitious attempts to create a coherent account of global modernity. Primarily interested in the fundamental structures of modern society, however, Luhmann himself paid relatively little attention to regional variations. The aim of this book is to seek out modernity in one particular location: The United States of America. Gathering essays from a group of cultural and literary scholars, sociologists, and philosophers, Addressing Modernity reassesses the claims of American exceptionalism by setting them in the context of Luhmann’s conception of modernity, and explores how social systems theory can generate new perspectives on what has often been described as the first thoroughly modern nation. As a study of American society and culture from a Luhmannian vantage point, the book is of interest to scholars from both American Studies and social systems theory in general.

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Images of Eastern European Jewish Migration to America in Contemporary American Children’s Literature

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Jana Pohl

How is the life-altering event of migration narrated for children, especially if it was caused by Anti-Semitism and poverty? What of the country of origin is remembered and what is forgotten, and what of the target country when the migration is imagined there a century later? Looking Forward, Looking Back examines today’s representation of Jewish mass migration from Eastern Europe to America around the turn of the last century. It explores the collective story that emerges when American authors look back at this exodus from an Eastern European home to a new one to be established in America. Focusing on children’s literature, it investigates a wide range of texts including young adult literature as well as picture books and hence sheds light on the dynamics of the verbal and the visual in generating images of the self and other, the familiar and the strange.
This book is of interest to scholars in the field of imagology, children’s literature, cultural studies, American studies, Slavic studies, and Jewish studies.

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Edited by Cecilia Donohue

This addition to Rodopi Press’s Dialogue Series presents a collection of essays solely dedicated to Woman Hollering Creek (1991), Sandra Cisneros’s groundbreaking collection of short fiction stories and sketches. The emerging and veteran scholars who have contributed to this text approach Cisneros’s work from varied perspectives, including negotiation of geographic and sociocultural borders, popular and material culture, and gender portrayals. Author dialogues, in which the scholars comment upon each other’s research, constitute a unique, innovative feature of this particular volume. This book will be of interest to those engaged in Chicano/a literature and feminist/gender studies, as well as instructors of literary critical analysis.

Decolonizing the Lens of Power

Indigenous Films in North America

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Kerstin Knopf

This is the first book that comprehensively examines Indigenous filmmaking in North America, as it analyzes in detail a variety of representative films by Canadian and US-American Indigenous filmmakers: two films that contextualize the oral tradition, three short films, and four dramatic films. The book explores how members of colonized groups use the medium of film as a means for cultural and political expression and thus enter the dominant colonial film discourse and create an answering discourse. The theoretical framework is developed as an interdisciplinary approach, combining postcolonialism, Indigenous studies, and film studies. As Indigenous people are gradually taking control over the imagemaking process in the area of film and video, they cease being studied and described objects and become subjects who create self-controlled images of Indigenous cultures. The book explores the translatability of Indigenous oral tradition into film, touching upon the changes the cultural knowledge is subject to in this process, including statements of Indigenous filmmakers on this issue. It also asks whether or not there is a definite Indigenous film practice and whether filmmakers tend to dissociate their work from dominant classical filmmaking, adapt to it, or create new film forms and styles through converging classical film conventions and their conscious violation. This approach presupposes that Indigenous filmmakers are constantly in some state of reaction to Western ethnographic filmmaking and to classical narrative filmmaking and its epitome, the Hollywood narrative cinema. The films analyzed are The Road Allowance People by Maria Campbell, Itam Hakim, Hopiit by Victor Masayesva, Talker by Lloyd Martell, Tenacity and Smoke Signals by Chris Eyre, Overweight With Crooked Teeth and Honey Moccasin by Shelley Niro, Big Bear by Gil Cardinal, and Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner by Zacharias Kunuk.

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Edited by Reine Dugas Bouton

Presenting the first full-length collection of essays on Eudora Welty’s novel, Delta Wedding (1946), this volume is the fourth book in Rodopi Press’s Dialogue Series. Within these pages, emerging and experienced literary critics engage in an exciting dialogue about Welty’s noted novel, presenting a wide range of scholarship that focuses on feminist concerns, pays tribute to the rhetoric of exclusion and empowerment, examines the role of outsider and boundaries, explores meaning-making, and highlights the novel’s humor and musicality. This volume will no doubt be of interest to Welty aficianados as well as southern studies and feminist scholars and to those who are interested in the craft of writing fiction.

Disclosing Intertextualities

The Stories, Plays, and Novels of Susan Glaspell

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Edited by Martha C. Carpentier and Barbara Ozieblo

For the first time, this volume brings together essays by feminist, Americanist, and theater scholars who apply a variety of sophisticated critical approaches to Susan Glaspell’s entire oeuvre. Glaspell’s one-act play, “Trifles,” and the short story that she constructed from it, “A Jury of Her Peers,” have drawn the attention of many feminist critics, but the rest of her writing—the short stories, plays and novels—is largely unknown. The essays gathered here will allow students of literature, women’s studies and theater studies an insight into the variety and scope of her oeuvre.
Glaspell’s political and literary thinking was radicalized by the turbulent Greenwich Village environment of the first decades of the twentieth century, by progressive-era social movements and by modernist literary and theatrical innovation. The focus of Glaspell studies has, till recently, been dominated by the feminist imperative to recover a canon of silenced women writers and, in particular, to restore Glaspell to her rightful place in American drama. Transcending the limitations generated by such a specific agenda, the contributors to this volume approach Glaspell’s work as a dialogic intersection of genres, texts, and cultural phenomena—a method that is particularly apt for Glaspell, who moved between genres with a unique fluidity, creating such modernist masterpieces as The Verge or Brook Evans. This volume establishes Glaspell’s work as an “intersection of textual surfaces,” resulting for the first time in the complex aesthetic appreciation that her varied life’s work merits.