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Edited by Olga Voronina

A Companion to Soviet Children’s Literature and Film offers a comprehensive and innovative analysis of Soviet literary and cinematic production for children. Its contributors contextualize and reevaluate Soviet children’s books, films, and animation and explore their contemporary re-appropriation by the Russian government, cultural practitioners, and educators.

Celebrating the centennial of Soviet children’s literature and film, the Companion reviews the rich and dramatic history of the canon. It also provides an insight into the close ties between Soviet children’s culture and Avant-Garde aesthetics, investigates early pedagogical experiments of the Soviet state, documents the importance of translation in children’s literature of the 1920-80s, and traces the evolution of heroic, fantastic, historical, and absurdist Soviet narratives for children.

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Daniel Andrés López

Georg Lukács’s philosophy of praxis, penned between 1918 and 1928, remains a revolutionary and apocryphal presence within Marxism. His History and Class Consciousness has inspired a century of rapture and reprobation, perhaps, as Gillian Rose suggested, because of its ‘invitation to hermeneutic anarchy’.

In Lukács: Praxis and the Absolute, Daniel Andrés López radicalises Lukács’s famous return to Hegel by reassembling his 1920s philosophy as a conceptual-historical totality. This speculative reading defends Lukács while proposing an unprecedented, immanent critique. While Lukács’s concept of praxis approaches the shape of Hegel’s Absolute, it tragically fails to bear its weight. However, as López argues, Lukács’s failure was productive: it raises crucial political, methodological and philosophical questions for Marxism, offering to redeem a lost century.

Mediterranean Reconfigurations

Intercultural Trade, Commercial Litigation, and Legal Pluralism

The book series Mediterranean Reconfigurations is devoted to the analyses of historical change in the Mediterranean over a long period (15th - 19th centuries), challenging totalizing narratives that “Westernize” Mediterranean history as having led naturally to European domination in the 19th and 20th centuries. In reality, the encounters of Muslim, Jewish, Armenian and Protestant merchants and sailors with legal customs and judicial practices different from their own gave rise to legal and cultural creativity throughout the Mediterranean. Through the prism of commercial litigation, the series thus offers a more accurate and deeper understanding of the practices of intercultural trade, in a context profoundly shaped by legal pluralism and multiple and overlapping spaces of jurisdiction. Comparative case studies offer empirically-based indicators for both regional and more general processes, here called "Mediterranean reconfigurations", e.g. the changing interplay and positioning of individual and institutional actors on different levels in a variety of commercial and legal contexts.

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Daniela Spenser

Vicente Lombardo Toledano was the founder of numerous labour union organisations in Mexico and Latin America between the 1920s to the 1960s. He was not only an organiser but also a broker between the unions, the government, and business leaders, able to disentangle difficult conflicts. He cooperated closely with the governments of Mexico and other Latin American nations and worked with the representatives of the Soviet Union when he considered it useful. As a result he was alternately seen as a government stooge or a communist, even though he was never a member of the party or of the Mexican government administration.

Daniela Spenser's is the first biography of Lombardo Toledano based on his extensive private papers, on primary sources from European, Mexican and American archives, and on personal interviews. Her even-keeled portrayal of the man counters previous hagiographies and/or vilifications.

Making Ethnicity in Southern Bessarabia

Tracing the Histories of an Ambiguous Concept in a Contested Land

Series:

Simon Schlegel

In Making Ethnicity, Simon Schlegel offers a history of ethnicity and its political uses in southern Bessarabia, a region that has long been at the crossroads of powerful forces: in the 19th century between the Russian and Ottoman Empires, since World War I between the Soviet Union and Romania, and since the collapse of the Soviet Union between Russia and the European Union’s respective zones of influence.

Drawing on biographical interviews and archival documents, Schlegel argues that ethnic categories gained relevance in the 19th century, as state bureaucrats took over local administration from the church. After mutating into a dangerous instrument of social engineering in the mid-20th century, ethnicity today remains a potent force for securing votes and allocating resources.