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30 books about Construction [sort by author]      

Acoustical Aspects of Woodwind Instruments, Revised Edition
C. J. Nederveen
Northern Illinois University Press, 1998

This classic study, now revised and updated, shows how scientific calculations can be used to improve the understanding, design, and tuning of woodwind instruments. A powerful tool for correcting tuning errors in existing instruments and for creating new designs, Nederveen's work has long been a standard in the field of acoustics.

In an extended new chapter, Nederveen analyzes and interprets recent developmeents in research on the acoustics of woodwind instruments. This revised edition, which also contains a new list of symbols and a new subject index, is a necessity for scholars, teachers, and practitioners of music, physics, acoustics, and woodwind design.

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Authority: Construction and Corrosion
Bruce Lincoln
University of Chicago Press, 1994

What is authority? How is it constituted? How ought one understand the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) relations between authority and coercion? Between authorized and subversive speech? In this fascinating and intricate analysis, Bruce Lincoln argues that authority is not an entity but an effect. More precisely, it is an effect that depends for its power on the combination of the right speaker, the right speech, the right staging and props, the right time and place, and an audience historically and culturally conditioned to judge what is right in all these instances and to respond with trust, respect, and even reverence.

Employing a vast array of examples drawn from classical antiquity, Scandinavian law, Cold War scholarship, and American presidential politics, Lincoln offers a telling analysis of the performance of authority, and subversions of it, from ancient times to the present. Using a small set of case studies that highlight critical moments in the construction of authority, he goes on to offer a general examination of "corrosive" discourses such as gossip, rumor, and curses; the problematic situation of women, who often are barred from the authorizing sphere; the role of religion in the construction of authority; the question of whether authority in the modern and postmodern world differs from its premodern counterpart; and a critique of Hannah Arendt's claims that authority has disappeared from political life in the modern world. He does not find a diminution of authority or a fundamental change in the conditions that produce it. Rather, Lincoln finds modern authority splintered, expanded, and, in fact multiplied as the mechanisms for its construction become more complex—and more expensive.
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Bargaining for Reality: The Construction of Social Relations in a Muslim Community
Lawrence Rosen
University of Chicago Press, 1984

Much modern anthropology has assumed that an adequate description of any society consists of rules that inform its members' relationships and the logic that unites their cultural symbols. In this book Lawrence Rosen argues that, for the people who live in and around the Moroccan city of Sefrou, attachment to others and the terms by which they are conceived are, at their most fundamental level, subject to a constant process of negotiation.

Drawing on the philosophy of speech acts as well as interpretive theory, Rosen shows how, for the people of this Muslim community, reality consists of the network of obligations formed by individuals out of a repertoire of relational possibilities whose defining terms are comprised by a set of essentially negotiable concepts. He thus demonstrates that the bonds of family, tribe, and political alliance take shape only as the bargains struck in and through the malleable terms that describe them take shape; that statements about relationship are no more true than a price mentioned in the marketplace until properly validated; that the relations between men and women, Arabs and Berbers, Muslims and Jews test the limits of interpersonal negotiation; and that the concepts of time, character, and narrative style are consonant with a view of reality as bargained-for network of obligations.

Bargaining for Reality makes an important contribution to our understanding of contemporary Middle Eastern society and to the development of powerful new interpretive strategies for a wide range of social theorists.

"[Rosen's] book is extremely useful for African and Middle Eastern historians, because he challenges some of our most basic ideas about the nature and force of kinship, tribe, ethnicity, and other large- and small-scale political ties."—Allan R. Meyers, International Journal of African Historical Studies

"The book conveys a compelling image of Moroccan social experience and is peppered with vivid anecdotes and case histories."—Stephen William Foster, American Anthropologist
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Beyond Maximus: The Construction of Public Voice in Black Mountain Poetry
Anne Day Dewey
Stanford University Press, 2007

Beyond Maximus: The Construction of Public Voice in Black Mountain Poetry is the only study of Black Mountain poets (Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Denise Levertov, and Ed Dorn) to explain their association from the 1950s to their break-up after the Vietnam War. Dewey uses the poets' correspondence and other archival materials to illuminate their mutual influence and the crucial significance of "field poetics" to their careers. While previous criticism has focused on the poetics of the force field as a model of nature, Dewey understands the force field as a model of social force that all five poets articulate and incorporate into poetry in ways that compete with artistic craft. Their different conceptions of social force explain their divergent careers. The development of "field poetics" also sheds light on these poets' attempts to create an alliance between experimental poetics and public voice, a difficult agenda that speaks to Black Mountain poetry's crucial contribution to the artistic and political struggles of New American poetry.
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Building a Nation: Chickasaw Museums and the Construction of History and Heritage
Joshua M. Gorman
University of Alabama Press, 2011

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The Chickasaw Nation, an American Indian nation headquartered in southeastern Oklahoma, entered into a period of substantial growth in the late 1980s. Following its successful reorganization and expansion, which was enabled by federal policies for tribal self-determination, the Nation pursued gaming and other industries to affect economic growth. From 1987 to 2009 the Nation’s budget increased exponentially as tribal investments produced increasingly large revenues for a growing Chickasaw population. Coincident to this growth, the Chickasaw Nation began acquiring and creating museums and heritage properties to interpret their own history, heritage, and culture through diverse exhibitionary representations. By 2009, the Chickasaw Nation directed representation of itself at five museum and heritage properties throughout its historic boundaries.

Josh Gorman examines the history of these sites and argues that the Chickasaw Nation is using museums and heritage sites as places to define itself as a coherent and legitimate contemporary Indian nation. In doing so, they are necessarily engaging with the shifting historiographical paradigms as well as changing articulations of how museums function and what they represent. The roles of the Chickasaw Nation’s museums and heritage sites in defining and creating discursive representations of sovereignty are examined within their historicized local contexts. The work describes the museum exhibitions’ dialogue with the historiography of the Chickasaw Nation, the literature of new museum studies, and the indigenous exhibitionary grammars emerging from indigenous museums throughout the United States and the world. 

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Chronotypes: The Construction of Time
Edited by John Bender and David E. Wellbery
Stanford University Press, 1991

Time belongs to a handful of categories (like form, symbol, cause) that are genuinely transdisciplinary. Time touches every dimension of our being, every object of our attention - including attention itself. It therefore can belong to no single field of study. Of course, this universalist view of time is not itself universal but rather is a product of the modern age, an age that conceived of itself as the 'new' time. Time has thus gained new importance as a theme of general research with the 'post-modern turn' now manifest in many areas of intellectual endeavor, especially in the humanities and social sciences. 'Chronotypes' are models or patterns through which time assumes practical or conceptual significance. Time is not given but (as the subtitle indicates) fabricated in an ongoing process. Chronotypes are themselves temporal and plural, constantly being made and remade at multiple individual, social, and cultural levels. They interact, they change over time, and they have histories, whose construal is itself an act of temporal construction. This book - an interdisciplinary collaboration of philosophers, historians, literary critics, and anthropologists - examines the ways individuals, societies, and cultures make sense of time by constructing it in diverse patterns. Its title intentionally echoes a concept of narrative theory, Mikhail Bakhtin's 'chronotype', because narrative recurs as a chief form within which we build temporality. The topics treated by these essays range from story-telling to cross-cultural communication, from epistemological debates to concepts of historical periodization, from the construction of life stories to the stratification of social time.
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Common Knowledge: News and the Construction of Political Meaning
W. Russell Neuman, Marion R. Just, and Ann N. Crigler
University of Chicago Press, 1992

Photo opportunities, ten-second sound bites, talking heads and celebrity anchors: so the world is explained daily to millions of Americans. The result, according to the experts, is an ignorant public, helpless targets of a one-way flow of carefully filtered and orchestrated communication. Common Knowledge shatters this pervasive myth. Reporting on a ground-breaking study, the authors reveal that our shared knowledge and evolving political beliefs are determined largely by how we actively reinterpret the images, fragments, and signals we find in the mass media.

For their study, the authors analyzed coverage of 150 television and newspaper stories on five prominent issues—drugs, AIDS, South African apartheid, the Strategic Defense Initiative, and the stock market crash of October 1987. They tested audience responses of more than 1,600 people, and conducted in-depth interviews with a select sample. What emerges is a surprisingly complex picture of people actively and critically interpreting the news, making sense of even the most abstract issues in terms of their own lives, and finding political meaning in a sophisticated interplay of message, medium, and firsthand experience.

At every turn, Common Knowledge refutes conventional wisdom. It shows that television is far more effective at raising the saliency of issues and promoting learning than is generally assumed; it also undermines the assumed causal connection between newspaper reading and higher levels of political knowledge. Finally, this book gives a deeply responsible and thoroughly fascinating account of how the news is conveyed to us, and how we in turn convey it to others, making meaning of at once so much and so little. For anyone who makes the news—or tries to make anything of it—Common Knowledge promises uncommon wisdom.
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The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature
Martha Woodmansee and Peter Jaszi, eds.
Duke University Press, 1994

What is an author? What is a text? At a time when the definition of "text" is expanding and the technology whereby texts are produced and disseminated is changing at an explosive rate, the ways "authorship" is defined and rights conferred upon authors must also be reconsidered. This volume argues that contemporary copyright law, rooted as it is in a nineteenth-century Romantic understanding of the author as a solitary creative genius, may be inapposite to the realities of cultural production. Drawing together distinguished scholars from literature, law, and the social sciences, the volume explores the social and cultural construction of authorship as a step toward redefining notions of authorship and copyright for today's world.
These essays, illustrating cultural studies in action, are aggressively interdisciplinary and wide-ranging in topic and approach. Questions of collective and collaborative authorship in both contemporary and early modern contexts are addressed. Other topics include moral theory and authorship; copyright and the balance between competing interests of authors and the public; problems of international copyright; musical sampling and its impact on "fair use" doctrine; cinematic authorship; quotation and libel; alternative views of authorship as exemplified by nineteenth-century women's clubs and by the Renaissance commonplace book; authorship in relation to broadcast media and to the teaching of writing; and the material dimension of authorship as demonstrated by Milton's publishing contract.

Contributors. Rosemary J. Coombe, Margreta de Grazia, Marvin D'Lugo, John Feather, N. N. Feltes, Ann Ruggles Gere, Peter Jaszi, Gerhard Joseph, Peter Lindenbaum, Andrea A. Lunsford and Lisa Ede, Jeffrey A. Masten, Thomas Pfau, Monroe E. Price and Malla Pollack, Mark Rose, Marlon B. Ross, David Sanjek, Thomas Streeter, Jim Swan, Max W. Thomas, Martha Woodmansee, Alfred C. Yen

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The Construction of Children's Character
Edited by Alex Molnar
University of Chicago Press, 1997

The Construction of Children's Character presents a comprehensive and critical assessment of contemporary character education theory and practice from a variety of perspectives—historical, cultural, philosophical, psychological, empirical, political, and ethical.

The idea that character education should be an important element in the curriculum of public schools is controversial. Critics reject the idea that schools should be involved in teaching values. Proponents often disagree among themselves—some detailing the proper values students should be taught, others arguing that character development must be part of a larger process of constructing an ethical community in the schools. The contributors to this volume bring a breadth of perspectives, experience, and approaches to the problem of assessing contemporary character education.





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The Construction of Gothic Cathedrals: A Study of Medieval Vault Erection
John Fitchen
University of Chicago Press, 1981

John Fitchen systematically treats the process of erecting the great edifices of the Gothic era. He explains the building equipment and falsework needed, the actual operations undertaken, and the sequence of these operations as specifically as they can be deduced today. Since there are no contemporary accounts of the techniques used by medieval builders, Fitchen's study brilliantly pieces together clues from manuscript illuminations, from pictorial representations, and from the fabrics of the building themselves.

"Anyone who has caught the fascination of Gothic Churches (and once caught, has almost necessarily got it in the blood) will find this book enthralling. . . . Clearly written and beautifully illustrated." —A. D. R. Caroe, Annual Review, Central Council for the Care of Churches

"Fitchen's study is a tribute to the extraordinary creative and engineering skills of successive generations of mediaeval builders. . . . This study enables us to appreciate more fully the technical expertise and improvements which enabled the creative spirit of the day to find such splendid embodiment." —James Lingwood, Oxford Art Journal

"Fitchen, in what can only be defined as an architectural detective story, fully explores the problems confronting the medieval vault erectors and uncovers their solution. . . . This is a book that no serious student of architecture will want to miss." —Progressive Architecture

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The Construction of Homosexuality
David F. Greenberg
University of Chicago Press, 1988

"At various times, homosexuality has been considered the noblest of loves, a horrible sin, a psychological condition or grounds for torture and execution. David F. Greenberg's careful, encyclopedic and important new book argues that homosexuality is only deviant because society has constructed, or defined, it as deviant. The book takes us over vast terrains of example and detail in the history of homosexuality."—Nicholas B. Dirks, New York Times Book Review
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The Construction of Memory in Interwar France
Daniel J. Sherman
University of Chicago Press, 2000

One of the bloodiest conflicts in human history, World War I devastated France, leaving behind battlefields littered with the remains of the dead. Daniel Sherman takes a close look at the human impact of this Great War by examining the ways in which the French remembered their veterans and war dead after the armistice. Arguing that memory is more than just a record of experience, Sherman's cultural history offers a radically new perspective on how commemoration of WWI helped to shape postwar French society and politics.

Sherman shows how a wartime visual culture saturated with images of ordinary foot soldiers, together with contemporary novels, memoirs, and tourist literature, promoted a distinctive notion of combat experience. The contrast between battlefield and home front, soldier and civilian was the basis for memory and collective gratitude. Postwar commemoration, however, also grew directly out of the long and agonized search for the remains of hundreds of thousands of missing soldiers, and the sometimes contentious debates over where to bury them. For this reason, the local monument, with its inscribed list of names and its functional resemblance to tombstones, emerged as the focal point of commemorative practice. Sherman traces every step in the process of monument building as he analyzes commemoration's competing goals—to pay tribute to the dead, to console the bereaved, and to incorporate mourners' individual memories into a larger political discourse.

Extensively illustrated, Sherman's study offers a visual record of a remarkable moment in the history of public art. It is at once a moving account of a culture haunted by war and a sophisticated analysis of the political stakes of memory in the twentieth century.

Winner of the 2000 J. Russell Major Prize of the American Historical Association
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The Construction of Minorities: Cases for Comparison Across Time and Around the World
Andre Burguiere and Raymond Grew, Editors
University of Michigan Press, 2001

How does a minority come to be? In an unusual project, a notable group of French and American scholars take the view that minorities are socially constructed. Their original studies of specific historical examples produce a series of stimulating and provocative essays useful and enjoyable for specialists and the general reader alike.
Spawned from a conference organized by the journals Annales and Comparative Studies in Society and History in concert with the Center for Historical Research at l'EHESS in Paris and the Department of History at the University of Michigan, this collection contrasts studies of Afro-Americans in the United States, French Protestants, notables in Renaissance Florence, religious minorities in the Ottoman Empire, Muslim and Chinese traders in Southeast Asia, the native peoples of Spanish America, lower-caste Indians, ethnic minorities in the Soviet Union, Australian aborigines, and American and French responses to AIDS to reveal valuable information about how minorities come to be constructed within societies. Some of the minorities considered are identified primarily in terms of their ethnicity, some by social class, and some by religion (Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim); a final essay asks whether the victims of AIDS constitute a minority at all.
With its cross-cultural emphasis, this book will be a valuable addition to courses on diversity, ethnicity, and cultural comparison. It is destined to be a useful reference for undergraduate and research libraries and a much-consulted work for specialists on each of the societies considered.
André Burguière is Research Director, l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (l'EHESS) in Paris. Raymond Grew is Professor of History Emeritus, University of Michigan.
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The Construction of Negotiated Meaning: A Social Cognitive Theory of Writing
Linda Flower
Southern Illinois University Press, 1994

Based on five years of close observation of students, writing and collaborative planning—the practice in which student writers take the roles of planner and supporter to help each other develop a more rhetorically sophisticated writing plan—foremost cognitive composition researcher Linda Flower redefines writing in terms of an interactive social and cognitive process and proposes a convincing and compelling theory of the construction of negotiated meaning.

Flower seeks to describe how writers construct meaning. Supported by the emerging body of social and cognitive research in rhetoric, education, and psychology, she portrays meaning making as a literate act and a constructive process. She challenges traditional definitions of literacy, adding to that concept the elements of social literate practices and personal literate acts. In Flower’s view, this social cognitive process is a source of tension and conflict among the multiple forces that shape meaning: the social and cultural context, the demands of discourse, and the writer’s own goals and knowledge.

Flower outlines a generative theory of conflict. With this conflict central to her theory of the construction of negotiated meaning, she examines negotiation as an alternative to the metaphors of reproduction and conversation. It is through negotiation, Flower argues, that social expectations, discourse conventions, and the writer’s personal goals and knowledge become inner voices. The tension among these forces often creates the hidden logic behind student writing. In response to these conflicting voices, writers sometimes rise to the active negotiation of meaning, creating meaning in the interplay of alternatives, opportunities, and constraints.

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The Construction of Religious Boundaries: Culture, Identity, and Diversity in the Sikh Tradition
Harjot Oberoi
University of Chicago Press, 1994

In this major reinterpretation of religion and society in India, Harjot Oberoi challenges earlier accounts of Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam as historically given categories encompassing well-demarcated units of religious identity. Through a searching examination of Sikh historical materials, he shows that early Sikh tradition was not concerned with establishing distinct religious boundaries. Most Sikhs recognized multiple identities grounded in local, regional, religious, and secular loyalties. Consequently, religious identities were highly blurred and several competing definitions of what constituted a Sikh were possible.

In the closing decades of the nineteenth century, however, the Singh Sabha, a powerful new Sikh movement, began to view the multiplicity in Sikh identity with suspicion and hostility. Aided by social and cultural forces unleashed by the British Raj, the Singh Sabha sought to recast Sikh tradition and purge it of diversity. The ethnocentric logic of a new elite dissolved alternative ideals under the highly codified culture of modern Sikhism.

A study of the process by which a pluralistic religious world view is replaced by a monolithic one, this important book calls into question basic assumptions about the efficacy of fundamentalist claims and the construction of all social and religious identities. An essential book for the field of South Asian religions, this work is also an important contribution to cultural anthropology, postcolonial studies, and the history of religion in general.
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Dealing in Virtue: International Commercial Arbitration and the Construction of a Transnational Legal Order
Yves Dezalay and Bryant G. Garth
University of Chicago Press, 1996

In recent years, international business disputes have increasingly been resolved through private arbitration. The first book of its kind, Dealing in Virtue details how an elite group of transnational lawyers constructed an autonomous legal field that has given them a central and powerful role in the global marketplace.

Building on Pierre Bourdieu's structural approach, the authors show how an informal, settlement-oriented system became formalized and litigious. Integral to this new legal field is the intense personal competition among arbitrators to gain a reputation for virtue, hoping to be selected for arbitration panels. Since arbitration fees have skyrocketed, this is a high-stakes game.

Using multiple examples, Dezalay and Garth explore how international developments can transform domestic methods for handling disputes and analyze the changing prospects for international business dispute resolution given the growing presence of such international market and regulatory institutions as the EEC, the WTO, and NAFTA.

"A fascinating book, which I strongly recommend to all those active in international commercial arbitration, as they will see the arbitral world from new and unthought of perspectives."—Jacques Werner, Journal of International Arbitration
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Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos: A Technological History from Cristofori to the Modern Concert Grand, Second Edition
Edwin M. Good
Stanford University Press, 2001

Incorporating the results of recent research, this is a new edition of a book that received the American Musicological Society's Otto Kinkeldey Award for the best musicological book in English published in 1982-83. ---------- Edwin M. Good is Professor of Religious Studies and (by courtesy) of Classics, Emeritus, at Stanford University. ---------- This lavishly illustrated book treats the history of the piano from its invention in 1700 to the present in terms of its technology. Looking at the technologies of design, materials, and manufacture, and focusing its description on specific existing pianos, it describes the changes in pianos from the earliest days to contemporary instruments. This revised edition incorporates the results of recent research that increases knowledge of the work of Bartolomeo Cristofori, the inventor of the piano; changes perceptions of how eighteenth-century pianos were made and used; adds to the available information about the important contributions of the Steinway Company; and describes the most recent changes to the piano. The first edition of this book received the Otto Kinkeldey Award of the American Musicological Society as the best musicological book in English published in 1982-83. Reviews of the First Edition "If you have ever looked under the lid of a piano and wondered about the technical how and why of it all, this is the book to sate your curiosity. . . . Good's vigorous prose breathes life into the technology . . . and brings forward the people involved, with humor and sensitivity." --Los Angeles Times "This is a fine book. Accurate technical description, an abundance of photographs and drawings, and a very readable text complement a provocative thesis." --Technology and Culture "Intriguing reading. It turns out that the story of the piano and its evolution . . . is rife with human interest, at least when Good relates the details." --Keyboard ---------- "If you have ever looked under the lid of a piano and wondered about the technical how and why of it all, this is the book to sate your curiosity. . . . Good's vigorous prose breathes life into the technology . . . and brings forward the people involved, with humor and sensitivity."--Los Angeles Times "Good's book has been a standard history of the piano and the development of its mechanisms since its first publication. The second edition contains some improvements and enhancements but retains the overall plan of the first. . . . Good was able to add more detail to the information concerning early pianos, piano-shaped instruments, builders, and mechanisms. And in the last chapter, he has enlarged the twentieth-century view of the piano to include digital instruments and other technological developments. . . . The writing is clear and precise throughout, and the footnoted information and references are almost as valuable as the text itself. . . . This second edition includes more illustrations . . . and in general appearance, the book is easier to read and more handsome as a whole."--Choice
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Hasidism Incarnate: Hasidism, Christianity, and the Construction of Modern Judaism
Shaul Magid
Stanford University Press, 2014

Hasidism Incarnate contends that much of modern Judaism in the West developed in reaction to Christianity and in defense of Judaism as a unique tradition. Ironically enough, this occurred even as modern Judaism increasingly dovetailed with Christianity with regard to its ethos, aesthetics, and attitude toward ritual and faith. Shaul Magid argues that the Hasidic movement in Eastern Europe constitutes an alternative "modernity," one that opens a new window on Jewish theological history. Unlike Judaism in German lands, Hasidism did not develop under a "Christian gaze" and had no need to be apologetic of its positions. Unburdened by an apologetic agenda (at least toward Christianity), it offered a particular reading of medieval Jewish Kabbalah filtered through a focus on the charismatic leader that resulted in a religious worldview that has much in common with Christianity. It is not that Hasidic masters knew about Christianity; rather, the basic tenets of Christianity remained present, albeit often in veiled form, in much kabbalistic teaching that Hasidism took up in its portrayal of the charismatic figure of the zaddik, whom it often described in supernatural terms.
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A History of Utah International: From Construction to Mining
Sterling D Sessions
University of Utah Press, 2005

The story of how the Utah Construction Company, founded in Ogden, Utah in 1900, became Utah International, a multinational corporation, is known to historians of the American West but perhaps not by the general public. The publication of this book remedies that omission.

During its first decades, the company built railroads and dams and was one of the Six Companies Consortium that built Hoover Dam. Utah Construction was also engaged in numerous war-contract activities during World War II. In the postwar period, the company expanded its activities into mining and land development and moved its headquarters to San Francisco. Changing its name to Utah Construction and Mining, and eventually to Utah International, the corporation became one of the most successful multinational mining companies in the world. In 1976, Utah International and General Electric negotiated the largest yet corporate merger in the United States.

Based on the Utah International archives housed in the Stewart Library at Weber State University, the story of Utah International describes more than projects: it is also the story of how two remarkable entrepreneurs, Marriner Stoddard Eccles and Edmund Wattis Littlefield, transformed the company incorporated in 1900 by the Wattis brothers into the largest and most profitable mining company in the United States.

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Kierkegaard: Construction of the Aesthetic
Theodor Adorno
University of Minnesota Press, 1989

Literary Couplings: Writing Couples, Collaborators, and the Construction of Authorship
Edited by Marjorie Stone and Judith Thompson
University of Wisconsin Press, 2007

This innovative collection challenges the traditional focus on solitary genius by examining the rich diversity of literary couplings and collaborations from the early modern to the postmodern period. Literary Couplings explores some of the best-known literary partnerships—from the Sidneys to Boswell and Johnson to Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes—and also includes lesser-known collaborators such as Daphne Marlatt and Betsy Warland. The essays place famous authors such as Samuel Coleridge, Oscar Wilde, and William Butler Yeats in new contexts; reassess overlooked members of writing partnerships; and throw new light on texts that have been marginalized due to their collaborative nature. By integrating historical studies with authorship theory, Literary Couplings goes beyond static notions of the writing "couple" to explore literary couplings created by readers, critics, historians, and publishers as well as by writers themselves, thus expanding our understanding of authorship.

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The Medici State and the Ghetto of Florence: The Construction of an Early Modern Jewish Community
Stefanie B. Siegmund
Stanford University Press, 2006

The Medici State and the Ghetto of Florence is a work about Italian Jews, Christians, and the institutions and policies that organized their relationship. It sets the 1570 decision of the Medici government to ghettoize the Jews of Tuscany in the context of early modern statecraft and in the climate of the Catholic (or Counter-) Reformation. While readers have had access to studies of the ghettos of Rome and Venice, this is the first study of the Jews of Tuscany available in English, and the first and only study of the Florentine ghetto based on sustained archival research. The story of the forced ghettoization of Tuscan Jews allows the author to explore the "spatialization of power," the construction of Jewish community, and the reorganization of gender roles, leading to three broad arguments of great significance to readers interested in Italian history, Jewish history, urban history, and the history of women.

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The Metaphysics of Media: Toward an End of Postmodern Cynicism and the Construction of a Virtuous Reality
Peter K. Fallon
University of Scranton Press, 2009

In The Metaphysics of Media, award-winning media critic Peter K. Fallon tackles the complicated question of how a succession of dominant forms of media have supported—and even to some extent created—different conceptions of reality. To do so, he starts with the basics: a critical discussion of the very idea of objective reality and the various postmodern responses that have tended to dominate recent philosophical approaches to the subject. From there, he embarks on a survey of the evolution of communication through four major eras: orality; literacy; print; and electricity. 

Within each era, Fallon argues, the dominant form of media supported particular ways of understanding the world, from the ascendance of reason that followed the development of alphabets to the obliteration of space and time that we associate with electronic communications. Fallon concludes with a hard look at the mass ignorance that prevails today despite (or perhaps because of) the sea of information with which contemporary life is surrounded. 

A stirring, philosophically rich investigation, The Metaphysics of Media offers not only a clear picture of where our society has been but also a road map to a more engaged, informed, and fully human future.

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Montgomery C. Meigs: & Building Of Nation'S Capital
William C. Dickinson
Ohio University Press, 2001

At the age of thirty-six, in 1852, Lt. Montgomery Cunningham Meigs of the Army Corps of Engineers reported to Washington, D.C., for duty as a special assistant to the chief army engineer, Gen. Joseph G. Totten. It was a fateful assignment, both for the nation’s capital and for the bright, ambitious, and politically connected West Point graduate.

Meigs's forty-year tenure in the nation's capital was by any account spectacularly successful. He surveyed, designed, and built the Washington water supply system, oversaw the extension of the U.S. Capitol and the erection of its massive iron dome, and designed and supervised construction of the Pension Building, now the home of the National Building Museum. The skills he exhibited in supervising engineering projects were carefully noted by political leaders, including president-elect Abraham Lincoln, who named Meigs quartermaster general of the Union Army, the most important position he held during his long and active military career.

Meigs believed Washington, D.C., should be the reincarnation of Rome, the ancient capital of the Roman Empire. He endeavored to memorialize the story of the American nation in all the structures he built, expressing these ideas in murals, sculpture, and monumental design.

Historians have long known Meigs for the organizational genius with which he fulfilled his duty as quartermaster general during the Civil War and for his unwavering loyalty to Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. This volume establishes his claim as one of the major nineteenth-century contributors to the built environment of the nation's capital.
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Of Men and Monsters: Jeffrey Dahmer and the Construction of the Serial Killer
Richard Tithecott
University of Wisconsin Press, 1998

Of Men and Monsters examines the serial killer as an American cultural icon, one that both attracts and repels. Richard Tithecott suggests that the stories we tell and the images we conjure of serial killers—real and fictional—reveal as much about mainstream culture and its values, desires, and anxieties as they do about the killers themselves.

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Partisan Gerrymandering and the Construction of American Democracy
Erik J. Engstrom
University of Michigan Press, 2013

Erik J. Engstrom offers a historical perspective on the effects of gerrymandering on elections and party control of the U.S. national legislature. Aside from the requirements that districts be continuous and, after 1842, that each select only one representative, there were few restrictions on congressional districting. Unrestrained, state legislators drew and redrew districts to suit their own partisan agendas. With the rise of the “one-person, one-vote” doctrine and the implementation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, however, redistricting became subject to court oversight.

Engstrom evaluates the abundant cross-sectional and temporal variation in redistricting plans and their electoral results from all the states, from 1789 through the 1960s, to identify the causes and consequences of partisan redistricting. His analysis reveals that districting practices across states and over time systematically affected the competitiveness of congressional elections; shaped the partisan composition of congressional delegations; and, on occasion, determined party control of the House of Representatives.

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Seaway to the Future: American Social Visions and the Construction of the Panama Canal
Alexander Missal
University of Wisconsin Press, 2008

Realizing the century-old dream of a passage to India, the building of the Panama Canal was an engineering feat of colossal dimensions, a construction site filled not only with mud and water but with interpretations, meanings, and social visions. Alexander Missal’s Seaway to the Future unfolds a cultural history of the Panama Canal project, revealed in the texts and images of the era’s policymakers and commentators. Observing its creation, journalists, travel writers, and officials interpreted the Canal and its environs as a perfect society under an efficient, authoritarian management featuring innovations in technology, work, health, and consumption. For their middle-class audience in the United States, the writers depicted a foreign yet familiar place, a showcase for the future—images reinforced in the exhibits of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition that celebrated the Canal’s completion. Through these depictions, the building of the Panama Canal became a powerful symbol in a broader search for order as Americans looked to the modern age with both anxiety and anticipation.
            Like most utopian visions, this one aspired to perfection at the price of exclusion. Overlooking the West Indian laborers who built the Canal, its admirers praised the white elite that supervised and administered it. Inspired by the masculine ideal personified by President Theodore Roosevelt, writers depicted the Canal Zone as an emphatically male enterprise and Chief Engineer George W. Goethals as the emblem of a new type of social leader, the engineer-soldier, the benevolent despot. Examining these and other images of the Panama Canal project, Seaway to the Future shows how they reflected popular attitudes toward an evolving modern world and, no less important, helped shape those perceptions.

Best Books for Regional Special Interests, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Association

“Provide[s] a useful vantage on the world bequeathed to us by the forces that set out to put America astride the globe nearly a century ago.”—Chris Rasmussen, Bookforum
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Selective Remembrances: Archaeology in the Construction, Commemoration, and Consecration of National Pasts
Edited by Philip L. Kohl, Mara Kozelsky, and Nachman Ben-Yehuda
University of Chicago Press, 2008

When political geography changes, how do reorganized or newly formed states justify their rule and create a sense of shared history for their people? Often, the essays in Selective Remembrances reveal, they turn to archaeology, employing the field and its findings to develop nationalistic feelings and forge legitimate distinctive national identities.

Examining such relatively new or reconfigured nation-states as Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, India, and Thailand, Selective Remembrances shows how states invoke the remote past to extol the glories of specific peoples or prove claims to ancestral homelands. Religion has long played a key role in such efforts, and the contributors take care to demonstrate the tendency of many people, including archaeologists themselves, to view the world through a religious lens—which can be exploited by new regimes to suppress objective study of the past and justify contemporary political actions.

The wide geographic and intellectual range of the essays in Selective Remembrances will make it a seminal text for archaeologists and historians.
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Sexual Cultures and the Construction of Adolescent Identities
edited by Janice M. Irvine
Temple University Press, 1994

This rich collection of essays presents a new vision of adolescent sexuality shaped by a variety of social factors: race and ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, physical ability, and cultural messages propagated in films, books, and within families. The contributors consider the full range of cultural influences that form a teenager's sexual identity and argue that education must include more than its current overriding message of denial hinged on warnings of HIV and AIDS infection and teenage pregnancy. Examining the sexual experiences, feelings, and development of Asians, Latinos, African Americans, gay man and lesbians, and disabled women, this book provides a new understanding of adolescent sexuality that goes beyond the biological approach all too often simplified as "surging hormones."


In the series Health, Society, and Policy, edited by Sheryl Ruzek and Irving Kenneth Zola.

 

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Stringing Together a Nation: Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon and the Construction of a Modern Brazil, 1906–1930
Todd A. Diacon
Duke University Press, 2004

Focusing on one of the most fascinating and debated figures in the history of modern Brazil, Stringing Together a Nation is the first full-length study of the life and career of Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon (1865–1958) to be published in English. In the early twentieth century, Rondon, a military engineer, led what became known as the Rondon Commission in a massive undertaking: the building of telegraph lines and roads connecting Brazil’s vast interior with its coast. Todd A. Diacon describes how, in stringing together a nation with telegraph wire, Rondon attempted to create a unified community of “Brazilians” from a population whose loyalties and identities were much more local and regional in scope. He reveals the work of the Rondon Commission as a crucial exemplar of the issues and intricacies involved in the expansion of central state authority in Brazil and in the construction of a particular kind of Brazilian nation.

Using an impressive array of archival and documentary sources, Diacon chronicles the Rondon Commission’s arduous construction of telegraph lines across more than eight hundred miles of the Amazon Basin; its exploration, surveying, and mapping of vast areas of northwest Brazil; and its implementation of policies governing relations between the Brazilian state and indigenous groups. He considers the importance of Positivist philosophy to Rondon’s thought, and he highlights the Rondon Commission’s significant public relations work on behalf of nation-building efforts. He reflects on the discussions—both contemporaneous and historiographical—that have made Rondon such a fundamental and controversial figure in Brazilian cultural history.

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