American Utopia And Social Engineering In Literature Social Thought And Political History

Author: Peter Swirski
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1136723390
Size: 77.65 MB
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The United States today is afflicted with political alienation, militarized violence, institutionalized poverty, and social agony. Worst of all, perhaps, it is afflicted with chronic and acute ahistoricism. America insist on ignoring the context of its present dilemmas. It insists on forgetting what preceded the headlines of today and on denying continuity with history. It insists, in short, on its exceptionalism. American Utopia and Social Engineering sets out to correct this amnesia. It misses no opportunity to flesh out both the historical premises and the political promises behind the social policies and political events of the period. These interdisciplinary concerns provide, in turn, the framework for the analyses of works of American literature that mirror their times and mores. Novels considered include: B.F. Skinner and Walden Two (1948), easily the most scandalous utopia of the century, if not of all times; Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962), an anatomy of political disfranchisement American-style; Bernard Malamud’s God’s Grace (1982), a neo-Darwinian beast fable about morality in the thermonuclear age; Walker Percy’s The Thanatos Syndrome (1986), a diagnostic novel about engineering violence out of America’s streets and minds; and Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America (2004), an alternative history of homegrown ‘soft’ fascism. With the help of the five novels and the social models outlined therein, Swirski interrogates key aspects of sociobiology and behavioural psychology, voting and referenda procedures, morality and altruism, multilevel selection and proverbial wisdom, violence and chip-implant technology, and the adaptive role of emotions in our private and public lives.

Nature Class And New Deal Literature

Author: Professor of American Studies and Director Postgraduate Centre in the Humanities School of English and American Studies Stephen Fender
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 113663228X
Size: 42.28 MB
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Working through close rhetorical analysis of everything from fiction and journalism to documents and documentaries, this book looks at how popular memory favors the country Depression over the economic crisis in the nation’s cities and factories. Over eighty years after it happened, the Depression still lives on in iconic images of country poor whites – in the novels of John Steinbeck, the photographs of Dorothea Lange and Arthur Rothstein, the documentary films of Pare Lorenz and the thousands of share-croppers’ life histories as taken down by the workers of the Federal Writers’ Project. Like the politicians and bureaucrats who accomplished the New Deal’s radical reforms in banking, social security and labor union law, the artists, novelists and other writers who supported or even worked for the New Deal were idealists, well to the left of center in their politics. Yet when it came to hard times on the American farm, something turned them into unwitting reactionaries. Though they brought these broken lives of the country poor to the notice and sympathy of the public, they also worked unconsciously to undermine their condition. How and why? Fender shows how the answer lies in clues overlooked until now, hidden in their writing -- their journalism and novels, the "life histories" they ghost wrote for their poor white clients, the bureaucratic communications through which they administered these cultural programs, even in the documentary photographs and movies, with their insistent captions and voice-overs. This book is a study of literary examples from in and around the country Depression, and the myths on which they drew.

Utopia And Terror In Contemporary American Fiction

Author: Judie Newman
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1136774807
Size: 43.89 MB
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This book examines the quest for/failure of Utopia across a range of contemporary American/transnational fictions in relation to terror and globalization through authors such as Susan Choi, André Dubus, Dalia Sofer, and John Updike. While recent critical thinkers have reengaged with Utopia, the possibility of terror — whether state or non-state, external or homegrown — shadows Utopian imaginings. Terror and Utopia are linked in fiction through the exploration of the commodification of affect, a phenomenon of a globalized world in which feelings are managed, homogenized across cultures, exaggerated, or expunged according to a dominant model. Narrative approaches to the terrorist offer a means to investigate the ways in which fiction can resist commodification of affect, and maintain a reasoned but imaginative vision of possibilities for human community. Newman explores topics such as the first American bestseller with a Muslim protagonist, the links between writer and terrorist, the work of Iranian-Jewish Americans, and the relation of race and religion to Utopian thought.

Occupying Space In American Literature And Culture

Author: Ana M. Manzanas
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317917960
Size: 67.39 MB
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Occupying Space in American Literature and Culture inscribes itself within the spatial turn that permeates the ways we look at literary and cultural productions. The volume seeks to clarify the connections between race, space, class, and identity as it concentrates on different occupations and disoccupations, enclosures and boundaries. Space is scaled up and down, from the body, the ground zero of spatiality, to the texturology of Manhattan; from the striated place of the office in Melville’s "Bartleby, the Scrivener" on Wall Street, to the striated spaces of internment camps and reservations; from the lowest of the low, the (human) clutter that lined the streets of Albany, NY, during the Depression, to the new Towers of Babel that punctuate the contemporary architecture of transparencies. As it strings together these spatial narratives, the volume reveals how, beyond the boundaries that characterize each space, every location has loose ends that are impossible to contain.

Polanyi In Times Of Populism

Author: Christopher Holmes
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1315396963
Size: 41.99 MB
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The rise of populism across Europe and the US – first in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis and then in the shape of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Brexit vote in 2016 – are indicative of a seismic shift in the terrain of economic ideas in public discourse. Settled liberal norms concerning ever-increasing international market expansion, and the political integration required to sustain it, have been decisively upset by political forces that, whilst once on the fringes, now dominate economic debate. How might we make sense of this ideological breakdown and what might we hope for next? This book turns to the work of Karl Polanyi for answers, developing the expansive, historicised approach to political economy that Polanyi pioneered. Holmes provides a wide-ranging history of economic ideas read in terms of a series of hopeful theoretical visions of order, in which political, social and ecological contradictions could be transcended in one way or another. Through this, the book demonstrates that the failing utopian visions of pre-2008 economic orthodoxy, which have formed the backdrop to the rise of populism today, are only the latest in a series that stretches across economic thought in Western modernity as a whole. This book will interest students and scholars of IPE, political science, sociology, anthropology, law and history.

Partial Visions

Author: Angelika Bammer
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1134980108
Size: 70.67 MB
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Positing that a radical utopianism is one of the most vital impulses of feminist politics, Partial Visions traces the articulation of this impulse in the work of Euro-American, French and German women writers of the 1970s. It argues that this feminist utopianism both continued and reconceptualized a critical dimension of Left politics, yet concludes that feminist utopianism is not just visionary, but myopic - time and culture bound - as well.

Red Pedagogy

Author: Sandy Grande
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 161048990X
Size: 36.98 MB
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This ground-breaking text explores the intersection between dominant modes of critical educational theory and the socio-political landscape of American Indian education. Grande asserts that, with few exceptions, the matters of Indigenous people and Indian education have been either largely ignored or indiscriminately absorbed within critical theories of education.

The Idea Of The Postmodern

Author: Hans Bertens
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1134928653
Size: 42.91 MB
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At last! Everything you ever wanted to know about postmodernism but were afraid to ask. Hans Bertens' Postmodernism is the first introductory overview of postmodernism to succeed in providing a witty and accessible guide for the bemused student. In clear and straightforward but always elegant prose, Bertens sets out the interdisciplinary aspects, the critical debates and the key theorists of postmodernism. He also explains, in thoughtful and illuminating language, the relationship between postmodernism and poststructuralism, and that between modernism and postmodernism. An enjoyable and indispensible text for today's student.

From Lowbrow To Nobrow

Author: Peter Swirski
Publisher: McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP
ISBN: 0773529926
Size: 57.83 MB
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'From Lowbrow to Nobrow' vindicates popular fiction as an art form that expresses and reflects the aesthetic and social values of its readers.

American Exceptionalism

Author: Seymour Martin Lipset
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393316148
Size: 56.66 MB
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A study of American beliefs and how they shape our society notes how the typical citizen's commitment to such ideals as individualism, populism, and egalitarianism has led to ambivalent social practices.