ALUMNI CLASnotes

 

Bookbeat


A sampling of new publications from CLAS faculty, students, and alumni.

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Passport Photos
Amitava Kumar (English Professor)
University of California Press

(from book jacket)
Passport Photos, a self-conscious act of artistic and intellectual forgery, is a report on the immigrant condition. Organized as a passport, this multi-genre book combines theory, poetry, cultural criticism, and photography, as it explores the complexities of the immigration experience, intervening in the impersonal language of the state. Passport Photos joins books by writers such as Edward Said and Trinh T. Minh-ha in the search for a new poetics and politics of diaspora.

(excerpt)
If the immigration officer asks me a question--his voice, if he's speaking English, deliberately slow, and louder than usual--I do not, of course, expect him to be terribly concerned about the nature of language and its entanglement with the very roots of my being. And yet it is in language that all immigrants are defined and in which we all struggle for an identity. That is how I understand the postcolonial writer's declaration about the use of a language like English that came to us from the colonizer.

 

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True to Her Nature: Changing Advice to American Women
Maxine L. Margolis (Anthropology Professor)
Waveland Press

(from book jacket)
From colonial times to the present, advice givers from Cotton Mather to Dr. Benjamin Spock and Martha Stewart have offered a litany of opinions on proper child care and good housekeeping. Drawing on sermons, child-rearing manuals, and women's magazines, Maxine L. Margolis explores changing ideologies about middle-class women's roles and asserts they can only be explained within a larger material context. Variables such as household vs. industrial production, the demand or lack of demand for women's labor, and the changing costs and benefits of rearing children have been instrumental in influencing views of women's "true nature" and "proper place."

(excerpt)
The image of "house beautiful" depicted by women's domestic advisors from the 1920s through the 1960s, an archetype that took a full-time homemaker's presence for granted, did not begin to crack until the early 1970s, an era when more than half of all married women were employed. The lofty standards necessary to keep homes beautiful--standards that had been touted for decades--began to succumb to the burden of the double day. Women now held two jobs--one at work and one at home--and no longer needed advice on how to stay busy. As such, for the first time since industrialization, homemaking was no longer a full-time career for a majority of married middle-class women.

 

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The Everglades: An Environmental History
David McCally (History PhD, 1997)
University Press of Florida

(from book jacket)
This important work for general readers and environmentalists alike offers the first major discussion of the formation, development, and history of the Everglades, considered by many to be the most endangered ecosystem in North America. Comprehensive in scope, it begins with south Florida's geologic origins--before the Everglades became wetlands--and continues through the 20th century, when sugar reigns as king of the Everglades Agricultural Area.

(excerpt)
The final practical element is political. As with constructing the developmental system, the creation of a sustainable system in the Everglades will be a long-term project, deeply immersed in the political process. The temporal and political elements of this undertaking require that the goal of creating a sustainable system must be protected from the vagaries of transient political will.

 

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The New Africa: Dispatches for a Changing Continent
Robert M. Press (Political Science graduate student) Photos by Betty Press
University Press of Florida

(from book jacket)
In The New Africa, former Christian Science Monitor correspondent Robert Press tells his first-hand story of triumph and tragedy in contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. Featuring 90 photographs by Betty Press, whose work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, Time, and Newsweek, the book offers a compelling account of the continent's emerging movements toward democracy.

(excerpt)
Africa's drive for freedom is clearly part of a universal movement. Yet often there has been a psychological barrier between Africa and the rest of the world, imposed from the outside, sealing Africa off as different, as an exception to world trends. From outside the barrier, Africa is seen mostly as a continent where a handful of egotistical rulers make most of the decisions and where the people accept this condition. The push for democracy in the 1990s showed that Africans are just as hungry for freedom as any other people.

 

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