Bookbeat

Bookbeat: June 2007

Concorde: Hotel de Talleyrand and George C. Marshall CenterConcorde: Hotel de Talleyrand and George C. Marshall Center

by the University of Florida Publications Office,
(StorterChilds, 2007)

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Harvard University address of George C. Marshall in which the U.S. Secretary of State proposed a program of European recovery, the University of Florida has published this extraordinary book. It commemorates the architecture, décor, history, and restoration of the Hotel de Talleyrand, particularly those rooms which constituted the European offices of the American administration of the program known around the world as the Marshall Plan.

The significance of the Marshall Plan, a joint effort of 17 nations, has expanded far beyond the rebuilding of the European community that had been devastated by the ravages of the Second World War. The principles of the plan have proven to be so timeless that the term “Marshall Plan” is understood internationally and invoked frequently to describe the reconstitution or repair of widely differing economic and social structures.

Since the year 2000, the American Embassy in Paris has partnered with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations to restore the historic rooms of the George C. Marshall Center at the Hotel de Talleyrand on the Place de la Concorde. This beautiful Center, a tribute to the visionary men and women who once lived and worked within its walls, is a perfect venue for U.S. diplomatic, commercial, and cultural activities.

- Craig R. Stapleton
US Ambassador to France

Taino Indian Myth and Practice: The Arrival of the Stranger KingTaino Indian Myth and Practice: The Arrival of the Stranger King

by William Keegan,
Florida Museum of Natural History
(University of Florida Press, 2007)
Available through University of Florida Press

"A path-breaking work, rich and mature, complex but readily accessible. It unites the many facets of . . . 25 years of innovative research and leads us out of the once-irresolvable dilemmas of contemporary archaeology."
--Geoffrey W. Conrad, William Hammond Mathers Museum, Indiana University

"Charts a new course toward a broader understanding of Taino society, myth, and archaeology at the dawn of the Spanish colonial period. His approach livens the archaeological record and illuminates our reading of the documentary record."
--Dave D. Davis, Tulane University

Applying the legend of the "stranger king" to Caonabo, the mythologized Taino chief of the Hispaniola settlement Columbus invaded in 1492, Keegan examines how myths come to resonate as history--created by the chaotic interactions of the individuals who lived the events of the past as well as those who write and read about them. The "stranger king" story told in many cultures is that of a foreigner who comes from across the water, marries the king's daughter, and deposes the king. In this story, Caonabo, the most important Taà no chief at the time of European conquest, claimed to be imbued with Taino divinity, while Columbus, determined to establish a settlement called La Navidad, described himself as the "Christbearer."

Keegan's ambitious historical analysis--knitting evidence from Spanish colonial documents together with data gathered from the archaeological record--provides a new perspective on the encounters between the two men as they vied for control of the settlement, a survey of the early interactions of the Tainos and Spanish people, and a complex view of the interpretive role played by historians and archaeologists. Presenting a new theoretical framework based on chaos and complexity theories, this book argues for a more comprehensive philosophy of archaeology in which oral myths, primary source texts, and archaeological studies can work together to reconstruct a particularly rich view of the past.

This book connects the invention of masochism by turn-of-the-century sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing and writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch to its contemporary appropriation by gay and lesbian filmmakers. Krafft-Ebing conceived of masochism as a literary perversion and as a gendered affliction. Mennel compares central texts by Sacher-Masoch with Monika Treut’s film Seduction: The Cruel Woman and Kutlug Ataman’s film Lola and Billy the Kid, negotiating contemporary feminist theory and queer studies organized around gender and sexuality, on the one hand, and the fetish and masquerade, on the other.

Review

“In her superb investigation of ‘masochistic aesthetics,’ Mennel returns to the constitutive texts of Sacher-Masoch and Krafft-Ebing, to engage with more recent debates in feminist, queer, and postcolonial theory concerning masochism’s triangulation of power, fantasy, and history. Parting ways with theoretical emphases on white masculinity and celebrations of performative subversion, Mennel argues that masochistic aesthetics ultimately fails to convert symbolic submission into social power for those traditionally positioned as fetishized Others in the fantasies of white male masochists: women, queers, disenfranchised ethnic groups. She challenges us to read the symptoms of two historic breakdowns of egalitarian ideologies and integrative state systems staged in literary and cinematic fantasies at the last two fins-de-siècle.”--Katrin Sieg, Associate Professor of German, Georgetown University
“Mennel trains a keen bifocal lens reciprocally to illuminate the late nineteenth-century works of Krafft-Ebing and Sacher-Masoch and the late twentieth-century films of Treut and Ataman. She carefully retraces and finely nuances the interplay between such coordinates as masquerade and fetishism, queer and feminist theories, and psychoanalysis and politics. These juxtapositions result in a work as analytically rigorous as it is perceptive and daring.”

- Alice Kuzniar, Professor of German, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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