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1. cover
Title: Survivors: an oral history of the Armenian genocide
Author: Miller, Donald E. (Donald Earl) 1946-
Published: University of California Press,  1993
Subjects: History | Middle Eastern History | Middle Eastern Studies | Religion
Publisher's Description: Between 1915 and 1923, over one million Armenians died, victims of a genocidal campaign that is still denied by the Turkish government. Thousands of other Armenians suffered torture, brutality, deportation. Yet their story has received scant attention. Through interviews with a hundred elderly Armenians, Donald and Lorna Miller give the "forgotten genocide" the hearing it deserves. Survivors raise important issues about genocide and about how people cope with traumatic experience. Much here is wrenchingly painful, yet it also speaks to the strength of the human spirit.   [brief]
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2. cover
Title: Industrial cowboys: Miller & Lux and the transformation of the Far West, 1850-1920
Author: Igler, David 1964-
Published: University of California Press,  2001
Subjects: History | United States History | Californian and Western History | Environmental Studies | California and the West | Agriculture | Economics and Business
Publisher's Description: Few industrial enterprises left a more enduring imprint on the American West than Miller & Lux, a vast meatpacking conglomerate started by two San Francisco butchers in 1858. Industrial Cowboys examines how Henry Miller and Charles Lux, two German immigrants, consolidated the West's most extensive land and water rights, swayed legislatures and courts, monopolized western beef markets, and imposed their corporate will on California's natural environment. Told with clarity and originality, this story uses one fascinating case study to illuminate the industrial development and environmental transformation of the American West during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The process by which two neighborhood butchers turned themselves into landed industrialists depended to an extraordinary degree on the acquisition, manipulation, and exploitation of natural resources. David Igler examines the broader impact that industrialism--as exemplified by Miller & Lux--had on landscapes and waterscapes, and on human as well as plant and animal life in the West. He also provides a rich discussion of the social relations engineered by Miller & Lux, from the dispossession of Californio rancheros to the ethnic segmentation of the firm's massive labor force. The book also covers such topics as land acquisition and reclamation, water politics, San Francisco's unique business environment, and the city's relation to its surrounding hinterlands. Above all, Igler highlights essential issues that resonate for us today: who holds the right and who has the power to engineer the landscape for market production?   [brief]
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3. cover
Title: Annihilating difference: the anthropology of genocide
Author: Hinton, Alexander Laban
Published: University of California Press,  2002
Subjects: Anthropology | African Studies | Asian Studies | Ethnic Studies | Gender Studies | History | Sociology | Media Studies | Religion | Religion
Publisher's Description: Genocide is one of the most pressing issues that confronts us today. Its death toll is staggering: over one hundred million dead. Because of their intimate experience in the communities where genocide takes place, anthropologists are uniquely positioned to explain how and why this mass annihilation occurs and the types of devastation genocide causes. This ground breaking book, the first collection of original essays on genocide to be published in anthropology, explores a wide range of cases, including Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Guatemala, Rwanda, and Bosnia.   [brief]
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4. cover
Title: The bridge betrayed: religion and genocide in Bosnia
Author: Sells, Michael Anthony
Published: University of California Press,  1996
Subjects: Religion | Politics | European History | Islam | History | Middle Eastern Studies | Jewish Studies | Christianity
Publisher's Description: The recent atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina have stunned people throughout the world. With Holocaust memories still painfully vivid, a question haunts us: how is this savagery possible? Michael A. Sells answers by demonstrating that the Bosnian conflict is not simply a civil war or a feud of age-old adversaries. It is, he says, a systematic campaign of genocide and a Christian holy war spurred by religious mythologies.This passionate yet reasoned book examines how religious stereotyping - in popular and official discourse - has fueled Serbian and Croatian ethnic hatreds. Sells, who is himself Serbian American, traces the cultural logic of genocide to the manipulation by Serb nationalists of the symbolism of Christ's death, in which Muslims are "Christ-killers" and Judases who must be mercilessly destroyed. He shows how "Christoslavic" religious nationalism became a central part of Croat and Serbian politics, pointing out that intellectuals and clergy were key instruments in assimilating extreme religious and political ideas.Sells also elucidates the ways that Western policy makers have rewarded the perpetrators of the genocide and punished the victims. He concludes with a discussion of how the multireligious nature of Bosnian society has been a bridge between Christendom and Islam, symbolized by the now-destroyed bridge at Mostar. Drawing on historical documents, unpublished United Nations reports, articles from Serbian and Bosnian media, personal contacts in the region, and Internet postings, Sells reveals the central role played by religious mythology in the Bosnian tragedy. In addition, he makes clear how much is at stake for the entire world in the struggle to preserve Bosnia's existence as a multireligious society.   [brief]
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5. cover
Title: From catastrophe to power: Holocaust survivors and the emergence of Israel
Author: Zertal, Idith
Published: University of California Press,  1998
Subjects: Middle Eastern Studies | Judaism | History
Publisher's Description: In a book certain to generate controversy and debate, Idith Zertal boldly interprets a much revered chapter in contemporary Jewish and Zionist history: the clandestine immigration to Palestine of Jewish refugees, most of them Holocaust survivors, that was organized by Palestinian Zionists just after World War II. Events that captured the attention of the world, such as the Exodus affair in the summer 1947, are seen here in a strikingly new light.At the center of Zertal's book is the Mossad, a small, unorthodox Zionist organization whose mission beginning in 1938 was to bring Jews to Palestine in order to subvert the British quotas on Jewish immigration. From Catastrophe to Power scrutinizes the Mossad's mode of operation, its ideology and politics, its structure and history, and its collective human profile as never before.Zertal's moving story sweeps across four continents and encompasses a range of political cultures and international forces. But underneath this story another darker and more complex plot unfolds: the special encounter between the Zionist revolutionary collective and the mass of Jewish remnant after the Holocaust. According to Zertal, this psychologically painful yet politically powerful encounter was the Zionists' most effective weapon in their struggle for a sovereign Jewish state. Drawing on primary archival documents and new readings of canonical texts of the period, she analyzes this encounter from all angles - political, social, cultural, and psychological. The outcome is a gripping and troubling human story of a crucial period in Jewish and Israeli history, one that also provides a key to understanding the fundamental tensions between Israel and the Jewish communities and Israel and the world today.   [brief]
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6. cover
Title: Contemplating the ancients: aesthetic and social issues in early Chinese portraiture online access is available to everyone
Author: Spiro, Audrey
Published: University of California Press,  1990
Subjects: Art | Architecture | China
Publisher's Description: Drawing on a wide variety of contemporaneous sources from Chinese history, literature, religious writings, and art and literary criticism, Spiro provides the modern reader with an aesthetic and social context for understanding early Chinese portraiture. Contemplating the Ancients introduces portraits that were never intended to be physical likenesses of their subjects and illuminates the meaning they held for the viewers for whom they were made.Spiro focusses on fourth- and fifth-century sets of almost identi- cal portraits of individuals known collectively in Chinese history as the Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove. Unlike the earlier Han dynasty portraits whose messages were universal, these exemplary portraits addressed a specific elitist audience. The subjects of these portraits served as idealized representations for a largely nouvel-arrivé aristocracy.Spiro examines the complex and sometimes ironic changes that occur when historical individuals are transformed by tradition into classical exemplars. She shows how the visual arts translate ideals of personal character into stylistic cues and how these cues, in turn, affect the values and behavior of human beings.   [brief]
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7. cover
Title: Between two islands: Dominican international migration
Author: Grasmuck, Sherri
Published: University of California Press,  1991
Subjects: Sociology | Latino Studies | Latin American Studies | Anthropology
Publisher's Description: Popular notions about migration to the United States from Latin America and the Caribbean are too often distorted by memories of earlier European migrations and by a tendency to generalize from the more familiar cases of Mexico and Puerto Rico. Between Two Islands is an interdisciplinary study of Dominican migration, challenging many widespread, yet erroneous, views concerning the socio-economic background of new immigrants and the causes and consequences of their move to the United States.Eschewing monocausal treatments of migration, the authors insist that migration is a multifaceted process involving economic, political, and socio-cultural factors. To this end, they introduce an innovative analytical framework which includes such determinants as the international division of labor; state policy in the sending and receiving societies; class relations; transnational migrant households; social networks; and gender and generational hierarchies.By adopting this multidimensional approach, Grasmuck and Pessar are able to account for many intriguing paradoxes of Dominican migration and development of the Dominican population in the U.S. For example, why is it that the peak in migration coincided with a boom in Dominican economic growth? Why did most of the immigrants settle in New York City at the precise moment the metropolitan economy was experiencing stagnation and severe unemployment? And why do most immigrants claim to have achieved social mobility and middle-class standing despite employment in menial blue-collar jobs?Until quite recently, studies of international migration have emphasized the male migrant, while neglecting the role of women and their experiences. Grasmuck and Pessar's attempt to remedy this uneven perspective results in a better overall understanding of Dominican migration. For instance, they find that with regard to wages and working conditions, it is a greater liability to be female than to be without legal status. They also show that gender influences attitudes toward settlement, return, and workplace struggle.Finally, the authors explore some of the paradoxes created by Dominican migration. The material success achieved by individual migrant households contrasts starkly with increased socio-economic inequality in the Dominican Republic and polarized class relations in the United States.This is an exciting and important work that will appeal to scholars and policymakers interested in immigration, ethnic studies, and the continual reshaping of urban America.   [brief]
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8. cover
Title: The Arnolfini betrothal: medieval marriage and the enigma of Van Eyck's double portrait online access is available to everyone
Author: Hall, Edwin 1928-
Published: University of California Press,  1997
Subjects: Art | Art History | Art Criticism | Medieval History
Publisher's Description: Commonly known as the "Arnolfini Wedding" or "Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride," Jan van Eyck's double portrait, painted in 1434, is probably the most widely recognized panel painting of the fifteenth century. One of the great masterpieces of early Flemish art, this enigmatic picture has also aroused intense speculation as to its precise meaning. Edwin Hall's accessible study - firmly grounded in Roman and canon law, theology, literature, and the social history of the period - offers a compelling new interpretation of this wonderful painting.Instead of depicting the sacrament of marriage, Hall argues, the painting commemorates the alliance between two wealthy and important Italian mercantile families, a ceremonious betrothal that reflects the social conventions of the time. Hall not only unlocks the mystery that has surrounded this work of art, he also makes a unique contribution to the fascinating history of betrothal and marriage custom, ritual, and ceremony, tracing their evolution from the late Roman Empire through the fifteenth century and providing persuasive visual evidence for their development. His illuminating view of Van Eyck's quintessential work is a striking example of how art continues to endure and engage us over the centuries.   [brief]
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9. cover
Title: Disaster hits home: new policy for urban housing recovery
Author: Comerio, Mary C
Published: University of California Press,  1998
Subjects: Architecture | Urban Studies | Public Policy | Economics and Business | California and the West
Publisher's Description: Whenever a major earthquake strikes or a hurricane unleashes its fury, the devastating results fill our television screens and newspapers. Mary C. Comerio is interested in what happens in the weeks and months after such disasters, particularly in the recovery of damaged housing.Through case studies of six recent urban disasters - Hurricane Hugo in South Carolina, Hurricane Andrew in Florida, the Loma Prieta and Northridge earthquakes in California, as well as earthquakes in Mexico City and Kobe, Japan - Comerio demonstrates that several fundamental factors have changed in contemporary urban disasters. The foremost change is in scale, and as more Americans move to the two coasts, future losses will continue to be formidable because of increased development in these high-hazard areas. Moreover, the visibility of disasters in the news media will assure that response efforts remain highly politicized. And finally, the federal government is now expected to be on the scene with personnel, programs, and financial assistance even as private insurance companies are withdrawing disaster coverage from homeowners in earthquake- and hurricane-prone regions.Demonstrating ways that existing recovery systems are inadequate, Comerio proposes a rethinking of what recovery means, a comprehensive revision of the government's role, and more equitable programs for construction financing. She offers new criteria for a housing recovery policy as well as real financial incentives for preparedness, for limiting damage before disasters occur, and for providing a climate where private insurance can work. Her careful analysis makes this book important reading for policymakers, property owners, and anyone involved in disaster mitigation.   [brief]
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10. cover
Title: Imperatores victi: military defeat and aristocratic competition in the middle and late republic online access is available to everyone
Author: Rosenstein, Nathan Stewart
Published: University of California Press,  1990
Subjects: Classics | Classical History | Military History | Ancient History
Publisher's Description: Given the intense competition among aristocrats seeking public office in the middle and late Roman Republic, one would expect that their persistent struggles for honor, glory, and power could have seriously undermined the state or damaged the cohesiveness of the ruling class. Rome in fact depended on aristocratic competition, since no professional bureaucracy directed public affairs and no salary was attached to any public office. But as Rosenstein adeptly shows, competition appears to have been surprisingly limited, in ways that curtailed the possible destructive effects of all-out contests between individuals. Imperatores Victi examines one particularly striking case of such checks on competition. Military success at all times represented an abundant source of prestige and political strength at Rome. Generals who led armies to victory enjoyed a better-than-average chance of securing higher office upon their return from the field. Yet this study demonstrates that defeated generals were not barred from public office and in fact went on to win the Republic's most highly coveted and hotly contested offices in numbers virtually identical with those of their undefeated peers.Rosenstein explores how this unexpected limit to competition functions, reviewing beliefs about the religious origins of defeat, assumptions about common soldiers' duties in battle, and definitions of honorable behavior of an aristocrat during a crisis. These perspectives were instrumental in shifting the onus of failure away from a general's person and in offering positive strategies a general might use to win glory and respect even in defeat and to silence potential critics among a failed general's peers. Such limits to competition had an impact on the larger problems of stability and coherence in the Republic and its political elite; these larger problems are discussed in the concluding chapter.   [brief]
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11. cover
Title: Faces of power: Alexander's image and Hellenistic politics
Author: Stewart, Andrew F
Published: University of California Press,  1994
Subjects: Art | Art and Architecture
Publisher's Description: Alexander the Great changed the face of the ancient world. During his life and after his death, his image in works of art exerted an unprecedented influence?on marbles, bronzes, ivories, frescoes, mosaics, coins, medals, even painted pottery and reliefware. Alexander's physiognomy became the most famous in history. But can we really know what meaning lies behind these images?Andrew Stewart demonstrates that these portraits - wildly divergent in character, quality, type, provenance, date, and purpose - actually transmit not so much a likeness of Alexander as a set of carefully crafted clichés that mobilize the notion "Alexander" for diverse ends and diverse audiences. Stewart discusses the portraits as studies in power and his original interpretation of them gives unprecedented fullness and shape to the idea and image called "Alexander."   [brief]
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12. cover
Title: Languages of community: the Jewish experience in the Czech lands
Author: Kieval, Hillel J
Published: University of California Press,  2000
Subjects: Jewish Studies | European Studies | European History | Russian and Eastern European Studies | Judaism
Publisher's Description: With a keen eye for revealing details, Hillel J. Kieval examines the contours and distinctive features of Jewish experience in the lands of Bohemia and Moravia (the present-day Czech Republic), from the late eighteenth to the late twentieth century. In the Czech lands, Kieval writes, Jews have felt the need constantly to define and articulate the nature of group identity, cultural loyalty, memory, and social cohesiveness, and the period of "modernizing" absolutism, which began in 1780, brought changes of enormous significance. From that time forward, new relationships with Gentile society and with the culture of the state blurred the traditional outlines of community and individual identity. Kieval navigates skillfully among histories and myths as well as demography, biography, culture, and politics, illuminating the maze of allegiances and alliances that have molded the Jewish experience during these 200 years.   [brief]
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13. cover
Title: Khomeinism: essays on the Islamic Republic online access is available to everyone
Author: Abrahamian, Ervand 1940-
Published: University of California Press,  1993
Subjects: History | Politics | Middle Eastern History | Middle Eastern Studies
Publisher's Description: "Fanatic," "dogmatic," "fundamentalist" - these are the words most often used in the West to describe the Ayatollah Khomeini. The essays in this book challenge that view, arguing that Khomeini and his Islamic movement should be seen as a form of Third World political populism - a radical but pragmatic middle-class movement that strives to enter, rather than reject, the modern age.Ervand Abrahamian, while critical of Khomeini, asks us to look directly at the Ayatollah's own works and to understand what they meant to his principal audience - his followers in Iran. Abrahamian analyzes political tracts dating back to 1943, along with Khomeini's theological writings and his many public statements in the form of speeches, interviews, proclamations and fatwas (judicial decrees). What emerges, according to Abrahamian, is a militant, sometimes contradictory, political ideology that focuses not on issues of scripture and theology but on the immediate political, social, and economic grievances of workers and the middle class.These essays reveal how the Islamic Republic has systematically manipulated history through televised "recantations," newspapers, school textbooks, and even postage stamps. All are designed to bolster the clergy's reputation as champions of the downtrodden and as defenders against foreign powers. Abrahamian also discusses the paranoia that permeates the political spectrum in Iran, contending that such deep distrust is symptomatic of populist regimes everywhere.   [brief]
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14. cover
Title: Visionaries: the Spanish Republic and the reign of Christ online access is available to everyone
Author: Christian, William A 1944-
Published: University of California Press,  1996
Subjects: Religion | Christianity | Popular Culture | Anthropology
Publisher's Description: In June 1931, on a hillside in the Spanish Basque country, two children reported seeing the Virgin Mary. Within weeks, hundreds of seers were attracting tens of thousands of onlookers, and the nightly spectacle gave rise to others in dozens of towns across Spain. Visionaries explores the experience and the larger meaning of this wave.Immersing himself in the lives of the visionaries, William Christian retraced their steps and recreated their world. He spoke with hundreds of witnesses, who led him to caches of vision messages, diaries, clandestine publications, and eloquent photographs. He describes two kinds of visionaries and their relation to each other: the seers who had visions of Mary and the saints, and the believers who had a vision for the future, which they hoped Mary and the saints would confirm. Together, these visionaries attempted to convince a skeptical world that heavenly beings were appearing on the Iberian peninsula. By turns intense, poignant, fierce, and funny, this long-hidden history demonstrates the vital role of the extraordinary in giving voice to a society's hope and anguish.   [brief]
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15. cover
Title: Nuptial arithmetic: Marsilio Ficino's commentary on the fatal number in Book VIII of Plato's Republic online access is available to everyone
Author: Allen, Michael J. B
Published: University of California Press,  1994
Subjects: Classics | Philosophy | Medieval Studies | Renaissance History
Publisher's Description: The latest of Michael Allen's distinguished studies of the Renaissance Neoplatonist, Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499), presents a difficult, fascinating text. Late in his career, Ficino wrote a commentary on the intractable passage in Book VIII of Plato's Republic that concerns the mysterious geometric or "fatal" number. He was thus the first modern interpreter of this famous passage, and Allen is the first in our era to translate and elucidate his remarkable commentary.Allen's critical translation of Ficino's analysis of the fatal number passage shows how it develops philosophical, psychological, numerological, astrological, and prophetic themes that had a particular resonance at the end of the fifteenth century.   [brief]
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16. cover
Title: Painters and politics in the People's Republic of China, 1949-1979 online access is available to everyone
Author: Andrews, Julia Frances
Published: University of California Press,  1995
Subjects: Art | Art History | Asian Studies | China
Publisher's Description: Julia Andrews's extraordinary study of art, artists, and artistic policy during the first three decades of the People's Republic of China makes a major contribution to our understanding of modern China. From 1949 to 1979 the Chinese government controlled the lives and work of the country's artists - these were also years of extreme isolation from international artistic dialogue. During this period the Chinese Communist Party succeeded in eradicating most of the artistic styles and techniques it found politically repugnant. By 1979, traditional landscape painting had been replaced by a new style and subject that was strikingly different from both contemporary Western art and that of other Chinese areas such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.Through vivid firsthand accounts, Andrews recreates the careers of many individual artists who were forced to submit to a vacillating policy regarding style, technique, medium, and genre. She discusses the cultural controls that the government used, the ways in which artists responded, and the works of art that emerged as a result. She particularly emphasizes the influence of the Soviet Union on Chinese art and the problems it created for the practice of traditional painting.This book opens the way to new, stimulating comparisons of Western and Eastern cultures and will be welcomed by art historians, political scientists, and scholars of Asia.   [brief]
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17. cover
Title: The mask of Socrates: the image of the intellectual in antiquity online access is available to everyone
Author: Zanker, Paul
Published: University of California Press,  1996
Subjects: Classics | Art History | Art and Architecture | Ancient History
Publisher's Description: This richly illustrated work provides a new and deeper perspective on the interaction of visual representation and classical culture from the fifth century B.C. to the fourth century A.D. Drawing on a variety of source materials such as Graeco-Roman literature, historiography, and philosophy, in addition to artistic renderings, Paul Zanker forges the first comprehensive history of the visual representation of Greek and Roman intellectuals. He takes the reader from the earliest visual images of Socrates and Plato to the figures of Christ, the Apostles, and contemporaneous pagan and civic dignitaries.Through his interpretations of postures, gestures, facial expressions, and stylistic changes of particular set pieces, we come to know these great poets and philosophers through all of their various personas - the prophetic wise man, the virtuous democratic citizen, or the self-absorbed bon vivant. Zanker's analysis of how the iconography of influential thinkers and writers changed demonstrates the rise and fall of trends and the movement of schools of thought and belief, each successively embodying the most valued characteristics of the period and culture.   [brief]
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18. cover
Title: Picturing Casablanca: portraits of power in a modern city
Author: Ossman, Susan
Published: University of California Press,  1994
Subjects: Anthropology | Postcolonial Studies | Middle Eastern Studies | Electronic Media | Media Studies
Publisher's Description: In Picturing Casablanca , Susan Ossman probes the shape and texture of mass images in Casablanca, from posters, films, and videotapes to elections, staged political spectacles, and changing rituals. In a fluid style that blends ethnographic narrative, cultural reportage, and the author's firsthand experiences, Ossman sketches a radically new vision of Casablanca as a place where social practices, traditions, and structures of power are in flux.Ossman guides the reader through the labyrinthine byways of the city, where state bureaucracy and state power, the media and its portrayal of the outside world, and people's everyday lives are all on view. She demonstrates how images not only reflect but inform and alter daily experience. In the Arab League Park, teenagers use fashion and flirting to attract potential mates, defying traditional rules of conduct. Wedding ceremonies are transformed by the ubiquitous video camera, which becomes the event's most important spectator. Political leaders are molded by the state's adept manipulation of visual media.From Madonna videos and the TV's transformation of social time, to changing gender roles and new ways of producing and disseminating information, the Morocco that Ossman reveals is a telling commentary on the consequences of colonial planning, the influence of modern media, and the rituals of power and representation enacted by the state.   [brief]
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19. cover
Title: Ruth Harriet Louise and Hollywood glamour photography
Author: Dance, Robert 1955-
Published: University of California Press,  2002
Subjects: Cinema and Performance Arts | Photography | California and the West
Publisher's Description: When Ruth Harriet Louise joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio with "more stars than there are in heaven," she was twenty-two years old and the only woman working as a portrait photographer for the Hollywood studios. In a career that lasted from 1925 until 1930, Louise (born Ruth Goldstein) photographed all the stars, contract players, and many of the hopefuls who passed through the studio's front gates, including Greta Garbo, Lon Chaney, John Gilbert, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, and Norma Shearer. This book, which coincides with a major traveling retrospective of Louise's work organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, is the first collection of her exquisite photographs. Containing over one hundred breathtaking images--reproduced from the original negatives--, it attests to the talent and vision of a surprisingly unknown photographer who formed the images and helped create the popularity of some of our most enduring stars. Louise shot about one hundred thousand negatives that distilled the glamour, drama, and excitement of MGM's feature productions. Louise's original photographs were circulated to millions of moviegoers, magazine and newspaper readers, and fans. The movies and publicity machine that these photographs supported shaped the basic notions of stardom, glamour, and fashion in the 1920s and still affect our ideas today. Robert Dance and Bruce Robertson re-create the entire process--from the moment a performer sat in front of Louise's camera to the point at which a fan pasted a star's picture into a scrapbook. They provide insight into Louise's work habits in the studio and describe the personal dynamics between Louise and the actors she photographed. They include a condensed account of the methods of other photographers, a sharp analysis of fan culture in the period, and superb readings of Louise's photographs. With its combination of well-known and rare images, all magnificently reproduced, this book is a fitting tribute to one of the most gifted and underappreciated glamour photographers of Hollywood's golden period. Note: The hardcover edition of this book does have a dust jacket. (Some hardcovers of University of California Press books available in paperback do not.)   [brief]
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20. cover
Title: Prague territories: national conflict and cultural innovation in Franz Kafka's fin de siècle
Author: Spector, Scott 1959-
Published: University of California Press,  2002
Subjects: History of Food | European History | Jewish Studies | European Studies
Publisher's Description: Scott Spector's adventurous cultural history maps for the first time the "territories" carved out by German-Jewish intellectuals living in Prague at the dawn of the twentieth century. Spector explores the social, cultural, and ideological contexts in which Franz Kafka and his contemporaries flourished, revealing previously unseen relationships between politics and culture. His incisive readings of a broad array of German writers feature the work of Kafka and the so-called "Prague circle" and encompass journalism, political theory, Zionism, and translation as well as literary program and practice. With the collapse of German-liberal cultural and political power in the late-nineteenth-century Habsburg Empire, Prague's bourgeois Jews found themselves squeezed between a growing Czech national movement on the one hand and a racial rather than cultural conception of Germanness on the other. Displaced from the central social and cultural position they had come to occupy, the members of the "postliberal" Kafka generation were dazzlingly productive and original, far out of proportion to their numbers. Seeking a relationship between ideological crisis and cultural innovation, Spector observes the emergence of new forms of territoriality. He identifies three fundamental areas of cultural inventiveness related to this Prague circle's political and cultural dilemma. One was Expressionism, a revolt against all limits and boundaries, the second was a spiritual form of Zionism incorporating a novel approach to Jewish identity that seems to have been at odds with the pragmatic establishment of a Jewish state, and the third was a sort of cultural no-man's-land in which translation and mediation took the place of "territory." Spector's investigation of these areas shows that the intensely particular, idiosyncratic experience of German-speaking Jews in Prague allows access to much broader and more general conditions of modernity. Combining theoretical sophistication with a refreshingly original and readable style, Prague Territories illuminates some early signs of a contemporary crisis from which we have not yet emerged.   [brief]
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