216 Chapters
  Title Author Publisher Format Buy Remix
Medium 9781574416367

How Detroit Was Reborn The Inside Story of Detroit’s Historic Bankruptcy Case

Gayle Reaves, Editor UNT Press ePub
Medium 9780253000958

The Force of Spirit

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

My wife’s father is dying, and I can think of little else, because I love him and I love my wife. Once or twice a week, Ruth and I drive the forty miles of winding roads to visit him in the nursing home. Along the way we pass fields bursting with new corn, stands of trees heavy with fresh leaves, pastures deep in grass. In that long grass the lambs and calves and colts hunt for tender shoots to nibble and for the wet nipples of their mothers to suck. The meadows are thick with flowers, and butterflies waft over the blossoms like petals torn loose by wind. The spring this year was lavish, free of late frosts, well soaked with rain, and now in early June the Indiana countryside is all juiced up.

On our trip to the nursing home this morning, I drive while Ruth sits beside me knitting. Strand by strand, a sweater grows under her hands. We don’t talk much, because she must keep count of her stitches. To shape the silence, we play a tape of Mozart’s Requiem from a recent concert in which Ruth sang, and I try to detect her clear soprano in the weave of voices. The car fills with the music of sorrow. The sound rouses aches in me from earlier losses, the way cold rouses pain from old bone breaks.

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Medium 9780253018632

Vodou, History, and New Narratives

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

Kate Ramsey

PRACTITIONERS OF HAITIAN Vodou have historically not objectified the religion as such but rather said that they “serve the spirits.” This connects to the way Vodou challenges the boundedness that the concept of “religion” seems to presume—from transformatively assimilating aspects of Roman Catholicism to centrally incorporating healing processes. Yet if many practitioners, or Vodouyizan, still prefer to describe a practice, outsiders have long insisted on naming an entity, the ascribed identity of which has reflected usually a great deal more about Haiti’s place in the geopolitical order of things over the past two centuries than about the complex of beliefs and rituals so nominated.

“Vaudoux” first came into the written historical record on the eve of the northern Saint-Domingue uprisings that culminated in the overthrow of first slavery in 1793 and later French colonialism in 1804. This was in the work of Médéric-Louis-Élie Moreau de Saint-Méry, a Martinican-born lawyer best known for his voluminous encyclopedic profile of Saint-Domingue, completed in 1789. Moreau wrote his Description topographique, physique, civile, politique et historique de la partie française de l’isle Saint-Domingue at a time when colonial views of the devotional, healing, and protective practices of African and African-descended enslaved and free people of color had changed markedly from earlier in the century. While such rituals were once considered harmless or even a “safety valve” for the slave system, that view shifted across the Caribbean as planters and colonial authorities came to see them as empowering collective forms of resistance and thus as a grave threat to the colonial enslaving order. Moreau included lengthy descriptions of what he called “the dance of Vaudoux” and “the dance of Dom Pèdre” in the first volume of his work, representations that became influential templates for subsequent depictions of rituals by these names. He identified “le Vaudoux” as an all-powerful and omniscient being, embodied by a nonvenomous snake, for whom a “King and Queen” served as “ministers,” presiding over those seeking counsel, protection, and healing, and leading devotional dances and offerings. Moreau’s descriptions are voyeuristic, written as though he had been an eyewitness to these ceremonies, while at the same time casting extreme doubt on that possibility. He specifies, for example, that the meetings were always held at night in remote locations with the greatest secrecy observed, under the threat of death for revelation.

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Medium 9780253000958

Staying Put

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

Two friends arrived at our house for supper one May evening along with the first rumblings of thunder. As my wife, Ruth, and I sat talking with them on our front porch, we had to keep raising our voices a notch to make ourselves heard above the gathering storm. The birds, more discreet, had already hushed. The huge elm beside our door began to sway, limbs creaking, leaves hissing. Black sponges of clouds blotted up the light, fooling the street lamps into coming on early. Above the trees and rooftops, the murky southern sky crackled with lightning. Now and again we heard the pop of a transformer as a bolt struck the power lines in our neighborhood. The pulses of thunder came faster and faster, until they merged into a continuous roar.

We gave up on talking. The four of us, all midwesterners teethed on thunderstorms, sat down there on the porch to our meal of lentil soup, cheddar cheese, bread warm from the oven, sliced apples and strawberries. We were lifting the first spoonfuls to our mouths when a stroke of lightning burst so nearby that it seemed to suck away the air, and the lights flickered out, plunging the whole street into darkness.

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Medium 9780253000958

A Private History of Awe

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

When I rise from meditation each morning, I gaze through an uncurtained window at the waking world, and I bow. The gesture is plain enough—hands drawn to my chest, palms pressed together, a slight bend at the waist—but its meaning is elusive. If you asked me to explain my little ritual, to say whom or what I honor with my bow, I would be hard put to answer.

It’s a question I ask myself with increasing urgency as the years run by. The urgency is not the same as I felt at the age of ten or fifteen, when I prayed fervently each night, having been persuaded by preachers and Sunday School teachers that there was one and only one combination to the door opening from life into immortality. Nor is it the urgency I felt in my twenties, when the Vietnam War pressed me down to the roots of conscience as I struggled to choose between going into battle, exile, or jail. Nor is it the urgency I felt during my thirties and forties, when my children, still young, looked to me for guidance about ultimate things.

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Medium 9780253018595

An Afropean Travel Narrative

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

THIS JANUARY, I found myself squashed in a small room with perhaps a hundred other people, mainly black, cocooned within a snow-covered Paris for a conference on Black Portraiture. As I looked beside me, I noticed the silhouettes of my fellow attendees’ African features contrasted against the icy white brightness gleaming through the windows. I had my camera poised—it would have made a great photograph, but Simon Njami, the influential French art critic, was finishing his talk entitled “The Black Body as an Artistic Metaphor.” His eyes were heavily lidded and self-possessed, and speaking in English with a French accent he exuded authority.

I have searched for my blackness as though it were a missing piece of luggage containing important ID.

“Of course,” he said, “this whole idea of the ‘black body’ is preposterous—if you are black it isn’t a black body, it is just a body. I don’t see anybody talking about the white body in such a way.”

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Medium 9780253018632

“I Make Them Call Him ‘Uncle’”

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

a conversation with Jamaica Kincaid on AIDS, family, and My Brother (1998)

María Frías

ON A COOL and breezy July afternoon in 2006, I spoke with writer and scholar Jamaica Kincaid in her office in Harvard University’s Department of African American Studies. Only a couple of weeks earlier my youngest sister Lourdes had passed away in Madrid. She died of AIDS. At the time, I was compelled to revisit Kincaid’s story My Brother, which chronicles her brother’s diagnosis and deterioration from the same disease.

Kincaid is also the acclaimed and controversial author of many other books, including Lucy, Annie John, The Autobiography of My Mother, and Mr. Potter. In her canonical work A Small Place, Kincaid angrily revises the history of brutal penetration and colonization of Antigua, while she examines the pernicious impact of tourism of the island. In 2009 Jamaica Kincaid left Harvard University and moved to Claremont McKenna College outside of Los Angeles, where she is now Josephine Olp Weeks Chair and Professor of Literature. Her latest work is the novel See Now Then.

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Medium 9781574412086

8. Marian Haddad, “Wildflower. Stone.”

Edited by David Taylor University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter 8

Marian Haddad

WILDFLOWER . STONE.

Marian Haddad is a native Texan, born and raised in the westernmost part of the state, in El Paso’s desert town nestled between the Franklins. After traveling and living for periods in Boston, Massachusetts; South Bend, Indiana; and in San Diego, California, she couldn’t stay away from Texas. Haddad currently and happily resides in San Antonio and adores the infusion of Mexican culture in this south central Texas city. One of her favorite pastimes is driving through Texas; one of her “most” favorite drives is the drive on I-10 to El

Paso. She shares some of her observations made along this drive, as well as the drive to the Texas coast, in the following essay. Among Haddad’s visiting writerships, workshop instruction, and poetry and creative non-fiction manuscript editing, she, of course, writes: her works-in-progress include a number of children’s books, a collection of essays dealing with her Syrian-immigrant family that resided/resides in El Paso’s bordertown, and two collections of poetry, one which deals with the landscapes and seascapes of Texas and

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Medium 9780253000958

The Singular First Person

Scott Russell Sanders Indiana University Press ePub

The first soapbox orator I ever saw was haranguing a crowd beside the Greyhound station in Providence, Rhode Island, about the evils of fluoridated water. What the man stood on was actually an up-turned milk crate, all the genuine soapboxes presumably having been snapped up by antique dealers. He wore an orange plaid sport coat and matching bow tie and held aloft a bottle filled with mossy green liquid. I don’t remember the details of his spiel, except his warning that fluoride was an invention of the Communists designed to weaken our bones and thereby make us pushovers for a Red invasion. What amazed me, as a tongue-tied kid of seventeen newly arrived in the city from the boondocks, was not his message but his courage in delivering it to a mob of strangers. I figured it would have been easier for me to jump straight over the Greyhound station than to stand there on that milk crate and utter my thoughts.

To this day, when I read or when I compose one of those curious monologues we call the personal essay, I often think of that soapbox orator. Nobody had asked him for his two cents’ worth, but there he was declaring it with all the eloquence he could muster. The essay, although enacted in private, is no less arrogant a performance. Unlike novelists and playwrights, who lurk behind the scenes while distracting our attention with the puppet show of imaginary characters; unlike scholars and journalists, who quote the opinions of others and shelter behind the hedges of neutrality, the essayist has nowhere to hide. While the poet can lean back on a several-thousand-year-old legacy of ecstatic speech, the essayist inherits a much briefer and skimpier tradition. The poet is allowed to quit after a few lines, but the essayist must hold our attention for pages and pages. It is a brash and foolhardy form, this one-man or one-woman circus, which relies on the tricks of anecdote, conjecture, memory, and wit to enthrall us.

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Medium 9780253356864

39. Years

Robert B. Ray Indiana University Press ePub

Although Thoreau offers Walden as a straightforward account of his twenty-six-month sojourn in the woods from 4 July 1845 until 6 September 1847, the book was, in fact, as Robert Sattelmeyer observes, “the product of a long gestation.” Thoreau almost certainly wrote most of the first two chapters, “Economy” and “Where I Lived and What I Lived For,” at the pond, but he was still revising the seventh draft in 1854, the year of Walden’s publication. Thoreau’s cut-and-paste habit of constructing essays and books out of his own journal, which he raided relentlessly, also insured that Walden would include material from years long before his retreat. The result is a complex palimpsest reflecting Thoreau’s shifting attitudes over a period much longer than two years. In Sattelmeyer’s words, “The book evolved along with the author until it became less a simple history of his life at Walden … and more the sum of his histories simultaneously present in the text.” The obvious parallel lies with Wordsworth’s Prelude, begun in 1799 but only published posthumously in 1850, the kind of work where revision merges with autobiography, becoming the means of self-discovery.

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Medium 9781574412086

5. Barbara “Barney” Nelson, “That One-Eyed Hereford Muley” from The Wild and the Domestic

Edited by David Taylor University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter 5

Barbara “Barney” Nelson

That One-Eyed

Hereford Muley

Barbara “Barney” Nelson has published six books, the most recent is

God’s Country or Devil’s Playground: The Best Nature Writing from the Big

Bend of Texas. In addition, her scholarly essays appear in three recent collections about Henry David Thoreau, Mary Austin, and Edward Abbey. She has also published numerous popular press essays, photographs, and poetry— the most recent is “My First Daughter was an Antelope” in Heart Shots: Women

Write About Hunting (edited by Mary Stange, Stackpole, 2003). Nelson is an associate professor of English at Sul Ross State University in Alpine. Nelson’s work mixes the rural, agricultural voice with nature writing.

“I am interested in exploring my personal ecology.

I live from deer; this voice has been fed from deer.

I appreciate the fact that I am made out of the animal

I love.”

— Richard Nelson

I was sitting in a boring literature class one day, a shiny-faced, idealistic undergraduate, thinking about boys—only I had started calling them men. I was an Animal Science major, studying to become a ranch manager, or a cowboy’s wife, whichever came first.

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Medium 9780253018571

Castles

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

ON A FALL day in 2002, Robert Fidler jumped into his excavator and began piling up bales of straw. He stacked them, one at a time, until he built a forty foot wall around his old cow shed in Redhill, Surrey, south of London. Then he cut a small arch into the straw and embedded a doorway into the wall. Over the next four years, he moved back and forth through that door with bricks and mortar, secretly building a dream home for his wife Linda. Four years later, he jumped back into the excavator and tore down the walls of straw to reveal Honeycrock Castle, a two-turret, four-bedroom dream home complete with vaulted ceilings, a duck pond, and a cannon.

Honeycrock Castle has attracted national attention from the media in the UK, and not just because Robert built it as a labour of love. As it turns out, Fidler built his castle on a green belt, in violation of agricultural reserve regulations. The Reigate and Banstead Town Council was not amused. Fidler, they claimed, had already stretched the meaning of land use bylaws by expanding a reservoir for livestock into a decorative pond, and they considered the construction of his new home to be a “blatant attempt at deception.” Fidler responded by saying that his house was perfectly legal because no one had complained about it during the mandated four-year waiting period. Not surprisingly, the case of the “straw bale castle” has become a cause célèbre in the United Kingdom, pitting libertarians and romantics against pragmatists and environmentalists. The building is still standing, but it is marked for demolition. Fidler has publicly declared that “an Englishman is entitled to have his castle,” and he has appealed the demolition order all the way to the European Court of Human Rights. As a steadfast Christian, he believes that God is involved in his case: “This house will never be knocked down. This is a beautiful house that has been lovingly created. I will do whatever it takes to keep it.”

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Medium 9780253001795

Conclusion: Two Homelands Have I: “America” and the Night

DeGuzmán, María Indiana University Press ePub

Night works among Latina/o cultural producers demonstrate that “assimilation” does not have one meaning but several, some of them opposed to one another. “Assimilation” is a commonly used term in U.S. society and has been both an expectation for and practice of the society’s construction since the mid to late nineteenth century, between the Mexican-American War of 1846–1848 and the Spanish-Cuban-American War of 1898, during which time the United States became a world empire. Being so central to U.S. culture (at least thus far), it is an under-examined term and concept because it has been taken for granted by U.S. culture at large and even within academia. Latina/o studies, however, has a history of questioning insufficiently critical uses of the term “assimilation” and its companion term “immigration.” Take, as a salient example, the conceptually astute introduction on “the decolonization of the U.S. empire in the twenty-first century” to a book on Latina/os in the “world-system” by a cluster of Latina/o studies scholars: Ramón Grosfoguel, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, and José David Saldívar. They critically deconstruct expectations about assimilation in relation to immigration as well as the equal-opportunity myth of “America” as “immigrant nation” by pointing out the “complex ways in which race and ethnicity combine with colonization and migration” to produce many conflicting kinds of immigrant experiences and positionalities.1 They posit,

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Medium 9780253011992

2. From the Pages of Brivnshtelers

Alice Nakhimovsky Indiana University Press ePub

The twin themes of mobility and modernity are ubiquitous in brivnshtelers published at the turn of the twentieth century. Young men and some young women travel to the big city for education or work, encounter its temptations, and suffer from loneliness and homesickness for their friends and family. While the city is presented in both negative and positive terms—it is a threat to the maintenance of Jewish tradition, but also the locus of economic and educational opportunity—the shtetl is not a preferred alternative. Those who have moved away from small towns may have a nostalgic memory or two, but they are quick to point out the lack of vitality and opportunity that drove them to leave home.

An early manifestation of modern thinking appears in a satirical letter from the earliest brivnshteler published in the Russian Empire. Letters 1–2 (“A German Jew Writes to a Polish Jew Asking for the Hand of His Daughter for His Son”) mock Polish Jews for being backward. The Polish father rejects a good match for his daughter with a German Jew because of superstition (the in-laws have the same first names) and his fear about his daughter having to dress in more modern clothing.

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Medium 9780253019059

Indiana Connections

Edited and with an Introduction by Owen Indiana University Press ePub

Stop the Presses! Valiant Pyle makes it! 48th state is entered!

CISCO, Utah . . . . . . . .

Some states I have no more than a nodding acquaintance with. For instance, I merely went through Rhode Island on a train one night 10 years ago. In other states, I have spent weeks and months. I know Texas and Colorado and Virginia better than my own native Indiana.

A veteran flier finally uses a plane because he’s in a hurry, and
discovers that “coffee” is not always what it seems to be

INDIANAPOLIS, March—In case you’re contemplating a journey by air, I am prepared to offer, for the asking, a bit of eating-in-the-sky etiquet which might come in handy.

It all boils down to the simple advice: when dining aboard an air liner, look twice at your coffee before you put in cream and sugar. Might not hurt even to smell of it.

We were riding smoothly at 8000 feet over the Alleghenies, just before sunset, and the stewardess was so quiet about it all that I didn’t realize she was getting dinner ready till she put the tray across the arms of my seat.

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