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“Is Viola Davis in it?”

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

2013 WAS LAUDED as a “Renaissance Year” for black films within the Hollywood movie industry. Notably, the films 42, Fruitvale, The Butler, 12 Years a Slave, and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom shared the quality of having an extraordinary black male character at the center of their stories. With characters ranging from an athlete, a victim of police brutality, a butler, a slave, and a political leader, the diversity of black male roles is telling. Each film set out to represent a real person: each opened with that most powerful of filmic premises, “Based on a True Story.” Each of these historical and male-dominated or male-centered stories is the kind of film that—for better or worse—informs audiences about important African American topics in place of classroom lectures, lesson plans, and, most importantly, books.

Each film also subtly sent the message that black men can play great and complex roles, while black women can continue to play marginalized roles as their girlfriends or wives. It is rarely, if ever, that we see a film in which a black woman is the central character and her husband or partner plays the sidekick or emotional supporter to her goals. Even in the imaginary world, there is no black Katniss Everdeen of the Hunger Games trilogy, who would heroically lead all of the men around her. We continue to only “see” black women in film when their images are peripheral—which is another way of saying that black women are barely seen in historical films.

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Medium 9780253356772

9 Beyond the Parity Principle

Harri Englund Indiana University Press ePub

The first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” While the Second World War had attached new urgency to the definition and implementation of human rights, the 1990s wave of liberalization in Africa and elsewhere revived this project in the context of crumbling autocracies and widespread poverty. Much as its principled attention to all human beings could inspire fresh political, economic, and legal challenges to the status quo, the discourse on human rights was often highly selective in practice. Of the first article’s emphasis on freedom and equality, only the idea of freedom came to inform the public interventions by Malaŵi’s human rights activists and democratic politicians. As has been seen, the very concept of human rights was translated into Chicheŵa through the concept of freedom.

It would be futile, however, to expect that a conceptual shift from freedom to equality would by itself rectify the neglect of social and economic rights that the emphasis on political and civil liberties has seemed to reinforce. As central concepts in liberal political and moral theory, freedom and equality have been shown to carry multiple meanings and open up potentially contradictory possibilities. Feminist theorists, for example, have argued that once decoupled from its association with personal autonomy and self-rule, “freedom” can prompt questions of how social relations and institutions both enable and constrain subjects (Hirschmann 2003: 35–39; see also Friedman 2003). Such questions become particularly contentious when they no longer assume a categorical distinction between the subject’s desires and socially prescribed conduct, or that submission to external authority necessarily subverts the subject’s potentiality (Mahmood 2005: 31). As for “equality,” some philosophers have at least since Rousseau recognized how the apparent neutrality of formal equality can consolidate existing inequalities by denying differences in situations, resources, and needs (Hirschmann 2003: 223–224). Moreover, equality comes with variable complexions and goals, with the demand for one type of equality (such as equal rights) inconsistent with the demand for another type (such as the equality of incomes) (Sen 1992).

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Medium 9780253016430

Conclusion: What We Know and What Comes Next

Mark Tessler Indiana University Press ePub

AMONG THE VARIOUS traditions in scholarship about Islam is the view that the religion imposes a common ideological imprint on Muslim societies, or at least on those where Muslims are the majority, and that, as a result, it is possible to talk in broad terms about an “Islamic personality” and a collective predisposition that “Islam” produces among Muslim publics. This approach assumes that there is a widely shared understanding of Islamic doctrine, that this in turn fosters uniformity through the institutions and symbols that it embeds in Muslim society, and that for this reason religion is the principal determinant of the way that Muslims think and act. Scholarship in this essentialist tradition has become somewhat less common, and more frequently challenged, in recent years, but is reflected in studies by prominent analysts who have been and frequently continue to be influential. Thus, for example, in seeking to explain historical trends and differences between the Muslim world and the West, various scholars have looked to Islam and argued that the religion is hostile to capitalism and to democracy.

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Medium 9780253003089

1. Overcoming the Economistic Fallacy: Social Determinants of Voluntary Migration from the Sahel to the Congo Basin

Edited by Abdoulaye Kane and Todd H Lee Indiana University Press ePub

BRUCE WHITEHOUSE

Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo, is of modest size by world standards, with a population currently estimated at somewhere between 1.2 and 1.5 million. It is also in many respects typical of cities throughout Africa and the global South, characterized by rapid population growth, high unemployment, and shrinking public resources. While this erstwhile somnolent colonial outpost was once (briefly) renowned as the capital of Free France during the Second World War, during the 1990s Brazzaville became remarkable mainly as the scene of recurring violence by ethno-political factions vying for control of the Congolese state and its substantial oil revenues. These conflicts claimed tens of thousands of lives and forced hundreds of thousands to flee the city. Meanwhile, real income, education, and health indicators dropped sharply (Yengo 2006). The decade of unrest and economic stagnation tarnished Brazzaville’s reputation to the point that in 2003 it was actually named the “world’s worst city” in a global survey conducted by an international human resources firm.1

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Medium 9780253356796

3. Tunde Kelani’s Nollywood: Aesthetics of Exhortation

Akinwumi Adesokan Indiana University Press ePub

Of the three directors whose works are the main focus of this book, the Nigerian Tunde Kelani is perhaps the least well known to an international audience, even one familiar with African films. However, having made sixteen full-length films in less than twenty years (1993–2010), he is perhaps the most prolific of African filmmakers, surpassing even the late Ousmane Sembene, who had completed fourteen films by his death in June 2007. Debates over who has produced more may not always count in artistic and intellectual matters, art being more about what than about how much. Nonetheless, Kelani’s output is a function of a particular context, that of the cinematic phenomenon called Nollywood, and for this reason it matters a great deal. Nollywood is now widely acknowledged as the third largest film industry in the world, after the United States (Hollywood) and India (Bollywood). In fact, Nigeria produced 872 feature-length films in 2006, in comparison with 1,091 in India and 485 in the United States (UNESCO Institute for Statistics 2010). Kelani, a producer-director and the founder of Mainframe Productions, a film and television production company, is the most consistently active of the Nollywood directors, with an average of a film every year. He emerged as a filmmaker in the mid-1990s, alongside other talented figures like Amaka Igwe, Tade Ogidan, Zeb Ejiro, Opa Williams, Kenneth Nnebue, and Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin. Most of these directors are still active, but Kelani is now clearly in his own class. He is also among the most sought-after, appearing at conferences and film festivals both locally and internationally. What is it about him or his work that draws this kind of attention and enters him in the annals of global filmmaking, despite the relative youth of Nollywood as a cinematic phenomenon? This chapter sets out to address this question in all its ramifications through an extended discussion of Thunderbolt: Magun (2001), his first English-language film.

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Medium 9780253002662

Appendix

Scott D. Taylor Indiana University Press ePub

APPENDIX

Table 1. Exports of Merchandise and Services

*Measured in USD at current prices and current exchange rates.

Source: UN Conference on Trade and Development Statistical Database, http://unctadstat.unctad.org

Table 2. Net Domestic Credit

*Adjusted for exchange rate fluctuations. Data reported in LCU. Average exchange rate per year used for conversion to USD.

Source: World Bank Development Indicators and Global Development Finance, http://databank.worldbank.org/ddp/home.do

Table 3. Foreign Direct Investment in Reporting Economy (FDI Inward)

*Measured in USD at current prices and current exchange rates.

Source: World Bank Development Indicators and Global Development Finance, http://databank.worldbank.org/ddp/home.do.

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Medium 9781574415537

Chapter 16 | Optimistic Defeat

Carol O’Keefe Wilson University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter 16

Optimistic Defeat

T

he man who had succeeded H. C. Poe as the Temple State Bank’s chief executive early in 1917, T. H. Heard, resigned that position in December of 1918. Heard, the former president of the Heidenheimer Bank, had experienced his own challenges with Jim Ferguson. In late December of

1916 insufficient funds had forced him to turn down a large check that Ferguson had written on an account at the Heidenheimer bank. This had angered Ferguson who, in open court, accused Heard of being full of “Poe poison.” In August of 1917, as the new president of the Temple State Bank, Heard was called before Judge William

Masterson of the Fifty-fifth District Court to explain why he could not turn over the sum of escrow money that Jim Ferguson was presumably holding in the Temple bank in the land sale. There was little Heard could say since Ferguson had spent the money in question.1

Jim reclaimed the presidency of the Temple State Bank but the position had long lost any semblance of prestige. The Fergusons’ personal financial situation remained perilous, but Jim continued to use a sort of “scatter” business approach, investing in a variety of ventures hoping one or more would take hold and flourish. None did. In addition to his newspaper, The Ferguson Forum, Jim owned (or co-owned) a creamery in Bosque County and held stock in a meat market and a produce market, both in Temple. Probably his greatest hope rested in his renewed endeavor: oil speculation. He made several attempts, drilling in Liberty and Eastland Counties, starting his own Money Oil Company, Chance to Lose Oil Company, and Kokernot Oil

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Medium 9781576753972

Four: Public Employee Speech

Barry, Bruce Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

A MAN IN WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE, published a letter to the editor in a local newspaper giving his views on welfare policy. A man in Will County, Illinois, published a letter to the editor in a local newspaper giving his views on education policy. The man in Tennessee was fired from his job.1 The man in Illinois first lost his job, then went to court and fought successfully to get it back.2 The difference? The Tennessee letter writer on welfare policy worked as a computer consultant for a private firm. The Illinois letter writer worked as a high school teacher for the local public school system.

Placed side by side, these two situations point to concrete differences in employee free speech rights, differences that depend on whether a job is in the public or the private sector. Because of the rule of state action (as discussed in Chapter 2, the Constitution applies only to “state actors,” not to the actions of private parties), people holding government jobs generally do have more legal rights to free expression than people in private-sector positions. Government employees have more legal avenues to challenge infringements on free speech, as the Illinois school teacher discovered. But by recognizing fewer types of public-employee speech as “protected” and by giving more weight to the desire by government employers to limit speech in the name of workplace efficiency, courts are making it harder to win these challenges.

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Medium 9781626563377

Introduction: Standing Up to Uncertainty

Brill, Hal Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

DOES THE CHALLENGE OF MAKING INFORMED DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR life seem far more complex today than it did even a short time ago? Does the future—your own and that of the world—feel highly uncertain, perhaps even precarious?

We can sense you there, nodding in agreement. We would also wager that you would love to have a crystal ball that could tell you how the future will unfold, enabling you to make prescient decisions as you glide through life. Indeed much of today’s media aims to quench that thirst for guidance, projecting a steady stream of “experts” onto our screens, each of whom is rife with insight to help us understand how things will unfold. And we lap it up, even though we have seen all too often how their predictions are mocked by the actual turn of events.

So we need to say right at the outset that you’ve just picked up a book that is not going to tell you what’s going to happen this year or next. It would certainly be much easier to market a book that reveals our “three smart money secrets”—everyone’s a winner! Once in a great while, those sorts of books guess right—but we cannot in good conscience make that pitch for one simple reason: the future has yet to be written. There are no simple formulas that can be relied on in this complex and unpredictable world.

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Medium 9781576753033

Chapter Six Subsidiarity Recalling Power from the Global

Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

IT IS THE MAJOR CONCEIT, or gamble, of the proponents of economic globalization that by removing economic control from the places where it has traditionally resided—in nations, states, subregions, communities, or indigenous societies—and placing that control into absentee authorities that operate globally via giant corporations and bureaucracies, all levels of society will benefit. But as we have seen in earlier chapters, this is not true, and it is a principal reason why so many millions of people are angrily protesting.

The captains of globalization are driven by what is still essentially an economic ideology. They operate on a macro scale removed from the everyday realities of local conditions or awareness. They lobby for their ideas and theories as though they were viable and cogent, as if they themselves were expert visionaries and managers of their new centralized global architecture. They continue to praise their formulas despite the numerous spectacular breakdowns they have caused: the Asian financial crisis, the Russian financial crisis, the near-economic meltdown of Brazil, and the collapse of the Argentine economy, along with the global increase in poverty, hunger, inequity, dependency, and powerlessness. These theories do not work and cannot work; the main beneficiaries, unsurprisingly, remain the global corporations and economic elites that have instituted these processes.

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Medium 9781609941246

4 Five-Year Plans

Lee, Ann Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We go where our vision is. JOSEPH MURPHY

Ask a person on the street what he or she plans to do or be in five years and the likely reaction you will receive is a blank face. The truth is that most people just dont envision themselves, let alone make plans, that far into the future. Research has shown that many often confuse medium-term with long-term tradeoffs and have difficulty with delayed gratification. A famous study by Walter Mischel, commonly referred to as the Stanford marshmallow experiment, showed that children who were able to refrain from eating a marshmallow in front of themknowing that they would be rewarded with two laterwere more likely to succeed as adults. Unfortunately, most of the children chose to eat the marshmallow immediately, giving up the prospect of receiving more at a later time. Despite the lessons taught in fables like Aesops The Ant and the Grasshopper, impatience for immediate pleasures often gets the better of us, and procrastination of undesirable tasks is common.

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Medium 9781626562691

2 The 100-Year Communication Rewind

Schenwar, Maya Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

It’s been awhile. We’ve missed you!

Securus, Illinois’ prison phone company, in an email I received three months after Kayla’s release from prison

From time to time, Kayla asks me to send one of her incarcerated friends a card or a letter for a birthday, or a death in the family, or simply “so she can hear her name” called out when the mail comes around, to provide a brief interruption in the insular monotony of the daily routine. “Mail call” can be the pinnacle of the day in prison—or the low point, for those prisoners who don’t receive anything.

When Kayla’s locked up again in the fall of 2011, I don’t pay her any visits: I’m living across the country in California, where Ryan is finishing his master’s degree. I’m bored there—it’s a small university town with little to do outside of academia—and spend most of my nonworking time pacing through the public library and wandering up and down the same streets. Maybe it is my loneliness, or maybe it’s Kayla’s desperation—but for whatever reason, over these months, we grow closer than we’ve been in years. We’re linked almost solely by letters. We share our weirdest hopes for the future (I’m briefly obsessed with moving to the North Pole), our tiniest short-term goals (she is working hard to befriend a squirrel she has met in the yard), and her day-to-day activities (memorizing all the muscles in the human body, painting and repainting her nails).

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Medium 9781626567658

17 Ithaca’s Stories of Race

van Gelder, Sarah Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

ITHACA, NEW YORK—As I drove across the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, my little truck labored to climb the steep hills. Every so often I pulled over to allow the cars behind me to pass.

I was getting anxious about running out of time. It was the end of November, the weather was getting colder, and I had promised to be home by Christmas. If I headed straight back, I’d have nearly 2,700 miles to drive. But I wanted to swing south, through Louisiana, Texas, and the Southwest, so the trip would be much longer.

The decline of this area of New York State is striking. Homes are well worn, some have been restored, but many others are propped up with a few concrete blocks or tarped over. Many were surrounded by rusting RVs and cars.

And then there are the old barns. Many still provide shelter for animals and their feed, although daylight shone through the boards, and the structures seemed to be sinking in slow motion into the earth. The back of one barn was splayed out so that each stud was at a different angle, forming a fan. Another was propped up by poles stuck into the decaying walls, seeming to rest its weary bones on a walking stick.

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6. How the Dead Matter

Genese Marie Sodikoff Indiana University Press ePub

The Production of Heritage

In Madagascar, several cultural and natural heritage sites have been included on UNESCO's World Heritage List, including the Royal Hill of Ambohimanga, consisting of a royal city and burial site, the cathedral-like limestone formations (tsingy) of Bemaraha, and the rain forests of Atsinanana, “relict” forests of the east coast. World Heritage sites possess at least one of ten criteria of value, including such things as exceptional biodiversity, ecological service, beauty, historical and archaeological significance, and creativity (UNESCO, World Heritage Convention, http://whc.unesco.org/en/criteria). UNESCO's World Heritage Convention web-page defines “heritage” as “our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration” (UNESCO World Heritage Convention, http://whc.unesco.org/en/about/). The World Heritage preservation program has identified between eight hundred and nine hundred built and natural sites, as new sites are being evaluated for possible inclusion on the list (Breidenbach and Nyíri 2007:322). The geographical sites and material culture that constitute world heritage are further disaggregated by indigenous cultural formations and endemic species, which denote “cultural heritage” and “natural heritage” respectively (Brown 2004:49). By reifying discrete elements of a place, heritage preservation particularizes the homogenizing force of globalization in different geographical locations and brings into metropolitan consumers' view digital data images and texts about life at the global peripheries.

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Medium 9780253012890

9 The Particular

Foreword by Saskia Sassen Edited by Hil Indiana University Press ePub

RACHEL HARVEY

MOST DEFINITIONS OFGLOBALIZATIONREFER TO THE GROWING ecological, social, institutional, and cultural connectedness of the world. Beyond this basic consensus, analyses of the core characteristics and implications of this increased interdependency diverge. Hyperglobalists proclaim the power of global processes to undermine local and national economies, polities, and culture. Others contend that such sweeping propositions are strong overstatements. One line of argument focuses on the resilience and continued distinctiveness of local and national sociocultural processes in the face of globalization. Building on this point, a third framework contends that the global is produced by the very processes and formations it is thought to overrun.1 Together these three perspectives result in globalization being simultaneously identified as a contemporary condition, an unfolding process, an eventual endpoint, a universalizing trend, and multidimensional phenomena (Van Der Bly 2005). The existence of these strongly contrasting viewpoints, and the difficulty in resolving their differences, is not solely attributed to divergent theoretical points of departure, objects of study, methods, and data. Rather it is grounded in a critical dimension and dynamic—the particular.

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