Berrett Koehler Publishers (405)
  Title Author Publisher Format Buy Remix
Medium 9781609949273

10. A cancerous culture

de Graaf, John; Wann, David; Naylor, Thomas H. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

A cancerous culture

The only chance of satisfaction we can imagine is getting more of what we have now. But what we have now makes everybody dissatisfied. So what will more of it do—make us more satisfied, or more dissatisfied?

—A CLIENT OF PSYCHOLOGIST JEREMY SEABROOK

Maybe the proof is in the pillow: the fact that more than thirty million Americans have chronic insomnia is one convincing indicator that all is not perfect in Camelot. We spend about $25 billion a year on sleep products, from pills to white-noise apps to comfort-zoned beds, but sleep researchers tell us that on average, humans in overdeveloped countries like ours sleep a full hour and a half less than we did a hundred years ago. In addition to peddling the pills that summon creepy luminescent green moths to our bedrooms in the TV ads, pharmaceutical companies in 2012 hustled Americans for $325 billion in prescription drugs. Among many other prescriptions (with, on average, seventy potential side effects apiece) we swallow half the world’s antidepressants.1

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Medium 9781626562691

10 A Wakeup

Schenwar, Maya Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

It’s time to understand, go open-eyed into ourselves, into our deepest fears, among our underground youth, into the futureless future, and then rise up.
The time of sleeping is over.

—Luis Rodriguez, “The Wanton Life”

Emerging from a childhood seared by poverty and gang violence, poet Luis Rodriguez was incarcerated briefly in 1970. Later, his son spent more than thirteen years in prison. In “The Wanton Life,” Rodriguez writes of the prospect of a cultural awakening—not by way of brilliant innovation, but through the process of connecting, with both ourselves and those we have estranged, with eyes that remain open even as they drink in fear.

Incarceration may provide public reassurance that “dangerous” people have vanished and are therefore no longer in existence—but it also permits a different kind of closed-eyed comfort for those safely ensconced in non-prisonerhood. As Angela Davis notes, it veils homelessness.1 (Lacino, running from foster care, living in stolen cars—locked up.) It veils poverty. (Sable, lawyerless, helpless to fight the contorted charges against her—locked up.) It veils illiteracy. (The 97 percent of prisoners who are assessed as not “proficient” in reading and writing—locked up.) It veils drug dependency. (Kayla, passed out on the street, homeless and near death, a needle in her arm—locked up.) And it veils racism—the criminalization of black and brown people, persisting over the centuries under the mask of “justice.”

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Medium 9781576754382

10. Everybody Means Everybody

Sen, Rinku Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

203

To Mamdouh, immigrants were no different from anyone else. Migration was a core human urge. As long as people have occupied the earth, they have traveled to escape enslavement and repression, poverty and hunger. They have moved from the country to the city or from one nation to another and back again. They usually aren’t the laziest or least enterprising people in their home countries, but otherwise they were no different from any of the Americans he had met—no better and no worse. Some were religious, others not. Some were parents, others single. Some were kind, others mean-spirited. Most were willing to do whatever they had to do, within the bounds of reason and morality, to earn a living and create a better life. Immigrants were thus more than just a pair of arms available for picking and hauling and cleaning. As a worker, and as an organizer, he could see that immigrants had made some people in some places really wealthy, and that neither immigrants nor ordinary Americans got their fair share of that wealth.

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Medium 9781605094441

10: Find the Glue

Kahn, Si Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

We were the world’s first colony
We yet may be its last
Five hundred years ruled by another land
The violence, the cruelty
The stealing of our past
Who dared to hope that peace might be at hand?

Five centuries have hardened us
To struggle and resist
‘Til neighbors seem like enemies, not friends
Until one day we find within
The courage to desist
From violence that grows and never ends

If those who prayed for violence
And shed their children’s blood
Can work for peace that lasts beyond all time
Then enemies in other lands
May some day staunch the flood
Of war that breaks all hearts, both yours and mine

The Irish sea that sheltered us
And sometimes kept us safe
Still breaks its heart upon the English shore

But when the storm is over
And the sea lies wide as dreams
Then peace will rise
From these green hills once more

My first serious encounters with the role of race in organizing came during the summer of 1965, working with SNCC in Forrest City, Arkansas. In Centre County, Pennsylvania, where I had lived until the age of fifteen, I almost never saw anyone who was a person of color, with the exception of the athletes who were just beginning to arrive at Penn State to play football and basketball. Certainly, anyone in any position of power or authority was white.

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Medium 9781523095056

10 Institutions Can Build Bridges to Belonging

Ross, Howard J.; Tartaglione, JonRobert Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.

— IDOWU KOYENIKAN

A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other’s lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves.

— WENDELL BERRY

I started this book with the story of three people, Joan Smith, Barry Jones, and Fatima Mohammed, and their meeting at the Munchester Industries holiday party. The coincidental meeting of these characters at the party points to the reality and the promise of organizations as a source of belonging in our world today. At that moment, the three are confronted with their differences. Yet at the same time they are confronted with the reality that despite those dissimilarities, they have to come together on a daily basis and work together toward the common goals of their company.

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Cabi (22)
  Title Author Publisher Format Buy Remix
Medium 9781780644233

10: Preferences for Conservation Agriculture in Developing Countries: a Case Study on the Tribal Societies of India and Nepal

Chan, C.; Fantle-Lepczyk, J. CABI PDF

10

Preferences for Conservation

Agriculture in Developing

Countries: a Case Study on the

Tribal Societies of India and

Nepal

Cynthia Lai,* Catherine Chan, Aliza Pradhan,

Bikash Paudel, Brinton Foy Reed and

Jacqueline Halbrendt

University of Hawaiʽi at Ma¯noa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

10.1  Introduction

In many agricultural regions of the world, farmers are experiencing the effects of climate change and its subsequent effects on soil productivity, which lead to reduced agricultural productivity (FAO, 2012). For smallholder subsistence farmers who reside in developing countries, the effects of climate change coupled with population pressures are of even greater impact, due to existing marginalized land conditions (i.e. poor soil fertility, moisture retention, and erosion), as well as lack of capital, institutional support, and access to resources and information (Lai et al., 2012a). With increasing population and decreasing land fertility, agricultural research in the 1960s and 1970s focused on agricultural intensification and increasing per capita food production (Conway and Barbier, 1990). The new technologies, innovations, and increased agricultural productivity that emerged from this period are recognized as the “Green Revolution”. Although the resulting chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and breeding programs for high-yielding varieties provided increased yields, the successes were short-lived, as they failed to provide sustainable solutions to existing land degradation and soil fertility problems, particularly for the smallholder subsistence farmer (Conway and Barbier, 1990).

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Medium 9781780643137

10: The Future of Animal Trade

Phillips, C.J.C. CABI PDF

The Future of Animal Trade

10

10.1  Introduction

The past has seen some dramatic changes in world trade in animals. This chapter considers what will shape the future of the animal trade and what changes in the trade are likely. Continuation of current trends does not seem to be an option. Worldwide meat and milk production have been growing, as outlined in

Chapters 4 and 5, respectively. Even taking into account increasing population, meat availability per capita has been increasing steadily over the last 50 years to approximately double what it was at the beginning of the 1960s; milk availability per capita has increased by about 20% over the last 10 years (Fig. 10.1). The increasing livestock production requires prodigious quantities of feed grain and there is still potential for meat consumption to increase in many developing regions of the world, e.g. sub-Saharan Africa. The steadily increasing trajectory for meat availability per capita has been consistent over the last 50 years (Fig. 10.1), and it will therefore take extreme measures if this is to be changed.

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Medium 9781780644233

11: Empowering Women through Conservation Agriculture: Rhetoric or Reality? Evidence from Malawi

Chan, C.; Fantle-Lepczyk, J. CABI PDF

11

Empowering Women through

Conservation Agriculture:

Rhetoric or Reality? Evidence from Malawi

Jane Maher,1* Paul Wagstaff 2 and John O’Brien2

Department of Geography, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College

Dublin, Dublin, Ireland; 2Concern Worldwide, Dublin, Ireland

1

11.1  Introduction

Malawi is a landlocked country in southern Africa, 1,500 km from a seaport. It is one of the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with a GDP per capita of US$805 in 2011, and ranks 170th out of 185 on the Human Development

Index, an indicator that combines life expectancy, education, and income as a measure of development (UNDP, 2013). In Malawi, agriculture is the primary economic sector, representing approximately 37% of the country’s GDP and employing about 80% of the labor force in 2010 (African Development Bank, 2012).

Approximately 80% of Malawi’s population lives in rural areas (World Bank,

2012); 90% of these people are smallholder farmers that rely on rainfed subsistence farming techniques (IFAD, n.d.). Systematic plowing of agricultural land has intensified in recent years due to land scarcity, which has resulted in significant soil degradation and declining yields (Scherr and Yadav, 1996). As in much of

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12: Gendered Implications of Introducing Conservation Agriculture (CA): A Case Study in the Hill Region of Nepal

Chan, C.; Fantle-Lepczyk, J. CABI PDF

12

Gendered Implications of

Introducing Conservation

Agriculture (CA): A Case Study in the Hill Region of Nepal

Jacqueline Halbrendt,* Bikash Paudel and Catherine Chan

University of Hawai‛i at Ma¯noa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

12.1  Introduction

As one of the poorest countries in the world, and experiencing rising populations,

Nepal is at a high risk of food crisis. The majority of Nepal’s population lives on marginal land in rural areas, where food security is low and continuing to decrease (FAO, 2012; World Bank, 2012). Much of Nepal’s poverty is concentrated in the hill region, where farming communities depend on sloping, degraded fields for sustenance and face seasonal food scarcity (FAO, 2007; Tiwari et al.,

2008; Shively et al., 2011). Conservation agriculture (CA) practices have long been proposed as a potential remedy for such issues; nevertheless, these practices have been introduced on a limited basis only and have seldom met with success.

A combination of social, economic, cultural, and environmental factors may have contributed to difficulties in promoting the adoption of long-term sustainable agricultural practices such as CA (Paudel and Thapa, 2004). Research has shown that traditional practices often persist, despite development efforts by government extension or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to introduce new practices (Yadav, 1987; Bunch, 1999; Cochran, 2003). Factors such as gender, education level, and economic status have each been identified as important indicators of a willingness to learn new farming practices (Kessler, 2006; Knowler and Bradshaw, 2007).

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1: A Brief History of Conservation Agriculture

Chan, C.; Fantle-Lepczyk, J. CABI PDF

1

A Brief History of Conservation

Agriculture

Travis Idol*

University of Hawai‘i at Maˉnoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

1.1  Introduction

“Conservation agriculture (CA) aims to achieve sustainable and profitable

­agriculture and subsequently aims at improved livelihoods of farmers through the application of the three CA principles: minimal soil disturbance, permanent soil cover and crop rotations. CA holds tremendous potential for all sizes of farms and agro-ecological systems, but its adoption is perhaps most urgently required by smallholder farmers, especially those facing acute labour shortages. It is a way to combine profitable agricultural production with environmental concerns and sustainability and it has been proven to work in a variety of agroecological zones and farming systems. It is been perceived by practitioners as a valid tool for

Sustainable Land Management (SLM)” (FAO, 2014a).

This modern definition of conservation agriculture embodies almost a century of academic and public concern over the negative effects of agriculture on soils and other natural resources and a much longer recognition that the quality of these resources is essential for the sustainability of agricultural production and the well-being of the surrounding natural and human communities. The main culprit has been, and continues to be, the plowing of the soil. Tillage has been a part of the development of agriculture since its beginnings in North Africa, the

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Cabi (27)
  Title Author Publisher Format Buy Remix
Medium 9781780641409

10: Certification of Forest Management and Timber Origin

Bruenig, E.F. CABI PDF

10

Certification of Forest Management and Timber Origin

10.1  Roots: Forest Resource Rape;

Offshoots: Boycott of Tropical

Forestry and Timber

The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the second Book of Chronicles in the Old Testament, tell us of illegal timber logging and the murder of forest guards who tried to intervene. Millennia later, Plato (427–347 bc) lamented the less than platonic love of the social elite for wealth, prestige and power, and blamed that as the cause of the deforestation and denuding of hills in Attica. Much later, in the 18th century, the British Crown hammer-­marked large and suitably curve-shaped oak and hickory trees and declared them protected crown property. The navy kept a ledger of all hammer-marked trees and their shapes and locations, to enable collection when the navy shipyards needed them. The British settlers in the New England colonies did not like this – one reason for the War of Independence. In the 19th and 20th centuries, foresters in Germany were still murdered by poachers and timber thieves (Busdorf, 1928–1929). In the tropics, sixty years later, I had twice to take cover and retreat quietly on the advice of local foresters when we stumbled on illegal logging in Borneo and Papua New Guinea.

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Medium 9781780645681

10 How to Make Conservation Agriculture EverGreen

Kassam, A.H.; Mkomwa, S.; Friedrich, T. CABI PDF

10 

How to Make Conservation

Agriculture EverGreen

Dennis P. Garrity*

World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

10.1  Introduction

After decades of research, and the sustained efforts of many pioneering farmers, the concept of Conservation Agriculture (CA) has been steadily expanding (Kassam et al., 2015). Globally, more than 155 million hectares of annual cropland are now managed under zero-tillage CA systems. Meanwhile, worldwide concerns about the potentially devastating effects of climate change on food production continue to intensify. CA has been highlighted as an important component of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) (FAO, 2013;

Lipper et al., 2014).

Investments in CA in the developing world are increasing. However, the uptake of CA in Africa, and in the rainfed upland areas of Asia, has been quite modest so far. Evidence from research, and from widespread indigenous practice, indicates that successful CA systems for tropical smallholders benefit substantially from the integration of trees into these systems (Garrity et al.,

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11: Forestry in the Tropical Rainforest: The Decisive Roots, Trends and Key Problems

Bruenig, E.F. CABI PDF

11

Forestry in the Tropical Rainforest:

The Decisive Roots, Trends and Key Problems

11.1  Forestry from Gilgamesh and

Greeks to Brandis’s Scientific

Forestry in the Tropics

Foresters had lost their lives since Gilgamesh’s reign defending forest growing stock of timber against illegal loggers. Forest administrations were established since Plato’s time to defend the forest land against conversion. In both cases the forces of forest degrading and deforestation eventually won the upper hand. In the deciduous forests of the tropics, roaming, settled and migrating populations found ways by trial-and-error to use forests and soils sustainably until their number outstripped the carrying capacity of forests and soils. The possible dangers of climate changes caused by deforestation

(Sections 1.2 and 2.9) and the threat to sustainability of timber supplies of plundering the timber resource (Section 11.2) were recognised early in the Indian Raj.

The warning of climatic effect of deforestation was ignored by government, but the warning that timber supplies were threatened brought swift action. A unified forest administration was established and the

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11 Mechanization of Smallholder Conservation Agriculture in Africa: Contributing Resilience to Precarious Systems

Kassam, A.H.; Mkomwa, S.; Friedrich, T. CABI PDF

11 

Mechanization of Smallholder

Conservation Agriculture in

Africa: Contributing Resilience to Precarious Systems

Brian G. Sims,1* Josef Kienzle,2 Saidi Mkomwa,3 Theodor

Friedrich4 and Amir H. Kassam5

Agricultural Engineering Consultant, Bedford, UK; 2Food and Agriculture

Organization, Rome, Italy; 3African Conservation Tillage Network, Nairobi,

Kenya; 4Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Havana,

Cuba; 5University of Reading, UK

1

11.1  Introduction

11.1.1  Why mechanization?

The desire of all involved in smallholder farming (especially women, children and the elderly) to reduce by any means their drudgery and arduous, often painful, struggle to produce food for life and subsistence has been driving the development of tools and implements for many generations. It has encouraged farmers to use their livestock animals not only to produce meat and dairy products but also for draught power that can be applied to crop production, transport, water lifting and crop processing. The invention of the agricultural tractor was driven by the need to curtail dramatically the hard physical work that farming entails for farmers and this situation holds true today, especially in Africa.

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12 Conservation Agriculture in South Africa: Lessons from Case Studies

Kassam, A.H.; Mkomwa, S.; Friedrich, T. CABI PDF

12 

Conservation Agriculture in South

Africa: Lessons from Case Studies

Hendrik J. Smith,1* Erna Kruger,2 Jaap Knot3 and James N.

Blignaut4

Grain SA, Pretoria, South Africa; 2Mahlathini Organics, Pietermaritzburg,

South Africa; 3KEL Growing Nations Trust, Ladybrand, South Africa;

4

University of Pretoria, South Africa

1

12.1  Introduction

Mainstreaming sustainable agriculture systems in South Africa has become imperative. Severe environmental degradation, low farm profitability and poverty associated with current conventional production systems have brought the agricultural sector to a crossroads. If farmers in South Africa are offered a better chance to survive on the farm and if sustainable and economically viable agriculture is to be achieved, then the paradigms of agricultural production and management must be changed.

Conservation Agriculture (CA) is an approach to managing agroecosystems for improved and sustained productivity, increased profits and food security while preserving and enhancing the resource base and the environment. CA is characterized by three linked principles (FAO, 2001; Lal, 2010), namely: (i) continuous no or minimum mechanical soil disturbance; (ii) permanent organic soil cover; and (iii) diversification of crop species grown in sequences and/or associations, including the use of cover crops.

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Indiana University Press (1989)
  Title Author Publisher Format Buy Remix
Medium 9780253019028

100,000 Men

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

“HUSH, HUSH,” HE said expectantly, jittery, running about the camp, the gaping hole in his brown shorts thoroughly visible, as was his entirely emaciated state. “Do you not hear them?” he turned around and around, looking about, pausing, staring intently at each face, as if to will them, to force them to apprehend what he was saying. “Do you hear them coming?” He breathed heavily. “They are coming! I saw them with my own eyes, my own two eyes! I swear they are coming.”

“Taidor, Taidor, Choul is having another of his fits again,” Alek said to her husband, stating the obvious.

Taidor looked on, unable to shake off the melancholy expression on his visage. Of course he knew there was no one coming. He was the sober one, calm, collected, resigned to fate without complaint. And he knew there was definitely no one coming. He hated the hopeless optimism of Choul. Even from their days at the university in Khartoum, Choul had entertained and nursed this ridiculously hopeless idealism. “They are coming where?” he scoffed. “Who? Who is coming?” He shook his head sarcastically and proceeded to scratch his unkempt hair.

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Medium 9780253012586

10. A New Life at Home

Anand Pandian Indiana University Press ePub

I felt bored and listless within a week of coming back to Pudur. I couldn’t just sit at home. But there was nowhere to pass the time other than the village bazaar. I had an uncle named Gnani Nadar who had a shop in the bazaar. Each day I would go and sit on the steps at the entrance to his shop, just to watch what was happening. This uncle always spoke warmly to me, but he never offered anything to eat or drink—not even a bit of palmyra fruit, not even water.

Gnani Nadar made sesame oil to sell. There was a grinding mill at the Pudur pettai—pay the miller, and he would grind your sesame for you.1 My uncle would buy some sesame, mix it with palm sugar, and grind it at the mill to measure out and sell. He often saw me in front of his shop and noticed how closely I’d been watching him do business. “Maybe he can help out,” he must have thought to himself, because he asked me if I wanted to join him. I was doing nothing at the time, and so I went to work with him.

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Medium 9780253001924

10 After Namudno: The Shape of Future Litigation

Edited by Daniel McCool Indiana University Press ePub

The most significant legal challenge in nearly three decades to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), Northwest Austin Municipal Utility District Number One v. Holder, 129 S.Ct. 2504 (2009) (“NAMUDNO”), was decided by the Supreme Court on June 22, 2009. In an 8-1 opinion, the justices overturned a lower court decision that had denied a small Travis County, Texas, suburban jurisdiction from seeking a “bailout” from the “preclearance” provision of the act. But it is what the justices did not do – strike down the act as unconstitutional – that matters most for the critics and defenders of this provision. Some have speculated that it is only a matter of time before the constitutional issue once again presents itself to the High Court, while others believe the issue has been dodged indefinitely. Who is right?

Some background on the case will be useful for understanding the court’s opinion and what is likely to happen next. The 1965 Voting Rights Act was, as the Supreme Court recognized in this opinion, a “historic accomplishment” designed to end the official governmental barriers to voting that blacks faced in the Deep South by eliminating any type of literacy test, providing federal voting registrars, and criminalizing harassment of black voters. These objectives were enforced through two provisions: Section 4(b), which pinpointed the states and jurisdictions where black disenfranchisement was the most pernicious, and Section 5, the “preclearance” requirement, which was to end the never-ending gamesmanship by southern election officials that was used to prevent blacks from registering to vote.

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Medium 9780253008787

10. Antisemitism among Young European Muslims \ Gunther Jikeli

Alvin H Rosenfeld Indiana University Press ePub

Gunther Jikeli

Muslims are the largest religious minority in the European Union, and Islam is the fastest growing religion. Estimations suggest that there are between 13 and 20 million European Muslims; approximately 70 percent live in Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. But relative numbers are low; Muslims form approximately 5 percent of the population in Germany, 6–9 percent in France, and 3 percent in the UK. The proportions are significantly higher in many urban areas. Europe’s Muslim population is diverse in many aspects: religiously, culturally, ethnically, and economically. Most Muslims in Europe are immigrants or descendants of immigrants from former colonies or countries with special historical ties to the respective European country in which they now reside. The first substantial wave of Muslim immigrants to Europe started after the Second World War in the 1950s with the continent’s growing economy and the need for manpower. With the economic crisis of the early 1970s, legislation made immigration difficult, and migration then consisted largely of people arriving to reunite with their families. A third wave included those who arrived in the 1980s and 1990s as refugees rather than as economic migrants. Political persecutions and civil wars were the major reasons that asylum seekers from Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, North Africa, Somalia, and the Middle East moved to European countries.

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Medium 9780253332516

10 Art or Accident: Yoruba Body Artists and Their Deity Ogun

SANDRA T BARNES Indiana University Press ePub

Henry John Drewal

Yorubá who live and work with iron (irin, ògún) are also worshippers of Ògún, the god of iron. Iron is Ògún. Ògún lives in his followers and they in him, a reciprocal relationship which can be documented in the lives of Ògún devotees. In considering the attributes of Ògún, iron users, and iron itself, and then in focusing upon body artists, this essay explores the way art, tools, and techniques express the presence and impact of Ògún in Yorùbá life and thought.

A cluster of traits portrays the essence or life force (àq) of Ògún. Among these are physical force, hotness, quickness, directness, sensuality, firmness, and tenacity. For some he is known as Ògún onígboiyà, uOgun the brave one” (Ògúnole 1973). Òguń’s mode of operation implies no moral connotations; it is neither bad nor good, negative nor positive. It is not how he operates, but what he does, and when, that determines whether people consider him harmful or beneficial. On one hand, Òguń’s quickness or impatience can result in hasty, careless, irrational behavior causing wanton destruction. This dangerous side of Ògún evokes images of hot violence, vengeance, blind rage, and indiscriminate destruction for, more than anything, Ògún is associated with bloodshed; he is “the one who is steeped in blood,” a-m-kúkú l’j (Oluponn 1975). One widespread tale recounts his arrival in a town where the inhabitants offended him by what he considered to be an inhospitable reception. In a blind rage, Ògún began to destroy everything. Not until the appropriate offerings (dog, snail, oil, and soothing leaves) were made and his praises sung did he come to his senses and realize that he was killing his own people.2 Thus, when he is ignored, angered, or affronted, Ògún destroys indiscriminately. Yet, appropriate rituals can avert destruction and calm him by turning his à to beneficent ends.

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John Libbey Publishing (20)
  Title Author Publisher Format Buy Remix
Medium 9780861966738

A Brief History of Animation

Amy M. Davis John Libbey Publishing ePub

 

This chapter begins with an overview of animation’s beginnings and a discussion of how animation, as both an art and as an industry, took shape in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century. This is followed by a brief examination of two of the main animation studios in America in the 1930s and 1940s (and Disney’s main competitors), the Fleischer Brothers studio and the animation unit at Warner Brothers. These will help to underline and illustrate a comparison between how animation’s role and worth as a medium were perceived at the Disney studio and other studios. It is also important to outline, in general terms, animation techniques and practices of this period and at various studios in order to achieve a more complete understanding of how and why animated characters were created and presented as they were.

This chapter, despite its presence in a book on the films of the Disney studio, has very little discussion of topics which are directly related to Disney. While this may initially seem odd, there are in fact very good reasons: in order to appreciate the many ways in which the Disney studio differed (and continues to differ) from its competitors, it is important to become acquainted with the nature of Disney’s competition. From 1928 – the year in which the Disney studio achieved its first major success with the release of “Steamboat Willie” – up to the present day, animation at other studios has been defined, understood, and appreciated in relation to Disney (even if only to reject the Disney style and ethos), measuring achievements and failures by how much – or how little – the influence of the Disney studio can be detected. In other words, why the Disney studio did what it did, how it did what it did, what it did, how its ways changed (and how they stayed the same) over time, and even a sense of what Walt Disney and his successors hoped to achieve both within and for animation as a medium, are best understood within the context of how animation was approached at other studios. Because there were two studios in particular between 1925 and the 1950s which could be viewed as being equal to the competition offered by the Disney studio, it is only those two studios – the Fleischers’ studio at Paramount, then the animation unit at Warner Brothers studio – which will be discussed in any detail.58 Once the reader has a working knowledge of animation history and an idea of how animation outside the Disney studio was approached, it becomes much easier to understand the very real and important ways in which the Disney studio differed from other studios, and to appreciate the ways in which these differences contributed not only to the choices made by the Disney studio regarding its production, but also to the Disney studio’s ultimate success.

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Medium 9780861966592

Chapter I The Cartoon-Making Technique

Floriane Place-Verghnes John Libbey Publishing ePub

Provided that you have seen a few cartoons and you are rather curious, you must have wondered “How did they do that?” The magic atmosphere that pervades cartoons actually conceals a more practical side; that of the various techniques employed in order to achieve a maximum impact on the audience by constantly flirting with reality, without anyone noticing the amount of pain taken in timing the whole thing precisely. Five weeks of intense work, 8,640 frames and no less than 1,300 metres of film are required to create a six-minute cartoon. Cartoons in the 1940s had to be six minutes long, not more, not less, both for obvious financial reasons and because of their status of film preview: the duration of a cartoon, a set of commercials, a newsreel, and a film had to be precisely two hours long.

I now propose to follow the birth of a cartoon from its conception to the final result, by examining all the different departments that deal with its creation.

The very first thing you need to make a cartoon is obviously a screenplay. The script-writer (or storyman) is therefore the first person to put his shoulder to the wheel. Not only does he write the dialogue (unless a dialogue-man is appointed for this part of the process), but he is also responsible for the whole atmosphere of the cartoon through his detailed description of the characters, places, and forces at work in the story. He then works closely with the director to produce characters and situations that will work together visually. His role will be to translate the story in a limited number of sketches (from 50 and 150 for a six-minute cartoon), and to pair it with a few lines of dialogue, in order to see if the combination is effective. The drawings are very rough, not refined, and only depict extreme positions, behaviours, or physical expressions. “Extreme”, because knowing that a character, object, or landscape will gradually change (at a rhythm of 24 frames per second) between a period X and a period Y, the story-artist will not take the time (or the financial risk) to draw all the pictures between X and Y, but will merely sketch out the two extremes X and Y. The resulting story-board, which looks like a huge comic-strip, will then be pinned onto a cork panel so that the whole team (animators, model-makers, scene painters, etc.) can discuss potential modifications. The technique of the story-board has been used since the 1920s, but was significantly developed by Walt Disney.

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Chapter II The Cartoon Before Tex

Floriane Place-Verghnes John Libbey Publishing ePub

Even though the art of animation is often associated with innovation, it has to be said that it finds its roots as early as 1645, when Athanasius Kircher (1601–1690) invented his Magical Lantern (the method of which he described at length in a book entitled Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae). It consisted of a

mere box in which a mirror and a source of light had been placed ... The light rays – reflected by the mirror – would come out of the box through a small slit, and go through a pane of glass on which an image had been stuck. The image was then screened on a white wall through a magnifying lens.15

Etienne Gaspard Robert – working under the pseudonym Robertson – used the same device almost 150 years later, when he gave a fright to the whole of Paris by screening the heroes of the Revolution in his Fantasmagorie show (1794).

This ancestor of the animated movies was therefore to be one of the longer lasting ones, since what other creators did afterwards was only to improve the original method by implementing it with two major principles of animation: the persistence of vision and the need for gaps between images.

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Chapter III Tex Avery’s Americanness: An Attempt to Retrieve the Past

Floriane Place-Verghnes John Libbey Publishing ePub

Dealing with such a matter without evoking Tex Avery’s masterpiece in the genre, Symphony in Slang (1951) would be missing a crucial point. This cartoon could be set apart from the whole corpus. Its scenario is quite poor, the story being, in actual fact, nothing but a theme with variations on puns and American slang. However, from a linguist’s point of view, it displays an impressive richness. It is entirely built on set phrases, the meaning of which is always taken in its first degree (“I had goose-pimple”, “she had her hair in a bun”, “Mary’s clothes fit her like a glove”, “the law was on my heels”, “it was good to stretch”, etc.). See also Uncle Tom’s Cabaña (1947), in which “starvation was staring at me [uncle Tom] in the face” while the evil-doer Simon Legree is depicted as literally “two-faced”, “a low-down snake”, and “rolling in dough” or the brain-storming activity (clouds and lightening included) that takes place over the cat’s head in King-Size Canary (1947). It has been defined by Petr Kral as a succession of “puns translated into ... wacky idiosyncrasies”.33 This comic device is typical of the films by the Marx brothers. In Duck Soup (1933), Firefly (Groucho) addresses the portly Margaret Dumont piling up expressions with both a figurative and a literal meaning:

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Chapter IV Facing Contemporary Politics

Floriane Place-Verghnes John Libbey Publishing ePub

The golden years of American materialism as depicted in The Big Money seemed too good to be true. There could be no wild years without a possible backlash. The first hints of the potentiality of the American foundations to crack and finally collapse appeared in the late 1920s and eventually, the “Roaring Twenties” came to a sharp end in 1929 with the Wall Street Crash. Apart from the unprecedented financial results of such a blow, the mental consequences on the people were to be terrific, limitless, and (above all) everlasting. This is a common phenomenon to be observed among people: each time you undergo a crisis, you tend to shape your subsequent behaviour according to the initial blow, even if the danger has passed away and you are hence secure. This is precisely what I mean by “an osmosis between the past and the present” – and as a consequence, the future. That is, the capacity of human beings to draw conclusions from their past so as to adapt to an awe-inspiring future. In the midst of such a crisis, testifying becomes an urgent necessity, since it binds people to one another, by making them aware of the fact that they are sharing the same predicament. The act of bearing witness is a painful relief. Tex Avery’s subconscious aim was nothing more than relief when he depicted insecure behaviours linked to the aftermath of the Depression. The American people had indeed undergone a huge blow. After decades of growing importance on the international stage, after claiming the American soil was a land of freedom and opportunity for everyone (see the rags to riches tales), its people had been reduced to the scum of the so-called developed world in a fortnight. No wonder then, that such an experience shattered their hopes for the future, and that they consequently perceived matters in quite another light.

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