Matching Items (10)

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Review of "Hierarchy, History, and HumanNature: The Social Origins of Historical Consciousness," by Donald E. Brown

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In this book the author, an anthropologist, traces the history of historiography through numerous past literature cultures. He tested and rejected several hypotheses, but retained on that historiography was strongest

In this book the author, an anthropologist, traces the history of historiography through numerous past literature cultures. He tested and rejected several hypotheses, but retained on that historiography was strongest in societies in which leadership was not determined by hereditary--relatively speaking.

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Date Created
  • 1990-01

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Reframing the problem of difference: Lillian Smith and hierarchical politics of difference

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ABSTRACT For many years, difference scholars, such as Cornel West, Iris Marion Young, and Janet Atwill have been reminding humanities scholars that if social equity is ever to be realized,

ABSTRACT For many years, difference scholars, such as Cornel West, Iris Marion Young, and Janet Atwill have been reminding humanities scholars that if social equity is ever to be realized, difference needs to be reconfigured and reframed. As Janet Atwill puts it, "difference can no longer be the anomaly, the enemy, or the problem to be solved. Difference is the condition" (212). While these scholars insightfully recognize that difference needs to be accepted, welcomed and loved rather than merely tolerated, they have not sufficiently addressed the perceptual change that must occur worldwide if difference as an intrinsic underlying condition of human existence is to be embraced. This project provides a point of departure for carrying out such a dramatic epistemic change by arguing that hierarchical thinking, not difference, is the real agent underwriting societal violence and discord. Hierarchical thinking delineates a more appropriate critical space than does difference for social justice inquiry, invention, and intervention. This project also rhetorically theorizes the realm of intersubjectivity and provides two novel contributions to contemporary rhetorical theory: 1) privilege as a rhetorical construct and 2) the untapped inventional potential of the postmodern understanding of intersubjectivity. To illustrate the embodied and performative aspects of hierarchical thinking, this work draws upon the writings of Lillian Smith, a white southerner (1897-1966) whose descriptive analyses of the Jim Crow South allude to large systems of privilege of which Jim Crow is merely representational. Illustrating the invidious nexus of privilege, Smith's writings describe the ways in which individuals embody and perform practices of exclusion and hate to perpetuate larger systems of privilege. Smith shows how privilege operates much as gender and power--fluidly and variously and dependent upon context. Viewing privilege as a rhetorical construct, operating dynamically, always in flux and at play, provides rhetoricians with a theoretically important move that un-yokes privilege from specific identities (e.g., white privilege). When viewed through this more dynamic and precise lens, we can readily perceive how privilege functions as a colonizing, ubiquitously learned, and variegated rhetorical practice of subordination and domination that, as a frame of analysis, offers a more fluid and accurate perspective than identity categories provide for discussions of oppression, social justice, and democratic engagement.

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  • 2012

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Towards a disruptive theory of the affectual: queer hemispheric theories of affect and corporeality in the Americas

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At the heart of this dissertation is a push for critical genealogy that intervenes into two major theoretical bodies of work in rhetoric and composition -- affect studies and queer

At the heart of this dissertation is a push for critical genealogy that intervenes into two major theoretical bodies of work in rhetoric and composition -- affect studies and queer latina rhetorics. Chapter one intervenes into emerging discourses on publics and affect studies from seamlessly recovering "the body" as an always-already Western body of rhetoric in the advent of this renewed interest in emotion, embodiment, and structures of affect as rhetorical concepts showing the long history of theorizing by queer mestizas. Chapter two focuses on one register of affect: anger, which articulated from the works of writers such as Maria Lugones and Gloria Anzaldúa offers a complex theory of agency for the subaltern subject. Chapter three links emotions like anger and melancholia to the corporeal rhetorics of skin and face, metaphors that are abundant in the queer mestiza and chicana writers under discussion, revealing the dramatic inner-workings of a the queer mestiza subject and the inter-subjective dynamics between the racialized and gendered performance of that body. By re-rooting affect in the queer colonized, yet resistant body, the link between the writing subject and colonial violence is made clear. Chapter four looks at the autoethnographic process of creating an affective archive in the form of queer racial melancholia, while Chapter five concludes by taking writing programs to task for their view of the writing archive, offering a radical new historiography by means of a queer chicana methodology.

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  • 2014

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Contested memory: writing the Great Patriotic War's official history during Khrushchev's thaw

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The first official history of the Great Patriotic War appeared in the Soviet Union in 1960-1965. It evolved into a six-volume set that elicited both praise and criticism from

The first official history of the Great Patriotic War appeared in the Soviet Union in 1960-1965. It evolved into a six-volume set that elicited both praise and criticism from the reading public. This dissertation examines the creation of the historiographical narrative of the Great Patriotic War in the decade following de-Stalinization in 1956. The debates historians, Party and state representatives engaged in, including the responses they received from reviewers and readers, shed new light on the relationship between the government, those who wrote state-sponsored narratives, and the reading public.

The narrative examined here shows the importance and value placed on the war effort, and explores how aspects of the Stalinist period were retained during the Thaw. By focusing on previously unexplored archival material, which documents debates and editorial decisions, an examination of how officials sought to control the state’s explanation of events, motivations and consequences of the war can be examined in-depth. To date, the periodization, terminology and areas of concentration that define the course of the Great Patriotic War are fixated on topics that Stalin’s war narrative favored, assigning significance to events according to Stalinist preferences rather than objective analysis. My study of the war’s historiography shows how contentious its memory became at every level, making it difficult to clearly discern who represented and opposed the party line throughout Soviet society.

The author argues that the collective memory of the war, as propagated by the state, became so all-encompassing that it was often the preferred version, infiltrating individual memories and displacing or blending with personal recollections and factual documentation. Because the war touched the entire population of the Soviet Union, its story became the foundational myth of the USSR, replacing the October Revolution, and was used as a legitimizing tool by Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev. Most recently, it has experienced a revival in the post-Soviet period by Vladimir Putin as a way to unify Russia and build popular support for his administration. Viewing how the public interacted with representatives of the state over the creation of the official history of the war suggests that like no other event, war compels any state, even a totalitarian state, to reexamine its foundations, historical memory, foreign and domestic policies and views on censorship.

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Date Created
  • 2016