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Picture Imperfect

Author: Russell Jacoby
Publisher: Columbia University Press
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Noted social critic and historian Russell Jacoby challenges conventional wisdom by resuscitating and defending an iconoclastic utopian spirit.


The Danger of Music and Other Anti Utopian Essays

Author: Richard Taruskin
Publisher: Univ of California Press
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The Danger of Music gathers some two decades of Richard Taruskin's writing on the arts and politics, ranging in approach from occasional pieces for major newspapers such as the New York Times to full-scale critical essays for leading intellectual journals. Hard-hitting, provocative, and incisive, these essays consider contemporary composition and performance, the role of critics and historians in the life of the arts, and the fraught terrain where ethics and aesthetics interact and at times conflict. Many of the works collected here have themselves excited wide debate, including the title essay, which considers the rights and obligations of artists in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In a series of lively postscripts written especially for this volume, Taruskin, America's "public" musicologist, addresses the debates he has stirred up by insisting that art is not a utopian escape and that artists inhabit the same world as the rest of society. Among the book's forty-two essays are two public addresses—one about the prospects for classical music at the end of the second millennium C. E., the other a revisiting of the performance issues previously discussed in the author's Text and Act (1995)—that appear in print for the first time.


Mothers and Masters in Contemporary Utopian and Dystopian Literature

Author: Mary Elizabeth Theis
Publisher: Peter Lang
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Because advances made by science and technology far outstripped improvements in human nature, utopian dreams of perfect societies in the twentieth century quickly metamorphosed into dystopian nightmares, which undermined individual identity and threatened the integrity of the family. Armed with technological and scientific tools, totalizing social systems found in literature abolish the distinction between public and private life and thus penetrate and corrupt the very core of all utopian blueprints and visions: the education of future generations. At the heart of the family, mothers as parents transmit their diverse cultural traditions while socializing their children and thus compete with ideologically driven systems that usurp their role as educators. Mothers and Masters in Contemporary Utopian and Dystopian Literature focuses, therefore, on the thematic importance of this and other maternal roles for generic metamorphosis: the shift to dystopia invariably is signaled by the inversion of traditional maternal roles. The longevity of the utopian-dystopian literary tradition and persistence of the maternal model of human relationships serve as points of reference in this post-modern age of relative cultural values. Meta-utopian exploration of this thematic tension between utopia and dystopia reminds us that �no place� may not be home, but we need to keep going there.


Better Worlds

Author: Peter Roberts
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
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"This book, with its attention to literature and the visual arts as well as traditional non-fiction sources, provides a distinctive, wide-ranging exploration of utopia and education. Utopia is examined not as a model of social perfection but as an active, ongoing, imaginative educational process the building of better worlds"--


Iron Curtain

Author: Patrick Wright
Publisher: OUP Oxford
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'From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. . .' With these words Winston Churchill famously warned the world in a now legendary speech given in Fulton, Missouri, on March 5, 1946. Launched as an evocative metaphor, the 'Iron Curtain' quickly became a brutal reality in the Cold War between Capitalist West and Communist East. Not surprisingly, for many years, people on both sides of the division have assumed that the story of the Iron Curtain began with Churchill's 1946 speech. In this fascinating investigation, Patrick Wright shows that this was decidedly not the case. Starting with its original use to describe an anti-fire device fitted into theatres, Iron Curtain tells the story of how the term evolved into such a powerful metaphor and the myriad ways in which it shaped the world for decades before the onset of the Cold War. Along the way, it offers fascinating perspectives on a rich array of historical characters and developments, from the lofty aspirations and disappointed fate of early twentieth century internationalists, through the topsy-turvy experiences of the first travellers to Soviet Russia, to the theatricalization of modern politics and international relations. And, as Wright poignantly suggests, the term captures a particular way of thinking about the world that long pre-dates the Cold War - and did not disappear with the fall of the Berlin Wall.


Future Framers

Author: Sara Lacy Rushing
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This dissertation is organized as a response to two claims made by contemporary feminist theorists about the necessary limits and failings of postmodernism as it has been deployed within feminist theory: Seyla Benhabib's claim that "postmodernism has produced a 'retreat from utopia' within feminism," and Catharine MacKinnon's claim that, "If it is to contribute to feminism's future," postmodernism must articulate a distinct political project. Thus this dissertation addresses the question: What is the status of and relationship between critique, hope, "the future," and utopianism in feminism characterized as postmodern? While the broad categories of "modern" and "postmodern" feminism are spurious and easily undermined, within feminist scholarship certain thinkers have been taken as emblematic of these positions. As such, I analyze the work of modern feminist theorist Catharine MacKinnon, and of postmodern feminist theorists Judith Butler and Drucilla Cornell. I look at the way these three theorists develop their thinking about critique, hope, "the future" and, implicitly and explicitly, utopianism, individually and in dialogue with each other. In contrast to both Benhabib and MacKinnon's claims about the limits and failures of postmodern feminism, I argue that Butler and Cornell come far closer than MacKinnon does in articulating a genuinely futural feminist politics and in expressing a distinctly utopian impulse. Neither their futurity nor their utopianism, however, resembles that which MacKinnon and Benhabib are presumably looking for: there are no blueprints, no agendas or detailed prescriptions, and no "closure." Nonetheless, they convey a distinct hopefulness nourished by an ethical disposition of openness toward others and toward the future.


Edutopias

Author: M. Peters
Publisher: Sense Pub
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Education has always been part of the search for the ideal society and, therefore, an important part of the utopian tradition in Western culture, politics and literature. Education has often served to define the ideal society or to provide the principal means of creating it. This unique collection of essays by well known scholars from around the world examines the role of edutopias in the utopian tradition, examining its sources and sites as a means for understanding the aims and purposes of education, for realizing its societal value, and for criticizing its present economic, technological and organizational modes. These essays will stimulate new thinking in ways that impinge on both theoretical and practical questions, as well as offering the reader a series of reminders of the ethical and political dimensions of education and its place in helping to build good and just societies. The collection is aimed at an audience of teachers and graduate students.


Historein

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The Book Review Digest

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Telos

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