After the Thrill Is Gone is a serious appraisal of what South African democracy has yielded and has failed to yield in the era following the heady expectations of liberation from apartheid’s multiple repressions. Since that time, South Africa has revealed itself as a turbulent, dynamic nation. After the release of black political prisoners in 1990 and the first national democratic election in 1994, its citizens have witnessed a massive increase in crime, unemployment, and poverty and an educational system in chaos.
In a range of politically inflected essays by philosophers, community activists, political scientists, sociologists, literary scholars, and cultural and postcolonial theorists—many of whom are diasporic or resident South Africans—this special issue of SAQ provides a critical look at the realities of black majority governance, at the African National Congress, and at the costs of ANC rule to the populace. One essay draws a condemning sketch of poverty and violence in the townships and the growing communities of squatters that continue despite the emergence of democracy. A philosophical piece contemplates the practice of human rights in a South African society grappling with the memory of apartheid abuses. The fiction and poetry in the collection explore sexual identity, including issues created by the AIDS epidemic, and offer critiques of government policies. Using comic strips, another contributor demonstrates the ability of South African popular culture to satirize the nation’s political status quo. Taken together, the essays in After the Thrill Is Gone open a sobering perspective on South Africa’s recent history, its present, and its future.
Contributors. Rita Barnard, Patrick Bond, Ashwin Desai, Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze, Grant Fared, Michiel Heyns, Shaun Irlam, Neil Lazarus, Michael MacDonald, Zine Magubane, Richard Pithouse, Lesego Rampolokeng, Adam Sitze
Winner of Greece’s National Book Award for Best Novel in 1990 and short-listed for the Aristeion European Literature Prize in 1991, Data from the Decade of the Sixties is a masterpiece by Greek author Thanassis Valtinos.
Just as Greece today struggles to adapt to a shifting political landscape, so Greece in the 1960s was convulsed by the collision of tradition and cultural transformation. In Data from the Decade of the Sixties, Valtinos assembles voices, stories, and news clips that capture the transformation of Greece, the monarchy giving way to a republic via dictatorship, the industrialization of its agricultural society, and the replacement of arranged marriages with love matches.
The many voices in this tour de force coalesce in a bricolage of documents: personal letters between friends and family, news reports, advertisements, and other written ephemera. As governments fall, sexologists, fortune-tellers, garage owners, and lonely matrons advertise their specialties and fantasies in want ads, while the young and lonely find escape within the cheap novels, movies, and gossip columns that enliven their barren existence.
Together these testimonies illuminate the tumult of 1960s Greece, where generations and values clash and Greek society struggles to adapt. Valtinos captures the pulse of a decade, portraying the spirit of the century in Greece and throughout the world.
Decade of Disaster
Ann Larabee University of Illinois Press, 2000 Library of Congress HV553.L38 2000 | Dewey Decimal 363.34
Focusing on the spectacular disasters of the 1980s—the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Chernobyl meltdown, the Challenger space shuttle explosion, the Bhopal chemical plant release, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic—Ann Larabee examines how culture is reconstructed after disaster through victims' stories, media coverage, and official efforts to restore faith in technology. Decade of Disaster gives voice to a diverse cast of disaster participants, including Bhopal widows, people with AIDS, Chernobyl tourists, NASA administrators, international nuclear power authorities, and corporate spokespeople. Integrating sources ranging from official reports and scientific studies to news stories, movies, and science fiction novels, Larabee explores the fierce debates that followed these disasters, as government agencies, corporations, public interest groups, academics, and local communities fought to control their meaning. An incisive commentary at the intersection of cultural history and cultural studies, Decade of Disaster peels away layers and screens of rhetoric to expose the underlying process of cultural negotiation.
A Decade of Negative Thinking brings together writings on contemporary art and culture by the painter and feminist art theorist Mira Schor. Mixing theory and practice, the personal and the political, she tackles questions about the place of feminism in art and political discourse, the aesthetics and values of contemporary painting, and the influence of the market on the creation of art. Schor writes across disciplines and is committed to the fluid interrelationship between a formalist aesthetic, a literary sensibility, and a strongly political viewpoint. Her critical views are expressed with poetry and humor in the accessible language that has been her hallmark, and her perspective is informed by her dual practice as a painter and writer and by her experience as a teacher of art.
In essays such as “The ism that dare not speak its name,” “Generation 2.5,” “Like a Veneer,” “Modest Painting,” “Blurring Richter,” and “Trite Tropes, Clichés, or the Persistence of Styles,” Schor considers how artists relate to and represent the past and how the art market influences their choices: whether or not to disavow a social movement, to explicitly compare their work to that of a canonical artist, or to take up an exhausted style. She places her writings in the rich transitory space between the near past and the “nextmodern.” Witty, brave, rigorous, and heartfelt, Schor’s essays are impassioned reflections on art, politics, and criticism.
The Red Planet has been a subject of fascination for humanity for thousands of years, becoming part of our folklore and popular culture. The most Earthlike of the planets in our solar system, Mars may have harbored some form of life in the past and may still possess an ecosystem in some underground refuge. The mysteries of this fourth planet from our Sun make it of central importance to NASA and its science goals for the twenty-first century.
In the wake of the very public failures of the Mars Polar Lander and the Mars Climate Orbiter in 1999, NASA embarked on a complete reassessment of the Mars Program. Scott Hubbard was asked to lead this restructuring in 2000, becoming known as the "Mars Czar." His team's efforts resulted in a very successful decade-long series of missions—each building on the accomplishments of those before it—that adhered to the science adage "follow the water" when debating how to proceed. Hubbard's work created the Mars Odyssey mission, the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Phoenix mission, and most recently the planned launch of the Mars Science Laboratory.
Now for the first time Scott Hubbard tells the complete story of how he fashioned this program, describing both the technical and political forces involved and bringing to life the national and international cast of characters engaged in this monumental endeavor. Blending the exciting stories of the missions with the thrills of scientific discovery, Exploring Mars will intrigue anyone interested in the science, the engineering, or the policy of investigating other worlds.
If you still hold the notion that the fifties were the "good old days," blessed with incomparable social affluence and widespread family unity, all buttressed by a strong, unconflicted spirituality, then look again. In this compelling narrative of religion in a decade still embraced by an indefatigable nostalgia, Robert Ellwood interrogates the notion of the fifties as an era of normalcy, and proves it to be full of spiritual strife.
A companion to his Sixties Spiritual Awakening, Ellwood explores the major Catholic-Protestant tensions of the decade, the conflict between theology and popular faith, and the underground forms of fifties religiosity like "Beat" Zen, UFO contactees, Thomas Merton monasticism, and the Joseph Campbell / Carl Jung revival of mythology. Ellwood frames his detailed and lively account with the provocative idea of the fifties as a "supply-side" free enterprise spiritual marketplace, with heady competition between religious groups and leaders, and with church attendance at a record high.
In addition to challenging an idealistic fifties cultural milieu, the book analyzes American religious responses to key historical events like the Korean War, McCarthyism, and the civil rights movement, turning a religious lens on the cultural history of the United States.
Over the past quarter century, American liberals and conservatives alike have invoked memories of the 1960s to define their respective ideological positions and to influence voters. Liberals recall the positive associations of what might be called the "good Sixties"—the "Camelot" years of JFK, the early civil rights movement, and the dreams of the Great Society—while conservatives conjure images of the "bad Sixties"—a time of urban riots, antiwar protests, and countercultural revolt.
In Framing the Sixties, Bernard von Bothmer examines this battle over the collective memory of the decade primarily through the lens of presidential politics. He shows how four presidents—Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush—each sought to advance his political agenda by consciously shaping public understanding of the meaning of "the Sixties." He compares not only the way that each depicted the decade as a whole, but also their commentary on a set of specific topics: the presidency of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" initiatives, the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War.
In addition to analyzing the pronouncements of the presidents themselves, von Bothmer draws on interviews he conducted with more than one hundred and twenty cabinet members, speechwriters, advisers, strategists, historians, journalists, and activists from across the political spectrum—from Julian Bond, Daniel Ellsberg, Todd Gitlin, and Arthur Schlesinger to James Baker, Robert Bork, Phyllis Schlafly, and Paul Weyrich.
It is no secret that the upheavals of the 1960s opened fissures within American society that have continued to affect the nation's politics and to intensify its so-called culture wars. What this book documents is the extent to which political leaders, left and right, consciously exploited those divisions by "framing" the memory of that turbulent decade to serve their own partisan interests.
The 1950s marked a period of significant changes for Nevada--gambling came under national and local scrutiny, atomic bombs were tested regularly near Las Vegas, and labor disputes made national headlines. Glass examines the events of the decade and their impact on Nevada and on the rest of the country.
By placing emerging artists in their political and social contexts, this collection attempts to confront the new activist scene that has arisen in the Russian art world during the past years. The recent explosion of protests in Russia—often with their very purpose being to decry the lack of artistic freedom—is a symptom of a fundamental change in culture heralded by Vladimir Putin’s first election. This shift was precipitated by the change to a highly commercial, isolated world, financed and informed by oligarchs. In response, the Russian contemporary art scene has faced shrinking freedom yet an even more urgent need for expression. While much of what is emerging from the Moscow art scene is too new to be completely understood, the editors of this volume seek to bring to light the important work of Russian artists today and to explicate the political environment that has given rise to such work. Post-Post-Soviet? will feature both criticism by writers and scholars, as well as dialogues with artists. Contributors include Boris Kagarlitsky, Ekaterina Degot, Keti Chukhrov, Boris Buden, Artur Zmijewski, and others.
The legendary figure who launched the careers of Spike Lee, Michael Moore, and Richard Linklater offers a no-holds-barred look at the deals and details that propel an indie film from a dream to distribution.