On September 9, 2015, in the quirky village of Yellow Springs, Ohio, the Miami Township Board of Trustees arbitrated a dispute concerning an area bed and breakfast that was apparently causing problems in the neighborhood where it was located. People were irate: the B&B was considered too loud by some but unfairly under attack by others, while township officials were called incompetent by both sides for not ruling in their favor. The trustees were amused, concerned, and baffled at the situation before them.
This quaint debate represents just one of many fascinating problems the trustees deal with on a daily basis. While Miami Township is small, the concerns are myriad—from cemeteries filled with unknown remains to a fire department to oversee to legal action required against properties clogged with junk. The responsibilities are doubly impressive considering no trustees have backgrounds in public office.
This book combines entertaining nonfiction vignettes with well-researched township history—including a history of religious cults and the possibility that Lee Harvey Oswald was once in town—and elucidates the processes behind an entire civic division. Dance of the Trustees documents twenty-first-century small-town life with humor, warmth, and erudition.
Between 1819 and 1970, the town of Dardanelle, Arkansas, located on the south side of the Arkansas River in Yell County, Arkansas, experienced sustained prosperity and growth made possible by the nearby farming community known as the Dardanelle Bottoms.
A reciprocal relationship between the town and the Bottoms formed the economic backbone on which the area’s well-being was balanced. The country people came to town on Saturdays to buy their groceries and supplies, to shop and take in a movie or visit the pool halls or barbershops. Merchants relied heavily on this country trade and had a long history of extending credit, keeping prices reasonable, and offering respect and appreciation to their customers.
This interdependence, stable for decades, began to unravel in the late 1940s with changes in farming, particularly the cotton industry. In Dardanelle and the Bottoms, Mildred Diane Gleason explores this complex rural/town dichotomy, revealing and analyzing key components of each area, including aspects of race, education, the cotton economy and its demise, the devastation of floods and droughts, leisure, crime, and the impact of the Great Depression.
In the past decade, the Chinese-North Korean border region has undergone a gradual transformation into a site of intensified cooperation, competition, and intrigue. These changes have prompted a significant volume of critical scholarship and media commentary across multiple languages and disciplines. Drawing on existing studies and new data, this volume brings much of this literature into concert by pulling together a wide range of insight on the region's economics, security, social cohesion, and information flows. Drawing from multilingual sources and transnational scholarship, the volume is enhanced by the extensive fieldwork undertaken by the editors and contributors in their quest to decode the borderland. In doing so, the volume emphasizes the link between theory, methodology, and practice in the field of Area Studies and social science more broadly.
Inspired by the Arkansas Review’s “What Is the Delta?” series of articles, Defining the Delta collects fifteen essays from scholars in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities to describe and define this important region.
Here are essays examining the Delta’s physical properties, boundaries, and climate from a geologist, archeologist, and environmental historian. The Delta is also viewed through the lens of the social sciences and humanities—historians, folklorists, and others studying the connection between the land and its people, in particular the importance of agriculture and the culture of the area, especially music, literature, and food.
Every turn of the page reveals another way of seeing the seven-state region that is bisected by and dependent on the Mississippi River, suggesting ultimately that there are myriad ways of looking at, and defining, the Delta.
In the decades following World War II, the creation and expansion of massive domestic markets and relatively stable economies allowed for mass consumption on an unprecedented scale, giving rise to the consumer society that exists today. Many avant-garde artists explored the nexus between consumption and aesthetics, questioning how consumerism affects how we perceive the world, place ourselves in it, and make sense of it via perception and emotion.
Delirious Consumption focuses on the two largest cultural economies in Latin America, Mexico and Brazil, and analyzes how their artists and writers both embraced and resisted the spirit of development and progress that defines the consumer moment in late capitalism. Sergio Delgado Moya looks specifically at the work of David Alfaro Siqueiros, the Brazilian concrete poets, Octavio Paz, and Lygia Clark to determine how each of them arrived at forms of aesthetic production balanced between high modernism and consumer culture. He finds in their works a provocative positioning vis-à-vis urban commodity capitalism, an ambivalent position that takes an assured but flexible stance against commodification, alienation, and the politics of domination and inequality that defines market economies. In Delgado Moya’s view, these poets and artists appeal to uselessness, nonutility, and noncommunication—all markers of the aesthetic—while drawing on the terms proper to a world of consumption and consumer culture.
Oil and water, and the science and technology used to harness them, have long been at the heart of political authority in Saudi Arabia. Oil’s abundance, and the fantastic wealth it generated, has been a keystone in the political primacy of the kingdom’s ruling family. The other bedrock element was water, whose importance was measured by its dearth. Over much of the twentieth century, it was through efforts to control and manage oil and water that the modern state of Saudi Arabia emerged.
The central government’s power over water, space, and people expanded steadily over time, enabled by increasing oil revenues. The operations of the Arabian American Oil Company proved critical to expansion and to achieving power over the environment. Political authority in Saudi Arabia took shape through global networks of oil, science, and expertise. And, where oil and water were central to the forging of Saudi authoritarianism, they were also instrumental in shaping politics on the ground. Nowhere was the impact more profound than in the oil-rich Eastern Province, where the politics of oil and water led to a yearning for national belonging and to calls for revolution.
Saudi Arabia is traditionally viewed through the lenses of Islam, tribe, and the economics of oil. Desert Kingdom now provides an alternative history of environmental power and the making of the modern Saudi state. It demonstrates how vital the exploitation of nature and the roles of science and global experts were to the consolidation of political authority in the desert.
Before the Great Smoky Mountains became a national park, the region was a lush wilderness dotted with isolated farms. Into this land of unspoiled beauty, Dorie Woodruff Cope was born in 1899. In this evocative memoir, Dorie's daughter, Florence Cope Bush, traces a life at once extraordinary and yet typical of the many Appalachian farm families forced to leave their simple mountain homes for the cities; abandoning traditional ways for those born of "progress."
Dorie's story begins with her childhood on an isolated mountain farm, where we see first hand how her parents combined back-breaking labor with intense personal pride to produce everything their family needed—from food and clothing to tools and toys—from the land. Lumber companies began to invade the mountains, and Dorie's family took advantage of the financial opportunities offered by the lumber industry, not realizing that in giving up their lands they were also letting go of a way of life. Along with their machinery, the lumber companies brought in many young men, one of whom, Fred Cope, became Dorie's husband. After the lumber companies stripped the mountains of their timber, outsiders set the area aside as a national park, requiring Dorie, now married with a family of her own, to move outside of her beloved mountains.
Through Dorie's eyes, we see how the mountain farmers were forced to abandon their beloved rural life-style and customs and assimilate into cities like Knoxville, Tennessee. Her experiences were shared by hundreds of Appalachians during the early twentieth century. However, Dorie's perseverance, strength of character, and deep love of the Smokies make this a unique and moving narrative.
The Author: Florence Cope Bush is a former newspaper reporter and freelance writer in Knoxville, Tennessee. She is the author of Ocona Lufte Baptist—Pioneer Church of the Smokies, and a regular contributor to Smoky Mountain Historical Society publications.
Durwood Dunn is professor history at Tennessee Wesleyan College. He is author of Cades Cove: The Life and Death of a Southern Appalachian Community, 1818-1937.
In Down on Mahans Creek, Benjamin Rader provides a fascinating look at a neighborhood in the Missouri Ozarks from the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. He explores the many ways in which Mahans Creek, though remote, was never completely isolated or self-sufficient. The residents were deeply affected by the Civil War, and the arrival of the railroad and the timber boom in the 1890s propelled the community into modern times, creating a more fast-paced and consumer-oriented way of life and a new moral sensibility. During the Great Depression the creek’s residents returned to some of the older values for survival. After World War II, modern technology changed their lives again, causing a movement away from the countryside and to the nearby small towns.
Down on Mahans Creek tells the dynamic story of this distinctive neighborhood navigating the push and pull of the old and new ways of life.
What do India’s millennials want and how are they transforming one of the youngest, most populous nations in the world?
More than half of India is under the age of twenty-five, but India’s millennials are nothing like their counterparts in the West. In a country that is increasingly characterized by ambition and crushing limitations, this is a generation that cannot—and will not—be defined on anything but their own terms. They are wealth-chasers, hucksters, and fame-hunters, desperate to escape their narrow prospects. They are the dreamers.
Award-winning journalist Snigdha Poonam traveled through the small towns of northern India to investigate the phenomenon that is India’s Generation Y. From dubious entrepreneurs to political aspirants, from starstruck strivers to masterly swindlers, these are the clickbaiters who create viral content for Facebook and the internet scammers who stalk you at home, but they are also defiant student union leaders determined to transform campus life. Poonam made her way—on carts and buses, in cars and trucks—through India’s badlands to uncover a theater of toxic masculinity, a spirited brew of ambition, and a hunger for change that is bound to drive the future of the country.