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Tracing literary sites of activism
Author: John Kinsella

The essential purpose of my work is to challenge familiar topoi and normatives of poetic activity as they pertain to environmental, humanitarian and textual activism in ‘the world-at-large’: to show how ambiguity can be a generative force when it works from a basis of non-ambiguity of purpose. The ‘disambiguation’ is a major difference with all other critical works on generative ambiguities: I state there is a clear unambiguous position to have regarding issues of justice, but that from confirmed points, ambiguity can be an intense and useful activist tool. There is an undoing of an apparent paradox of text in terms of ‘in the real world’ activism. It becomes an issue of consequences arising from creative work and positioning. Whether in discussing a particular literary text or ‘event in the world’, I make use of creative texts at specific sites of a broader, intertextual and interconnected activism.

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John Kinsella

Society’, I write, ‘I want textual analysis to lead to an articulation of defiance against forces of exclusion and oppression. The university might well have an official policy of supporting cultural, gender, ethnic and even political diversity, but it will never support a position that resists the administrative bedrock upon which it is based.’ Concluding the section is ‘The truth should be in the blurb’, in which I argue that documents of support (blurbs, encomiums, reference letters etc) should operate as an extension of

in Beyond Ambiguity
Marie Mulvey-Roberts

important space of speculation for Carter. A perusal of Angela Carter’s journals in the archives at the British Library, reveals a repetition of the words ‘short story’, accompanied by fragments of poetry, fictional blurbs, reflections and quotations. Short narrative seems to have functioned as a sort of laboratory in which she could play with ideas, and spin out critical fictions that challenge the reader’s perception of generic identity. The intermedial thrust of her writings acts in synergy with the generic experimentation present in much of Carter’s short fiction

in The arts of Angela Carter
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The Oxford Amnesty Lectures 2008
Editor: Wes Williams

This book addresses the relationship between human rights and religion. The original blurb for the Oxford Amnesty Lectures of 2008 invited speakers and audiences to ponder arguments for the God-given source of human rights. The book explains how biblical inspiration (both Old and New Testament) fuelled the anti-slavery protests and later the civil rights movement in the United States. It develops the particular relevance, for arguments over human rights within Islam, of the writings of the medieval philosopher Muhammad al-Ghazali who justified an openness towards constructive engagement with other traditions. The book shows where the philosophical worldviews that inform the religion of Islam and the rights discourse may be distant from each other. It illustrates the challenge of taking the real world of human practice seriously while avoiding simplistic arguments for pluralism or relativism. The book focuses on Simon Schama's evocation of the religious fervour which helped feed the long struggles for liberation among American slave communities. It discusses the understanding of human rights in the Roman Catholic tradition. The book also shows that the Christian experience of Pentecost and what it means to learn to speak as well as understand another's language, is a continuing resource God has given the church to sustain the ability to suffer as well as respond to those who suffer for the long haul. The book argues that moral progress consists in the universalisation of Western liberal democracy with its specific understanding of human rights.

South Africa in the post-imperial metropole
Laura Chrisman

-century feminist Olive Schreiner, the Ruth First prison memoirs, Steve Biko’s collection of writings. The topical interest in South African political activists Steve Biko and Ruth First was compounded by their rendition into film: these publications were timed to coincide with the release of biopics, Richard Attenborough’s Cry Freedom and Chris Menges’s A World Apart. I focus here on the cultural labour of blurb writers. Their efforts to render non-commercial books into cross-over commodities – and, more generally, to make South Africa resonate with metropolitan white

in Postcolonial contraventions
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Writing American sexual histories
Author: Barry Reay

The archive has assumed a new significance in the history of sex, and this book visits a series of such archives, including the Kinsey Institute’s erotic art; gay masturbatory journals in the New York Public Library; the private archive of an amateur pornographer; and one man’s lifetime photographic dossier on Baltimore hustlers. The subject topics covered are wide-ranging: the art history of homoeroticism; casual sex before hooking-up; transgender; New York queer sex; masturbation; pornography; sex in the city. The duality indicated by the book’s title reflects its themes. It is an experiment in writing an American sexual history that refuses the confines of identity sexuality studies, spanning the spectrum of queer, trans, and the allegedly ‘normal’. What unites this project is a fascination with sex at the margins, refusing the classificatory frameworks of heterosexuality and homosexuality, and demonstrating gender and sexual indecision and flexibility. And the book is also an exploration of the role of the archive in such histories. The sex discussed is located both in the margins of the archives, what has been termed the counterarchive, but also, importantly, in the pockets of recorded desire located in the most traditional and respectable repositories. The sexual histories in this book are those where pornography and sexual research are indistinguishable; where personal obsession becomes tomorrow’s archive. The market is potentially extensive: those interested in American studies, sexuality studies, contemporary history, the history of sex, psychology, anthropology, sociology, gender studies, queer studies, trans studies, pornography studies, visual studies, museum studies, and media studies.

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A history of northern soul

This book is a social history of northern soul. It examines the origins and development of this music scene, its clubs, publications and practices, by locating it in the shifting economic and social contexts of the English midlands and north in the 1970s. The popularity of northern soul emerged in a period when industrial working-class communities were beginning to be transformed by deindustrialisation and the rise of new political movements around the politics of race, gender and locality. The book makes a significant contribution to the historiography of youth culture, popular music and everyday life in post-war Britain. The authors draw on an expansive range of sources including magazines/fanzines, diaries, letters, and a comprehensive oral history project to produce a detailed, analytical and empathetic reading of an aspect of working-class culture that was created and consumed by thousands of young men and women in the 1970s. A range of voices appear throughout the book to highlight the complexity of the role of class, race and gender, locality and how such identities acted as forces for both unity and fragmentation on the dance floors of iconic clubs such as the Twisted Wheel (Manchester), the Torch (Stoke-on-Trent), the Catacombs (Wolverhampton) and the Casino (Wigan).

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Renate Günther

emphasis on verbal and vocal as well as visual forms of expression. Both the blurb on the cover of the English translation of L’Amant and Annaud’s film created the mistaken assumption that the book belonged to a certain well-worn tradition of female-authored, semi-pornographic novels. Although the film does attempt to convey the desire and sexual passion evoked in the novel, the explicit and monotonously

in Marguerite Duras
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

any that match closely. To help you get a sense of what each item covers, use the abstracts of journal articles, which are commonly available without having to look up the complete article. Augment that with checking the ‘blurb’ on the backs of books or the dust jacket, for which you probably no longer need to hold the book in your hand, since publishers typically publish such paragraphs on their websites. Some people find it helps to make a new document in which to list items that look promising for the essay – a list of ‘possible things to read’. Start with just a

in The craft of writing in sociology
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Tradition, translation,and the global market for Native American literatures
David Stirrup

/their representativeness. Here, critics, particularly Native critics, more readily pick up what they find problematic, even distasteful, about her brand. If such commercial language is provocative, it is intended to be. It very much reflects Cook-Lynn’s concerns about Dorris’s enterprise, for instance, not least because he also became Erdrich’s literary agent. It reflects David Treuer’s objections to the easy, often clichéd cultural assumptions about her work. The jacket blurb to Books and Islands stands as partial testament to such colouration: ‘In this world, where her Ojibwe

in Louise Erdrich