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Untimely Ruins

Untimely Ruins
Author: Nick Yablon
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Total Pages: 397
Release: 2010-06-15
Genre: Literary Criticism
ISBN: 0226946657

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American ruins have become increasingly prominent, whether in discussions of “urban blight” and home foreclosures, in commemorations of 9/11, or in postapocalyptic movies. In this highly original book, Nick Yablon argues that the association between American cities and ruins dates back to a much earlier period in the nation’s history. Recovering numerous scenes of urban desolation—from failed banks, abandoned towns, and dilapidated tenements to the crumbling skyscrapers and bridges envisioned in science fiction and cartoons—Untimely Ruins challenges the myth that ruins were absent or insignificant objects in nineteenth-century America. The first book to document an American cult of the ruin, Untimely Ruins traces its deviations as well as derivations from European conventions. Unlike classical and Gothic ruins, which decayed gracefully over centuries and inspired philosophical meditations about the fate of civilizations, America’s ruins were often “untimely,” appearing unpredictably and disappearing before they could accrue an aura of age. As modern ruins of steel and iron, they stimulated critical reflections about contemporary cities, and the unfamiliar kinds of experience they enabled. Unearthing evocative sources everywhere from the archives of amateur photographers to the contents of time-capsules, Untimely Ruins exposes crucial debates about the economic, technological, and cultural transformations known as urban modernity. The result is a fascinating cultural history that uncovers fresh perspectives on the American city.


Ruin Nation

Ruin Nation
Author: Megan Kate Nelson
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Total Pages: 353
Release: 2012-05-15
Genre: History
ISBN: 082034379X

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During the Civil War, cities, houses, forests, and soldiers’ bodies were transformed into “dead heaps of ruins,” novel sights in the southern landscape. How did this happen, and why? And what did Americans—northern and southern, black and white, male and female—make of this proliferation of ruins? Ruin Nation is the first book to bring together environmental and cultural histories to consider the evocative power of ruination as an imagined state, an act of destruction, and a process of change. Megan Kate Nelson examines the narratives and images that Americans produced as they confronted the war’s destructiveness. Architectural ruins—cities and houses—dominated the stories that soldiers and civilians told about the “savage” behavior of men and the invasions of domestic privacy. The ruins of living things—trees and bodies—also provoked discussion and debate. People who witnessed forests and men being blown apart were plagued by anxieties about the impact of wartime technologies on nature and on individual identities. The obliteration of cities, houses, trees, and men was a shared experience. Nelson shows that this is one of the ironies of the war’s ruination—in a time of the most extreme national divisiveness people found common ground as they considered the war’s costs. And yet, very few of these ruins still exist, suggesting that the destructive practices that dominated the experiences of Americans during the Civil War have been erased from our national consciousness.


The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Contemporary World

The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Contemporary World
Author: Paul Graves-Brown
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Total Pages: 864
Release: 2013-10-17
Genre: Social Science
ISBN: 0191663948

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It has been clear for many years that the ways in which archaeology is practised have been a direct product of a particular set of social, cultural, and historical circumstances - archaeology is always carried out in the present. More recently, however, many have begun to consider how archaeological techniques might be used to reflect more directly on the contemporary world itself: how we might undertake archaeologies of, as well as in the present. This Handbook is the first comprehensive survey of an exciting and rapidly expanding sub-field and provides an authoritative overview of the newly emerging focus on the archaeology of the present and recent past. In addition to detailed archaeological case studies, it includes essays by scholars working on the relationships of different disciplines to the archaeology of the contemporary world, including anthropology, psychology, philosophy, historical geography, science and technology studies, communications and media, ethnoarchaeology, forensic archaeology, sociology, film, performance, and contemporary art. This volume seeks to explore the boundaries of an emerging sub-discipline, to develop a tool-kit of concepts and methods which are applicable to this new field, and to suggest important future trajectories for research. It makes a significant intervention by drawing together scholars working on a broad range of themes, approaches, methods, and case studies from diverse contexts in different parts of the world, which have not previously been considered collectively.


Time and Literature

Time and Literature
Author: Thomas M. Allen
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Total Pages: 356
Release: 2018-03-29
Genre: Literary Criticism
ISBN: 1108397255

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Time and Literature features twenty essays on topics from aesthetics and narratology to globalisation and queer temporalities, and showcases how time studies, often referred to as 'the temporal turn', cut across and illuminate research in every field of literature, as well as interdisciplinary approaches drawing upon history, philosophy, anthropology, and the natural sciences. Part one, Origins, addresses fundamental issues that can be traced back to the beginnings of literary criticism. Part two, Developments, shows how thinking about Time has been crucial to various interpretive revolutions that have impacted literary theory. Part three, Application, illustrates the centrality of temporal theorising to literary criticism in a variety of contemporary approaches, from ecocriticism and new materialisms to media and archive studies. The first anthology to provide a synthesis of recent scholarship on the temporality of literary language from across different national and historical periods, Time and Literature will appeal to academic researchers and interested laypersons alike.


Empire of Ruins

Empire of Ruins
Author: Miles Orvell
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Total Pages: 256
Release: 2021-01-06
Genre: History
ISBN: 0190491612

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Once symbols of the past, ruins have become ubiquitous signs of our future. Americans today encounter ruins in the media on a daily basis--images of abandoned factories and malls, toxic landscapes, devastating fires, hurricanes, and floods. In this sweeping study, Miles Orvell offers a new understanding of the spectacle of ruins in US culture, exploring how photographers, writers, painters, and filmmakers have responded to ruin and destruction, both real and imaginary, in an effort to make sense of the past and envision the future. Empire of Ruins explains why Americans in the nineteenth century yearned for the ruins of Rome and Egypt and how they portrayed a past as ancient and mysterious in the remains of Native American cultures. As the romance of ruins gave way to twentieth-century capitalism, older structures were demolished to make way for grander ones, a process interpreted by artists as a symptom of America's "creative destruction." In the late twentieth century, Americans began to inhabit a perpetual state of ruins, made visible by photographs of decaying inner cities, derelict factories and malls, and the waste lands of the mining industry. This interdisciplinary work focuses on how visual media have transformed disaster and decay into spectacles that compel our moral attention even as they balance horror and beauty. Looking to the future, Orvell considers the visual portrayal of climate ruins as we face the political and ethical responsibilities of our changing world. A wide-ranging work by an acclaimed urban, cultural, and photography scholar, Empire of Ruins offers a provocative and lavishly illustrated look at the American past, present, and future.


Ruins in the Literary and Cultural Imagination

Ruins in the Literary and Cultural Imagination
Author: Efterpi Mitsi
Publisher: Springer Nature
Total Pages: 316
Release: 2019-11-28
Genre: Literary Criticism
ISBN: 3030269051

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This book focuses on literal and metaphorical ruins, as they are appropriated and imagined in different forms of writing. Examining British and American literature and culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the book begins in the era of industrial modernity with studies of Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Henry James and Daphne Du Maurier. It then moves on to the significance of ruins in the twentieth century, against the backdrop of conflict, waste and destruction, analyzing authors such as Beckett and Pinter, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton and Leonard Cohen. The collection concludes with current debates on ruins, through discussions of Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht, as well as reflections on the refugee crisis that take the ruin beyond the text, offering new perspectives on its diverse legacies and conceptual resources.


Remembrance of Things Present

Remembrance of Things Present
Author: Nick Yablon
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Total Pages: 415
Release: 2019-06-12
Genre: History
ISBN: 022657427X

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Time capsules offer unexpected insights into how people view their own time, place, and culture, as well as their duties to future generations. Remembrance of Things Present traces the birth of this device to the Gilded Age, when growing urban volatility prompted doubts about how the period would be remembered—or if it would be remembered at all. Yablon details how diverse Americans – from presidents and mayors to advocates for the rights of women, blacks, and workers – constructed prospective memories of their present. They did so by contributing not just written testimony to time capsules but also sources that historians and archivists considered illegitimate, such as photographs, phonograph records, films, and everyday artifacts. By offering a direct line to posterity, time capsules stimulated various hopes for the future. Remembrance of Things Present delves into these treasure chests to unearth those forgotten futures.


Ruin Memories

Ruin Memories
Author: Bjørnar Olsen
Publisher: Routledge
Total Pages: 511
Release: 2014-04-24
Genre: Social Science
ISBN: 1317695801

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Since the nineteenth century, mass-production, consumerism and cycles of material replacement have accelerated; increasingly larger amounts of things are increasingly victimized rapidly and made redundant. At the same time, processes of destruction have immensely intensified, although largely overlooked when compared to the research and social significance devoted to consumption and production. The outcome is a ruin landscape of derelict factories, closed shopping malls, overgrown bunkers and redundant mining towns; a ghostly world of decaying modern debris normally omitted from academic concerns and conventional histories. The archaeology of the recent or contemporary past has grown fast during the last decade. This development has been concurrent with a broader popular, artistic and scholarly interest in modern ruins in general. Ruin Memories explores how the ruins of modernity are conceived and assigned cultural value in contemporary academic and public discourses, reassesses the cultural and historical value of modern ruins and suggests possible means for reaffirming their cultural and historic significance. Crucial for this reassessment is a concern with decay and ruination, and with the role things play in expressing the neglected, unsuccessful and ineffable. Abandonment and ruination is usually understood negatively through the tropes of loss and deprivation; things are degraded and humiliated while the information, knowledge and memory embedded in them become lost along the way. Without even ignoring its many negative and traumatizing aspects, a main question addressed in this book is whether ruination also can be seen as an act of disclosure. If ruination disturbs the routinized and ready-to-hand, to what extent can it also be seen as a recovery of memory as exposing meanings and presences that perhaps are only possible to grasp at second hand when no longer immersed in their withdrawn and useful reality? Anybody interested in the archaeology of the contemporary past will find Ruin Memories an essential guide to the very latest theoretical research in this emerging field of archaeological thought.


The World Refugees Made

The World Refugees Made
Author: Pamela Ballinger
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Total Pages: 332
Release: 2020-03-15
Genre: History
ISBN: 1501747606

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In The World Refugees Made, Pamela Ballinger explores Italy's remaking in light of the loss of a wide range of territorial possessions—colonies, protectorates, and provinces—in Africa and the Balkans, the repatriation of Italian nationals from those territories, and the integration of these "national refugees" into a country devastated by war and overwhelmed by foreign displaced persons from Eastern Europe. Post-World War II Italy served as an important laboratory, in which categories differentiating foreign refugees (who had crossed national boundaries) from national refugees (those who presumably did not) were debated, refined, and consolidated. Such distinctions resonated far beyond that particular historical moment, informing legal frameworks that remain in place today. Offering an alternative genealogy of the postwar international refugee regime, Ballinger focuses on the consequences of one of its key omissions: the ineligibility from international refugee status of those migrants who became classified as national refugees. The presence of displaced persons also posed the complex question of who belonged, culturally and legally, in an Italy that was territorially and politically reconfigured by decolonization. The process of demarcating types of refugees thus represented a critical moment for Italy, one that endorsed an ethnic conception of identity that citizenship laws made explicit. Such an understanding of identity remains salient, as Italians still invoke language and race as bases of belonging in the face of mass immigration and ongoing refugee emergencies. Ballinger's analysis of the postwar international refugee regime and Italian decolonization illuminates the study of human rights history, humanitarianism, postwar reconstruction, fascism and its aftermaths, and modern Italian history.


Writing Postcommunism

Writing Postcommunism
Author: D. Williams
Publisher: Springer
Total Pages: 231
Release: 2013-08-16
Genre: Literary Criticism
ISBN: 1137330082

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Moving through the elegiac ruins of the Berlin Wall and the Yugoslav disintegration, Writing Postcommunism explores literary evocations of the pervasive disappointment and mourning that have marked the postcommunist twilight.