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Tracking Skilled Diasporas

Globalization, Brain Drain, and the Postcolonial Condition in Nigeria

Nduka Otiono

This essay examines the trajectories of skilled labor migrants within a global South-North migration matrix using an interdisciplinary framework. Focusing on Nigeria's huge brain drain phenomenon, the essay draws from the limited available data on the field, interpreting those data through theoretical perspectives from postcolonial studies, Marxism, cultural studies, and human geography. The study spotlights the example of the United States of America as a receptacle of skilled migrants and raises questions of social justice along the North-South divide. The research demonstrates that contrary to the dominant image promoted by some elements in the Western media of migrants as irritants or criminals who disturb well-cultivated, advanced World economies and social spaces, 1 those nations benefit highly from Africa's (and other migrant countries') labor diasporas, especially the highly skilled professionals.

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The relationship between the nature of institutions and principles of justice and right action has always been central to political studies. It lies at the heart of normative political theory. Major changes in the perceived structure of institutions or patterns of human interaction, or significant events that challenge our political imagination, tend to heighten our awareness of this complex relationship. The last decade of the 20th century, and early years of the 21st, have witnessed many such events and changes. One need only mention Al Qaeda’s attacks on the United States of America and its activities elsewhere, the United States’ response to these attacks by invading Afghanistan and toppling the Taliban and the decision by the United States—taken under false pretexts—to invade Iraq and effect ‘regime change’ there.

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Gendering the Cold War in the Region

An Email Conversation between Malgorzata (Gosia) Fidelis, Renata Jambrešić Kirin, Jill Massino, and Libora Oates-Indruchova

Malgorzata Fidelis, Renata Jambrešic´ Kirin, Jill Massino, and Libora Oates-Indruchova

Although historians have established that gender was a crucial element of the Cold War competition between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, there is not much historical literature yet exploring that aspect of the Cold War. Even less literature specifically addresses the role of gender and/in the Cold War in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE), the region that Aspasia covers. Since Aspasia’s first issue (2007), each volume has had a Forum, though in different formats. This Forum, based on an email exchange conducted over several months between four regional experts, addresses questions about gender and/in the history and historiography of the Cold War in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Of these countries, the first three were Soviet dominated, but Yugoslavia, after the Tito–Stalin split in 1948, developed its own branch of state socialism.

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'Yidishe Dikhterins'

The Emergence of Modern Women's Poetry in Yiddish and Rokhl Korn's Poetic Debut

Heather Valencia

The 1920s saw the debut of a considerable number of female poets writing in Yiddish in Europe and the United States of America. This article briefly considers the emergence of modern Yiddish women's poetry, and the importance of Ezra Korman's Yidishe dikhterins, an anthology of their work published in Chicago in 1928, before turning to one of the poets represented there, Rokhl H. Korn. The article considers her unusual family background and upbringing on a farm in rural Poland, which fostered the development of her poetic talent. Through analysis of several significant poems, the character of her early work is revealed: a combination of deep empathy with the natural world, free expression of female sexuality, and a sensitive evocation of the lives and emotions of the people of her childhood village, both Poles and Jews. Her later poetry incorporates the Holocaust and the pain of exile, but the more controlled work of her maturity is rooted in the rich and passionate poetry of her youth. One of the leading female Yiddish lyric poets of the 20th century, Korn exemplifies the freedom to express individual creativity and female sensibility which women writers in Yiddish discovered in the inter-war years.

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Making the Case for Kleptocratic Oligarchy

(as the Dominant Form of Rule in the United States)

Donald M. Nonini

Mainstream pundits, the media, and many academics represent the United States of America’s political system as a democracy, and the vast majority of its middle- and upper-middle-class citizens certainly think it is. I would like to argue against this idea, to propose instead that the US form of rule at present is not a democracy but instead an emergent kleptocratic oligarchy. According to the Webster’s Third International Dictionary (1976), this is “despotic power exercised by a privileged clique,” one moreover devoted at the most mundane level to kleptocracy, or rule while engaged in plunder of the public treasury. This emergent oligarchy is the undeclared alternative base of rule to the demos or ‘people’, whose organized governance constitutes a democracy. Although kleptocratic oligarchical rule is not entirely new to the US—the ‘Gilded Age’ from the 1880s to 1910, marked by corporate ascendancy and control of the US Senate, was very similar in many respects (Phillips 2004: 236–242)—I would argue that the contemporary American oligarchy has new strategies, organization, and objectives.

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Actualising History

Responsibilities with Regard to the Future in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Aamir Aziz and Frans Willem Korsten

Whereas prior studies have focused on Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible in relation to the Puritan past of the United States of America, this article looks at the play’s present in relation to a future. If, as is the case, the play is an intervention in its contemporary circumstances, this is obviously with the aim of moving towards a better future. The question then becomes: how does the play deal with the past in the way that the Salem trials (1692) relate, by means of a theatrical intervention, to a future? In the twentieth century the relation of theatre, and of theatricality in general, with the future was paradigmatically explored in the work of Bertolt Brecht. In his view, the role of theatre was to produce a distance, not an unreflexive and emotional involvement in a plot. This distance or alienation was necessary to make people see behind the scenes of the socio-political and economic system, as a result of which they would start to think and become able to act in order to change the course of history. This appears to be an essential strategy as well if we think about the powers of spectacle, as they have been dealt with in previous studies in performance research, and a possible theatrical response to them.

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Agents, Spectators, and Social Hope

Richard Rorty and American Intellectuals

Marek Kwiek

Rorty wrote his Achieving Our Country as a philosopher, intellectual, academic and citizen, and each of these perspectives lead to a different emphasis in reading his book, and to a different story (and ‘storytelling’ is one of the themes of the book). The emergent pictures vary: the philosopher tells a story of the growing isolation and cultural sterility of analytic philosophy in the United States of America after the Second World War; the intellectual tells a story of the political bareness and practical uselessness of (the majority of) American leftist intellectuals in the context of the emerging new global order at the turn of the 21st century; the academic tells the story about humanities’ departments at American universities, especially departments of literature and cultural studies, and their students, and contrasts their possible future fate with the past fate of departments of analytical philosophy and their students; and, finally, the citizen tells a story about the nationhood, politics, patriotism, reformism (as well as the inherent dangers and opportunities of globalization). Rorty plays the four descriptions off against one another perfectly and Achieving Our Country represents him at his very best: Rorty is passionate, inspiring, uncompromising, biting and very relevant to current public debates. Owing to the intelligent combination of the above perspectives, the clarity and elegance of his prose, and (although not revealed directly) the wide philosophical background provided by his new pragmatism, the book differs from a dozen others written in the 1990s about the American academy and American intellectuals. It also sheds new and interesting light on Rorty’s pragmatism, providing an excellent example of the application of his philosophical views. One has to note that, generally, it is almost impossible to think of any piece written by Rorty outside of the context of his philosophy, and Achieving Our Country is no exception to this rule.

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Raphaël De Kadt

This edition of Theoria is being assembled at a time of war. The government of the United States of America is projecting, through force, its power in the Middle East. The invasion of Iraq has been presented as a war of liberation. Its principal declared purpose has become the emancipation of the Iraqi people from tyrannical rule. Whatever the pretexts, declared and imputed, for the decision to go to war – which have ranged from the desire to disarm Saddam’s regime of its weapons of mass destruction to securing control of Iraqi oil supplies – there is little doubt that this is primarily an attempt to politically ‘reengineer’ an entire region. As such it fits neatly with the doctrine, articulated by the neo-conservative authors associated with the Project for the New American Century, which presses for the creation of an enduring, twenty-first century pax Americana of global reach. In their view, it is imperative that the United States does not lose the military supremacy it currently enjoys. No superpower that might challenge it should be allowed to emerge. To this end, the present war entails an attempt to erect a ‘coercive carapace’ across the Middle East, stretching from Israel in the west through to Afghanistan or indeed perhaps even India – a potentially ‘natural’ ally – in the east. Iraq is the centrally located landmass on which this exercise will first be tested, and from which it will be extended. This bold endeavour is concerned, in its own way, to ‘make the world safe for democracy’ and, by extension, American interests.

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Texts in Dialogue

Introduction

United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Diederik F. Janssen

2014) and leaders (as of 2015), it retains a no-girls-allowed policy for its Scouts (apart from a ban on atheists and agnostics from leader positions; unlike the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, BSA does not seem to have offered a policy