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New Books: November 2012
A selection from the most recent titles added to the SMCM Library
Dancer Janet Collins, born in New Orleans in 1917 and raised in Los Angeles, soared high over the color line as the first African-American prima ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera. Night's Dancer chronicles the life of this extraordinary and elusive woman, who became a unique concert dance soloist as well as a black trailblazer in the white world of classical ballet.
Papist Patriots considers how and why colonial Catholics embraced the individualistic, rights-oriented ideology of the American Revolution, in spite of the fact that the Revolution's rhetoric was riddled with anti-Catholicism, and even though Catholicism has had an uneasy relationship with Enlightenment liberalism until very recently.
Why are some nations rich and others poor? Is it culture, the weather, geography? Perhaps ignorance of the right policies? Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it).
In Photography and Anthropology, Christopher Pinney presents a provocative and readable account of the strikingly parallel histories of the two disciplines, as well as a polemical narrative and overview of the use of photography by anthropologists from the 1840s to the present. Walter Benjamin suggested that photography “make[s] the difference between technology and magic visible as a thoroughly historical variable,” and Pinney here explores photography as a divinatory practice that prompted anthropologists to capture the “primitive” lives of those they studied.
"A complete guide to all phases of documentary production, this is an essential handbook for student filmmakers and professional documentarians alike. Written in concise language and easy reference, the text provides a progression of real-world learning skills, including organization and design. Also itemized is the necessary equipment, with technical information for universal comprehension of equipment and application"
"In this wide-ranging work, Caspar Hirschi offers new perspectives on the origins of nationalism and the formation of European nations. Based on extensive study of written and visual sources dating from the ancient to the early modern period, the author re-integrates the history of pre-modern Europe into the study of nationalism, describing it as an unintended and unavoidable consequence of the legacy of Roman imperialism in the Middle Ages."
This book chronicles the demise of the supposedly leftist Italian cultural establishment during the long 1980s. During that time, the nation's literary and intellectual vanguard managed to lose the prominence handed it after the end of World War II and the defeat of Fascism. What emerged instead was a uniquely Italian brand of cultural capital that deliberately avoided any critical questioning of the prevailing order. Ricciardi criticizes the development of this new hegemonic arrangement in film, literature, philosophy, and art criticism.
Digital Visual Effects in Cinema counters [an] alarmist reading, by showing how digital effects–driven films should be understood as a continuation of the narrative and stylistic traditions that have defined American cinema for decades. Stephen Prince argues for an understanding of digital technologies as an expanded toolbox, available to enhance both realist films and cinematic fantasies. He offers a detailed exploration of each of these tools, from lighting technologies to image capture to stereoscopic 3D. Integrating aesthetic, historical, and theoretical analyses of digital visual effects, Digital Visual Effects in Cinema is an essential guide for understanding movie-making today.
More than 800,000 Soviet women fought against Hitler’s onslaught during the ’Great Patriotic War,’ 1941-45. Female participation in military conflict on such a scale is historically unique. This is the first comprehensive study of the hitherto largely hidden history of the crucial role women played in the defeat of fascism on the Eastern Front
A pioneer of LGBTQ studies dares to suggest that gayness is a way of being that gay men must learn from one another to become who they are. The genius of gay culture resides in some of its most despised stereotypes--aestheticism, snobbery, melodrama, glamour, caricatures of women, and obsession with mothers--and in the social meaning of style.