Monthly Archives: May 2008

The collective history of the AACM

May 2, 2008
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The collective history of the AACM

Today’s New York Times is running a piece on author George E. Lewis’s new book, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music—the authoritative historical account of one of America’s most influential avant-garde jazz collectives. Founded in 1965, many icons of the avant garde, musicians like Anthony Braxton and Leo Wadada Smith, have joined its ranks. And many of them continue to play as members of the collective today. The NYT article includes information on several upcoming events in NYC including a special book release concert happening next Friday (May 9th) at the Community Church of New York. From the NYT: The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, an organization that has fostered some of the most vital American avant-garde music of the last 40 years. Though noncommercial, often pointedly conceptual and unabashedly arcane, this music has had a profound influence over the years on several generations of experimental musicians worldwide. The scene plays out vividly in A Power Stronger Than Itself: The A.A.C.M. and Experimental Music, an important book by the trombonist-composer-scholar George Lewis due out from the University of Chicago Press this month. Reconstructing that inaugural meeting from audio tapes, Mr. Lewis conveys . . .

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Press Release: Rosenberg, The Hollow Hope

May 2, 2008
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Press Release: Rosenberg, The Hollow Hope

Soon after The Hollow Hope’s initial publication, a reviewer declared that “one may not always agree with Rosenberg’s book, but it will be impossible to ignore it. It should set the terms of the debate about the role of the Supreme Court during the last decade of the twentieth century.” Having fulfilled all of this promise and then some during nearly two decades of intense argument over its conclusions, The Hollow Hope now returns—substantially expanded and updated—to chart the course of twenty-first century debate about whether courts can spur political and social reform. With new chapters that respond to his critics and address the courts’ role in the struggle for same-sex marriage rights, Gerald Rosenberg emphatically reasserts his powerful contention that it’s nearly impossible to generate significant reforms through litigation. The reason? American courts are ineffective and relatively weak—far from the uniquely powerful sources for change they’re often portrayed as. Rosenberg supports this claim by documenting the direct and secondary effects of key court decisions—particularly Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade. Further illuminating these cases, as well as the ongoing fight for same-sex marriage rights, he also marshals impressive evidence to overturn the common assumption that even . . .

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Baboons in mind

May 1, 2008
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Baboons in mind

Writing for the May 15 New York Review of Books A.C. Grayling begins his review of several books on primatology with a brief retrospective of the work of Dr. Jane Goodall. Along with several of her contemporaries—Grayling cites paleoanthropologist Louis Leaky, and zoologist Dian Fossey among others—Goodall’s research on primate’s social behavior helped to shed light on the connections between humanity and our nearest living ancestors. And since her groundbreaking study at Tanzania’s Gombe National Park, many other scientists have continued in the same vein, gaining further insights into primates social lives and, in turn, giving us new and deeper insights into our own. As a worthy example Grayling cites Robert M. Seyfarth and Dorothy L. Cheney’s most recent book Baboon Metaphysics: The Evolution of a Social Mind. Grayling writes: Baboon Metaphysics, by Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth, shows how far ethology has come since Jane Goodall’s early years at Gombe. An account of Cheney’s and Seyfarth’s field research into the social interactions of baboons, this is an impressive story, not just because of the care that went into the observations and experiments they record, but also in the philosophical sophistication of their thinking about the mental life of baboons. . . .

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Press Release: Campbell and Jamieson, Presidents Creating the Presidency

May 1, 2008
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Press Release: Campbell and Jamieson, Presidents Creating the Presidency

Former President Bill Clinton said earlier this year that the choice facing 2008 Democratic primary voters is not “change versus experience,” but rather “words versus deeds, talk versus action, rhetoric versus reality.” No matter who becomes the next President, though, he or she will continue the long presidential tradition of acting through words to increase and sustain the powers of the executive branch. When it comes to shaping the highest office in the land, Karlyn Kohrs Campbell and Kathleen Hall Jamieson reveal, deeds are done in words, and rhetoric can change reality. In Presidents Creating the Presidency, Campbell and Jamieson expand and recast their classic Deeds Done in Words for the YouTube era, revealing how our media-saturated age has transformed the continuously evolving rhetorical strategies that increase or deplete political capital by enhancing presidential authority or ceding it to other branches. Covering chief executives from George Washington to George W. Bush, the authors add new analyses of signing statements and national eulogies to their explorations of inaugural addresses, veto messages, and war rhetoric, among other genres of presidential oratory. For two centuries, these rhetorical acts have succeeded brilliantly and failed miserably at satisfying the demands of audience, occasion, and institution. . . .

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