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Amir Harrak

This volume, a contribution to the emergent interdisciplinary field of Kurdish Studies, is an engagement with the politics, culture and history of the Kurds. Sections of the book treat the Kurds in medieval and modern history, including the contemporary ‘Arab Spring’, as well as their language, culture and geography and historiographical issues. Individual chapters focus on the rich cultural history of the Kurds, their language, literary history, their political struggle for self-determination and the participation of women in the resistance movement, and on the encounters of missionaries with Kurdish society as well as on the poetics and politics of the Kurds and Palestinians. The first section examines the contribution to Kurdish scholarship of Professor Amir Hassanpour to Kurdish scholarship, and this anthology is dedicated to his memory. Professor Hassanpour was a prominent Marxist scholar whose revolutionary commitment to preserve, enrich and expand Kurdish History, culture and struggle is inspirational.

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The Politics of Lockdowns, Masks, and Vaccines

The Trump Administration and the Coronavirus

Michael Haas

The disastrous handling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in the United States calls out for an explanation of who is to blame for a disease that could have been contained but instead became an epidemic. Donald Trump, who plays so many roles in life, was unable to fathom how to deal with the problem, but others in his administration made serious mistakes as well. Readers will discover the scope of the errors in an entirely factual, chronological account from the first word about the outbreak to the last day of the Trump administration. The narrative begins by identifying 13 roles that Trump played as president. The discovery of Covid-19 is identified next. The Trump administration was unprepared to do the same and took inappropriate actions in the early stage, notably refusing to use a widely used test for 46 critical days. Congressional economic relief is also identified. States, forced to design their own programs due to federal inaction, then differed widely, resulting in a spread from the coasts to the heartland. Decisions to end lockdowns prematurely meant yet another surge. Trump promoted snake oil remedies, denigrated science and scientists, but wisely poured money into pharmaceutical firms to develop vaccines. People adversely affected are identified statistically. The book concludes by summarizing what each person and organization did to harm or help efforts to deal with Covid-19, leaving the final assessment to the reader who has absorbed all the facts during the Trump administration.
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Edited by Stefan Mayr and Andreas Orator

In many parts of today’s world, populist politics increasingly challenge traditional constitutionalist conceptions. The present volume provides a variety of perspectives on democratic decay and the erosion of the rule of law, on the re-emergence of popular sovereignty as a political category, and on public reason in an age of ‘post-truthism’, focusing on the CEE region and South Eastern Europe. With each contribution approaching the subject from its individual angle and having its original ‘tone’, the volume combines theoretical insights and in-depth analyses of current developments in selected polities.

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Edited by Mariam Agah

The main theme of A Ray of the Qur’ān is reflected in Sayyed Mahmoud Taleghani's unique and all-encompassing approach of using root definitions of key Qur’ānic terms as the basis for his illumination of the Qur’ān. Taleghani's  method mirrors his thesis that drawing on the light of the Qur’ān along with authentic prophetic tradition, sound theological argument, and a grasp of ethics, science, and human history reveals the observable interconnectedness in nature that exists on an individual and societal level and is constantly evolving as unified creation of one Creator.

The relationship of humanity to the rest of creation as discussed in A Ray of the Qur’ān elicits individual and societal human responsibility to know, care for, preserve, and promote both human society and all of nature in a just, fair, and morally balanced manner. Taleghani holds that the creator of the physical world and its human inhabitants lovingly and justly offers a blueprint and manual for action, and central to that is the Qur’ān. Nonetheless, according to Taleghani’s own humble estimation, his work should not be described as an interpretation, explanation or explication but an effort to allow glimpses of divine guidance to shine on minds and hearts.

A Ray of the Qur’ān will shift the academic discourse around studies of Islam and the Qur’ān, including within Islamic institutions. It offers a compelling and unique approach to theology, comparative religious studies, ethics, environmental studies, and Arabic studies.

 

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Moustapha Fall

This book examines literacy education in Senegal. It assesses some of the impacts of French policies on the overall Senegalese system of education, including some of the language policies championed by a cohort of Senegalese authorities from 1960 until 2012. It begins with a definition of the concept of literacy education in general to briefly set the scene of the early resistance this encountered in West Africa particularly in Senegal. It discusses the major language policies undertaken by presidents Leopold Sedar Senghor, Abdou Diouf, and Abdoulaye Wade. Finally, the book assesses the major impacts of France's literacy policies on the current system of education in Senegal and proposes solutions on how to help Senegal and the rest of the West African countries put in place a rigorous literacy education that benefits their population.

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Star Trek and Popular Culture

Television at the Frontier of Social and Political Change in the 1950s-1960s

George A. Gonzalez

The 1960s (a.k.a. the 60s) remains a terrain of contemporary politics—with the values of period embraced or rejected, as well as differently interpreted. Popular culture is an important means to understand and analyze the political issues and controversies surrounding the 60s—egalitarianism, equality (civil rights, feminism), as well as anti-communism. In important and key instances popular culture (especially Star Trek [1966-1969]) was at the forefront of the progressive politics of the 60s. This book engages and analyzes the ongoing 60s through popular culture. The 60s is a pivotal period in American and world history—as the United States during this time turned away from white supremacy as official ideology. Also, the American public decidedly soured on U.S. military adventurism—as evidenced by broad public opposition to a military draft. Additionally, women (as a result of the feminism of the era) gained greater access to the public sphere and increased personal autonomy—non-discrimination (and anti-harassment) rules, abortion rights, and no fault divorce. Popular culture is philosophically significant because it allows people to cogitate reasons in the world—especially in the social, political realm. The creators of popular culture will often seek to offer the public authentic art, and much of the public seeks out authentic art. This makes American popular culture (in its finer forms) a viable source material about reason in the world.  In this book the author doesn't  seek to deconstruct popular culture; instead, he seeks to identify and analyze the reasons in the world depicted in it.
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The Ten Pillars of American Democracy

Has the United States Become a Pseudo-Democracy?

Michael Haas

Democracy rests on ten pillars. However, they have fallen in the United States because both major political parties have strayed from the concept of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. One party wants to recreate life in the past, while the other party appeals to the economic self-interest of specific groups. The coup on January 6, 2021, has prompted a fundamental analysis of what has gone wrong, but proposed corrections have failed to strengthen belief in democracy.

The fundamental pillars are of two types—preconditions and the structure of government. The preconditions are a strong middle and working class, belief in liberal and social democracy, an informed citizenry, a vibrant civil society, and a Constitution prescribing equal justice. Governments must have legislatures with integrity, an independent and competent bureaucracy and civil society, an executive who acts with civility, and free and fair elections. In each case, the trend had been away from democracy.

According to the Mass Society Paradigm, democracy works best when the voices of the people are aggregated into coherent programs by political parties, which seek majority approval and then demand action by government to solve problems, with the information media performing an oversight over the political process and government actions. But in the United States, some individuals are so cultural desperate that they have supported politicians favoring extreme measures to end democracy by paying attention to alternative concepts of reality. If ever achieved, corrective measures will take decades.

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Santos Zárate, the protagonist of the novel Zárate, was a venezuelan highwayman whose stronghold was in the forest of Güere, and who terrorized the Valleys of Aragua for some twelve years. He was a historical figure.The action of the novel takes place in 1825, a few years after Venezuela had sealed its independence from Spain by defeating the Spanish forces at the Battle of Carabobo, June 24, 1821. At this time, General Francisco José de Paula Santander, was Vicepresident of the Gran Colombia, the conglomerate of Colombia and Venezuela that had fought Spain for its freedom. General José Antonio Páez governed the Venezuelan region, with his headquarters in Valencia; and the entire nation readied itself to confront the great scourge of the times, the terrible and feared marauders that sowed apprehension and terror among the residents of the Valleys of Aragua.

There is in the novel the exaltation of an elite agrarian way of life, idyllic, edenic, that contrasts vividly with the violence of life in the llanos and, especially, with the activities of the highwaymen. Moreover, there is a delicate love story that develops pari passu with the official activities of the main protagonists. The development of the female characters may seem a bit quaint for today’s tastes, though they are beautiful and carefully drawn.

An irrepressible humor, at times subtle, pervades the entire novel.

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A Ray of the Qur’ān: Selected Essays of Sayyed Mahmoud Taleghani, Volume I

Sūrah Al-Fātiḥah/1 and Sūrah Al-Baqarah/2: 1-143

Edited by Mariam Agah

The study and explanation of Sūrah Al-Fātihah and verses 1-143 of Sūrah Al-Baqara make up Volume I of A Ray of the Qur’ān. Sayyed Mahmoud Taleghani follows the traditional ordinal presentation of these two chapters of the Qur’ān. Appropriately, he begins his commentary with the first Sūrah: "The Opening.” He considers this Sūrah to be an invitation to people to recognize their creator and sustainer by knowing Allah’s attribute of mercy and as the giver of guidance to the straight path. Likewise, Taleghani invites people through another name given to this Sūrah, Al Hamd/The Praise, to praise their Lord exclusively. 

Taleghani’s approach to the Qur’ān is holistic. This is evident in his reading of the initial five verses of Sūrah Al-Baqara as containing the foundational, pivotal notions that inform the grand ideas and the details of not only the rest of the Sūrah, but indeed the entire Qur’ān. The word taqwā, used in Sūrah Al-Baqara and throughout the Qur’ān, is sometimes translated as piety or fear of God but the full breadth of the term, as Taleghani shows, is better expressed in the phrase "to safeguard oneself with full awareness of divine laws." Those who show taqwā are made aware of the prophetic mission, and are assured of the hereafter if they accept and follow it in their thoughts and deeds. Thus, the reader is introduced in Sūrah Al-Baqara to Taleghani’s vision of the Qur’ān, whereby, a ray from this book is said to touch the minds and hearts of those with taqwa and to launch them on their search for the truth. This is one way Taleghani distinguishes the Holy Qur’ān from other books.

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Edited by Jenice L. View and Andrea Guiden Pittman

This volume provides pre-service teachers, in- service teachers, social studies methods teachers, and college level social studies content faculty a variety of resources for teaching and learning about the New Deal Era. Written with teachers in mind, each chapter introduces content that both addresses and disrupts master narratives concerning the historical significance of the New Deal era, while offering a creative pedagogical approach to reconciling instructional challenges. The book offers teachers a variety of ways to engage middle and high school students in economic and political arguments about American capitalism and the role of the federal government in defining and sustaining capitalism, as sparked by President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal policies. Among the significant actors in the chapters are women, Indigenous/Native, African-descended, Latinx, Asian Pacific Island and LGBTQ+ people. The New Deal generation included farmers, sharecroppers, industrial workers, and homemakers who were more willing than ever to question the capitalists and politicians in official leadership, and also willing to demand an economy and government that served the working and middle classes, as well as the wealthy. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal offered such a promise. For some, he was considered a class traitor who went too far. To others, he was considered a coward who did not go far enough. The legacies of the New Deal inform much of the public debate of the early 21st century and are, therefore, relevant for classroom examination.