Cultures of Darkness: Night Travels in the Histories of Transgression

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9781583670279: Cultures of Darkness: Night Travels in the Histories of Transgression

Peasants, religious heretics, witches, pirates, runaway slaves, prostitutes and pornographers, frequenters of taverns and fraternal society lodge rooms, revolutionaries, blues and jazz musicians, beats, and contemporary youth gangs--those who defied authority, choosing to live outside the defining cultural dominions of early insurgent and, later, dominant capitalism are what Bryan D. Palmer calls people of the night. These lives of opposition, or otherness, were seen by the powerful as deviant, rejecting authority, and consequently threatening to the established order.

Constructing a rich historical tapestry of example and experience spanning eight centuries, Palmer details lives of exclusion and challenge, as the "night travels" of the transgressors clash repeatedly with the powerful conventions of their times. Nights of liberation and exhilarating desire--sexual and social--are at the heart of this study. But so too are the dangers of darkness, as marginality is coerced into corners of pressured confinement, or the night is used as a cover for brutalizing terror, as was the case in Nazi Germany or the lynching of African Americans.

Making extensive use of the interdisciplinary literature of marginality found in scholarly work in history, sociology, cultural studies, literature, anthropology, and politics, Palmer takes an unflinching look at the rise and transformation of capitalism as it was lived by the dispossessed and those stamped with the mark of otherness.

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About the Author:

BRYAN D. PALMER is Professor of History at Queen's University in Kingston Ontario. He is the author of several books including Descent into Discourse: The Reification of Language and the Writing of Social History, Objections and Oppressions: The Histories and Politics of E.P. Thompson, and Goodyear Invades the Backcountry: The Corporate Takeover of a Rural Town.

From Publishers Weekly:

"The night is different, its opposition to day marked by darkness and danger... [B]ut its fears are balanced by its freedoms," begins this enthralling and important trans-historical study of the metaphoric and actual meaning of night cultures. Palmer's canvas is huge--it ranges from an analysis of early modern witch culture (which he connects to the later development of Puritanism) to the emergence of 19th-century semisecret fraternal orders such as the Oddfellows, the vibrant 20th-century gay male cultures of drag and sadomasochism, and the emergence of a U.S. jazz and blues culture--yet he manages to bring these diverse topics together in a cohesive and astute analysis. Integrating unusual details and artful nuances (from the specifics of 18th-century pirate executions to the links between the Rosenberg trial and the novels of Micky Spillane), Palmer creates a multilayered but seamless portrait of four centuries of Western culture. The underlying theme here is not simply that "night" offers the occasional transgressive respite from the orderly civilization of "day," but that these alternative social, political and artistic spaces are often where the impetus for social change begins. Palmer's bold theme is sustained by his ability to communicate his in-depth, far-ranging scholarship with a broad political vision, which is Marxist in origins but tempered by postmodernism, and by his accessible and highly entertaining writing style.

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Book Description Monthly Review Press,U.S., United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Peasants, religious heretics, witches, pirates, runaway slaves, prostitutes and pornographers, frequenters of taverns and fraternal society lodge rooms, revolutionaries, blues and jazz musicians, beats, and contemporary youth gangs--those who defied authority, choosing to live outside the defining cultural dominions of early insurgent and, later, dominant capitalism are what Bryan D. Palmer calls people of the night. These lives of opposition, or otherness, were seen by the powerful as deviant, rejecting authority, and consequently threatening to the established order. Constructing a rich historical tapestry of example and experience spanning eight centuries, Palmer details lives of exclusion and challenge, as the night travels of the transgressors clash repeatedly with the powerful conventions of their times. Nights of liberation and exhilarating desire--sexual and social--are at the heart of this study. But so too are the dangers of darkness, as marginality is coerced into corners of pressured confinement, or the night is used as a cover for brutalizing terror, as was the case in Nazi Germany or the lynching of African Americans. Making extensive use of the interdisciplinary literature of marginality found in scholarly work in history, sociology, cultural studies, literature, anthropology, and politics, Palmer takes an unflinching look at the rise and transformation of capitalism as it was lived by the dispossessed and those stamped with the mark of otherness. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781583670279

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Book Description Monthly Review Press. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 416 pages. Dimensions: 9.0in. x 5.6in. x 1.6in.Peasants, religious heretics, witches, pirates, runaway slaves, prostitutes and pornographers, frequenters of taverns and fraternal society lodge rooms, revolutionaries, blues and jazz musicians, beats, and contemporary youth gangs--those who defied authority, choosing to live outside the defining cultural dominions of early insurgent and, later, dominant capitalism are what Bryan D. Palmer calls people of the night. These lives of opposition, or otherness, were seen by the powerful as deviant, rejecting authority, and consequently threatening to the established order. Constructing a rich historical tapestry of example and experience spanning eight centuries, Palmer details lives of exclusion and challenge, as the night travels of the transgressors clash repeatedly with the powerful conventions of their times. Nights of liberation and exhilarating desire--sexual and social--are at the heart of this study. But so too are the dangers of darkness, as marginality is coerced into corners of pressured confinement, or the night is used as a cover for brutalizing terror, as was the case in Nazi Germany or the lynching of African Americans. Making extensive use of the interdisciplinary literature of marginality found in scholarly work in history, sociology, cultural studies, literature, anthropology, and politics, Palmer takes an unflinching look at the rise and transformation of capitalism as it was lived by the dispossessed and those stamped with the mark of otherness. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9781583670279

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