By Peggy Shumaker
University of Nebraska Press, 2007.
In the wake of her near-fatal cycling collision, Peggy Shumaker searches for meaning within extremity. Through a long convalescence, she meditates on the meaning of justice and the role of love in the grueling process of healing.Shumaker’s memoir explores our desire to understand the fragmented self, using the power of words to restore what medical science cannot: the fragile human psyche and its immense capacity for forgiveness. (Publisher’s description)
Peggy Shumaker is professor emerita of English at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the author of several books of poetry, including Blaze and Underground Rivers. She teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.
By Sumit Ganguly & Devin T. Hagerty.
Oxford University Press, 2006.
With the nuclearization of the Indian subcontinent, Indo-Pakistani crisis behavior has acquired a deadly significance. The past two decades have witnessed no fewer than six crises against the backdrop of a vigorous nuclear arms race. Except for the Kargil war of 1998-9, all these events were resolved peacefully.
Nuclear war was avoided despite bitter mistrust, everyday tensions, an intractable political conflict over Kashmir, three wars, and the steady refinement of each side’s nuclear capabilities. Sumit Ganguly and Devin T. Hagerty carefully analyze each crisis, reviewing the Indian and Pakistani domestic political systems and key decisions during the relevant period. (Publisher’s Descrption)
Sumit Ganguly is professor of political science and Rabindranath Tagore Chair of Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University, Bloomington. Devin T. Hagerty is associate professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
By Ramu Nagappan
University of Washington Press, 2005
Who has the right to speak about trauma? As cultural products, narratives of social suffering paradoxically release us from responsibility while demanding that we examine our own connectedness to the circumstances that produce suffering. As a result, the text’s act of “speaking havoc” rebounds in unsettling ways.Speaking Havoc investigates how literary and cinematic fictions intervene in the politics and reception of social suffering. Amitav Ghosh’s modernist novel The Shadow Lines
(1988), A Fine Balance
(1995) by Rohinton Mistry, the short stories of Saadat Hasan Manto, Salman Rushdie’s postmodernist novel Shame
(1983), and the “spectacular” films of Maniratnam: each bears witness to social violence in South Asia. These works confront squarely a number of ethical dilemmas in representations of social suffering – the catastrophes and innumerable minor tragedies that arise from clashes among religious and ethnic communities.
Focusing on central events such as the Partition of 1947, the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, and more recent religious conflicts between India and Pakistan, Nagappan demonstrates the differing ways that narratives engage – often in ambiguous and problematic ways – the political violence that has marked the last fifty years of South Asian history. Is it possible to tell fully the stories of those who have died and those who have survived? Can writing really act as a counter to silence? In his compassionate engagement with these concerns, Nagappan demonstrates the relevance of literature and literary studies to fundamental sociological, anthropological, and political issues. (Publisher’s description)
Ramu Nagappan is an instructor and coordinator of Interdisciplinary Studies in Medicine and the Humanities in the School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.
By Navy Phim
Navy Phim explores what it means to be a child of the “Killing Fields.” Hers is the story of the middle generation growing up with, and trying to make sense of, two cultures and two worlds–the beauty and tragedy of her Cambodian past (her Khmer soul) and the comfortable restlessness of her American present. Through stories, memories, and “snippets,” Navy shares her life journey from her birthplace in Battambang, Cambodia, to Kao-I-Dang refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border, to a refugee processing center in the Philippines, to Long Beach, California, home to the largest population of Cambodians outside Southeast Asia. (Review by Dr. Susan Needham, associate professor, anthropology, California State University, Dominguez Hills)