Download Behemoth: The History of the Elephant in America by Ronald B. Tobias PDF

By Ronald B. Tobias

If the country's reliable mascot is an eagle, then its unofficial mascot is the elephant. whereas the eagle soars above the pinnacle of the state from a dispassionate distance, the elephant stands together with his toes at the flooring with least difficult of wretches and the main strong of guys. the 1st elephant arrived aboard send slightly two decades after the signing of the assertion of Independence. He toured the previous colonies walking from Maine to Georgia, showing in entrance of a barn or a tavern, hidden via a canvas curtain, the place humans flocked to determine him, paying the admission price in funds, rum, or potatoes. Then they went domestic and informed their associates and associates, i've got noticeable the elephant. due to the fact that then, the elephant has turn into an exceptional image within the American mind's eye and an enormous determine in our pop culture. because the variety of elephants grew within the early 1800s, they ventured onto the frontier, and traveled to each kingdom, territory, and ownership within the Union. They labored clearing the land via pulling stumps, laid ties for brand new railroads, and hauled shipment in shipyards. In 1849, an elephant crossed the Rockies looking for gold in California. The elephant grew to become a logo of the horrors of the battlefield in the course of the Civil warfare, and the emancipation of slaves turned Lincoln's elephant. simply while pleasure over the elephant started to wane, P.T. Barnum began to comprise them in his touring caravans towards the flip of the century. quickly, elephants have been acting Shakespeare and taking part in baseball, successful over the yank public with their enforcing but mild demeanour. In 1884, the well-known Jumbo, whose identify lives on in our day-by-day lexicon, kept the Brooklyn Bridge from cave in. Elephants resumed their position in our tradition, from Thomas Edison's well-known electrocution of terrible Topsy to the CIA's LSD-dropping Tusko within the Nineteen Sixties, from D.C.'s political animals to Hollywood's vast stars. In Behemoth, Ronald B. Tobias, a common historian and filmmaker, has written the 1st and in basic terms entire background of the elephant in the US. He strains the elephant from its first steps on our seashores to its indelible footprint on our nationwide tradition, taking pictures our mind's eye and paralleling our personal pleasure and affliction. Interspersed all through this vigorous and interesting chronicle are dozens of illustrations, posters, and information articles from the eighteenth century throughout the current, underlining the energy of elephant as a permanent image of the yankee adventure.

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2 In this sense these chapters—and the frequent invocations of India throughout the book—are not about India (taken as a natural fact) but about the processes through which contemporary India has emerged. I am aware of the irony (even the contradiction) in having a nation-state be the anchoring referent of a book devoted to globalization and animated by a sense of the end of the era of the nation-state. But here my expertise and my limitations are two sides of the same coin, and I urge the reader to see India as an optic, and not as a reified social fact or a crude nationalist reflex.

But the relationship between the cultural and economic levels of this new set of global disjunctures is not a simple one-way street in which the terms of global cultural politics are set wholly by, or confined wholly within, the vicissitudes of international flows of technology, labor, and finance, demanding only a modest modification of existing neo-Marxist models of uneven development and state formation. There is a deeper change, itself driven by the disjunctures among all the landscapes I have discussed and constituted by their continuously fluid and uncertain interplay, that concerns the relationship between production and consumption in today's global economy.

Thompson's colorful phrase), is everything. But this recognition is not a warrant for knee-jerk localism of the sort sometimes associated with area studies. In any case, area studies is a specific Western technique of reH e r e and Mow ~ 17 = search and can hardly pretend to be a simple mirror of the civilizational Other. What does need to be recognized, if the area-studies tradition is to be revitalized, is that locality itself is a historical product and that the histories through which localities emerge are eventually subject to the dynamics of the global.

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