The Basics of American Government

In August, the University of North Georgia Press will publish the 3rd edition of the textbook The Basics of American Government edited by Carl D. Cavalli. The textbook, or BAG, as we like to call it, comprises work from eight current members and one retired member of the UNG faculty. The authors created BAG because of their  shared concern with “the rising cost and lack of academic rigor among American government texts on the market.”

The textbook is thorough yet cost-efficient. It provides a “no-frills” examination of the American political system, while also providing original academic pieces that emphasize the content discussed in each chapter. The textbook also poses questions to the reader to force them to think about the content discussed, and it furthers their involvement with the content through a civic engagement exercise.

The book includes fifteen chapters discussing topics ranging from the U.S. Constitution, to the presidency, and even U.S. foreign policy. The reader will gain an in-depth understanding of American government after immersing themselves in this textbook. For example, in the fourth chapter, Political Socialization and the Media, the importance of understanding government is proved: “Political socialization is a lifelong process” (Maria J. Albo & Barry D. Friedman, 50). It is important to be well-versed in politics as it is an undying aspect of society. The book has been updated to include recent and relevant events in American politics, such as the 2016 election and its aftermath. Carl Cavalli, PhD, explains how another significant addition is the update of the Georgia Public Policy supplement which includes a discussion about the controversial campus carry bill. All of this information is available for only $23.66. E-textbook options are available, as are used versions for a cheaper price. The textbook can be found online using the ISBN: 978-0-9792324-6-6.

The breadth of information concerning American government can be easily understood within the pages of this textbook. The jargon is easy to understand, and the layout of the textbook is neat. This textbook is perfect for anyone taking a course in political science or criminal justice or for someone who simply wants clarification on America’s government.

Poetry and Drama in the Renaissance

The Renaissance was an an awakening in Europe inspired by the reintroduction of Greek and Roman literature after the fall of the Roman Empire. In the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, artists of all circumstances began experimenting and expressing themselves in new, distinct ways.

Two of the main artistic consequences of the Renaissance were poetry and drama. The arrival of the share of knowledge provided by the printing press coupled with the start of international trade, allowed people to widen their banks of information. The Renaissance period saw the rise of the middle class through education; more and more people had the opportunity to obtain an education. Therefore, poetry and drama were no longer intended for just the privileged. Poetry and drama became shared artistic concepts among all classes because of the newfound influx of information.

Poetry in the Renaissance became one of the most valued forms of literature and was often accompanied by music. According to The Literature Network, the poetic forms most commonly employed during this period were the lyric, tragedy, elegy or pastoral. The goal of each poet was to capture the essence of beauty in the modern world, “the chief aim of English Renaissance verse was to encapsulate beauty and truth in words. English poetry of the period was ostentatious, repetitious, and often betrayed a subtle wit” (The Literature Network, 2017). One of the most significant poems written during this time is the epic Paradise Lost by John Milton (1667). According to Referatele, the purpose of this epic was to communicate the reasoning behind God’s decision involving Adam and Eve’s fall from Eden and to “express the central Christian truths of freedom, sin, and redemption as he conceived .” Milton expressed this point in the poem, “I may assert eternal providence, / And justify the ways of God to men (Line 26).

William Shakespeare dominated the English drama arena during the Renaissance. Shakespeare’s ability to alternate between different genres, comedy and tragedy, while continuously teaching a profound lesson is what set him apart from the rest. Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a tragedy in which a noble soldier goes rogue with greed, killing several people; he does all of this because of a prophesy. In the end, nothing yet everything goes as planned. Shakespeare attempts to warn audiences against fooling with fate. Shakespeare is regarded as one of the greatest playrights and even created several words in the English language. However, much of Shakespeare’s life is unknown; there are gaps of time when Shakespeare’s presence is absent from society. To learn more about his life, read the University of North Georgia Press’s biography.

The developments of poetry and drama are significant to the era as a whole as they added a new form of entertainment and source of information to all of the classes.

What is your favorite Shakespeare play and why?


The Creation of the Printing Press

The Renaissance was the period of vast rebirth throughout the arts. Between the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries, the concept of the arts became important among many classes. One of the results of this shift in thinking was the creation of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440.

Before Gutenberg’s creation, elementary presses were employed. For instance, books were created using a block printing method, where characters and images were carved into a wooden block and then pressed on paper. Block printing proved to be time consuming and expensive because each page was individual.  According to Steven Kreis, of The History Guide, Gutenberg made replication of texts easier by using different metals and melting them at a low temperature to create moveable type, which could be used multiple times. The simplicity of his creation (at that time) allowed for several copies of one story to be replicated and scattered across cities.

The printing press allowed reading to be an inclusive act – it was no longer a concept for the privileged. During the Medieval age, books were inscribed by hand and illuminated; the copies were so expensive that they were often chained to bookshelves.   After the creation of the printing press, literacy rates increased among the middle class, which led to its rise, another consequence of this time period. Before the printing press, stories were read aloud to a group of people or memorized and shared orally as part of the oral tradition; however, this creation paved the way to individual reading. People had the limited freedom to choose a story that suited them.

One of the first books that was mass produced was Gutenberg’s own creation, the Gutenberg Bible. He created 200 copies of the book on vellum, which is fine parchment paper from the skin of a calf. He sold these books at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1455. In the world, fifty copies of this book remain.

The creation of the printing press led to the sharing of ideas and opinions. People were able to become more enlightened individuals by absorbing new information. The technique and mechanism of the printing press also made it possible for books to be affordably mass produced, which in turn allowed the spread of information to be easier.

The Renaissance Period was the age of enlightenment, when people appreciated the arts. Literature and information are two valuable components of this period and without the aid of the printing press, the enlightenment would not have come as .

After you have read about the creation of the printing press, compare it to your experience living in the technology era; do you prefer to read books in print or digitally?

Maori Literary History

At the University of North Georgia Press, we are interested in enlightening our readers on the literary history of different nations. The Maori tribe of New Zealand’s literary beginning and growth is unique in that, since the beginning, the development has been slow. It was not until the seventies, that Maori literature obtained wide-spread popularity, but since then it has seen an enormous boom.

The beginning of New Zealand literature commenced when the Maori people called this island home around one thousand years ago. Like most cultures, the original Maori literature was shared orally through “laments, love poems, war chants, and prayers” (Christian Karlson Stead, 2014). The Maori people also shared the folklore of their gods.

In 1642, European pioneer Abel Tasman discovered New Zealand. Shortly after, in 1769 James Cook also made the voyage to the country. These two expeditions initiated the beginning of the European presence in New Zealand. A friendly greeting was not granted by Maori people when Europeans arrived; Maori people contracted several diseases to which they were not immune. The Europeans feared that the entire Maori population would die out,  so they began to collect Maori legends and preserve them in their original Maori language. These legends were shared among the Maori and Pakeha (European) people, which led to a greater sense of shared cultural identity.

The marae, which is the meeting place of Maori people, was the hub of the tribe’s literary history. In this spiritual space, oral stories were told, and striking performances entertained all who were in attendance. The Maori literature shed light on how the past affected current issues or circumstances. Maori stories seek to reinforce the innate values of their culture, one being mohiotanga, which is the share of information among all. However, without proper copyright guidelines, authorship was not always given to the correct individual.

After World War II, Maori authors wrote in English and were not usually fluent in the Maori language. It seemed as though the Maori literary traditions were lost forever. But, in the 1970s, the notion that Maori literature was solely a historical record ended. Maori authors wrote in English but discussed Maori issues. Books such as Once Were Warriors (Alan Duff, 1990) describe, in a dark way, how “Maori must take responsibility for their own failures and find the means to correct them” (Stead, 2014). The book describes a ‘modern’ Maori family which is poverty-stricken and full of misfortunes, some preventable and some not. According to Craig Cunningham, he states that the novel (which was later turned into a film) is, “ongoing argument between both younger and urban Maori and older rural Maori about what in fact it means to be Maori” (2013).

In recent years, New Zealand has seen an increase in literature written in the Maori language. A survey conducted by Statistics NZ (2013) discovered that only eleven percent of Maori people speak their native tongue fluently. But, authors have been making an effort to translate their pieces from English to Maori in order to further preserve their heritage.

The Maori literary history has come a long way since its oral beginning; however, Maori authors are still writing to preserve their heritage and share their culture with the rest of the world.

Helpful Study Tips for Summer Classes

Enrolling in summer courses can often times be daunting. For instance, you must sacrifice sun-drenched opportunities and cram an entire semester’s work into one month. It can often feel overwhelming and lead to the engulfing question of why.

However, there is a bright, sunshine-y side to every situation. We wanted to share a couple of tips to maximize productivity in order for you to have a healthy balance between school and beach!

Plan ahead. Summer courses require a larger work load because of their shorter duration; therefore, they require you to plan ahead. It is imperative to set aside an hour or two one day a week in order to plan out all of your upcoming tasks. Purchase a productivity planner which will help you visualize the tasks you need to complete and the expected time of completion. But, it does not stop there; you must actually follow through with your plans. Assignments are chaotic enough; don’t prolong stress by being unorganized.

Make friends in your classes. Summer classes coupled with a quick scroll through social media, can often times lead to a feeling of isolation. Lucky for you, there are several other people in the exact same boat. Reach out to the people in your classes. Form study groups. Start group messages. This way, you can brave the summer months with some companions and hopefully form long-lasting friendships. Miriam Clifford, of Teach Thought (2011), suggests that a group should be comprised of three to four individuals, and she suggests that the group decides on shared goals.

Give yourself a break. Dedicating time to assignments and attending class is important. However, education is supposed to be fun. In order to stay focused and have a clear mind, you must take a break. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a break. Grab coffee with a friend and communicate. Go for a walk. Swim. Even pause for five minutes and dance around your room.

The most important tip we can offer is to be proud of yourself. Although summer classes (and all classes for that matter) require a lot of time, sacrifice and dedication, you are advancing your intellect and your career. Education is not awarded to all individuals; instead of feeling stressed – feel thankful.

We hope these tips help our readers. We want to hear from you, how do you cope with stressful summer?