ALLAN G. JOHNSON'S BLOG
Tag Archives: despair
Hearing the news of the Trump election makes me think of the afternoon when I heard George W. Bush announce on the car radio that he was launching the country into a state of perpetual war. I was beside myself with rage, screaming at the windshield, calling him names, going on a rant about the suffering and destruction that would result.
Later on, realizing that my country was doing what it has done many times before, the anger gave way to despair.
What I did not know then was that despair was a way to manage fear, which was evident from the numbing and compacting of my heart, as if my entire self was being reduced to fit a dark space small enough to crowd out the fear.
I was frightened by what the president had done, just as many are afraid today of what may be coming. This time, however, I feel neither rage nor despair, and I think it’s worth asking why the difference between then and now.
One clue comes from many years ago when I was visiting my mother in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and one day we decided to go to the swimming pool outside of town. We walked to the bus stop. The time printed on the schedule came and went, but not the bus. We talked. The sun rose in the sky, a beautiful day. We stepped into the shade. She sensed my impatience, looked at me and smiled, a little shrug, “It’s all right,” she said, “there’s always another bus.”
Maybe. And maybe not. Either way, there is something in the act of waiting that reminds me of despair, waiting for a bus that may never come. There is something in despair that is a holding out, a refusing to let go, to accept that things are what they are, a refusal that Buddhists tell us is where suffering begins.
We wait for leaders who will save us from our history and ourselves, only to be disappointed, our hope turning first to anger and then despair (which may help explain why almost half of the electorate did not vote).
The bus was nowhere to be seen, but my mother was right there beside me, who would one day be dead and gone, and there was the street and the people passing by, the sight of a donkey laden with firewood, walking slowly up the hill, a small boy close behind. Birds and their songs. The crisp dryness of high desert air.
But the bus was not here.
There is no bus.
A second clue comes from my experience speaking on race and gender, when someone asks, “But what can I do?” There is something in the ‘but,’ and the tone, that gives me pause, because I think the question is less about doing than it is about fending off fear and despair. As the philosopher, George Yancy, puts it, the rush to find a solution can be a way to remove ourselves from the present—where we are involved in the world that produces injustice, suffering, and fear—and into a future where we are not. It is an escape from having to sit with the reality of how things are and what that has to do with us.
I once thought hope was the antidote to despair, but I’ve come to believe it’s not. The two are so closely coupled that we cannot have one without the other. ‘I hope the bus will come soon’ not only gives myself over to waiting for something that exists only in my mind, but does so with a particular dedication, chin up, eyes scanning the street corner around which I hope it will come. Any minute now. All the while I am oblivious to the world going on around me, there being nothing else for me but a bus that isn’t here.
To not indulge in despair, or in hope, is to not indulge in being anywhere but here, what Pema Chodron calls ‘nailing ourselves to the present,’ to things as they really are. There is no quick fix for sadness and pain, no easy deliverance from fear, but in the present our choices are made clear, including standing with my mother until a bus may come or we decide to do something else. Either way, not waiting in this moment, I leave hope behind, it only producing still more hope that is all too close to despair.
I write books. I give speeches and workshops and facilitate conversations. How does hope figure into that? What is it that I hope to achieve?
The truth is that I hope for nothing at all. There isn’t time. I write and speak to help break the silence around privilege and oppression. I write novels about the human condition. I think out loud about what trouble we are in and who we are in relation to it and what it’s like for me and how we might respond.
But I have no way of knowing what difference any of it makes. One day to the next, it does not matter what I hope will happen. It only matters what I do.
To give up hope is not to accept things as they are. I am appalled by the president-elect and the renewed license for intimidation and violence that has shown itself since the election. But I also must accept that things are as they are. As I drove down the road years ago, screaming at the president, I was having a moment of non-acceptance, propelled by fear that turned quickly to despair. I was insisting that George Bush be different from the man he had always shown himself to be, and I was furious to be living in a country that would make him president. And I responded as if personally betrayed, as if it wasn’t fair, an outrageous violation of some law by which such things are not supposed to happen.
Just as many have reacted to the election of Donald Trump.
We had hoped for something better.
But it is one thing to be angry at how things are and another to indulge in a despair that is more about how I feel about the world than what I am prepared to do. Despair keeps me from asking what is needed here and now, the only place where anything is possible, knowing that things will not be as they might have been, except in looking back through a kind of longing anchored by hope on one end and despair on the other.
When I spoke at Penn State about men’s violence some years ago, an elderly man came up to thank me afterward. He relied on a pair of canes and spoke with difficulty, as if he’d had a stroke. He was about to leave when he leaned in and looked at me and said, his voice low and earnest, “You keep going.” And as he turned to walk away, I said, “You keep going, too,” and then he paused, his face full of thought, gathering intent, a nod. “I think I will.”
I remember the stillness in his face as he made up his mind, as he must have so many times before, every day, a look of clarity and calm, of acceptance not only without hope and despair, but without fear, a condition that a Quaker friend of mine once offered as a definition of faith.
Faith, she said, is not a belief in something—if I do this then that will happen—or that something beyond my control will come to pass, that things will somehow turn out okay. Faith is the freedom from fear, a condition in which we may feel afraid but without allowing ourselves to become the fear, to be afraid.
There is much to fear these days, beginning with the president-elect’s legislative plans, his denial of climate change, his childish macho bravado, his contempt for women, his blatant racism, his staggering arrogance and lack of experience and knowledge, his inability to focus his mind or tell the truth.
It makes sense to feel overwhelmed in the face of this. We are only human, after all, and we have not been prepared. Instead, we have, for generations, been encouraged to see ourselves as passive consumers rather than active citizens, our minds distracted and pacified and colonized to accept the status quo or to pin ourselves to the hope for something better.
We have been trained to be easily overwhelmed and immobilized, dis-couraged with little awareness of our responsibility or power.
We have been desensitized to the pain of others, and hypersensitized to our own, taught to see pain not as a message, a wake-up call, but as something noxious to be escaped, silenced, anaesthetized.
But we cannot afford to be overwhelmed or swallowed by despair. Like the parent of a desperately ill child, we don’t get to disappear into not knowing what to do. For a day or two, perhaps, but then we have to step in and give it up and reacquaint ourselves with the courage of faith.
I once heard Mary Daley describe courage not as something that we have, a quality of character that we bring to the moment. Instead, courage is what happens in the moment when we act even though we are afraid. And perhaps that is what my Quaker friend was telling me about faith, as a way of being, brought on by what we do.
The point is not to never be afraid, which is impossible, but to know where fear leaves off and faith begins in that moment when we choose to act whether we are afraid or not. “When I dare to be powerful,” wrote Audre Lorde, “to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
The challenge of these times is to inhabit the space between accepting that the world is as it is and refusing to accept that it should remain so.
But we do not come to the challenge equally.
I’m recalling a group where talk about race turned to the subject of hope, and I said something about not believing in that, it being too close to despair, that I believe the key is faith, in not becoming the fear.
I remember the silence that followed and the very different reaction of whites and blacks in the room, with black people nodding in agreement as they looked about, and white people staring down at the table and shaking their heads.
When I consider the difference, it occurs to me that being able to choose between hope and despair comes of the freedom to sit on the sidelines and watch from the relative safety of being white. And when things go badly and we sink into despair, hope comes riding to the rescue, promising to lift our hearts, that things will work out, somehow, someday, against the odds. Whether we do anything or not.
Hope is better suited to feeling than action, for it does not so much galvanize as soothe, a refuge from despair, that does not hold us to account.
Faith, on the other hand, comes of having to wrestle the angel of fear, whose power faith would harness into action. Faith is what turns a crowd of individuals into a march and then a movement. Where hope is passive and content, faith has an agenda and makes demands.
I suspect that most people of color cannot afford to spend themselves on hope, because oppression is too immediate, every day, generation after generation, forcing them to pull together, to find strength in solidarity. And to know that in the moment of confronting power, the kind that hurts and even kills, the choice is not between despair and hope, but fear and faith.
Which is the choice confronting us all.
For related posts, see:
I trace the origin of this post to the feminist activist and writer, Starhawk, who wrote in the aftermath of the U.S. response to 9/11 that “we must not indulge in despair.”
George Yancy, Look, a White! Philosophical Essays on Whiteness. Temple University Press, 2013.
Pema Chodron has authored several books, including When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. Shambhala, 2000.
I heard Mary Daly speak on courage at the 2001 Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Audre Lorde quote is from The Cancer Journals. Aunt Lute Books, 1997.
One of these days I’m going to have a bumper sticker that reads, It’s not about you.
I don’t know why, exactly, it keeps coming into my mind. It could be just a note to myself, but, then, of course, it would be just about me.
I’ve also been wondering if it’s an accident that the country that made individualism a sacred principle, also invented solitary confinement as a form of punishment.
I find that when two things present themselves like that, one after the other, they’re often connected, which is what Roxie and I are down here this morning to figure out.
I should note that she can appear to be sleeping when she’s not. This is work, and yet she has an uncanny way of maximizing her efficiency by making rest and labor simultaneous. She reminds me of those ducks I read about who can put half their brains to sleep while the other half is wide awake.
But enough about her.
I want the sticker because it seems that everywhere everything is all about you, the universal me—your me, my me, their me—which wouldn’t be a problem, if everything was about me and you, which, in case it needs to be said, it is not.
I might mention, for example, the global pandemic of men’s violence against women, and there will always be a man protesting in an injured tone that he’s never raped anyone.
Okay, I say, well done. But so what? I wasn’t talking about you.
Which he doesn’t grasp because he cannot see past himself, as if something can involve him only if it’s about him. The curse of individualism. And the refuge.
Like the white person so earnest about not wanting to be seen as racist that it can be easy for a person of color to feel invisible in their presence. Because, in the thick of that white preoccupation, what racism does to other people’s lives is not the point.
Which is why a black friend of mine once said that the most useless thing she could think of was a white person feeling guilty, because guilt can so easily take us to that place where it’s all about me and how I feel about what I’ve done or failed to do.
My effect on you is reduced to an occasion for my own feelings, which, come to think of it, might give me reason to reconsider whether I really hurt you after all, or how much, or was it really necessary to make so big a deal of it, considering how bad you’ve made me feel.
Teenagers can be especially artful in this, countering your complaint by resenting you for making them feel bad because of what they did. If only you’d been good enough to keep it to yourself.
And who knows, maybe you even had it coming.
Slippery, isn’t it?
How making it all about you can make it not about you at all.
I’m surprised there aren’t places where you can sign up for lessons. Then again, maybe we’re automatically enrolled the moment we’re born.
By which I don’t mean just men and whites, this being a general product of our cultural madness for the individual. It’s just that systems of privilege give dominant groups more opportunity to put it to use, including those who are sincere in wanting to make a difference.
I’m recalling a group where a conversation about race turned to the subject of hope, and I said something about not believing in that, it being too close to despair. What I do believe in is faith, by which I mean our capacity to not be afraid, to not become the fear that would keep us from what needs to be done.
What I remember most is the silence that followed and the very different reaction of whites and blacks in the room, with black people nodding in agreement as they looked about, and white people staring down at the table and shaking their heads.
I don’t know what they were thinking, because I didn’t ask, not knowing them well enough and too taken by what I saw. But I have a hunch about what was going on.
Hope and despair are for quiet moments of solitary reflection when you’re free to wonder about the meaning of it all. Like depression, despair is a private thing that does not seek company, as in the middle of the night when you’re feeling helpless, that there is nothing you can do that will make a difference you can see.
Out of the darkness, hope appears as an antidote, but suited more to the feeling than the problem, for it does not so much galvanize as soothe. Hope comes riding to the rescue, its banner whipping in the wind, promising to lift our hearts, that things will work out, somehow, someday, against the odds.
Whether we do anything or not.
Which can make hope into a luxury, a refuge from despair, that does not hold us to account.
But faith is what comes of having to wrestle with the angel of fear, whose power faith would harness into action. Faith is what turns a crowd of individuals into a march and then a movement. Where hope is passive and content, faith has an agenda and makes demands.
I suspect that people of color cannot afford to spend themselves on hope, because oppression is too immediate, every day, and has forced them to pull together, to find strength in solidarity built on faith. Because they know that in the moment of confronting power, the kind that hurts and even kills, the choice is not between hope and despair, but faith and fear.
White people have the luxury of being able to watch from the sidelines, or to know that at any moment, they can withdraw to the relative safety of being white. And hope it will turn out okay.
In other words, for people of color, racism is more a matter of we and us, while for whites, sliding down that slippery slope, it’s more likely to be all about me, or not at all.
Which brings me, oddly, to solitary confinement, first introduced as a form of punishment almost two hundred years ago in Philadelphia, famous for the Declaration of Independence and the Liberty Bell. If ever there was a place devoted to the principle that it’s all about you, it would have to be one of those tiny cells, little bigger than a closet, where prisoners may be confined for years or even decades.
Why, I wonder, has it taken so long to consider how barbaric and inhuman this is and, even now, with arguments on either side? I have a hunch that such punishment has persisted because it is seen as a natural extension of what we’ve been taught is the normal condition of a human being.
After all, if it’s all about you, what else is there? And how much room does it require?
Which sounds to me like the loneliest, most desolate place there is, the modern self, a tiny cell just big enough for me. And yet, we are supposedly the point of it all, not together, but separate—the you and the I—and this singularity is what it’s all about, the reason to exist, to be celebrated and defended at all costs, the freedom to be lonely, imprisoned by the illusion that a single human being could possibly be enough to make a life.
We are snookering ourselves into hell.
For in the moment that I make it all about me, I make you invisible, and turn myself into a ghost.
Which is not what it is to be a human being, which I know from how it makes us crazy.
Crazy in the prison cell, crazy in the frantic pace of the ‘individual’ life racing around so as not to pause long enough to see the emptiness we have become. Crazy in all the desperate measures to deny our embeddedness in other people’s lives, to escape the loneliness and insufficiency of self, with drugs and alcohol, compulsive sex, the sculpted body, the endless text, the 70-hour week, the next thing to buy. Does it not occur to us how pervasive it is, the desire to escape, to be anywhere but here, trapped inside the fiction that who we are goes no further than our skin?
Roxie looks at me, puzzled that anyone would choose to be this way. It is so simple, so obvious, and yet, why so hard, to see through the paradox that I am not the point, even of myself.
I remind her that she is a pack animal, which makes her the Queen of knowing it’s not about her, not that she won’t occasionally blow me off when I call. Still, there is always the moment when she turns and comes running, as if that’s what she had in mind all along.
Or I look up from my thoughts to see her standing off in the woods, still, intent, as she looks at me, always knowing exactly where we are.
We think we are not pack animals, the human beings, making it easy to imagine that I stand alone, autonomous and independent, when I do not. To think that what happens to you does not happen to me, that my life is a simple function of who I am, as if there were such a thing, separate and complete, that there is nothing larger than myself connecting my life and yours, that my end of the boat can sink while yours does not.
Every indigenous people has known what our ‘civilization’ would have us deny and forget, and then tell ourselves we are superior for having forgotten, which may be why we have worked so hard to make them disappear.
It’s not about you.
I vividly remember the day when I heard George W. Bush announce on my car radio that the United States was invading Iraq. I was screaming into the windshield, calling him names, fool, idiot, no idea what he was doing, how many innocent people would suffer and die because of it. I was beside myself with rage.
And then I settled back into the grief of watching my country do what I have lived long enough to see it do before, the mounting toll death and destruction while politicians argue over whose fault it was and we bury the dead, hand flags to the widows, widowers, and orphans, all the while careful not to look at the thousands of veterans crippled and maimed and traumatized, or at what we’ve done to millions of people in far away lands that most citizens of this country cannot locate on a map.
By the time evening came, rage and grief had given way to despair that wisdom is possible in this country, that anything I might do would matter in a society so hell-bent on its own destruction.
A few days later, Nora showed me a statement by the feminist spiritual activist, Starhawk, who wrote that in such times we must resist the temptation “to indulge in despair.” I stared at the page, humbled by the pairing of the words, indulgence and despair, having done just that.
Some years before, I was writing fiction and visiting my mother in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, when one day we decided to go to the swimming pool outside of town. We walked to the bus stop in the center of town. The time printed on the schedule came and went, but not the bus. We talked. The sun rose in the sky, a beautiful day.We stepped into the shade. She sensed my impatience, looked at me and smiled, a little shrug, “It’s all right,” she said, “there’s always another bus.”
Maybe. And maybe not. Either way, there is something in the act of waiting that reminds me of despair, waiting for a bus that may never come, instead of setting out on foot or going home to spend the day in some other way. There is something in despair that is a holding out, a refusing to let go, to accept that things are what they are, which the Buddhists tell us is where suffering begins.
Despair is in the waiting, a state of mind with life suspended until further notice, held hostage by the illusion that I know what is going to happen, handing myself over to something I both believe must come to pass and fear it never will and so it continues to occupy my mind.
The bus was nowhere to be seen, but my mother was right there beside me, my mother who would be dead and gone fifteen years later, and there was the street and the people passing by, smells of the town, of dirt and cooking oil and roasting meat and fruit and vegetables in the market, the sight of a donkey laden with firewood, slowly making its way up the hill, a small boy following close behind. Birds and their songs. The crisp dryness of high desert air.
But the bus was not here.
There is no bus.
After I give a presentation on some aspect of privilege and oppression, there is almost always someone who asks, “But what can I do?” There is something in the ‘but’ and the urgent tone of voice that gives me pause, sensing the real question is not the one being asked. I used to struggle over what to say. But I’m better with it now, in part because I realize that the question is less about action than fending off despair, escaping the pain of being aware of so much injustice and unnecessary suffering in the world. It can be a kind of code for wanting a way to walk away believing this will all work itself out whether we do anything or not.
As the philosopher, George Yancy, put it, the rush to find a solution can be a way to remove ourselves from the present where we are involved in the world that produces injustice and suffering and into the future where we are not. It is a way to escape having to sit with the reality of how things are and will likely remain for a long time, longer than we will live to see, and what that reality has to do with us.
The alternative is what Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun, calls ‘nailing yourself to the present.’ There is no quick fix for their sadness and pain, nor for mine. There is only nailing ourselves to the present which is, strangely, beyond the reach of any hope of fixing in the here and now, which is where we are.
I had thought hope is what keeps us from despair, but I’m beginning to think it’s not. They are so closely coupled that we cannot have one without the other. I hope the bus will come soon, not only gives myself over to waiting for something that exists only in my mind, but does so with a particular dedication, chin up, eyes scanning the street corner around which I hope it will come. Any minute now. All the while I am oblivious to the world going on around me, there being nothing else for me now but a bus that isn’t here.
To not indulge in despair, or in hope, is to not indulge in being anywhere but here, nailed to the present, to things as they really are, there is no bus. From that place, it is clear what my choices are and what I must do now, will do now, including standing here with my mother until a bus may come or we decide to do something else. Either way, not waiting in this moment, I leave hope behind, it being capable only of producing still more hope that is just this close to the edge of despair. To choose without hope for change, but in the very act of change, as Gandhi put it, becoming the change we want to see in the world. To stop waiting, to set myself in motion without the luxury of knowing what is coming next, including the illusion in my mind that is called, on the one hand, hope, and on the other, despair.
I write books. I give speeches and workshops and take part in conversations. How does hope figure into that? What is it that I hope to do? With what effect?
The truth is that I hope for nothing at all. Ask me what I think I’m doing and what effect I think it has, and I can tell you right away. I let people hear a heterosexual white cisgender man without disabilities stand up in public and play a part in breaking the silence around privilege and oppression. I write novels about the human condition. I think out loud about what trouble we are in and who we are in relation to it and what the experience is like for me. That is what I do. I have no way of knowing what difference it makes except by what I see in people’s faces and what they say or write to me. But that does not tell me what it really matters if I speak or write, or don’t.
It does not matter what I hope will happen. It only matters what I do.
To give up hope is not to give up on the possibility of change. It is to accept that things right now are the way they are. As I drove down the road, screaming at the president, I was, to say the least, having a moment of non-acceptance, which is why it turned so quickly to despair. I wanted him to be different from the man he had shown himself to be. I was furious that he had been chosen to be president. I wanted a government that was not so quick to resort to violence. And I responded to all of that as if personally betrayed.
I had hoped for something better.
To give up hope is not to accept things as they are, but to accept the fact that they are as they are. All my ranting against the status quo just wears me out before plunging me into despair. How much better it is to see reality as it is and then go on to consider what to do about it.
I am anything but indifferent to the way things are. I feel sadness and grief and compassion and fear, not to mention anger, recalling James Baldwin’s observation that the only way to avoid feeling angry is not to know what’s going on.
But it is one thing to be angry at injustice and unnecessary suffering and another to indulge in a kind of despairing resentment that things turned out this way to begin with. As if there was some kind of deal with God who should now apologize and set things right and I’ll be damned if I’m moving another inch until it’s done. Because all the while I’m waiting, I cannot be of any use.
It is like never letting go of all the ways our parents fell short or did harm, and we think children deserve better so we hold out and hold on as if it were possible to turn back the clock and redo childhood, find someone who will give that love we were denied. Or hold our parents accountable, make them pay, as if it was possible to tally up and make it come out right.
The alternative is to accept that things were as they were and cannot be changed into what they were not, that should and shouldn’t have no meaning once it’s done, because in fact it was and is. The only question that matters now is where to go from here, what to make of it, how to repair the damage that was done knowing it will never be as it might have been except in looking back through a kind of longing anchored by hope on one end and despair on the other.
Acceptance brings us fully into life by nailing ourselves to the present, the only time and place where anything is possible. We cannot afford to wait for our lives to rewrite themselves, or for the world to change on its own because it should have been otherwise and owes us something better than it’s turned out to be so far.
Instead of waiting, we keep going with what is to be done. When I spoke in Pennsylvania about men’s violence some years ago, an elderly man came up to thank me afterward. He used a pair of canes to walk and spoke with difficulty, as if he’d had a stroke. He was about to leave when he leaned in and looked into my face and said, his voice low and earnest, “You keep going.” And as he turned to walk away, I said after him, “You keep going, too.” He paused before turning to look at me, his face full of thought, gathering intention behind the words, a nod. “I think I will.”
I will never forget that moment, the stillness in the air as if no one else was in the hall, the look on his face as he made up his mind yet again as he must have so many times before. It was a look of clarity and calm, of acceptance not only without hope and despair, but without fear, a condition that a Quaker friend of mine once said was a way of defining faith.
Faith, she said, is not a belief in something, that if I do this then that will happen, or that something beyond my control will come to pass. Faith is a state of being unafraid inside ourselves. Jesus said again and again, What are you afraid of? Be not afraid, as if it were that simple, which, I am beginning to think, it may be.
There is so much to fear if we allow it—from the destruction of the planet to being alone when we die. And there is also the fear that I can sense beneath hope and despair.
I once heard Mary Daley say that courage is not something we have, some quality of character. Instead, courage is what happens in the moment when we act even though we are afraid. And perhaps that is what my Quaker friend was telling me about faith, that it isn’t something we have, but something that happens inside of us. Which means, I imagine, that we can step into it when we need it most.
And it is not simply that faith is the absence of fear, but that fear, also, is an absence of faith. When we are afraid, we may become the fear, and when we are not, we are the faith, doing what needs to be done.
I will always be afraid of one thing or another, but I can also practice being aware of the difference between moments of fear and moments of faith. And that, I think, may be all that it takes, not to achieve some permanent state of fearlessness, but to keep before me my ongoing ability to choose to make a difference whether I am afraid or not.
My mother came to me once in the years after she died, visiting me in a dream. It was one of those recurring anxiety dreams where I am lost and confused, unable to get where I’m supposed to be, don’t have what I need for what I’m supposed to do. Except in this particular dream I suddenly sensed her presence nearby as I was standing in a courtyard beside a low building of adobe, as in Mexico, stairs leading to a patio and then the walkway going on from there around a corner. I looked for her, but she was nowhere to be found. And then I stopped, standing on the stairs, and her voice came from somewhere that was both far away and right beside me, speaking just a single word because nothing more was needed. Faith.
And where is faith to be found? For this I take counsel from the writer and civil rights activist, Audre Lorde. “When I dare to be powerful,” she wrote, “to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
The challenge that I see is to find a way to live in that space between accepting the fact that the world is as it is and refusing to accept that it should remain so, a space where there is room for neither hope nor despair, only faith, and where there is much to be done.
If you liked this post, you might also want to read, “Fight, Flight, and Roxie’s Way.”
Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. Shambhala, 2000.
George Yancy, Look, a White! Philosophical Essays on Whiteness. Temple University Press, 2013.