Wednesday, July 26, 2017

"Jabotinsky's Children"

New from Princeton University Press: Jabotinsky's Children: Polish Jews and the Rise of Right-Wing Zionism by Daniel Kupfert Heller.

About the book, from the publisher:
How interwar Poland and its Jewish youth were instrumental in shaping the ideology of right-wing Zionism

By the late 1930s, as many as fifty thousand Polish Jews belonged to Betar, a youth movement known for its support of Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder of right-wing Zionism. Poland was not only home to Jabotinsky’s largest following. The country also served as an inspiration and incubator for the development of right-wing Zionist ideas. Jabotinsky’s Children draws on a wealth of rare archival material to uncover how the young people in Betar were instrumental in shaping right-wing Zionist attitudes about the roles that authoritarianism and military force could play in the quest to build and maintain a Jewish state.

Recovering the voices of ordinary Betar members through their letters, diaries, and autobiographies, Jabotinsky’s Children paints a vivid portrait of young Polish Jews and their turbulent lives on the eve of the Holocaust. Rather than define Jabotinsky as a firebrand fascist or steadfast democrat, the book instead reveals how he deliberately delivered multiple and contradictory messages to his young followers, leaving it to them to interpret him as they saw fit. Tracing Betar’s surprising relationship with interwar Poland’s authoritarian government, Jabotinsky’s Children overturns popular misconceptions about Polish-Jewish relations between the two world wars and captures the fervent efforts of Poland’s Jewish youth to determine, on their own terms, who they were, where they belonged, and what their future held in store.

Shedding critical light on a vital yet neglected chapter in the history of Zionism, Jabotinsky’s Children provides invaluable perspective on the origins of right-wing Zionist beliefs and their enduring allure in Israel today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

"The Philosophical Parent"

New from Oxford University Press: The Philosophical Parent: Asking the Hard Questions About Having and Raising Children by Jean Kazez.

About the book, from the publisher:
Becoming parents draws us into philosophical quandaries before our children have even been born. Why do most of us want to have children? Should we make new people, despite life's travails and our crowded world? Is adoptive parenthood just the same as biological parenthood? Once children arrive, the questions start to be a mix of the profound and the practical. Should we share our lifestyle with our children, no matter how unusual? Should we vaccinate and may we circumcise? Should we encourage gender differences?

Tracing the arc of parenthood from the earliest days to the college years and beyond, Jean Kazez explores 18 questions for philosophical parents, applying the tools of philosophy and drawing on personal experience. The Philosophical Parent offers a novel account of the parent-child relationship and uses it to tackle a variety of parenting puzzles, but more than that, Kazez celebrates both having children and philosophical reflection. Her book provides a challenging but cheerful companion for thoughtful parents and parents-to-be.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 24, 2017

"Dwelling in Resistance"

New from Rutgers University Press: Dwelling in Resistance: Living with Alternative Technologies in America by Chelsea Schelly.

About the book, from the publisher:
Most Americans take for granted much of what is materially involved in the daily rituals of dwelling. In Dwelling in Resistance, Chelsea Schelly examines four alternative U.S. communities—“The Farm,” “Twin Oaks,” “Dancing Rabbit,” and “Earthships”—where electricity, water, heat, waste, food, and transportation practices differ markedly from those of the vast majority of Americans.

Schelly portrays a wide range of residential living alternatives utilizing renewable, small-scale, de-centralized technologies. These technologies considerably change how individuals and communities interact with the material world, their natural environment, and one another. Using in depth interviews and compelling ethnographic observations, the book offers an insightful look at different communities’ practices and principles and their successful endeavors in sustainability and self-sufficiency.
Chelsea Schelly is an associate professor of sociology at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. She is the author of Crafting Collectivity: American Rainbow Gatherings and Alternative Forms of Community.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 23, 2017

"American Public Education and the Responsibility of its Citizens"

New from Oxford University Press: American Public Education and the Responsibility of its Citizens: Supporting Democracy in the Age of Accountability by Sarah M. Stitzlein.

About the book, from the publisher:
Public school systems are central to a flourishing democracy, where children learn how to solve problems together, build shared identities, and come to value justice and liberty for all. However, as citizen support for public schools steadily declines, our democratic way of life is increasingly at risk.

Often, we hear about the poor performances of students and teachers in the public school system, but as author Sarah M. Stitzlein asserts in her compelling new volume, the current educational crisis is not about accountability, but rather citizen responsibility.

Now, more than ever, citizens increasingly do not feel as though public schools are our schools, forgetting that we have influence over their outcomes and are responsible for their success. In effect, accountability becomes more and more about finding failure and casting blame on our school administrators and teachers, rather than taking responsibility as citizens for shaping our expectations of the classroom, determining the criteria we use to measure its success, and supporting our public schools as they nurture our children for the future.

American Public Education and the Responsibility of its Citizens sheds an important light on recent shifts in the link between education and citizenship, helping readers to understand not only how schools now work, but also how citizens can take an active and influential role in shaping them. Moving from philosophical critique of these changes to practical suggestions for action, Stitzlein provides readers with the tools, habits, practices, and knowledge necessary to support public education. Further, by sharing examples of citizens and successful communities that are effectively working with their school systems, Stitzlein offers a torch of hope to sustain citizens through this difficult work in order to keep our democracy strong.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Unprepared"

New from the University of California Press: Unprepared: Global Health in a Time of Emergency by Andrew Lakoff.

About the book, from the publisher:
Recent years have witnessed an upsurge in global health emergencies—from SARS to pandemic influenza to Ebola to Zika. Each of these occurrences has sparked calls for improved health preparedness. In Unprepared, Andrew Lakoff follows the history of health preparedness from its beginnings in 1950s Cold War civil defense to the early twenty-first century, when international health authorities carved out a global space for governing potential outbreaks. Alert systems and trigger devices now link health authorities, government officials, and vaccine manufacturers, all of whom are concerned with the possibility of a global pandemic. Funds have been devoted to cutting-edge research on pathogenic organisms, and a system of post hoc diagnosis analyzes sites of failed preparedness to find new targets for improvement. Yet, despite all these developments, the project of global health security continues to be unsettled by the prospect of surprise.
Andrew Lakoff is Professor of Sociology and Communication at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Pharmaceutical Reason: Knowledge and Value in Global Psychiatry and coeditor of Biosecurity Interventions: Global Health and Security in Question.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 22, 2017

"Hospitals and Charity"

New from Manchester University Press: Hospitals and charity: Religious culture and civic life in medieval northern Italy by Sally Mayall Brasher.

About the book, from the publisher:
This is the first book in English to provide a comprehensive examination of the hospital movement that arose and prospered in northern Italy between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. Throughout this flourishing urbanised area hundreds of independent semi-religious facilities appeared, offering care for the ill, the poor and pilgrims en route to holy sites in Rome and the eastern Mediterranean. Over three centuries they became mechanisms for the appropriation of civic authority and political influence in the communities they served, and created innovative experiments in healthcare and poor relief which are the precursors to modern social welfare systems.

Will appeal to students and lecturers in medieval, social, religious, and urban history and includes a detailed appendix that will assist researchers in the field.
Sally Mayall Brasher is Associate Professor of Medieval and Renaissance History at Shepherd University.

--Marshal Zeringue

"A Social Revolution"

New from the University of California Press: A Social Revolution: Politics and the Welfare State in Iran by Kevan Harris.

About the book, from the publisher:
For decades, political observers and pundits have characterized the Islamic Republic of Iran as an ideologically rigid state on the verge of collapse, exclusively connected to a narrow social base. In A Social Revolution, Kevan Harris convincingly demonstrates how they are wrong. Previous studies ignore the forceful consequences of three decades of social change following the 1979 revolution. Today, more people in the country are connected to welfare and social policy institutions than to any other form of state organization. In fact, much of Iran’s current political turbulence is the result of the success of these social welfare programs, which have created newly educated and mobilized social classes advocating for change. Based on extensive fieldwork conducted in Iran, Harris shows how the revolutionary regime endured through the expansion of health, education, and aid programs that have both embedded the state in everyday life and empowered its challengers. This focus on the social policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran opens a new line of inquiry into the study of welfare states in countries where they are often overlooked or ignored.
Visit Kevan Harris's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 21, 2017

"Convicted and Condemned"

New from NYU Press: Convicted and Condemned: The Politics and Policies of Prisoner Reentry by Keesha M. Middlemass.

About the book, from the publisher:
Through the compelling words of former prisoners, Convicted and Condemned examines the lifelong consequences of a felony conviction.

Felony convictions restrict social interactions and hinder felons’ efforts to reintegrate into society. The educational and vocational training offered in many prisons are typically not recognized by accredited educational institutions as acceptable course work or by employers as valid work experience, making it difficult for recently-released prisoners to find jobs. Families often will not or cannot allow their formerly incarcerated relatives to live with them. In many states, those with felony convictions cannot receive financial aid for further education, vote in elections, receive welfare benefits, or live in public housing. In short, they are not treated as full citizens, and every year, hundreds of thousands of people released from prison are forced to live on the margins of society.

Convicted and Condemned explores the issue of prisoner reentry from the felons’ perspective. It features the voices of formerly incarcerated felons as they attempt to reconnect with family, learn how to acclimate to society, try to secure housing, find a job, and complete a host of other important goals. By examining national housing, education and employment policies implemented at the state and local levels, Keesha Middlemass shows how the law challenges and undermines prisoner reentry and creates second-class citizens.

Even if the criminal justice system never convicted another person of a felony, millions of women and men would still have to figure out how to reenter society, essentially on their own. A sobering account of the after-effects of mass incarceration, Convicted and Condemned is a powerful exploration of how individuals, and society as a whole, suffer when a felony conviction exacts a punishment that never ends.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 20, 2017

"Subjects and Sovereign"

New from Oxford University Press: Subjects and Sovereign: Bonds of Belonging in the Eighteenth-Century British Empire by Hannah Weiss Muller.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the aftermath of the Seven Years' War, when a variety of conquered and ceded territories became part of an expanding British Empire, crucial struggles emerged about what it meant to be a "British subject." Individuals in Grenada, Quebec, Minorca, Gibraltar, and Bengal debated the meanings and rights of subjecthood, with many capitalizing on legal ambiguities and local exigencies to secure access to political and economic benefits. Inhabitants and colonial administrators transformed subjecthood into a shared language, practice, and opportunity as individuals proclaimed their allegiance to the crown and laid claim to a corresponding set of protections. Approaching subjecthood as a protean and porous concept, rather than an immutable legal status, Subjects and Sovereign demonstrates that it was precisely subjecthood's fluidity and imprecision that rendered it so useful to a remarkably diverse group of individuals.

In this book, Hannah Weiss Muller reexamines the traditional bond between subjects and sovereign and argues that this relationship endured as a powerful site for claims-making throughout the eighteenth century. Muller analyzes both legal understandings of subjecthood, as well as the popular tradition of declaring rights, in order to demonstrate why subjects believed they were entitled to make requests of their sovereign. She reconsiders narratives of upheaval during the Age of Revolution and insists on the relevance and utility of existing structures of state and sovereign. Emphasizing the stories of subjects who successfully leveraged their loyalty and negotiated their status, she also explores how and why subjecthood remained an organizing and contested principle of the eighteenth-century British Empire.

By placing the relationship between subjects and sovereign at the heart of her analysis, Muller offers a new perspective on a familiar period and suggests that imperial integration was as much about flexible and expansive conceptions of belonging as it was about shared economic, political, and intellectual networks.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Vexed with Devils"

New from NYU Press: Vexed with Devils: Manhood and Witchcraft in Old and New England by Erika Gasser.

About the book, from the publisher:
Stories of witchcraft and demonic possession from early modern England through the last official trials in colonial New England.

Those possessed by the devil in early modern England usually exhibited a common set of symptoms: fits, vomiting, visions, contortions, speaking in tongues, and an antipathy to prayer. However, it was a matter of interpretation, and sometimes public opinion, if these symptoms were visited upon the victim, or if they came from within. Both early modern England and colonial New England had cases that blurred the line between witchcraft and demonic possession, most famously, the Salem witch trials. While historians acknowledge some similarities in witch trials between the two regions, such as the fact that an overwhelming majority of witches were women, the histories of these cases primarily focus on local contexts and specifics. In so doing, they overlook the ways in which manhood factored into possession and witchcraft cases.

Vexed with Devils is a cultural history of witchcraft-possession phenomena that centers on the role of men and patriarchal power. Erika Gasser reveals that witchcraft trials had as much to do with who had power in the community, to impose judgement or to subvert order, as they did with religious belief. She argues that the gendered dynamics of possession and witchcraft demonstrated that contested meanings of manhood played a critical role in the struggle to maintain authority. While all men were not capable of accessing power in the same ways, many of the people involved—those who acted as if they were possessed, men accused of being witches, and men who wrote possession propaganda—invoked manhood as they struggled to advocate for themselves during these perilous times. Gasser ultimately concludes that the decline of possession and witchcraft cases was not merely a product of change over time, but rather an indication of the ways in which patriarchal power endured throughout and beyond the colonial period.

Vexed with Devils reexamines an unnerving time and offers a surprising new perspective on our own, using stories and voices which emerge from the records in ways that continue to fascinate and unsettle us.
--Marshal Zeringue