Friday, November 17, 2017

"Who Speaks for Nature?"

New from the University of Pennsylvania Press: Who Speaks for Nature?: On the Politics of Science by Laura Ephraim.

About the book, from the publisher:
When natural scientists speak up in public about the material phenomena they have observed, measured, and analyzed in the lab or the field, they embody a distinctive version of political authority. Where does science derive its remarkably resilient, though often contested, capacity to give voice to nature? What efforts on the part of scientists and nonscientists alike determine who is regarded as a legitimate witness to material reality and whose speech is discounted as idle chatter, mere opinion, or noise?

In Who Speaks for Nature?, Laura Ephraim reveals the roots of scientific authority in what she calls "world-building politics": the collection of practices through which scientists and citizens collaborate with and struggle against each other to engage natural things and events and to construct a shared yet heterogeneous world. Through innovative readings of some of the most important thinkers of science and politics of the near and distant past, including René Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, Giambattista Vico, and Hannah Arendt, Ephraim argues that the natural sciences are political because they are crucial sites in which the worldly relationships that bind together the human and nonhuman are inherited, augmented, and reconstructed.

Who Speaks for Nature? opens a novel conversation between political theory, science, and technology studies and augments existing efforts by feminists, environmentalists, and democratic theorists to challenge the traditional binary separating nature and politics. In an age of climate change and climate-change denial, Ephraim brings theoretical understandings of politics to bear on real-world events and decisions and uncovers fresh insights into the place of scientists in public life.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 16, 2017

"The Market Makers"

New from Oxford University Press: The Market Makers: Creating Mass Markets for Consumer Durables in Inter-war Britain by Peter Scott.

About the book, from the publisher:
During the twentieth century "affluence" (both at the level of the individual household and that of society as a whole) became intimately linked with access to a range of prestige consumer durables. The Market Makers charts the inter-war origins of a process that would eventually transform these features of modern life from being 'luxuries' to "necessities" for most British families. Peter Scott examines how producers and retailers succeeded in creating "mass" (though not universal) market for new suites of furniture, radios, modern housing, and some electrical and gas appliances, while also exploring why some other goods, such as refrigerators, telephones, and automobiles, failed to reach the mass market in Britain before the 1950s.

Creating mass markets presented a formidable challenge for manufacturers and retailers. Consumer durables required large markets. Most involved significant research and development costs. Some, such as the telephone, radio, and car, were dependent on complementary investments in infrastructure. All required intensive marketing--usually including expensive advertising in national newspapers and magazines, while some also needed mass production methods (and output volumes) to make them affordable to a mass market. This study charts the pioneering efforts of entrepreneurs (many of whom, though once household names, are now largely forgotten) to provide consumer durables at a price affordable to a mass market and to persuade a sometimes reluctant public to embrace the new products and the consumer credit that their purchase required. In doing so, Scott shows that, contrary to much received wisdom, there was a 'consumer durables revolution' in inter-war Britain--at least for certain highly prioritized goods.
The Page 99 Test: The Making of the Modern British Home.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Theodore Roosevelt's Ghost"

New from LSU Press: Theodore Roosevelt's Ghost: The History and Memory of an American Icon by Michael Patrick Cullinane.

About the book, from the publisher:
A century after his death, Theodore Roosevelt remains one of the most recognizable figures in U.S. history, with depictions of the president ranging from the brave commander of the Rough Riders to a trailblazing progressive politician and early environmentalist to little more than a caricature of grinning teeth hiding behind a mustache and pince-nez. Theodore Roosevelt’s Ghost follows the continuing shifts and changes in this president’s reputation since his unexpected passing in 1919.

In the most comprehensive examination of Roosevelt’s legacy, Michael Patrick Cullinane explores the frequent refashioning of this American icon in popular memory. The immediate aftermath of Roosevelt’s death created a groundswell of mourning and goodwill that ensured his place among the great Americans of his generation, a stature bolstered by the charitable and political work of his surviving family. When Franklin Roosevelt ascended to the presidency, he worked to situate himself as the natural heir of Theodore Roosevelt, reshaping his distant cousin’s legacy to reflect New Deal values of progressivism, intervention, and patriotism. Others retroactively adapted Roosevelt’s actions and political record to fit the discourse of social movements from anticommunism to civil rights, with varying degrees of success. Richard Nixon’s frequent invocation led to a decline in Roosevelt’s popularity and a corresponding revival effort by scholars endeavoring to give an accurate, nuanced picture of the 26th president.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

"Punishing Disease"

New from the University of California Press: Punishing Disease: HIV and the Criminalization of Sickness by Trevor Hoppe.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the very beginning of the epidemic, AIDS was linked to punishment. Calls to punish people living with HIV—mostly stigmatized minorities—began before doctors had even settled on a name for the disease. Punishing Disease looks at how HIV was transformed from sickness to badness under the criminal law and investigates the consequences of inflicting penalties on people living with disease. Now that the door to criminalizing sickness is open, what other ailments will follow? With moves in state legislatures to extend HIV-specific criminal laws to include diseases such as hepatitis and meningitis, the question is more than academic.
Trevor Hoppe is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and a coeditor of The War on Sex.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Unfinished Business"

New from Oxford University Press: Unfinished Business: Michael Jackson, Detroit, and the Figural Economy of American Deindustrialization by Judith Hamera.

About the book, from the publisher:
How does structural economic change look and feel? How are such changes normalized? Who represents hope? Who are the cautionary tales? Unfinished Business argues that U.S. deindustrialization cannot be understood apart from issues of race, and specifically apart from images of, and works by and about African Americans that represent or resist normative or aberrant relationships to work and capital in transitional times. It insists that Michael Jackson's performances and coverage of his life, plays featuring Detroit, plans for the city's postindustrial revitalization, and Detroit installations The Heidelberg Project and Mobile Homestead have something valuable to teach us about three decades of structural economic transition in the U.S., particularly about the changing nature of work and capitalism between the mid 1980s and 2016. Jackson and Detroit offer examples of the racialization of deindustrialization, how it operates as a structure of feeling and as representations as well as a shift in the dominant mode of production, and how industrialization's successor mode, financialization, uses imagery both very similar to and very different from its predecessor.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"Technologies for Intuition"

New from the University of California Press: Technologies for Intuition: Cold War Circles and Telepathic Rays by Alaina Lemon.

About the book, from the publisher:
Since the Cold War, Americans and Russians have together cultivated fascination with the workings and failures of communicative channels. Each accuses the other of media jamming and propaganda, and each proclaims its own communication practices better for expression and creativity. Technologies for Intuition theorizes phaticity—the processes by which people make, check, discern, or describe channels and contacts, judging them weak or strong, blocked or open. This historical ethnography of intuition juxtaposes telepathy experiments and theatrical empathy drills, passing through settings where media and performance professionals encounter neophytes, where locals open channels with foreigners, and where skeptics of contact debate naifs. Tacking across geopolitical borders, the book demonstrates how contact and channel shift in significance over time, through events and political relations, in social conflict, and in conversation. The author suggests that Cold War preoccupations and strategies have marked theoretical models of communication and mediation, even while infusing everyday, practical technologies for intuition.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Gangsters to Governors"

New from Rutgers University Press: Gangsters to Governors: The New Bosses of Gambling in America by David Clary.

About the book, from the publisher:
Generations ago, gambling in America was an illicit activity, dominated by gangsters like Benny Binion and Bugsy Siegel. Today, forty-eight out of fifty states permit some form of legal gambling, and America’s governors sit at the head of the gaming table. But have states become addicted to the revenue gambling can bring? And does the potential of increased revenue lead them to place risky bets on new casinos, lotteries, and online games?

In Gangsters to Governors, journalist David Clary investigates the pros and cons of the shift toward state-run gambling. Unearthing the sordid history of America’s gaming underground, he demonstrates the problems with prohibiting gambling while revealing how today’s governors, all competing for a piece of the action, promise their citizens payouts that are rarely delivered.

Clary introduces us to a rogue’s gallery of colorful characters, from John “Old Smoke” Morrissey, the Irish-born gangster who built Saratoga into a gambling haven in the nineteenth century, to Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who has furiously lobbied against online betting. By exploring the controversial histories of legal and illegal gambling in America, he offers a fresh perspective on current controversies, including bans on sports and online betting. Entertaining and thought-provoking, Gangsters to Governors considers the past, present, and future of our gambling nation.
Visit David Clary's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 13, 2017

"Hood's Texas Brigade"

New from the LSU Press: Hood's Texas Brigade: The Soldiers and Families of the Confederacy's Most Celebrated Unit by Susannah J. Ural.

About the book, from the publisher:
One of the most effective units to fight on either side of the Civil War, the Texas Brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia served under Robert E. Lee from the Seven Days Battles in 1862 to the surrender at Appomattox in 1865. In Hood’s Texas Brigade, Susannah J. Ural presents a nontraditional unit history that traces the experiences of these soldiers and their families to gauge the war’s effect on them and to understand their role in the white South’s struggle for independence.

According to Ural, several factors contributed to the Texas Brigade’s extraordinary success: the unit’s strong self-identity as Confederates; the mutual respect among the junior officers and their men; a constant desire to maintain their reputation not just as Texans but as the top soldiers in Robert E. Lee’s army; and the fact that their families matched the men’s determination to fight and win. Using the letters, diaries, memoirs, newspaper accounts, official reports, and military records of nearly 600 brigade members, Ural argues that the average Texas Brigade volunteer possessed an unusually strong devotion to southern independence: whereas most Texans and Arkansans fought in the West or Trans- Mississippi West, members of the Texas Brigade volunteered for a unit that moved them over a thousand miles from home, believing that they would exert the greatest influence on the war’s outcome by fighting near the Confederate capital in Richmond. These volunteers also took pride in their place in, or connections to, the slave-holding class that they hoped would secure their financial futures. While Confederate ranks declined from desertion and fractured morale in the last years of the war, this belief in a better life—albeit one built through slave labor— kept the Texas Brigade more intact than other units.

Hood’s Texas Brigade challenges key historical arguments about soldier motivation, volunteerism and desertion, home-front morale, and veterans’ postwar adjustment. It provides an intimate picture of one of the war’s most effective brigades and sheds new light on the rationales that kept Confederate soldiers fighting throughout the most deadly conflict in U.S. history.
--Marshal Zeringue

"A Day at Home in Early Modern England"

New from Yale University Press: A Day at Home in Early Modern England: Material Culture and Domestic Life, 1500-1700 by Tara Hamling and Catherine Richardson.

About the book, from the publisher:
This fascinating book offers the first sustained investigation of the complex relationship between the middling sort and their domestic space in the tumultuous, rapidly changing culture of early modern England. Presented in an innovative and engaging narrative form that follows the pattern of a typical day from early morning through the middle of the night, A Day at Home in Early Modern England examines the profound influence that the domestic material environment had on structuring and expressing modes of thought and behaviour of relatively ordinary people. With a multidisciplinary approach that takes both extant objects and documentary sources into consideration, Tara Hamling and Catherine Richardson recreate the layered complexity of lived household experience and explore how a family’s investment in rooms, decoration, possessions, and provisions served to define not only their status, but the social, commercial, and religious concerns that characterised their daily existence.
Tara Hamling is senior lecturer in history at the University of Birmingham. Catherine Richardson is professor of early modern studies at the University of Kent.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 12, 2017

"In Search of the Mexican Beverly Hills"

New from Rutgers University Press: In Search of the Mexican Beverly Hills: Latino Suburbanization in Postwar Los Angeles by Jerry González.

About the book, from the publisher:
Residential and industrial sprawl changed more than the political landscape of postwar Los Angeles. It expanded the employment and living opportunities for millions of Angelinos into new suburbs. In Search of the Mexican Beverly Hills examines the struggle for inclusion into this exclusive world—a multilayered process by which Mexican Americans moved out of the barrios and emerged as a majority population in the San Gabriel Valley—and the impact that movement had on collective racial and class identity. Contrary to the assimilation processes experienced by most Euro-Americans, Mexican Americans did not graduate to whiteness on the basis of their suburban residence. Rather, In Search of the Mexican Beverly Hills illuminates how Mexican American racial and class identity were both reinforced by and took on added metropolitan and transnational dimensions in the city during the second half of the twentieth century.
Jerry González is an associate professor of history at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

--Marshal Zeringue