Thursday, April 19, 2018

"The Story of Radio Mind"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Story of Radio Mind: A Missionary's Journey on Indigenous Land by Pamela E. Klassen.

About the book, from the publisher:
At the dawn of the radio age in the 1920s, a settler-mystic living on northwest coast of British Columbia invented radio mind: Frederick Du Vernet—Anglican archbishop and self-declared scientist—announced a psychic channel by which minds could telepathically communicate across distance. Retelling Du Vernet’s imaginative experiment, Pamela Klassen shows us how agents of colonialism built metaphysical traditions on land they claimed to have conquered.

Following Du Vernet’s journey westward from Toronto to Ojibwe territory and across the young nation of Canada, Pamela Klassen examines how contests over the mediation of stories—via photography, maps, printing presses, and radio—lucidly reveal the spiritual work of colonial settlement. A city builder who bargained away Indigenous land to make way for the railroad, Du Vernet knew that he lived on the territory of Ts’msyen, Nisga’a, and Haida nations who had never ceded their land to the onrush of Canadian settlers. He condemned the devastating effects on Indigenous families of the residential schools run by his church while still serving that church. Testifying to the power of radio mind with evidence from the apostle Paul and the philosopher Henri Bergson, Du Vernet found a way to explain the world that he, his church and his country made.

Expanding approaches to religion and media studies to ask how sovereignty is made through stories, Klassen shows how the spiritual invention of colonial nations takes place at the same time that Indigenous peoples—including Indigenous Christians—resist colonial dispossession through stories and spirits of their own.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"A Blueprint for War"

New from Yale University Press: A Blueprint for War: FDR and the Hundred Days That Mobilized America by Susan Dunn.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the cold winter months that followed Franklin Roosevelt’s election in November 1940 to an unprecedented third term in the White House, he confronted a worldwide military and moral catastrophe. Almost all the European democracies had fallen under the ruthless onslaught of the Nazi army and air force. Great Britain stood alone, a fragile bastion between Germany and American immersion in war. In the Pacific world, Japan had extended its tentacles deeper into China. Susan Dunn dramatically brings to life the most vital and transformational period of Roosevelt’s presidency: the hundred days between December 1940 and March 1941, when he mobilized American industry, mustered the American people, initiated the crucial programs and approved the strategic plans for America’s leadership in World War II. As the nation began its transition into the preeminent military, industrial, and moral power on the planet, FDR laid out the stunning blueprint not only for war but for the American Century.
Visit Susan Dunn's website.

Writers Read: Susan Dunn (June 2013).

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

"Class Attitudes in America"

New from Cambridge University Press: Class Attitudes in America: Sympathy for the Poor, Resentment of the Rich, and Political Implications by Spencer Piston.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book explains a long-standing puzzle in American politics: why so many Americans support downwardly redistributive social welfare programs, when such support seems to fly in the face of standard conceptions of the American public as anti-government, individualistic, and racially prejudiced. Bringing class attitudes into the analysis, Spencer Piston demonstrates through rigorous empirical analysis that sympathy for the poor and resentment of the rich explain American support for downwardly redistributive programs - not only those that benefit the middle class, but also those that explicitly target the poor. The book captures an important and neglected component of citizen attitudes toward a host of major public policies and candidate evaluations. It also explains why government does so little to combat economic inequality; in key instances, political elites downplay class considerations, deactivating sympathy for the poor and resentment of the rich.
Visit Spencer Piston's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 16, 2018

"American Honor"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: American Honor: The Creation of the Nation's Ideals during the Revolutionary Era by Craig Bruce Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
The American Revolution was not only a revolution for liberty and freedom, it was also a revolution of ethics, reshaping what colonial Americans understood as “honor” and “virtue.” As Craig Bruce Smith demonstrates, these concepts were crucial aspects of Revolutionary Americans’ ideological break from Europe and shared by all ranks of society. Focusing his study primarily on prominent Americans who came of age before and during the Revolution—notably John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington—Smith shows how a colonial ethical transformation caused and became inseparable from the American Revolution, creating an ethical ideology that still remains.

By also interweaving individuals and groups that have historically been excluded from the discussion of honor—such as female thinkers, women patriots, slaves, and free African Americans—Smith makes a broad and significant argument about how the Revolutionary era witnessed a fundamental shift in ethical ideas. This thoughtful work sheds new light on a forgotten cause of the Revolution and on the ideological foundation of the United States.
Visit Craig Bruce Smith's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 15, 2018

"Addicted to Christ"

New from the University of California Press: Addicted to Christ: Remaking Men in Puerto Rican Pentecostal Drug Ministries by Helena Hansen.

About the book, from the publisher:
How are spiritual power and self-transformation cultivated in street ministries? In Addicted to Christ, Helena Hansen provides an in-depth analysis of Pentecostal ministries in Puerto Rico that were founded and run by self-identified “ex-addicts,” ministries that are also widespread in poor Black and Latino neighborhoods in the U.S. mainland. Richly ethnographic, the book harmoniously melds Hansen’s dual expertise in cultural anthropology and psychiatry. Through the stories of ministry converts, she examines key elements of Pentecostalism: mysticism, ascetic practice, and the idea of other-worldliness. She then reconstructs the ministries' strategies of spiritual victory over addiction: transformation techniques to build spiritual strength and authority through pain and discipline; cultivation of alternative masculinities based on male converts’ reclamation of domestic space; and radical rupture from a post-industrial “culture of disposability.” By contrasting the ministries’ logic of addiction with that of biomedicine, Hansen rethinks roads to recovery, discovering unexpected convergences with biomedicine while revealing the allure of street corner ministries.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 14, 2018

"Maternal Bodies"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Maternal Bodies: Redefining Motherhood in Early America by Nora Doyle

About the book, from the publisher:
In the second half of the eighteenth century, motherhood came to be viewed as women's most important social role, and the figure of the good mother was celebrated as a moral force in American society. Nora Doyle shows that depictions of motherhood in American culture began to define the ideal mother by her emotional and spiritual roles rather than by her physical work as a mother. As a result of this new vision, lower-class women and non-white women came to be excluded from the identity of the good mother because American culture defined them in terms of their physical labor.

However, Doyle also shows that childbearing women contradicted the ideal of the disembodied mother in their personal accounts and instead perceived motherhood as fundamentally defined by the work of their bodies. Enslaved women were keenly aware that their reproductive bodies carried a literal price, while middle-class and elite white women dwelled on the physical sensations of childbearing and childrearing. Thus motherhood in this period was marked by tension between the lived experience of the maternal body and the increasingly ethereal vision of the ideal mother that permeated American print culture.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 13, 2018

"An American Language"

New from the University of California Press: An American Language: The History of Spanish in the United States by Rosina Lozano.

About the book, from the publisher:
An American Language is a tour de force that revolutionizes our understanding of U.S. history. It reveals the origins of Spanish as a language binding residents of the Southwest to the politics and culture of an expanding nation in the 1840s. As the West increasingly integrated into the United States over the following century, struggles over power, identity, and citizenship transformed the place of the Spanish language in the nation. An American Language is a history that reimagines what it means to be an American—with profound implications for our own time.
Rosina Lozano is Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 12, 2018

"The Men of Mobtown"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: The Men of Mobtown: Policing Baltimore in the Age of Slavery and Emancipation by Adam Malka.

About the book, from the publisher:
What if racialized mass incarceration is not a perversion of our criminal justice system’s liberal ideals, but rather a natural conclusion? Adam Malka raises this disturbing possibility through a gripping look at the origins of modern policing in the influential hub of Baltimore during and after slavery’s final decades. He argues that America’s new professional police forces and prisons were developed to expand, not curb, the reach of white vigilantes, and are best understood as a uniformed wing of the gangs that controlled free black people by branding them—and treating them—as criminals. The post–Civil War triumph of liberal ideals thus also marked a triumph of an institutionalized belief in black criminality.

Mass incarceration may be a recent phenomenon, but the problems that undergird the “new Jim Crow” are very, very old. As Malka makes clear, a real reckoning with this national calamity requires not easy reforms but a deeper, more radical effort to overcome the racial legacies encoded into the very DNA of our police institutions.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

"Rules without Rights"

New from Oxford University Press: Rules without Rights: Land, Labor, and Private Authority in the Global Economy by Tim Bartley.

About the book, from the publisher:
Activists have exposed startling forms of labor exploitation and environmental degradation in global industries, leading many large retailers and brands to adopt standards for fairness and sustainability. This book is about the idea that transnational corporations can push these standards through their global supply chains, and in effect, pull factories, forests, and farms out of their local contexts and up to global best practices. For many scholars and practitioners, this kind of private regulation and global standard-setting can provide an alternative to regulation by territorially-bound, gridlocked, or incapacitated nation states, potentially improving environments and working conditions around the world and protecting the rights of exploited workers, impoverished farmers, and marginalized communities. But can private, voluntary standards actually create meaningful forms of regulation? Are forests and factories around the world actually being made into sustainable ecosystems and decent workplaces? Can global norms remake local orders?

This book provides striking new answers by comparing the private regulation of land and labor in democratic and authoritarian settings. Case studies of sustainable forestry and fair labour standards in Indonesia and China show not only how transnational standards are implemented 'on the ground' but also how they are constrained and reconfigured by domestic governance. Combining rich multi-method analyses, a powerful comparative approach, and a new theory of private regulation, Rules without Rights reveals the contours and contradictions of transnational governance.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Spending to Win"

New from Cambridge University Press: Spending to Win: Political Institutions, Economic Geography, and Government Subsidies by Stephanie J. Rickard.

About the book, from the publisher:
Governments in some democracies target economic policies, like industrial subsidies, to small groups at the expense of many. Why do some governments redistribute more narrowly than others? Their willingness to selectively target economic benefits, like subsidies to businesses, depends on the way politicians are elected and the geographic distribution of economic activities. Based on interviews with government ministers and bureaucrats, as well as parliamentary records, industry publications, local media coverage, and new quantitative data, Spending to Win: Political Institutions, Economic Geography, and Government Subsidies demonstrates that government policy-making can be explained by the combination of electoral institutions and economic geography. Specifically, it shows how institutions interact with economic geography to influence countries' economic policies and international economic relations. Identical institutions have wide-ranging effects depending on the context in which they operate. No single institution is a panacea for issues, such as income inequality, international economic conflict, or minority representation.
Stephanie J. Rickard is Associate Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

--Marshal Zeringue