Friday, August 18, 2017

"Raised under Stalin"

New from Cornell University Press: Raised under Stalin: Young Communists and the Defense of Socialism by Seth Bernstein.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Raised under Stalin, Seth Bernstein shows how Stalin's regime provided young people with opportunities as members of the Young Communist League or Komsomol even as it surrounded them with violence, shaping socialist youth culture and socialism more broadly through the threat and experience of war. Informed by declassified materials from post-Soviet archives, as well as films, memoirs, and diaries by and about youth, Raised under Stalin explains the divided status of youth for the Bolsheviks: they were the "new people" who would someday build communism, the potential soldiers who would defend the USSR, and the hooligans who might undermine it from within.

Bernstein explains how, although Soviet revolutionary youth culture began as the preserve of proletarian activists, the Komsomol transformed under Stalin to become a mass organization of moral education; youth became the targets of state repression even as Stalin’s regime offered them the opportunity to participate in political culture. Raised under Stalin follows Stalinist youth into their ultimate test, World War II. Even as the war against Germany decimated the ranks of Young Communists, Bernstein finds evidence that it cemented Stalinist youth culture as a core part of socialism.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 17, 2017

"The Last Ottoman Generation and the Making of the Modern Middle East"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Last Ottoman Generation and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Michael Provence.

About the book
, from the publisher:
The modern Middle East emerged out of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, when Britain and France partitioned the Ottoman Arab lands into several new colonial states. The following period was a charged and transformative time of unrest. Insurgent leaders, trained in Ottoman military tactics and with everything to lose from the fall of the Empire, challenged the mandatory powers in a number of armed revolts. This is a study of this crucial period in Middle Eastern history, tracing the period through popular political movements and the experience of colonial rule. In doing so, Provence emphasises the continuity between the late Ottoman and Colonial era, explaining how national identities emerged, and how the seeds were sown for many of the conflicts which have defined the Middle East in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This is a valuable read for students of Middle Eastern history and politics.
Michael Provence teaches Middle East history at the Department of History, University of California, San Diego. He is the author of The Great Syrian Revolt and the Rise of Arab Nationalism (2005).

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"Medical Misadventure in an Age of Professionalisation"

New from Manchester University Press: Medical Misadventure in an Age of Professionalisation, 1780-1890 by Alannah Tomkins.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book looks at medical professionalisation from a new perspective, one of failure rather than success. It questions the existing picture of broad and rising medical prosperity across the nineteenth century to consider the men who did not keep up with professionalising trends. It unpicks the life stories of men who could not make ends meet or who could not sustain a professional persona of disinterested expertise, either because they could not overcome public accusations of misconduct or because they struggled privately with stress. In doing so it uncovers the trials of the medical marketplace and the pressures of medical masculinity. All professionalising groups risked falling short of rising expectations, but for doctors these expectations were inflected in some occupationally specific ways.
Alannah Tomkins is a Professor in History at Keele University.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Stalin's Defectors"

New from Oxford University Press: Stalin's Defectors: How Red Army Soldiers became Hitler's Collaborators, 1941-1945 by Mark Edele.

About the book, from the publisher:
Stalin's Defectors is the first systematic study of the phenomenon of frontline surrender to the Germans in the Soviet Union's 'Great Patriotic War' against the Nazis in 1941-1945. No other Allied army in the Second World War had such a large share of defectors among its prisoners of war. Based on a broad range of sources, this volume investigates the extent, the context, the scenarios, the reasons, the aftermath, and the historiography of frontline defection.

It shows that the most widespread sentiments animating attempts to cross the frontline was a wish to survive this war. Disgruntlement with Stalin's 'socialism' was also prevalent among those who chose to give up and hand themselves over to the enemy. While politics thus played a prominent role in pushing people to commit treason, few desired to fight on the side of the enemy. Hence, while the phenomenon of frontline defection tells us much about the lack of popularity of Stalin's regime, it does not prove that the majority of the population was ready for resistance, let alone collaboration. Both sides of a long-standing debate between those who equate all Soviet captives with defectors, and those who attempt to downplay the phenomenon, then, over-stress their argument. Instead, more recent research on the moods of both the occupied and the unoccupied Soviet population shows that the majority understood its own interest in opposition to both Hitler's and Stalin's regime. The findings of Mark Edele in this study support such an interpretation.
Visit Mark Edele's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"What Remains"

New from Columbia University Press: What Remains: Everyday Encounters with the Socialist Past in Germany by Jonathan Bach.

About the book, from the publisher:
What happens when an entire modern state's material culture becomes abruptly obsolete? How do ordinary people encounter what remains? In this ethnography, Jonathan Bach examines the afterlife of East Germany following the fall of the Berlin Wall, as things and places from that vanished socialist past continue to circulate and shape the politics of memory.

What Remains traces the unsettling effects of these unmoored artifacts on the German present, arguing for a rethinking of the role of the everyday as a site of reckoning with difficult pasts. Bach juxtaposes four sites where the stakes of the everyday appear: products commodified as nostalgia, amateur museums dedicated to collecting everyday life under socialism, the "people's palace" that captured the national imagination through its destruction, and the feared and fetishized Berlin Wall. Moving from the local, the intimate, and the small to the national, the impersonal, and the large, this book's interpenetrating chapters show the unexpected social and political force of the ordinary in the production of memory. What Remains offers a unique vantage point on the workings of the everyday in situations of radical discontinuity, contributing to new understandings of postsocialism and the intricate intersection of material remains and memory.
Visit Jonathan Bach's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"When Women Rule the Court"

New from Rutgers University Press: When Women Rule the Court: Gender, Race, and Japanese American Basketball by Nicole Willms.

About the book, from the publisher:
For nearly one hundred years, basketball has been an important part of Japanese American life. Women’s basketball holds a special place in the contemporary scene of highly organized and expansive Japanese American leagues in California, in part because these leagues have produced numerous talented female players. Using data from interviews and observations, Nicole Willms explores the interplay of social forces and community dynamics that have shaped this unique context of female athletic empowerment. As Japanese American women have excelled in mainstream basketball, they have emerged as local stars who have passed on the torch by becoming role models and building networks for others.
Nicole Willms is an assistant professor of sociology at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 14, 2017

"Dilemmas of Inclusion"

New from Princeton University Press: Dilemmas of Inclusion: Muslims in European Politics by Rafaela M. Dancygier.

About the book, from the publisher:
As Europe’s Muslim communities continue to grow, so does their impact on electoral politics and the potential for inclusion dilemmas. In vote-rich enclaves, Muslim views on religion, tradition, and gender roles can deviate sharply from those of the majority electorate, generating severe trade-offs for parties seeking to broaden their coalitions. Dilemmas of Inclusion explains when and why European political parties include Muslim candidates and voters, revealing that the ways in which parties recruit this new electorate can have lasting consequences.

Drawing on original evidence from thousands of electoral contests in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Great Britain, Rafaela Dancygier sheds new light on when minority recruitment will match up with existing party positions and uphold electoral alignments and when it will undermine party brands and shake up party systems. She demonstrates that when parties are seduced by the quick delivery of ethno-religious bloc votes, they undercut their ideological coherence, fail to establish programmatic linkages with Muslim voters, and miss their opportunity to build cross-ethnic, class-based coalitions. Dancygier highlights how the politics of minority inclusion can become a testing ground for parties, showing just how far their commitments to equality and diversity will take them when push comes to electoral shove.

Providing a unified theoretical framework for understanding the causes and consequences of minority political incorporation, and especially as these pertain to European Muslim populations, Dilemmas of Inclusion advances our knowledge about how ethnic and religious diversity reshapes domestic politics in today’s democracies.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Who Should Rule?"

New from Oxford University Press: Who Should Rule?: Men of Arms, the Republic of Letters, and the Fall of the Spanish Empire by Mónica Ricketts.

About the book, from the publisher:
Who Should Rule? traces the ambitious imperial reform that empowered new and competing political actors in an era of intense imperial competition, war, and the breakdown of the Spanish empire.

Mónica Ricketts examines the rise of men of letters and military officers in two central areas of the Spanish world: the viceroyalty of Peru and Spain. This was a disruptive, dynamic, and long process of common imperial origins. In 1700, two dynastic lines, the Spanish Habsburgs and the French Bourbons, disputed the succession to the Spanish throne. After more than a decade of war, the latter prevailed. Suspicious of the old Spanish court circles, the new Bourbon Crown sought meritorious subjects for its ministries, men of letters and military officers of good training among the provincial elites. Writers and lawyers were to produce new legislation to radically transform the Spanish world. They would reform the educational system and propagate useful knowledge. Military officers would defend the monarchy in this new era of imperial competition. Additionally, they would govern. From the start, the rise of these political actors in the Spanish world was an uneven process. Military officers became a new and somewhat solid corps. In contrast, the rise of men of letters confronted constant opposition. Rooted elites in both Spain and Peru resisted any attempts at curtailing their power and prerogatives and undermined the reform of education and traditions. As a consequence, men of letters found limited spaces in which to exercise their new authority, but they aimed for more. A succession of wars and insurgencies in America fueled the struggles for power between these two groups, paving the way for decades of unrest.

Emphasizing the continuities and connections between the Spanish worlds on both sides of the Atlantic, this work offers new perspectives on the breakdown of the empire, the rise of modern politics in Spanish America, and the transition to Peruvian independence.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 13, 2017

"Understanding Ignorance"

New from The MIT Press: Understanding Ignorance: The Surprising Impact of What We Don't Know by Daniel R. DeNicola.

About the book, from the publisher:
Ignorance is trending. Politicians boast, “I’m not a scientist.” Angry citizens object to a proposed state motto because it is in Latin, and “This is America, not Mexico or Latin America.” Lack of experience, not expertise, becomes a credential. Fake news and repeated falsehoods are accepted and shape firm belief. Ignorance about American government and history is so alarming that the ideal of an informed citizenry now seems quaint. Conspiracy theories and false knowledge thrive. This may be the Information Age, but we do not seem to be well informed. In this book, philosopher Daniel DeNicola explores ignorance—its abundance, its endurance, and its consequences.

DeNicola aims to understand ignorance, which seems at first paradoxical. How can the unknown become known—and still be unknown? But he argues that ignorance is more than a lack or a void, and that it has dynamic and complex interactions with knowledge. Taking a broadly philosophical approach, DeNicola examines many forms of ignorance, using the metaphors of ignorance as place, boundary, limit, and horizon. He treats willful ignorance and describes the culture in which ignorance becomes an ideological stance. He discusses the ethics of ignorance, including the right not to know, considers the supposed virtues of ignorance, and concludes that there are situations in which ignorance is morally good.

Ignorance is neither pure nor simple. It is both an accusation and a defense (“You are ignorant!” “Yes, but I didn’t know!”). Its practical effects range from the inconsequential to the momentous. It is a scourge, but, DeNicola argues daringly, it may also be a refuge, a value, even an accompaniment to virtue.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Ending Ageism, or How Not to Shoot Old People"

New from Rutgers University Press: Ending Ageism, or How Not to Shoot Old People by Margaret Morganroth Gullette.

About the book, from the publisher:
When the term “ageism” was coined in 1969, many problems of exclusion seemed resolved by government programs like Social Security and Medicare. As people live longer lives, today’s great demotions of older people cut deeper into their self-worth and human relations, beyond the reach of law or public policy. In Ending Ageism, or How Not to Shoot Old People, award-winning writer and cultural critic Margaret Morganroth Gullette confronts the offenders: the ways people aging past midlife are portrayed in the media, by adult offspring; the esthetics and politics of representation in photography, film, and theater; and the incitement to commit suicide for those with early signs of “dementia.”

In this original and important book, Gullette presents evidence of pervasive age-related assaults in contemporary societies and their chronic affects. The sudden onset of age-related shaming can occur anywhere—the shove in the street, the cold shoulder at the party, the deaf ear at the meeting, the shut-out by the personnel office or the obtuseness of a government. Turning intimate suffering into public grievances, Ending Ageism, Or How Not to Shoot Old People effectively and beautifully argues that overcoming ageism is the next imperative social movement of our time.
The Page 99 Test: Agewise: Fighting the New Ageism in America.

--Marshal Zeringue