Friday, December 15, 2017

"Artisanal Enlightenment"

New from Yale University Press: Artisanal Enlightenment: Science and the Mechanical Arts in Old Regime France by Paola Bertucci.

About the book, from the publisher:
A groundbreaking work that places the mechanical arts and the world of making at the heart of the Enlightenment

What would the Enlightenment look like from the perspective of artistes, the learned artisans with esprit, who presented themselves in contrast to philosophers, savants, and routine-bound craftsmen? Making a radical change of historical protagonists, Paola Bertucci places the mechanical arts and the world of making at the heart of the Enlightenment. At a time of great colonial, commercial, and imperial concerns, artistes planned encyclopedic projects and sought an official role in the administration of the French state. The Société des Arts, which they envisioned as a state institution that would foster France’s colonial and economic expansion, was the most ambitious expression of their collective aspirations.

Artisanal Enlightenment provides the first in-depth study of the Société, and demonstrates its legacy in scientific programs, academies, and the making of Diderot and D’Alembert’s Encyclopédie. Through insightful analysis of textual, visual, and material sources, Bertucci provides a groundbreaking perspective on the politics of writing on the mechanical arts and the development of key Enlightenment concepts such as improvement, utility, and progress.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 14, 2017

"Heroic Shaktism"

New from Oxford University Press: Heroic Shaktism: The Cult of Durga in Ancient Indian Kingship by Bihani Sarkar.

About the book, from the publisher:
Heroic Saktism is the belief that a good king and a true warrior must worship the goddess Durga, the form and substance of kingship. This belief formed the bedrock of ancient Indian practices of cultivating political power. Wildly dangerous and serenely benevolent at one and the same time, the goddess's charismatic split nature promised rewards for a hero and king and success in risky ventures.

This book is the first expansive historical treatment of the cult of Durga and the role it played in shaping ideas and rituals of heroism in India between the 3rd and the 12th centuries CE. Within the story of ancient Indian kingship, two critical transitions overlapped with the rise of heroic Saktism: the decline of the war-god Skanda-Mahasena as a military symbol, and the concomitant rise of the early Indian kingdom. As the rhetoric of kingship once strongly linked to the older war god shifted to the cultural narratives of the goddess, her political imagery broadened in its cultural resonance. And indigenous territorial deities became associated with Durga as smaller states unified into a broader conception of civilization.

By assessing the available epigraphic, literary and scriptural sources in Sanskrit, and anthropological studies on politics and ritual, Bihani Sarkar demonstrates that the association between Indian kingship and the cult's belief-systems was an ancient one based on efforts to augment worldly power.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Claiming Crimea"

New from Yale University Press: Claiming Crimea: A History of Catherine the Great’s Southern Empire by Kelly O'Neill.

About the book, from the publisher:
Russia’s long-standing claims to Crimea date back to the eighteenth-century reign of Catherine II. Historian Kelly O’Neill has written the first archive-based, multi-dimensional study of the initial “quiet conquest” of a region that has once again moved to the forefront of international affairs. O’Neill traces the impact of Russian rule on the diverse population of the former khanate, which included Muslim, Christian, and Jewish residents. She discusses the arduous process of establishing the empire’s social, administrative, and cultural institutions in a region that had been governed according to a dramatically different logic for centuries. With careful attention to how officials and subjects thought about the spaces they inhabited, O’Neill’s work reveals the lasting influence of Crimea and its people on the Russian imperial system, and sheds new light on the precarious contemporary relationship between Russia and the famous Black Sea peninsula.
Kelly O’Neill is associate professor of history at Harvard University and a faculty associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"Political Realism in Apocalyptic Times"

New from Cambridge University Press: Political Realism in Apocalyptic Times by Alison McQueen.

About the book, from the publisher:
From climate change to nuclear war to the rise of demagogic populists, our world is shaped by doomsday expectations. In this path-breaking book, Alison McQueen shows why three of history's greatest political realists feared apocalyptic politics. Niccolò Machiavelli in the midst of Italy's vicious power struggles, Thomas Hobbes during England's bloody civil war, and Hans Morgenthau at the dawn of the thermonuclear age all saw the temptation to prophesy the end of days. Each engaged in subtle and surprising strategies to oppose apocalypticism, from using its own rhetoric to neutralize its worst effects to insisting on a clear-eyed, tragic acceptance of the human condition. Scholarly yet accessible, this book is at once an ambitious contribution to the history of political thought and a work that speaks to our times.
Alison McQueen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. Her research focuses on early modern political theory and the history of International Relations thought.

--Marshal Zeringue

"India and the Patent Wars"

New from ILR Press: India and the Patent Wars: Pharmaceuticals in the New Intellectual Property Regime by Murphy Halliburton.

About the book, from the publisher:
India and the Patent Wars contributes to an international debate over the costs of medicine and restrictions on access under stringent patent laws showing how activists and drug companies in low-income countries seize agency and exert influence over these processes. Murphy Halliburton contributes to analyses of globalization within the fields of anthropology, sociology, law, and public health by drawing on interviews and ethnographic work with pharmaceutical producers in India and the United States.

India has been at the center of emerging controversies around patent rights related to pharmaceutical production and local medical knowledge. Halliburton shows that Big Pharma is not all-powerful, and that local activists and practitioners of ayurveda, India’s largest indigenous medical system, have been able to undermine the aspirations of multinational companies and the WTO. Halliburton traces how key drug prices have gone down, not up, in low-income countries under the new patent regime through partnerships between US- and India-based companies, but warns us to be aware of access to essential medicines in low- and middle-income countries going forward.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"Listening In"

New from Yale University Press: Listening In: Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age by Susan Landau.

About the book, from the publisher:
A cybersecurity expert and former Google privacy analyst’s urgent call to protect devices and networks against malicious hackers?

New technologies have provided both incredible convenience and new threats. The same kinds of digital networks that allow you to hail a ride using your smartphone let power grid operators control a country’s electricity—and these personal, corporate, and government systems are all vulnerable. In Ukraine, unknown hackers shut off electricity to nearly 230,000 people for six hours. North Korean hackers destroyed networks at Sony Pictures in retaliation for a film that mocked Kim Jong-un. And Russian cyberattackers leaked Democratic National Committee emails in an attempt to sway a U.S. presidential election.

And yet despite such documented risks, government agencies, whose investigations and surveillance are stymied by encryption, push for a weakening of protections. In this accessible and riveting read, Susan Landau makes a compelling case for the need to secure our data, explaining how we must maintain cybersecurity in an insecure age.
Susan Landau is Bridge Professor in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and the School of Engineering, Department of Computer Science, at Tufts University and Visiting Professor at University College London. She was previously a Senior Staff Privacy Analyst at Google and a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems. She is an Association for Computing Machinery Fellow, a Cybersecurity Hall of Fame inductee, and an American Association for Advancement of Science Fellow.

--Marshal Zeringue

"In Search of the Phoenicians"

New from Princeton University Press: In Search of the Phoenicians by Josephine Quinn.

About the book, from the publisher:
Who were the ancient Phoenicians, and did they actually exist?

The Phoenicians traveled the Mediterranean long before the Greeks and Romans, trading, establishing settlements, and refining the art of navigation. But who these legendary sailors really were has long remained a mystery. In Search of the Phoenicians makes the startling claim that the “Phoenicians” never actually existed. Taking readers from the ancient world to today, this monumental book argues that the notion of these sailors as a coherent people with a shared identity, history, and culture is a product of modern nationalist ideologies—and a notion very much at odds with the ancient sources.

Josephine Quinn shows how the belief in this historical mirage has blinded us to the compelling identities and communities these people really constructed for themselves in the ancient Mediterranean, based not on ethnicity or nationhood but on cities, family, colonial ties, and religious practices. She traces how the idea of “being Phoenician” first emerged in support of the imperial ambitions of Carthage and then Rome, and only crystallized as a component of modern national identities in contexts as far-flung as Ireland and Lebanon.

In Search of the Phoenicians delves into the ancient literary, epigraphic, numismatic, and artistic evidence for the construction of identities by and for the Phoenicians, ranging from the Levant to the Atlantic, and from the Bronze Age to late antiquity and beyond. A momentous scholarly achievement, this book also explores the prose, poetry, plays, painting, and polemic that have enshrined these fabled seafarers in nationalist histories from sixteenth-century England to twenty-first century Tunisia.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 11, 2017

"A Bloodless Victory"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: A Bloodless Victory: The Battle of New Orleans in History and Memory by Joseph F. Stoltz III.

About the book, from the publisher:
Once celebrated on par with the Fourth of July, January 8th—the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans—is no longer a day of reverence for most Americans. Although the United States’ stunning 1815 defeat of the British army south of New Orleans gave rise to the presidency of Andrew Jackson, the Democratic Party, and the legend of Jean Laffite, the battle has not been a national holiday since 1861.

Joseph F. Stoltz III explores how generations of Americans have consciously revised, reinterpreted, and reexamined the memory of the conflict to fit the cultural and social needs of their time. Combining archival research with deep analyses of music, literature, theater, and film across two centuries of American popular culture, Stoltz highlights the myriad ways in which politicians, artists, academics, and ordinary people have rewritten the battle’s history. While these efforts could be nefarious—or driven by political necessity or racial animus—far more often they were simply part of each generations’ expression of values and world view.

From Andrew Jackson’s presidential campaign to the occupation of New Orleans by the Union Army to the Jim Crow era, the continuing reinterpretations of the battle alienated whole segments of the American population from its memorialization. Thus, a close look at the Battle of New Orleans offers an opportunity to explore not just how events are collectively remembered across generations but also how a society discards memorialization efforts it no longer finds necessary or palatable.
Visit Joseph F. Stoltz III's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Hippie Trail"

New from Manchester University Press: The Hippie Trail: A history by Sharif Gemie and Brian Ireland.

About the book, from the publisher:
This is the first history of the hippie trail. It records the joys and pains of budget travel to Kathmandu, India, Afghanistan and other 'points east' in the 1960s and 1970s. It's written in a clear, simple style, yet provides detailed analysis of the motivations and the experiences of those hundreds of thousands of who travelled eastwards.

The work is structured around four key debates: were the travellers simply motivated by a search for drugs? Did they encounter love or sexual freedom on the road? Were they basically just tourists? Did they resemble pilgrims? Finally a fifth chapter considers how the travellers have been represented in films, novels and autobiographical accounts.

This book has two main audiences in mind: firstly, a broad audience of those interested in the trail or the 1960s counterculture; secondly, students taking courses concerning the 1960s.
Sharif Gemie is Professor in Modern and Contemporary History at the University of South Wales. Brian Ireland is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of South Wales.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 10, 2017

"Secession and Security"

New from Cornell University Press: Secession and Security: Explaining State Strategy against Separatists by Ahsan I. Butt.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Secession and Security, Ahsan I. Butt argues that states, rather than separatists, determine whether a secessionist struggle will be peaceful, violent, or genocidal. He investigates the strategies, ranging from negotiated concessions to large-scale repression, adopted by states in response to separatist movements. Variations in the external security environment, Butt argues, influenced the leaders of the Ottoman Empire to use peaceful concessions against Armenians in 1908 but escalated to genocide against the same community in 1915; caused Israel to reject a Palestinian state in the 1990s; and shaped peaceful splits in Czechoslovakia in 1993 and the Norway-Sweden union in 1905.

Using more than one hundred interviews and extensive archival data, Butt focuses on two main cases—Pakistani reactions to Bengali and Baloch demands for independence in the 1970s and India’s responses to secessionist movements in Kashmir, Punjab, and Assam in the 1980s and 1990s. Butt’s deep historical approach to his subject will appeal to policymakers and observers interested in the last five decades of geopolitics in South Asia, the contemporary Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and ethno-national conflict, separatism, and nationalism more generally.
Visit Ahsan Butt's homepage.

--Marshal Zeringue