Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Ground Wars"

New from Princeton University Press: Ground Wars: Personalized Communication in Political Campaigns by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Political campaigns today are won or lost in the so-called ground war--the strategic deployment of teams of staffers, volunteers, and paid part-timers who work the phones and canvass block by block, house by house, voter by voter. Ground Wars provides an in-depth ethnographic portrait of two such campaigns, New Jersey Democrat Linda Stender's and that of Democratic Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut, who both ran for Congress in 2008.

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen examines how American political operatives use "personalized political communication" to engage with the electorate, and weighs the implications of ground war tactics for how we understand political campaigns and what it means to participate in them. He shows how ground wars are waged using resources well beyond those of a given candidate and their staff. These include allied interest groups and civic associations, party-provided technical infrastructures that utilize large databases with detailed individual-level information for targeting voters, and armies of dedicated volunteers and paid part-timers. Nielsen challenges the notion that political communication in America must be tightly scripted, controlled, and conducted by a select coterie of professionals. Yet he also quashes the romantic idea that canvassing is a purer form of grassroots politics. In today's political ground wars, Nielsen demonstrates, even the most ordinary-seeming volunteer knocking at your door is backed up by high-tech targeting technologies and party expertise.

Ground Wars reveals how personalized political communication is profoundly influencing electoral outcomes and transforming American democracy.
Visit Rasmus Kleis Nielsen's website.

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Golden Holocaust"

New from the University of California Press: Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition by Robert N. Proctor.

About the book, from the publisher:
The cigarette is the deadliest artifact in the history of human civilization. It is also one of the most beguiling, thanks to more than a century of manipulation at the hands of tobacco industry chemists. In Golden Holocaust, Robert N. Proctor draws on reams of formerly-secret industry documents to explore how the cigarette came to be the most widely-used drug on the planet, with six trillion sticks sold per year. He paints a harrowing picture of tobacco manufacturers conspiring to block the recognition of tobacco-cancer hazards, even as they ensnare legions of scientists and politicians in a web of denial. Proctor tells heretofore untold stories of fraud and subterfuge, and he makes the strongest case to date for a simple yet ambitious remedy: a ban on the manufacture and sale of cigarettes.
Among the early praise for Golden Holocaust:
“[A] monumental and sobering indictment.”

“The great cause of global health is in Robert Proctor’s debt. Golden Holocaust is a model of impassioned scholarly research and advocacy. As Proctor so powerfully demonstrates, the time has come to hold the tobacco industry accountable for the massive disease, debility, and death that they produce around the world.”
--Allan M. Brandt, author of The Cigarette Century

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"War! What Is It Good For?"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: War! What Is It Good For?: Black Freedom Struggles and the U. S. Military from World War II to Iraq by Kimberley L. Phillips.

About the book, from the publisher:
African Americans' long campaign for "the right to fight" forced Harry Truman to issue his 1948 executive order calling for equality of treatment and opportunity in the armed forces. In War! What Is It Good For?, Kimberley Phillips examines how blacks' participation in the nation's wars after Truman's order and their protracted struggles for equal citizenship galvanized a vibrant antiwar activism that reshaped their struggles for freedom.

Using an array of sources--from newspapers and government documents to literature, music, and film--and tracing the period from World War II to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Phillips considers how federal policies that desegregated the military also maintained racial, gender, and economic inequalities. Since 1945, the nation's need for military labor, blacks' unequal access to employment, and discriminatory draft policies have forced black men into the military at disproportionate rates. While mainstream civil rights leaders considered the integration of the military to be a civil rights success, many black soldiers, veterans, and antiwar activists perceived war as inimical to their struggles for economic and racial justice and sought to reshape the civil rights movement into an antiwar black freedom movement. Since the Vietnam War, Phillips argues, many African Americans have questioned linking militarism and war to their concepts of citizenship, equality, and freedom.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"Occupying Power: Sex Workers and Servicemen in Postwar Japan"

New from Stanford University Press: Occupying Power: Sex Workers and Servicemen in Postwar Japan by Sarah Kovner.

About the book, from the publisher:
The year was 1945. Hundreds of thousands of Allied troops poured into war-torn Japan and spread throughout the country, altering both the built environment and the country's psychological landscape. The effect of this influx on the local population did not lessen in the years following the war's end. In fact, the presence of foreign servicemen also heightened the visibility of certain others, particularly panpan—streetwalkers—who were objects of their desire.

Occupying Power shows how intimate histories and international relations are interconnected in ways scholars have only begun to explore. Although sex workers became symbols of Japan's diminished status, by earning scarce dollars they helped jump-start economic recovery. But sex workers who catered to servicemen were nonetheless a frequent target. They were blamed for increases in venereal disease. They were charged with diluting the Japanese race by producing mixed-race offspring. In 1956, Japan passed its first national law against prostitution. Though empowered female legislators had joined with conservatives in this effort to reform and rehabilitate, the law produced an unanticipated effect. By ending a centuries-old tradition of sex work regulation, it made sex workers less visible and more vulnerable.

This probing history reveals an important but underexplored aspect of the Japanese occupation and its effect on gender and society. It seeks to shift the terms of debate on a number of controversies, including Japan's history of forced sexual slavery, rape accusations against U.S. servicemen, opposition to U.S. overseas bases, and sexual trafficking.

Friday, January 27, 2012

"The Creative Society"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Creative Society - and the Price Americans Paid for It by Louis Galambos.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Creative Society is the first history to look at modern America through the eyes of its emerging ranks of professional experts, including lawyers, scientists, doctors, administrators, business managers, teachers, policy specialists, and urban planners. Covering the period from the 1890s to the early twenty-first century, Louis Galambos examines the history that shaped professionals and, in turn, their role in shaping modern America. He considers the roles of education, anti-Semitism, racism, and elitism in shaping and defining the professional cadre and examines how matters of gender, race, and ethnicity determined whether women, African Americans, and immigrants from Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East were admitted to the professional ranks. He also discusses the role professionals played in urbanizing the United States, keeping the economy efficient and innovative, showing the government how to provide the people a greater measure of security and equity, and guiding the world's leading industrial power in coping with its complex, frequently dangerous foreign relations.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Blue Jeans: The Art of the Ordinary"

New from the University of California Press: Blue Jeans: The Art of the Ordinary by Daniel Miller and Sophie Woodward.

About the book, from the publisher:
This fresh and accessible ethnography offers a new vision of how society might cohere, in the face of on-going global displacement, dislocation, and migration. Drawing from intensive field work in a highly diverse North London neighborhood, Daniel Miller and Sophie Woodward focus on an everyday item—blue jeans—to learn what one simple article of clothing can tell us about our individual and social lives and challenging, by extension, the foundational anthropological presumption of “the normative.” Miller and Woodward argue that blue jeans do not always represent social and cultural difference, from gender and wealth, to style and circumstance. Instead they find that jeans allow individuals to inhabit what the authors term “the ordinary.” Miller and Woodward demonstrate that the emphasis on becoming ordinary is important for immigrants and the population of North London more generally, and they call into question foundational principles behind anthropology, sociology and philosophy.
Among the early praise for Blue Jeans:
"In their new book Blue Jeans: The Art of Ordinary, Woodward and Miller explore how jeans identify their wearer more than any other single garment. Whether on the runway, in prison, downtown or homeless, they say so much more about you than what you’re wearing-- whether you like it or not."
--Simon Collins, Dean of the School of Fashion at Parsons The New School for Design

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"The Revolutionary Constitution"

New from Oxford University Press: The Revolutionary Constitution by David J. Bodenhamer.

About the book, from the publisher:
The framers of the Constitution chose their words carefully when they wrote of a more perfect union--not absolutely perfect, but with room for improvement. Indeed, we no longer operate under the same Constitution as that ratified in 1788, or even the one completed by the Bill of Rights in 1791--because we are no longer the same nation.

In The Revolutionary Constitution, David J. Bodenhamer provides a comprehensive new look at America's basic law, integrating the latest legal scholarship with historical context to highlight how it has evolved over time. The Constitution, he notes, was the product of the first modern revolution, and revolutions are, by definition, moments when the past shifts toward an unfamiliar future, one radically different from what was foreseen only a brief time earlier. In seeking to balance power and liberty, the framers established a structure that would allow future generations to continually readjust the scale. Bodenhamer explores this dynamic through seven major constitutional themes: federalism, balance of powers, property, representation, equality, rights, and security. With each, he takes a historical approach, following their changes over time. For example, the framers wrote multiple protections for property rights into the Constitution in response to actions by state governments after the Revolution. But twentieth-century courts--and Congress--redefined property rights through measures such as zoning and the designation of historical landmarks (diminishing their commercial value) in response to the needs of a modern economy. The framers anticipated just such a future reworking of their own compromises between liberty and power.

With up-to-the-minute legal expertise and a broad grasp of the social and political context, this book is a tour de force of Constitutional history and analysis.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"A House Divided: American Art since 1955"

New from the University of California Press: A House Divided: American Art since 1955 by Anne Middleton Wagner.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this exhilarating book, Anne Middleton Wagner challenges readers to rethink the work of a range of post-World War II artists—Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Maya Lin, Bruce Nauman, and Agnes Martin among them—and thus to re-assess the relationship of art to politics and social life. The art of U.S. empire, she argues, is marked by deep dividedness. Painters and sculptors seemed entranced by American symbols, yet used them to enigmatic ends—exuberant, nightmarish, or both. Nor could postwar culture decide if it preserved sites devoted to productive withdrawal—for artists, the special zone called the studio—or simply maintained a margin where numbed subjects rehearsed the rites of vanished self-expression. This book charts the to-and-fro in recent American art between acknowledging the facts of nation and consumerism, and searching for meaningful models. And it shows that this process engages—even structures—national history and the citizen’s self.
Preview the Table of Contents of A House Divided.

Monday, January 23, 2012

"A German Generation"

New from Yale University Press: A German Generation: An Experiential History of the Twentieth Century by Thomas A. Kohut.

About the book, from the publisher:
Germans of the generation born just before the outbreak of World War I lived through a tumultuous and dramatic century. This book tells the story of their lives and, in so doing, offers a new history of twentieth-century Germany, as experienced and made by ordinary human beings.

On the basis of sixty-two oral-history interviews, this book shows how this generation was shaped psychologically by a series of historically engendered losses over the course of the century. In response, this generation turned to the collective to repair the losses it had suffered, most fatefully to the community of the “Volk” during the Third Reich, a racial collective to which this generation was passionately committed and which was at the heart of National Socialism and its popular appeal.
Among the early praise for A German Generation:
"A provocative, poignant, and at times painful meditation on what Thomas Kohut calls 'the grace' of historical experience, in which Germany’s war-torn twentieth-century generation looks remarkably like, but also differs substantially from the 'greatest generation' in the United States. A German Generation reveals the staggering losses of German history, but also the abiding desire for community and belonging, the allure of the Third Reich, and the misplacement of guilt and introspection after 1945. A remarkable portrait of a generation in the century of genocide."—Peter Fritzsche, author of Life and Death in the Third Reich

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"The Political Philosophy of Zionism"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Political Philosophy of Zionism: Trading Jewish Words for a Hebraic Land by Eyal Chowers.

About the book, from the publisher:
Zionism emerged at the end of the nineteenth century in response to a rise in anti-Semitism in Europe, to a deteriorating economic predicament of Jews in Eastern Europe, and to the crisis of modern Jewish identity. This novel, national revolution aimed to unite a scattered community defined mainly by shared texts and literary tradition, into a vibrant political entity destined for the Holy Land. As this remarkable book demonstrates, however, Zionism was about much more than a national political ideology and practice. This movement pictured time as wholly open and aesthetic in nature, attempted to humanize space through collective action, and enlivened the Hebrew language but stripped it of its privileged ontological status in Judaism. By tracing the origins of Zionism in the context of a European history of ideas, and by considering the writings of key Jewish and Hebrew writers and thinkers from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the book offers an entirely new philosophical perspective on Zionism as a unique movement based on intellectual boldness and belief in human action. In counter-distinction to the studies of history and ideology that dominate the field, this book also offers a new way of reflecting upon contemporary Israeli politics.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Mobbing: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions"

New from Oxford University Press: Mobbing: Causes, Consequences, and Solutions by Maureen Duffy and Len Sperry.

About the book, from the publisher:
An administrator known for her innovative on-the-job thinking becomes the target of anonymous rumors about financial mismanagement of her department. The rumors are proven baseless but her boss decides that she can't work with "that woman" anymore and prevents her from attending key meetings. The administrator sees a cardiologist for the first time in her life because of increasing chest pain, and her family doctor prescribes antidepressants "to get her over the hump." The administrator whose identity is interwoven with her job and company is bewildered by what is happening to her at work and says she doesn't know who she is anymore.

A middle school student is the target of relentless name-calling and slurs by a group of other kids at school. The slurs include derogatory comments about his sexuality, appearance, and family. The taunting has increased over several months, and many teachers have witnessed it. The student was the subject of a recent conversation in the faculty lounge, where some faculty members said the student needed to "toughen up," while others expressed concern for his well-being. The student's main strategy has been to try and keep away from the group of kids, but he finds himself trusting fewer of his "friends," feeling both angry and sad, and having a hard time concentrating.

What features of these two situations are almost identical, and why are they both classic instances of workplace and school mobbing? Mobbing is not the same as bullying, as the authors of this volume explain with cogent analysis of the organizational and contextual frameworks within which mobbing always occurs. From the Salem witch trials to workers trying to do the best they can at work, to kids whose humiliation in school has made the headlines, the authors offer numerous illustrations of mobbing, followed by insightful analyses and discussions of lessons learned. Duffy and Sperry provide a wealth of research to demonstrate the devastating toll that mobbing takes on its victims, their families, and the organizations where it occurs. The authors painstakingly avoid simplistic solutions to mobbing, such as removing the "bad apples," and instead, move the conversation forward by showing how bold and compassionate organizational leadership is required to improve conditions for the benefit of both individuals and their organizations.

Friday, January 20, 2012

"Hard Interests, Soft Illusions"

New from Cornell University Press: Hard Interests, Soft Illusions: Southeast Asia and American Power by Natasha Hamilton-Hart.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Hard Interests, Soft Illusions, Natasha Hamilton-Hart explores the belief held by foreign policy elites in much of Southeast Asia—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam—that the United States is a relatively benign power. She argues that this belief is an important factor underpinning U.S. preeminence in the region, because beliefs inform specific foreign policy decisions and form the basis for broad orientations of alignment, opposition, or nonalignment. Such foundational beliefs, however, do not simply reflect objective facts and reasoning processes. Hamilton-Hart argues that they are driven by both interests—in this case the political and economic interests of ruling groups in Southeast Asia—and illusions.

Hamilton-Hart shows how the information landscape and standards of professional expertise within the foreign policy communities of Southeast Asia shape beliefs about the United States. These opinions frequently rest on deeply biased understandings of national history that dominate perceptions of the past and underlie strategic assessments of the present and future. Members of the foreign policy community rarely engage in probabilistic reasoning or effortful knowledge-testing strategies. This does not mean, she emphasizes, that the beliefs are insincere or merely instrumental rationalizations. Rather, cognitive and affective biases in the ways humans access and use information mean that interests influence beliefs; how they do so depends on available information, the social organization and practices of a professional sphere, and prevailing standards for generating knowledge.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Distant Tyranny"

New from Princeton University Press: Distant Tyranny: Markets, Power, and Backwardness in Spain, 1650-1800 by Regina Grafe.

About the book, from the publisher:
Spain's development from a premodern society into a modern unified nation-state with an integrated economy was painfully slow and varied widely by region. Economic historians have long argued that high internal transportation costs limited domestic market integration, while at the same time the Castilian capital city of Madrid drew resources from surrounding Spanish regions as it pursued its quest for centralization. According to this view, powerful Madrid thwarted trade over large geographic distances by destroying an integrated network of manufacturing towns in the Spanish interior.

Challenging this long-held view, Regina Grafe argues that decentralization, not a strong and powerful Madrid, is to blame for Spain's slow march to modernity. Through a groundbreaking analysis of the market for bacalao--dried and salted codfish that was a transatlantic commodity and staple food during this period--Grafe shows how peripheral historic territories and powerful interior towns obstructed Spain's economic development through jurisdictional obstacles to trade, which exacerbated already high transport costs. She reveals how the early phases of globalization made these regions much more externally focused, and how coastal elites that were engaged in trade outside Spain sought to sustain their positions of power in relation to Madrid.

Distant Tyranny offers a needed reassessment of the haphazard and regionally diverse process of state formation and market integration in early modern Spain, showing how local and regional agency paradoxically led to legitimate governance but economic backwardness.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Good Fences, Bad Neighbors"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Good Fences, Bad Neighbors: Border Fixity and International Conflict by Boaz Atzili.

About the book, from the publisher:
Border fixity—the proscription of foreign conquest and the annexation of homeland territory—has, since World War II, become a powerful norm in world politics. This development has been said to increase stability and peace in international relations. Yet, in a world in which it is unacceptable to challenge international borders by force, sociopolitically weak states remain a significant source of widespread conflict, war, and instability.

In this book, Boaz Atzili argues that the process of state building has long been influenced by external territorial pressures and competition, with the absence of border fixity contributing to the evolution of strong states—and its presence to the survival of weak ones. What results from this norm, he argues, are conditions that make internal conflict and the spillover of interstate war more likely. Using a comparison of historical and contemporary case studies, Atzili sheds light on the relationship between state weakness and conflict. His argument that under some circumstances an international norm that was established to preserve the peace may actually create conditions that are ripe for war is sure to generate debate and shed light on the dynamics of continuing conflict in the twenty-first century.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Death: Antiquity and Its Legacy"

New from Oxford University Press: Death: Antiquity and Its Legacy by Mario Erasmo.

About the book, from the publisher:
Personal and yet universal, inevitable and unknowable, death has been a dominant theme in all cultures since earliest times. Remarkably, across the span of several millennia and despite the myriad of cultural profusions since antiquity, we can recognize in the customs of ancient Greece and Rome ceremonies and rituals that have lasting resonance today in both the East and West. For example, preparing the corpse of the deceased, holding a memorial service, the practice of cremation and of burial in "resting places" are all processes that can trace their origin to ancient practices. Such rites-described by Cicero and Herodotus, among others-have defined traditional modern funerals. Yet of late there has been a shift away from classical ritual and somber memorialization as the dead are transformed into spectacles. Impromptu roadside shrines, "virtual" memorials, the embalmment of the deceased in the attitude of daily activity, and even firework displays have come to the fore as new modes of marking, even celebrating, bereavement. What is causing this change, and how do urbanization, economic factors, and the rise of individualism play a part? Mario Erasmo creatively explicates and explores the nexus between classical and contemporary approaches to death and interment. From theme funerals in St. Louis to Etruscan sarcophagi, he offers a rich and insightful discussion of the end of life across the ages.

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Roosevelt's Lost Alliances"

New from Princeton University Press: Roosevelt's Lost Alliances: How Personal Politics Helped Start the Cold War by Frank Costigliola.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the spring of 1945, as the Allied victory in Europe was approaching, the shape of the postwar world hinged on the personal politics and flawed personalities of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. Roosevelt's Lost Alliances captures this moment and shows how FDR crafted a winning coalition by overcoming the different habits, upbringings, sympathies, and past experiences of the three leaders. In particular, Roosevelt trained his famous charm on Stalin, lavishing respect on him, salving his insecurities, and rendering him more amenable to compromise on some matters.

Yet, even as he pursued a lasting peace, FDR was alienating his own intimate circle of advisers and becoming dangerously isolated. After his death, postwar cooperation depended on Harry Truman, who, with very different sensibilities, heeded the embittered "Soviet experts" his predecessor had kept distant. A Grand Alliance was painstakingly built and carelessly lost. The Cold War was by no means inevitable.

This landmark study brings to light key overlooked documents, such as the Yalta diary of Roosevelt's daughter Anna; the intimate letters of Roosevelt's de facto chief of staff, Missy LeHand; and the wiretap transcripts of estranged adviser Harry Hopkins. With a gripping narrative and subtle analysis, Roosevelt's Lost Alliances lays out a new approach to foreign relations history. Frank Costigliola highlights the interplay between national political interests and more contingent factors, such as the personalities of leaders and the culturally conditioned emotions forming their perceptions and driving their actions. Foreign relations flowed from personal politics--a lesson pertinent to historians, diplomats, and citizens alike.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"The Evolution of Modern Metaphysics"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Evolution of Modern Metaphysics: Making Sense of Things by A. W. Moore.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book is concerned with the history of metaphysics since Descartes. Taking as its definition of metaphysics 'the most general attempt to make sense of things', it charts the evolution of this enterprise through various competing conceptions of its possibility, scope, and limits. The book is divided into three parts, dealing respectively with the early modern period, the late modern period in the analytic tradition, and the late modern period in non-analytic traditions. In its unusually wide range, A. W. Moore's study refutes the tired old cliché that there is some unbridgeable gulf between analytic philosophy and philosophy of other kinds. It also advances its own distinctive and compelling conception of what metaphysics is and why it matters. Moore explores how metaphysics can help us to cope with continually changing demands on our humanity by making sense of things in ways that are radically new.
Among the early praise for The Evolution of Modern Metaphysics:
"Not since Russell's History of Western Philosophy has a major Anglophone thinker attempted to make accessible sense of the many kinds of obscurity that philosophers have contrived to produce in their efforts to write under the title of 'metaphysics.' Russell's book hails from a generation which was famously dismissive of everything it called 'continental' in philosophy. Among the many achievements of A. W. Moore's remarkable book is that it shows why we can leave that behind us. The Evolution of Modern Metaphysics should make a real contribution to the formation of a philosophical culture better informed of its history and no longer riven by absurd and absurdly simplistic divisions."
–Simon Glendinning, European Institute, London School of Economics

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Objectifying China, Imagining America"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Objectifying China, Imagining America: Chinese Commodities in Early America by Caroline Frank.

About the book, from the publisher:
With the ever-expanding presence of China in the global economy, Americans more and more look east for goods and trade. But as Caroline Frank reveals, this is not a new development. China loomed as large in the minds—and account books—of eighteenth-century Americans as it does today. Long before they had achieved independence from Britain and were able to sail to Asia themselves, American mariners, merchants, and consumers were aware of the East Indies and preparing for voyages there. Focusing on the trade and consumption of porcelain, tea, and chinoiserie, Frank shows that colonial Americans saw themselves as part of a world much larger than just Britain and Europe.

Frank not only recovers the widespread presence of Chinese commodities in early America and the impact of East Indies trade on the nature of American commerce, but also explores the role of the this trade in American state formation. She argues that to understand how Chinese commodities fueled the opening acts of the Revolution, we must consider the power dynamics of the American quest for china—and China—during the colonial period. Filled with fresh and surprising insights, this ambitious study adds new dimensions to the ongoing story of America’s relationship with China.

Friday, January 13, 2012

"Justice in a Globalized World"

New from Oxford University Press: Justice in a Globalized World: A Normative Framework by Laura Valentini.

About the book, from the publisher:
While the lives of millions of people are overshadowed by poverty and destitution, a relatively small subset of the world's population enjoys an unprecedented level of wealth. No doubt the world's rich have duties to address the plight of the global poor. But should we think of these as duties of egalitarian justice much like those applying domestically, or as weaker duties of humanitarian assistance?

In this book, Laura Valentini offers an in-depth critique of the two most prominent answers to this question, cosmopolitanism and statism, and develops a novel normative framework for addressing it. Central to this framework is the idea that, unlike duties of assistance--which bind us to help the needy--duties of justice place constraints on the ways we may legitimately coerce one another. Since coercion exists domestically as well as internationally, duties of justice apply to both realms. The forms of coercion characterizing these two realms, however, differ, and so the content of duties of justice varies across them. Valentini concludes that given the nature of existing international coercion, global justice requires more than statist assistance, yet less than full cosmopolitan equality.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Terrorism, Ticking Time-Bombs, and Torture"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Terrorism, Ticking Time-Bombs, and Torture: A Philosophical Analysis by Fritz Allhoff.

About the book, from the publisher:
The general consensus among philosophers is that the use of torture is never justified. In Terrorism, Ticking Time-Bombs, and Torture, Fritz Allhoff demonstrates the weakness of the case against torture; while allowing that torture constitutes a moral wrong, he nevertheless argues that, in exceptional cases, it represents the lesser of two evils.

Allhoff does not take this position lightly. He begins by examining the way terrorism challenges traditional norms, discussing the morality of various practices of torture, and critically exploring the infamous ticking time-bomb scenario. After carefully considering these issues from a purely philosophical perspective, he turns to the empirical ramifications of his arguments, addressing criticisms of torture and analyzing the impact its adoption could have on democracy, institutional structures, and foreign policy. The crucial questions of how to justly authorize torture and how to set limits on its use make up the final section of this timely, provocative, and carefully argued book.
Visit Fritz Allhoff's website.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"How Economics Shapes Science"

New from Harvard University Press: How Economics Shapes Science by Paula Stephan.

About the book, from the publisher:
The beauty of science may be pure and eternal, but the practice of science costs money. And scientists, being human, respond to incentives and costs, in money and glory. Choosing a research topic, deciding what papers to write and where to publish them, sticking with a familiar area or going into something new—the payoff may be tenure or a job at a highly ranked university or a prestigious award or a bump in salary. The risk may be not getting any of that.

At a time when science is seen as an engine of economic growth, Paula Stephan brings a keen understanding of the ongoing cost-benefit calculations made by individuals and institutions as they compete for resources and reputation. She shows how universities offload risks by increasing the percentage of non–tenure-track faculty, requiring tenured faculty to pay salaries from outside grants, and staffing labs with foreign workers on temporary visas. With funding tight, investigators pursue safe projects rather than less fundable ones with uncertain but potentially path-breaking outcomes. Career prospects in science are increasingly dismal for the young because of ever-lengthening apprenticeships, scarcity of permanent academic positions, and the difficulty of getting funded.

Vivid, thorough, and bold, How Economics Shapes Science highlights the growing gap between the haves and have-nots—especially the vast imbalance between the biomedical sciences and physics/engineering—and offers a persuasive vision of a more productive, more creative research system that would lead and benefit the world.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Relative Justice"

New from Princeton University Press: Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility by Tamler Sommers.

About the book, from the publisher:
When can we be morally responsible for our behavior? Is it fair to blame people for actions that are determined by heredity and environment? Can we be responsible for the actions of relatives or members of our community? In this provocative book, Tamler Sommers concludes that there are no objectively correct answers to these questions. Drawing on research in anthropology, psychology, and a host of other disciplines, Sommers argues that cross-cultural variation raises serious problems for theories that propose universally applicable conditions for moral responsibility. He then develops a new way of thinking about responsibility that takes cultural diversity into account.

Relative Justice is a novel and accessible contribution to the ancient debate over free will and moral responsibility. Sommers provides a thorough examination of the methodology employed by contemporary philosophers in the debate and a challenge to Western assumptions about individual autonomy and its connection to moral desert.

Monday, January 9, 2012

"In Heaven as It Is on Earth"

New from Oxford University Press: In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death by Samuel Morris Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:
A compelling new interpretation of early Mormonism, Samuel Brown's In Heaven as It Is On Earth views this religion through the lens of founder Joseph Smith's profound preoccupation with the specter of death.

Revisiting historical documents and scripture from this novel perspective, Brown offers new insight into the origin and meaning of some of Mormonism's earliest beliefs and practices. The world of early Mormonism was besieged by death--infant mortality, violence, and disease were rampant. A prolonged battle with typhoid fever, punctuated by painful surgeries including a threatened leg amputation, and the sudden loss of his beloved brother Alvin cast a long shadow over Smith's own life. Smith embraced and was deeply influenced by the culture of "holy dying"--with its emphasis on deathbed salvation, melodramatic bereavement, and belief in the Providential nature of untimely death--that sought to cope with the widespread mortality of the period. Seen in this light, Smith's treasure quest, search for Native origins, distinctive approach to scripture, and belief in a post-mortal community all acquire new meaning, as do early Mormonism's Masonic-sounding temple rites and novel family system. Taken together, the varied themes of early Mormonism can be interpreted as a campaign to extinguish death forever. By focusing on Mormon conceptions of death, Brown recasts the story of first-generation Mormonism, showing a religious movement and its founder at once vibrant and fragile, intrepid and unsettled, human and otherworldly.

A lively narrative history, In Heaven as It Is on Earth illuminates not only the foundational beliefs of early Mormonism but also the larger issues of family and death in American religious history.
See Samuel Morris Brown's five best books about Mormonism.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

"Aristotle's Politics"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Aristotle's Politics: Living Well and Living Together by Eugene Garver.

About the book, from the publisher:
“Man is a political animal,” Aristotle asserts near the beginning of the Politics. In this novel reading of one of the foundational texts of political philosophy, Eugene Garver traces the surprising implications of Aristotle’s claim and explores the treatise’s relevance to ongoing political concerns. Often dismissed as overly grounded in Aristotle’s specific moment in time, in fact the Politics challenges contemporary understandings of human action and allows us to better see ourselves today.

Close examination of Aristotle’s treatise, Garver finds, reveals a significant, practical role for philosophy to play in politics. Philosophers present arguments about issues—such as the right and the good, justice and modes of governance, the relation between the good person and the good citizen, and the character of a good life—that politicians must then make appealing to their fellow citizens. Completing Garver’s trilogy on Aristotle’s unique vision, Aristotle’s Politics yields new ways of thinking about ethics and politics, ancient and modern.
Among the early praise for Aristotle's Politics:
“Upending a truism, Garver finds Aristotle’s Politics more practical for us than his Ethics. In a work that is at once meditative and analytical, Garver leads us to realize that our actual, as opposed to our imagined, sense of the political can, upon reflection, give us a conception of the human good as substantive, shared, flexible, and multifaceted as Aristotle’s. In his refracted light we can see, as he did, that constitutions can be made morally better than the people in them and that under some conditions political stability is a moral good. Students and scholars of ancient philosophy, political theorists, and political scientists alike will find their minds turned around by this book.”—David Depew, University of Iowa

Saturday, January 7, 2012

"Markets and Bodies"

New from Stanford University Press: Markets and Bodies: Women, Service Work, and the Making of Inequality in China by Eileen Otis.

About the book, from the publisher:
Insulated from the dust, noise, and crowds churning outside, China's luxury hotels are staging areas for the new economic and political landscape of the country. These hotels, along with other emerging service businesses, offer an important, new source of employment for millions of workers, but also bring to light levels of inequality that surpass most developed nations.

Examining how gender enables the globalization of markets and how emerging forms of service labor are changing women's social status in China, Markets and Bodies reveals the forms of social inequality produced by shifts in the economy. No longer working for the common good as defined by the socialist state, service workers are catering to the individual desires of consumers. This economic transition ultimately affords a unique opportunity to investigate the possibilities and current limits for better working conditions for the young women who are enabling the development of capitalism in China.
Among the early praise for Markets and Bodies:
"Markets and Bodies is a beautifully observed, sometimes funny and sometimes frightening, account of service work, showing how inequalities of class and gender are being freshly created in the cauldron of Chinese capitalism. Uncomfortable realities of globalization are laid bare and new ideas about markets, embodiment, and consumption are proposed in this thought-provoking book."—Raewyn Connell, University of Sydney

Friday, January 6, 2012

"Creating the Market University"

New from Princeton University Press: Creating the Market University: How Academic Science Became an Economic Engine by Elizabeth Popp Berman.

About the book, from the publisher:
American universities today serve as economic engines, performing the scientific research that will create new industries, drive economic growth, and keep the United States globally competitive. But only a few decades ago, these same universities self-consciously held themselves apart from the world of commerce. Creating the Market University is the first book to systematically examine why academic science made such a dramatic move toward the market. Drawing on extensive historical research, Elizabeth Popp Berman shows how the government--influenced by the argument that innovation drives the economy--brought about this transformation.

Americans have a long tradition of making heroes out of their inventors. But before the 1960s and '70s neither policymakers nor economists paid much attention to the critical economic role played by innovation. However, during the late 1970s, a confluence of events--industry concern with the perceived deterioration of innovation in the United States, a growing body of economic research on innovation's importance, and the stagnation of the larger economy--led to a broad political interest in fostering invention. The policy decisions shaped by this change were diverse, influencing arenas from patents and taxes to pensions and science policy, and encouraged practices that would focus specifically on the economic value of academic science. By the early 1980s, universities were nurturing the rapid growth of areas such as biotech entrepreneurship, patenting, and university-industry research centers.

Contributing to debates about the relationship between universities, government, and industry, Creating the Market University sheds light on how knowledge and politics intersect to structure the economy.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


New from Stanford University Press: Marigold: The Lost Chance for Peace in Vietnam by James G. Hershberg.

About the book, from the publisher:
Marigold presents the first rigorously documented, in-depth story of one of the Vietnam War's last great mysteries: the secret Polish-Italian peace initiative, codenamed "Marigold," that sought to end the war, or at least to open direct talks between Washington and Hanoi, in 1966. The initiative failed, the war dragged on for another seven years, and this episode sank into history as an unresolved controversy. Antiwar critics claimed Johnson had bungled (or, worse, deliberately sabotaged) a breakthrough by bombing Hanoi on the eve of a planned historic secret US-North Vietnamese encounter in Warsaw. Conversely, LBJ and top aides angrily insisted there was no "missed opportunity," Poland never had authority to arrange direct talks, and Hanoi was not ready to negotiate. Conventional wisdom echoes the view that Washington and Hanoi were so dug in that no real opportunity existed. This book uses new evidence from long hidden communist sources to show that Warsaw was authorized by Hanoi to open direct contacts and that Hanoi had committed to entering talks with Washington. It reveals LBJ's personal role in bombing Hanoi at a pivotal moment, disregarding the pleas of both the Poles and his own senior advisors. The historical implications of missing this opportunity are immense: Washington did not enter negotiations with Hanoi until more than two years and many thousands of lives later, and then in far less auspicious circumstances.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"Jews and Booze"

New from NYU Press: Jews and Booze: Becoming American in the Age of Prohibition by Marni Davis.

About the book, from the publisher:
At the turn of the century, American Jews and prohibitionists viewed one another with growing suspicion. Jews believed that all Americans had the right to sell and consume alcohol, while prohibitionists insisted that alcohol commerce and consumption posed a threat to the nation’s morality and security. The two groups possessed incompatible visions of what it meant to be a productive and patriotic American—and in 1920, when the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution made alcohol commerce illegal, Jews discovered that anti-Semitic sentiments had mixed with anti-alcohol ideology, threatening their reputation and their standing in American society.

In Jews and Booze, Marni Davis examines American Jews’ long and complicated relationship to alcohol during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the years of the national prohibition movement’s rise and fall. Bringing to bear an extensive range of archival materials, Davis offers a novel perspective on a previously unstudied area of American Jewish economic activity—the making and selling of liquor, wine, and beer—and reveals that alcohol commerce played a crucial role in Jewish immigrant acculturation and the growth of Jewish communities in the United States. But prohibition’s triumph cast a pall on American Jews’ history in the alcohol trade, forcing them to revise, clarify, and defend their communal and civic identities, both to their fellow Americans and to themselves.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Legalizing Prostitution"

New from NYU Press: Legalizing Prostitution: From Illicit Vice to Lawful Business by Ronald Weitzer.

About the book, from the publisher:
Some towns in Nevada have legal brothels where sex can be bought lawfully, yet in Las Vegas, prostitutes and their patrons are regularly prosecuted for exchanging sex for money, just as they are elsewhere in the United States. While sex work has long been controversial, it has become even more contested over the past decade as laws, policies, and enforcement practices have become more repressive in many nations, partly as a result of the ascendancy of interest groups committed to the total abolition of the sex industry.

Legalizing Prostitution maps out the current terrain. Using America as a backdrop, Weitzer draws on extensive field research in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany to illustrate alternatives to American-style criminalization and marginalization of sex workers. These cases are then used to develop a roster of “best practices” that can serve as a model for other nations considering legalization. Legalizing Prostitution provides a theoretically grounded comparative analysis of political dynamics, policy outcomes, and red-light landscapes in nations where prostitution has been legalized and regulated by the government, presenting a rich and novel portrait of the multifaceted world of legal sex for sale.

Monday, January 2, 2012

"When Victory Is Not an Option"

New from Cornell University Press: When Victory Is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics by Nathan J. Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:
Throughout the Arab world, Islamist political movements are joining the electoral process. This change alarms some observers and excites other. In recent years, electoral opportunities have opened, and Islamist movements have seized them. But those opportunities, while real, have also been sharply circumscribed. Elections may be freer, but they are not fair. The opposition can run but it generally cannot win. Semiauthoritarian conditions prevail in much of the Arab world, even in the wake of the Arab Spring. How do Islamist movements change when they plunge into freer but unfair elections? How do their organizations (such as the Muslim Brotherhood) and structures evolve? What happens to their core ideological principles? And how might their increased involvement affect the political system?

In When Victory Is Not an Option, Nathan J. Brown addresses these questions by focusing on Islamist movements in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, and Palestine. He shows that uncertain benefits lead to uncertain changes. Islamists do adapt their organizations and their ideologies do bend—some. But leaders almost always preserve a line of retreat in case the political opening fizzles or fails to deliver what they wish. The result is a cat-and-mouse game between dominant regimes and wily movements. There are possibilities for more significant changes, but to date they remain only possibilities.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

"Regimens of the Mind"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Regimens of the Mind: Boyle, Locke, and the Early Modern Cultura Animi Tradition by Sorana Corneanu.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Regimens of the Mind, Sorana Corneanu proposes a new approach to the epistemological and methodological doctrines of the leading experimental philosophers of seventeenth-century England, an approach that considers their often overlooked moral, psychological, and theological elements. Corneanu focuses on the views about the pursuit of knowledge in the writings of Robert Boyle and John Locke, as well as in those of several of their influences, including Francis Bacon and the early Royal Society virtuosi. She argues that their experimental programs of inquiry fulfill the role of regimens for curing, ordering, and educating the mind toward an ethical purpose, an idea she tracks back to the ancient tradition of cultura animi. Corneanu traces this idea through its early modern revival and illustrates how it organizes the experimental philosophers’ reflections on the discipline of judgment, the study of nature, and the study of Scripture.

It is through this lens, the author suggests, that the core features of the early modern English experimental philosophy—including its defense of experience, its epistemic modesty, its communal nature, and its pursuit of “objectivity”—are best understood.