Friday, July 31, 2015

"Rabbis, Sorcerers, Kings, and Priests"

New from the University of California Press: Rabbis, Sorcerers, Kings, and Priests: The Culture of the Talmud in Ancient Iran by Jason Sion Mokhtarian.

About the book, from the publisher:
Rabbis, Sorcerers, Kings, and Priests examines the impact of the Persian Sasanian context on the Babylonian Talmud, perhaps the most important corpus in the Jewish sacred canon. What impact did the Persian Zoroastrian Empire, as both a real historical force and an imaginary interlocutor, have on rabbinic identity and authority as expressed in the Talmud? Drawing from the field of comparative religion, Jason Sion Mokhtarian addresses this question by bringing into mutual fruition Talmudic studies and ancient Iranology, two historically distinct disciplines. Whereas most research on the Talmud assumes that the rabbis were an insular group isolated from the cultural horizon outside their academies, this book contextualizes the rabbis and the Talmud within a broader sociocultural orbit by drawing from a wide range of sources from Sasanian Iran, including Middle Persian Zoroastrian literature, archaeological data such as seals and inscriptions, and the Aramaic magical bowl spells. Mokhtarian also includes a detailed examination of the Talmud’s dozens of texts that portray three Persian “others”: the Persians, the Sasanian kings, and the Zoroastrian priests. This book skillfully engages and demonstrates the rich penetration of Persian imperial society and culture on the Jews of late antique Iran.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 30, 2015

"The Physiology of Sexist and Racist Oppression"

New from Oxford University Press: The Physiology of Sexist and Racist Oppression by Shannon Sullivan.

About the book, from the publisher:
While gender and race often are considered socially constructed, this book argues that they are physiologically constituted through the biopsychosocial effects of sexism and racism. This means that to be fully successful, critical philosophy of race and feminist philosophy need to examine not only the financial, legal, political and other forms of racist and sexism oppression, but also their physiological operations. Examining a complex tangle of affects, emotions, knowledge, and privilege, The Physiology of Sexist and Racist Oppression develops an understanding of the human body whose unconscious habits are biological. On this account, affect and emotion are thoroughly somatic, not something "mental" or extra-biological layered on top of the body. They also are interpersonal, social, and can be transactionally transmitted between people.

Ranging from the stomach and the gut to the hips and the heart, from autoimmune diseases to epigenetic markers, Sullivan demonstrates the gastrointestinal effects of sexual abuse that disproportionately affect women, often manifesting as IBS, Crohn's disease, or similar functional disorders. She also explores the transgenerational effects of racism via epigenetic changes in African American women, who experience much higher pre-term birth rates than white women do, and she reveals the unjust benefits for heart health experienced by white people as a result of their racial privilege. Finally, developing the notion of a physiological therapy that doesn't prioritize bringing unconscious habits to conscious awareness, Sullivan closes with a double-barreled approach for both working for institutional change and transforming biologically unconscious habits.

The Physiology of Sexist and Racist Oppression skillfully combines feminist and critical philosophy of race with the biological and health sciences. The result is a critical physiology of race and gender that offers new strategies for fighting male and white privilege.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"The President and the Apprentice"

New from Yale University Press: The President and the Apprentice: Eisenhower and Nixon, 1952-1961 by Irwin F. Gellman.

About the book, from the publisher:
More than half a century after Eisenhower left office, the history of his presidency is so clouded by myth, partisanship, and outright fraud that most people have little understanding of how Ike’s administration worked or what it accomplished. We know—or think we know—that Eisenhower distrusted his vice president, Richard Nixon, and kept him at arm’s length; that he did little to advance civil rights; that he sat by as Joseph McCarthy’s reckless anticommunist campaign threatened to wreck his administration; and that he planned the disastrous 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. None of this is true.

The President and the Apprentice reveals a different Eisenhower, and a different Nixon. Ike trusted and relied on Nixon, sending him on many sensitive overseas missions. Eisenhower, not Truman, completed the desegregation of the military. Eisenhower and Nixon, not Lyndon Johnson, pushed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 through the Senate. Eisenhower was determined to bring down McCarthy and did so. Nixon never, contrary to recent accounts, saw a psychotherapist, but while Ike was recovering from his heart attack in 1955, Nixon was overworked, overanxious, overmedicated, and at the limits of his ability to function.

Based on twenty years of research in numerous archives, many previously untouched, this book offers a fresh and surprising account of the Eisenhower presidency.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"The Archive Thief"

New from Oxford University Press: The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust by Lisa Moses Leff.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the aftermath of the Holocaust, Jewish historian Zosa Szajkowski gathered up tens of thousands of documents from Nazi buildings in Berlin, and later, public archives and private synagogues in France, and moved them all, illicitly, to New York.

In The Archive Thief, Lisa Moses Leff reconstructs Szajkowski's story in all its ambiguity. Born into poverty in Russian Poland, Szajkowski first made his name in Paris as a communist journalist. In the late 1930s, as he saw the threats to Jewish safety rising in Europe, he broke with the party and committed himself to defending his people in a new way, as a scholar associated with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

Following a harrowing 1941 escape from France and U.S. army service, Szajkowski struggled to remake his life as a historian, eking out a living as a YIVO archivist in postwar New York. His scholarly output was tremendous nevertheless; he published scores of studies on French Jewish history that opened up new ways of thinking about Jewish emancipation, modernization, and the rise of modern antisemitism.

But underlying Szajkowski's scholarly accomplishments were the documents he stole, moved, and eventually sold to American and Israeli research libraries, where they remain today.

Part detective story, part analysis of the construction of history, The Archive Thief offers a window into the debates over the rightful ownership of contested Jewish archives and the powerful ideological, economic, and psychological forces that have made Jewish scholars care so deeply about preserving the remnants of their past.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 27, 2015

"Players and Pawns"

New from The University of Chicago Press: Players and Pawns: How Chess Builds Community and Culture by Gary Alan Fine.

About the book, from the publisher:
A chess match seems as solitary an endeavor as there is in sports: two minds, on their own, in fierce opposition. In contrast, Gary Alan Fine argues that chess is a social duet: two players in silent dialogue who always take each other into account in their play. Surrounding that one-on-one contest is a community life that can
be nearly as dramatic and intense as the across-the-board confrontation.

Fine has spent years immersed in the communities of amateur and professional chess players, and with Players and Pawns he takes readers deep inside them, revealing a complex, brilliant, feisty world of commitment and conflict. Opening with a close look at a typical tournament in Atlantic City, Fine carries us from planning and setup through the climactic final day’s match-ups between the weekend’s top players, introducing us along the way to countless players and their relationships to the game. At tournaments like that one, as well as in locales as diverse as collegiate matches and community chess clubs, players find themselves part of what Fine terms a “soft community,” an open, welcoming space built on their shared commitment to the game. Within that community, chess players find both support and challenges, all amid a shared interest in and love of the long-standing traditions of the game, traditions that help chess players build a communal identity.

Full of idiosyncratic characters and dramatic gameplay, Players and Pawns is a celebration of the ever-fascinating world of serious chess.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 26, 2015

"The Hidden God"

New from Columbia University Press: The Hidden God: Pragmatism and Posthumanism in American Thought by Ryan White.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Hidden God revisits the origins of American pragmatism and finds a nascent "posthumanist" critique shaping early modern thought. By reaching as far back as the Calvinist arguments of the American Puritans and their struggle to know a "hidden God," this book brings American pragmatism closer to contemporary critical theory.

Ryan White reads the writings of key American philosophers, including Jonathan Edwards, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William James, and Charles Sanders Peirce, against modern theoretical works by Niklas Luhmann, Richard Rorty, Jacques Derrida, Sharon Cameron, Cary Wolfe, and Gregory Bateson. This juxtaposition isolates the distinctly posthumanist form of pragmatism that began to arise in these early texts, challenging the accepted genealogy of pragmatic discourse and common definitions of posthumanist critique. Its rigorously theoretical perspective has wide implications for humanities research, enriching investigations into literature, history, politics, and art.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 25, 2015

"'I Hope I Don't Intrude'"

New from Oxford University Press: 'I Hope I Don't Intrude': Privacy and its Dilemmas in Nineteenth-Century Britain by David Vincent.

About the book, from the publisher:
'I Hope I Don't Intrude' takes its title from the catch-phrase of the eponymous hero of the 1825 play Paul Pry, which was an immense success on the London stage and then rapidly in New York and around the English-speaking world. It tackles the complex, multi-faceted subject of privacy in nineteenth-century Britain by examining the way in which the tropes, language, and imagery of the play entered public discourse about privacy in the rest of the century. The volume is not just an account of a play, or of late Georgian and Victorian theatre. Rather it is a history of privacy, showing how the play resonated through Victorian society and revealed its concerns over personal and state secrecy, celebrity, gossip and scandal, postal espionage, virtual privacy, the idea of intimacy, and the evolution of public and private spheres.

After 1825 the overly inquisitive figure of Paul Pry appeared everywhere - in songs, stories, and newspapers, and on everything from buttons and Staffordshire pottery to pubs, ships, and stagecoaches - and 'Paul-Prying' rapidly entered the language. 'I Hope I Don't Intrude' is an innovative kind of social history, using rich archival research to trace this cultural artefact through every aspect of its consumer context, and using its meanings to interrogate the largely hidden history of privacy in a period of major transformations in the role of the home, mass communication (particularly the new letter post, which delivered private messages through a public service), and the state. In vivid and entertaining detail, including many illustrations, David Vincent presents the most thorough account yet attempted of a recreational event in an era which saw a decisive shift in consumer markets. His study casts fresh light on the perennial tensions between curiosity and intrusion that were captured in Paul Pry and his catchphrase. Giving a new account of the communications revolution of the period, it re-evaluates the role of the state and the market in creating a new regime of privacy. And its critique of the concept and practice of surveillance looks forward to twenty-first-century concerns about the invasion of privacy through new technologies.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 24, 2015

"Braddock's Defeat"

New from Oxford University Press: Braddock's Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution by David L. Preston.

About the book, from the publisher:
On July 9, 1755, British regulars and American colonial troops under the command of General Edward Braddock, commander in chief of the British Army in North America, were attacked by French and Native American forces shortly after crossing the Monongahela River and while making their way to besiege Fort Duquesne in the Ohio Valley, a few miles from what is now Pittsburgh. The long line of red-coated troops struggled to maintain cohesion and discipline as Indian warriors quickly outflanked them and used the dense cover of the woods to masterful and lethal effect. Within hours, a powerful British army was routed, its commander mortally wounded, and two-thirds of its forces casualties in one the worst disasters in military history.

David Preston's gripping and immersive account of Braddock's Defeat, also known as the Battle of the Monongahela, is the most authoritative ever written. Using untapped sources and collections, Preston offers a reinterpretation of Braddock's Expedition in 1754 and 1755, one that does full justice to its remarkable achievements. Braddock had rapidly advanced his army to the cusp of victory, overcoming uncooperative colonial governments and seemingly insurmountable logistical challenges, while managing to carve a road through the formidable Appalachian Mountains. That road would play a major role in America's expansion westward in the years ahead and stand as one of the expedition's most significant legacies.

The causes of Braddock's Defeat are debated to this day. Preston's work challenges the stale portrait of an arrogant European officer who refused to adapt to military and political conditions in the New World and the first to show fully how the French and Indian coalition achieved victory through effective diplomacy, tactics, and leadership. New documents reveal that the French Canadian commander, a seasoned veteran named Captain Beaujeu, planned the attack on the British column with great skill, and that his Native allies were more disciplined than the British regulars on the field.

Braddock's Defeat establishes beyond question its profoundly pivotal nature for Indian, French Canadian, and British peoples in the eighteenth century. The disaster altered the balance of power in America, and escalated the fighting into a global conflict known as the Seven Years' War. Those who were there, including George Washington, Thomas Gage, Horatio Gates, Charles Lee, and Daniel Morgan, never forgot its lessons, and brought them to bear when they fought again-whether as enemies or allies-two decades hence. The campaign had awakened many British Americans to their provincial status in the empire, spawning ideas of American identity and anticipating the social and political divisions that would erupt in the American Revolution.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"Gray Sabbath"

New from Columbia University Press: Gray Sabbath: Jesus People USA, the Evangelical Left, and the Evolution of Christian Rock by Shawn David Young.

About the book, from the publisher:
Formed in 1972, Jesus People USA is an evangelical Christian community that fundamentally transformed the American Christian music industry and the practice of American evangelicalism, which continues to evolve under its influence. In this fascinating ethnographic study, Shawn David Young replays not only the growth and influence of the group over the past three decades but also the left-leaning politics it developed that continue to serve as a catalyst for change.

Jesus People USA established a still-thriving Christian commune in downtown Chicago and a ground-breaking music festival that redefined the American Christian rock industry. Rather than join "establishment" evangelicalism and participate in what would become the megachurch movement, this community adopted a modified socialism and embraced forms of activism commonly associated with the New Left. Today the ideological tolerance of Jesus People USA aligns them closer to liberalism than to the religious right, and Young studies the embodiment of this liminality and its challenge to mainstream evangelical belief. He suggests the survival of this group is linked to a growing disenchantment with the separation of public and private, individual and community, and finds echoes of this postmodern faith deep within the evangelical subculture.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Defining Duty in the Civil War"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Defining Duty in the Civil War: Personal Choice, Popular Culture, and the Union Home Front by J. Matthew Gallman.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Civil War thrust Americans onto unfamiliar terrain, as two competing societies mobilized for four years of bloody conflict. Concerned Northerners turned to the print media for guidance on how to be good citizens in a war that hit close to home but was fought hundreds of miles away. They read novels, short stories, poems, songs, editorials, and newspaper stories. They laughed at cartoons and satirical essays. Their spirits were stirred in response to recruiting broadsides and patriotic envelopes. This massive cultural outpouring offered a path for ordinary Americans casting around for direction.

Examining the breadth of Northern popular culture, J. Matthew Gallman offers a dramatic reconsideration of how the Union's civilians understood the meaning of duty and citizenship in wartime. Although a huge percentage of military-aged men served in the Union army, a larger group chose to stay home, even while they supported the war. This pathbreaking study investigates how men and women, both white and black, understood their roles in the People's Conflict. Wartime culture created humorous and angry stereotypes ridiculing the nation's cowards, crooks, and fools, while wrestling with the challenges faced by ordinary Americans. Gallman shows how thousands of authors, artists, and readers together created a new set of rules for navigating life in a nation at war.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"Gangs of Russia"

New from Cornell University Press: Gangs of Russia: From the Streets to the Corridors of Power by Svetlana Stephenson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Since their spectacular rise in the 1990s, Russian gangs have remained entrenched in many parts of the country. Some gang members have perished in gang wars or ended up behind prison bars, while others have made spectacular careers off the streets and joined the Russian elite. But the rank and file of gangs remain substantially incorporated into their communities and society as a whole, with bonds and identities that bridge the worlds of illegal enterprise and legal respectability.

In Gangs of Russia, Svetlana Stephenson explores the secretive world of the gangs. Using in-depth interviews with gang members, law enforcers, and residents in the city of Kazan, together with analyses of historical and sociological accounts from across Russia, she presents the history of gangs both before and after the arrival of market capitalism.

Contrary to predominant notions of gangs as collections of maladjusted delinquents or illegal enterprises, Stephenson argues, Russian gangs should be seen as traditional, close-knit male groups with deep links to their communities. Stephenson shows that gangs have long been intricately involved with the police and other state structures in configurations that are both personal and economic. She also explains how the cultural orientations typical of gangs—emphasis on loyalty to one's own, showing toughness to outsiders, exacting revenge for perceived affronts and challenges—are not only found on the streets but are also present in the top echelons of today's Russian state.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 20, 2015

"Coercion, Survival, and War"

New from Stanford University Press: Coercion, Survival, and War: Why Weak States Resist the United States by Phil Haun.

About the book, from the publisher:
In asymmetric interstate conflicts, great powers have the capability to coerce weak states by threatening their survival—but not vice versa. It is therefore the great power that decides whether to escalate a conflict into a crisis by adopting a coercive strategy.

In practice, however, the coercive strategies of the U.S. have frequently failed. In Coercion, Survival and War Phil Haun chronicles 30 asymmetric interstate crises involving the US from 1918 to 2003. The U.S. chose coercive strategies in 23 of these cases, but coercion failed half of the time: most often because the more powerful U.S. made demands that threatened the very survival of the weak state, causing it to resist as long as it had the means to do so. It is an unfortunate paradox Haun notes that, where the U.S. may prefer brute force to coercion, these power asymmetries may well lead it to first attempt coercive strategies that are expected to fail in order to justify the war it desires.

He concludes that, when coercion is preferred to brute force there are clear limits as to what can be demanded. In such cases, he suggests, U.S. policymakers can improve the chances of success by matching appropriate threats to demands, by including other great powers in the coercive process, and by reducing a weak state leader's reputational costs by giving him or her face saving options.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 19, 2015

"Terrorism and the Right to Resist"

New from Cambridge University Press: Terrorism and the Right to Resist: A Theory of Just Revolutionary War by Christopher J. Finlay.

About the book, from the publisher:
The words 'rebellion' and 'revolution' have gained renewed prominence in the vocabulary of world politics and so has the question of justifiable armed 'resistance'. In this book Christopher J. Finlay extends just war theory to provide a rigorous and systematic account of the right to resist oppression and of the forms of armed force it can justify. He specifies the circumstances in which rebels have the right to claim recognition as legitimate actors in revolutionary wars against domestic tyranny and injustice and wars of liberation against wrongful foreign occupation and colonialism. Arguing that violence is permissible only in a narrow range of cases, Finlay shows that the rules of engagement vary during and between different conflicts and explores the potential for irregular tactics to become justifiable, such as non-uniformed guerrillas and civilian disguise, the assassination of political leaders and regime officials, and the waging of terrorist war against civilian targets.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 18, 2015

"An Unlikely Union"

New from NYU Press: An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians by Paul Moses.

About the book, from the publisher:
They came from the poorest parts of Ireland and Italy, and met as rivals on the sidewalks of New York. In the nineteenth century and for long after, the Irish and Italians fought in the Catholic Church, on the waterfront, at construction sites, and in the streets. Then they made peace through romance, marrying each other on a large scale in the years after World War II. An Unlikely Union unfolds the dramatic story of how two of America’s largest ethnic groups learned to love and laugh with each other in the wake of decades of animosity.

The vibrant cast of characters features saints such as Mother Frances X. Cabrini, who stood up to the Irish American archbishop of New York when he tried to send her back to Italy, and sinners like Al Capone, who left his Irish wife home the night he shot it out with Brooklyn’s Irish mob. Also highlighted are the love affair between radical labor organizers Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and Carlo Tresca; Italian American gangster Paul Kelly’s alliance with Tammany’s “Big Tim” Sullivan; hero detective Joseph Petrosino’s struggle to be accepted in the Irish-run NYPD; and Frank Sinatra’s competition with Bing Crosby to be the country’s top male vocalist.

In this engaging history of the Irish and Italians, veteran New York City journalist and professor Paul Moses offers an archetypal American story. At a time of renewed fear of immigrants, it demonstrates that Americans are able to absorb tremendous social change and conflict—and come out the better for it.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 17, 2015

"Born to Be Wild: The Rise of the American Motorcyclist"

Featured at The University of North Carolina Press: Born to Be Wild: The Rise of the American Motorcyclist by Randy D. McBee.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1947, 4,000 motorcycle hobbyists converged on Hollister, California. As images of dissolute bikers graced the pages of newspapers and magazines, the three-day gathering sparked the growth of a new subculture while also touching off national alarm. In the years that followed, the stereotypical leather-clad biker emerged in the American consciousness as a menace to law-abiding motorists and small towns. Yet a few short decades later, the motorcyclist, once menacing, became mainstream. To understand this shift, Randy D. McBee narrates the evolution of motorcycle culture since World War II. Along the way he examines the rebelliousness of early riders of the 1940s and 1950s, riders' increasing connection to violence and the counterculture in the 1960s and 1970s, the rich urban bikers of the 1990s and 2000s, and the factors that gave rise to a motorcycle rights movement. McBee's fascinating narrative of motorcycling's past and present reveals the biker as a crucial character in twentieth-century American life.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 16, 2015

"Devoted to Nature"

New from the University of California Press: Devoted to Nature: The Religious Roots of American Environmentalism by Evan Berry.

About the book, from the publisher:
Devoted to Nature explores the religious underpinnings of American environmentalism, tracing the theological character of American environmental thought from its Romantic foundations to contemporary nature spirituality. During the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, religious sources were central to the formation of the American environmental imagination, shaping ideas about the natural world, establishing practices of engagement with environments and landscapes, and generating new modes of social and political interaction. Building on the work of seminal environmental historians who acknowledge the environmental movement’s religious roots, Evan Berry offers a potent theoretical corrective to the narrative that explained the presence of religious elements in the movement well into the twentieth century. In particular, Berry argues that an explicitly Christian understanding of salvation underlies the movement’s orientation toward the natural world. Theologically derived concepts of salvation, redemption, and spiritual progress have not only provided the basic context for Americans’ passion for nature but have also established the horizons of possibility within the national environmental imagination.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States"

New from Cambridge University Press: Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States by Jesse Driscoll.

About the book, from the publisher:
The breakup of the U.S.S.R. was unexpected and unexpectedly peaceful. Though a third of the new states fell prey to violent civil conflict, anarchy on the post-Soviet periphery, when it occurred, was quickly cauterized. This book argues that this outcome had nothing to do with security guarantees by Russia or the United Nations and everything to do with local innovation by ruthless warlords, who competed and colluded in a high-risk coalition formation game. Drawing on a structured comparison of Georgian and Tajik militia members, the book combines rich comparative data with formal modeling, treating the post-Soviet space as an extraordinary laboratory to observe the limits of great powers' efforts to shape domestic institutions in weak states.
Jesse Driscoll is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"The Forge of Vision"

New from the University of California Press: The Forge of Vision: A Visual History of Modern Christianity by David Morgan.

About the book, from the publisher:
Religions teach their adherents how to see and feel at the same time; learning to see is not a disembodied process but one hammered from the forge of human need, social relations, and material practice. David Morgan argues that the history of religions may therefore be studied through the lens of their salient visual themes. The Forge of Vision tells the history of Christianity from the sixteenth century through the present by selecting the visual themes of faith that have profoundly influenced its development. After exploring how distinctive Catholic and Protestant visual cultures emerged in the early modern period, Morgan examines a variety of Christian visual practices, ranging from the imagination, visions of nationhood, the likeness of Jesus, the material life of words, and the role of modern art as a spiritual quest, to the importance of images for education, devotion, worship, and domestic life. An insightful, informed presentation of how Christianity has shaped and continues to shape the modern world, this work is a must-read for scholars and students across fields of religious studies, history, and art history.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Covered in Ink"

New from New York University Press: Covered in Ink: Tattoos, Women and the Politics of the Body by Beverly Yuen Thompson.

About the book, from the publisher:
A small dolphin on the ankle, a black line on the lower back, a flower on the hip, or a child’s name on the shoulder blade—among the women who make up the twenty percent of all adults in the USA who have tattoos, these are by far the most popular choices. Tattoos like these are cute, small, and can be easily hidden, and they fit right in with society’s preconceived notions about what is ‘gender appropriate’ for women. But what about women who are heavily tattooed? Or women who visibly wear imagery, like skulls, that can be perceived as masculine or ugly when inked on their skin?

Drawing on autoethnography, and extensive interviews with heavily tattooed women, Covered in Ink provides insight into the increasingly visible subculture of women with tattoos. Author Beverly Thompson visits tattoos parlors, talking to female tattoo artists and the women they ink, and she attends tattoo conventions and Miss Tattoo pageants where heavily tattooed women congregate to share their mutual love for the art form. Along the way, she brings to life women’s love of ink, their very personal choices of tattoo art, and the meaning tattooing has come to carry in their lives, as well as their struggles with gender norms, employment discrimination, and family rejection. Thompson finds that, despite the stigma and social opposition heavily tattooed women face, many feel empowered by their tattoos and strongly believe they are creating a space for self-expression that also presents a positive body image. A riveting and unique study, Covered in Ink provides important insight into the often unseen world of women and tattooing
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 12, 2015

"Coal and Empire"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Coal and Empire: The Birth of Energy Security in Industrial America by Peter A. Shulman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Since the early twentieth century, Americans have associated oil with national security. From World War I to American involvement in the Middle East, this connection has seemed a self-evident truth. But as Peter A. Shulman argues, Americans had to learn to think about the geopolitics of energy in terms of security, and they did so beginning in the nineteenth century: the age of coal. Coal and Empire insightfully weaves together pivotal moments in the history of science and technology by linking coal and steam to the realms of foreign relations, navy logistics, and American politics. Long before oil, coal allowed Americans to rethink the place of the United States in the world.

Shulman explores how the development of coal-fired, ocean-going steam power in the 1840s created new questions, opportunities, and problems for U.S. foreign relations and naval strategy. The search for coal, for example, helped take Commodore Matthew Perry to Japan in the 1850s. It facilitated Abraham Lincoln’s pursuit of black colonization in 1860s Panama. After the Civil War, it led Americans to debate whether a need for coaling stations required the construction of a global island empire. Until 1898, however, Americans preferred to answer the questions posed by coal with new technologies rather than new territories. Afterward, the establishment of America’s island empire created an entirely different demand for coal to secure the country’s new colonial borders, a process that paved the way for how Americans incorporated oil into their strategic thought.

By exploring how the security dimensions of energy were not intrinsically linked to a particular source of power but rather to political choices about America’s role in the world, Shulman ultimately suggests that contemporary global struggles over energy will never disappear, even if oil is someday displaced by alternative sources of power.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 11, 2015

"Barrio Rising"

New from the University of California Press: Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela by Alejandro Velasco.

About the book, from the publisher:
Beginning in the late 1950s political leaders in Venezuela built what they celebrated as Latin America’s most stable democracy. But outside the staid halls of power, in the gritty barrios of a rapidly urbanizing country, another politics was rising—unruly, contentious, and clamoring for inclusion.

Based on years of archival and ethnographic research in Venezuela’s largest public housing community, Barrio Rising delivers the first in-depth history of urban popular politics before the Bolivarian Revolution, providing crucial context for understanding the democracy that emerged during the presidency of Hugo Chávez.

In the mid-1950s, a military government bent on modernizing Venezuela razed dozens of slums in the heart of the capital Caracas, replacing them with massive buildings to house the city’s working poor. The project remained unfinished when the dictatorship fell on January 23, 1958, and in a matter of days city residents illegally occupied thousands of apartments, squatted on green spaces, and renamed the neighborhood to honor the emerging democracy: the 23 de Enero (January 23).

During the next thirty years, through eviction efforts, guerrilla conflict, state violence, internal strife, and official neglect, inhabitants of el veintitrés learned to use their strategic location and symbolic tie to the promise of democracy in order to demand a better life. Granting legitimacy to the state through the vote but protesting its failings with violent street actions when necessary, they laid the foundation for an expansive understanding of democracy—both radical and electoral—whose features still resonate today.

Blending rich narrative accounts with incisive analyses of urban space, politics, and everyday life, Barrio Rising offers a sweeping reinterpretation of modern Venezuelan history as seen not by its leaders but by residents of one of the country’s most distinctive popular neighborhoods.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 10, 2015

"The Global War on Tobacco"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: The Global War on Tobacco: Mapping the World's First Public Health Treaty by Heather Wipfli.

About the book, from the publisher:
The tobacco industry has capitalized on numerous elements of globalization—including trade liberalization, foreign direct investment, and global communications—to expand into countries where effective tobacco control programs are not in place. As a consequence, tobacco is currently the leading cause of preventable death in the world. Each year, it kills more people than HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

Amid evidence of an emerging pandemic, a committed group of public health professionals and institutions sought in the mid-1990s to challenge the tobacco industry’s expansion by negotiating a binding international law under the auspices of the World Health Organization. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)—the first collective global response to the causation of avoidable chronic disease—was one of the most quickly ratified treaties in United Nations history. In The Global War on Tobacco, Heather Wipfli tells the engaging story of the FCTC, from its start as an unlikely civil society proposal to its enactment in 178 countries as of June 2014. Wipfli also reveals how globalization offers anti-tobacco advocates significant cooperative opportunities to share knowledge and address cross-border public health problems.

The book—the first to delve deeply into the origin and development of the FCTC—seeks to advance understanding of how non-state actors, transnational networks, and international institutionalization can impact global governance for health. Case studies from a variety of diverse high-, middle-, and low-income countries provide real-world examples of the success or failure of tobacco control. Aimed at public health professionals and students, The Global War on Tobacco is a fascinating look at how international relations is changing to respond to the modern global marketplace and protect human health.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 9, 2015

"Discovering Tuberculosis"

New from Yale University Press: Discovering Tuberculosis: A Global History, 1900 to the Present by Christian W. McMillen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Tuberculosis is one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases, killing nearly two million people every year—more now than at any other time in history. While the developed world has nearly forgotten about TB, it continues to wreak havoc across much of the globe. In this interdisciplinary study of global efforts to control TB, Christian McMillen examines the disease’s remarkable staying power by offering a probing look at key locations, developments, ideas, and medical successes and failures since 1900. He explores TB and race in east Africa, in South Africa, and on Native American reservations in the first half of the twentieth century, investigates the unsuccessful search for a vaccine, uncovers the origins of drug-resistant tuberculosis in Kenya and elsewhere in the decades following World War II, and details the tragic story of the resurgence of TB in the era of HIV/AIDS. Discovering Tuberculosis explains why controlling TB has been, and continues to be, so difficult.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

"Drugs, Thugs, and Diplomats"

New from Stanford University Press: Drugs, Thugs, and Diplomats: U.S. Policymaking in Colombia by Winifred Tate.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 2000, the U.S. passed a major aid package that was going to help Colombia do it all: cut drug trafficking, defeat leftist guerrillas, support peace, and build democracy. More than 80% of the assistance, however, was military aid, at a time when the Colombian security forces were linked to abusive, drug-trafficking paramilitary forces. Drugs, Thugs, and Diplomats examines the U.S. policymaking process in the design, implementation, and consequences of Plan Colombia, as the aid package came to be known.

Winifred Tate explores the rhetoric and practice of foreign policy by the U.S. State Department, the Pentagon, Congress, and the U.S. military Southern Command. Tate's ethnography uncovers how policymakers' utopian visions and emotional entanglements play a profound role in their efforts to orchestrate and impose social transformation abroad. She argues that U.S. officials' zero tolerance for illegal drugs provided the ideological architecture for the subsequent militarization of domestic drug policy abroad. The U.S. also ignored Colombian state complicity with paramilitary brutality, presenting them as evidence of an absent state and the authentic expression of a frustrated middle class. For rural residents of Colombia living under paramilitary dominion, these denials circulated as a form of state terror. Tate's analysis examines how oppositional activists and the policy's targets—civilians and local state officials in southern Colombia—attempted to shape aid design and delivery, revealing the process and effects of human rights policymaking.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"Ill Composed"

New from Yale University Press: Ill Composed: Sickness, Gender, and Belief in Early Modern England by Olivia Weisser.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the first in-depth study of how gender determined perceptions and experiences of illness in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England, Olivia Weisser invites readers into the lives and imaginations of ordinary men and women. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including personal diaries, medical texts, and devotional literature, the author enters the sickrooms of a diverse sampling of early modern Britons. The resulting stories of sickness reveal how men and women of the era viewed and managed their health both similarly and differently, as well as the ways prevailing religious practices, medical knowledge, writing conventions, and everyday life created and supported those varying perceptions.

A unique cultural history of illness, Weisser’s groundbreaking study bridges the fields of patient history and gender history. Based on the detailed examination of over fifty firsthand accounts, this fascinating volume offers unprecedented insight into what it was like to live, suffer, and inhabit a body more than three centuries ago.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 6, 2015

"Cut Loose"

New from the University of California Press: Cut Loose: Jobless and Hopeless in an Unfair Economy by Victor Tan Chen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Years after the Great Recession, the economy is still weak, and an unprecedented number of workers have sunk into long spells of unemployment. Cut Loose provides a vivid and moving account of the experiences of some of these men and women, through the example of a historically important group: autoworkers. Their well-paid jobs on the assembly lines built a strong middle class in the decades after World War II. But today, they find themselves beleaguered in a changed economy of greater inequality and risk, one that favors the well-educated—or well-connected.

Their declining fortunes in recent decades tell us something about what the white-collar workforce should expect to see in the years ahead, as job-killing technologies and the shipping of work overseas take away even more good jobs. Cut Loose offers a poignant look at how the long-term unemployed struggle in today’s unfair economy to support their families, rebuild their lives, and overcome the shame and self-blame they deal with on a daily basis. It is also a call to action—a blueprint for a new kind of politics, one that offers a measure of grace in a society of ruthless advancement.
Visit Victor Tan Chen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 5, 2015

"At the Chef's Table"

New from Stanford University Press: At the Chef's Table: Culinary Creativity in Elite Restaurants by Vanina Leschziner.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book is about the creative work of chefs at top restaurants in New York and San Francisco. Based on interviews with chefs and observation in restaurant kitchens, the book explores the question of how and why chefs make choices about the dishes they put on their menus. It answers this question by examining a whole range of areas, including chefs' careers, restaurant ratings and reviews, social networks, how chefs think about food and go about creating new dishes, and how status influences their work and careers.

Chefs at top restaurants face competing pressures to deliver complex and creative dishes, and navigate market forces to run a profitable business in an industry with exceptionally high costs and low profit margins. Creating a distinctive and original culinary style allows them to stand out in the market, but making the familiar food that many customers want ensures that they can stay in business. Chefs must make choices between these competing pressures. In explaining how they do so, this book uses the case study of high cuisine to analyze, more generally, how people in creative occupations navigate a context that is rife with uncertainty, high pressures, and contradicting forces.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 4, 2015

"The Cybernetics Moment"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: The Cybernetics Moment: Or Why We Call Our Age the Information Age by Ronald R. Kline.

About the book, from the publisher:
Cybernetics—the science of communication and control as it applies to machines and to humans—originates from efforts during World War II to build automatic anti-aircraft systems. Following the war, this science extended beyond military needs to examine all systems that rely on information and feedback, from the level of the cell to that of society. In The Cybernetics Moment, Ronald R. Kline, a senior historian of technology, examines the intellectual and cultural history of cybernetics and information theory, whose language of "information," "feedback," and "control" transformed the idiom of the sciences, hastened the development of information technologies, and laid the conceptual foundation for what we now call the Information Age.

Kline argues that, for about twenty years after 1950, the growth of cybernetics and information theory and ever-more-powerful computers produced a utopian information narrative—an enthusiasm for information science that influenced natural scientists, social scientists, engineers, humanists, policymakers, public intellectuals, and journalists, all of whom struggled to come to grips with new relationships between humans and intelligent machines.

Kline traces the relationship between the invention of computers and communication systems and the rise, decline, and transformation of cybernetics by analyzing the lives and work of such notables as Norbert Wiener, Claude Shannon, Warren McCulloch, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, and Herbert Simon. Ultimately, he reveals the crucial role played by the cybernetics moment—when cybernetics and information theory were seen as universal sciences—in setting the stage for our current preoccupation with information technologies.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 3, 2015


New from Stanford University Press: #iranelection: Hashtag Solidarity and the Transformation of Online Life by Negar Mottahedeh.

About the book, from the publisher:
The protests following Iran's fraudulent 2009 Presidential election took the world by storm. As the Green Revolution gained protestors in the Iranian streets, #iranelection became the first long-trending international hashtag. Texts, images, videos, audio recordings, and links connected protestors on the ground and netizens online, all simultaneously transmitting and living a shared international experience.

#iranelection follows the protest movement, on the ground and online, to investigate how emerging social media platforms developed international solidarity. The 2009 protests in Iran were the first revolts to be catapulted onto the global stage by social media, just as the 1979 Iranian Revolution was agitated by cassette tapes. And as the world turned to social media platforms to understand the events on the ground, social media platforms also adapted and developed to accommodate this global activism. Provocative and eye-opening, #iranelection reveals the new online ecology of social protest and offers a prehistory, of sorts, of the uses of hashtags and trending topics, selfies and avatar activism, and citizen journalism and YouTube mashups.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 2, 2015

"Forging Trust Communities"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Forging Trust Communities: How Technology Changes Politics by Irene S. Wu.

About the book, from the publisher:
Bloggers in India used social media and wikis to broadcast news and bring humanitarian aid to tsunami victims in South Asia. Terrorist groups like ISIS pour out messages and recruit new members on websites. The Internet is the new public square, bringing to politics a platform on which to create community at both the grassroots and bureaucratic level. Drawing on historical and contemporary case studies from more than ten countries, Irene S. Wu’s Forging Trust Communities argues that the Internet, and the technologies that predate it, catalyze political change by creating new opportunities for cooperation. The Internet does not simply enable faster and easier communication, but makes it possible for people around the world to interact closely, reciprocate favors, and build trust. The information and ideas exchanged by members of these cooperative communities become key sources of political power akin to military might and economic strength.

Wu illustrates the rich world history of citizens and leaders exercising political power through communications technology. People in nineteenth-century China, for example, used the telegraph and newspapers to mobilize against the emperor. In 1970, Taiwanese cable television gave voice to a political opposition demanding democracy. Both Qatar (in the 1990s) and Great Britain (in the 1930s) relied on public broadcasters to enhance their influence abroad. Additional case studies from Brazil, Egypt, the United States, Russia, India, the Philippines, and Tunisia reveal how various technologies function to create new political energy, enabling activists to challenge institutions while allowing governments to increase their power at home and abroad.

Forging Trust Communities demonstrates that the way people receive and share information through network communities reveals as much about their political identity as their socioeconomic class, ethnicity, or religion. Scholars and students in political science, public administration, international studies, sociology, and the history of science and technology will find this to be an insightful and indispensable work.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

"American Artists against War, 1935-2010"

New from the University of California Press: American Artists against War, 1935-2010 by David McCarthy.

About the book, from the publisher:
Beginning with responses to fascism in the 1930s and ending with protests against the Iraq wars, David McCarthy shows how American artists—including Philip Evergood, David Smith, H. C. Westermann, Ed Kienholz, Nancy Spero, Leon Golub, Chris Burden, Robert Arneson, Martha Rosler, and Coco Fusco—have borne witness, registered dissent, and asserted the enduring ability of imagination to uncover truths about individuals and nations. During what has been called the American Century, the United States engaged in frequent combat overseas while developing technologies of unprecedented lethality. Many artists, working collectively or individually, produced antiwar art to protest the use or threat of military violence in the service of an expansionist state. In so doing, they understood themselves to be fighting on behalf of two liberal beliefs: that their country was the guarantor of liberty against empire, and that modern art was a viable means of addressing the most compelling events and issues of the moment. For many artists, creative work was a way to participate in democratic exchange by challenging and clarifying government and media perspectives on armed conflict. Charting a seventy-five-year history of antiwar art and activism, American Artists against War, 1935–2010 lucidly tracks the continuities, preoccupations, and strategies of several generations.
--Marshal Zeringue