Saturday, December 31, 2016

"The Art of Connection"

New from the University of California Press: The Art of Connection: Risk, Mobility, and the Crafting of Transparency in Coastal Kenya by Dillon Mahoney.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Art of Connection narrates the individual stories of artisans and traders of Kenyan arts and crafts as they overcome the loss of physical access to roadside market space by turning to new digital technologies to make their businesses more mobile and integrated into the global economy. Bringing together the studies of globalization, development, art, and communication, the book illuminates the lived experiences of informal economies and shows how traders and small enterprises balance new risks with the mobility afforded by digital technologies. An array of ethnic and generational politics have led to market burnings and witchcraft accusations as Kenya’s crafts industry struggles to adapt to its new connection to the global economy. To mediate the resulting crisis of trust, the Fair Trade sticker and other NGO aesthetics continue to successfully represent a transparent, ethical, and trusting relationship between buyer and producer. Dillon Mahoney shows that by balancing revelation and obfuscation—what is revealed and what is not—Kenyan art traders make their own roles as intermediaries and the exploitative realities of the global economy invisible.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 30, 2016

"Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff"

New from Princeton University Press: Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff by Edward J. Balleisen.

About the book, from the publisher:
The United States has always proved an inviting home for boosters, sharp dealers, and outright swindlers. Worship of entrepreneurial freedom has complicated the task of distinguishing aggressive salesmanship from unacceptable deceit, especially on the frontiers of innovation. At the same time, competitive pressures have often nudged respectable firms to embrace deception. As a result, fraud has been a key feature of American business since its beginnings. In this sweeping narrative, Edward Balleisen traces the history of fraud in America—and the evolving efforts to combat it—from the age of P. T. Barnum through the eras of Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff.

Starting with an early nineteenth-century American legal world of “buyer beware,” this unprecedented account describes the slow, piecemeal construction of modern regulatory institutions to protect consumers and investors, from the Gilded Age through the New Deal and the Great Society. It concludes with the more recent era of deregulation, which has brought with it a spate of costly frauds, including the savings and loan crisis, corporate accounting scandals, and the recent mortgage-marketing debacle.

By tracing how Americans have struggled to foster a vibrant economy without enabling a corrosive level of fraud, this book reminds us that American capitalism rests on an uneasy foundation of social trust.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Ours to Lose"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Ours to Lose: When Squatters Became Homeowners in New York City by Amy Starecheski.

About the book, from the publisher:
Though New York’s Lower East Side today is home to high-end condos and hip restaurants, it was for decades an infamous site of blight, open-air drug dealing, and class conflict—an emblematic example of the tattered state of 1970s and ’80s Manhattan.

Those decades of strife, however, also gave the Lower East Side something unusual: a radical movement that blended urban homesteading and European-style squatting in a way never before seen in the United States. Ours to Lose tells the oral history of that movement through a close look at a diverse group of Lower East Side squatters who occupied abandoned city-owned buildings in the 1980s, fought to keep them for decades, and eventually began a long, complicated process to turn their illegal occupancy into legal cooperative ownership. Amy Starecheski here not only tells a little-known New York story, she also shows how property shapes our sense of ourselves as social beings and explores the ethics of homeownership and debt in post-recession America.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

"Longing for the Lost Caliphate"

New from Princeton University Press: Longing for the Lost Caliphate: A Transregional History by Mona Hassan.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the United States and Europe, the word “caliphate” has conjured historically romantic and increasingly pernicious associations. Yet the caliphate’s significance in Islamic history and Muslim culture remains poorly understood. This book explores the myriad meanings of the caliphate for Muslims around the world through the analytical lens of two key moments of loss in the thirteenth and twentieth centuries. Through extensive primary-source research, Mona Hassan explores the rich constellation of interpretations created by religious scholars, historians, musicians, statesmen, poets, and intellectuals.

Hassan fills a scholarly gap regarding Muslim reactions to the destruction of the Abbasid caliphate in Baghdad in 1258 and challenges the notion that the Mongol onslaught signaled an end to the critical engagement of Muslim jurists and intellectuals with the idea of an Islamic caliphate. She also situates Muslim responses to the dramatic abolition of the Ottoman caliphate in 1924 as part of a longer trajectory of transregional cultural memory, revealing commonalities and differences in how modern Muslims have creatively interpreted and reinterpreted their heritage. Hassan examines how poignant memories of the lost caliphate have been evoked in Muslim culture, law, and politics, similar to the losses and repercussions experienced by other religious communities, including the destruction of the Second Temple for Jews and the fall of Rome for Christians.

A global history, Longing for the Lost Caliphate delves into why the caliphate has been so important to Muslims in vastly different eras and places.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

"The Man Who Stole Himself"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Man Who Stole Himself: The Slave Odyssey of Hans Jonathan by Gísli Pálsson.

About the book, from the publisher:
The island nation of Iceland is known for many things—majestic landscapes, volcanic eruptions, distinctive seafood—but racial diversity is not one of them. So the little-known story of Hans Jonathan, a free black man who lived and raised a family in early nineteenth-century Iceland, is improbable and compelling, the stuff of novels.

In The Man Who Stole Himself, Gisli Palsson lays out the story of Hans Jonathan (also known as Hans Jónatan) in stunning detail. Born into slavery in St. Croix in 1784, Hans was taken as a slave to Denmark, where he eventually enlisted in the navy and fought on behalf of the country in the 1801 Battle of Copenhagen. After the war, he declared himself a free man, believing that he was due freedom not only because of his patriotic service, but because while slavery remained legal in the colonies, it was outlawed in Denmark itself. He thus became the subject of one of the most notorious slavery cases in European history, which he lost. Then Hans ran away—never to be heard from in Denmark again, his fate unknown for more than two hundred years. It’s now known that Hans fled to Iceland, where he became a merchant and peasant farmer, married, and raised two children. Today, he has become something of an Icelandic icon, claimed as a proud and daring ancestor both there and among his descendants in America.

The Man Who Stole Himself brilliantly intertwines Hans Jonathan’s adventurous travels with a portrait of the Danish slave trade, legal arguments over slavery, and the state of nineteenth-century race relations in the Northern Atlantic world. Throughout the book, Palsson traces themes of imperial dreams, colonialism, human rights, and globalization, which all come together in the life of a single, remarkable man. Hans literally led a life like no other. His is the story of a man who had the temerity—the courage—to steal himself.
Learn more about The Man Who Stole Himself at the University of Chicago Press website.

My Book, The Movie: The Man Who Stole Himself.

The Page 99 Test: The Man Who Stole Himself.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 26, 2016

"Smart Girls"

New from the University of California Press: Smart Girls: Success, School, and the Myth of Post-Feminism by Shauna Pomerantz and Rebecca Raby.

About the book, from the publisher:
Are girls taking over the world? It would appear so, based on magazine covers, news headlines, and popular books touting girls’ academic success. Girls are said to outperform boys in high school exams, university entrance and graduation rates, and professional certification. As a result, many in Western society assume that girls no longer need support. But in spite of the messages of post-feminism and neoliberal individualism that tell girls they can have it all, the reality is far more complicated. Smart Girls investigates how academically successful girls deal with stress, the “supergirl” drive for perfection, race and class issues, and the sexism that is still present in schools. Describing girls’ varied everyday experiences, including negotiations of traditional gender norms, Shauna Pomerantz and Rebecca Raby show how teachers, administrators, parents, and media commentators can help smart girls thrive while working toward straight As and a bright future.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Oscar Wilde Prefigured"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Oscar Wilde Prefigured: Queer Fashioning and British Caricature, 1750-1900 by Dominic Janes.

About Oscar Wilde Prefigured, from the publisher:
“I do not say you are it, but you look it, and you pose at it, which is just as bad,” Lord Queensbury challenged Oscar Wilde in the courtroom—which erupted in laughter—accusing Wilde of posing as a sodomite. What was so terrible about posing as a sodomite, and why was Queensbury’s horror greeted with such amusement? In Oscar Wilde Prefigured, Dominic Janes suggests that what divided the two sides in this case was not so much the question of whether Wilde was or was not a sodomite, but whether or not it mattered that people could appear to be sodomites. For many, intimations of sodomy were simply a part of the amusing spectacle of sophisticated life.

Oscar Wilde Prefigured is a study of the prehistory of this “queer moment” in 1895. Janes explores the complex ways in which men who desired sex with men in Britain had expressed such interests through clothing, style, and deportment since the mid-eighteenth century. He supplements the well-established narrative of the inscription of sodomitical acts into a homosexual label and identity at the end of the nineteenth century by teasing out the means by which same-sex desires could be signaled through visual display in Georgian and Victorian Britain. Wilde, it turns out, is not the starting point for public queer figuration. He is the pivot by which Georgian figures and twentieth-century camp stereotypes meet. Drawing on the mutually reinforcing phenomena of dandyism and caricature of alleged effeminates, Janes examines a wide range of images drawn from theater, fashion, and the popular press to reveal new dimensions of identity politics, gender performance, and queer culture.
Learn more about Oscar Wilde Prefigured at the University of Chicago Press.

Writers Read: Dominic Janes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 25, 2016

"Evangelical Gotham"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Evangelical Gotham: Religion and the Making of New York City, 1783-1860 by Kyle B. Roberts.

About the book, from the publisher:
At first glance, evangelical and Gotham seem like an odd pair. What does a movement of pious converts and reformers have to do with a city notoriously full of temptation and sin? More than you might think, says Kyle B. Roberts, who argues that religion must be considered alongside immigration, commerce, and real estate scarcity as one of the forces that shaped the New York City we know today.

In Evangelical Gotham, Roberts explores the role of the urban evangelical community in the development of New York between the American Revolution and the Civil War. As developers prepared to open new neighborhoods uptown, evangelicals stood ready to build meetinghouses. As the city’s financial center emerged and solidified, evangelicals capitalized on the resultant wealth, technology, and resources to expand their missionary and benevolent causes. When they began to feel that the city’s morals had degenerated, evangelicals turned to temperance, Sunday school, prayer meetings, antislavery causes, and urban missions to reform their neighbors. The result of these efforts was Evangelical Gotham—a complicated and contradictory world whose influence spread far beyond the shores of Manhattan.

Winner of the 2015 Dixon Ryan Fox Manuscript Prize from the New York State Historical Association.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 24, 2016

"Proposing Prosperity?"

New from Columbia University Press: Proposing Prosperity?: Marriage Education Policy and Inequality in America by Jennifer M. Randles.

About the book, from the publisher:
"Fragile families"—unmarried parents who struggle emotionally and financially—are one of the primary targets of the Healthy Marriage Initiative, a federal policy that has funded marriage education programs in nearly every state. These programs, which encourage marriage by teaching relationship skills, are predicated on the hope that married couples can provide a more emotionally and financially stable home for their children.

Healthy marriage policy promotes a pro-marriage culture in which two-parent married families are considered the healthiest. It also assumes that marriage can be a socioeconomic survival mechanism for low-income families, and an engine of upward mobility.

Through interviews with couples and her own observations and participation in marriage education courses, Jennifer M. Randles challenges these assumptions and critically examines the effects of such classes on participants. She takes the reader inside healthy marriage classrooms to reveal how their curricula are reflections of broader issues of culture, gender, governance, and social inequality. In analyzing the implementation of healthy marriage policy, Randles questions whether it should target individual behavior or the social and economic context of that behavior. The most valuable approach, she concludes, will not be grounded in notions of middle-class marriage culture. Instead, it will reflect the fundamental premise that love and commitment thrive most within the context of social and economic opportunity.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 23, 2016

"The Power of Systems"

New from Cornell University Press: The Power of Systems: How Policy Sciences Opened Up the Cold War World by Egle Rindzeviciute.

About the book, from the publisher:
In The Power of Systems, Egle Rindzeviciute introduces readers to one of the best-kept secrets of the Cold War: the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, an international think tank established by the U.S. and Soviet governments to advance scientific collaboration. From 1972 until the late 1980s IIASA in Austria was one of the very few permanent platforms where policy scientists from both sides of the Cold War divide could work together to articulate and solve world problems. This think tank was a rare zone of freedom, communication, and negotiation, where leading Soviet scientists could try out their innovative ideas, benefit from access to Western literature, and develop social networks, thus paving the way for some of the key science and policy breakthroughs of the twentieth century.

Ambitious diplomatic, scientific, and organizational strategies were employed to make this arena for cooperation work for global change. Under the umbrella of the systems approach, East-West scientists co-produced computer simulations of the long-term world future and the anthropogenic impact on the environment, using global modeling to explore the possible effects of climate change and nuclear winter. Their concern with global issues also became a vehicle for transformation inside the Soviet Union. The book shows how computer modeling, cybernetics, and the systems approach challenged Soviet governance by undermining the linear notions of control on which Soviet governance was based and creating new objects and techniques of government.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 22, 2016

"Ivory: Power and Poaching in Africa"

New from Oxford University Press: Ivory: Power and Poaching in Africa by Keith Somerville.

About the book,from the publisher:
Half of Tanzania's elephants have been killed for their ivory since 2007. A similar alarming story can be told of the herds in northern Mozambique and across swathes of central Africa, with forest elephants losing almost two-thirds of their numbers to the tusk trade. The huge rise in poaching and ivory smuggling in the new millennium has destroyed the hope that the 1989 ivory trade ban had capped poaching and would lead to a long-term fall in demand. But why the new upsurge? The answer is not simple. Since ancient times, large-scale killing of elephants for their tusks has been driven by demand outside Africa's elephant ranges - from the Egyptian pharaohs through Imperial Rome and industrialising Europe and North America to the new wealthy business class of China. And, who poaches and why do they do it? In recent years lurid press reports have blamed mass poaching on rebel movements and armed militias, especially Somalia's Al Shabaab, tying two together two evils - poaching and terrorism. But does this account stand up to scrutiny? This new and ground-breaking examination of the history and politics of ivory in Africa forensically examines why poaching happens in Africa and why it is corruption, crime and politics, rather than insurgency, that we should worry about.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

"A Fight for the Soul of Public Education"

New from ILR Press: A Fight for the Soul of Public Education: The Story of the Chicago Teachers Strike by Steven K. Ashby and Robert Bruno.

About the book, from the publisher:
In reaction to the changes imposed on public schools across the country in the name of "education reform," the Chicago Teachers Union redefined its traditional role and waged a multidimensional fight that produced a community-wide school strike and transformed the scope of collective bargaining into arenas that few labor relations experts thought possible. Using interviews, first-person accounts, participant observation, union documents, and media reports, Steven K. Ashby and Robert Bruno tell the story of the 2012 strike that shut down the Chicago school system for seven days.

A Fight for the Soul of Public Education takes into account two overlapping, parallel, and equally important stories. One is a grassroots story of worker activism told from the perspective of rank-and-file union members and their community supporters. Ashby and Bruno provide a detailed account of how the strike became an international cause when other teachers unions had largely surrendered to corporate-driven education reform. The second story describes the role of state and national politics in imposing educational governance changes on public schools and draconian limitations on union bargaining rights. It includes a detailed account of the actual bargaining process revealing the mundane and the transcendental strategies of both school board and union representatives.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"A Democratic Theory of Judgment"

New from the University of Chicago Press: A Democratic Theory of Judgment by Linda M. G. Zerilli.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this sweeping look at political and philosophical history, Linda M. G. Zerilli unpacks the tightly woven core of Hannah Arendt’s unfinished work on a tenacious modern problem: how to judge critically in the wake of the collapse of inherited criteria of judgment. Engaging a remarkable breadth of thinkers, including Ludwig Wittgenstein, Leo Strauss, Immanuel Kant, Frederick Douglass, John Rawls, Jürgen Habermas, Martha Nussbaum, and many others, Zerilli clears a hopeful path between an untenable universalism and a cultural relativism that forever defers the possibility of judging at all.

Zerilli deftly outlines the limitations of existing debates, both those that concern themselves with the impossibility of judging across cultures and those that try to find transcendental, rational values to anchor judgement. Looking at Kant through the lens of Arendt, Zerilli develops the notion of a public conception of truth, and from there she explores relativism, historicism, and universalism as they shape feminist approaches to judgment. Following Arendt even further, Zerilli arrives at a hopeful new pathway—seeing the collapse of philosophical criteria for judgment not as a problem but a way to practice judgment anew as a world-building activity of democratic citizens. The result is an astonishing theoretical argument that travels through—and goes beyond—some of the most important political thought of the modern period.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 19, 2016

"Practicing What the Doctor Preached"

New from Oxford University Press: Practicing What the Doctor Preached: At Home with Focus on the Family by Susan B. Ridgely.

About the book, from the publisher:
Dr. James Dobson, PhD., founder of the conservative Christian foundation Focus on the Family, is well-known to the secular world as a crusader for the Christian right. But within Christian circles he is known primarily as a childrearing expert. Millions of American children have been raised on his message, disseminated through books, videos, radio programs, magazines, and other media.

While evangelical Christians have always placed great importance on familial responsibilities, Dobson placed the family at the center of Christian life. Only by sticking to proper family roles, he argues, can we achieve salvation. Women, for instance, only come to know God fully by submitting to their husbands and nurturing their children. Such uniting of family life and religion has drawn people to the organization, just as it has forced them to wrestle with what it means to be a Christian wife, husband, mother, father, son, or daughter. Adapting theories from developmental psychology that melded parental modeling with a conservative Christian theology of sinfulness, salvation, and a living relationship with Jesus, Dobson created a new model for the Christian family.

But what does that model look like in real life? Drawing on interviews with mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters, Practicing What the Doctor Preached explores how actual families put Dobson's principles into practice. To what extent does Focus shape the practices of its audience to its own ends, and to what extent does Focus' understanding of its members' practices and needs shape the organization? Susan B. Ridgely shows that, while Dobson is known for being rigid and dogmatic, his followers show surprising flexibility in the way they actually use his materials. She examines Focus's listeners and their changing needs over the organization's first thirty years, a span that saw the organization expand from centering itself on childrearing to entrenching itself in public debates over sexuality, education, and national politics.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 18, 2016

"Building a New Educational State"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Building a New Educational State: Foundations, Schools, and the American South by Joan Malczewski.

About the book, from the publisher:
Building a New Educational State examines the dynamic process of black education reform during the Jim Crow era in North Carolina and Mississippi. Through extensive archival research, Joan Malczewski explores the initiatives of foundations and reformers at the top, the impact of their work at the state and local level, and the agency of southerners—including those in rural black communities—to demonstrate the importance of schooling to political development in the South. Along the way, Malczewski challenges us to reevaluate the relationships among political actors involved in education reform.

Malczewski presents foundation leaders as self-conscious state builders and policy entrepreneurs who aimed to promote national ideals through a public system of education—efforts they believed were especially critical in the South. Black education was an important component of this national agenda. Through extensive efforts to create a more centralized and standard system of public education aimed at bringing isolated and rural black schools into the public system, schools became important places for expanding the capacity of state and local governance. Schooling provided opportunities to reorganize local communities and augment black agency in the process. When foundations realized they could not unilaterally impose their educational vision on the South, particularly in black communities, they began to collaborate with locals, thereby opening political opportunity in rural areas. Unfortunately, while foundations were effective at developing the institutional configurations necessary for education reform, they were less successful at implementing local programs consistently due to each state’s distinctive political and institutional context.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 17, 2016

"Muslims in Scotland"

New from Edinburgh University Press: Muslims in Scotland: The Making of Community in a Post-9/11 World by Stefano Bonino.

About the book, from the publisher:
The experience of being a Muslim in Scotland today is shaped by the global and national post-9/11 shift in public attitudes towards Muslims, and is infused by the particular social, cultural and political Scottish ways of dealing with minorities, diversity and integration. This book explores the settlement and development of Muslim communities in Scotland, highlighting the ongoing changes in their structure and the move towards a Scottish experience of being Muslim. This experience combines a sense of civic and social belonging to Scotland with a strong religious and ideological commitment to Islam.
Visit Stefano Bonino's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Are Racists Crazy?"

New from NYU Press: Are Racists Crazy?: How Prejudice, Racism, and Antisemitism Became Markers of Insanity by Sander L. Gilman & James M. Thomas.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 2012, an interdisciplinary team of scientists at the University of Oxford reported that - based on their clinical experiment - the beta-blocker drug, Propranolol, could reduce implicit racial bias among its users. Shortly after the experiment, an article in Time Magazine cited the study, posing the question: Is racism becoming a mental illness? In Are Racists Crazy? Sander Gilman and James Thomas trace the idea of race and racism as psychopathological categories., from mid-19th century Europe, to contemporary America, up to the aforementioned clinical experiment at the University of Oxford, and ask a slightly different question than that posed by Time: How did racism become a mental illness? Using historical, archival, and content analysis, the authors provide a rich account of how the 19th century ‘Sciences of Man’ - including anthropology, medicine, and biology - used race as a means of defining psychopathology and how assertions about race and madness became embedded within disciplines that deal with mental health and illness.

An illuminating and riveting history of the discourse on racism, antisemitism, and psychopathology, Are Racists Crazy? connects past and present claims about race and racism, showing the dangerous implications of this specious line of thought for today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 16, 2016

"Partisans and Partners"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Partisans and Partners: The Politics of the Post-Keynesian Society by Josh Pacewicz.

About the book, from the publisher:
There’s no question that Americans are bitterly divided by politics. But in Partisans and Partners, Josh Pacewicz finds that our traditional understanding of red/blue, right/left, urban/rural division is too simplistic.

Wheels-down in Iowa—that most important of primary states—Pacewicz looks to two cities, one traditionally Democratic, the other traditionally Republican, and finds that younger voters are rejecting older-timers’ strict political affiliations. A paradox is emerging—as the dividing lines between America’s political parties have sharpened, Americans are at the same time growing distrustful of traditional party politics in favor of becoming apolitical or embracing outside-the-beltway candidates. Pacewicz sees this change coming not from politicians and voters, but from the fundamental reorganization of the community institutions in which political parties have traditionally been rooted. Weaving together major themes in American political history—including globalization, the decline of organized labor, loss of locally owned industries, uneven economic development, and the emergence of grassroots populist movements—Partisans and Partners is a timely and comprehensive analysis of American politics as it happens on the ground.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Accommodated Jew"

New from Cornell University Press: The Accommodated Jew: English Antisemitism from Bede to Milton by Kathy Lavezzo.

About the book, from the publisher:
England during the Middle Ages was at the forefront of European antisemitism. It was in medieval Norwich that the notorious "blood libel" was first introduced when a resident accused the city's Jewish leaders of abducting and ritually murdering a local boy. England also enforced legislation demanding that Jews wear a badge of infamy, and in 1290, it became the first European nation to expel forcibly all of its Jewish residents. In The Accommodated Jew, Kathy Lavezzo rethinks the complex and contradictory relation between England’s rejection of “the Jew” and the centrality of Jews to classic English literature. Drawing on literary, historical, and cartographic texts, she charts an entangled Jewish imaginative presence in English culture.

In a sweeping view that extends from the Anglo-Saxon period to the late seventeenth century, Lavezzo tracks how English writers from Bede to Milton imagine Jews via buildings—tombs, latrines and especially houses—that support fantasies of exile. Epitomizing this trope is the blood libel and its implication that Jews cannot be accommodated in England because of the anti-Christian violence they allegedly perform in their homes. In the Croxton Play of the Sacrament, Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta, and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, the Jewish house not only serves as a lethal trap but also as the site of an emerging bourgeoisie incompatible with Christian pieties. Lavezzo reveals the central place of “the Jew” in the slow process by which a Christian “nation of shopkeepers” negotiated their relationship to the urban capitalist sensibility they came to embrace and embody. In the book’s epilogue, she advances her inquiry into Victorian England and the relationship between Charles Dickens (whose Fagin is the second most infamous Jew in English literature after Shylock) and the Jewish couple that purchased his London home, Tavistock House, showing how far relations between gentiles and Jews in England had (and had not) evolved.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 15, 2016

"1971: A Year in the Life of Color"

New from the University of Chicago Press: 1971: A Year in the Life of Color by Darby English.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this book, art historian Darby English explores the year 1971, when two exhibitions opened that brought modernist painting and sculpture into the burning heart of United States cultural politics: Contemporary Black Artists in America, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and The DeLuxe Show, a racially integrated abstract art exhibition presented in a renovated movie theater in a Houston ghetto.

1971: A Year in the Life of Color looks at many black artists’ desire to gain freedom from overt racial representation, as well as their efforts—and those of their advocates—to further that aim through public exhibition. Amid calls to define a “black aesthetic,” these experiments with modernist art prioritized cultural interaction and instability. Contemporary Black Artists in America highlighted abstraction as a stance against normative approaches, while The DeLuxe Show positioned abstraction in a center of urban blight. The importance of these experiments, English argues, came partly from color’s special status as a cultural symbol and partly from investigations of color already under way in late modern art and criticism. With their supporters, black modernists—among them Peter Bradley, Frederick Eversley, Alvin Loving, Raymond Saunders, and Alma Thomas—rose above the demand to represent or be represented, compromising nothing in their appeals for interracial collaboration and, above all, responding with optimism rather than cynicism to the surrounding culture’s preoccupation with color.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Gift and Gain"

New from Oxford University Press: Gift and Gain: How Money Transformed Ancient Rome by Neil Coffee.

About the book, from the publisher:
The economy of ancient Rome, with its long-range trade, widespread moneylending, and companies of government contractors, was surprisingly modern. Yet Romans also exchanged goods and services within a traditional system of gifts and favors, which sustained the supportive relationships necessary for survival in the absence of extensive state and social institutions. In Gift and Gain: How Money Transformed Ancient Rome, Neil Coffee shows how a vibrant commercial culture progressively displaced systems of gift giving over the course of Rome's classical era. The change was propelled by the Roman elite, through their engagement in a variety of profit-making enterprises. Members of the same elite, however, remained habituated to traditional gift relationships, relying on them to exercise influence and build their social worlds. They resisted the transformation, through legislation, political movements, and philosophical argument. The result was a recurring clash across the contexts of Roman social and economic life.

Neil Coffee's comprehensive volume traces the conflict between gift and gain from Rome's prehistory down through the conflicts of the late Republic and into the early Empire, showing its effects in areas as diverse as politics, law, philosophy, personal and civic patronage, marriage, and the Latin language. These investigations show Rome shifting, unevenly but steadily, away from its pre-historic reliance on mutual aid and toward the sort of commercial and contractual relations typical of the modern world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

"Beheading the Saint"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Beheading the Saint: Nationalism, Religion, and Secularism in Quebec by Geneviève Zubrzycki.

About the book, from the publisher:
Through much of its existence, Québec’s neighbors called it the “priest-ridden province.” Today, however, Québec society is staunchly secular, with a modern welfare state built on lay provision of social services—a transformation rooted in the “Quiet Revolution” of the 1960s.

In Beheading the Saint, Geneviève Zubrzycki studies that transformation through a close investigation of the annual Feast of St. John the Baptist of June 24. The celebrations of that national holiday, she shows, provided a venue for a public contesting of the dominant ethno-Catholic conception of French Canadian identity and, via the violent rejection of Catholic symbols, the articulation of a new, secular Québécois identity. From there, Zubrzycki extends her analysis to the present, looking at the role of Québécois identity in recent debates over immigration, the place of religious symbols in the public sphere, and the politics of cultural heritage—issues that also offer insight on similar debates elsewhere in the world.
--Marshal Zeringue


New from Cornell University Press: Counterpreservation: Architectural Decay in Berlin since 1989 by Daniela Sandler.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Berlin, decrepit structures do not always denote urban blight. Decayed buildings are incorporated into everyday life as residences, exhibition spaces, shops, offices, and as leisure space. As nodes of public dialogue, they serve as platforms for dissenting views about the future and past of Berlin. In this book, Daniela Sandler introduces the concept of counterpreservation as a way to understand this intentional appropriation of decrepitude. The embrace of decay is a sign of Berlin's iconoclastic rebelliousness, but it has also been incorporated into the mainstream economy of tourism and development as part of the city's countercultural cachet. Sandler presents the possibilities and shortcomings of counterpreservation as a dynamic force in Berlin and as a potential concept for other cities.

Counterpreservation is part of Berlin’s fabric: in the city’s famed Hausprojekte (living projects) such as the Køpi, Tuntenhaus, and KA 86; in cultural centers such as the Haus Schwarzenberg, the Schokoladen, and the legendary, now defunct Tacheles; in memorials and museums; and even in commerce and residences. The appropriation of ruins is a way of carving out affordable spaces for housing, work, and cultural activities. It is also a visual statement against gentrification, and a complex representation of history, with the marks of different periods—the nineteenth century, World War II, postwar division, unification—on display for all to see. Counterpreservation exemplifies an everyday urbanism in which citizens shape private and public spaces with their own hands, but it also influences more formal designs, such as the Topography of Terror, the Berlin Wall Memorial, and Daniel Libeskind’s unbuilt redevelopment proposal for a site peppered with ruins of Nazi barracks. By featuring these examples, Sandler questions conventional notions of architectural authorship and points toward the value of participatory environments.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

"Being Human in a Buddhist World"

New from Columbia University Press: Being Human in a Buddhist World: An Intellectual History of Medicine in Early Modern Tibet by Janet Gyatso.

About the book, from the publisher:
Critically exploring medical thought in a cultural milieu with no discernible influence from the European Enlightenment, Being Human in a Buddhist World reveals an otherwise unnoticed intersection of early modern sensibilities and religious values in traditional Tibetan medicine. It further studies the adaptation of Buddhist concepts and values to medical concerns and suggests important dimensions of Buddhism's role in the development of Asian and global civilization.

Through its unique focus and sophisticated reading of source materials, Being Human adds a crucial chapter in the larger historiography of science and religion. The book opens with the bold achievements in Tibetan medical illustration, commentary, and institution building during the period of the Fifth Dalai Lama and his regent, Desi Sangye Gyatso, then looks back to the work of earlier thinkers, tracing a strategically astute dialectic between scriptural and empirical authority on questions of history and the nature of human anatomy. It follows key differences between medicine and Buddhism in attitudes toward gender and sex and the moral character of the physician, who had to serve both the patient's and the practitioner's well-being. Being Human in a Buddhist World ultimately finds that Tibetan medical scholars absorbed ethical and epistemological categories from Buddhism yet shied away from ideal systems and absolutes, instead embracing the imperfectability of the human condition.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Patterns in Circulation"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Patterns in Circulation: Cloth, Gender, and Materiality in West Africa by Nina Sylvanus.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this book, Nina Sylvanus tells a captivating story of global trade and cross-cultural aesthetics in West Africa, showing how a group of Togolese women—through the making and circulation of wax cloth—became influential agents of taste and history. Traveling deep into the shifting terrain of textile manufacture, design, and trade, she follows wax cloth around the world and through time to unveil its critical role in colonial and postcolonial patterns of exchange and value production.

Sylvanus brings wax cloth’s unique and complex history to light: born as a nineteenth-century Dutch colonial effort to copy Javanese batik cloth for Southeast Asian markets, it was reborn as a status marker that has dominated the visual economy of West African markets. Although most wax cloth is produced in China today, it continues to be central to the expression of West African women’s identity and power. As Sylvanus shows, wax cloth expresses more than this global motion of goods, capital, aesthetics, and labor—it is a form of archive where intimate and national memories are stored, always ready to be reanimated by human touch. By uncovering this crucial aspect of West African material culture, she enriches our understanding of global trade, the mutual negotiations that drive it, and the how these create different forms of agency and subjectivity.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 12, 2016

"Governing Habits"

New from Cornell University Press: Governing Habits: Treating Alcoholism in the Post-Soviet Clinic by Eugene Raikhel.

About the book, from the publisher:
Critics of narcology—as addiction medicine is called in Russia—decry it as being "backward," hopelessly behind contemporary global medical practices in relation to addiction and substance abuse, and assume that its practitioners lack both professionalism and expertise. On the basis of his research in a range of clinical institutions managing substance abuse in St. Petersburg, Eugene Raikhel increasingly came to understand that these assumptions and critiques obscured more than they revealed. Governing Habits is an ethnography of extraordinary sensitivity and awareness that shows how therapeutic practice and expertise is expressed in the highly specific, yet rapidly transforming milieu of hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation centers in post­-Soviet Russia. Rather than interpreting narcology as a Soviet survival or a local clinical world on the wane in the face of globalizing evidence-based medicine, Raikhel examines the transformation of the medical management of alcoholism in Russia over the past twenty years.

Raikhel's book is more than a story about the treatment of alcoholism. It is also a gripping analysis of the many cultural, institutional, political, and social transformations taking place in the post­-Soviet world, particularly in Putin's Russia. Governing Habits will appeal to a wide range of readers, from medical anthropologists, clinicians, to scholars of post-Soviet Russia, to students of institutions and organizational change, to those interested in therapies and treatments of substance abuse, addiction, and alcoholism.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Charles Ellis Johnson and the Erotic Mormon Image"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Charles Ellis Johnson and the Erotic Mormon Image by Mary Campbell.

About the book, from the publisher:
On September 25, 1890, the Mormon prophet Wilford Woodruff publicly instructed his followers to abandon polygamy. In doing so, he initiated a process that would fundamentally alter the Latter-day Saints and their faith. Trading the most integral elements of their belief system for national acceptance, the Mormons recreated themselves as model Americans.

Mary Campbell tells the story of this remarkable religious transformation in Charles Ellis Johnson and the Erotic Mormon Image. One of the church’s favorite photographers, Johnson (1857-1926) spent the 1890s and early 1900s taking pictures of Mormonism’s most revered figures and sacred sites. At the same time, he did a brisk business in mail-order erotica, creating and selling stereoviews that he referred to as his “spicy pictures of girls.” Situating these images within the religious, artistic, and legal culture of turn-of-the-century America, Campbell reveals the unexpected ways in which they worked to bring the Saints into the nation’s mainstream after the scandal of polygamy.

Engaging, interdisciplinary, and deeply researched, Charles Ellis Johnson and the Erotic Mormon Image demonstrates the profound role pictures played in the creation of both the modern Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the modern American nation.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 11, 2016

"A Most Enterprising Country"

New from Cornell University Press: A Most Enterprising Country: North Korea in the Global Economy by Justin V. Hastings.

About the book, from the publisher:
North Korea has survived the end of the Cold War, massive famine, numerous regional crises, punishing sanctions, and international stigma. In A Most Enterprising Country, Justin V. Hastings explores the puzzle of how the most politically isolated state in the world nonetheless sustains itself in large part by international trade and integration into the global economy. The world's last Stalinist state is also one of the most enterprising, as Hastings shows through in-depth examinations of North Korea’s import and export efforts, with a particular focus on restaurants, the weapons trade, and drug trafficking. Tracing the development of trade networks inside and outside North Korea through the famine of the 1990s and the onset of sanctions in the mid-2000s, Hastings argues that the North Korean state and North Korean citizens have proved pragmatic and adaptable, exploiting market niches and making creative use of brokers and commercial methods to access the global economy.

North Korean trade networks—which include private citizens as well as the Kim family and high-ranking elites—accept high levels of risk and have become experts at operating in the blurred zones between licit and illicit, state and nonstate, and formal and informal trade. This entrepreneurialism has allowed North Korea to survive; but it has also caused problems for foreign firms investing in the country, emboldens the North Korean state in its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and may continue to shape the economy in the future.
==Marshal Zeringue

"Freedom from Work"

New from Stanford University Press: Freedom from Work: Embracing Financial Self-Help in the United States and Argentina by Daniel Fridman.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this era where dollar value signals moral worth, Daniel Fridman paints a vivid portrait of Americans and Argentinians seeking to transform themselves into people worthy of millions. Following groups who practice the advice from financial success bestsellers, Fridman illustrates how the neoliberal emphasis on responsibility, individualism, and entrepreneurship binds people together with the ropes of aspiration.

Freedom from Work delves into a world of financial self-help in which books, seminars, and board games reject "get rich quick" formulas and instead suggest to participants that there is something fundamentally wrong with who they are, and that they must struggle to correct it. Fridman analyzes three groups who exercise principles from Rich Dad, Poor Dad by playing the board game Cashflow and investing in cash-generating assets with the goal of leaving the rat race of employment. Fridman shows that the global economic transformations of the last few decades have been accompanied by popular resources that transform the people trying to survive—and even thrive.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 10, 2016

"Native to the Republic"

New from Cornell University Press: Native to the Republic: Empire, Social Citizenship, and Everyday Life in Marseille since 1945 by Minayo Nasiali.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Native to the Republic, Minayo Nasiali traces the process through which expectations about living standards and decent housing came to be understood as social rights in late twentieth-century France. These ideas evolved through everyday negotiations between ordinary people, municipal authorities, central state bureaucrats, elected officials, and social scientists in postwar Marseille. Nasiali shows how these local-level interactions fundamentally informed evolving ideas about French citizenship and the built environment, namely that the institutionalization of social citizenship also created new spaces for exclusion. Although everyone deserved social rights, some were supposedly more deserving than others.

From the 1940s through the early 1990s, metropolitan discussions about the potential for town planning to transform everyday life were shaped by colonial and, later, postcolonial migration within the changing empire. As a port and the historical gateway to and from the colonies, Marseille's interrelated projects to develop welfare institutions and manage urban space make it a particularly significant site for exploring this uneven process. Neighborhood debates about the meaning and goals of modernization contributed to normative understandings about which residents deserved access to expanding social rights. Nasiali argues that assumptions about racial, social, and spatial differences profoundly structured a differential system of housing in postwar France. Native to the Republic highlights the value of new approaches to studying empire, membership in the nation, and the welfare state by showing how social citizenship was not simply constituted within "imagined communities" but also through practices involving the contestation of spaces and the enjoyment of rights.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Ernst Kantorowicz: A Life"

New from Princeton University Press: Ernst Kantorowicz: A Life by Robert E. Lerner.

About the book, from the publisher:
This is the first complete biography of Ernst Kantorowicz (1895–1963), an influential and controversial German-American intellectual whose colorful and dramatic life intersected with many of the great events and thinkers of his time. A medieval historian whose ideas exerted an influence far beyond his field, he is most famous for two books—a notoriously nationalistic 1927 biography of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and The King’s Two Bodies (1957), a classic study of medieval politics.

Born into a wealthy Prussian-Jewish family, Kantorowicz fought on the Western Front in World War I, was wounded at Verdun, and earned an Iron Cross; later, he earned an Iron Crescent for service in Anatolia before an affair with a general’s mistress led to Kantorowicz being sent home. After the war, he fought against Poles in his native Posen, Spartacists in Berlin, and communists in Munich. An ardent German nationalist during the Weimar period, Kantorowicz became a member of the elitist Stefan George circle, which nurtured a cult of the “Secret Germany.” Yet as a professor in Frankfurt after the Nazis came to power, Kantorowicz bravely spoke out against the regime before an overflowing crowd. Narrowly avoiding arrest after Kristallnacht, he fled to England and then the United States, where he joined the faculty at Berkeley, only to be fired in 1950 for refusing to sign an anticommunist “loyalty oath.” From there, he “fell up the ladder” to Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, where he stayed until his death.

Drawing on many new sources, including numerous interviews and unpublished letters, Robert E. Lerner tells the story of a major intellectual whose life and times were as fascinating as his work.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 9, 2016

"A World Trimmed with Fur"

New from Stanford University Press: A World Trimmed with Fur: Wild Things, Pristine Places, and the Natural Fringes of Qing Rule by Jonathan Schlesinger.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, booming demand for natural resources transformed China and its frontiers. Historians of China have described this process in stark terms: pristine borderlands became breadbaskets. Yet Manchu and Mongolian archives reveal a different story. Well before homesteaders arrived, wild objects from the far north became part of elite fashion, and unprecedented consumption had exhausted the region's most precious resources.

In A World Trimmed with Fur, Jonathan Schlesinger uses these diverse archives to reveal how Qing rule witnessed not the destruction of unspoiled environments, but their invention. Qing frontiers were never pristine in the nineteenth century—pearlers had stripped riverbeds of mussels, mushroom pickers had uprooted the steppe, and fur-bearing animals had disappeared from the forest. In response, the court turned to "purification;" it registered and arrested poachers, reformed territorial rule, and redefined the boundary between the pristine and the corrupted. Schlesinger's resulting analysis provides a framework for rethinking the global invention of nature.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Mourning in America"

New from Cornell University Press: Mourning in America: Race and the Politics of Loss by David W. McIvor.

About the book, from the publisher:
Recent years have brought public mourning to the heart of American politics, as exemplified by the spread and power of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has gained force through its identification of pervasive social injustices with individual losses. The deaths of Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, and so many others have brought private grief into the public sphere. The rhetoric and iconography of mourning has been noteworthy in Black Lives Matter protests, but David W. McIvor believes that we have paid too little attention to the nature of social mourning—its relationship to private grief, its practices, and its pathologies and democratic possibilities.

In Mourning in America, McIvor addresses significant and urgent questions about how citizens can mourn traumatic events and enduring injustices in their communities. McIvor offers a framework for analyzing the politics of mourning, drawing from psychoanalysis, Greek tragedy, and scholarly discourses on truth and reconciliation. Mourning in America connects these literatures to ongoing activism surrounding racial injustice, and it contextualizes Black Lives Matter in the broader politics of grief and recognition. McIvor also examines recent, grassroots-organized truth and reconciliation processes such as the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2004–2006), which provided a public examination of the Greensboro Massacre of 1979—a deadly incident involving local members of the Communist Workers Party and the Ku Klux Klan.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 8, 2016

"Black Autonomy"

New from Stanford University Press: Black Autonomy: Race, Gender, and Afro-Nicaraguan Activism by Jennifer Goett.

About the book, from the publisher:
Decades after the first multicultural reforms were introduced in Latin America, Afrodescendant people from the region are still disproportionately impoverished, underserved, policed, and incarcerated. In Nicaragua, Afrodescendants have mobilized to confront this state of siege through the politics of black autonomy. For women and men grappling with postwar violence, black autonomy has its own cultural meanings as a political aspiration and a way of crafting selfhood and solidarity.

Jennifer Goett's ethnography examines the race and gender politics of activism for autonomous rights in an Afrodescedant Creole community in Nicaragua. Weaving together fifteen years of research, Black Autonomy follows this community-based movement from its inception in the late 1990s to its realization as an autonomous territory in 2009 and beyond. Goett argues that despite significant gains in multicultural recognition, Afro-Nicaraguan Creoles continue to grapple with the day-to-day violence of capitalist intensification, racialized policing, and drug war militarization in their territories. Activists have responded by adopting a politics of autonomy based on race pride, territoriality, self-determination, and self-defense. Black Autonomy shows how this political radicalism is rooted in African diasporic identification and gendered cultural practices that women and men use to assert control over their bodies, labor, and spaces in an atmosphere of violence.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

"The Concrete Body"

New from Yale University Press: The Concrete Body: Yvonne Rainer, Carolee Schneemann, Vito Acconci by Elise Archias.

About the book, from the publisher:
Offering an incisive rejoinder to traditional histories of modernism and postmodernism, this original book examines the 1960s performance work of three New York artists who adapted modernist approaches to form for the medium of the human body. Finding parallels between the tactility of a drip of paint and a body’s reflexive movements, Elise Archias argues convincingly that Yvonne Rainer (b. 1934), Carolee Schneemann (b. 1939), and Vito Acconci (b. 1940) forged a dialogue between modernist aesthetics and their own artistic community’s embrace of all things ordinary through work that explored the abstraction born of the body’s materiality. Rainer’s task-like dances, Schneemann’s sensuous appropriations of popular entertainment, and Acconci’s behaviorist-inflected tests highlight the body’s unintended movements as vital reminders of embodied struggle amid the constraining structures in contemporary culture. Archias also draws compelling comparisons between embodiment as performed in the work of these three artists and in the sit-ins and other nonviolent protests of the era.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Silent Partners"

New from Oxford University Press: Silent Partners: Women as Public Investors during Britain's Financial Revolution, 1690-1750 by Amy M. Froide.

About the book, from the publisher:
Silent Partners restores women to their place in the story of England's Financial Revolution. Women were active participants in London's first stock market beginning in the 1690s and continuing through the eighteenth century. Whether playing the state lottery, investing in government funds for retirement, or speculating in company stocks, women regularly comprised between a fifth and a third of public investors. These female investors ranged from London servants to middling tradeswomen, up to provincial gentlewomen and peeresses of the realm. Amy Froide finds that there was no single female investor type, rather some women ran risks and speculated in stocks while others sought out low-risk, low-return options for their retirement years. Not only did women invest for themselves, their financial knowledge and ability meant that family members often relied on wives, sisters, and aunts to act as their investing agents. Moreover, women's investing not only benefitted themselves and their families, it also aided the nation. Women's capital was a critical component of Britain's rise to economic, military, and colonial dominance in the eighteenth century. Focusing on the period between 1690 and 1750, and utilizing women's account books and financial correspondence, as well as the records of joint stock companies, the Bank of England, and the Exchequer, Silent Partners provides the first comprehensive overview of the significant role women played in the birth of financial capitalism in Britain.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Violence as a Generative Force"

New from Cornell University Press: Violence as a Generative Force: Identity, Nationalism, and Memory in a Balkan Community by Max Bergholz.

About the book, from the publisher:
During two terrifying days and nights in early September 1941, the lives of nearly two thousand men, women, and children were taken savagely by their neighbors in Kulen Vakuf, a small rural community straddling today's border between northwest Bosnia and Croatia. This frenzy—in which victims were butchered with farm tools, drowned in rivers, and thrown into deep vertical caves—was the culmination of a chain of local massacres that began earlier in the summer. In Violence as a Generative Force, Max Bergholz tells the story of the sudden and perplexing descent of this once peaceful multiethnic community into extreme violence. This deeply researched microhistory provides provocative insights to questions of global significance: What causes intercommunal violence? How does such violence between neighbors affect their identities and relations?

Contrary to a widely held view that sees nationalism leading to violence, Bergholz reveals how the upheavals wrought by local killing actually created dramatically new perceptions of ethnicity—of oneself, supposed "brothers," and those perceived as "others." As a consequence, the violence forged new communities, new forms and configurations of power, and new practices of nationalism. The history of this community was marked by an unexpected explosion of locally executed violence by the few, which functioned as a generative force in transforming the identities, relations, and lives of the many. The story of this largely unknown Balkan community in 1941 provides a powerful means through which to rethink fundamental assumptions about the interrelationships among ethnicity, nationalism, and violence, both during World War II and more broadly throughout the world.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Art of the Bribe"

New from Yale University Press: The Art of the Bribe: Corruption Under Stalin, 1943-1953 by James Heinzen.

About the book, from the publisher:
The first archive-based study of official corruption under Stalin and a compelling new look at the textures of everyday Soviet life after World War II

In the Soviet Union, bribery was a skill with its own practices and culture. James Heinzen’s innovative and compelling study examines corruption under Stalin’s dictatorship in the wake of World War II, focusing on bribery as an enduring and important presence in many areas of Soviet life. Based on extensive research in recently declassified Soviet archives, The Art of the Bribe offers revealing insights into the Soviet state, its system of law and repression, and everyday life during the years of postwar Stalinism.
James Heinzen is professor of history at Rowan University in New Jersey, where he teaches Russian and European history. He is the author of Inventing a Soviet Countryside: State Power and the Transformation of Rural Russia, 1917–1929.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 5, 2016

"The Irish Amateur Military Tradition in the British Army, 1854-1992"

New from Manchester University Press: The Irish Amateur Military Tradition in the British Army, 1854-1992 by William Butler.

About the book, from the publisher:
Covering the period from the re-establishment of the Irish militia during the Crimean War until the disbandment of the Ulster Defence Regiment in 1992, the book examines the Irish amateur military tradition within the British Army, distinctive from a British amateur military tradition. Irish men and women of both religions and political persuasions made a significant contribution to these forces, and in so doing played an important role within the British Empire, whilst also providing a crucial link between the army and Irish society.

Utilising new source material, this book demonstrates the complex nature of Irish involvement with British institutions and its Empire. It argues that within this unique tradition, two divergent Protestant and Catholic traditions emerged, and membership of these organisations were used as a means of social mobility, for political patronage, and, crucially, to demonstrate loyalty to Britain and its Empire.
William Butler is Associate Lecturer in Modern British and Irish History at the University of Kent.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 4, 2016

"A Prison Without Walls?"

New from Oxford University Press: A Prison Without Walls?: Eastern Siberian Exile in the Last Years of Tsarism by Sarah Badcock.

About the book, from the publisher:
A Prison Without Walls? presents a snapshot of daily life for exiles and their dependents in eastern Siberia during the very last years of the Tsarist regime, from the 1905 revolution to the collapse of the Tsarist regime in 1917. This was an extraordinary period in Siberia's history as a place of punishment. There was an unprecedented rise of Siberia's penal use in this fifteen-year window, and a dramatic increase in the number of exiles punished for political offences. This work focuses on the region of Eastern Siberia, taking the regions of Irkutsk and Yakutsk in north-eastern Siberia as its focal points. Siberian exile was the antithesis of Foucault's modern prison. The State did not observe, monitor, and control its exiles closely; often not even knowing where the exiles were. Exiles were free to govern their daily lives; free of fences and free from close observation and supervision, but despite these freedoms, Siberian exile represented one of Russia's most feared punishments.

In this volume, Sarah Badcock seeks to humanise the individuals who made up the mass of exiles, and the men, women, and children who followed them voluntarily into exile. A Prison Without Walls? is structured in a broad narrative arc that moves from travel to exile, life and communities in exile, work and escape, and finally illness in exile. The book gives a personal, human, empathetic insight into what exilic experience entailed, and allows us to comprehend why eastern Siberia was regarded as a terrible punishment, despite its apparent freedoms.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 3, 2016

"Anna and Tranquillo"

New from Yale University Press: Anna and Tranquillo: Catholic Anxiety and Jewish Protest in the Age of Revolutions by Kenneth Stow.

About the book, from the publisher:
A historical interpretation of the diary of an eighteenth-century Jewish woman who resisted the efforts of the papal authorities to force her religious conversion

After being seized by the papal police in Rome in May 1749, Anna del Monte, a Jew, kept a diary detailing her captors’ efforts over the next thirteen days to force her conversion to Catholicism. Anna’s powerful chronicle of her ordeal at the hands of authorities of the Roman Catholic Church, originally circulated by her brother Tranquillo in 1793, receives its first English-language translation along with an insightful interpretation by Kenneth Stow of the incident’s legal and historical significance. Stow’s analysis of Anna’s dramatic story of prejudice, injustice, resistance, and survival during her two-week imprisonment in the Roman House of Converts—and her brother’s later efforts to protest state-sanctioned, religion-based abuses—provides a detailed view of the separate forces on either side of the struggle between religious and civil law in the years just prior to the massive political and social upheavals in America and Europe.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 2, 2016

"The Great War and the Middle East"

New from Oxford University Press: The Great War and the Middle East by Rob Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:
The First World War in the Middle East swept away five hundred years of Ottoman domination. It ushered in new ideologies and radicalized old ones - from Arab nationalism and revolutionary socialism to impassioned forms of atavistic Islamism. It created heroic icons, like the enigmatic Lawrence of Arabia or the modernizing Ataturk, and destroyed others. And it completely re-drew the map of the region, forging a host of new nation states, including Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia - all of them (with the exception of Turkey) under the "protection" of the victor powers, Britain and France. For many, the self-serving intervention of these powers in the region between 1914 and 1919 is the major reason for the conflicts that have raged there on and off ever since.

Yet many of the most commonly accepted assertions about the First World War in the Middle East are more often stated than they are truly tested. Robert Johnson, military historian and former soldier, now seeks to put this right by examining in detail the strategic and operational course of the war in the Middle East. Johnson argues that, far from being a sideshow to the war in Europe, the Middle Eastern conflict was in fact the center of gravity in a war for imperial domination and prestige. Moreover, contrary to another persistent myth of the First World War in the Middle East, local leaders and their forces were not simply the puppets of the Great Powers in any straightforward sense. The way in which these local forces embraced, resisted, succumbed to, disrupted, or on occasion overturned the plans of the imperialist powers for their own interests in fact played an important role in shaping the immediate aftermath of the conflict - and in laying the foundations for the troubled Middle East that we know today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 1, 2016

"The Flood Year 1927"

New from Princeton University Press: The Flood Year 1927: A Cultural History by Susan Scott Parrish.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, which covered nearly thirty thousand square miles across seven states, was the most destructive river flood in U.S. history. Due to the speed of new media and the slow progress of the flood, this was the first environmental disaster to be experienced on a mass scale. As it moved from north to south down an environmentally and technologically altered valley, inundating plantations and displacing more than half a million people, the flood provoked an intense and lasting cultural response. The Flood Year 1927 draws from newspapers, radio broadcasts, political cartoons, vaudeville, blues songs, poetry, and fiction to show how this event took on public meanings.

Americans at first seemed united in what Herbert Hoover called a “great relief machine,” but deep rifts soon arose. Southerners, pointing to faulty federal levee design, decried the attack of Yankee water. The condition of African American evacuees in “concentration camps” prompted pundits like W.E.B. Du Bois and Ida B. Wells to warn of the return of slavery to Dixie. And environmentalists like Gifford Pinchot called the flood “the most colossal blunder in civilized history.” Susan Scott Parrish examines how these and other key figures—from entertainers Will Rogers, Miller & Lyles, and Bessie Smith to authors Sterling Brown, William Faulkner, and Richard Wright—shaped public awareness and collective memory of the event.

The crises of this period that usually dominate historical accounts are war and financial collapse, but The Flood Year 1927 enables us to assess how mediated environmental disasters became central to modern consciousness.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Stadium Century"

New from Manchester University Press: The Stadium Century: Sport, Spectatorship and Mass Society in Modern France by Robert W. Lewis.

About the book, from the publisher:
The stadium century traces the history of stadia and mass spectatorship in modern France from the vélodromes of the late nineteenth century to the construction of the Stade de France before the 1998 soccer World Cup. As the book demonstrates, the stadium was at the centre of debates over public health and urban development and proved to be a key space for mobilising the urban crowd for political rallies and spectator sporting events alike. After 1945, the transformed French stadium constituted part of the process of postwar modernisation but also was increasingly connected to global transformations to the spaces and practices of sport. Drawing from a wide range of sources, the stadium century links the histories of French urbanism, mass politics and sport through the stadium in an innovative work that will appeal to historians, students of French history and the history of sport, and general readers alike.
Robert W. Lewis is Assistant Professor of History at California State University Polytechnic, Pomona.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Endangered Economies"

New from Columbia University Press: Endangered Economies: How the Neglect of Nature Threatens Our Prosperity by Geoffrey Heal.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the decades since Geoffrey Heal began his field-defining work in environmental economics, one central question has animated his research: "Can we save our environment and grow our economy?" This issue has become only more urgent in recent years with the threat of climate change, the accelerating loss of ecosystems, and the rapid industrialization of the developing world. Reflecting on a lifetime of experience not only as a leading voice in the field, but as a green entrepreneur, activist, and advisor to governments and global organizations, Heal clearly and passionately demonstrates that the only way to achieve long-term economic growth is to protect our environment.

Writing both to those conversant in economics and to those encountering these ideas for the first time, Heal begins with familiar concepts, like the tragedy of the commons and unregulated pollution, to demonstrate the underlying tensions that have compromised our planet, damaging and in many cases devastating our natural world. Such destruction has dire consequences not only for us and the environment but also for businesses, which often vastly underestimate their reliance on unpriced natural benefits like pollination, the water cycle, marine and forest ecosystems, and more. After painting a stark and unsettling picture of our current quandary, Heal outlines simple solutions that have already proven effective in conserving nature and boosting economic growth. In order to ensure a prosperous future for humanity, we must understand how environment and economy interact and how they can work in harmony—lest we permanently harm both.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Audible States"

New from Oxford University Press: Audible States: Socialist Politics and Popular Music in Albania by Nicholas Tochka.

About the book, from the publisher:
During the Cold War, state-sponsored musical performances were central to the diplomatic agendas of the United States and the Soviet Union. But states on the periphery of the conflict also used state-funded performances to articulate their positions in the polarized global network. In Albania in particular, the postwar government invested heavily in public performances at home, effectively creating a new genre of popular music: the wildly popular light music.

In Audible States: Socialist Politics and Popular Music in Albania, author Nicholas Tochka traces an aural history of Albania's government through a close examination of the development and reception of light music at Radio-Television Albania's Festival of Song. Drawing on a wide range of archival resources and over forty interviews with composers, lyricists, singers, and bureaucrats, Tochka describes how popular music became integral to governmental projects to improve society--and a major concern for both state-socialist and postsocialist regimes between 1945 and the present. Tochka's narrative begins in the immediate postwar period, arguing that state officials saw light music as a means to cultivate a modern population under socialism. As the Cold War ended, postsocialist officials turned again to light music, now hoping that these musicians could help shape Albania into a capitalist, "European" state. Interweaving archival research with ethnographic interviews, Audible States demonstrates that modern political orders do not simply render social life visible, but also audible.

Incorporating insights from ethnomusicology, governmentality studies, and post-socialist studies, Audible States presents an original perspective on music and government that reveals the fluid, pervasive, but ultimately limited nature of state power in the modern world. A remarkably researched and engagingly written study, Audible States is a foundational text in the growing literature on popular music and culture in post-socialist Europe and will be of great interest for readers interested in popular music, sound studies, and the politics of the Cold War.
--Marshal Zeringue