Friday, December 15, 2017

"Artisanal Enlightenment"

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

"Heroic Shaktism"

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

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

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

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

"Claiming Crimea"

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

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

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"Political Realism in Apocalyptic Times"

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

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

--Marshal Zeringue

"India and the Patent Wars"

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

"Listening In"

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

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

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

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

--Marshal Zeringue

"In Search of the Phoenicians"

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 11, 2017

"A Bloodless Victory"

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

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

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

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

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Hippie Trail"

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

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

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

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

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 10, 2017

"Secession and Security"

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

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

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

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Place of Words"

New from Oxford University Press: The Place of Words: The Académie Française and Its Dictionary during an Age of Revolution by Michael P. Fitzsimmons.

About the book, from the publisher:
As the tricolor rose over revolutionary France, language, with its ability to define ideals and allegiances, was both a threat to authority and weapon to be wielded. In the early years of the Republic, the Académie Française, the royal body responsible for the French language, was suppressed by the National Convention at the urging of the Abbé Grégoire and the artist Jacques-Louis David. However, by 1795, the National Convention recognized that language could be used to its advantage, leading it to commission a fifth edition of the Dictionnaire de l'Académie française, which would unquestionably become the most controversial edition in the Académie's history.

The National Convention expected this dictionary to champion the ideals of Revolution and Republic, but when it appeared three years later it did quite the opposite. Instead, the fifth edition virtually ignored the Revolution and the linguistic innovations that had transformed the French language, even omitting two of the most famous and enduring neologisms spawned by the Revolution--ancien régime and Terror. Present-tense definitions of abolished institutions and anachronistic values dominated the work and the Revolution was consigned to a brief and hastily-prepared supplement at the end of the second volume. Because of its failure to capture the current state of the French language, most contemporaries judged it harshly, and its deficiencies led the Parisian publisher Nicolas Moutardier to publish a competing dictionary in 1802. The dictionary became the focus of protracted litigation that Napoleon Bonaparte's government increasingly used to assert its control over language. Indeed, Bonaparte met personally with the commission of the Institut National (the republican successor to the Académie) and made clear his desire that the new edition not contain revolutionary neologisms. Eager to see the new edition appear, the Bonapartist regime committed financial resources and established a timetable for its completion within five years. However, it was only in 1835, after the fall of Bonaparte and the Bourbons, that the sixth edition would appear.

Although the Académie was one of the most prominent institutions under the Old Regime, scholarship on the Académie remains largely neglected. Drawing on previously untapped sources in the Archives de l'Institut and Archives Nationales, The Place of Words is the first book-length study of the controversial fifth edition of the Dictionnaire de l'Académie française. Spanning more than half a century of changing regimes, this study provides unique insight into the ways in which each government, from the publication of the fourth edition in 1762 to the sixth in 1835, viewed the role of language as an instrument of control.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 9, 2017

"Henry Dresser and Victorian Ornithology"

New from Manchester University Press: Henry Dresser and Victorian Ornithology: Birds, book and business by Henry McGhie.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book explores the life of Henry Dresser (1838-1915), one of the most productive British ornithologists of the mid-late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and is largely based on unpublished correspondence and diaries. Dresser travelled widely and spent time in Texas during the American Civil War. He built enormous collections of skins and eggs of birds from Europe, North America and Asia, which formed the basis of over 100 publications, including some of the finest bird books of the late nineteenth century. Dresser was a leading figure in scientific society and in the early bird conservation movement; his correspondence and diaries reveal the inner workings, motivations, personal relationships and rivalries that existed among the leading ornithologists.

This book is aimed at anyone interested in birds, history and natural history.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Military Enlightenment"

New from Cornell University Press: The Military Enlightenment: War and Culture in the French Empire from Louis XIV to Napoleon by Christy Pichichero.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Military Enlightenment brings to light a radically new narrative both on the Enlightenment and the French armed forces from Louis XIV to Napoleon. Christy Pichichero makes a striking discovery: the Geneva Conventions, post-traumatic stress disorder, the military "band of brothers," and soldierly heroism all found their antecedents in the eighteenth-century French armed forces. From Louis XIV through Napoleon, from Canada to the Caribbean and India, the military was one of the few institutions of the Old Regime to transform progressive theories into practice, actually operationalizing the Enlightenment.

Pichichero isolates and examines a crisis in consciousness that has characterized attitudes toward war from the eighteenth century until today. The demands of global political power warrant an ever more formidable and efficient fiscal-military state, and at the same time, awareness of the "human factor" generates the desire to minimize the devastation of war on cities and landscapes, and civilians, as well as the mind, body, and heart of the soldier. Readers of The Military Enlightenment will be startled to learn of the many ways in which French military officers, administrators, and medical personnel advanced ideas of human and political rights, military psychology, and social justice.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 8, 2017

"Regulating Sex in the Roman Empire"

New from Yale University Press: Regulating Sex in the Roman Empire: Ideology, the Bible, and the Early Christians by David Wheeler-Reed.

About the book, from the publisher:
A New Testament scholar challenges the belief that American family values are based on “Judeo-Christian” norms by drawing unexpected comparisons between ancient Christian theories and modern discourses

Challenging the long-held assumption that American values—be they Christian or secular—are based on “Judeo-Christian” norms, this provocative study compares ancient Christian discourses on marriage and sexuality with contemporary ones, maintaining that modern family values owe more to Roman Imperial beliefs than to the bible.

Engaging with Foucault’s ideas, Wheeler-Reed examines how conservative organizations and the Supreme Court have misunderstood Christian beliefs on marriage and the family. Taking on modern cultural debates on marriage and sexuality, with implications for historians, political thinkers, and jurists, this book undermines the conservative ideology of the family, starting from the position that early Christianity, in its emphasis on celibacy and denunciation of marriage, was in opposition to procreation, the ideological norm in the Greco-Roman world.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Green Wars"

New from the University of California: Green Wars: Conservation and Decolonization in the Maya Forest by Megan Ybarra.

About the book, from the publisher:
Global conservation efforts are celebrated for saving Guatemala’s Maya Forest. This book reveals that the process of protecting lands has been one of racialized dispossession for the Indigenous peoples who live there. Through careful ethnography and archival research, Megan Ybarra shows how conservation efforts have turned Q’eqchi’ Mayas into immigrants on their own land, and how this is part of a larger national effort to make Indigenous peoples into neoliberal citizens. Even as Q’eqchi’s participate in conservation, Green Wars amplifies their call for material decolonization by recognizing the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the land itself.
Visit Megan Ybarra's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 7, 2017

"In the Wake of War"

New from the LSU Press: In the Wake of War: Military Occupation, Emancipation, and Civil War America by Andrew Lang.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Civil War era marked the dawn of American wars of military occupation, inaugurating a tradition that persisted through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and that continues to the present. In the Wake of War traces how volunteer and even professional soldiers found themselves tasked with the unprecedented project of wartime and peacetime military occupation, initiating a national debate about the changing nature of American military practice that continued into Reconstruction.

In the Mexican-American War and the Civil War, citizen-soldiers confronted the complicated challenges of invading, occupying, and subduing hostile peoples and nations. Drawing on firsthand accounts from soldiers in United States occupation forces, Andrew F. Lang shows that many white volunteers equated their martial responsibilities with those of standing armies, which were viewed as corrupting institutions hostile to the republican military ethos. With the advent of emancipation came the enlistment of African American troops into Union armies, facilitating an extraordinary change in how provisional soldiers interpreted military occupation. Black soldiers, many of whom had been formerly enslaved, garrisoned regions defeated by Union armies and embraced occupation as a tool for destabilizing the South’s long-standing racial hierarchy. Ultimately, Lang argues, traditional fears about the army’s role in peacetime society, grounded in suspicions of standing military forces and heated by a growing ambivalence about racial equality, governed the trials of Reconstruction.

Focusing on how U.S. soldiers—white and black, volunteer and regular—enacted and critiqued their unprecedented duties behind the lines during the Civil War era, In the Wake of War reveals the dynamic, often problematic conditions of military occupation.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

"Remaking Black Power"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era by Ashley D. Farmer.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this comprehensive history, Ashley D. Farmer examines black women's political, social, and cultural engagement with Black Power ideals and organizations. Complicating the assumption that sexism relegated black women to the margins of the movement, Farmer demonstrates how female activists fought for more inclusive understandings of Black Power and social justice by developing new ideas about black womanhood. This compelling book shows how the new tropes of womanhood that they created--the "Militant Black Domestic," the "Revolutionary Black Woman," and the "Third World Woman," for instance--spurred debate among activists over the importance of women and gender to Black Power organizing, causing many of the era's organizations and leaders to critique patriarchy and support gender equality.

Making use of a vast and untapped array of black women's artwork, political cartoons, manifestos, and political essays that they produced as members of groups such as the Black Panther Party and the Congress of African People, Farmer reveals how black women activists reimagined black womanhood, challenged sexism, and redefined the meaning of race, gender, and identity in American life.
Visit Ashley D. Farmer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Fixing the Poor"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Fixing the Poor: Eugenic Sterilization and Child Welfare in the Twentieth Century by Molly Ladd-Taylor.

About the book, from the publisher:
Between 1907 and 1937, thirty-two states legalized the sterilization of more than 63,000 Americans. In Fixing the Poor, Molly Ladd-Taylor tells the story of these state-run eugenic sterilization programs. She focuses on one such program in Minnesota, where surgical sterilization was legally voluntary and administered within a progressive child welfare system.

Tracing Minnesota’s eugenics program from its conceptual origins in the 1880s to its official end in the 1970s, Ladd-Taylor argues that state sterilization policies reflected a wider variety of worldviews and political agendas than previously understood. She describes how, after 1920, people endorsed sterilization and its alternative, institutionalization, as the best way to aid dependent children without helping the "undeserving" poor. She also sheds new light on how the policy gained acceptance and why coerced sterilizations persisted long after eugenics lost its prestige. In Ladd-Taylor’s provocative study, eugenic sterilization appears less like a deliberate effort to improve the gene pool than a complicated but sadly familiar tale of troubled families, fiscal and administrative politics, and deep-felt cultural attitudes about disability, dependency, sexuality, and gender.

Drawing on institutional and medical records, court cases, newspapers, and professional journals, Ladd-Taylor reconstructs the tragic stories of the welfare-dependent, sexually delinquent, and disabled people who were labeled feebleminded and targeted for sterilization. She chronicles the routine operation of Minnesota’s three-step policy of eugenic commitment, institutionalization, and sterilization in the 1920s and 1930s and shows how surgery became the "price of freedom" from a state institution. Combining innovative political analysis with a compelling social history of those caught up in Minnesota’s welfare system, Fixing the Poor is a powerful reinterpretation of eugenic sterilization.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

"Image and Presence"

New from Stanford University Press: Image and Presence: A Christological Reflection on Iconoclasm and Iconophilia by Natalie Carnes.

About the book, from the publisher:
Images increasingly saturate our world, making present to us what is distant or obscure. Yet the power of images also arises from what they do not make present—from a type of absence they do not dispel. Joining a growing multidisciplinary conversation that rejects an understanding of images as lifeless objects, this book offers a theological meditation on the ways images convey presence into our world. Just as Christ negates himself in order to manifest the invisible God, images, Natalie Carnes contends, negate themselves to give more than they literally or materially are. Her Christological reflections bring iconoclasm and iconophilia into productive relation, suggesting that they need not oppose one another.

Investigating such images as the biblical golden calf and paintings of the Virgin Mary, Carnes explores how to distinguish between iconoclasms that maintain fidelity to their theological intentions and those that lead to visual temptation. Offering ecumenical reflections on issues that have long divided Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions, Image and Presence provokes a fundamental reconsideration of images and of the global image crises of our time.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Electing Peace"

New from Cambridge University Press: Electing Peace: From Civil Conflict to Political Participation by Aila M. Matanock.

About the book, from the publisher:
Settlements to civil conflict, which are notably difficult to secure, sometimes contain clauses enabling the combatant sides to participate as political parties in post-conflict elections. In Electing Peace, Aila M. Matanock presents a theory that explains both the causes and the consequences of these provisions. Matanock draws on new worldwide cross-national data on electoral participation provisions, case studies in Central America, and interviews with representatives of all sides of the conflicts. She shows that electoral participation provisions, non-existent during the Cold War, are now in almost half of all peace agreements. Moreover, she demonstrates that these provisions are associated with an increase in the chance that peace will endure, potentially contributing to a global decline in civil conflict, a result which challenges prevailing pessimism about post-conflict elections. Matanock's theory and evidence also suggest a broader conception of international intervention than currently exists, identifying how these inclusive elections can enable external enforcement mechanisms and provide an alternative to military coercion by peacekeeping troops in many cases.
Follow Aila M. Matanock on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 4, 2017

"Young William James Thinking"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Young William James Thinking by Paul J. Croce.

About the book, from the publisher:
During a period of vocational indecision and deep depression, young William James embarked on a circuitous journey, trying out natural history field work, completing medical school, and studying ancient cultures before teaching physiological psychology on his way to becoming a philosopher. A century after his death, Young William James Thinking examines the private thoughts James detailed in his personal correspondence, archival notes, and his first publications to create a compelling portrait of his growth as both man and thinker.

By going to the sources, Paul J. Croce’s cultural biography challenges the conventional contrast commentators have drawn between James’s youthful troubles and his mature achievements. Inverting James’s reputation for inconsistency, Croce shows how he integrated his interests and his struggles into sophisticated thought. His ambivalence became the motivating core of his philosophizing, the heart of his enduring legacy. Readers can follow James in science classes and in personal "speculations," studying medicine and exploring both mainstream and sectarian practices, in museums reflecting on the fate of humanity since ancient times, in love and with heart broken, and in periodic crises of confidence that sometimes even spurred thoughts of suicide.

A case study in coming of age, this book follows the famous American philosopher's vocational work and avocational interests, his education and his frustrations—young James between childhood and fame. Anecdotes placed in the contexts of his choices shed new light on the core commitments within his enormous contributions to psychology, philosophy, and religious studies. James’s hard-won insights, starting with his mediation of science and religion, led to his appreciation of body and mind in relation. Ultimately, Young William James Thinking reveals how James provided a humane vision well suited to our pluralist age.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 3, 2017

"Diet and the Disease of Civilization"

New from Rutgers University Press: Diet and the Disease of Civilization by Adrienne Rose Bitar.

About the book, from the publisher:
Diet books contribute to a $60-billion industry as they speak to the 45 million Americans who diet every year. Yet these books don’t just tell readers what to eat: they offer complete philosophies about who Americans are and how we should live. Diet and the Disease of Civilization interrupts the predictable debate about eating right to ask a hard question: what if it’s not calories—but concepts—that should be counted?

Cultural critic Adrienne Rose Bitar reveals how four popular diets retell the “Fall of Man” as the narrative backbone for our national consciousness. Intensifying the moral panic of the obesity epidemic, they depict civilization itself as a disease and offer diet as the one true cure.

Bitar reads each diet—the Paleo Diet, the Garden of Eden Diet, the Pacific Island Diet, the detoxification or detox diet—as both myth and manual, a story with side effects shaping social movements, driving industry, and constructing fundamental ideas about sickness and health. Diet and the Disease of Civilization unearths the ways in which diet books are actually utopian manifestos not just for better bodies, but also for a healthier society and a more perfect world.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Ghost in the Constitution"

New from Liverpool University Press: The Ghost in the Constitution: Historical Memory and Denial in Spanish Society by Joan Ramon Resina.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Ghost in the Constitution offers a reflection on the political use of the concept of historical memory foregrounding the case of Spain. The book analyses the philosophical implications of the transference of the notion of memory from the individual consciousness to the collective subject and considers the conflation of epistemology with ethics.

A subtheme is the origins and transmission of political violence, and its endurance in the form of symbolic violence and "negationism" in the post-Franco era. Some chapters treat of specific "traumatic" phenomena such as the bombing of Guernica and the Holocaust.
Joan Ramon Resina is Professor of Iberian and Latin American Cultures at Stanford University.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 2, 2017

"Fortress America"

New from Basic Books: Fortress America: How We Embraced Fear and Abandoned Democracy by Elaine Tyler May.

About the book, from the publisher:
An award-winning historian untangles the roots of America's culture of fear, and argues that it imperils our democracy

For the last sixty years, fear has seeped into every area of American life: Americans own more guns than citizens of any other country, sequester themselves in gated communities, and retreat from public spaces. And yet, crime rates have plummeted, making life in America safer than ever. Why, then, are Americans so afraid-and where does this fear lead to?

In this remarkable work of social history, Elaine Tyler May demonstrates how our obsession with security has made citizens fear each other and distrust the government, making America less safe and less democratic. Fortress America charts the rise of a muscular national culture, undercutting the common good. Instead of a thriving democracy of engaged citizens, we have become a paranoid, bunkered, militarized, and divided vigilante nation.
The Page 99 Test: America and the Pill.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 1, 2017

"Brutus: The Noble Conspirator"

New from Yale University Press: Brutus: The Noble Conspirator by Kathryn Tempest.

About the book, from the publisher:
A compelling new portrait of Marcus Brutus delves behind the ancient evidence to set aside the myths that surround the ancient world’s most famous assassin

Conspirator and assassin, philosopher and statesman, promoter of peace and commander in war, Marcus Brutus (ca. 85–42 BC) was a controversial and enigmatic man even to those who knew him. His leading role in the murder of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March, 44 BC, immortalized his name forever, but the verdict on his act remains out to this day. Was Brutus wrong to kill his friend and benefactor, or was he right to place his duty to country ahead of personal obligations?

In this comprehensive and stimulating biography Kathryn Tempest delves into contemporary sources to bring to light the personal and political struggles Brutus faced. As the details are revealed—from his own correspondence with Cicero, from the perceptions of his peers, and from the Roman aristocratic values and concepts that held sway in his time—Brutus emerges from legend, revealed to us more surely than ever before.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 30, 2017

"Happier?"

New from Oxford University Press: Happier?: The History of a Cultural Movement That Aspired to Transform America by Daniel Horowitz.

About the book, from the publisher:
When a cultural movement that began to take shape in the mid-twentieth century erupted into mainstream American culture in the late 1990s, it brought to the fore the idea that it is as important to improve one's own sense of pleasure as it is to manage depression and anxiety. Cultural historian Daniel Horowitz's research reveals that this change happened in the context of key events. World War II, the Holocaust, post-war prosperity, the rise of counter-culture, the crises of the 1970s, the presidency of Ronald Reagan, and the prime ministerships of Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron provided the important context for the development of the field today known as positive psychology.

Happier? provides the first history of the origins, development, and impact of the way Americans -- and now many around the world -- shifted from mental illness to well-being as they pondered the human condition. This change, which came about from the fusing of knowledge drawn from Eastern spiritual traditions, behavioral economics, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and cognitive psychology, has been led by scholars and academic entrepreneurs, as they wrestled with the implications of political events and forces such as neoliberalism and cultural conservatism, and a public eager for self-improvement.

Linking the development of happiness studies and positive psychology with a broad series of social changes, including the emergence of new media and technologies like TED talks, blogs, web sites, and neuroscience, as well as the role of evangelical ministers, Oprah Winfrey's enterprises, and funding from government agencies and private foundations, Horowitz highlights the transfer of specialized knowledge into popular arenas. Along the way he shows how marketing triumphed, transforming academic disciplines and spirituality into saleable products. Ultimately, Happier? illuminates how positive psychology, one of the most influential academic fields of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, infused American culture with captivating promises for a happier society.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"New Television"

New from the University of Chicago Press: New Television: The Aesthetics and Politics of a Genre by Martin Shuster.

About the book, from the publisher:
Even though it’s frequently asserted that we are living in a golden age of scripted television, television as a medium is still not taken seriously as an artistic art form, nor has the stigma of television as “chewing gum for the mind” really disappeared.

Philosopher Martin Shuster argues that television is the modern art form, full of promise and urgency, and in New Television, he offers a strong philosophical justification for its importance. Through careful analysis of shows including The Wire, Justified, and Weeds, among others; and European and Anglophone philosophers, such as Stanley Cavell, Hannah Arendt, Martin Heidegger, and John Rawls; Shuster reveals how various contemporary television series engage deeply with aesthetic and philosophical issues in modernism and modernity. What unifies the aesthetic and philosophical ambitions of new television is a commitment to portraying and exploring the family as the last site of political possibility in a world otherwise bereft of any other sources of traditional authority; consequently, at the heart of new television are profound political stakes.
--Marshal Zeringue

"If the Walls Could Speak"

New from Oxford University Press: If the Walls Could Speak: Inside a Women's Prison in Communist Poland by Anna Müller.

About the book, from the publisher:
The specter of a prison punishment for even slight political offenses became an element of daily life in post-war Poland. In interwar Poland, imprisonment, especially for communists, had served as a rite of passage, endurance training, and a university teaching life skills. The post-war order brought a dramatic shift, as communists all over the region, often veterans of interwar prisons or war-time concentration camps, used incarceration sites as a way to mold the future. The prison system functioned as a tool to subjugate society and silence or destroy enemies- anti-communists as well as committed communists. Arrests, trials, and prison sentences directly and indirectly affected tens of thousands of people and instilled fear and insecurity in many more.

Many of those imprisoned as enemies of the new post-war Communist authorities were women. Some were jailed for their alleged collaboration with the Nazi resistance during the war, some for post-war activities in various civil and quasi-military groups, still others on the basis of their relationships with those already imprisoned. For some, there was evidence of their anti-state activities, while for many others the accusations were contrived.

In this work, Anna Müller unearths the prison lives of these women through their autobiographical writings, interrogation protocols, cell spy reports, and original interviews with former political prisoners. Her interviewees narrated their own versions of what happened during their arrests, interrogations, and confinement. They also explored their emotions: surprise, confusion, fear, and anger. Although their imprisonments interrupted their lives, separated them from families, and caused much suffering, the women reflected on how they refashioned themselves during their interrogations; applied their senses to orient themselves in the prison space; and used their bodies to gain control over themselves and as a means to exercise pressure on the authorities. The creativity that they displayed individually and collectively in their cells helped them rebuild a semblance of normal life inside prison walls despite the abuses inflicted by interrogation officers and guards.

By examining women's lives in the cells of Communist-era prisons, If the Walls Could Speak contributes to our understanding of coercion and resistance under totalitarian regimes.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

"Imperial Muslims"

New from Edinburgh University Press: Imperial Muslims: Islam, Community and Authority in the Indian Ocean, 1839-1937 by Scott S. Reese.

About the book, from the publisher:
The webs, nodes and networks created by Britain's Indian Ocean Empire during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are here explored in the context of their personal and social impact. Using the British Settlement of Aden as its focus, the book examines the development of a local community within the spaces created by imperial rule. It explores how individuals from widely disparate backgrounds brought together by the networks of empire created a cohesive community utilizing the one commonality at their disposal: their faith. Specifically, it examines how religious institutions and spiritual ideas served as parameters for the creation of community and the kinds of symbolic and cultural capital an individual needed to attain communal membership and influence within the confines of imperial rule.
Scott S. Reese is Professor of Islamic History at Northern Arizona University and author of Renewers of the Age: Holy Men and Social Discourse in Colonial Benaadir and The Transmission of Learning in Islamic Africa.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Anthropology of Sport"

New from the University of California Press: The Anthropology of Sport: Bodies, Borders, Biopolitics by Niko Besnier, Susan Brownell, and Thomas F. Carter.

About the book, from the publisher:
Few activities bring together physicality, emotions, politics, money, and morality as dramatically as sport. In Brazil’s stadiums or China’s parks, on Cuba’s baseball diamonds or Fiji’s rugby fields, human beings test their physical limits, invest emotional energy, bet money, perform witchcraft, and ingest substances. Sport is a microcosm of what life is about. The Anthropology of Sport explores how sport both shapes and is shaped by the social, cultural, political, and historical contexts in which we live. Core themes discussed in this book include the body, modernity, nationalism, the state, citizenship, transnationalism, globalization, and gender and sexuality.
Niko Besnier is Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam. He has written extensively on gender, sexuality, migration, economic relations, language, and sport. He is editor-in-chief of American Ethnologist.

Susan Brownell is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. She is an expert on sports and Olympic Games in China, Olympic history, and world’s fairs. She is the author of Training the Body for China: Sports in the Moral Order of the People’s Republic.

Thomas F. Carter is an anthropologist and the director of the Centre of Sport, Tourism, and Leisure Studies at the University of Brighton. He has written on Cuban sport, labor migration, governance, sport for development, and the politics of spectacle. His most recent book is In Foreign Fields: The Politics and Experiences of Transnational Sport Migration.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 27, 2017

"The Velizh Affair"

New from Oxford University Press: The Velizh Affair: Blood Libel in a Russian Town by Eugene M. Avrutin.

About the book, from the publisher:
On April 22, 1823, a three-year-old boy named Fedor finished his lunch and went to play outside. Fedor never returned home from his walk. Several days later, a neighbor found his mutilated body drained of blood and repeatedly pierced. In small market towns, where houses were clustered together, residents knew each other on intimate terms, and people gossiped in taverns, courtyards, and streets, even the most trivial bits of news spread like wildfire. It did not take long before rumors began to emerge that Jews murdered the little boy.

The Velizh Affair reconstructs the lives of Jews and their Christian neighbors caught up in the aftermath of this chilling criminal act. The investigation into Fedor's death resulted in the charging of forty-three Jews with ritual murder, theft and desecration of Church property, and the forcible conversion of three town residents. Drawing on an astonishing number of newly discovered trial records, historian Eugene M. Avrutin explores the multiple factors that not only caused fear and conflict in everyday life, but also the social and cultural worlds of a multiethnic population that had coexisted for hundreds of years.

This beautifully crafted book provides an intimate glimpse into small-town life in eastern Europe. The case unfolded in a town like any other town in the Russian Empire where lives were closely interwoven, where rivalries and confrontations were part of day-to-day existence, and where the blood libel was part of a well-established belief system.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Pushing in Silence"

New from the University of Texas Press: Pushing in Silence: Modernizing Puerto Rico and the Medicalization of Childbirth by Isabel M. Córdova.

About the book, from the publisher:
As Puerto Rico rapidly industrialized from the late 1940s until the 1970s, the social, political, and economic landscape changed profoundly. In the realm of heath care, the development of medical education, new medical technologies, and a new faith in science radically redefined childbirth and its practice. What had traditionally been a home-based, family-oriented process, assisted by women and midwives and “accomplished” by mothers, became a medicalized, hospital-based procedure, “accomplished” and directed by biomedical, predominantly male, practitioners, and, ultimately reconfigured, after the 1980s, into a technocratic model of childbirth, driven by doctors’ fears of malpractice suits and hospitals’ corporate concerns.

Pushing in Silence charts the medicalization of childbirth in Puerto Rico and demonstrates how biomedicine is culturally constructed within regional and historical contexts. Prior to 1950, registered midwives on the island outnumbered registered doctors by two to one, and they attended well over half of all deliveries. Isabel M. Córdova traces how, over the next quarter-century, midwifery almost completely disappeared as state programs led by scientifically trained experts and organized by bureaucratic institutions restructured and formalized birthing practices. Only after cesarean rates skyrocketed in the 1980s and 1990s did midwifery make a modest return through the practices of five newly trained midwives. This history, which mirrors similar patterns in the United States and elsewhere, adds an important new chapter to the development of medicine and technology in Latin America.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 26, 2017

"Dream Trippers"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Dream Trippers: Global Daoism and the Predicament of Modern Spirituality by David A. Palmer and Elijah Siegler.

About the book, from the publisher:
Over the past few decades, Daoism has become a recognizable part of Western “alternative” spiritual life. Now, that Westernized version of Daoism is going full circle, traveling back from America and Europe to influence Daoism in China.

Dream Trippers draws on more than a decade of ethnographic work with Daoist monks and Western seekers to trace the spread of Westernized Daoism in contemporary China. David A. Palmer and Elijah Siegler take us into the daily life of the monastic community atop the mountain of Huashan and explore its relationship to the socialist state. They follow the international circuit of Daoist "energy tourism," which connects a number of sites throughout China, and examine the controversies around Western scholars who become practitioners and promoters of Daoism. Throughout are lively portrayals of encounters among the book’s various characters—Chinese hermits and monks, Western seekers, and scholar-practitioners—as they interact with each other in obtuse, often humorous, and yet sometimes enlightening and transformative ways. Dream Trippers untangles the anxieties, confusions, and ambiguities that arise as Chinese and American practitioners balance cosmological attunement and radical spiritual individualism in their search for authenticity in a globalized world.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Producer of Controversy"

New from the University Press of Kansas: Producer of Controversy: Stanley Kramer, Hollywood Liberalism, and the Cold War by Jennifer Frost.

About the book, from the publisher:
With films ranging from High Noon to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Stanley Kramer (1913–2001) was one of the most successful and prolific director-producers of his day. But even as critics praised his courage in taking on such issues as nuclear war, racism, fascism, and the battle between science and religion, others condemned his work as “emptily pretentious” and “hollow, falsely sentimental, overproduced.” Whether Kramer was “one of the great filmmakers of all time” (Kevin Spacey at the Golden Globe Awards) or “one of Hollywood’s worst directors” (preeminent film critic Andrew Sarris in The Village Voice), he had a strong and undeniable influence on American culture during the Cold War. Producer of Controversy is the first book to take a close-up look at Kramer’s career, films, and liberal politics in an effort to explain his contributions and historical significance.

Kramer learned filmmaking within the old studio system, but over a career spanning forty years he did much to shape the independent moviemaking that emerged after World War II. Jennifer Frost pays particular attention to four of his key “message movies”—The Defiant Ones, On the Beach, Inherit the Wind, and Judgment at Nuremberg—to show how Kramer’s controversial films opened up public debate about the most important issues of his time—among average filmgoers as well as professional critics, political commentators, and public figures. In this context, she for the first time fully documents the Hollywood Right’s attacks on Kramer in the 1950s; details his resistance to the anticommunist Red Scare and the Hollywood blacklist; exposes his role as a cultural diplomat with the Soviet Union; and reveals his important contribution to the liberal and radical politics of the 1960s. Her book is at once an absorbing work of cultural history and a thoroughgoing reassessment of Stanley Kramer’s place in the pantheon of American filmmakers.
My Book, The Movie: Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 25, 2017

"The Politics of Borders"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Politics of Borders: Sovereignty, Security, and the Citizen after 9/11 by Matthew Longo.

About the book, from the publisher:
Borders sit at the center of global politics. Yet they are too often understood as thin lines, as they appear on maps, rather than as political institutions in their own right. This book takes a detailed look at the evolution of border security in the United States after 9/11. Far from the walls and fences that dominate the news, it reveals borders to be thick, multi-faceted and binational institutions that have evolved greatly in recent decades. The book contributes to debates within political science on sovereignty, citizenship, cosmopolitanism, human rights and global justice. In particular, the new politics of borders reveal a sovereignty that is not waning, but changing, expanding beyond the state carapace and engaging certain logics of empire.
Matthew Longo is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Leiden University. Previously, he was the Clayman Junior Research Fellow in Politics and Political Ideas at St Anne's College, Oxford. He received his Ph.D. with distinction from Yale University, Connecticut in 2014 and was awarded the American Political Science Association's Leo Strauss Award for the Best Doctoral Dissertation in Political Philosophy.

Visit Matthew Longo's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 24, 2017

"Cinema and the Wealth of Nations"

New from the University of California Press: Cinema and the Wealth of Nations: Media, Capital, and the Liberal World System by Lee Grieveson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Cinema and the Wealth of Nations explores how media, principally in the form of cinema, was used during the interwar years by elite institutions to establish and sustain forms of liberal political economy beneficial to their interests. It examines the media produced by institutions such as states, corporations, and investment banks, as well as the emergence of a corporate media industry and system supported by state policy and integral to the establishment of a new consumer system. Lee Grieveson shows how media was used to encode liberal political and economic power during the period that saw the United States eclipse Britain as the globally hegemonic nation and the related inauguration of new forms of liberal economic globalization. But this is not a distant history. Cinema and the Wealth of Nations examines a foundational conjuncture in the establishment of media forms and a media system instrumental in, and structural to, the emergence and expansion of a world system that has been—and continues to be—brutally violent, unequal, and destructive.
Lee Grieveson is Professor of Media History at University College London. He is the author of Policing Cinema: Movies and Censorship in Early Twentieth Century America and coeditor of a number of volumes, including Inventing Film Studies, Empire and Film, and, most recently, Cinema’s Military Industrial Complex.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 23, 2017

"Oduduwa's Chain"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Oduduwa's Chain: Locations of Culture in the Yoruba-Atlantic by Andrew Apter.

About the book, from the publisher:
Yoruba culture has been a part of the Americas for centuries, brought from Africa during the transatlantic slave trade and maintained in various forms ever since. In Oduduwa’s Chain, Andrew Apter explores a wide range of fascinating historical and ethnographic examples and offers a provocative rethinking of African heritage in Black Atlantic Studies.

Focusing on Yoruba history and culture in Nigeria, Apter applies a generative model of cultural revision that allows him to identify formative Yoruba influences without resorting to the idea that culture and tradition are fixed. For example, Apter shows how the association of African gods with Catholic saints can be seen as a strategy of empowerment, explores historical locations of Yoruba gender ideologies and their variations in the Atlantic world, and much more. He concludes with a rousing call for a return to Africa in studies of the Black Atlantic, resurrecting a critical notion of culture that allows us to transcend Western inventions of African while taking them into account.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"Yellow Fever, Race, and Ecology in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans"

New from the LSU Press: Yellow Fever, Race, and Ecology in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans by Urmi Engineer Willoughby.

About the book, from the publisher:
Through the innovative perspective of environment and culture, Urmi Engineer Willoughby examines yellow fever in New Orleans from 1796 to 1905. Linking local epidemics to the city’s place in the Atlantic world, Yellow Fever, Race, and Ecology in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans analyzes how incidences of and responses to the disease grew out of an environment shaped by sugar production, slavery, and urban development.

Willoughby argues that transnational processes—including patterns of migration, industrialization, and imperialism—contributed to ecological changes that enabled yellow fever–carrying Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to thrive and transmit the disease in New Orleans, challenging presumptions that yellow fever was primarily transported to the Americas on slave ships. She then traces the origin and spread of medical and popular beliefs about yellow fever immunity, from the early nineteenth-century contention that natives of New Orleans were protected, to the gradual emphasis on race as a determinant of immunity, reflecting social tensions over the abolition of slavery around the world.

As the nineteenth century unfolded, ideas of biological differences between the races calcified, even as public health infrastructure expanded, and race continued to play a central role in the diagnosis and prevention of the disease. State and federal governments began to create boards and organizations responsible for preventing new outbreaks and providing care during epidemics, though medical authorities ignored evidence of black victims of yellow fever. Willoughby argues that American imperialist ambitions also contributed to yellow fever eradication and the growth of the field of tropical medicine: U.S. commercial interests in the tropical zones that grew crops like sugar cane, bananas, and coffee engendered cooperation between medical professionals and American military forces in Latin America, which in turn enabled public health campaigns to research and eliminate yellow fever in New Orleans.

A signal contribution to the field of disease ecology, Yellow Fever, Race, and Ecology in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans delineates events that shaped the Crescent City’s epidemiological history, shedding light on the spread and eradication of yellow fever in the Atlantic World.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"To Be a Man Is Not a One-Day Job"

New from the University of Chicago Press: To Be a Man Is Not a One-Day Job: Masculinity, Money, and Intimacy in Nigeria by Daniel Jordan Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
Refrains about financial hardship are ubiquitous in contemporary Nigeria, frequently expressed through the idiom “to be a man is not a one-day job.” But while men talk constantly about money, underlying their economic worries are broader concerns about the shifting meanings of masculinity, amid changing expectations and practices of intimacy.

Drawing on twenty-five years of experience in southeastern Nigeria, Daniel Jordan Smith takes readers through the principal phases and arenas of men’s lives: the transition to adulthood; searching for work and making a living; courtship, marriage, and fatherhood; fraternal and political relationships; and finally, the attainment of elder status and death. He relates men’s struggles both to fulfill their own aspirations and to meet society’s expectations. He also considers men who behave badly, mistreat their wives and children, or resort to crime and violence. All of these men face similar challenges as they navigate the complex geometry of money and intimacy. Unraveling these connections, Smith argues, provides us with a deeper understanding of both masculinity and society in Nigeria.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Litigating Across the Color Line"

New from Oxford University Press: Litigating Across the Color Line: Civil Cases Between Black and White Southerners from the End of Slavery to Civil Rights by Melissa Milewski.

About the book, from the publisher:
As a result of the violence, segregation, and disfranchisement that occurred throughout the South in the decades after Reconstruction, it has generally been assumed that African Americans in the post-Reconstruction South litigated few civil cases and faced widespread inequality in the suits they did pursue. In this groundbreaking work, Melissa Milewski shows that black men and women were far more able to negotiate the southern legal system during the era of Jim Crow than previously realized. She explores how, when the financial futures of their families were on the line, black litigants throughout the South took on white southerners in civil suits and, at times, succeeded in finding justice in the Southern courts.

Between 1865 and 1950, in almost a thousand civil cases across eight southern states, former slaves took their former masters to court, black sharecroppers litigated disputes against white landowners, and African Americans with little formal education brought disputes against wealthy white members of their communities. As black southerners negotiated a legal system with almost all white gate-keepers, they found that certain kinds of cases were much easier to gain whites' support for than others. But in the suits they were able to litigate, they displayed pragmatism and a savvy understanding of how to get whites on their side. Their negotiation of this system proved surprisingly successful: in the civil cases African Americans litigated in the highest courts of eight states, they won more than half of their suits against whites throughout this period.

Litigating Across the Color Line shows that in a tremendously constrained environment where they were often shut out of other government institutions, seen as racially inferior, and often segregated, African Americans found a way to fight for their rights in one of the only ways they could. Through these suits, they adapted and at times made a biased system work for them under enormous constraints. At the same time, Milewski considers the limitations of working within a white-dominated system at a time of great racial discrimination--and the choices black litigants had to make to get their cases heard.
Visit Melissa Milewski's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 20, 2017

"The Tiger in the Smoke"

New from Yale University Press: The Tiger in the Smoke: Art and Culture in Post-War Britain by Lynda Nead.

About the book, from the publisher:
Taking an interdisciplinary approach that looks at film, television, and commercial advertisements as well as more traditional media such as painting, The Tiger in the Smoke provides an unprecedented analysis of the art and culture of post-war Britain. Art historian Lynda Nead presents fascinating insights into how the Great Fogs of the 1950s influenced the newfound fashion for atmospheric cinematic effects. She also discusses how the widespread use of color in advertisements was part of an increased ideological awareness of racial differences.  Tracing the parallel ways that different media developed new methods of creating images that variously harkened back to Victorian ideals, agitated for modern innovations, or redefined domesticity, this book’s broad purview gives a complete picture of how the visual culture of post-war Britain expressed the concerns of a society that was struggling to forge a new identity.
Lynda Nead is Pevsner Chair of History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Soviet and Muslim"

New from Oxford University Press: Soviet and Muslim: The Institutionalization of Islam in Central Asia by Eren Tasar.

About the book, from the publisher:
Central Asia was the sole Muslim region of the former Russian Empire that lacked a centralized Islamic organization, or muftiate. When Soviet leader Joseph Stalin created such a body for the region as part of his religious reforms during World War II, he acknowledged that the Muslim faith could enjoy some legal protection under Communist rule. From a skeletal and disorganized body run by one family of Islamic scholars out of a modest house in Tashkent's old city, this muftiate acquired great political importance in the eyes of Soviet policymakers and equally significant symbolic significance for many Muslims.

Relying on recently declassified Central Asian archival sources, most of them never seen before by historians, Eren Tasar argues that Islam did not merely "survive" the decades from World War II until the Soviet collapse in 1991, but actively shaped the political and social context of Soviet Central Asia. Muslim figures, institutions, and practices evolved in response to the social and political reality of Communist rule. Through an analysis that spans all aspects of Islam under Soviet rule-from debates about religion inside the Communist Party, to the muftiate's efforts to acquire control over mosques across Central Asia, changes in Islamic practices and dogma, and overseas propaganda targeting the Islamic World-Soviet and Muslim offers a radical new reading of Islam's resilience and evolution under atheism.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 19, 2017

"A Kingdom Divided"

New from the LSU Press: A Kingdom Divided: Evangelicals, Loyalty, and Sectionalism in the Civil War Era by April E. Holm.

About the book, from the publisher:
A Kingdom Divided uncovers how evangelical Christians in the border states influenced debates about slavery, morality, and politics from the 1830s to the 1890s. Using little-studied events and surprising incidents from the region, April E. Holm argues that evangelicals on the border powerfully shaped the regional structure of American religion in the Civil War era.

In the decades before the Civil War, the three largest evangelical denominations diverged sharply over the sinfulness of slavery. This division generated tremendous local conflict in the border region, where individual churches had to define themselves as being either northern or southern. In response, many border evangelicals drew upon the “doctrine of spirituality,” which dictated that churches should abstain from all political debate. Proponents of this doctrine defined slavery as a purely political issue, rather than a moral one, and the wartime arrival of secular authorities who demanded loyalty to the Union only intensified this commitment to “spirituality.” Holm contends that these churches’ insistence that politics and religion were separate spheres was instrumental in the development of the ideal of the nonpolitical southern church. After the Civil War, southern churches adopted both the disaffected churches from border states and their doctrine of spirituality, claiming it as their own and using it to supply a theological basis for remaining divided after the abolition of slavery. By the late nineteenth century, evangelicals were more sectionally divided than they had been at war’s end.

In A Kingdom Divided, Holm provides the first analysis of the crucial role of churches in border states in shaping antebellum divisions in the major evangelical denominations, in navigating the relationship between church and the federal government, and in rewriting denominational histories to forestall reunion in the churches. Offering a new perspective on nineteenth-century sectionalism, it highlights how religion, morality, and politics interacted—often in unexpected ways—in a time of political crisis and war.
--Marshal Zeringue