Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"A Class by Herself: Protective Laws for Women Workers, 1890s-1990s"

New from Princeton University Press: A Class by Herself: Protective Laws for Women Workers, 1890s-1990s by Nancy Woloch.

About the book, from the publisher:
A Class by Herself explores the historical role and influence of protective legislation for American women workers, both as a step toward modern labor standards and as a barrier to equal rights. Spanning the twentieth century, the book tracks the rise and fall of women-only state protective laws—such as maximum hour laws, minimum wage laws, and night work laws—from their roots in progressive reform through the passage of New Deal labor law to the feminist attack on single-sex protective laws in the 1960s and 1970s.

Nancy Woloch considers the network of institutions that promoted women-only protective laws, such as the National Consumers’ League and the federal Women’s Bureau; the global context in which the laws arose; the challenges that proponents faced; the rationales they espoused; the opposition that evolved; the impact of protective laws in ever-changing circumstances; and their dismantling in the wake of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Above all, Woloch examines the constitutional conversation that the laws provoked—the debates that arose in the courts and in the women’s movement. Protective laws set precedents that led to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and to current labor law; they also sustained a tradition of gendered law that abridged citizenship and impeded equality for much of the century.

Drawing on decades of scholarship, institutional and legal records, and personal accounts, A Class by Herself sets forth a new narrative about the tensions inherent in women-only protective labor laws and their consequences.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Wolf by the Ears"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Wolf by the Ears: The Missouri Crisis, 1819-1821 by John R. Van Atta.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the early days of the republic, American leaders knew that an unpredictable time bomb—the question of slavery—lay at the heart of national politics. An implicit understanding between North and South helped to keep the issue at bay: northern states, where slavery had been set on course for extinction via gradual emancipation, tacitly agreed to respect the property rights of southern slaveholders; in return, southerners essentially promised to view slaveholding as a practical evil and look for ways to get rid of it. By 1819–1820, however, westward expansion had brought the matter to a head. As Thomas Jefferson wrote at the time, a nation dealing with the politically implacable issue of slavery essentially held the "wolf" by the ears—and could neither let go nor hang on forever.

In Wolf by the Ears, John R. Van Atta discusses how the sectional conflict that led to the Civil War surfaced in the divisive fight over Missouri statehood. The first organized Louisiana Purchase territory to lie completely west of the Mississippi River and northwest of the Ohio, Missouri carried special significance for both pro- and anti-slavery advocates. Northern congressmen leaped out of their seats to object to the proposed expansion of the slave "empire," while slave-state politicians voiced outrage at the northerners’ blatant sectional attack. Although the Missouri confrontation ultimately appeared to end amicably with a famous compromise that the wily Kentuckian Henry Clay helped to cobble together, the passions it unleashed proved vicious, widespread, and long lasting.

Van Atta deftly explains how the Missouri crisis revealed the power that slavery had already gained over American nation building. He explores the external social, cultural, and economic forces that gave the confrontation such urgency around the country, as well as the beliefs, assumptions, and fears that characterized both sides of the slavery argument. Wolf by the Ears provides students in American history with an ideal introduction to the Missouri crisis while at the same time offering fresh insights for scholars of the early republic.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 30, 2015

"Glorious Victory"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Glorious Victory: Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans by Donald R. Hickey.

About the book, from the publisher:
Whether or not the United States "won" the war of 1812, two engagements that occurred toward the end of the conflict had an enormous influence on the development of American identity: the successful defenses of the cities of Baltimore and New Orleans. Both engagements bolstered national confidence and spoke to the √©lan of citizen soldiers and their militia officers. The Battle of New Orleans—perhaps because it punctuated the war, lent itself to frontier mythology, and involved the larger-than-life figure of Andrew Jackson—became especially important in popular memory. In Glorious Victory, leading War of 1812 scholar Donald R. Hickey recounts the New Orleans campaign and Jackson’s key role in the battle.

Drawing on a lifetime of research, Hickey tells the story of America’s "forgotten conflict." He explains why the fragile young republic chose to challenge Great Britain, then a global power with a formidable navy. He also recounts the early campaigns of the war—William Hull’s ignominious surrender at Detroit in 1812; Oliver H. Perry’s remarkable victory on Lake Erie; and the demoralizing British raids in the Chesapeake that culminated in the burning of Washington.

Tracing Jackson’s emergence as a leader in Tennessee and his extraordinary success as a military commander in the field, Hickey finds in Jackson a bundle of contradictions: an enemy of privilege who belonged to Tennessee’s ruling elite, a slaveholder who welcomed free blacks into his army, an Indian-hater who adopted a native orphan, and a general who lectured his superiors and sometimes ignored their orders while simultaneously demanding unquestioning obedience from his men. Aimed at students and the general public, Glorious Victory will reward readers with a clear understanding of Andrew Jackson’s role in the War of 1812 and his iconic place in the postwar era.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 29, 2015

"Intimate Rivals"

New from Columbia University Press: Intimate Rivals: Japanese Domestic Politics and a Rising China by Sheila A. Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
No country feels China's rise more deeply than Japan. Through intricate case studies of visits by Japanese politicians to the Yasukuni Shrine, conflicts over the boundaries of economic zones in the East China Sea, concerns about food safety, and strategies of island defense, Sheila A. Smith explores the policy issues testing the Japanese government as it tries to navigate its relationship with an advancing China.

Smith finds that Japan's interactions with China extend far beyond the negotiations between diplomats and include a broad array of social actors intent on influencing the Sino-Japanese relationship. Some of the tensions complicating Japan's encounters with China, such as those surrounding the Yasukuni Shrine or territorial disputes, have deep roots in the postwar era, and political advocates seeking a stronger Japanese state organize themselves around these causes. Other tensions manifest themselves during the institutional and regulatory reform of maritime boundary and food safety issues.

Smith scrutinizes the role of the Japanese government in coping with contention as China's influence grows and Japanese citizens demand more protection. Underlying the government's efforts is Japan's insecurity about its own capacity for change and its waning status as the leading economy in Asia. For many, China's rise means Japan's decline, and Smith suggests how Japan can maintain its regional and global clout as confidence in its postwar diplomatic and security approach diminishes.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 28, 2015

"Casualties of History"

New from Cornell University Press: Casualties of History: Wounded Japanese Servicemen and the Second World War by Lee K. Pennington.

About the book, from the publisher:
Thousands of wounded servicemen returned to Japan following the escalation of Japanese military aggression in China in July 1937. Tens of thousands would return home after Japan widened its war effort in 1939. In Casualties of History, Lee K. Pennington relates for the first time in English the experiences of Japanese wounded soldiers and disabled veterans of Japan's "long" Second World War (from 1937 to 1945). He maps the terrain of Japanese military medicine and social welfare practices and establishes the similarities and differences that existed between Japanese and Western physical, occupational, and spiritual rehabilitation programs for war-wounded servicemen, notably amputees. To exemplify the experience of these wounded soldiers, Pennington draws on the memoir of a Japanese soldier who describes in gripping detail his medical evacuation from a casualty clearing station on the front lines and his medical convalescence at a military hospital.

Moving from the hospital to the home front, Pennington documents the prominent roles adopted by disabled veterans in mobilization campaigns designed to rally popular support for the war effort. Following Japan’s defeat in August 1945, U.S. Occupation forces dismantled the social welfare services designed specifically for disabled military personnel, which brought profound consequences for veterans and their dependents. Using a wide array of written and visual historical sources, Pennington tells a tale that until now has been neglected by English-language scholarship on Japanese society. He gives us a uniquely Japanese version of the all-too-familiar story of soldiers who return home to find their lives (and bodies) remade by combat.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 27, 2015

"The Rise of Political Intellectuals in Modern China"

New from Oxford University Press: The Rise of Political Intellectuals in Modern China: May Fourth Societies and the Roots of Mass-party Politics by Shakhar Rahav.

About the book, from the publisher:
The May Fourth movement (1915-1923) is widely considered a watershed in the history of modern China. This book is a social history of cultural and political radicals based in China's most important hinterland city at this pivotal time, Wuhan.

Current narratives of May Fourth focus on the ideological development of intellectuals in the seaboard metropoles of Beijing and Shanghai. And although scholars have pointed to the importance of the many cultural-political societies of the period, they have largely neglected to examine these associations, seeing them only as seedbeds of Chinese communism and its leaders, like Mao Zedong.

This book, by contrast, portrays the everyday life of May Fourth activists in Wuhan in cultural-political societies founded by local teacher and journalist Yun Daiying (1895-1931). The book examines the ways by which radical politics developed in hinterland urban centers, from there into a nation wide movement, which ultimately provided the basis for the emergence of mass political parties, namely the Nationalist Party (Guomindang) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The book's focus on organizations, everyday life, and social networks provides a novel interpretation of where mechanisms of historical change are located. The book also highlights the importance of print culture in the provinces. It demonstrates how provincial print-culture combined with small, local organizations to create a political movement. The vantage point of Wuhan demonstrates that May Fourth radicalism developed in a dialogue between the coastal metropoles of Beijing and Shanghai and hinterland urban centers.

The book therefore charts the way in which seeds of political change grew from individuals, through local organizations into a nation-wide movement, and finally into mass-party politics and subsequently revolution. The book thus connects everyday experiences of activists with the cultural-political ferment which gave rise to both the Chinese Communist party and the Nationalist Party.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 26, 2015

"Democracy as Death"

New from the University of California Press: Democracy as Death: The Moral Order of Anti-Liberal Politics in South Africa by Jason Hickel.

About the book, from the publisher:
The revolution that brought the African National Congress (ANC) to power in South Africa was fractured by internal conflict. Migrant workers from rural Zululand rejected many of the egalitarian values and policies fundamental to the ANC’s liberal democratic platform and organized themselves in an attempt to sabotage the movement. This anti-democracy stance, which persists today as a direct critique of “freedom” in neoliberal South Africa, hinges on an idealized vision of the rural home and a hierarchical social order crafted in part by the technologies of colonial governance over the past century.

In analyzing this conflict, Jason Hickel contributes to broad theoretical debates about liberalism and democratization in the postcolonial world. Democracy as Death interrogates the Western ideals of individual freedom and agency from the perspective of those who oppose such ideals, and questions the assumptions underpinning theories of anti-liberal movements. The book argues that both democracy and the political science that attempts to explain resistance to it presuppose a model of personhood native to Western capitalism, which may not operate cross-culturally.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Fear and the Making of Foreign Policy"

New from Edinburgh University Press: Fear and the Making of Foreign Policy: Europe and Beyond by Raymond Taras.

About the book, from the publisher:
Can a society's fear of foreigners engender xenophobic foreign policy?

This is a book about conflicts and fears: how domestic reasons are drawing countries in Europe into international events. There has been much research into why the U.S. and U.K. militaries intervened in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other conflict zones. But what explains France's newfound international activism, which is taking its military to Libya, Mali and deeper into Africa? Why has Poland become deeply engaged in Ukraine's politics? Why is Sweden, which has not fought a war since 1814, concerned with the fierce internal wars in Iraq and Syria? Can these actions be explained as countries simply protecting their national interests, or has domestic xenophobia also be playing a part?

In Fear and the Making of Foreign Policy, Raymond Taras explains the causal mechanisms propelling these three EU states to become engaged in outside conflicts and tells the story of when and why xenophobia at home is converted into xenophobia abroad.
Visit Ray Taras's website. His recent books include Xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe (Edinburgh University Press); and (editor) Challenging multiculturalism: European models of diversity (Edinburgh University Press).

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Censoring Racial Ridicule"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Censoring Racial Ridicule: Irish, Jewish, and African American Struggles over Race and Representation, 1890-1930 by M. Alison Kibler.

About the book, from the publisher:
A drunken Irish maid slips and falls. A greedy Jewish pawnbroker lures his female employee into prostitution. An African American man leers at a white woman. These and other, similar images appeared widely on stages and screens across America during the early twentieth century. In this provocative study, M. Alison Kibler uncovers, for the first time, powerful and concurrent campaigns by Irish, Jewish and African Americans against racial ridicule in popular culture at the turn of the twentieth century. Censoring Racial Ridicule explores how Irish, Jewish, and African American groups of the era resisted harmful representations in popular culture by lobbying behind the scenes, boycotting particular acts, and staging theater riots. Kibler demonstrates that these groups' tactics evolved and diverged over time, with some continuing to pursue street protest while others sought redress through new censorship laws.

Exploring the relationship between free expression, democracy, and equality in America, Kibler shows that the Irish, Jewish, and African American campaigns against racial ridicule are at the roots of contemporary debates over hate speech.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Purchasing Medical Innovation"

New from the University of California Press: Purchasing Medical Innovation: The Right Technology, for the Right Patient, at the Right Price by James C. Robinson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Innovation in medical technology generates a remarkable supply of new drugs, devices, and diagnostics that improve health, reduce risks, and extend life. But these technologies are too often used on the wrong patient, in the wrong setting, or at an unaffordable price. The only way to moderate the growth in health care costs without undermining the dynamic of medical innovation is to improve the process of assessing, pricing, prescribing, and using new technologies. Purchasing Medical Innovation analyzes the contemporary revolution in the purchasing of health care technology, with a focus on the roles of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Medicare and private health insurers, physicians and hospitals, and consumers themselves. The FDA is more thoroughly assessing product performance under real-world conditions as well as in laboratory settings, accelerating the path to market for breakthroughs while imposing use controls on risky products. Insurers are improving their criteria for coverage and designing payment methods that reward efficiency in the selection of new treatments. Hospitals are aligning adoption of complex supplies and equipment more closely with physicians’ preferences for the best treatment for their patients. Consumers are becoming more engaged and financially accountable for their health care choices. This book describes both the strengths and deficiencies of the current system of purchasing and highlights opportunities for buyers, sellers, and users to help improve the value of medical technology: better outcomes at lower cost.
--Marshal Zeringue