Saturday, November 17, 2018

"The Political Lives of Saints"

New from the University of California Press: The Political Lives of Saints: Christian-Muslim Mediation in Egypt by Angie Heo.

About the book, from the publisher:
Since the Arab Spring in 2011 and ISIS’s rise in 2014, Egypt’s Copts have attracted attention worldwide as the collateral damage of revolution and as victims of sectarian strife. Countering the din of persecution rhetoric and Islamophobia, The Political Lives of Saints journeys into the quieter corners of divine intercession to consider what martyrs, miracles, and mysteries have to do with the routine challenges faced by Christians and Muslims living together under the modern nation-state.

Drawing on years of extensive fieldwork, Angie Heo argues for understanding popular saints as material media that organize social relations between Christians and Muslims in Egypt toward varying political ends. With an ethnographer’s eye for traces of antiquity, she deciphers how long-cherished imaginaries of holiness broker bonds of revolutionary sacrifice, reconfigure national sites of sacred territory, and pose sectarian threats to security and order. A study of tradition and nationhood at their limits, The Political Lives of Saints shows that Coptic Orthodoxy is a core domain of minoritarian regulation and authoritarian rule, powerfully reversing the recurrent thesis of its impending extinction in the Arab Muslim world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 16, 2018

"How Autocrats Compete"

New from Cambridge University Press: How Autocrats Compete: Parties, Patrons, and Unfair Elections in Africa by Yonatan L. Morse.

About the book, from the publisher:
Most autocrats now hold unfair elections, yet how they compete in them and manipulate them differs greatly. How Autocrats Compete advances a theory that explains variation in electoral authoritarian competition. Using case studies of Tanzania, Cameroon, and Kenya, along with broader comparisons from Africa, it finds that the kind of relationships autocrats foster with supporters and external actors matters greatly during elections. When autocrats can depend on credible ruling parties that provide elites with a level playing field and commit to wider constituencies, they are more certain in their own support and can compete in elections with less manipulation. Shelter from international pressure further helps autocrats deploy a wider range of coercive tools when necessary. Combining in-depth field research, within-case statistics, and cross-regional comparisons, Morse fills a gap in the literature by focusing on important variation in authoritarian institution building and international patronage. Understanding how autocrats compete sheds light on the comparative resilience and durability of modern authoritarianism.
Yonatan L. Morse is Assistant Professor of political science at the University of Connecticut.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 15, 2018

"Leaks, Hacks, and Scandals"

New from Princeton University Press: Leaks, Hacks, and Scandals: Arab Culture in the Digital Age by Tarek El-Ariss.

About the book, from the publisher:
How digital media are transforming Arab culture, literature, and politics

In recent years, Arab activists have confronted authoritarian regimes both on the street and online, leaking videos and exposing atrocities, and demanding political rights. Tarek El-Ariss situates these critiques of power within a pervasive culture of scandal and leaks and shows how cultural production and political change in the contemporary Arab world are enabled by digital technology yet emerge from traditional cultural models.

Focusing on a new generation of activists and authors from Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula, El-Ariss connects WikiLeaks to The Arabian Nights, Twitter to mystical revelation, cyberattacks to pre-Islamic tribal raids, and digital activism to the affective scene-making of Arab popular culture. He shifts the epistemological and historical frameworks from the postcolonial condition to the digital condition and shows how new media challenge the novel as the traditional vehicle for political consciousness and intellectual debate.

Theorizing the rise of “the leaking subject” who reveals, contests, and writes through chaotic yet highly political means, El-Ariss investigates the digital consciousness, virality, and affective forms of knowledge that jolt and inform the public and that draw readers in to the unfolding fiction of scandal.

Leaks, Hacks, and Scandals maps the changing landscape of Arab modernity, or Nahda, in the digital age and traces how concepts such as the nation, community, power, the intellectual, the author, and the novel are hacked and recoded through new modes of confrontation, circulation, and dissent.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"A War on People"

New from the University of California Press: A War on People: Drug User Politics and a New Ethics of Community by Jarrett Zigon.

About the book, from the publisher:
If we see that our contemporary condition is one of war and widely diffused complexity, how do we understand our most basic ethical motivations? What might be the aims of our political activity? A War on People takes up these questions and offers a glimpse of a possible alternative future in this ethnographically and theoretically rich examination of the activity of some unlikely political actors: users of heroin and crack cocaine, both active and former. The result is a groundbreaking book on how anti–drug war political activity offers transformative processes that are termed worldbuilding and enacts nonnormative, open, and relationally inclusive alternatives to such key concepts as community, freedom, and care.
Jarrett Zigon is the William and Linda Porterfield Professor of Bioethics and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Virginia. His two most recent books are Disappointment: Toward a Critical Hermeneutics of Worldbuilding and "HIV is God’s Blessing": Rehabilitating Morality in Neoliberal Russia.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Identity Politics Inside Out"

New from Oxford University Press: Identity Politics Inside Out: National Identity Contestation and Foreign Policy in Turkey by Lisel Hintz.

About the book, from the publisher:
The trajectory of Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule offers an ideal empirical window into puzzling shifts in Turkey's domestic politics and foreign policy. The policy transformations under its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan do not align with existing explanations based on security, economics, institutions, or identity.

In Identity Politics Inside Out, Lisel Hintz teases out the complex link between identity politics and foreign policy using an in-depth study of Turkey. Rather than treating national identity as cause or consequence of a state's foreign policy, she repositions foreign policy as an arena in which contestation among competing proposals for national identity takes place. Drawing from a broad array of sources in popular culture, social media, interviews, surveys, and archives, she identifies competing visions of Turkish identity and theorizes when and how internal identity politics becomes externalized. Hintz examines the establishment of Republican Nationalism in the wake of imperial collapse and examines failed attempts made by those challenging its Western-oriented, anti-ethnic, secularist values with alternative understandings of Turkishness. She further demonstrates how the Ottoman Islamist AKP used the European Union accession process to weaken Republican Nationalist obstacles in Turkey, thereby opening up space for Islam in the domestic sphere and a foreign policy targeted at achieving leadership in the Middle East.

By showing how the "inside out" spillover of national identity debates can reshape foreign policy, Identity Politics Inside Out fills a major gap in existing scholarship by closing the identity-foreign policy circle.
Visit Lisel Hintz's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 12, 2018

"The Commander's Dilemma"

New from Cornell University Press: The Commander's Dilemma: Violence and Restraint in Wartime by Amelia Hoover Green.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why do some military and rebel groups commit many types of violence, creating an impression of senseless chaos, whereas others carefully control violence against civilians? A classic catch-22 faces the leaders of armed groups and provides the title for Amelia Hoover Green’s book. Leaders need large groups of people willing to kill and maim—but to do so only under strict control. How can commanders control violence when fighters who are not under direct supervision experience extraordinary stress, fear, and anger? The Commander’s Dilemma argues that discipline is not enough in wartime. Restraint occurs when fighters know why they are fighting and believe in the cause—that is, when commanders invest in political education.

Drawing on extraordinary evidence about state and nonstate groups in El Salvador, and extending her argument to the Mano River wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone, Amelia Hoover Green shows that investments in political education can improve human rights outcomes even where rational incentives for restraint are weak—and that groups whose fighters lack a sense of purpose may engage in massive violence even where incentives for restraint are strong. Hoover Green concludes that high levels of violence against civilians should be considered a "default setting," not an aberration.
Visit Amelia Hoover Green's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 11, 2018

"Interrupted Odyssey"

New from the Southern Illinois University Press: Interrupted Odyssey: Ulysses S. Grant and the American Indians by Mary Stockwell.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this first book devoted to the genesis, failure, and lasting legacy of Ulysses S. Grant’s comprehensive American Indian policy, Mary Stockwell shows Grant as an essential bridge between Andrew Jackson’s pushing Indians out of the American experience and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s welcoming them back in. Situating Grant at the center of Indian policy development after the Civil War, Interrupted Odyssey: Ulysses S. Grant and the American Indians reveals the bravery and foresight of the eighteenth president in saying that Indians must be saved and woven into the fabric of American life.

In the late 1860s, before becoming president, Grant collaborated with Ely Parker, a Seneca Indian who became his first commissioner of Indian affairs, on a plan to rescue the tribes from certain destruction. Grant hoped to save the Indians from extermination by moving them to reservations, where they would be guarded by the U.S. Army, and welcoming them into the nation as American citizens. By so doing, he would restore the executive branch’s traditional authority over Indian policy that had been upended by Jackson.

In Interrupted Odyssey, Stockwell rejects the common claim in previous Grant scholarship that he handed the reservations over to Christian missionaries as part of his original policy. In part because Grant’s plan ended political patronage, Congress overturned his policy by disallowing Army officers from serving in civil posts, abandoning the treaty system, and making the new Board of Indian Commissioners the supervisors of the Indian service. Only after Congress banned Army officers from the Indian service did Grant place missionaries in charge of the reservations, and only after the board falsely accused Parker of fraud before Congress did Grant lose faith in his original policy.

Stockwell explores in depth the ousting of Parker, revealing the deep-seated prejudices that fueled opposition to him, and details Grant’s stunned disappointment when the Modoc murdered his peace commissioners and several tribes—the Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne, and Sioux—rose up against his plans for them.

Though his dreams were interrupted through the opposition of Congress, reformers, and the tribes themselves, Grant set his country firmly toward making Indians full participants in the national experience. In setting Grant’s contributions against the wider story of the American Indians, Stockwell’s bold, thoughtful reappraisal reverses the general dismissal of Grant’s approach to the Indians as a complete failure and highlights the courage of his policies during a time of great prejudice.
Visit Mary Stockwell's website.

My Book, The Movie: Unlikely General.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 10, 2018

"Transatlantic Speculations"

New from Columbia University Press: Transatlantic Speculations: Globalization and the Panics of 1873 by Hannah Catherine Davies.

About the book, from the publisher:
The year 1873 was one of financial crisis. A boom in railway construction had spurred a bull market—but when the boom turned to bust, transatlantic panic quickly became a worldwide economic downturn. In Transatlantic Speculations, Hannah Catherine Davies offers a new lens on the panics of 1873 and nineteenth-century globalization by exploring the ways in which contemporaries experienced a tumultuous period that profoundly challenged notions of economic and moral order.

Considering the financial crises of 1873 from the vantage points of Berlin, New York, and Vienna, Davies maps what she calls the dual “transatlantic speculations” of the 1870s: the financial speculation that led to these panics as well as the interpretative speculations that sprouted in their wake. Drawing on a wide variety of sources—including investment manuals, credit reports, business correspondence, newspapers, and legal treatises—she analyzes how investors were prompted to put their money into faraway enterprises, how journalists and bankers created and spread financial information and disinformation, how her subjects made and experienced financial flows, and how responses ranged from policy reform to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories when these flows suddenly were interrupted. Davies goes beyond national frames of analysis to explore international economic entanglement, using the panics’ interconnectedness to shed light on contemporary notions of the world economy. Blending cultural, intellectual, and legal history, Transatlantic Speculations gives vital transnational and comparative perspective on a crucial moment for financial markets, globalization, and capitalism.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 9, 2018

"Good Governance Gone Bad"

New from Cornell University Press: Good Governance Gone Bad: How Nordic Adaptability Leads to Excess by Darius Ornston.

About the book, from the publisher:
If we believe that the small, open economies of Nordic Europe are paragons of good governance, why are they so prone to economic crisis? In Good Governance Gone Bad, Darius Ornston provides evidence that adapting flexibly to rapid, technological change and shifting patterns of economic competition may be a great virtue, but it does not prevent countries from making strikingly poor policy choices and suffering devastating results. Home to three of the "big five" financial crises in the twentieth century, Nordic Europe in the new millennium has witnessed a housing bubble in Denmark, the collapse of the Finnish ICT industry, and the Icelandic financial crisis.

Ornston argues that the reason for these two seemingly contradictory phenomena is one and the same. The dense, cohesive relationships that enable these countries to respond to crisis with radical reform render them vulnerable to policy overshooting and overinvestment. Good Governance Gone Bad tests this argument by examining the rise and decline of heavy industry in postwar Sweden, the emergence and disruption of the Finnish ICT industry, and Iceland’s impressive but short-lived reign as a financial powerhouse as well as ten similar and contrasting cases across Europe and North America. Ornston demonstrates how small and large states alike can learn from the Nordic experience, providing a valuable corrective to uncritical praise for the "Nordic model."
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 8, 2018

"Love, Sex, and Desire in Modern Egypt"

New from the University of Texas Press: Love, Sex, and Desire in Modern Egypt: Navigating the Margins of Respectability by L. L. Wynn.

About the book, from the publisher:
Cairo is a city obsessed with honor and respectability—and love affairs. Sara, a working-class woman, has an affair with a married man and becomes pregnant, only to be abandoned by him; Ayah and Zeid, a respectably engaged couple, argue over whether Ayah’s friend is a prostitute or a virgin; Malak, a European belly dancer who sometimes gets paid for sex, wants to be loved by a man who won’t treat her like a whore just because she’s a dancer; and Alia, a Christian banker who left her abusive husband, is the mistress of a wealthy Muslim man, Haroun, who encourages business by hosting risqué parties for other men and their mistresses.

Set in transnational Cairo over two decades, Love, Sex, and Desire in Modern Egypt is an ethnography that explores female respectability and male honor and Western theories and fantasies about Arab society. L. L. Wynn uses stories of love affairs to interrogate three areas of classic anthropological theory: mimesis, kinship, and gift. She develops a broad picture of how individuals love and desire within a cultural and political system that structures the possibilities of, and penalties for, going against sexual and gender norms. Wynn demonstrates that love is at once a moral horizon, an attribute that “naturally” inheres in particular social relations, a social phenomenon strengthened through cultural concepts of gift and kinship, and an emotion deeply felt and desired by individuals.
--Marshal Zeringue