Tuesday, January 15, 2019

"Imagining the Witch"

New from Oxford University Press: Imagining the Witch: Emotions, Gender, and Selfhood in Early Modern Germany by Laura Kounine.

About the book, from the publisher:
Imagining the Witch explores emotions, gender, and selfhood through the lens of witch-trials in early modern Germany. Witch-trials were clearly a gendered phenomenon, but witchcraft was not a uniquely female crime. While women constituted approximately three quarters of those tried for witchcraft in the Holy Roman Empire, a significant minority were men. Witchcraft was also a crime of unbridled passion: it centred on the notion that one person's emotions could have tangible and deadly physical consequences. Yet it is also true that not all suspicions of witchcraft led to a formal accusation, and not all witch-trials led to the stake. Indeed, just over half the total number put on trial for witchcraft in early modern Europe were executed. In order to understand how early modern people imagined the witch, we must first begin to understand how people understood themselves and each other; this can help us to understand how the witch could be a member of the community, living alongside their accusers, yet inspire such visceral fear.

Through an examination of case studies of witch-trials that took place in the early modern Lutheran duchy of Wurttemberg in southwestern Germany, Laura Kounine examines how the community, church, and the agents of the law sought to identify the witch, and the ways in which ordinary men and women fought for their lives in an attempt to avoid the stake. The study further explores the visual and intellectual imagination of witchcraft in this period in order to piece together why witchcraft could be aligned with such strong female stereotypes on the one hand, but also be imagined as a crime that could be committed by any human, whether young or old, male or female. By moving beyond stereotypes of the witch, Imagining the Witch argues that understandings of what constituted witchcraft and the 'witch' appear far more contested and unstable than has previously been suggested. It also suggests new ways of thinking about early modern selfhood which moves beyond teleological arguments about the development of the 'modern' self. Indeed, it is the trial process itself that created the conditions for a diverse range of people to reflect on, and give meaning, to emotions, gender, and the self in early modern Lutheran Germany.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 14, 2019

"Feminist Accountability"

New from New York University Press: Feminist Accountability: Disrupting Violence and Transforming Power by Ann Russo.

About the book, from the publisher:
Explores accountability as a framework for building movements to transform systemic oppression and violence

What does it take to build communities to stand up to injustice and create social change? How do we work together to transform, without reproducing, systems of violence and oppression?In an age when feminism has become increasingly mainstream, noted feminist scholar and activist Ann Russo asks feminists to consider the ways that our own behavior might contribute to the interlocking systems of oppression that we aim to dismantle.

Feminist Accountability offers an intersectional analysis of three main areas of feminism in practice: anti-racist work, community accountability and transformative justice, and US-based work in and about violence in the global south. Russo explores accountability as a set of frameworks and practices for community- and movement-building against oppression and violence. Rather than evading the ways that we are implicated, complicit, or actively engaged in harm, Russo shows us how we might cultivate accountability so that we can contribute to the feminist work of transforming oppression and violence.

Among many others, Russo brings up the example of the most prominent and funded feminist and LGBT antiviolence organizations, which have become mainstream in social service, advocacy, and policy reform projects. This means they often approach violence through a social service and criminal legal lens that understands violence as an individual and interpersonal issue, rather than a social and political one. As a result, they ally with, rather than significantly challenge, the state institutions, policies, and systems that underlie and contribute to endemic violence.

Grounded in theories, analyses, and politics developed by feminists of color and transnational feminists of the global south, with her own thirty plus years of participation in community building, organizing, and activism, Russo provides insider expertise and critical reflection on leveraging frameworks of accountability to upend inequitable divides and the culture that supports them.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 13, 2019

"Brokered Subjects"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Brokered Subjects: Sex, Trafficking, and the Politics of Freedom by Elizabeth Bernstein.

About the book, from the publisher:
Brokered Subjects digs deep into the accepted narratives of sex trafficking to reveal the troubling assumptions that have shaped both right- and left-wing agendas around sexual violence. Drawing on years of in-depth fieldwork, Elizabeth Bernstein sheds light not only on trafficking but also on the broader structures that meld the ostensible pursuit of liberation with contemporary techniques of power. Rather than any meaningful commitment to the safety of sex workers, Bernstein argues, what lies behind our current vision of trafficking victims is a transnational mix of putatively humanitarian militaristic interventions, feel-good capitalism, and what she terms carceral feminism: a feminism compatible with police batons.
Elizabeth Bernstein is professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and of sociology at Barnard College, Columbia University, and the author of Temporarily Yours: Intimacy, Authenticity, and the Commerce of Sex.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 12, 2019

"Fugitive Modernities"

New from Duke University Press: Fugitive Modernities: Kisama and the Politics of Freedom by Jessica A. Krug.

About the book, from the publisher:
During the early seventeenth century, Kisama emerged in West Central Africa (present-day Angola) as communities and an identity for those fleeing expanding states and the violence of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The fugitives mounted effective resistance to European colonialism despite—or because of—the absence of centralized authority or a common language. In Fugitive Modernities Jessica A. Krug offers a continent- and century-spanning narrative exploring Kisama's intellectual, political, and social histories. Those who became Kisama forged a transnational reputation for resistance, and by refusing to organize their society around warrior identities, they created viable social and political lives beyond the bounds of states and the ruthless market economy of slavery. Krug follows the idea of Kisama to the Americas, where fugitives in the New Kingdom of Grenada (present-day Colombia) and Brazil used it as a means of articulating politics in fugitive slave communities. By tracing the movement of African ideas, rather than African bodies, Krug models new methods for grappling with politics and the past, while showing how the history of Kisama and its legacy as a global symbol of resistance that has evaded state capture offers essential lessons for those working to build new and just societies.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 11, 2019

"Islands of Sovereignty"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Islands of Sovereignty: Haitian Migration and the Borders of Empire by Jeffrey S. Kahn.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Islands of Sovereignty, anthropologist and legal scholar Jeffrey S. Kahn offers a new interpretation of the transformation of US borders during the late twentieth century and its implications for our understanding of the nation-state as a legal and political form. Kahn takes us on a voyage into the immigration tribunals of South Florida, the Coast Guard vessels patrolling the northern Caribbean, and the camps of Guantánamo Bay—once the world’s largest US-operated migrant detention facility—to explore how litigation concerning the fate of Haitian asylum seekers gave birth to a novel paradigm of offshore oceanic migration policing. Combining ethnography—in Haiti, at Guantánamo, and alongside US migration patrols in the Caribbean—with in-depth archival research, Kahn expounds a nuanced theory of liberal empire’s dynamic tensions and its racialized geographies of securitization. An innovative historical anthropology of the modern legal imagination, Islands of Sovereignty forces us to reconsider the significance of the rise of the current US immigration border and its relation to broader shifts in the legal infrastructure of contemporary nation-states across the globe.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 10, 2019

"Screw Consent"

New from the University of California Press: Screw Consent: A Better Politics of Sexual Justice by Joseph J. Fischel.

About the book, from the publisher:
When we talk about sex—whether great, good, bad, or unlawful—we often turn to consent as both our erotic and moral savior. We ask questions like, What counts as sexual consent? How do we teach consent to impressionable youth, potential predators, and victims? How can we make consent sexy?

What if these are all the wrong questions? What if our preoccupation with consent is hindering a safer and better sexual culture? By foregrounding sex on the social margins (bestial, necrophilic, cannibalistic, and other atypical practices), Screw Consent shows how a sexual politics focused on consent can often obscure, rather than clarify, what is wrong about wrongful sex.

Joseph J. Fischel argues that the consent paradigm, while necessary for effective sexual assault law, diminishes and perverts our ideas about desire, pleasure, and injury. In addition to the criticisms against consent leveled by feminist theorists of earlier generations, Fischel elevates three more: consent is insufficient, inapposite, and riddled with scope contradictions for regulating and imagining sex. Fischel proposes instead that sexual justice turns more productively on concepts of sexual autonomy and access. Clever, witty, and adeptly researched, Screw Consent promises to change how we understand consent, sexuality, and law in the United States today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

"Evidence of Being"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Evidence of Being: The Black Gay Cultural Renaissance and the Politics of Violence by Darius Bost.

About the book, from the publisher:
Evidence of Being opens on a grim scene: Washington DC’s gay black community in the 1980s, ravaged by AIDS, the crack epidemic, and a series of unsolved murders, seemingly abandoned by the government and mainstream culture. Yet in this darkest of moments, a new vision of community and hope managed to emerge. Darius Bost’s account of the media, poetry, and performance of this time and place reveals a stunning confluence of activism and the arts. In Washington and New York during the 1980s and ’90s, gay black men banded together, using creative expression as a tool to challenge the widespread views that marked them as unworthy of grief. They created art that enriched and reimagined their lives in the face of pain and neglect, while at the same time forging a path toward bold new modes of existence. At once a corrective to the predominantly white male accounts of the AIDS crisis and an openhearted depiction of the possibilities of black gay life, Evidence of Being above all insists on the primacy of community over loneliness, and hope over despair.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

"Paying for Pollution"

New from Oxford University Press: Paying for Pollution: Why a Carbon Tax is Good for America by Gilbert E. Metcalf.

About the book, from the publisher:
The threats posed by global climate change are widely recognized and carbon emmissions are the major source of greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere. Burning fossil fuels causes long-lasting, pervasive damages, costly to those of us alive today and even more to our children and our children's children. The United States is the second largest carbon emitting country in the world and should play a key role in global efforts to reduce emissions.

Paying for Pollution incisively examines the very real costs-economic and social-of climate change and the challenges of concerted action to reduce future losses due to damages of higher temperatures and more extreme weather. Gilbert E. Metcalf argues that there is a convergence of social, economic, environmental, and political forces that provides an opening for a new approach to climate policy, one based on market principles that can appeal to politicians across the political spectrum. After all, markets work best when the price of a good reflects all its costs.

Metcalf suggests that a thoughtfully and politically sensitive designed carbon tax could also contribute to an improved tax system, something desired by Republican and Democratic politicians alike. That is, a carbon tax increases fiscal flexibility by providing new revenues to finance reforms to the income tax that improve the fairness of the tax code and contribute to economic growth. Metcalf compares the benefits of a carbon tax to other potential policies, such as cap and trade, to reduce the threats of climate change. None, he shows, are as effective, efficient, and fair as a carbon tax.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 7, 2019

"Electrical Palestine"

New from the University of California Press: Electrical Palestine: Capital and Technology from Empire to Nation by Fredrik Meiton.

About the book, from the publisher:
Electricity is an integral part of everyday life—so integral that we rarely think of it as political. In Electrical Palestine, Fredrik Meiton illustrates how political power, just like electrical power, moves through physical materials whose properties govern its flow. At the dawn of the Arab-Israeli conflict, both kinds of power were circulated through the electric grid that was built by the Zionist engineer Pinhas Rutenberg in the period of British rule from 1917 to 1948. Drawing on new sources in Arabic, Hebrew, and several European languages, Electrical Palestine charts a story of rapid and uneven development that was greatly influenced by the electric grid and set the stage for the conflict between Arabs and Jews. Electrification, Meiton shows, was a critical element of Zionist state building. The outcome in 1948, therefore, of Jewish statehood and Palestinian statelessness was the result of a logic that was profoundly conditioned by the power system, a logic that has continued to shape the area until today.
Fredrik Meiton is Assistant Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 6, 2019

'Who Owns the News?"

New from Stanford University Press: Who Owns the News?: A History of Copyright by Will Slauter.

About the book, from the publisher:
You can't copyright facts, but is news a category unto itself? Without legal protection for the "ownership" of news, what incentive does a news organization have to invest in producing quality journalism that serves the public good? This book explores the intertwined histories of journalism and copyright law in the United States and Great Britain, revealing how shifts in technology, government policy, and publishing strategy have shaped the media landscape.

Publishers have long sought to treat news as exclusive to protect their investments against copying or "free riding." But over the centuries, arguments about the vital role of newspapers and the need for information to circulate have made it difficult to defend property rights in news. Beginning with the earliest printed news publications and ending with the Internet, Will Slauter traces these countervailing trends, offering a fresh perspective on debates about copyright and efforts to control the flow of news.
--Marshal Zeringue