Monday, May 2, 2016

"The Philosopher: A History in Six Types"

New from Princeton University Press: The Philosopher: A History in Six Types by Justin E. H. Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
What would the global history of philosophy look like if it were told not as a story of ideas but as a series of job descriptions—ones that might have been used to fill the position of philosopher at different times and places over the past 2,500 years? The Philosopher does just that, providing a new way of looking at the history of philosophy by bringing to life six kinds of figures who have occupied the role of philosopher in a wide range of societies around the world over the millennia—the Natural Philosopher, the Sage, the Gadfly, the Ascetic, the Mandarin, and the Courtier. The result is at once an unconventional introduction to the global history of philosophy and an original exploration of what philosophy has been—and perhaps could be again.

By uncovering forgotten or neglected philosophical job descriptions, the book reveals that philosophy is a universal activity, much broader—and more gender inclusive—than we normally think today. In doing so, The Philosopher challenges us to reconsider our idea of what philosophers can do and what counts as philosophy.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 1, 2016

"The Voyage of the Slave Ship Hare"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: The Voyage of the Slave Ship Hare: A Journey into Captivity from Sierra Leone to South Carolina by Sean M. Kelley.

About the book, from the publisher:
From 1754 to 1755, the slave ship Hare completed a journey from Newport, Rhode Island, to Sierra Leone and back to the United States—a journey that transformed more than seventy Africans into commodities, condemning some to death and the rest to a life of bondage in North America. In this engaging narrative, Sean Kelley painstakingly reconstructs this tumultuous voyage, detailing everything from the identities of the captain and crew to their wild encounters with inclement weather, slave traders, and near-mutiny. But most importantly, Kelley tracks the cohort of slaves aboard the Hare from their purchase in Africa to their sale in South Carolina. In tracing their complete journey, Kelley provides rare insight into the communal lives of slaves and sheds new light on the African diaspora and its influence on the formation of African American culture.

In this immersive exploration, Kelley connects the story of enslaved people in the United States to their origins in Africa as never before. Told uniquely from the perspective of one particular voyage, this book brings a slave ship’s journey to life, giving us one of the clearest views of the eighteenth-century slave trade.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 30, 2016

"Wounded City"

New from Oxford University Press: Wounded City: Violent Turf Wars in a Chicago Barrio by Robert Vargas.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 2009, Chicago spent millions of dollars to create programs to prevent gang violence in some of its most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Yet in spite of the programs, violence has grown worse in some of the very neighborhoods that the violence prevention programs were intended to help. While public officials and social scientists often attribute the violence - and the failure of the programs - to a lack of community in poor neighborhoods, closer study reveals another source of community division: local politics.

Through an ethnographic case study of Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, Wounded City dispels the popular belief that a lack of community is the primary source of violence, arguing that competition for political power and state resources often undermine efforts to reduce gang violence. Robert Vargas argues that the state, through the way it governs, can contribute to distrust and division among community members, thereby undermining social cohesion. The strategic actions taken by police officers, politicians, nonprofit organizations, and gangs to collaborate or compete for power and resources can vary block by block, triggering violence on some blocks while successfully preventing it on others.

A rich blend of urban politics, sociology, and criminology, Wounded City offers a cautionary tale for elected officials, state agencies, and community based organizations involved with poor neighborhoods.
Visit Robert Vargas's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 29, 2016

"Engines of Empire"

New from Stanford University Press: Engines of Empire: Steamships and the Victorian Imagination by Douglas R. Burgess Jr..

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1859, the S.S. Great Eastern departed from England on her maiden voyage. She was a remarkable wonder of the nineteenth century: an iron city longer than Trafalgar Square, taller than Big Ben's tower, heavier than Westminster Cathedral. Her paddles were the size of Ferris wheels; her decks could hold four thousand passengers bound for America, or ten thousand troops bound for the Raj. Yet she ended her days as a floating carnival before being unceremoniously dismantled in 1889.

Steamships like the Great Eastern occupied a singular place in the Victorian mind. Crossing oceans, ferrying tourists and troops alike, they became emblems of nationalism, modernity, and humankind's triumph over the cruel elements. Throughout the nineteenth century, the spectacle of a ship's launch was one of the most recognizable symbols of British social and technological progress. Yet this celebration of the power of the empire masked overconfidence and an almost religious veneration of technology. Equating steam with civilization had catastrophic consequences for subjugated peoples around the world.

Engines of Empire tells the story of the complex relationship between Victorians and their wondrous steamships, following famous travelers like Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Jules Verne as well as ordinary spectators, tourists, and imperial administrators as they cross oceans bound for the colonies. Rich with anecdotes and wry humor, it is a fascinating glimpse into a world where an empire felt powerful and anything seemed possible—if there was an engine behind it.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"The Sacred Mirror"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: The Sacred Mirror: Evangelicalism, Honor, and Identity in the Deep South, 1790-1860 by Robert Elder.

About the book, from the publisher:
Most histories of the American South describe the conflict between evangelical religion and honor culture as one of the defining features of southern life before the Civil War. The story is usually told as a battle of clashing worldviews, but in this book, Robert Elder challenges this interpretation by illuminating just how deeply evangelicalism in Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches was interwoven with traditional southern culture, arguing that evangelicals owed much of their success to their ability to appeal to people steeped in southern honor culture. Previous accounts of the rise of evangelicalism in the South have told this tale as a tragedy in which evangelicals eventually adopted many of the central tenets of southern society in order to win souls and garner influence. But through an examination of evangelical language and practices, Elder shows that evangelicals always shared honor’s most basic assumptions.

Making use of original sources such as diaries, correspondence, periodicals, and church records, Elder recasts the relationship between evangelicalism and secular honor in the South, proving the two concepts are connected in much deeper ways than have ever been previously understood.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"Crook County"

New from Stanford University Press: Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America's Largest Criminal Court by Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve.

About the book, from the publisher:
America's justice system is broken. Racial profiling, police brutality, and mass incarceration are rampant, especially in disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities of color. But what of the criminal courts, the places where primarily Black and Latino men are taken from the streets and processed into the prisons? The majority of Americans have remained in the dark for too long about this vital aspect of the system. Crook County breaks open the courthouse doors and enters the hallways, courtrooms, judges' chambers, and attorneys' offices to reveal a world of punishment determined by race, not offense.

After ten years and over 1,000 hours of working in and observing the largest criminal courthouse in the country, Chicago-Cook County, Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve takes readers inside to our so-called halls of justice to witness the types of everyday racial abuses that fester within the courts, often in plain sight. We watch as mostly Black and Latino defendants confront white professionals charged with classifying and deliberating their fates in the courtroom. Racial abuses and violations are encouraged and even seen as justified. Courthouse security guards cruelly mock and joke at the expense of a defendant's family members. Public defenders make choices about which defendants they will try to "save" and which they will sacrifice. Judges fall asleep on the bench. Prosecutors hang out like frat boys in the judges' chambers while the fates of defendants hang in the balance. These are just a few snapshots of the impossibly unprofessional behaviors of those tasked with the deadly serious job of facilitating justice in America.

Crook County's powerful, and at times devastating, stories reveal a legal culture steeped in racial stigma—a pernicious legal world where courtroom actors live and breathe racism while simultaneously committing themselves to a colorblind ideal. This book urges all citizens to take a closer look at the way we do justice in America and to hold our arbiters of justice accountable to a high standard of equality.
Visit Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"No Mercy Here"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity by Sarah Haley.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries imprisoned black women faced wrenching forms of gendered racial terror and heinous structures of economic exploitation. Subjugated as convict laborers and forced to serve additional time as domestic workers before they were allowed their freedom, black women faced a pitiless system of violence, terror, and debasement. Drawing upon black feminist criticism and a diverse array of archival materials, Sarah Haley uncovers imprisoned women’s brutalization in local, county, and state convict labor systems, while also illuminating the prisoners’ acts of resistance and sabotage, challenging ideologies of racial capitalism and patriarchy and offering alternative conceptions of social and political life.

A landmark history of black women’s imprisonment in the South, this book recovers stories of the captivity and punishment of black women to demonstrate how the system of incarceration was crucial to organizing the logics of gender and race, and constructing Jim Crow modernity.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 25, 2016

"Partners of the Empire"

New from Stanford University Press: Partners of the Empire: The Crisis of the Ottoman Order in the Age of Revolutions by Ali Yaycioglu.

About the book, from the publisher:
Partners of Empire offers a radical rethinking of the Ottoman Empire in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Over this unstable period, the Ottoman Empire faced political crises, institutional shakeups, and popular insurrections. It responded through various reform options and settlements. New institutional configurations emerged; constitutional texts were codified—and annulled. The empire became a political theater where different actors struggled, collaborated, and competed on conflicting agendas and opposing interests.

This book takes a holistic look at the era, interested not simply in central reforms or in regional developments, but in their interactions. Drawing on original archival sources, Ali Yaycioglu uncovers the patterns of political action—the making and unmaking of coalitions, forms of building and losing power, and expressions of public opinion. Countering common assumptions, he shows that the Ottoman transformation in the Age of Revolutions was not a linear transition from the old order to the new, from decentralized state to centralized, from Eastern to Western institutions, or from pre-modern to modern. Rather, it was a condensed period of transformation that counted many crossing paths, as well as dead-ends, all of which offered a rich repertoire of governing possibilities to be followed, reinterpreted, or ultimately forgotten.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 24, 2016

"Through the Keyhole"

New from Manchester University Press: Through the Keyhole: A history of sex, space and public modesty in modern France by Marcela Iacub, translated by Vinay Swamy.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1857, a group of young people who had participated in an orgy in a private mansion were sentenced for contempt of public decency (outrage public à la pudeur) because a voyeur was able to watch them through a keyhole. For Marcela Iacub, the crux of such cases hinges on where the public ends and the private begins, and what one can reveal, and what one ought to hide.

Today, the pudeur has disappeared from the French penal code to be replaced by Sex. But, far from being an epic story of hard-won freedom, Iacub demonstrates that the transformation techniques used by the State in the last two centuries have rendered sexuality into a spectacle and have conditioned our spaces, our clothes, our comportment and even some of our mental illnesses. In so doing, Iacub offers us a politico-legal history of the gaze.
Marcela Iacub is a Jurist and Researcher at Centre de Recherches Historiques.

Vinay Swamy is Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Vassar College.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"Infectious Change"

New from Stanford University Press: Infectious Change: Reinventing Chinese Public Health After an Epidemic by Katherine Mason.

About the book, from the publisher:
In February 2003, a Chinese physician crossed the border between mainland China and Hong Kong, spreading Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)—a novel flu-like virus—to over a dozen international hotel guests. SARS went on to kill about 800 people and sicken 8,000 worldwide. By July 2003 the disease had disappeared, but it left an indelible change on public health in China. The Chinese public health system, once famous for its grassroots, low-technology approach, was transformed into a globally-oriented, research-based, scientific endeavor.

In Infectious Change, Katherine A. Mason investigates local Chinese public health institutions in Southeastern China, examining how the outbreak of SARS re-imagined public health as a professionalized, biomedicalized, and technological machine—one that frequently failed to serve the Chinese people. Mason recounts the rapid transformation as young, highly trained biomedical scientists flooded into local public health institutions, replacing bureaucratic government inspectors who had dominated the field for decades. Infectious Change grapples with how public health in China was reinvented into a prestigious profession in which global impact and recognition were paramount—and service to vulnerable local communities was secondary.
--Marshal Zeringue