Friday, September 21, 2018

"A History of America in Ten Strikes"

New from The New Press: A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis.

About the book, from the publisher:
Powerful and accessible, A History of America in Ten Strikes challenges all of our contemporary assumptions around labor, unions, and American workers. In this brilliant book, labor historian Erik Loomis recounts ten critical workers’ strikes in American labor history that everyone needs to know about (and then provides an annotated list of the 150 most important moments in American labor history in the appendix). From the Lowell Mill Girls strike in the 1830s to Justice for Janitors in 1990, these labor uprisings do not just reflect the times in which they occurred, but speak directly to the present moment.

For example, we often think that Lincoln ended slavery by proclaiming the slaves emancipated, but Loomis shows that they freed themselves during the Civil War by simply withdrawing their labor. He shows how the hopes and aspirations of a generation were made into demands at a GM plant in Lordstown in 1972. And he takes us to the forests of the Pacific Northwest in the early nineteenth century where the radical organizers known as the Wobblies made their biggest inroads against the power of bosses. But there were also moments when the movement was crushed by corporations and the government; Loomis helps us understand the present perilous condition of American workers and draws lessons from both the victories and defeats of the past.

In crystalline narratives, labor historian Erik Loomis lifts the curtain on workers’ struggles, giving us a fresh perspective on American history from the boots up.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 20, 2018

"Borderline Citizens"

New from Cornell University Press: Borderline Citizens: The United States, Puerto Rico, and the Politics of Colonial Migration by Robert C. McGreevey.

About the book, from the publisher:
Borderline Citizens explores the intersection of U.S. colonial power and Puerto Rican migration. Robert C. McGreevey examines a series of confrontations in the early decades of the twentieth century between colonial migrants seeking work and citizenship in the metropole and various groups—employers, colonial officials, court officers, and labor leaders—policing the borders of the U.S. economy and polity. Borderline Citizens deftly shows the dynamic and contested meaning of American citizenship.

At a time when colonial officials sought to limit citizenship through the definition of Puerto Rico as a U.S. territory, Puerto Ricans tested the boundaries of colonial law when they migrated to California, Arizona, New York, and other states on the mainland. The conflicts and legal challenges created when Puerto Ricans migrated to the U.S. mainland thus serve, McGreevey argues, as essential, if overlooked, evidence crucial to understanding U.S. empire and citizenship.

McGreevey demonstrates the value of an imperial approach to the history of migration. Drawing attention to the legal claims migrants made on the mainland, he highlights the agency of Puerto Rican migrants and the efficacy of their efforts to find an economic, political, and legal home in the United States. At the same time, Borderline Citizens demonstrates how colonial institutions shaped migration streams through a series of changing colonial legal categories that tracked alongside corporate and government demands for labor mobility. McGreevey describes a history shaped as much by the force of U.S. power overseas as by the claims of colonial migrants within the United States.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Reading Machiavelli"

New from Princeton University Press: Reading Machiavelli: Scandalous Books, Suspect Engagements, and the Virtue of Populist Politics by John P. McCormick.

About the book, from the publisher:
To what extent was Machiavelli a “Machiavellian”? Was he an amoral adviser of tyranny or a stalwart partisan of liberty? A neutral technician of power politics or a devout Italian patriot? A reviver of pagan virtue or initiator of modern nihilism? Reading Machiavelli answers these questions through original interpretations of Niccolò Machiavelli’s three major political works—The Prince, Discourses, and Florentine Histories—and demonstrates that a radically democratic populism seeded the Florentine’s scandalous writings. John McCormick challenges the misguided understandings of Machiavelli set forth by prominent thinkers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau and representatives of the Straussian and Cambridge schools.

McCormick emphasizes the fundamental, often unacknowledged elements of a vibrant Machiavellian politics: the utility of vigorous class conflict between elites and common citizens for virtuous democratic republics, the necessity of political and economic equality for genuine civic liberty, and the indispensability of religious tropes for the exercise of effective popular judgment. Interrogating the established reception of Machiavelli’s work by such readers as Rousseau, Leo Strauss, Quentin Skinner, and J.G.A. Pocock, McCormick exposes what was effectively an elite conspiracy to suppress the Florentine’s contentious, egalitarian politics. In recovering the too-long-concealed quality of Machiavelli’s populism, this book acts as a Machiavellian critique of Machiavelli scholarship.

Advancing fresh renderings of works by Machiavelli while demonstrating how they have been misread previously, Reading Machiavelli presents a new outlook for how politics should be conceptualized and practiced.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

"The Alternatives to War"

New from Oxford University Press: The Alternatives to War: From Sanctions to Nonviolence by James Pattison.

About the book, from the publisher:
If states are not to go to war, what should they do instead? In The Alternatives to War, James Pattison considers the case for the alternatives to military action to address mass atrocities and aggression.

The volume examines the normative issues raised by measures ranging from comprehensive economic sanctions, diplomacy, and positive incentives, to criminal prosecutions, nonviolent resistance, accepting refugees, and arming rebels. For instance, given the indiscriminateness of many sanctions regimes, are sanctions any better than war? Should states avoid 'megaphone diplomacy' and adopt more subtle measures? What, if anything, can nonviolent methods such as civilian defence and civilian peacekeeping do in the face of a ruthless opponent? Is it a serious concern that positive incentives can appear to reward aggressors? Overall, Pattison provides a comprehensive account of the ethics of the alternatives to war. In doing so, he argues that the case for war is weaker and the case for many of the alternatives is stronger than commonly thought. The upshot is that, when reacting to mass atrocities and aggression, states are generally required to pursue the alternatives to war rather than military action. The volume concludes that this has significant implications for pacifism, just war theory, and the responsibility to protect doctrine.
Visit James Pattison's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Morality of Private War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

"The Grind"

New from Rutgers University Press: The Grind: Black Women and Survival in the Inner City by Alexis S. McCurn.

About the book, from the publisher:
Few scholars have explored the collective experiences of women living in the inner city and the innovative strategies they develop to navigate daily life in this setting. The Grind illustrates the lived experiences of poor African American women and the creative strategies they develop to manage these events and survive in a community commonly exposed to violence.

Alexis S. McCurn draws on nearly two years of naturalistic field research among adolescents and adults in Oakland, California to provide an ethnographic account of how black women accomplish the routine tasks necessary for basic survival in poor inner-city neighborhoods and how the intersections of race, gender, and class shape how black women interact with others in public. This book makes the case that the daily consequences of racialized poverty in the lives of African Americans cannot be fully understood without accounting for the personal and collective experiences of poor black women.
Alexis S. McCurn is an assistant professor of sociology at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Eating NAFTA"

New from the University of California Press: Eating NAFTA: Trade, Food Policies, and the Destruction of Mexico by Alyshia Gálvez.

About the book, from the publisher:
Mexican cuisine has emerged as a paradox of globalization. Food enthusiasts throughout the world celebrate the humble taco at the same time that Mexicans are eating fewer tortillas and more processed food. Today Mexico is experiencing an epidemic of diet-related chronic illness. The precipitous rise of obesity and diabetes—attributed to changes in the Mexican diet—has resulted in a public health emergency.

In her gripping new book, Alyshia Gálvez exposes how changes in policy following NAFTA have fundamentally altered one of the most basic elements of life in Mexico—sustenance. Mexicans are faced with a food system that favors food security over subsistence agriculture, development over sustainability, market participation over social welfare, and ideologies of self-care over public health. Trade agreements negotiated to improve lives have resulted in unintended consequences for people’s everyday lives.
Visit Alyshia Gálvez's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 17, 2018

"Politics under the Influence"

New from Cornell University Press: Politics under the Influence: Vodka and Public Policy in Putin's Russia by Anna L. Bailey.

About the book, from the publisher:
"You know just how serious a problem alcoholism has become for our country. Frankly speaking, it has taken on the proportions of a national disaster." So spoke Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2009 as the government launched its latest anti-alcohol campaign. Challenging the standard narrative of top-down implementation of policy, Anna Bailey’s Politics under the Influence breaks new ground in the analysis of Russian alcoholism and the politics of the Putin regime.

The state is supposed to make policy in the national interest, to preserve the nation’s health against the ravages inflicted by widespread alcohol abuse. In fact, Bailey shows, the Russian state is deeply divided, and policy is commonly a result of the competitive interactions of stakeholders with vested interests. Politics under the Influence turns a spotlight on the powerful vodka industry whose ties to Putin’s political elite have grown in influence since 2009. She details how that lobby has used the anti-alcohol campaign as a way to reduce the competitiveness of its main rival—the multinational beer industry. Drawing on a wide range of sources including fieldwork interviews, government documents, media articles, and opinion polls, Bailey reveals the many ambivalences, informal practices, and paradoxes in contemporary Russian politics. Politics under the Influence exhibits the kleptocratic nature of the Putin regime; as a result, analysis of vested interests and informal sources of power is essential to understanding public policy in contemporary Russia. This book will be an invaluable resource for anyone working on policy and corruption in Putin’s Russia.
--Marshal Zeringue

"In Defense of Openness"

New from Oxford University Press: In Defense of Openness: Why Global Freedom Is the Humane Solution to Global Poverty by Bas van der Vossen and Jason Brennan.

About the book, from the publisher:
The topic of global justice has long been a central concern within political philosophy and political theory, and there is no doubt that it will remain significant given the persistence of poverty on a massive scale and soaring global inequality. Yet, virtually every analysis in the vast literature of the subject seems ignorant of what developmental economists, both left and right, have to say about the issue.

In Defense of Openness illuminates the problem by stressing that that there is overwhelming evidence that economic rights and freedom are necessary for development, and that global redistribution tends to hurt more than it helps. Bas van der Vossen and Jason Brennan instead ask what a theory of global justice would look like if it were informed by the facts that mainstream development and institutional economics have brought to light. They conceptualize global justice as global freedom and insist we can help the poor-and help ourselves at the same time-by implementing open borders, free trade, the strong protection of individual freedom, and economic rights and property for all around the world. In short, they work from empirical, consequentialist grounds to advocate for the market society as a model for global justice.

A spirited challenge to mainstream political theory from two leading political philosophers, In Defense of Openness offers a new approach to global justice: We don't need to "save" the poor. The poor will save themselves, if we would only get out of their way and let them.
Visit Jason Brennan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 16, 2018

"The Postwar Origins of the Global Environment"

New from Columbia University Press: The Postwar Origins of the Global Environment: How the United Nations Built Spaceship Earth by Perrin Selcer.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the wake of the Second World War, internationalists identified science as both the cause of and the solution to world crisis. Unless civilization learned to control the unprecedented powers science had unleashed, global catastrophe was imminent. But the internationalists found hope in the idea of world government. In The Postwar Origins of the Global Environment, Perrin Selcer argues that the metaphor of “Spaceship Earth”—the idea of the planet as a single interconnected system—exemplifies this moment, when a mix of anxiety and hope inspired visions of world community and the proliferation of international institutions.

Selcer tells the story of how the United Nations built the international knowledge infrastructure that made the global-scale environment visible. Experts affiliated with UN agencies helped make the “global”—as in global population, global climate, and global economy—an object in need of governance. Selcer traces how UN programs such as UNESCO’s Arid Lands Project, the production of a soil map of the world, and plans for a global environmental-monitoring system fell short of utopian ambitions to cultivate world citizens but did produce an international community of experts with influential connections to national governments. He shows how events and personalities, cultures and ecologies, bureaucracies and ideologies, decolonization and the Cold War interacted to make global knowledge. A major contribution to global history, environmental history, and the history of development, this book relocates the origins of planetary environmentalism in the postwar politics of scale.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 15, 2018

"Time Biases"

New from Oxford University Press: Time Biases: A Theory of Rational Planning and Personal Persistence by Meghan Sullivan.

About the book, from the publisher:
Should you care less about your distant future? What about events in your life that have already happened? How should the passage of time affect your planning and assessment of your life? Most of us think it is irrational to ignore the future but completely harmless to dismiss the past. But this book argues that rationality requires temporal neutrality: if you are rational you don't engage in any kind of temporal discounting. The book draws on puzzles about real-life planning to build the case for temporal neutrality. How much should you save for retirement? Does it make sense to cryogenically freeze your brain after death? How much should you ask to be compensated for a past injury? Will climate change make your life meaningless? Meghan Sullivan considers what it is for you to be a person extended over time, how time affects our ability to care about ourselves, and all of the ways that our emotions might bias our rational planning. Drawing substantially from work in social psychology, economics and the history of philosophy, the book offers a systematic new theory of rational planning.
Meghan Sullivan is a Professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame and the Director of the University Philosophy Requirement. Sullivan's research tends to focus on philosophical problems concerning time, modality, rational planning and religious belief.

--Marshal Zeringue