Friday, January 17, 2020

"Becoming Free, Becoming Black"

New from Cambridge University Press: Becoming Free, Becoming Black: Race, Freedom, and the Law in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana by Alejandro de la Fuente and Ariela J. Gross.

About the book, from the publisher:
How did Africans become 'blacks' in the Americas? Becoming Free, Becoming Black tells the story of enslaved and free people of color who used the law to claim freedom and citizenship for themselves and their loved ones. Their communities challenged slaveholders' efforts to make blackness synonymous with slavery. Looking closely at three slave societies - Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana - Alejandro de la Fuente and Ariela J. Gross demonstrate that the law of freedom - not slavery - established the meaning of blackness in law. Contests over freedom determined whether and how it was possible to move from slave to free status, and whether claims to citizenship would be tied to racial identity. Laws regulating the lives and institutions of free people of color created the boundaries between black and white, the rights reserved to white people, and the degradations imposed only on black people.
Alejandro de la Fuente is the Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics, Professor of African and African American Studies, and the Director of the Afro-Latin American Research Institute at Harvard University.

Ariela J. Gross is the John B. and Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law and History and the Co-Director of the Center for Law, History, and Culture at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

The Page 99 Test: Ariela J. Gross's What Blood Won't Tell.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 16, 2020

"Regulating Human Research"

New from Stanford University Press: Regulating Human Research: IRBs from Peer Review to Compliance Bureaucracy by Sarah Babb.

About the book, from the publisher:
Institutional review boards (IRBs) are panels charged with protecting the rights of humans who participate in research studies ranging from biomedicine to social science. Regulating Human Research provides a fresh look at these influential and sometimes controversial boards, tracing their historic transformation from academic committees to compliance bureaucracies: non-governmental offices where specialized staff define and apply federal regulations. In opening the black box of contemporary IRB decision-making, author Sarah Babb argues that compliance bureaucracy is an adaptive response to the dynamics and dysfunctions of American governance. Yet this solution has had unforeseen consequences, including the rise of a profitable ethics review industry.
Sarah Babb is Professor of Sociology at Boston College, and author of many published works exploring the connections among organizations, professions, and the state. She served on the Boston College IRB for three years.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

"Boxing Pandora"

New from Yale University Press: Boxing Pandora: Rethinking Borders, States, and Secession in a Democratic World by Timothy William Waters.

About the book, from the publisher:
A timely and provocative challenge to the foundations of our global order: why should national borders be unchangeable?

The inviolability of national borders is an unquestioned pillar of the post–World War II international order. Fixed borders are believed to encourage stability, promote pluralism, and discourage nationalism and intolerance. But do they? What if fixed borders create more problems than they solve, and what if permitting borders to change would create more stability and produce more just societies? Legal scholar Timothy Waters examines this possibility, showing how we arrived at a system of rigidly bordered states and how the real danger to peace is not the desire of people to form new states but the capacity of existing states to resist that desire, even with violence. He proposes a practical, democratically legitimate alternative: a right of secession. With crises ongoing in the United Kingdom, Spain, Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and many other regions, this reassessment of the foundations of our international order is more relevant than ever.
Timothy William Waters is professor of law and associate director of the Center for Constitutional Democracy at Indiana University. Author of numerous scholarly articles and op-eds on international law and politics, he also edited The Miloševic Trial: An Autopsy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

"Breaking the Binaries in Security Studies"

New from Oxford University Press: Breaking the Binaries in Security Studies: A Gendered Analysis of Women in Combat by Ayelet Harel-Shalev and Shir Daphna-Tekoah.

About the book, from the publisher:
Several months after a 2014 operation in the Gaza Strip, fifty-three Israeli Defense Forces combatants and combat-support soldiers were awarded military decorations for exhibiting extraordinary bravery. From a gendered perspective, the most noteworthy aspect of these awards was not the fact that only 4 of the 53 recipients were women, but rather the fact that the men were uniformly praised for being "brave," being "heroes," "actively performing acts of bravery," "protecting," and "preventing terror attacks," while the women were repeatedly commended for "not panicking." This pattern is not unique to the Israeli case, but rather reflects the patriarchal norms that still prevail in military institutions worldwide. One might expect that, now that women serve on the battlefield as combatants, some of the gendered norms informing militaries would have long disappeared. As it stands, women in the military still face a double battle--against the patriarchal institution, as well as against the military's purported enemies.

Drawing on interviews with 100 women military veterans about their experiences in combat, this book asks what insights are gained when we take women's experiences in war as our starting point instead of treating them as "add-ons" to more fundamental or mainstream levels of analysis, and what importance these experiences hold for an analysis of violence and for security studies. Importantly, the authors introduce a theoretical framework in critical security studies for understanding (vis-à-vis binary deconstructions of the terms used in these fields) the integration of women soldiers into combat and combat-support roles, as well as the challenges they face. While the book focuses on women in the Israeli Defence Forces, the book provides different perspectives about why it is important to explore women in combat, what their experiences teach us, and how to consider soldiers and veterans both as citizens and as violent state actors--an issue with which scholars are often reluctant to engage. Breaking the Binaries in Security Studies raises methodological considerations about ways of evaluating power relations in conflict situations and patriarchal structures.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 13, 2020

"Climate Change from the Streets"

New from Yale University Press: Climate Change from the Streets: How Conflict and Collaboration Strengthen the Environmental Justice Movement by Michael Méndez.

About the book, from the publisher:
An urgent and timely story of the contentious politics of incorporating environmental justice into global climate change policy

Although the science of climate change is clear, policy decisions about how to respond to its effects remain contentious. Even when such decisions claim to be guided by objective knowledge, they are made and implemented through political institutions and relationships—and all the competing interests and power struggles that this implies. Michael Méndez tells a timely story of people, place, and power in the context of climate change and inequality. He explores the perspectives and influence low-income people of color bring to their advocacy work on climate change. In California, activist groups have galvanized behind issues such as air pollution, poverty alleviation, and green jobs to advance equitable climate solutions at the local, state, and global levels. Arguing that environmental protection and improving public health are inextricably linked, Mendez contends that we must incorporate local knowledge, culture, and history into policymaking to fully address the global complexities of climate change and the real threats facing our local communities.
Visit Michael Méndez's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 12, 2020

"Baby Jails"

New from the University of California Press: Baby Jails: The Fight to End the Incarceration of Refugee Children in America by Philip G. Schrag.

About the book, from the publisher:
“I worked in a trailer that ICE had set aside for conversations between the women and the attorneys. While we talked, their children, most of whom seemed to be between three and eight years old, played with a few toys on the floor. It was hard for me to get my head around the idea of a jail full of toddlers, but there they were.”

For decades, advocates for refugee children and families have fought to end the U.S. government’s practice of jailing children and families for months, or even years, until overburdened immigration courts could rule on their claims for asylum. Baby Jails is the history of that legal and political struggle. Philip G. Schrag, the director of Georgetown University’s asylum law clinic, takes readers through thirty years of conflict over which refugee advocates resisted the detention of migrant children. The saga began during the Reagan administration when 15-year-old Jenny Lisette Flores languished in a Los Angeles motel that the government had turned into a makeshift jail by draining the swimming pool, barring the windows, and surrounding the building with barbed wire. What became known as the Flores Settlement Agreement was still at issue years later, when the Trump administration resorted to the forced separation of families after the courts would not allow long-term jailing of the children. Schrag provides recommendations for the reform of a system that has brought anguish and trauma to thousands of parents and children. Provocative and timely, Baby Jails exposes the ongoing struggle between the U.S. government and immigrant advocates over the duration and conditions of confinement of children who seek safety in America.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 11, 2020

"How the Old World Ended"

New from Yale University Press: How the Old World Ended: The Anglo-Dutch-American Revolution 1500-1800 by Jonathan Scott.

About the book, from the publisher:
A magisterial account of how the cultural and maritime relationships between the British, Dutch and American territories changed the existing world order – and made the Industrial Revolution possible

Between 1500 and 1800, the North Sea region overtook the Mediterranean as the most dynamic part of the world. At its core the Anglo-Dutch relationship intertwined close alliance and fierce antagonism to intense creative effect. But a precondition for the Industrial Revolution was also the establishment in British North America of a unique type of colony – for the settlement of people and culture, rather than the extraction of things.

England’s republican revolution of 1649–53 was a spectacular attempt to change social, political and moral life in the direction pioneered by the Dutch. In this wide-angled and arresting book Jonathan Scott argues that it was also a turning point in world history.

In the revolution’s wake, competition with the Dutch transformed the military-fiscal and naval resources of the state. One result was a navally protected Anglo-American trading monopoly. Within this context, more than a century later, the Industrial Revolution would be triggered by the alchemical power of American shopping.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 10, 2020

"Woodrow Wilson and the Reimagining of Eastern Europe"

New from Stanford University Press: Woodrow Wilson and the Reimagining of Eastern Europe by Larry Wolff.

About the book, from the publisher:
At the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, where the victorious Allied powers met to reenvision the map of Europe in the aftermath of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson's influence on the remapping of borders was profound. But it was his impact on the modern political structuring of Eastern Europe that would be perhaps his most enduring international legacy: neither Czechoslovakia nor Yugoslavia exist today, but their geopolitical presence persisted across the twentieth century from the end of World War I to the end of the Cold War. They were created in large part thanks to Wilson's advocacy, and in particular, his Fourteen Points speech of January 1918, which hinged in large part on the concept of national self-determination.

But despite his deep involvement in the region's geopolitical transformation, President Wilson never set eyes on Eastern Europe, and never traveled to a single one of the eastern lands whose political destiny he so decisively influenced. Eastern Europe, invented in the age of Enlightenment by the travelers and philosophies of Western Europe, was reinvented on the map of the early twentieth century with the crucial intervention of an American president who deeply invested his political and emotional energies in lands that he would never visit.

This book traces how Wilson's emerging definition of national self-determination and his practical application of the principle changed over time as negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference unfolded. Larry Wolff exposes the contradictions between Wilson's principles and their implementation in the peace settlement for Eastern Europe, and sheds light on how his decisions were influenced by both personal relationships and his growing awareness of the history of the Ottoman and Habsburg empires.
Visit Larry Wolff's NYU faculty webpage.

The Page 99 Test: The Idea of Galicia.

The Page 99 Test: The Singing Turk.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 9, 2020

"Hitler’s Jewish Refugees"

New from Yale University Press: Hitler’s Jewish Refugees: Hope and Anxiety in Portugal by Marion Kaplan.

About the book, from the publisher:
An award-winning historian presents an emotional history of Jewish refugees biding their time in Portugal as they attempt to escape Nazi Europe

This riveting book describes the experience of Jewish refugees as they fled Hitler to live in limbo in Portugal until they could reach safer havens abroad. Drawing attention not only to the social and physical upheavals of refugee life, Kaplan highlights their feelings as they fled their homes and histories while begging strangers for kindness. An emotional history of fleeing, this book probes how specific locations touched refugees’ inner lives, including the borders they nervously crossed or the overcrowded transatlantic ships that signaled their liberation.
Marion Kaplan is Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History at New York University. She is the author of Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany and a three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

"Divested: Inequality in the Age of Finance"

New from Oxford University Press: Divested: Inequality in the Age of Finance by Ken-Hou Lin and Megan Tobias Neely.

About the book, from the publisher:
Finance is an inescapable part of American life. From how one pursues an education, buys a home, runs a business, or saves for retirement, finance orders the lives of ordinary Americans. And as finance continues to expand, inequality soars.

In Divested, Ken-Hou Lin and Megan Tobias Neely demonstrate why widening inequality cannot be understood without examining the rise of big finance. The growth of the financial sector has dramatically transformed the American economy by redistributing resources from workers and families into the hands of owners, executives, and financial professionals. The average American is now divested from a world driven by the maximization of financial profit.

Lin and Neely provide systematic evidence to document how the ascendance of finance on Wall Street, Main Street, and among households is a fundamental cause of economic inequality. They argue that finance has reshaped the economy in three important ways. First, the financial sector extracts resources from the economy at large without providing economic benefits to those outside the financial services industry. Second, firms in other economic sectors have become increasingly involved in lending and investing, which weakens the demand for labor and the bargaining power of workers. And third, the escalating consumption of financial products by households shifts risks and uncertainties once shouldered by unions, corporations, and governments onto families.

A clear, comprehensive, and convincing account of the forces driving economic inequality in America, Divested warns us that the most damaging consequence of the expanding financial system is not simply recurrent financial crises but a widening social divide between the have and have-nots.
--Marshal Zeringue