Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Politics of Security"

New from Oxford University Press: Politics of Security: British and West German Protest Movements and the Early Cold War, 1945-1970 by Holger Nehring.

About the book, from the publisher:
How did European societies experience the Cold War? Politics of Security focuses on a number of peace movements in Britain and West Germany from the end of Second World War in 1945 to the early 1970s to answer this question. Britons and West Germans had been fierce enemies in the Second World War. After 1945, however, many activists in both countries imagined themselves to be part of a common movement against nuclear armaments.

Combining comparative and transnational histories, Politics of Security stresses how these movements were deeply embedded in their own societies, but also transcended them. In particular, it highlights the centrality of the memories of the Second World War as a prism through which people made sense of the threat of nuclear war. By placing British and West German experiences side by side, Holger Nehring illuminates the general patterns and specific features of these debates, arguing that the key characteristic of these discussions was the countries' concerns with different notions of security. The volume highlights how these ideas changed over time, how they reflected more general political, social, and cultural trends, and how they challenged mainstream assumptions of politics and government.

This volume is the first to capture in a transnational fashion what activists did on marches against nuclear warfare, and what it meant to them and to others. It highlights the ways in which people became activists, and how they were transformed by these experiences. Nehring examines how these two societies with very different experiences and memories of the cruelties and atrocities of the Second World War drew on very similar arguments when they came to understand the Cold War through the prism of the previous world war.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"The Templars, the Witch, and the Wild Irish"

New from Cornell University Press: The Templars, the Witch, and the Wild Irish: Vengeance and Heresy in Medieval Ireland by Maeve Brigid Callan.

About the book, from the publisher:
Early medieval Ireland is remembered as the "Land of Saints and Scholars," due to the distinctive devotion to Christian faith and learning that permeated its culture. As early as the seventh century, however, questions were raised about Irish orthodoxy, primarily concerning Easter observances. Yet heresy trials did not occur in Ireland until significantly later, long after allegations of Irish apostasy from Christianity had sanctioned the English invasion of Ireland. In The Templars, the Witch, and the Wild Irish, Maeve Brigid Callan analyzes Ireland's medieval heresy trials, which all occurred in the volatile fourteenth century. These include the celebrated case of Alice Kyteler and her associates, prosecuted by Richard de Ledrede, bishop of Ossory, in 1324. This trial marks the dawn of the “devil-worshipping witch” in European prosecutions, with Ireland an unexpected birthplace.

Callan divides Ireland’s heresy trials into three categories. In the first stand those of the Templars and Philip de Braybrook, whose trial derived from the Templars’, brought by their inquisitor against an old rival. Ledrede’s prosecutions, against Kyteler and other prominent Anglo-Irish colonists, constitute the second category. The trials of native Irishmen who fell victim to the sort of propaganda that justified the twelfth-century invasion and subsequent colonization of Ireland make up the third. Callan contends that Ireland’s trials resulted more from feuds than doctrinal deviance and reveal the range of relations between the English, the Irish, and the Anglo-Irish, and the church’s role in these relations; tensions within ecclesiastical hierarchy and between secular and spiritual authority; Ireland’s position within its broader European context; and political, cultural, ethnic, and gender concerns in the colony.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"American Apocalypse"

New from Harvard University Press: American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism by Matthew Avery Sutton.

About the book, from the publisher:
The first comprehensive history of modern American evangelicalism to appear in a generation, American Apocalypse shows how a group of radical Protestants, anticipating the end of the world, paradoxically transformed it.

Matthew Avery Sutton draws on extensive archival research to document the ways an initially obscure network of charismatic preachers and their followers reshaped American religion, at home and abroad, for over a century. Perceiving the United States as besieged by Satanic forces—communism and secularism, family breakdown and government encroachment—Billy Sunday, Charles Fuller, Billy Graham, and others took to the pulpit and airwaves to explain how Biblical end-times prophecy made sense of a world ravaged by global wars, genocide, and the threat of nuclear extinction. Believing Armageddon was nigh, these preachers used what little time was left to warn of the coming Antichrist, save souls, and prepare the nation for God’s final judgment.

By the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan and conservative Republicans appropriated evangelical ideas to create a morally infused political agenda that challenged the pragmatic tradition of governance through compromise and consensus. Following 9/11, the politics of apocalypse continued to resonate with an anxious populace seeking a roadmap through a world spinning out of control. Premillennialist evangelicals have erected mega-churches, shaped the culture wars, made and destroyed presidential hopefuls, and brought meaning to millions of believers. Narrating the story of modern evangelicalism from the perspective of the faithful, Sutton demonstrates how apocalyptic thinking continues to exert enormous influence over the American mainstream today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 15, 2014

"Roman Girlhood and the Fashioning of Femininity"

New from Cambridge University Press: Roman Girlhood and the Fashioning of Femininity by Lauren Caldwell.

About the book, from the publisher:
Elite women in the Roman world were often educated, socially prominent, and even relatively independent. Yet the social regime that ushered these same women into marriage and childbearing at an early age was remarkably restrictive. In the first book-length study of girlhood in the early Roman Empire, Lauren Caldwell investigates the reasons for this paradox. Through an examination of literary, legal, medical, and epigraphic sources, she identifies the social pressures that tended to overwhelm concerns about girls' individual health and well-being. In demonstrating how early marriage was driven by a variety of concerns, including the value placed on premarital virginity and paternal authority, this book enhances an understanding of the position of girls as they made the transition from childhood to womanhood.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Toxic Injustice"

New from the University of California Press: Toxic Injustice: A Transnational History of Exposure and Struggle by Susanna Rankin Bohme.

About the book, from the publisher:
The pesticide dibromochloropropane, known as DBCP, was developed by the chemical companies Dow and Shell in the 1950s to target wormlike, soil-dwelling creatures called nematodes. Despite signs that the chemical was dangerous, it was widely used in U.S. agriculture and on Chiquita and Dole banana plantations in Central America. In the late 1970s, DBCP was linked to male sterility, but an uneven regulatory process left many workers—especially on Dole’s banana farms—exposed for years after health risks were known.

Susanna Rankin Bohme tells an intriguing, multilayered history that spans fifty years, highlighting the transnational reach of corporations and social justice movements. Toxic Injustice links health inequalities and worker struggles as it charts how people excluded from workplace and legal protections have found ways to challenge power structures and seek justice from states and transnational corporations alike.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 13, 2014

"The Gulf Monarchies and Climate Change"

New from Oxford University Press: The Gulf Monarchies and Climate Change: Abu Dhabi and Qatar in an Era of Natural Unsustainability by Mari Luomi.

About the book, from the publisher:
At the heart of Mari Luomi's salutary book is whether oil- and gas-dependent authoritarian monarchies can keep their natural resource use and the environment in balance. She argues that the Gulf monarchies have already reached their limits of 'natural sustainability', given that several of them are dependent on natural gas imports. Water resources are dwindling, and food import dependence is high and rising. Qatar's per capita emission of CO2 is ten times the global average. As a result of their booming economies, the Gulf monarchies' surging electricity and water demand have exerted unexpected pressures on domestic energy supply. Simultaneously, the consolidation of climate change on the international agenda has created a new uncertainty for local rulers whose survival depends on sales of oil and gas. Meanwhile domestic resource consumption, together with climate change, are putting unprecedented stress on the region's fragile desert environment. The Gulf is under stress, but so too are its states' power, wealth and ecosystems. Luomi reveals how Abu Dhabi and Qatar have responded to these new natural re- source-related pressures, particularly climate change, and how their responses are inextricably linked with elite legitimacy strategies and the 'natural unsustainability' of their political economies.
Visit Mari Luomi's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 12, 2014

"Don’t Blame Us"

New from Princeton University Press: Don’t Blame Us: Suburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party by Lily Geismer.

About the book, from the publisher:
Don’t Blame Us traces the reorientation of modern liberalism and the Democratic Party away from their roots in labor union halls of northern cities to white-collar professionals in postindustrial high-tech suburbs, and casts new light on the importance of suburban liberalism in modern American political culture. Focusing on the suburbs along the high-tech corridor of Route 128 around Boston, Lily Geismer challenges conventional scholarly assessments of Massachusetts exceptionalism, the decline of liberalism, and suburban politics in the wake of the rise of the New Right and the Reagan Revolution in the 1970s and 1980s. Although only a small portion of the population, knowledge professionals in Massachusetts and elsewhere have come to wield tremendous political leverage and power. By probing the possibilities and limitations of these suburban liberals, this rich and nuanced account shows that—far from being an exception to national trends—the suburbs of Massachusetts offer a model for understanding national political realignment and suburban politics in the second half of the twentieth century.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 11, 2014

"With Sails Whitening Every Sea"

New from Cornell University Press: With Sails Whitening Every Sea: Mariners and the Making of an American Maritime Empire by Brian Rouleau.

About the book, from the publisher:
Many Americans in the Early Republic era saw the seas as another field for national aggrandizement. With a merchant marine that competed against Britain for commercial supremacy and a whaling fleet that circled the globe, the United States sought a maritime empire to complement its territorial ambitions in North America. In With Sails Whitening Every Sea, Brian Rouleau argues that because of their ubiquity in foreign ports, American sailors were the principal agents of overseas foreign relations in the early republic. Their everyday encounters and more problematic interactions—barroom brawling, sexual escapades in port-city bordellos, and the performance of blackface minstrel shows—shaped how the United States was perceived overseas.

Rouleau details both the mariners' "working-class diplomacy" and the anxieties such interactions inspired among federal authorities and missionary communities, who saw the behavior of American sailors as mere debauchery. Indiscriminate violence and licentious conduct, they feared, threatened both mercantile profit margins and the nation’s reputation overseas. As Rouleau chronicles, the world’s oceans and seaport spaces soon became a battleground over the terms by which American citizens would introduce themselves to the world. But by the end of the Civil War, seamen were no longer the nation’s principal ambassadors. Hordes of wealthy tourists had replaced seafarers, and those privileged travelers moved through a world characterized by consolidated state and corporate authority. Expanding nineteenth-century America’s master narrative beyond the water’s edge, With Sails Whitening Every Sea reveals the maritime networks that bound the Early Republic to the wider world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"The Loneliness of the Black Republican"

New from Princeton University Press: The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power by Leah Wright Rigueur.

About the book, from the publisher:
Covering more than four decades of American social and political history, The Loneliness of the Black Republican examines the ideas and actions of black Republican activists, officials, and politicians, from the era of the New Deal to Ronald Reagan’s presidential ascent in 1980. Their unique stories reveal African Americans fighting for an alternative economic and civil rights movement—even as the Republican Party appeared increasingly hostile to that very idea. Black party members attempted to influence the direction of conservatism—not to destroy it, but rather to expand the ideology to include black needs and interests.

As racial minorities in their political party and as political minorities within their community, black Republicans occupied an irreconcilable position—they were shunned by African American communities and subordinated by the GOP. In response, black Republicans vocally, and at times viciously, critiqued members of their race and party, in an effort to shape the attitudes and public images of black citizens and the GOP. And yet, there was also a measure of irony to black Republicans’ “loneliness”: at various points, factions of the Republican Party, such as the Nixon administration, instituted some of the policies and programs offered by black party members. What’s more, black Republican initiatives, such as the fair housing legislation of senator Edward Brooke, sometimes garnered support from outside the Republican Party, especially among the black press, Democratic officials, and constituents of all races. Moving beyond traditional liberalism and conservatism, black Republicans sought to address African American racial experiences in a distinctly Republican way.

The Loneliness of the Black Republican provides a new understanding of the interaction between African Americans and the Republican Party, and the seemingly incongruous intersection of civil rights and American conservatism.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Speech Matters: On Lying, Morality, and the Law"

New from Princeton University Press: Speech Matters: On Lying, Morality, and the Law by Seana Valentine Shiffrin.

About the book, from the publisher:
To understand one another as individuals and to fulfill the moral duties that require such understanding, we must communicate with each other. We must also maintain protected channels that render reliable communication possible, a demand that, Seana Shiffrin argues, yields a prohibition against lying and requires protection for free speech. This book makes a distinctive philosophical argument for the wrong of the lie and provides an original account of its difference from the wrong of deception.

Drawing on legal as well as philosophical arguments, the book defends a series of notable claims—that you may not lie about everything to the “murderer at the door,” that you have reasons to keep promises offered under duress, that lies are not protected by free speech, that police subvert their mission when they lie to suspects, and that scholars undermine their goals when they lie to research subjects.

Many philosophers start to craft moral exceptions to demands for sincerity and fidelity when they confront wrongdoers, the pressures of non-ideal circumstances, or the achievement of morally substantial ends. But Shiffrin consistently resists this sort of exceptionalism, arguing that maintaining a strong basis for trust and reliable communication through practices of sincerity, fidelity, and respecting free speech is an essential aspect of ensuring the conditions for moral progress, including our rehabilitation of and moral reconciliation with wrongdoers.
--Marshal Zeringue