Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"From Slavery to the Cooperative Commonwealth"

New from Cambridge University Press: From Slavery to the Cooperative Commonwealth: Labor and Republican Liberty in the Nineteenth Century by Alex Gourevitch.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book reconstructs how a group of nineteenth-century labor reformers appropriated and radicalized the republican tradition. These “labor republicans” derived their definition of freedom from a long tradition of political theory dating back to the classical republics. In this tradition, to be free is to be independent of anyone else's will – to be dependent is to be a slave. Borrowing these ideas, labor republicans argued that wage laborers were unfree because of their abject dependence on their employers. Workers in a cooperative, on the other hand, were considered free because they equally and collectively controlled their work. Although these labor republicans are relatively unknown, this book details their unique, contemporary, and valuable perspective on both American history and the organization of the economy.
Alex Gourevitch is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Brown University.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"Affliction: Health, Disease, Poverty"

New from Fordham University Press: Affliction: Health, Disease, Poverty by Veena Das.

About the book, from the publisher:
Affliction inaugurates a novel way of understanding the trajectories of health and disease in the context of poverty. Focusing on low-income neighborhoods in Delhi, it stitches together three different sets of issues.

First, it examines the different trajectories of illness: What are the circumstances under which illness is absorbed within the normal and when does it exceed the normal putting resources, relationships, and even one's world into jeopardy?

A second set of issues involves how different healers understand their own practices. The astonishing range of practitioners found in the local markets in the poor neighborhoods of Delhi shows how the magical and the technical are knotted together in the therapeutic experience of healers and patients. The book asks: What is expert knowledge? What is it that the practitioner knows and what does the patient know? How are these different forms of knowledge brought together in the clinical encounter, broadly defined? How does this event of everyday life bear the traces of larger policies at the national and global levels?

Finally, the book interrogates the models of disease prevalence and global programming that emphasize surveillance over care and deflect attention away from the specificities of local worlds. Yet the analysis offered retains an openness to different ways of conceptualizing "what is happening" and stimulates a conversation between different disciplinary orientations to health, disease, and poverty.

Most studies of health and disease focus on the encounter between patient and practitioner within the space of the clinic. This book instead privileges the networks of relations, institutions, and knowledge over which the experience of illness is dispersed. Instead of thinking of illness as an event set apart from everyday life, it shows the texture of everyday life, the political economy of neighborhoods, as well as the dark side of care. It helps us see how illness is bound by the contexts in which it occurs, while also showing how illness transcends these contexts to say something about the nature of everyday life and the making of subjects.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 29, 2014

"The Trouble with Marriage"

New from the University of California Press: The Trouble with Marriage: Feminists Confront Law and Violence in India by Srimati Basu.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Trouble with Marriage is part of a new global feminist jurisprudence around marriage and violence that looks to law as strategy rather than solution. In this ethnography of lawyer-free family courts and mediations of rape and domestic violence charges in India, Srimati Basu depicts everyday life in legal sites of marital trouble, reevaluating feminist theories of law, marriage, violence, property, and the state. Basu argues that alternative dispute resolution, originally designed to empower women in a less adversarial legal environment, has created new subjectivities, but, paradoxically, has also reinforced oppressive socioeconomic norms that leave women no better off, individually or collectively.
Srimati Basu is Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Anthropology at the University of Kentucky. She is the author of She Comes to Take Her Rights: Indian Women, Property, and Propriety, the editor of Dowry and Inheritance (Issues in Contemporary Indian Feminism series), and the coeditor of Conjugality Unbound: Sexual Economy and the Marital Form in India.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 28, 2014

"1919, The Year of Racial Violence"

New from Cambridge University Press: 1919, The Year of Racial Violence: How African Americans Fought Back by David F. Krugler.

About the book, from the publisher:
1919, The Year of Racial Violence recounts African Americans' brave stand against a cascade of mob attacks in the United States after World War I. The emerging New Negro identity, which prized unflinching resistance to second-class citizenship, further inspired veterans and their fellow black citizens. In city after city – Washington, DC; Chicago; Charleston; and elsewhere – black men and women took up arms to repel mobs that used lynching, assaults, and other forms of violence to protect white supremacy; yet, authorities blamed blacks for the violence, leading to mass arrests and misleading news coverage. Refusing to yield, African Americans sought accuracy and fairness in the courts of public opinion and the law. This is the first account of this three-front fight – in the streets, in the press, and in the courts – against mob violence during one of the worst years of racial conflict in U.S. history.
David F. Krugler is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 27, 2014

"Showbiz Politics"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Showbiz Politics: Hollywood in American Political Life by Kathryn Cramer Brownell.

About the book, from the publisher:
Conventional wisdom holds that John F. Kennedy was the first celebrity president, in no small part because of his innate television savvy. But, as Kathryn Brownell shows, Kennedy capitalized on a tradition and style rooted in California politics and the Hollywood studio system. Since the 1920s, politicians and professional showmen have developed relationships and built organizations, institutionalizing Hollywood styles, structures, and personalities in the American political process. Brownell explores how similarities developed between the operation of a studio, planning a successful electoral campaign, and ultimately running an administration. Using their business and public relations know-how, figures such as Louis B. Mayer, Bette Davis, Jack Warner, Harry Belafonte, Ronald Reagan, and members of the Rat Pack made Hollywood connections an asset in a political world being quickly transformed by the media. Brownell takes readers behind the camera to explore the negotiations and relationships that developed between key Hollywood insiders and presidential candidates from Dwight Eisenhower to Bill Clinton, analyzing how entertainment replaced party spectacle as a strategy to raise money, win votes, and secure success for all those involved. She demonstrates how Hollywood contributed to the rise of mass-mediated politics, making the twentieth century not just the age of the political consultant, but also the age of showbiz politics.
Visit Kathryn Cramer Brownell's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 26, 2014

"Zoned in the USA"

New from Cornell University Press: Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land-Use Regulation by Sonia A. Hirt.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why are American cities, suburbs, and towns so distinct? Compared to European cities, those in the United States are characterized by lower densities and greater distances; neat, geometric layouts; an abundance of green space; a greater level of social segregation reflected in space; and—perhaps most noticeably—a greater share of individual, single-family detached housing. In Zoned in the USA, Sonia A. Hirt argues that zoning laws are among the important but understudied reasons for the cross-continental differences.

Hirt shows that rather than being imported from Europe, U.S. municipal zoning law was in fact an institution that quickly developed its own, distinctly American profile. A distinct spatial culture of individualism—founded on an ideal of separate, single-family residences apart from the dirt and turmoil of industrial and agricultural production—has driven much of municipal regulation, defined land-use, and, ultimately, shaped American life. Hirt explores municipal zoning from a comparative and international perspective, drawing on archival resources and contemporary land-use laws from England, Germany, France, Australia, Russia, Canada, and Japan to challenge assumptions about American cities and the laws that guide them.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 25, 2014

"The Other Saudis"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent and Sectarianism by Toby Matthiesen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Toby Matthiesen traces the politics of the Shia in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia from the nineteenth century until the present day. This book outlines the difficult experiences of being Shia in a Wahhabi state, and casts new light on how the Shia have mobilised politically to change their position. Shia petitioned the rulers, joined secular opposition parties and founded Islamist movements. Most Saudi Shia opposition activists profited from an amnesty in 1993 and subsequently found a place in civil society and the public sphere. However, since 2011 a new Shia protest movement has again challenged the state. The Other Saudis shows how exclusionary state practices created an internal Other and how sectarian discrimination has strengthened Shia communal identities. The book is based on little-known Arabic sources, extensive fieldwork in Saudi Arabia and interviews with key activists. Of immense geopolitical importance, the oil-rich Eastern Province is a crucial but little known factor in regional politics and Gulf security.
Visit Toby Matthiesen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

"Turks Across Empires"

New from Oxford University Press: Turks Across Empires: Marketing Muslim Identity in the Russian-Ottoman Borderlands, 1856-1914 by James H. Meyer.

About the book, from the publisher:
Turks Across Empires tells the story of the pan-Turkists, a group of Muslim activists who became involved in a wave of revolutions taking place in Russia (1905), Iran (1906) and the Ottoman Empire (1908), particularly focussing on the activities of three men, Yusuf Akcura, Ismail Gasprinskii, and Ahmet Agaoglu, who were part of a circle of Muslim writers and activists from Russia that was formed in Istanbul during the Young Turk era (1908-1918). The volume demonstrates how theirs is part of a much larger history of trans-imperial Muslims, the Russian-Ottoman borderlands, and the late imperial age.

James Meyer examines international Muslim activist politics within its broader context of the events taking place at that time in the Russian-Ottoman borderlands: mobility, revolution, and the politicization of identity. These issues connect the pan-Turkists to the communities in which they lived in Russia, as well as to a larger population of trans-imperial Muslims living between the two empires.

In particular, Turks Across Empires focuses upon three developments occurring between the middle of the nineteenth century and the First World War: an expansion in mobility, the outbreak of revolution, and a deep politicization of civilizational identity. Because these points are also characteristic of the post-Cold War era, Meyer argues that the experiences surrounding the pan-Turkists can provide valuable lessons for the present day. Drawing upon Russian and Turkic-language sources from Istanbul and a variety of Russian regions, this volume provides powerful insights into the nature of Russian-Ottoman interactions, during a time rich with possibility and change.
Visit James H. Meyer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"Muslim Midwives"

New from Cambridge University Press: Muslim Midwives: The Craft of Birthing in the Premodern Middle East by Avner Giladi.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book reconstructs the role of midwives in medieval to early modern Islamic history through a careful reading of a wide range of classical and medieval Arabic sources. The author casts the midwife's social status in premodern Islam as a privileged position from which she could mediate between male authority in patriarchal society and female reproductive power within the family. This study also takes a broader historical view of midwifery in the Middle East by examining the tensions between learned medicine (male) and popular, medico-religious practices (female) from early Islam into the Ottoman period and addressing the confrontation between traditional midwifery and Western obstetrics in the first half of the nineteenth century.
Avner Giladi is Professor of Islamic History at the University of Haifa, Israel.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 22, 2014

"Currency Politics"

New from Princeton University Press: Currency Politics: The Political Economy of Exchange Rate Policy by Jeffry A. Frieden.

About the book, from the publisher:
The exchange rate is the most important price in any economy, since it affects all other prices. Exchange rates are set, either directly or indirectly, by government policy. Exchange rates are also central to the global economy, for they profoundly influence all international economic activity. Despite the critical role of exchange rate policy, there are few definitive explanations of why governments choose the currency policies they do. Filled with in-depth cases and examples, Currency Politics presents a comprehensive analysis of the politics surrounding exchange rates.

Identifying the motivations for currency policy preferences on the part of industries seeking to influence politicians, Jeffry Frieden shows how each industry’s characteristics—including its exposure to currency risk and the price effects of exchange rate movements—determine those preferences. Frieden evaluates the accuracy of his theoretical arguments in a variety of historical and geographical settings: he looks at the politics of the gold standard, particularly in the United States, and he examines the political economy of European monetary integration. He also analyzes the politics of Latin American currency policy over the past forty years, and focuses on the daunting currency crises that have frequently debilitated Latin American nations, including Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil.

With an ambitious mix of narrative and statistical investigation, Currency Politics clarifies the political and economic determinants of exchange rate policies.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 21, 2014

"Appealing to Justice"

New from the University of California Press: Appealing to Justice: Prisoner Grievances, Rights, and Carceral Logic by Kitty Calavita and Valerie Jenness.

About the book, from the publisher:
Having gained unique access to California prisoners and corrections officials and to thousands of prisoners’ written grievances and institutional responses, Kitty Calavita and Valerie Jenness take us inside one of the most significant, yet largely invisible, institutions in the United States. Drawing on sometimes startlingly candid interviews with prisoners and prison staff, as well as on official records, the authors walk us through the byzantine grievance process, which begins with prisoners filing claims and ends after four levels of review, with corrections officials usually denying requests for remedies. Appealing to Justice is both an unprecedented study of disputing in an extremely asymmetrical setting and a rare glimpse of daily life inside this most closed of institutions. Quoting extensively from their interviews with prisoners and officials, the authors give voice to those who are almost never heard from. These voices unsettle conventional wisdoms within the sociological literature—for example, about the reluctance of vulnerable and/or stigmatized populations to name injuries and file claims, and about the relentlessly adversarial subjectivities of prisoners and correctional officials—and they do so with striking poignancy. Ultimately, Appealing to Justice reveals a system fraught with impediments and dilemmas, which delivers neither justice, nor efficiency, nor constitutional conditions of confinement.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 20, 2014

"Suspect Race"

New from Oxford University Press: Suspect Race: Causes and Consequences of Racial Profiling by Jack Glaser.

About the book, from the publisher:
Until now, most discussion of racial profiling has given only fleeting consideration of its causes. Those causes are overwhelmingly psychological. In Suspect Race, social psychologist and public policy expert Jack Glaser leverages a century's worth of social psychological research to provide a clear understanding of how stereotypes, even those operating outside of conscious awareness or control, can cause police to make discriminatory judgments and decisions about who to suspect, stop, question, search, use force on, and arrest. Glaser argues that stereotyping, even nonconscious stereotyping, is a completely normal human mental process, but that it leads to undesirable discriminatory outcomes. Police officers are normal human beings with normal cognition. They are therefore influenced by racial stereotypes that have long connected minorities with aggression and crime. Efforts to merely prohibit racial profiling are inadequate. Additionally, Glaser finds evidence that racial profiling can actually increase crime, and he considers the implications for racial profiling in counterterrorism, finding some similarities and some interesting differences with drug war profiling. Finally, he examines the policy landscape on which racial profiling resides and calls for improved data collection and supervision, reduced discretion, and increased accountability.

Drawing on criminology, history, psychological science, and legal and policy analysis, Glaser offers a broad and deep assessment of the causes and consequence of racial profiling. Suspect Race brings to bear the vast scientific literature on intergroup stereotyping to offer the first in-depth and accessible understanding of the primary cause of racial profiling, and to explore implications for policy.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 19, 2014

"The Empty Seashell"

New from Cornell University Press: The Empty Seashell: Witchcraft and Doubt on an Indonesian Island by Nils Bubandt.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Empty Seashell explores what it is like to live in a world where cannibal witches are undeniably real, yet too ephemeral and contradictory to be an object of belief. In a book based on more than three years of fieldwork between 1991 and 2011, Nils Bubandt argues that cannibal witches for people in the coastal, and predominantly Christian, community of Buli in the Indonesian province of North Maluku are both corporeally real and fundamentally unknowable.

Witches (known as gua in the Buli language or as suanggi in regional Malay) appear to be ordinary humans but sometimes, especially at night, they take other forms and attack people in order to kill them and eat their livers. They are seemingly everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The reality of gua, therefore, can never be pinned down. The title of the book comes from the empty nautilus shells that regularly drift ashore around Buli village. Convention has it that if you find a live nautilus, you are a gua. Like the empty shells, witchcraft always seems to recede from experience.

Bubandt begins the book by recounting his own confusion and frustration in coming to terms with the contradictory and inaccessible nature of witchcraft realities in Buli. A detailed ethnography of the encompassing inaccessibility of Buli witchcraft leads him to the conclusion that much of the anthropological literature, which views witchcraft as a system of beliefs with genuine explanatory power, is off the mark. Witchcraft for the Buli people doesn't explain anything. In fact, it does the opposite: it confuses, obfuscates, and frustrates. Drawing upon Jacques Derrida’s concept of aporia—an interminable experience that remains continuously in doubt—Bubandt suggests the need to take seriously people’s experiential and epistemological doubts about witchcraft, and outlines, by extension, a novel way of thinking about witchcraft and its relation to modernity.
--Marshal Zeringue

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

Monday, December 8, 2014

"Alexis in America"

New from LSU Press: Alexis in America: A Russian Grand Duke's Tour, 1871-1872 by Lee A. Farrow.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the autumn of 1871, Alexis Romanov, the fourth son of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, set sail from his homeland for an extended journey through the United States and Canada. A major milestone in U.S.–Russia relations, the tour also served Duke Alexis’s family by helping to extricate him from an unsuitable romantic entanglement with the daughter of a poet. Alexis in America recounts the duke’s progress through the major American cities, detailing his meetings with celebrated figures such as Samuel Morse and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and describing the national self-reflection that his presence spurred in the American people.

The first Russian royal ever to visit the United States, Alexis received a tour through post–Civil War America that emphasized the nation’s cultural unity. While the enthusiastic American media breathlessly reported every detail of his itinerary and entourage, Alexis visited Niagara Falls, participated in a bison hunt with Buffalo Bill Cody, and attended the Krewe of Rex’s first Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. As word of the royal visitor spread, the public flocked to train depots and events across the nation to catch a glimpse of the grand duke. Some speculated that Russia and America were considering a formal alliance, while others surmised that he had come to the United States to find a bride.

The tour was not without incident: many city officials balked at spending public funds on Alexis’s reception, and there were rumors of an assassination plot by Polish nationals in New York City. More broadly, the visit highlighted problems on the national level, such as political corruption and persistent racism, as well as the emerging cultural and political power of ethnic minorities and the continuing sectionalism between the North and the South. Lee Farrow joins her examination of these cultural underpinnings to a lively narrative of the grand duke’s tour, creating an engaging record of a unique moment in international relations.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 7, 2014

"Sex, Politics, and Putin"

New from Oxford University Press: Sex, Politics, and Putin: Political Legitimacy in Russia by Valerie Sperling.

About the book, from the publisher:
Is Vladimir Putin macho, or is he a "fag"? Sex, Politics, and Putin investigates how gender stereotypes and sexualization have been used as tools of political legitimation in contemporary Russia. Despite their enmity, regime allies and detractors alike have wielded traditional concepts of masculinity, femininity, and homophobia as a means of symbolic endorsement or disparagement of political leaders and policies.

By repeatedly using machismo as a means of legitimation, Putin's regime (unlike that of Gorbachev or Yeltsin) opened the door to the concerted use of gendered rhetoric and imagery as a means to challenge regime authority. Sex, Politics, and Putin analyzes the political uses of gender norms and sexualization in Russia through three case studies: pro- and anti-regime groups' activism aimed at supporting or undermining the political leaders on their respective sides; activism regarding military conscription and patriotism; and feminist activism. Arguing that gender norms are most easily invoked as tools of authority-building when there exists widespread popular acceptance of misogyny and homophobia, Sperling also examines the ways in which sexism and homophobia are reflected in Russia's public sphere.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 6, 2014

"Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations Became Mainstream"

New from Princeton University Press: Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations Became Mainstream by Christopher Bail.

About the book, from the publisher:
In July 2010, Terry Jones, the pastor of a small fundamentalist church in Florida, announced plans to burn two hundred Qur’ans on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Though he ended up canceling the stunt in the face of widespread public backlash, his threat sparked violent protests across the Muslim world that left at least twenty people dead. In Terrified, Christopher Bail demonstrates how the beliefs of fanatics like Jones are inspired by a rapidly expanding network of anti-Muslim organizations that exert profound influence on American understanding of Islam.

Bail traces how the anti-Muslim narrative of the political fringe has captivated large segments of the American media, government, and general public, validating the views of extremists who argue that the United States is at war with Islam and marginalizing mainstream Muslim-Americans who are uniquely positioned to discredit such claims. Drawing on cultural sociology, social network theory, and social psychology, he shows how anti-Muslim organizations gained visibility in the public sphere, commandeered a sense of legitimacy, and redefined the contours of contemporary debate, shifting it ever outward toward the fringe. Bail illustrates his pioneering theoretical argument through a big-data analysis of more than one hundred organizations struggling to shape public discourse about Islam, tracing their impact on hundreds of thousands of newspaper articles, television transcripts, legislative debates, and social media messages produced since the September 11 attacks. The book also features in-depth interviews with the leaders of these organizations, providing a rare look at how anti-Muslim organizations entered the American mainstream.
Visit Christopher Bail's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 5, 2014

"States of Division"

New from Oxford University Press: States of Division: Borders and Boundary Formation in Cold War Rural Germany by Sagi Schaefer.

About the book, from the publisher:
States of Division analyses the division of Germany and the development of the Iron Curtain during the four and a half decades of the Cold War. The centerpiece of this global fault-line was the thousand-mile-long border dividing Germany into West and East. This long border traversed primarily rural peripheries and the development of division along it entailed protracted processes of social and cultural demarcation. Unlike the Berlin Wall, which sprang up overnight in the urban enclave under watchful eyes of Soviet and Western armies, the inter-German border evolved slowly through interactions between frontier residents and various state agencies. The division of Germany and of the world emerged through conflicts between everyday practices, economic necessities, policies of German and foreign governments, and their ability to push these policies through.

The division of Germany was a multi-faceted process, which progressed slowly and unevenly. States of Division demonstrates that along with the crucial context of the Cold War, multiple historical and social frameworks are required to decipher division and explain how and where it took place. Dividing a modern integrated society along a thousand-mile border was not planned or intended by the allies and at no stage was agreed upon by East and West German authorities. It gave rise to contradictions and conflicts with practice and tradition, undermining economy and culture in the borderlands, and required protracted negotiations and considerable resources. It was not a fait accompli of Yalta or Potsdam, nor was it completed with the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. German division only stabilized as a sociopolitical fact through the inter-German compromise of the 1970s, which also planted the seeds of its undoing. Integrating local, regional and national perspectives, this volume tells a complex story, showing how diplomacy and policy affected daily practices and were affected by them.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Pressed for Time"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism by Judy Wajcman.

About the book, from the publisher:
The technologically tethered, iPhone-addicted figure is an image we can easily conjure. Most of us complain that there aren't enough hours in the day and too many e-mails in our thumb-accessible inboxes. This widespread perception that life is faster than it used to be is now ingrained in our culture, and smartphones and the Internet are continually being blamed. But isn't the sole purpose of the smartphone to give us such quick access to people and information that we'll be free to do other things? Isn't technology supposed to make our lives easier?

In Pressed for Time, Judy Wajcman explains why we immediately interpret our experiences with digital technology as inexorably accelerating everyday life. She argues that we are not mere hostages to communication devices, and the sense of always being rushed is the result of the priorities and parameters we ourselves set rather than the machines that help us set them. Indeed, being busy and having action-packed lives has become valorized by our productivity driven culture. Wajcman offers a bracing historical perspective, exploring the commodification of clock time, and how the speed of the industrial age became identified with progress. She also delves into the ways time-use differs for diverse groups in modern societies, showing how changes in work patterns, family arrangements, and parenting all affect time stress. Bringing together empirical research on time use and theoretical debates about dramatic digital developments, this accessible and engaging book will leave readers better versed in how to use technology to navigate life's fast lane.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"Contested Treasure"

New from Penn State University Press: Contested Treasure: Jews and Authority in the Crown of Aragon by Thomas W. Barton.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Contested Treasure, Thomas Barton examines how the Jews in the Crown of Aragon in the twelfth through fourteenth centuries negotiated the overlapping jurisdictions and power relations of local lords and the crown. The thirteenth century was a formative period for the growth of royal bureaucracy and the development of the crown’s legal claims regarding the Jews. While many Jews were under direct royal authority, significant numbers of Jews also lived under nonroyal and seigniorial jurisdiction. Barton argues that royal authority over the Jews (as well as Muslims) was far more modest and contingent on local factors than is usually recognized. Diverse case studies reveal that the monarchy’s Jewish policy emerged slowly, faced considerable resistance, and witnessed limited application within numerous localities under nonroyal control, thus allowing for more highly differentiated local modes of Jewish administration and coexistence. Contested Treasure refines and complicates our portrait of interfaith relations and the limits of royal authority in medieval Spain, and it presents a new approach to the study of ethnoreligious relations and administrative history in medieval European society.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

"Visions of Science"

New from University of Chicago Press: Visions of Science: Books and Readers at the Dawn of the Victorian Age by James A. Secord.

About the book, from the publisher:
The first half of the nineteenth century witnessed an extraordinary transformation in British political, literary, and intellectual life. There was widespread social unrest, and debates raged regarding education, the lives of the working class, and the new industrial, machine-governed world. At the same time, modern science emerged in Europe in more or less its current form, as new disciplines and revolutionary concepts, including evolution and the vastness of geologic time, began to take shape.

In Visions of Science, James A. Secord offers a new way to capture this unique moment of change. He explores seven key books—among them Charles Babbage’s Reflections on the Decline of Science, Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology, Mary Somerville’s Connexion of the Physical Sciences, and Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus—and shows how literature that reflects on the wider meaning of science can be revelatory when granted the kind of close reading usually reserved for fiction and poetry. These books considered the meanings of science and its place in modern life, looking to the future, coordinating and connecting the sciences, and forging knowledge that would be appropriate for the new age. Their aim was often philosophical, but Secord shows it was just as often imaginative, projective, and practical: to suggest not only how to think about the natural world but also to indicate modes of action and potential consequences in an era of unparalleled change.

Visions of Science opens our eyes to how genteel ladies, working men, and the literary elite responded to these remarkable works. It reveals the importance of understanding the physical qualities of books and the key role of printers and publishers, from factories pouring out cheap compendia to fashionable publishing houses in London’s West End. Secord’s vivid account takes us to the heart of an information revolution that was to have profound consequences for the making of the modern world.
Learn about James Secord's five best books about Charles Darwin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 1, 2014

"Banned: A History of Pesticides and the Science of Toxicology"

New from Yale University Press: Banned: A History of Pesticides and the Science of Toxicology by Frederick Rowe Davis.

About the book, from the publisher:
Rachel Carson’s eloquent book Silent Spring stands as one of the most important books of the twentieth century and inspired important and long-lasting changes in environmental science and government policy. Frederick Rowe Davis thoughtfully sets Carson’s study in the context of the twentieth century, reconsiders her achievement, and analyzes its legacy in light of toxic chemical use and regulation today.

Davis examines the history of pesticide development alongside the evolution of the science of toxicology and tracks legislation governing exposure to chemicals across the twentieth century. He affirms the brilliance of Carson’s careful scientific interpretations drawing on data from university and government toxicologists. Although Silent Spring instigated legislation that successfully terminated DDT use, other warnings were ignored. Ironically, we replaced one poison with even more toxic ones. Davis concludes that we urgently need new thinking about how we evaluate and regulate pesticides in accounting for their ecological and human toll.
--Marshal Zeringue