Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"Landscapes of the Secular"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Landscapes of the Secular: Law, Religion, and American Sacred Space by Nicolas Howe.

About the book, from the publisher:
“What does it mean to see the American landscape in a secular way?” asks Nicolas Howe at the outset of this innovative, ambitious, and wide-ranging book. It’s a surprising question because of what it implies: we usually aren’t seeing American landscapes through a non-religious lens, but rather as inflected by complicated, little-examined concepts of the sacred.

Fusing geography, legal scholarship, and religion in a potent analysis, Howe shows how seemingly routine questions about how to look at a sunrise or a plateau or how to assess what a mountain is both physically and ideologically, lead to complex arguments about the nature of religious experience and its implications for our lives as citizens. In American society—nominally secular but committed to permitting a diversity of religious beliefs and expressions—such questions become all the more fraught and can lead to difficult, often unsatisfying compromises regarding how to interpret and inhabit our public lands and spaces. A serious commitment to secularism, Howe shows, forces us to confront the profound challenges of true religious diversity in ways that often will have their ultimate expression in our built environment. This provocative exploration of some of the fundamental aspects of American life will help us see the land, law, and society anew.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"Merchants and Explorers"

New from Oxford University Press: Merchants and Explorers: Roger Barlow, Sebastian Cabot, and Networks of Atlantic Exchange 1500-1560 by Heather Dalton.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the early sixteenth century, a young English sugar trader spent a night at what is now the port of Agadir in Morocco, watching from the tenuous safety of the Portuguese fort as the local tribesmen attacked the "Moors." Having recently departed the familiar environs of London and the Essex marshes, this was to be the first of several encounters Roger Barlow was to have with unfamiliar worlds.

Barlow's family was linked to networks where the exchange of goods and ideas merged, and his contacts in Seville brought him into contact with the navigator, Sebastian Cabot. Merchants and Explorers follows Barlow and Cabot across the Atlantic to South America and back to Spain and Reformation England. Heather Dalton uses their lives as an effective narrative thread to explore the entangled Atlantic world during the first half of the sixteenth century. In doing so, she makes a critical contribution to the fields of both Atlantic and global history.

Although it is generally accepted that the English were not significantly attracted to the Americas until the second half of the sixteenth century, Dalton demonstrates that Barlow, Cabot, and their cohorts had a knowledge of the world and its opportunities that was extraordinary for this period. She reveals how shared knowledge as well as the accumulation of capital in international trading networks prior to 1560 influenced emerging ideas of trade, "discovery," settlement, and race in Britain. In doing so, Dalton not only provides a substantial new body of facts about trade and exploration, she explores the changing character of English commerce and society in the first half of the sixteenth century.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Value of Labor"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Value of Labor: The Science of Commodification in Hungary, 1920-1956 by Martha Lampland.

About the book, from the publisher:
At the heart of today’s fierce political anger over income inequality is a feature of capitalism that Karl Marx famously obsessed over: the commodification of labor. Most of us think wage-labor economics is at odds with socialist thinking, but as Martha Lampland explains in this fascinating look at twentieth-century Hungary, there have been moments when such economics actually flourished under socialist regimes. Exploring the region’s transition from a capitalist to a socialist system—and the economic science and practices that endured it—she sheds new light on the two most polarized ideologies of modern history.

Lampland trains her eye on the scientific claims of modern economic modeling, using Hungary’s unique vantage point to show how theories, policies, and techniques for commodifying agrarian labor that were born in the capitalist era were adopted by the socialist regime as a scientifically designed wage system on cooperative farms. Paying attention to the specific historical circumstances of Hungary, she explores the ways economists and the abstract notions they traffic in can both shape and be shaped by local conditions, and she compellingly shows how labor can be commodified in the absence of a labor market. The result is a unique account of economic thought that unveils hidden but necessary continuities running through the turbulent twentieth century.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 29, 2016

"To Care for Creation"

New from the University of Chicago Press: To Care for Creation: The Emergence of the Religious Environmental Movement by Stephen Ellingson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Controversial megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll proclaimed from a conference stage in 2013, “I know who made the environment and he’s coming back and going to burn it all up. So yes, I drive an SUV.” The comment, which Driscoll later explained away as a joke, highlights what has been a long history of religious anti-environmentalism. Given how firmly entrenched this sentiment has been, surprising inroads have been made by a new movement with few financial resources, which is deeply committed to promoting green religious traditions and creating a new environmental ethic.

To Care for Creation chronicles this movement and explains how it has emerged despite institutional and cultural barriers, as well as the hurdles posed by logic and practices that set religious environmental organizations apart from the secular movement. Ellingson takes a deep dive into the ways entrepreneurial activists tap into and improvise on a variety of theological, ethical, and symbolic traditions in order to issue a compelling call to arms that mobilizes religious audiences. Drawing on interviews with the leaders of more than sixty of these organizations, Ellingson deftly illustrates how activists borrow and rework resources from various traditions to create new meanings for religion, nature, and the religious person’s duty to the natural world.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Criminal Genius"

New from the University of California Press: Criminal Genius: A Portrait of High-IQ Offenders by James C. Oleson.

About the book, from the publisher:
For years, criminologists have studied the relationship between crime and below-average intelligence, concluding that offenders usually possess IQ scores of 8 to 10 points below those of nonoffenders. Little, however, is known about the criminal behavior of those with above-average IQ scores. This book provides some of the first empirical information about the self-reported crimes of people with genius-level IQ scores. Combining quantitative data from 72 different offenses with qualitative data from 44 follow-up interviews, James C. Oleson describes the nature of crime by offenders of high IQ thereby shedding light on a population often ignored in research and yet sensationalized by media.
James C. Oleson is Associate Professor of Criminology at the University of Auckland.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"Insecure Majorities"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign by Frances E. Lee.

About the book, from the publisher:
As Democrats and Republicans continue to vie for political advantage, Congress remains paralyzed by partisan conflict. That the last two decades have seen some of the least productive Congresses in recent history is usually explained by the growing ideological gulf between the parties, but this explanation misses another fundamental factor influencing the dynamic. In contrast to politics through most of the twentieth century, the contemporary Democratic and Republican parties compete for control of Congress at relative parity, and this has dramatically changed the parties’ incentives and strategies in ways that have driven the contentious partisanship characteristic of contemporary American politics.

With Insecure Majorities, Frances E. Lee offers a controversial new perspective on the rise of congressional party conflict, showing how the shift in competitive circumstances has had a profound impact on how Democrats and Republicans interact. For nearly half a century, Democrats were the majority party, usually maintaining control of the presidency, the House, and the Senate. Republicans did not stand much chance of winning majority status, and Democrats could not conceive of losing it. Under such uncompetitive conditions, scant collective action was exerted by either party toward building or preserving a majority. Beginning in the 1980s, that changed, and most elections since have offered the prospect of a change of party control. Lee shows, through an impressive range of interviews and analysis, how competition for control of the government drives members of both parties to participate in actions that promote their own party’s image and undercut that of the opposition, including the perpetual hunt for issues that can score political points by putting the opposing party on the wrong side of public opinion. More often than not, this strategy stands in the way of productive bipartisan cooperation—and it is also unlikely to change as long as control of the government remains within reach for both parties.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 27, 2016

"Politicking and Emergent Media"

New from the the University of California Press: Politicking and Emergent Media: US Presidential Elections of the 1890s by Charles Musser.

About the book, from the publisher:
Presidential campaigns of the twenty-first century were not the first to mobilize an array of new media forms in efforts to gain electoral victory. In Politicking and Emergent Media, distinguished historian Charles Musser looks at four US presidential campaigns during the long 1890s (1888–1900) as Republicans and Democrats deployed a variety of media forms to promote their candidates and platforms. New York—the crucial swing state as well as the home of Wall Street, Tammany Hall, and prominent media industries—became the site of intense struggle as candidates argued over trade issues, currency standards, and a new overseas empire. If the city’s leading daily newspapers were mostly Democratic as the decade began, Republicans eagerly exploited alternative media opportunities. Using the stereopticon (a modernized magic lantern), they developed the first campaign documentaries. Soon they were exploiting motion pictures, the phonograph, and telephone in surprising and often successful ways. Brimming with rich historical details, Musser’s remarkable tale reveals the political forces driving the emergence of modern media.
Visit Charles Musser's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Poverty Industry"

New from New York University Press: The Poverty Industry: The Exploitation of America's Most Vulnerable Citizens by Daniel L. Hatcher.

About the book, from the publisher:
Government aid doesn’t always go where it’s supposed to. Foster care agencies team up with companies to take disability and survivor benefits from abused and neglected children. States and their revenue consultants use illusory schemes to siphon Medicaid funds intended for children and the poor into general state coffers. Child support payments for foster children and families on public assistance are converted into government revenue. And the poverty industry keeps expanding, leaving us with nursing homes and juvenile detention centers that sedate residents to reduce costs and maximize profit, local governments buying nursing homes to take the facilities’ federal aid while the elderly languish with poor care, and counties hiring companies to mine the poor for additional funds in modern day debtor’s prisons.

In The Poverty Industry, Daniel L. Hatcher shows us how state governments and their private industry partners are profiting from the social safety net, turning America’s most vulnerable populations into sources of revenue. The poverty industry is stealing billions in federal aid and other funds from impoverished families, abused and neglected children, and the disabled and elderly poor. As policy experts across the political spectrum debate how to best structure government assistance programs, a massive siphoning of the safety net is occurring behind the scenes.In the face of these abuses of power, Hatcher offers a road map for reforms to realign the practices of human service agencies with their intended purpose, to prevent the misuse of public taxpayer dollars, and to ensure that government aid truly gets to those in need.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 26, 2016

"Selling Hitler"

New from Oxford University Press: Selling Hitler: Propaganda and the Nazi Brand by Nicholas O'Shaughnessy.

About the book, from the publisher:
Hitler was one of the few politicians who understood that persuasion was everything, deployed to anchor an entire regime in the confections of imagery, rhetoric and dramaturgy. The Nazis pursued propaganda not just as a tool, an instrument of government, but also as the totality, the raison d'être, the medium through which power itself was exercised. Moreover, Nicholas O'Shaughnessy argues, Hitler, not Goebbels, was the prime mover in the propaganda regime of the Third Reich - its editor and first author.

Under the Reich everything was a propaganda medium, a building-block of public consciousness, from typography to communiqués, to architecture, to weapons design. There were groups to initiate rumours and groups to spread graffiti. Everything could be interrogated for its propaganda potential, every surface inscribed with polemical meaning, whether an enemy city's name, an historical epic or the poster on a neighbourhood wall. But Hitler was in no sense an innovator - his ideas were always second-hand. Rather his expertise was as a packager, fashioning from the accumulated mass of icons and ideas, the historic debris, the labyrinths and byways of the German mind, a modern and brilliant political show articulated through deftly managed symbols and rituals. The Reich would have been unthinkable without propaganda - it would not have been the Reich.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 25, 2016

"British Women of the Eastern Front"

New from Manchester University Press: British Women of the Eastern Front: War, Writing and Experience in Serbia and Russia, 1914-20 by Angela K. Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book explores the experiences of a range of women from the early days of 1914, through the big events of the war on the Eastern Front. Their diaries, letters, memoirs and journalism are used to investigate the extraordinary role played by British women during the fall of Serbia, the Russian Revolution and the final push, and their role in reconstruction following the Armistice. These women, and their writings, are examined through the multiple lenses of gender, nationality, patriotism, imperialism and legacy, but the book also tells the stories of individuals, and will appeal across audiences to students, researchers and general readers. This is the first book to examine the war in the East through the eyes of British women and as such makes an important contribution to First World War Studies.
Angela K. Smith is Associate Professor in English at Plymouth University.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Between Truth and Time"

New from Yale University Press: Between Truth and Time: A History of Soviet Central Television by Christine Elaine Evans.

About the book, from the publisher:
The first full-length, archive-based history of Soviet Central Television’s production and programming in the decades before perestroika

In the first full-length study of Soviet Central Television to draw extensively on archival sources, interviews, and television recordings, Evans challenges the idea that Soviet mass culture in the Brezhnev era was dull and formulaic. Tracing the emergence of play, conflict, and competition on Soviet news programs, serial films, and variety and game shows, Evans shows that Soviet Central Television’s most popular shows were experimental and creative, laying the groundwork for Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms and the post-Soviet media system.
Christine E. Evans is assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Samurai to Soldier"

New from Cornell University Press: Samurai to Soldier: Remaking Military Service in Nineteenth-Century Japan by D. Colin Jaundrill.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Samurai to Soldier, D. Colin Jaundrill rewrites the military history of nineteenth-century Japan. In fifty years spanning the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate and the rise of the Meiji nation-state, conscripts supplanted warriors as Japan's principal arms-bearers. The most common version of this story suggests that the Meiji institution of compulsory military service was the foundation of Japan’s efforts to save itself from the imperial ambitions of the West and set the country on the path to great power status. Jaundrill argues, to the contrary, that the conscript army of the Meiji period was the culmination—and not the beginning—of a long process of experimentation with military organization and technology.

Jaundrill traces the radical changes to Japanese military institutions, as well as the on-field consequences of military reforms in his accounts of the Boshin War (1868–1869) and the Satsuma Rebellions of 1877. He shows how pre-1868 developments laid the foundations for the army that would secure Japan’s Asian empire.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Jewish Salonica"

New from Stanford University Press: Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece by Devin Naar.

About the book, from the publisher:
Touted as the "Jerusalem of the Balkans," the Mediterranean port city of Salonica (Thessaloniki) was once home to the largest Sephardic Jewish community in the world. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the city's incorporation into Greece in 1912 provoked a major upheaval that compelled Salonica's Jews to reimagine their community and status as citizens of a nation-state. Jewish Salonica is the first book to tell the story of this tumultuous transition through the voices and perspectives of Salonican Jews as they forged a new place for themselves in Greek society.

Devin E. Naar traveled the globe, from New York to Salonica, Jerusalem, and Moscow, to excavate archives once confiscated by the Nazis. Written in Ladino, Greek, French, and Hebrew, these archives, combined with local newspapers, reveal how Salonica's Jews fashioned a new hybrid identity as Hellenic Jews during a period marked by rising nationalism and economic crisis as well as unprecedented Jewish cultural and political vibrancy. Salonica's Jews—Zionists, assimilationists, and socialists—reinvigorated their connection to the city and claimed it as their own until the Holocaust. Through the case of Salonica's Jews, Naar recovers the diverse experiences of a lost religious, linguistic, and national minority at the crossroads of Europe and the Middle East.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 22, 2016

"All Things Made New"

New from Oxford University Press: All Things Made New: The Reformation and Its Legacy by Diarmaid MacCulloch.

About the book, from the publisher:
The most profound characteristic of Western Europe in the Middle Ages was its cultural and religious unity, a unity secured by a common alignment with the Pope in Rome, and a common language - Latin - for worship and scholarship. The Reformation shattered that unity, and the consequences are still with us today. In All Things Made New, Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of the New York Times bestseller Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, examines not only the Reformation's impact across Europe, but also the Catholic Counter-Reformation and the special evolution of religion in England, revealing how one of the most turbulent, bloody, and transformational events in Western history has shaped modern society.

The Reformation may have launched a social revolution, MacCulloch argues, but it was not caused by social and economic forces, or even by a secular idea like nationalism; it sprang from a big idea about death, salvation, and the afterlife. This idea - that salvation was entirely in God's hands and there was nothing humans could do to alter his decision - ended the Catholic Church's monopoly in Europe and altered the trajectory of the entire future of the West.

By turns passionate, funny, meditative, and subversive, All Things Made New takes readers onto fascinating new ground, exploring the original conflicts of the Reformation and cutting through prejudices that continue to distort popular conceptions of a religious divide still with us after five centuries. This monumental work, from one of the most distinguished scholars of Christianity writing today, explores the ways in which historians have told the tale of the Reformation, why their interpretations have changed so dramatically over time, and ultimately, how the contested legacy of this revolution continues to impact the world today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 21, 2016

"Outsourced Children"

New from Stanford University Press: Outsourced Children: Orphanage Care and Adoption in Globalizing China by Leslie Wang.

About the book, from the publisher:
It's no secret that tens of thousands of Chinese children have been adopted by American parents and that Western aid organizations have invested in helping orphans in China—but why have Chinese authorities allowed this exchange, and what does it reveal about processes of globalization?

Countries that allow their vulnerable children to be cared for by outsiders are typically viewed as weaker global players. However, Leslie K. Wang argues that China has turned this notion on its head by outsourcing the care of its unwanted children to attract foreign resources and secure closer ties with Western nations. She demonstrates the two main ways that this "outsourced intimacy" operates as an ongoing transnational exchange: first, through the exportation of mostly healthy girls into Western homes via adoption, and second, through the subsequent importation of first-world actors, resources, and practices into orphanages to care for the mostly special needs youth left behind.

Outsourced Children reveals the different care standards offered in Chinese state-run orphanages that were aided by Western humanitarian organizations. Wang explains how such transnational partnerships place marginalized children squarely at the intersection of public and private spheres, state and civil society, and local and global agendas. While Western societies view childhood as an innocent time, unaffected by politics, this book explores how children both symbolize and influence national futures.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"An Age of Risk"

New from Princeton University Press: An Age of Risk: Politics and Economy in Early Modern Britain by Emily C. Nacol.

About the book, from the publisher:
In An Age of Risk, Emily Nacol shows that risk, now treated as a permanent feature of our lives, did not always govern understandings of the future. Focusing on the epistemological, political, and economic writings of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, and Adam Smith, Nacol explains that in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain, political and economic thinkers reimagined the future as a terrain of risk, characterized by probabilistic calculation, prediction, and control.

In these early modern sources, Nacol contends, we see three crucial developments in thought on risk and politics. While early modern thinkers differentiated uncertainty about the future from probabilistic calculations of risk, they remained attentive to the ways uncertainty and risk remained in a conceptual tangle, a problem that constrained good decision making. They developed sophisticated theories of trust and credit as crucial background conditions for prudent risk-taking, and offered complex depictions of the relationships and behaviors that would make risk-taking more palatable. They also developed two narratives that persist in subsequent accounts of risk—risk as a threat to security, and risk as an opportunity for profit. Looking at how these narratives are entwined in early modern thought, Nacol locates the origins of our own ambivalence about risk-taking. By the end of the eighteenth century, she argues, a new type of political actor would emerge from this ambivalence, one who approached risk with fear rather than hope.

By placing a fresh lens on early modern writing, An Age of Risk demonstrates how new and evolving orientations toward risk influenced approaches to politics and commerce that continue to this day.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Singing Turk"

New from Stanford University Press: The Singing Turk: Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon by Larry Wolff.

About the book, from the publisher:
While European powers were at war with the Ottoman Empire for much of the eighteenth century, European opera houses were staging operas featuring singing sultans and pashas surrounded by their musical courts and harems. Mozart wrote The Abduction from the Seraglio. Rossini created a series of works, including The Italian Girl in Algiers. And these are only the best known of a vast repertory. This book explores how these representations of the Muslim Ottoman Empire, the great nemesis of Christian Europe, became so popular in the opera house and what they illustrate about European-Ottoman international relations.

After Christian armies defeated the Ottomans at Vienna in 1683, the Turks no longer seemed as threatening. Europeans increasingly understood that Turkish issues were also European issues, and the political absolutism of the sultan in Istanbul was relevant for thinking about politics in Europe, from the reign of Louis XIV to the age of Napoleon. While Christian European composers and publics recognized that Muslim Turks were, to some degree, different from themselves, this difference was sometimes seen as a matter of exotic costume and setting. The singing Turks of the stage expressed strong political perspectives and human emotions that European audiences could recognize as their own.
Visit Larry Wolff's NYU faculty webpage.

The Page 99 Test: The Idea of Galicia.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 19, 2016

"Jacked Up and Unjust"

New from the University of California Press: Jacked Up and Unjust: Pacific Islander Teens Confront Violent Legacies by Katherine Irwin and Karen Umemoto.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the context of two hundred years of American colonial control in the Pacific, Katherine Irwin and Karen Umemoto shed light on the experiences of today’s inner city and rural girls and boys in Hawai‘i who face racism, sexism, poverty, and political neglect. Basing their book on nine years of ethnographic research, the authors highlight how legacies of injustice endure, prompting teens to fight for dignity and the chance to thrive in America, a nation that the youth describe as inherently “jacked up”—rigged—and “unjust.” While the story begins with the youth battling multiple contingencies, it ends on a hopeful note with many of the teens overcoming numerous hardships, often with the guidance of steadfast, caring adults.
Katherine Irwin is Professor of Sociology at the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa.

Karen Umemoto is Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 18, 2016

"Dictators and their Secret Police"

New from Cambridge University Press: Dictators and their Secret Police: Coercive Institutions and State Violence by Sheena Chestnut Greitens.

About the book, from the publisher:
How do dictators stay in power? When, and how, do they use repression to do so? Dictators and their Secret Police explores the role of the coercive apparatus under authoritarian rule in Asia - how these secret organizations originated, how they operated, and how their violence affected ordinary citizens. Greitens argues that autocrats face a coercive dilemma: whether to create internal security forces designed to manage popular mobilization, or defend against potential coup. Violence against civilians, she suggests, is a byproduct of their attempt to resolve this dilemma. Drawing on a wealth of new historical evidence, this book challenges conventional wisdom on dictatorship: what autocrats are threatened by, how they respond, and how this affects the lives and security of the millions under their rule. It offers an unprecedented view into the use of surveillance, coercion, and violence, and sheds new light on the institutional and social foundations of authoritarian power.
Sheena Chestnut Greitens is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Missouri.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Resolve in International Politics"

 New from Princeton University Press: Resolve in International Politics by Joshua D. Kertzer.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why do some leaders and segments of the public display remarkable persistence in confrontations in international politics, while others cut and run? The answer given by policymakers, pundits, and political scientists usually relates to issues of resolve. Yet, though we rely on resolve to explain almost every phenomenon in international politics—from prevailing at the bargaining table to winning on the battlefield—we don’t understand what it is, how it works, or where it comes from. Resolve in International Politics draws on a growing body of research in psychology and behavioral economics to explore the foundations of this important idea.

Joshua Kertzer argues that political will is more than just a metaphor or figure of speech: the same traits social scientists and decision-making scholars use to comprehend willpower in our daily lives also shape how we respond to the costs of war and conflict. Combining laboratory and survey experiments with studies of great power military interventions in the postwar era from 1946 to 2003, Kertzer shows how time and risk preferences, honor orientation, and self-control help explain the ways leaders and members of the public define the situations they face and weigh the trade-offs between the costs of fighting and the costs of backing down.

Offering a novel in-depth look at how willpower functions in international relations, Resolve in International Politics has critical implications for understanding political psychology, public opinion about foreign policy, leaders in military interventions, and international security.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"Pioneers of the Field"

New from Cambridge University Press: Pioneers of the Field: South Africa's Women Anthropologists by Andrew Bank.

About the book, from the publisher:
Focusing on the crucial contributions of women researchers, Andrew Bank demonstrates that the modern school of social anthropology in South Africa was uniquely female-dominated. The book traces the personal and intellectual histories of six remarkable women through the use of a rich cocktail of new archival sources, including family photographs, private and professional correspondence, field-notes and field diaries, published and other public writings and even love letters. The book also sheds new light on the close connections between their personal lives, their academic work and their anti-segregationist and anti-apartheid politics. It will be welcomed by anthropologists, historians and students in African studies interested in the development of social anthropology in twentieth-century Africa, as well as by students and researchers in the field of gender studies.
Andrew Bank is a professor in the History Department at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Rural Modern"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Rural Modern: Reconstructing the Self and State in Republican China by Kate Merkel-Hess.

About the book, from the publisher:
Discussions of China’s early twentieth-century modernization efforts tend to focus almost exclusively on cities, and the changes, both cultural and industrial, seen there. As a result, the communist peasant revolution appears as a decisive historical break. Kate Merkel-Hess corrects that misconception by demonstrating how crucial the countryside was for reformers in China long before the success of the communist revolution.

In The Rural Modern, Merkel-Hess shows that Chinese reformers and intellectuals created an idea of modernity that was not simply about what was foreign and new, as in Shanghai and other cities, but instead captured the Chinese people’s desire for social and political change rooted in rural traditions and institutions. She traces efforts to remake village education, economics, and politics, analyzing how these efforts contributed to a new, inclusive vision of rural Chinese life. Merkel-Hess argues that as China sought to redefine itself, such rural reform efforts played a major role, and tensions that emerged between rural and urban ways deeply informed social relations, government policies, and subsequent efforts to create a modern nation during the communist period.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

"Feral Animals in the American South"

New from Cambridge University Press: Feral Animals in the American South: An Evolutionary History by Abraham Gibson.

About the book, from the publisher:
The relationship between humans and domestic animals has changed in dramatic ways over the ages, and those transitions have had profound consequences for all parties involved. As societies evolve, the selective pressures that shape domestic populations also change. Some animals retain close relationships with humans, but many do not. Those who establish residency in the wild, free from direct human control, are technically neither domestic nor wild: they are feral. If we really want to understand humanity's complex relationship with domestic animals, then we cannot simply ignore the ones who went feral. This is especially true in the American South, where social and cultural norms have facilitated and sustained large populations of feral animals for hundreds of years. Feral Animals in the American South retells southern history from this new perspective of feral animals.
Abraham H. Gibson teaches in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Arizona State University.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 15, 2016


New from Princeton University Press: Powerplay: The Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia by Victor Cha.

About the book, from the publisher:
While the American alliance system in Asia has been fundamental to the region’s security and prosperity for seven decades, today it encounters challenges from the growth of China-based regional organizations. How was the American alliance system originally established in Asia, and is it currently under threat? How are competing security designs being influenced by the United States and China? In Powerplay, Victor Cha draws from theories about alliances, unipolarity, and regime complexity to examine the evolution of the U.S. alliance system and the reasons for its continued importance in Asia and the world.

Cha delves into the fears, motivations, and aspirations of the Truman and Eisenhower presidencies as they contemplated alliances with the Republic of China, Republic of Korea, and Japan at the outset of the Cold War. Their choice of a bilateral “hub and spokes” security design for Asia was entirely different from the system created in Europe, but it was essential for its time. Cha argues that the alliance system’s innovations in the twenty-first century contribute to its resiliency in the face of China’s increasing prominence, and that the task for the world is not to choose between American and Chinese institutions, but to maximize stability and economic progress amid Asia’s increasingly complex political landscape.

Exploring U.S. bilateral relations in Asia after World War II, Powerplay takes an original look at how global alliances are achieved and maintained.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Politics without Stories"

New from Cambridge University Press: Politics without Stories: The Liberal Predicament by David Ricci.

About the book, from the publisher:
Liberal candidates, scholars, and activists mainly promote pragmatism rather than large and powerful narratives - which may be called 'alpha stories' for their commanding presence over time. Alternatively, conservative counterparts to such liberals tend to promote their policy preferences in alpha stories praising effective markets, excellent traditions, and limited government. In this face-off, liberals represent a post-Enlightenment world where many modern people, following Max Weber, are 'disenchanted', while many conservatives, echoing Edmund Burke, cherish stories borrowed from the past. Politics without Stories describes this storytelling gap as an electoral disadvantage for liberals because their campaigning lacks, and will continue to lack, the inspiration and shared commitments that great, long-term stories can provide. Therefore, Ricci argues that, for tactical purposes, liberals should concede their post-Enlightenment skepticism and rally around short-term stories designed to frame, in political campaigns, immediate situations which they regard as intolerable. These may help liberals win elections and influence the course of modern life.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 14, 2016

"State and Commonwealth"

New from Princeton University Press: State and Commonwealth: The Theory of the State in Early Modern England, 1549–1640 by Noah Dauber.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the history of political thought, the emergence of the modern state in early modern England has usually been treated as the development of an increasingly centralizing and expansive national sovereignty. Recent work in political and social history, however, has shown that the state—at court, in the provinces, and in the parishes—depended on the authority of local magnates and the participation of what has been referred to as "the middling sort." This poses challenges to scholars seeking to describe how the state was understood by contemporaries of the period in light of the great classical and religious textual traditions of political thought.

State and Commonwealth presents a new theory of state and society by expanding on the usual treatment of "commonwealth" in pre–Civil War English history. Drawing on works of theology, moral philosophy, and political theory—including Martin Bucer's De Regno Christi, Thomas Smith's De Republica Anglorum, John Case's Sphaera Civitatis, Francis Bacon's essays, and Thomas Hobbes's early works—Noah Dauber argues that the commonwealth ideal was less traditional than often thought. He shows how it incorporated new ideas about self-interest and new models of social order and stratification, and how the associated ideal of distributive justice pertained as much to the honors and offices of the state as to material wealth.

Broad-ranging in scope, State and Commonwealth provides a more complete picture of the relationship between political and social theory in early modern England.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 13, 2016

"Violent Sensations"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Violent Sensations: Sex, Crime, and Utopia in Vienna and Berlin, 1860-1914 by Scott Spector.

About the book, from the publisher:
Around the turn of the twentieth century, Vienna and Berlin were centers of scientific knowledge, accompanied by a sense of triumphalism and confidence in progress. Yet they were also sites of fascination with urban decay, often focused on sexual and criminal deviants and the tales of violence surrounding them. Sensational media reports fed the prurient public’s hunger for stories from the criminal underworld: sadism, sexual murder, serial killings, accusations of Jewish ritual child murder—as well as male and female homosexuality.

In Violent Sensations, Scott Spector explores how the protagonists of these stories—people at society’s margins—were given new identities defined by the groundbreaking sciences of psychiatry, sexology, and criminology, and how this expert knowledge was then transmitted to an eager public by journalists covering court cases and police investigations. The book analyzes these sexual and criminal subjects on three levels: first, the expertise of scientists, doctors, lawyers, and scholars; second, the sensationalism of newspaper scandal and pulp fiction; and, third, the subjective ways that the figures themselves came to understand who they were. Throughout, Spector answers important questions about how fantasies of extreme depravity and bestiality figure into the central European self-image of cities as centers of progressive civilization, as well as the ways in which the sciences of social control emerged alongside the burgeoning emancipation of women and homosexuals.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Hotel Mexico"

New from the University of California Press: Hotel Mexico: Dwelling on the '68 Movement by George F. Flaherty.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1968, Mexico prepared to host the Olympic games amid growing civil unrest. The spectacular sports facilities and urban redevelopment projects built by the government in Mexico City mirrored the country’s rapid but uneven modernization. In the same year, a street-savvy democratization movement led by students emerged in the city. Throughout the summer, the ‘68 Movement staged protests underscoring a widespread sense of political disenfranchisement. Just ten days before the Olympics began, nearly three hundred student protestors were massacred by the military in a plaza at the core of a new public housing complex.

In spite of institutional denial and censorship, the 1968 massacre remains a touchstone in contemporary Mexican culture thanks to the public memory work of survivors and Mexico’s leftist intelligentsia. In this highly original study of the afterlives of the ’68 Movement, George F. Flaherty explores how urban spaces—material but also literary, photographic, and cinematic—became an archive of 1968, providing a framework for de facto modes of justice for years to come.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 12, 2016

"How States Pay for Wars"

New from Cornell University Press: How States Pay for Wars by Rosella Cappella Zielinski.

About the book, from the publisher:
Armies fight battles, states fight wars. To focus solely on armies is to neglect the broader story of victory and defeat. Military power stems from an economic base, and without wealth, soldiers cannot be paid, weapons cannot be procured, and food cannot be bought. War finance is among the most consequential decisions any state makes: how a state finances a war affects not only its success on the battlefield but also its economic stability and its leadership tenure. In How States Pay for Wars, Rosella Cappella Zielinski clarifies several critical dynamics lying at the nexus of financial and military policy.

Cappella Zielinski has built a custom database on war funding over the past two centuries, and she combines those data with qualitative analyses of Truman's financing of the Korean War, Johnson’s financing of the Vietnam War, British financing of World War II and the Crimean War, and Russian and Japanese financing of the Russo-Japanese War. She argues that leaders who attempt to maximize their power at home, and state power abroad, are in a constant balancing act as they try to win wars while remaining in office. As a result of political risks, they prefer war finance policies that meet the needs of the war effort within the constraints of the capacity of the state.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Smutty Little Movies"

New from the University of California Press: Smutty Little Movies: The Creation and Regulation of Adult Video by Peter Alilunas.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the late 1970s, the adult film industry began the transition from celluloid to home video. Smutty Little Movies traces this change and examines the cultural and legal efforts to regulate, contain, limit, or eradicate pornography. Drawing on a wide variety of materials, Smutty Little Movies de-centers the film text in favor of industry histories and contexts. In so doing, the book argues that the struggles to contain and regulate pleasure represent a primary starting point for situating adult video’s place in a larger history, not just of pornography, but of media history as a whole.
Peter Alilunas is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Oregon.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 11, 2016

"Rape during Civil War"

New from Cornell University Press: Rape during Civil War by Dara Kay Cohen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Rape is common during wartime, but even within the context of the same war, some armed groups perpetrate rape on a massive scale while others never do. In Rape during Civil War Dara Kay Cohen examines variation in the severity and perpetrators of rape using an original dataset of reported rape during all major civil wars from 1980 to 2012. Cohen also conducted extensive fieldwork, including interviews with perpetrators of wartime rape, in three postconflict counties, finding that rape was widespread in the civil wars of the Sierra Leone and Timor-Leste but was far less common during El Salvador's civil war.

Cohen argues that armed groups that recruit their fighters through the random abduction of strangers use rape—and especially gang rape—to create bonds of loyalty and trust between soldiers. The statistical evidence confirms that armed groups that recruit using abduction are more likely to perpetrate rape than are groups that use voluntary methods, even controlling for other confounding factors. Important findings from the fieldwork—across cases—include that rape, even when it occurs on a massive scale, rarely seems to be directly ordered. Instead, former fighters describe participating in rape as a violent socialization practice that served to cut ties with fighters’ past lives and to signal their commitment to their new groups. Results from the book lay the groundwork for the systematic analysis of an understudied form of civilian abuse. The book will also be useful to policymakers and organizations seeking to understand and to mitigate the horrors of wartime rape.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Liking Ike"

New from Oxford University Press: Liking Ike: Eisenhower, Advertising, and the Rise of Celebrity Politics by David Haven Blake.

About the book, from the publisher:
Liking Ike reveals the prominent role that celebrities and advertising agencies played in Dwight Eisenhower's presidency. Guided by Madison Avenue executives and television pioneers, Eisenhower cultivated famous supporters as a way of building the broad-based support that had eluded Republicans for twenty years. While we often think of John F. Kennedy and his Rat Pack entourage as the beginning of presidential glamour in the United States, celebrities from Ethel Merman and Irving Berlin to Jimmy Stewart and Helen Hayes regularly appeared in Eisenhower's campaigns. Ike's political career was so saturated with stardom that opponents from the right and left accused him of being a glamour candidate.

Author David Haven Blake tells the story of how Madison Avenue executives strategically brought celebrities into the political process. Based on original interviews and long neglected archival materials, Liking Ike explores the changing dynamics of celebrity politics as Americans adjusted to the television age. By the 1920s, entertainers were routinely drawing publicity to their favorite candidates, but with the rise of television and mass advertising, political advisers began to professionalize the way that celebrities brought attention to presidential campaigns. In meetings, memos, and television scripts, they charted a strategy for leavening political programming with celebrity interviews, musical performances, and elaborate television spectaculars.

Commentators worried about the seemingly superficial values that television had introduced to political campaigns, and writers, filmmakers, and fellow politicians criticized the influence of glamour and publicity. But despite these complaints, Eisenhower's legacy would live on in the subsequent careers of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan-and, ultimately, provide a template for the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama, John McCain, Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton.
Visit David Haven Blake's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"Displaying Death and Animating Life"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Displaying Death and Animating Life: Human-Animal Relations in Art, Science, and Everyday Life by Jane C. Desmond.

About the book, from the publisher:
The number of ways in which humans interact with animals is almost incalculable. From beloved household pets to the steak on our dinner tables, the fur in our closets to the Babar books on our shelves, taxidermy exhibits to local zoos, humans have complex, deep, and dependent relationships with the animals in our ecosystems. In Displaying Death and Animating Life, Jane C. Desmond puts those human-animal relationships under a multidisciplinary lens, focusing on the less obvious, and revealing the individualities and subjectivities of the real animals in our everyday lives.

Desmond, a pioneer in the field of animal studies, builds the book on a number of case studies. She conducts research on-site at major museums, taxidermy conventions, pet cemeteries, and even at a professional conference for writers of obituaries. She goes behind the scenes at zoos, wildlife clinics, and meetings of pet cemetery professionals. We journey with her as she meets Kanzi, the bonobo artist, and a host of other animal-artists—all of whom are preparing their artwork for auction. Throughout, Desmond moves from a consideration of the visual display of unindividuated animals, to mourning for known animals, and finally to the marketing of artwork by individual animals. The first book in the new Animal Lives series, Displaying Death and Animating Life is a landmark study, bridging disciplines and reaching across divisions from the humanities and social sciences to chart new territories of investigation.
Visit Jane Desmond's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

"A Maid with a Dragon"

New from Oxford University Press: A Maid with a Dragon: The Cult of St Margaret of Antioch in Medieval England by Juliana Dresvina.

About the book, from the publisher:
This is the first comprehensive interdisciplinary study of the cult of St Margaret of Antioch in medieval England. Margaret was one of the most famous female saints of both the Catholic world and of Eastern Christianity (where she was known as St Marina). Her legend is remembered for her confrontation with a dragon-shaped devil, who allegedly swallowed Margaret and then burst asunder. This episode became firmly established in iconography, making her one of the most frequently represented saints. Margaret was supposedly martyred in the late 3rd century, but apart from the historically problematic legend there is no evidence concerning her in other contemporary sources. The sudden appearance of her name in liturgical manuscripts in the late 8th century is connected with the dispersal of her relics at that time. The cult grew in England from Anglo-Saxon times, with over 200 churches dedicated to Margaret (second only to Mary among female saints), and hundreds of images and copies of her life known to have been made.

The book examines Greek, Latin, Old English, Middle English and Anglo-Norman versions of Margaret's life, their mouvance and cultural context, providing editions of the hitherto unpublished texts. By considering these versions, the iconographic evidence, their patronage and audience, the monograph traces the changes of St Margaret's story through the eight centuries before the Reformation. The book also considers the further trajectory of the legend as reflected in popular fairy-tales and contemporary cultural stereotypes. Special attention is given to the interpretation of St Margaret's demonic encounter, central to the legend's iconography and theology.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Intimate Bonds"

New from the University of Pennsylvania Press: Intimate Bonds: Family and Slavery in the French Atlantic by Jennifer L. Palmer.

About the book, from the publisher:
Following the stories of families who built their lives and fortunes across the Atlantic Ocean, Intimate Bonds explores how households anchored the French empire and shaped the meanings of race, slavery, and gender in the early modern period. As race-based slavery became entrenched in French laws, all household members in the French Atlantic world —regardless of their status, gender, or race—negotiated increasingly stratified legal understandings of race and gender.

Through her focus on household relationships, Jennifer L. Palmer reveals how intimacy not only led to the seemingly immutable hierarchies of the plantation system but also caused these hierarchies to collapse even before the age of Atlantic revolutions. Placing families at the center of the French Atlantic world, Palmer uses the concept of intimacy to illustrate how race, gender, and the law intersected to form a new worldview. Through analysis of personal, mercantile, and legal relationships, Intimate Bonds demonstrates that even in an era of intensifying racial stratification, slave owners and slaves, whites and people of color, men and women all adapted creatively to growing barriers, thus challenging the emerging paradigm of the nuclear family. This engagingly written history reveals that personal choices and family strategies shaped larger cultural and legal shifts in the meanings of race, slavery, family, patriarchy, and colonialism itself.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 8, 2016

"The Age of Deference"

New from Oxford University Press: The Age of Deference: The Supreme Court, National Security, and the Constitutional Order by David Rudenstine.

About the book, from the publisher:
In October 1948-one year after the creation of the U.S. Air Force as a separate military branch-a B-29 Superfortress crashed on a test run, killing the plane's crew. The plane was constructed with poor materials, and the families of the dead sued the U.S. government for damages. In the case, the government claimed that releasing information relating to the crash would reveal important state secrets, and refused to hand over the requested documents. Judges at both the U.S. District Court level and Circuit level rejected the government's argument and ruled in favor of the families. However, in 1953, the Supreme Court reversed the lower courts' decisions and ruled that in the realm of national security, the executive branch had a right to withhold information from the public. Judicial deference to the executive on national security matters has increased ever since the issuance of that landmark decision. Today, the government's ability to invoke state secrets privileges goes unquestioned by a largely supine judicial branch.

David Rudenstine's The Age of Deference traces the Court's role in the rise of judicial deference to executive power since the end of World War II. He shows how in case after case, going back to the Truman and Eisenhower presidencies, the Court has ceded authority in national security matters to the executive branch. Since 9/11, the executive faces even less oversight. According to Rudenstine, this has had a negative impact both on individual rights and on our ability to check executive authority when necessary. Judges are mindful of the limits of their competence in national security matters; this, combined with their insulation from political accountability, has caused them in matters as important as the nation's security to defer to the executive. Judges are also afraid of being responsible for a decision that puts the nation at risk and the consequences for the judiciary in the wake of such a decision. Nonetheless, The Age of Deference argues that as important as these considerations are in shaping a judicial disposition, the Supreme Court has leaned too far, too often, and for too long in the direction of abdication. There is a broad spectrum separating judicial abdication, at one end, from judicial usurpation, at the other, and The Age of Deference argues that the rule of law compels the court to re-define its perspective and the legal doctrines central to the Age.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Troubled Refuge"

New from Knopf: Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War by Chandra Manning.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the author of What This Cruel War Was Over, a vivid portrait of the Union army’s escaped-slave refugee camps and how they shaped the course of emancipation and citizenship in the United States.

Even before shots were fired at Fort Sumter, slaves recognized that their bondage was at the root of the war they knew was coming, and they began running to the Union army. By the war’s end, nearly half a million had taken refuge behind Union lines in improvised “contraband camps.” These were crowded and dangerous places, with conditions approaching those of a humanitarian crisis. Yet families and individuals—some 12 to 15 percent of the Confederacy’s slave population—took unimaginable risks to reach them, and they became the first places where many Northerners would come to know former slaves en masse, with reverberating consequences for emancipation, its progress, and the Reconstruction that followed.

Drawing on records of the Union and Confederate armies, the letters and diaries of soldiers, transcribed testimonies of former slaves, and more, Chandra Manning allows us to accompany the black men, women, and children who sought out the Union army in hopes of achieving autonomy for themselves and their communities. Ranging from the stories of individuals to those of armies on the move to debates in the halls of Congress, Troubled Refuge probes the particular and deeply significant reality of the contraband camps: what they were really like and how former slaves and Union soldiers warily united there, forging a dramatically new but highly imperfect alliance between the government and African Americans. That alliance, which would outlast the war, helped destroy slavery and warded off the very acute and surprisingly tenacious danger of re-enslavement. It also raised, for the first time, humanitarian questions about refugees in wartime and legal questions about civil and military authority with which we still wrestle, as well as redefined American citizenship, to the benefit but also to the lasting cost of African Americans.

Integrating a wealth of new findings, Manning casts in wholly original light what it was like to escape slavery, how emancipation happened, and how citizenship in the United States was transformed. This reshaping of hard structures of power would matter not only for slaves turned citizens, but for all Americans.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 7, 2016

"Dissenting Japan"

New from Oxford University Press: Dissenting Japan: A History of Japanese Radicalism and Counterculture from 1945 to Fukushima by William Andrews.

About the book, from the publisher:
Conformist, mute and malleable? Andrews tackles head-on this absurd caricature of Japanese society in his fascinating history of its militant sub-cultures, radical societies and well-established traditions of dissent.

Following the March 2011 tsunami and Fukushima nuclear crisis, the media remarked with surprise on how thousands of demonstrators had flocked to the streets of Tokyo. But mass protest movements are nothing new in Japan and the post-war period experienced years of unrest and violence on both sides of the political spectrum: from demos to riots, strikes, campus occupations, faction infighting, assassinations and even international terrorism.

This is the first comprehensive history in English of political radicalism and counterculture in Japan, as well as the artistic developments during this turbulent time. It chronicles the major events and movements from 1945 to the new flowering of protests and civil dissent in the wake of Fukushima. Introducing readers to often ignored aspects of Japanese society, it explores the fascinating ideologies and personalities on the Right and the Left, including the student movement, militant groups and communes. While some elements parallel developments in Europe and America, much of Japan's radical recent past (and present) is unique and offers valuable lessons for understanding the context to the new waves of anti-government protests the nation is currently witnessing.
Visit William Andrews's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Politics of Shari'a Law"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Politics of Shari'a Law: Islamist Activists and the State in Democratizing Indonesia by Michael Buehler.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Islamization of politics in Indonesia after 1998 presents an underexplored puzzle: why has there been a rise in the number of shari'a laws despite the electoral decline of Islamist parties? Michael Buehler presents an analysis of the conditions under which Islamist activists situated outside formal party politics may capture and exert influence in Muslim-majority countries facing democratization. His analysis shows that introducing competitive elections creates new pressures for entrenched elites to mobilize and structure the electorate, thereby opening up new opportunities for Islamist activists to influence politics. Buehler's analysis of changing state-religion relations in formerly authoritarian Islamic countries illuminates broader theoretical debates on Islamization in the context of democratization. This timely text is essential reading for students, scholars, and government analysts.
Visit Michael Buehler's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 6, 2016

"Containing Balkan Nationalism"

New from Oxford University Press: Containing Balkan Nationalism: Imperial Russia and Ottoman Christians, 1856-1914 by Denis Vovchenko.

About the book, from the publisher:
Containing Balkan Nationalism focuses on the implications of the Bulgarian national movement that developed in the context of Ottoman modernization and of European imperialism in the Near East. The movement aimed to achieve the status of an independent Bulgarian Orthodox church, removing ethnic Bulgarians from the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. This independent church status meant legal and cultural autonomy within the Islamic structure of the Ottoman Empire, which recognized religious minorities rather than ethnic ones.

Denis Vovchenko shows how Russian policymakers, intellectuals, and prelates worked together with the Ottoman government, Balkan and other diplomats, and rival churches, to contain and defuse ethnic conflict among Ottoman Christians through the promotion of supraethnic religious institutions and identities. The envisioned arrangements were often inspired by modern visions of a political and cultural union of Orthodox Slavs and Greeks. Whether realized or not, they demonstrated the strength and flexibility of supranational identities and institutions on the eve of the First World War. The book encourages contemporary analysts and policymakers to explore the potential of such traditional loyalties to defuse current ethnic tensions and serve as organic alternatives to generic models of power-sharing and federation.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Making Roots"

New from the University of California Press: Making Roots: A Nation Captivated by Matthew F. Delmont.

About the book, from the publisher:
When Alex Haley’s book Roots was published by Doubleday in 1976 it became an immediate bestseller. The television series, broadcast by ABC in 1977, became the most popular miniseries of all time, captivating over a hundred million Americans. For the first time, Americans saw slavery as an integral part of the nation’s history. With a remake of the series in 2016 by A&E Networks, Roots has again entered the national conversation. In Making “Roots,” Matthew F. Delmont looks at the importance, contradictions, and limitations of mass culture and examines how Roots pushed the boundaries of history. Delmont investigates the decisions that led Alex Haley, Doubleday, and ABC to invest in the story of Kunta Kinte, uncovering how Haley’s original, modest book proposal developed into an unprecedented cultural phenomenon.
The Page 99 Test: The Nicest Kids in Town.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 5, 2016

"Woodrow Wilson: Ruling Elder, Spiritual President"

New from Oxford University Press: Woodrow Wilson: Ruling Elder, Spiritual President by Barry Hankins.

About the book, from the publisher:
When Woodrow Wilson was elected as a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in 1897, his preacher father allegedly remarked, "I would rather that he held that position than be president of the United States." Fifteen years later he was both. Easily one of the most religious presidents in American history, almost all of Wilson's policies and important speeches were infused with religious concepts. The son, grandson, and nephew of southern Presbyterian divines, with six consecutive generations of preachers on his mother's side, Wilson viewed his political career as a sacred calling. As he remarked to a Democratic Party leader just before his inauguration in 1913, "God ordained that I should be the next president of the United States."

As a scholar, Princeton University president, governor of New Jersey, then president, Wilson spent his entire career trying to further the cause of public righteousness. In 1905, he uttered his life's credo: "There is a mighty task before us and it welds us together. It is to make the United States a mighty Christian nation and to Christianize the World." Nonetheless, the 28th president was not principally a religious figure, and he didn't fit comfortably in any religious camp, either in his own time or today. In Woodrow Wilson: Ruling Elder, Spiritual President, Barry Hankins tells the story of Wilson's religion as he moved from the Calvinist orthodoxy of his youth to a progressive, spiritualized religion short on doctrine and long on morality.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Caught Up"

New from the University of California Press: Caught Up: Girls, Surveillance, and Wraparound Incarceration by Jerry Flores.

About the book, from the publisher:
From home, to school, to juvenile detention center, and back again. Follow the lives of fifty Latina girls living forty miles outside of Los Angeles, California, as they are inadvertently caught up in the school-to-prison pipeline. Their experiences in the connected programs between “El Valle” Juvenile Detention Center and “Legacy” Community School reveal the accelerated fusion of California schools and institutions of confinement. The girls participate in well-intentioned wraparound services designed to provide them with support at home, at school, and in the detention center. But these services may more closely resemble the phenomenon of wraparound incarceration, in which students, despite leaving the actual detention center, cannot escape the surveillance of formal detention, and are thereby slowly pushed away from traditional schooling and a productive life course.
Jerry Flores is a Ford Foundation Fellow, University of California President’s Postdoc, and Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice in the Social Work and Criminal Justice Program at the University of Washington, Tacoma.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"University, Court, and Slave"

New from Oxford University Press: University, Court, and Slave: Pro-Slavery Thought in Southern Colleges and Courts and the Coming of Civil War by Alfred L. Brophy.

About the book, from the publisher:
University, Court, and Slave reveals long-forgotten connections between pre-Civil War southern universities and slavery. Universities and their faculty owned people-sometimes dozens of people-and profited from their labor while many slaves endured physical abuse on campuses. The profits of enslaved labor helped pay for education, and faculty and students at times actively promoted the institution. They wrote about the history of slavery, argued for its central role in the southern economy, and developed a political theory that justified slavery. The university faculty spoke a common language of economic utility, history, and philosophy with those who made the laws for the southern states. Their extensive writing promoting slavery helps us understand how southern politicians and judges thought about the practice.

As Alfred L. Brophy shows, southern universities fought the emancipation movement for economic reasons, but used history, philosophy, and law in an attempt to justify their position. Indeed, as the antislavery movement gained momentum, southern academics and their allies in the courts became bolder in their claims. Some went so far as to say that slavery was supported by natural law. The combination of economic reasoning and historical precedent helped shape a southern, proslavery jurisprudence. Following Lincoln's November 1860 election, southern academics joined politicians, judges, lawyers, and other leaders in arguing that their economy and society was threatened. Southern jurisprudence led them to believe that any threats to slavery and property justified secession.

Bolstered by the courts, academics took their case to the southern public-and ultimately to the battlefield-to defend slavery. A path-breaking and deeply researched history of southern universities' investment in and defense of slavery, University, Court, and Slave will fundamentally transform our understanding of the institutional foundations of pro-slavery thought.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Best Laid Plans"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Best Laid Plans: Cultural Entropy and the Unraveling of AIDS Media Campaigns by Terence E. McDonnell.

About the book, from the publisher:
We see it all the time: organizations strive to persuade the public to change beliefs or behavior through expensive, expansive media campaigns. Designers painstakingly craft clear, resonant, and culturally sensitive messaging that will motivate people to buy a product, support a cause, vote for a candidate, or take active steps to improve their health. But once these campaigns leave the controlled environments of focus groups, advertising agencies, and stakeholder meetings to circulate, the public interprets and distorts the campaigns in ways their designers never intended or dreamed. In Best Laid Plans, Terence E. McDonnell explains why these attempts at mass persuasion often fail so badly.

McDonnell argues that these well-designed campaigns are undergoing “cultural entropy”: the process through which the intended meanings and uses of cultural objects fracture into alternative meanings, new practices, failed interactions, and blatant disregard. Using AIDS media campaigns in Accra, Ghana, as its central case study, the book walks readers through best-practice, evidence-based media campaigns that fall totally flat. Female condoms are turned into bracelets, AIDS posters become home decorations, red ribbons fade into pink under the sun—to name a few failures. These damaging cultural misfires are not random. Rather, McDonnell makes the case that these disruptions are patterned, widespread, and inevitable—indicative of a broader process of cultural entropy.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

"Lawyers at Play"

New from Oxford University Press: Lawyers at Play: Literature, Law, and Politics at the Early Modern Inns of Court, 1558-1581 by Jessica Winston.

About the book, from the publisher:
Many early modern poets and playwrights were also members of the legal societies the Inns of Court and these authors shaped the development of key genres of the English Renaissance, especially lyric poetry, dramatic tragedy, satire, and masque. But how did the Inns come to be literary centers in the first place, and why were they especially vibrant at particular times? Early modernists have long understood that urban setting and institutional environment were central to this phenomenon: in the vibrant world of London, educated men with time on their hands turned to literary pastimes for something to do. Lawyers at Play proposes an additional, more essential dynamic: the literary culture of the Inns intensified in decades of profound transformation in the legal profession. Focusing on the first decade of Elizabeth's reign, the period when a large literary network first developed around the societies, this study demonstrates that the literary surge at this time developed out of and responded to a period of rapid expansion in the legal profession and in the career prospects of members. Poetry, translation, and performance were recreational pastimes; however, these activities also defined and elevated the status of inns-of-court men as qualified, learned, and ethical participants in England's "legal magistracy": those lawyers, judges, justices of the peace, civic office holders, town recorders, and gentleman landholders who managed and administered local and national governance of England. Lawyers at Play maps the literary terrain of a formative but understudied period in the English Renaissance, but it also provides the foundation for an argument that goes beyond the 1560s to provide a framework for understanding the connections between the literary and legal cultures of the Inns over the whole of the early modern period.
--Marshal Zeringue