Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"Sexual Politics and Feminist Science"

New from Cornell University Press: Sexual Politics and Feminist Science: Women Sexologists in Germany, 1900–1933 by Kirsten Leng.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Sexual Politics and Feminist Science, Kirsten Leng restores the work of female sexologists to the forefront of the history of sexology. While male researchers who led the practice of early-twentieth-century sexology viewed women and their sexuality as objects to be studied, not as collaborators in scientific investigation, Leng pinpoints nine German and Austrian "women sexologists" and "female sexual theorists" to reveal how sex, gender, and sexuality influenced the field of sexology itself. Leng’s book makes it plain that women not only played active roles in the creation of sexual scientific knowledge but also made significant and influential interventions in the field. Sexual Politics and Feminist Science provides readers with an opportunity to rediscover and engage with the work of these pioneers.

Leng highlights sexology’s empowering potential for women, but also contends that in its intersection with eugenics, the narrative is not wholly celebratory. By detailing gendered efforts to understand and theorize sex through science, she reveals the cognitive biases and sociological prejudices that ultimately circumscribed the transformative potential of their ideas. Ultimately, Sexual Politics and Feminist Science helps readers to understand these women’s ideas in all their complexity in order to appreciate their unique place in the history of sexology.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Street Occupations"

New from the University Press of Texas: Street Occupations: Urban Vending in Rio de Janeiro, 1850 by Patricia Acerbi.

About the book, from the publisher:
Street vending has supplied the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro with basic goods for several centuries. Once the province of African slaves and free blacks, street commerce became a site of expanded (mostly European) immigrant participation and shifting state regulations during the transition from enslaved to free labor and into the early post-abolition period. Street Occupations investigates how street vendors and state authorities negotiated this transition, during which vendors sought greater freedom to engage in commerce and authorities imposed new regulations in the name of modernity and progress.

Examining ganhador (street worker) licenses, newspaper reports, and detention and court records, and considering the emergence of a protective association for vendors, Patricia Acerbi reveals that street sellers were not marginal urban dwellers in Rio but active participants in a debate over citizenship. In their struggles to sell freely throughout the Brazilian capital, vendors asserted their citizenship as urban participants with rights to the city and to the freedom of commerce. In tracing how vendors resisted efforts to police and repress their activities, Acerbi demonstrates the persistence of street commerce and vendors’ tireless activity in the city, which the law eventually accommodated through municipal street commerce regulation passed in 1924.

A focused history of a crucial era of transition in Brazil, Street Occupations offers important new perspectives on patron-client relations, slavery and abolition, policing, the use of public space, the practice of free labor, the meaning of citizenship, and the formality and informality of work.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 18, 2017

"The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics: How Abortion Transformed the Culture Wars by Andrew R. Lewis.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics documents a recent, fundamental change in American politics with the waning of Christian America. Rather than conservatives emphasizing morality and liberals emphasizing rights, both sides now wield rights arguments as potent weapons to win political and legal battles and build grassroots support. Lewis documents this change on the right, focusing primarily on evangelical politics. Using extensive historical and survey data that compares evangelical advocacy and evangelical public opinion, Lewis explains how the prototypical culture war issue - abortion - motivated the conservative rights turn over the past half century, serving as a springboard for rights learning and increased conservative advocacy in other arenas. Challenging the way we think about the culture wars, Lewis documents how rights claims are used to thwart liberal rights claims, as well as to provide protection for evangelicals, whose cultural positions are increasingly in the minority; they have also allowed evangelical elites to justify controversial advocacy positions to their base and to engage more easily in broad rights claiming in new or expanded political arenas, from health care to capital punishment.
Visit Andrew R. Lewis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 17, 2017

"The Dancing Lares and the Serpent in the Garden"

New from Princeton University Press: The Dancing Lares and the Serpent in the Garden: Religion at the Roman Street Corner by Harriet I. Flower.

About the book, from the publisher:
The most pervasive gods in ancient Rome had no traditional mythology attached to them, nor was their worship organized by elites. Throughout the Roman world, neighborhood street corners, farm boundaries, and household hearths featured small shrines to the beloved lares, a pair of cheerful little dancing gods. These shrines were maintained primarily by ordinary Romans, and often by slaves and freedmen, for whom the lares cult provided a unique public leadership role. In this comprehensive and richly illustrated book, the first to focus on the lares, Harriet Flower offers a strikingly original account of these gods and a new way of understanding the lived experience of everyday Roman religion.

Weaving together a wide range of evidence, Flower sets forth a new interpretation of the much-disputed nature of the lares. She makes the case that they are not spirits of the dead, as many have argued, but rather benevolent protectors—gods of place, especially the household and the neighborhood, and of travel. She examines the rituals honoring the lares, their cult sites, and their iconography, as well as the meaning of the snakes often depicted alongside lares in paintings of gardens. She also looks at Compitalia, a popular midwinter neighborhood festival in honor of the lares, and describes how its politics played a key role in Rome’s increasing violence in the 60s and 50s BC, as well as in the efforts of Augustus to reach out to ordinary people living in the city’s local neighborhoods.

A reconsideration of seemingly humble gods that were central to the religious world of the Romans, this is also the first major account of the full range of lares worship in the homes, neighborhoods, and temples of ancient Rome.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 16, 2017

"Demolition on Karl Marx Square"

New from Oxford University Press: Demolition on Karl Marx Square: Cultural Barbarism and the People's State in 1968 by Andrew Demshuk.

About the book, from the publisher:
Communist East Germany's demolition of Leipzig's perfectly intact medieval University Church in May 1968 was an act decried as "cultural barbarism" across the two Germanies and beyond. Although overshadowed by the crackdown on Prague Spring mere weeks later, the willful destruction of this historic landmark on a central site symbolically renamed Karl Marx Square represents an essential turning point in the relationship between the Communist authorities and the people they claimed to serve. As the largest case of public protest in East German history between the 1953 Uprising and 1989 Revolution, this intimate local trauma exhibits the inner workings of a "dictatorial" system and exposes the often gray and overlapping lines between state and citizenry, which included both quiet and open resistance, passive and active collaboration. Through deep analysis of untapped periodicals and archives (including once-classified State documents, Stasi, and police records, and extensive private protest letters), it introduces a broad cast of characters who helped make the inconceivable possible, and restores the voices of not a few ordinary citizens of all stripes who dared in the name of culture, humanism, and civic pride to protest what they saw as an inconceivable tragedy. In this city that later started the 1989 October Revolution which ultimately triggered the fall of the Berlin Wall, residents from every social background desperately hoped to convince their leaders to step back from the brink. But as the dust cleared in 1968, they saw with all finality that their voices meant nothing, that the DDR was a sham democracy awash with utopian rhetoric that had no connection with their everyday lives. If Communism died in Prague in 1968, it had already died in Leipzig just weeks before, with repercussions that still haunt today's politics of memory.
The Page 99 Test: The Lost German East.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 15, 2017

"Flavors of Empire"

New from the University of California Press: Flavors of Empire: Food and the Making of Thai America by Mark Padoongpatt.

About the book, from the publisher:
With a uniquely balanced combination of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy flavors, Thai food burst onto Los Angeles’s and America’s culinary scene in the 1980s. Flavors of Empire examines the rise of Thai food and the way it shaped the racial and ethnic contours of Thai American identity and community. Full of vivid oral histories and new archival material, this book explores the factors that made foodways central to the Thai American experience. Starting with American Cold War intervention in Thailand, Mark Padoongpatt traces how informal empire allowed U.S. citizens to discover Thai cuisine abroad and introduce it inside the United States. When Thais arrived in Los Angeles, they reinvented and repackaged Thai food in various ways to meet the rising popularity of the cuisine in urban and suburban spaces. Padoongpatt opens up the history and politics of Thai food for the first time, all while demonstrating how race emerges in seemingly mundane and unexpected places.
Mark Padoongpatt is Assistant Professor of Asian and Asian American Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 14, 2017

"At the Altar of Lynching"

New from Cambridge University Press: At the Altar of Lynching: Burning Sam Hose in the American South by Donald G. Mathews.

About the book, from the publisher:
The story of a black day-laborer called Sam Hose killing his white employer in a workplace dispute ended in a lynching of enormous religious significance. For many deeply-religious communities in the Jim Crow South, killing those like Sam Hose restored balance to a moral cosmos upended by a heinous crime. A religious intensity in the mood and morality of segregation surpassed law, and in times of social crisis could justify illegal white violence - even to the extreme act of lynching. In At the Altar of Lynching, distinguished historian Donald G. Mathews offers a new interpretation of the murder of Sam Hose, which places the religious culture of the evangelical South at its center. He carefully considers how mainline Protestants, including women, not only in many instances came to support or accept lynching, but gave the act religious meaning and justification.
Donald G. Mathews has taught at Duke and Princeton Universities, as well as at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has studied and written about religion and the South for over fifty years, publishing three books and over thirty articles. He is the author of Religion in the Old South (1979) and co-author of Sex, Gender, and the Politics of ERA (1993).

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"Evidence for Hope"

New from Princeton University Press: Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century by Kathryn Sikkink.

About the book, from the publisher:
A history of the successes of the human rights movement and a case for why human rights work

Evidence for Hope makes the case that, yes, human rights work. Critics may counter that the movement is in serious jeopardy or even a questionable byproduct of Western imperialism. They point out that Guantánamo is still open, the Arab Spring protests have been crushed, and governments are cracking down on NGOs everywhere. But respected human rights expert Kathryn Sikkink draws on decades of research and fieldwork to provide a rigorous rebuttal to pessimistic doubts about human rights laws and institutions. She demonstrates that change comes slowly and as the result of struggle, but in the long term, human rights movements have been vastly effective.

Attacks on the human rights movement’s credibility are based on the faulty premise that human rights ideas emerged in North America and Europe and were imposed on developing southern nations. Starting in the 1940s, Latin American leaders and activists were actually early advocates for the international protection of human rights. Sikkink shows that activists and scholars disagree about the efficacy of human rights because they use different yardsticks to measure progress. Comparing the present to the past, she shows that genocide and violence against civilians have declined over time, while access to healthcare and education has increased dramatically. Cognitive and news biases contribute to pervasive cynicism, but Sikkink’s investigation into past and current trends indicates that human rights is not in its twilight. Instead, this is a period of vibrant activism that has made impressive improvements in human well-being.

Exploring the strategies that have led to real humanitarian gains since the middle of the twentieth century, Evidence for Hope looks at how these essential advances can be supported and sustained for decades to come.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

"What Makes Time Special?"

New from Oxford University Press: What Makes Time Special? by Craig Callender.

About the book, from the publisher:
As we navigate through life we instinctively model time as having a flowing present that divides a fixed past from open future. This model develops in childhood and is deeply saturated within our language, thought and behavior, affecting our conceptions of the universe, freedom and the self. Yet as central as it is to our lives, physics seems to have no room for this flowing present. What Makes Time Special? demonstrates this claim in detail and then turns to two novel positive tasks. First, by looking at the world "sideways" - in the spatial directions -- it shows that physics is not "spatializing time" as is commonly alleged. Even relativity theory makes significant distinctions between the spacelike and timelike directions, often with surprising consequences. Second, if the flowing present is an illusion, it is a deep one worthy of explanation. The author develops a picture whereby the temporal flow arises as an interaction effect between an observer and the physics of the world.

Using insights from philosophy, cognitive science, biology, psychology and physics, the theory claims that the flowing present model of time is the natural reaction to the perceptual and evolutionary challenges thrown at us. Modeling time as flowing makes sense even if it misrepresents it.
--Marshal Zeringue

"In Search of Soul"

New from the University of California Press: In Search of Soul: Hip-Hop, Literature, and Religion by Alejandro Nava.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Search of Soul explores the meaning of “soul” in sacred and profane incarnations, from its biblical origins to its central place in the rich traditions of black and Latin history. Surveying the work of writers, artists, poets, musicians, philosophers and theologians, Alejandro Nava shows how their understandings of the “soul” revolve around narratives of justice, liberation, and spiritual redemption. He contends that biblical traditions and hip-hop emerged out of experiences of dispossession and oppression. Whether born in the ghettos of America or of the Roman Empire, hip-hop and Christianity have endured by giving voice to the persecuted. This book offers a view of soul in living color, as a breathing, suffering, dreaming thing.
Alejandro Nava is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Arizona and author of Wonder and Exile in the New World and The Mystical and Prophetic Thought of Simone Weil and Gustavo Gutierrez.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 11, 2017

"Statelessness in the Caribbean"

New from the University of Pennsylvania Press: Statelessness in the Caribbean: The Paradox of Belonging in a Postnational World by Kristy A. Belton.

About the book, from the publisher:
Without citizenship from any country, more than 10 million people worldwide are unable to enjoy the rights, freedoms, and protections that citizens of a state take for granted. They are stateless and formally belong nowhere. The stateless typically face insurmountable obstacles in their ability to be self-determining agents and are vulnerable to a variety of harms, including neglect and exploitation. Through an analysis of statelessness in the Caribbean, Kristy A. Belton argues for the reconceptualization of statelessness as a form of forced displacement.

Belton argues that the stateless—those who are displaced in place—suffer similarly to those who are forcibly displaced, but unlike the latter, they are born and reside within the country that denies or deprives them of citizenship. She explains how the peculiar form of displacement experienced by the stateless often occurs under nonconflict and noncrisis conditions and within democratic regimes, all of which serve to make such people's plight less visible and consequently heightens their vulnerability. Statelessness in the Caribbean addresses a number of current issues including belonging, migration and forced displacement, the treatment and inclusion of the ethnic and racial "other," the application of international human rights law and doctrine to local contexts, and the ability of individuals to be self-determining agents who create the conditions of their own making.

Belton concludes that statelessness needs to be addressed as a matter of global distributive justice. Citizenship is not only a necessary good for an individual in a world carved into states but is also a human right and a status that should not be determined by states alone. In order to resolve their predicament, the stateless must have the right to choose to belong to the communities of their birth.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Consumer Culture and the Making of Modern Jewish Identity"

New from Cambridge University Press: Consumer Culture and the Making of Modern Jewish Identity by Gideon Reuveni.

About the book, from the publisher:
Antisemitic stereotypes of Jews as capitalists have hindered research into the economic dimension of the Jewish past. The figure of the Jew as trader and financier dominated the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. But the economy has been central to Jewish life and the Jewish image in the world; Jews not only made money but spent money. This book is the first to investigate the intersection between consumption, identity, and Jewish history in Europe. It aims to examine the role and place of consumption within Jewish society and the ways consumerism generated and reinforced Jewish notions of belonging from the end of the eighteenth century to the beginning of the new millennium. It shows how the advances of modernization and secularization in the modern period increased the importance of consumption in Jewish life, making it a significant factor in the process of redefining Jewish identity.
Gideon Reuveni is Reader in History and Director of the Centre for German-Jewish studies at the University of Sussex. His central research and teaching interest is the cultural and social history of modern European and Jewish history.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 10, 2017

"The Impossible Presidency"

New from Basic Books: The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America's Highest Office by Jeremi Suri.

About the book, from the publisher:
A bold new history of the American presidency, arguing that the successful presidents of the past created unrealistic expectations for every president since JFK, with enormously problematic implications for American politics

In The Impossible Presidency, celebrated historian Jeremi Suri charts the rise and fall of the American presidency, from the limited role envisaged by the Founding Fathers to its current status as the most powerful job in the world. He argues that the presidency is a victim of its own success-the vastness of the job makes it almost impossible to fulfill the expectations placed upon it. As managers of the world’s largest economy and military, contemporary presidents must react to a truly globalized world in a twenty-four-hour news cycle. There is little room left for bold vision.

Suri traces America’s disenchantment with our recent presidents to the inevitable mismatch between presidential promises and the structural limitations of the office. A masterful reassessment of presidential history, this book is essential reading for anyone trying to understand America’s fraught political climate.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 9, 2017

"A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being"

New from Oxford University Press: A Philosophy for the Science of Well-Being by Anna Alexandrova.

About the book, from the publisher:
Well-being, happiness and quality of life are now established objects of social and medical research. Does this science produce knowledge that is properly about well-being? What sort of well-being? The definition and measurement of these objects rest on assumptions that are partly normative, partly empirical and partly pragmatic, producing a great diversity of definitions depending on the project and the discipline. This book, written from the perspective of philosophy of science, formulates principles for the responsible production and interpretation of this diverse knowledge. Traditionally, philosophers' goal has been a single concept of well-being and a single theory about what it consists in. But for science this goal is both unlikely and unnecessary. Instead the promise and authority of the science depends on it focusing on the well-being of specific kinds of people in specific contexts. Skeptical arguments notwithstanding, this contextual well-being can be measured in a valid and credible way - but only if scientists broaden their methods to make room for normative considerations and address publicly and inclusively the value-based conflicts that inevitably arise when a measure of well-being is adopted. The science of well-being can be normative, empirical and objective all at once, provided that we line up values to science and science to values.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Civil Society and Memory in Postwar Germany"

New from Cambridge University Press: Civil Society and Memory in Postwar Germany by Jenny Wüstenberg.

About the book, from the publisher:
Blending history and social science, this book tracks the role of social movements in shaping German public memory and values since 1945. Drawn from extensive original research, it offers a fresh perspective on the evolution of German democracy through civic confrontation with the violence of its past. Told through the stories of memory activists, the study upends some of the conventional wisdom about modern German political history. An analysis of the decades-long struggle over memory and democracy shows how grassroots actors challenged and then took over public institutions of memorialization. In the process, confrontation of the Holocaust has been pushed to the centre of political culture. In unified Germany, memory politics have shifted again, as activists from East Germany have brought attention to the crimes of the East German state. This book delivers a novel and important contribution to scholarship about postwar Germany and the wider study of memory politics.
Visit Jenny Wüstenberg's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 8, 2017

"Solitary"

New from the University of California Press: Solitary: The Inside Story of Supermax Isolation and How We Can Abolish It by Terry Allen Kupers.

About the book, from the publisher:
“When I testify in court, I am often asked: ‘What is the damage of long-term solitary confinement?’ ... Many prisoners emerge from prison after years in solitary with very serious psychiatric symptoms even though outwardly they may appear emotionally stable. The damage from isolation is dreadfully real.”
—Terry Allen Kupers

Imagine spending nearly twenty-four hours a day alone, confined to an eight-by-ten-foot windowless cell. This is the reality of approximately one hundred thousand inmates in solitary confinement in the United States today. Terry Allen Kupers, one of the nation’s foremost experts on the mental health effects of solitary confinement, tells the powerful stories of the inmates he has interviewed while investigating prison conditions during the past forty years. Touring supermax security prisons as a forensic psychiatrist, Kupers has met prisoners who have been viciously beaten or raped, subdued with immobilizing gas, or ignored in the face of urgent medical and psychiatric needs. Kupers criticizes the physical and psychological abuse of prisoners and then offers rehabilitative alternatives to supermax isolation. Solitary is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the true damage that solitary confinement inflicts on individuals living in isolation as well as on our society as a whole.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 7, 2017

"Break Beats in the Bronx"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Break Beats in the Bronx: Rediscovering Hip-Hop's Early Years by Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr.

About the book, from the publisher:
The origin story of hip-hop—one that involves Kool Herc DJing a house party on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx—has become received wisdom. But Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr. argues that the full story remains to be told. In vibrant prose, he combines never-before-used archival material with searching questions about the symbolic boundaries that have divided our understanding of the music. In Break Beats in the Bronx, Ewoodzie portrays the creative process that brought about what we now know as hip-hop and shows that the art form was a result of serendipitous events, accidents, calculated successes, and failures that, almost magically, came together. In doing so, he questions the unexamined assumptions about hip-hop’s beginnings, including why there are just four traditional elements—DJing, MCing, breaking, and graffiti writing—and not others, why the South Bronx and not any other borough or city is considered the cradle of the form, and which artists besides Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Flash founded the genre. Ewoodzie answers these and many other questions about hip-hop’s beginnings. Unearthing new evidence, he shows what occurred during the crucial but surprisingly underexamined years between 1975 and 1979 and argues that it was during this period that the internal logic and conventions of the scene were formed.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Over the Horizon"

New from Cornell University Press: Over the Horizon: Time, Uncertainty, and the Rise of Great Powers by David M. Edelstein.

About the book, from the publisher:
How do established powers react to growing competitors? The United States currently faces a dilemma with regard to China and others over whether to embrace competition and thus substantial present-day costs or collaborate with its rivals to garner short-term gains while letting them become more powerful. This problem lends considerable urgency to the lessons to be learned from Over the Horizon. David M. Edelstein analyzes past rising powers in his search for answers that point the way forward for the United States as it strives to maintain control over its competitors.

Edelstein focuses on the time horizons of political leaders and the effects of long-term uncertainty on decision-making. He notes how state leaders tend to procrastinate when dealing with long-term threats, hoping instead to profit from short-term cooperation, and are reluctant to act precipitously in an uncertain environment. To test his novel theory, Edelstein uses lessons learned from history’s great powers: late nineteenth-century Germany, the United States at the turn of the twentieth century, interwar Germany, and the Soviet Union at the origins of the Cold War. Over the Horizon demonstrates that cooperation between declining and rising powers is more common than we might think, although declining states may later regret having given upstarts time to mature into true threats.
Learn more about Over the Horizon at the Cornell University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Occupational Hazards.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

"Desiring the Good"

New from Oxford University Press: Desiring the Good: Ancient Proposals and Contemporary Theory by Katja Maria Vogt.

About the book, from the publisher:
Desiring the Good defends a novel and distinctive approach in ethics that is inspired by ancient philosophy. Ethics, according to this approach, starts from one question and its most immediate answer: "what is the good for human beings?"—"a well-going human life." Ethics thus conceived is broader than moral philosophy. It includes a range of topics in psychology and metaphysics. Plato's Philebus is the ancestor of this approach. Its first premise, defended in Book I of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, is that the final agential good is the good human life. Though Aristotle introduces this premise while analyzing human activities, it is absent from approaches in the theory of action that self-identify as Aristotelian. This absence, Vogt argues, is a deep and far-reaching mistake, one that can be traced back to Elizabeth Anscombe's influential proposals. And yet, the book is Anscombian in spirit. It engages with ancient texts in order to contribute to philosophy today, and it takes questions about the human mind to be prior to, and relevant to, substantive normative matters. In this spirit, Desiring the Good puts forward a new version of the Guise of the Good, namely that desire to have one's life go well shapes and sustains mid- and small-scale motivations. A theory of good human lives, it is argued, must make room for a plurality of good lives. Along these lines, the book lays out a non-relativist version of Protagoras's Measure Doctrine and defends a new kind of realism about good human lives.
Visit Katja Maria Vogt's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The Insecurity State"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Insecurity State: Punjab and the Making of Colonial Power in British India by Mark Condos.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this provocative new work, Mark Condos explores the 'dark underside' of the ideologies that sustained British rule in India. Using Punjab as a case study, he argues that India's colonial overlords were obsessively fearful, and plagued by an unreasoning belief in their own vulnerability as rulers. These enduring anxieties precipitated, and justified, an all too frequent recourse to violence, joined with an insistence on untrammelled power placed in the hands of the executive. Examining how the British colonial experience was shaped by a chronic sense of unease, anxiety, and insecurity, this is a timely intervention in debates about the contested project of colonial state-building, the oppressive and violent practices of colonial rule, the nature of imperial sovereignty, law, and policing and the postcolonial legacies of empire.
Mark Condos obtained both his B.A. and M.A. at Queen's University in Canada. In 2013, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, where he worked under the supervision of the late Professor Sir Christopher Bayly. In 2014, Dr Condos was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship at Queen Mary University of London. His current research examines how different forms of legal and extrajudicial violence were incorporated by the British and French empires in their attempts to police different frontier regions during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

"Basic Income"

New from Yale University Press: Basic Income: A Guide for the Open-Minded by Guy Standing.

About the book, from the publisher:
Shouldn’t everyone receive a stake in society's wealth? Could we create a fairer world by guaranteeing income to all? What would this mean for our health, wealth, and happiness?

Basic income is a revolutionary idea that guarantees regular, unconditional cash transfers from the government to all citizens. It is an acknowledgement that everyone plays a part in generating the wealth currently enjoyed by only a few and would rectify the recent breakdown in income distribution.

Political parties across the world are now adopting this innovative policy and the idea generates headlines every day. Guy Standing has been at the forefront of thought surrounding basic income for the past thirty years, and in this book he covers in authoritative detail its effects on the economy, poverty, work, and labor; dissects and disproves the standard arguments against basic income; explains what we can learn from pilots across the world; and illustrates exactly why basic income has now become such an urgent necessity.
Visit Guy Standing's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The First of the Modern Ottomans"

New from Cambridge University Press: The First of the Modern Ottomans: The Intellectual History of Ahmed Vasif by Ethan L. Menchinger.

About the book, from the publisher:
The eighteenth century brought a period of tumultuous change to the Ottoman Empire. While the Empire sought modernization through military and administrative reform, it also lost much of its influence on the European stage through war and revolt. In this book, Ethan L. Menchinger sheds light on intellectual life, politics, and reform in the Empire through the study of one of its leading intellectuals and statesmen, Ahmed Vâsıf. Vâsıf's life reveals new aspects of Ottoman letters - heated debates over moral renewal, war and peace, justice, and free will - but it also forces the reappraisal of Ottoman political reform, showing a vital response that was deeply enmeshed in Islamic philosophy, ethics, and statecraft. Tracing Vâsıf's role through the turn of the nineteenth century, this book opens the debate on modernity and intellectualism for those students and researchers studying the Ottoman Empire, intellectual history, the Enlightenment, and Napoleonic Europe.
Ethan L. Menchinger is currently a lecturer at the University of Michigan. He was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien and Freie Universität, Berlin, and a visiting scholar at the University of Toronto.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 4, 2017

"Los Zetas Inc."

New from the University of Texas Press: Los Zetas Inc.: Criminal Corporations, Energy, and Civil War in Mexico by Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera.

About the book, from the publisher:
The rapid growth of organized crime in Mexico and the government’s response to it have driven an unprecedented rise in violence and impelled major structural economic changes, including the recent passage of energy reform. Los Zetas Inc. asserts that these phenomena are a direct and intended result of the emergence of the brutal Zetas criminal organization in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas. Going beyond previous studies of the group as a drug trafficking organization, Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera builds a convincing case that the Zetas and similar organizations effectively constitute transnational corporations with business practices that include the trafficking of crude oil, natural gas, and gasoline; migrant and weapons smuggling; kidnapping for ransom; and video and music piracy.

Combining vivid interview commentary with in-depth analysis of organized crime as a transnational and corporate phenomenon, Los Zetas Inc. proposes a new theoretical framework for understanding the emerging face, new structure, and economic implications of organized crime in Mexico. Correa-Cabrera delineates the Zetas establishment, structure, and forms of operation, along with the reactions to this new model of criminality by the state and other lawbreaking, foreign, and corporate actors. Since the Zetas share some characteristics with legal transnational businesses that operate in the energy and private security industries, she also compares this criminal corporation with ExxonMobil, Halliburton, and Blackwater (renamed “Academi” and now a Constellis company). Asserting that the elevated level of violence between the Zetas and the Mexican state resembles a civil war, Correa-Cabrera identifies the beneficiaries of this war, including arms-producing companies, the international banking system, the US border economy, the US border security/military-industrial complex, and corporate capital, especially international oil and gas companies.
--Marshal Zeringue

"How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics"

New from the University of California Press: How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics: From Welfare Reform to Foreclosure to Trump by Laura Briggs.

About the book, from the publisher:
Today all politics are reproductive politics, argues esteemed feminist critic Laura Briggs. From longer work hours to the election of Donald Trump, our current political crisis is above all about reproduction. Households are where we face our economic realities as social safety nets get cut and wages decline. Briggs brilliantly outlines how politicians’ racist accounts of reproduction—stories of Black “welfare queens” and Latina “breeding machines"—were the leading wedge in the government and business disinvestment in families. With decreasing wages, rising McJobs, and no resources for family care, our households have grown ever more precarious over the past forty years in sharply race-and class-stratified ways. This crisis, argues Briggs, fuels all others—from immigration to gay marriage, anti-feminism to the rise of the Tea Party.
Laura Briggs is Professor and Chair of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the author of several books on gender and empire, including Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science, and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico and Somebody’s Children: The Politics of Transracial and Transnational Adoption.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 3, 2017

"Rainy Lake House"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Rainy Lake House: Twilight of Empire on the Northern Frontier by Theodore Catton.

About the book, from the publisher:
In September 1823, three men met at Rainy Lake House, a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post near the Boundary Waters. Dr. John McLoughlin, the proprietor of Rainy Lake House, was in charge of the borderlands west of Lake Superior, where he was tasked with opposing the petty traders who operated out of US territory. Major Stephen H. Long, an officer in the US Army Topographical Engineers, was on an expedition to explore the wooded borderlands west of Lake Superior and the northern prairies from the upper Mississippi to the forty-ninth parallel. John Tanner, a "white Indian" living among the Ojibwa nation, arrived in search of his missing daughters, who, Tanner believed, were at risk of being raped by the white traders holding them captive at a nearby fort.

Rainy Lake House weaves together the captivating stories of these men who cast their fortunes in different ways with the western fur trade. Drawing on their combined experiences, Theodore Catton creates a vivid depiction of the beautiful and dangerous northern frontier from a collision of vantage points: American, British, and Indian; imperial, capital, and labor; explorer, trader, and hunter. At the center of this history is the deeply personal story of John Tanner’s search for kinship: first among his adopted Ojibwa nation; then in the search for his white family of origin; and finally in his quest for custody of his half-Indian children.

Rainy Lake House is a character-driven narrative about ambition, adventure, alienation, and revenge. Catton deftly crafts one grand narrative out of three and reveals the perilous lives of the white adventurers and their Indian families, who lived on the fringe of empire.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Knocking on Labor's Door"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Knocking on Labor's Door: Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide by Lane Windham.

About the book, from the publisher:
The power of unions in workers’ lives and in the American political system has declined dramatically since the 1970s. In recent years, many have argued that the crisis took root when unions stopped reaching out to workers and workers turned away from unions. But here Lane Windham tells a different story. Highlighting the integral, often-overlooked contributions of women, people of color, young workers, and southerners, Windham reveals how in the 1970s workers combined old working-class tools--like unions and labor law--with legislative gains from the civil and women’s rights movements to help shore up their prospects. Through close-up studies of workers' campaigns in shipbuilding, textiles, retail, and service, Windham overturns widely held myths about labor’s decline, showing instead how employers united to manipulate weak labor law and quash a new wave of worker organizing.

Recounting how employees attempted to unionize against overwhelming odds, Knocking on Labor's Door dramatically refashions the narrative of working-class struggle during a crucial decade and shakes up current debates about labor's future. Windham's story inspires both hope and indignation, and will become a must-read in labor, civil rights, and women’s history.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 2, 2017

"Parish and Place"

New from Oxford University Press: Parish and Place: Making Room for Diversity in the American Catholic Church by Tricia Colleen Bruce.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Catholic Church stands at the forefront of an emergent majority-minority America. Parish and Place tells the story of how America's largest religion is responding at the local level to unprecedented cultural, racial, linguistic, ideological, and political diversification. Specifically, it explores bishops' use of personal parishes - parishes formally established not on the basis of territory, but purpose. Today's personal parishes serve an array of Catholics drawn together by shared identities and preferences, rather than shared neighborhoods. They allow Catholic leaders to act upon the perceived need for named, specialist organizations alongside the more common territorial parish that serves all in its midst.

Parish and Place documents the American Catholic Church's movement away from "national" parishes and towards personal parishes as a renewed organizational form. Tricia Bruce uses in-depth interviews and national survey data to examine the rise and rationale behind new parishes for the Traditional Latin Mass, for Vietnamese Catholics, for tourists, and more. Featuring insights from bishops, priests, and diocesan leaders throughout the United States, this book offers a rare view of institutional decision making from the top. Parish and Place demonstrates structural responses to diversity, exploring just how far fragmentation can go before it challenges unity.
Visit Tricia C. Bruce's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Enclosure: Palestinian Landscapes in a Historical Mirror"

New from the University of California Press: Enclosure: Palestinian Landscapes in a Historical Mirror by Gary Fields.

About the book, from the publisher:
Enclosure marshals bold new arguments about the nature of the conflict in Israel/Palestine. Gary Fields examines the dispossession of Palestinians from their land—and Israel’s rationale for seizing control of Palestinian land—in the contexts of a broad historical analysis of power and space and of an enduring discourse about land improvement. Focusing on the English enclosures (which eradicated access to common land across the English countryside), Amerindian dispossession in colonial America, and Palestinian land loss, Fields shows how exclusionary landscapes have emerged across time and geography. Evidence that the same moral, legal, and cartographic arguments were used by enclosers of land in very different historical environments challenges Israel’s current claim that it is uniquely beleaguered. This comparative framework also helps readers in the United States and the United Kingdom understand the Israeli/Palestinian conflict in the context of their own histories.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 1, 2017

"Tea and Empire"

New from Manchester University Press: Tea and Empire: James Taylor in Victorian Ceylon by Angela McCarthy and T.M. Devine.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book brings to life for the first time the remarkable story of James Taylor, 'father of the Ceylon tea enterprise' in the nineteenth century. Publicly celebrated in Sri Lanka for his efforts in transforming the country's economy and shaping the world's drinking habits, Taylor died in disgrace and remains unknown to the present day in his native Scotland. Using a unique archive of Taylor's letters written over a forty-year period, Angela McCarthy and Tom Devine provide an unusually detailed reconstruction of a British planter's life in Asia at the high noon of empire.

As well as charting the development of Ceylon's key commodities in the nineteenth century, the book examines the dark side of planting life including violence and conflict, oppression and despair. A range of other fascinating themes are evocatively examined, including graphic depictions of the Indian Mutiny, 'race' and ethnicity, environmental transformation, cross-cultural contact, and emotional ties to home.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Down and Out in New Orleans"

New from Columbia University Press: Down and Out in New Orleans: Transgressive Living in the Informal Economy by Peter J. Marina.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the years since Hurricane Katrina, the modern-day bohemians of New Orleans have found themselves forced to the edges of poverty by the new tourist economy. Modeling his work after George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London, the sociologist and ethnographer Peter J. Marina explores this unfamiliar side of the gentrifying “new” New Orleans. In 1920s Paris, Orwell witnessed an influx of locals and outsiders seeking authenticity while struggling to live with bourgeois society. Marina finds a similar ambivalence in New Orleans: a tourism-dependent city whose commerce caters largely to well-heeled natives and upper-class travelers, where many creative locals and wanderers have remained outsiders, willingly or otherwise.

Marina does not merely interview these spirited urban misfits—he lives among them. Down and Out in New Orleans follows their journeys, depicting the lives of those on the social fringes of a resilient city. Marina finds work as a bartender, street mime, and poet. Along the way, he visits homeless shelters, squats in abandoned buildings, attends rituals in cemeteries, and befriends writers, musicians, occultists, and artists as they look for creative solutions to the contradictory demands of late capitalism. Marina does for New Orleans what Orwell did for Paris a century earlier, providing a rigorous, unrelenting, and original glimpse into the subcultures of a city in rapid change.
Visit Peter Marina's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 31, 2017

"The Fear of Invasion"

New from Oxford University Press: The Fear of Invasion: Strategy, Politics, and British War Planning, 1880-1914 by David G. Morgan-Owen.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Fear of Invasion presents a new interpretation of British preparation for War before 1914. It argues that protecting the British Isles from invasion was the foundation upon which all other plans for the defence of the Empire were built up. Home defence determined the amount of resources available for other tasks and the relative focus of the Army and Navy, as both played an important role in preventing an invasion. As politicians were reluctant to prepare for offensive British participation in a future war, home defence became the means by which the government contributed to an ill-defined British 'grand' strategy.

The Royal Navy formed the backbone of British defensive preparations. However, after 1905 the Navy came to view the threat of a German invasion of the British Isles as a far more credible threat than is commonly realised. As the Army became more closely associated with operations in France, the Navy thus devoted an ever-greater amount of time and effort to safeguarding the vulnerable east coast. In this manner preventing an invasion came to exert a 'very insidious' effect on the Navy by the outbreak of War in 1914. This book explains how and why this came to pass, and what it can tell us about the role of government in forming strategy.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Hearing Allah’s Call"

New from Cornell University Press: Hearing Allah’s Call: Preaching and Performance in Indonesian Islam by Julian Millie.

About the book, from the publisher:
Hearing Allah’s Call changes the way we think about Islamic communication. In the city of Bandung in Indonesia, sermons are not reserved for mosques and sites for Friday prayers. Muslim speakers are in demand for all kinds of events, from rites of passage to motivational speeches for companies and other organizations. Julian Millie spent fourteen months sitting among listeners at such events, and he provides detailed contextual description of the everyday realities of Muslim listening as well as preaching. In describing the venues, the audience, and preachers—many of whom are women—he reveals tensions between entertainment and traditional expressions of faith and moral rectitude.

The sermonizers use in-jokes, double entendres, and mimicry in their expositions, playing on their audiences’ emotions, triggering reactions from critics who accuse them of neglecting listeners’ intellects. Millie focused specifically on the listening routines that enliven everyday life for Muslims in all social spaces—imagine the hardworking preachers who make Sunday worship enjoyable for rural as well as urban Americans—and who captivate audiences with skills that attract criticism from more formal interpreters of Islam. The ethnography is rich and full of insightful observations and details. Hearing Allah’s Call will appeal to students of the practice of anthropology as well as all those intrigued by contemporary Islam.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

"Ballot Blocked"

New from Stanford University Press: Ballot Blocked: The Political Erosion of the Voting Rights Act by Jesse H. Rhodes.

About the book, from the publisher:
Voting rights are a perennial topic in American politics. Recent elections and the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down key enforcement provisions in the Voting Rights Act (VRA), have only placed further emphasis on the debate over voter disenfranchaisement. Over the past five decades, both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have consistently voted to expand the protections offered to vulnerable voters by the Voting Rights Act. And yet, the administration of the VRA has become more fragmented and judicial interpretation of its terms has become much less generous. Why have Republicans consistently adopted administrative and judicial decisions that undermine legislation they repeatedly endorse?

Ballot Blocked shows how the divergent trajectories of legislation, administration, and judicial interpretation in voting rights policymaking derive largely from efforts by conservative politicians to narrow the scope of federal enforcement while at the same time preserving their public reputations as supporters of racial equality and minority voting rights. Jesse H. Rhodes argues that conservatives adopt a paradoxical strategy in which they acquiesce to expansive voting rights protections in Congress (where decisions are visible and easily traceable) while simultaneously narrowing the scope of federal enforcement via administrative and judicial maneuvers (which are less visible and harder to trace). Over time, the repeated execution of this strategy has enabled a conservative Supreme Court to exercise preponderant influence over the scope of federal enforcement.
The Page 99 Test: An Education in Politics.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Holy Hip Hop in the City of Angels"

New from the University of California Press: Holy Hip Hop in the City of Angels by Christina Zanfagna.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the 1990s, Los Angeles was home to numerous radical social and environmental eruptions. In the face of several major earthquakes and floods, riots and economic insecurity, police brutality and mass incarceration, some young black Angelenos turned to holy hip hop—a movement merging Christianity and hip hop culture—to “save” themselves and the city. Converting street corners to open-air churches and gangsta rap beats into anthems of praise, holy hip hoppers used gospel rap to navigate complicated social and spiritual realities and to transform the Southland’s fractured terrains into musical Zions. Armed with beats, rhymes, and bibles, they journeyed through black Lutheran congregations, prison ministries, African churches, reggae dancehalls, hip hop clubs, Nation of Islam meetings, and Black Lives Matter marches. Zanfagna’s fascinating ethnography provides a contemporary and unique view of black LA, offering a much-needed perspective on how music and religion intertwine in people's everyday experiences.
Visit Christina Zanfagna's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean"

New from the University of Pennsylvania Press: Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean by Randy M. Browne.

About the book, from the publisher:
Atlantic slave societies were notorious deathtraps. In Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean, Randy M. Browne looks past the familiar numbers of life and death and into a human drama in which enslaved Africans and their descendants struggled to survive against their enslavers, their environment, and sometimes one another. Grounded in the nineteenth-century British colony of Berbice, one of the Atlantic world's best-documented slave societies and the last frontier of slavery in the British Caribbean, Browne argues that the central problem for most enslaved people was not how to resist or escape slavery but simply how to stay alive.

Guided by the voices of hundreds of enslaved people preserved in an extraordinary set of legal records, Browne reveals a world of Caribbean slavery that is both brutal and breathtakingly intimate. Field laborers invoked abolitionist-inspired legal reforms to protest brutal floggings, spiritual healers conducted secretive nighttime rituals, anxious drivers weighed the competing pressures of managers and the condition of their fellow slaves in the fields, and women fought back against abusive masters and husbands. Browne shows that at the core of enslaved people's complicated relationships with their enslavers and one another was the struggle to live in a world of death.

Provocative and unflinching, Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean reorients the study of Atlantic slavery by revealing how differently enslaved people's social relationships, cultural practices, and political strategies appear when seen in the light of their unrelenting struggle to survive.
Visit Randy M. Browne's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

"The Politics of Opera"

New from Princeton University Press: The Politics of Opera: A History from Monteverdi to Mozart by Mitchell Cohen.

About the book, from the publisher:
A wide-ranging look at the interplay of opera and political ideas through the centuries

The Politics of Opera takes readers on a fascinating journey into the entwined development of opera and politics, from the Renaissance through the turn of the nineteenth century. What political backdrops have shaped opera? How has opera conveyed the political ideas of its times? Delving into European history and thought and an array of music by such greats as Lully, Rameau, and Mozart, Mitchell Cohen reveals how politics—through story lines, symbols, harmonies, and musical motifs—has played an operatic role both robust and sotto voce.

Cohen begins with opera's emergence under Medici absolutism in Florence during the late Renaissance—where debates by humanists, including Galileo's father, led to the first operas in the late sixteenth century. Taking readers to Mantua and Venice, where composer Claudio Monteverdi flourished, Cohen examines how early operatic works like Orfeo used mythology to reflect on governance and policy issues of the day, such as state jurisdictions and immigration. Cohen explores France in the ages of Louis XIV and the Enlightenment and Vienna before and during the French Revolution, where the deceptive lightness of Mozart's masterpieces touched on the havoc of misrule and hidden abuses of power. Cohen also looks at smaller works, including a one-act opera written and composed by philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Essential characters, ancient and modern, make appearances throughout: Nero, Seneca, Machiavelli, Mazarin, Fenelon, Metastasio, Beaumarchais, Da Ponte, and many more.

An engrossing book that will interest all who love opera and are intrigued by politics, The Politics of Opera offers a compelling investigation into the intersections of music and the state.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 28, 2017

"Burdens of War"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Burdens of War: Creating the United States Veterans Health System by Jessica L. Adler.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the World War I era, veterans fought for a unique right: access to government-sponsored health care. In the process, they built a pillar of American social policy. Burdens of War explores how the establishment of the veterans’ health system marked a reimagining of modern veterans’ benefits and signaled a pathbreaking validation of the power of professionalized institutional medical care.

Adler reveals that a veterans’ health system came about incrementally, amid skepticism from legislators, doctors, and army officials concerned about the burden of long-term obligations, monetary or otherwise, to ex-service members. She shows how veterans’ welfare shifted from centering on pension and domicile care programs rooted in the nineteenth century to direct access to health services. She also traces the way that fluctuating ideals about hospitals and medical care influenced policy at the dusk of the Progressive Era; how race, class, and gender affected the health-related experiences of soldiers, veterans, and caregivers; and how interest groups capitalized on a tense political and social climate to bring about change.

The book moves from the 1910s—when service members requested better treatment, Congress approved new facilities and increased funding, and elected officials expressed misgivings about who should have access to care—to the 1930s, when the economic crash prompted veterans to increasingly turn to hospitals for support while bureaucrats, politicians, and doctors attempted to rein in the system. By the eve of World War II, the roots of what would become the country’s largest integrated health care system were firmly planted and primed for growth. Drawing readers into a critical debate about the level of responsibility America bears for wounded service members, Burdens of War is a unique and moving case study.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Black Banners of ISIS"

New from Yale University Press: Black Banners of ISIS: The Roots of the New Caliphate by David J. Wasserstein.

About the book, from the publisher:
A medieval Islam historian’s incisive portrait of ISIS, revealing the group’s deep ideological and intellectual roots in the earliest days of Islam

With tremendous speed, the Islamic State has moved from the margins to the center of life in the Middle East. Despite recent setbacks, its ability to conquer and retain huge swaths of territory has demonstrated its skillful tactical maneuvering, ambition, and staying power. Yet we still know too little about ISIS, particularly about its deeper ideology.

In this eye-opening book, David J. Wasserstein offers a penetrating analysis of the movement, looking closely at the thousand-year-old form of Islamic apocalyptic messianism the group draws upon today. He shows how ISIS is not only a military and political movement but also, and primarily, a religious one with a coherent worldview, a patent strategy, and a clear goal: the re-creation of a medieval caliphate. Connecting the group’s day-to-day activities and the writings and sayings of its leaders with the medieval Islamic past, Wasserstein provides an insightful and unprecedented perspective on the origins and aspirations of the Islamic State.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 27, 2017

"The Biopolitics of Beauty"

New from the University of California Press: The Biopolitics of Beauty: Cosmetic Citizenship and Affective Capital in Brazil by Alvaro Jarrín.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Biopolitics of Beauty examines how beauty became an aim of national health in Brazil. Using ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Brazilian hospitals, the author shows how plastic surgeons and patients navigate the public health system to transform beauty into a basic health right. The book historically traces the national concern with beauty to Brazilian eugenics, which established beauty as an index of the nation’s racial improvement. From here, Jarrín explains how plastic surgeons became the main proponents of a raciology of beauty, using it to gain the backing of the Brazilian state. Beauty can be understood as an immaterial form of value that Jarrín calls “affective capital,” which maps onto and intensifies the social hierarchies of Brazilian society. Patients experience beauty as central to national belonging and to gendered aspirations of upward mobility, and they become entangled in biopolitical rationalities that complicate their ability to consent to the risks of surgery. The Biopolitics of Beauty explores not only the biopolitical regime that made beauty a desirable national project, but also the subtle ways in which beauty is laden with affective value within everyday social practices—thus becoming the terrain upon which race, class, and gender hierarchies are reproduced and contested in Brazil.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Curated Stories: The Uses and Misuses of Storytelling"

New from Oxford University Press: Curated Stories: The Uses and Misuses of Storytelling by Sujatha Fernandes.

About the book, from the publisher:
Storytelling has proliferated today, from TED Talks and Humans of New York to a plethora of story-coaching agencies and consultants. These narratives are typically heartbreaking accounts of poverty, mistreatment, and struggle that often move us deeply. But what do they move us to? And what are the stakes in the crafting and use of storytelling?

In Curated Stories, Sujatha Fernandes considers the rise of storytelling alongside the broader shift to neoliberal, free-market economies to argue that stories have been reconfigured to promote entrepreneurial self-making and restructured as easily digestible soundbites mobilized toward utilitarian ends. Fernandes roams the globe and returns with stories from the Afghan Women's Writing Project, the domestic worker and undocumented student legislative campaigns in the United States, and the Misión Cultura project in Venezuela. She shows how the conditions under which stories are told, the tropes through which they are narrated, and the ways in which they are responded to may actually disguise the deeper contexts of global inequality. Curated stories shift the focus away from structural problems and defuse the confrontational politics of social movements.

Not just a critical examination of contemporary use of narrative and its wider impact on our collective understanding of pressing social issues, Curated Stories also explores how storytelling might be reclaimed to allow for the complexity of experience to be expressed in pursuit of transformative social change.
The Page 99 Test: Who Can Stop the Drums?.

Visit Sujatha Fernandes's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 26, 2017

"The Witch"

New from Yale University Press: The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present by Ronald Hutton.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why have societies all across the world feared witchcraft? This book delves deeply into its context, beliefs, and origins in Europe’s history

The witch came to prominence—and often a painful death—in early modern Europe, yet her origins are much more geographically diverse and historically deep. In this landmark book, Ronald Hutton traces witchcraft from the ancient world to the early-modern stake.

This book sets the notorious European witch trials in the widest and deepest possible perspective and traces the major historiographical developments of witchcraft. Hutton, a renowned expert on ancient, medieval, and modern paganism and witchcraft beliefs, combines Anglo-American and continental scholarly approaches to examine attitudes on witchcraft and the treatment of suspected witches across the world, including in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Australia, and North and South America, and from ancient pagan times to current interpretations. His fresh anthropological and ethnographical approach focuses on cultural inheritance and change while considering shamanism, folk religion, the range of witch trials, and how the fear of witchcraft might be eradicated.
--Marshal Zeringue

"What Do You Think, Mr. Ramirez?"

New from the University of Chicago Press: What Do You Think, Mr. Ramirez?: The American Revolution in Education by Geoffrey Galt Harpham.

About the book, from the publisher:
Geoffrey Galt Harpham’s book takes its title from a telling anecdote. A few years ago Harpham met a Cuban immigrant on a college campus, who told of arriving, penniless and undocumented, in the 1960s and eventually earning a GED and making his way to a community college. In a literature course one day, the professor asked him, “Mr. Ramirez, what do you think?” The question, said Ramirez, changed his life because “it was the first time anyone had asked me that.” Realizing that his opinion had value set him on a course that led to his becoming a distinguished professor.

That, says Harpham, was the midcentury promise of American education, the deep current of commitment and aspiration that undergirded the educational system that was built in the postwar years, and is under extended assault today. The United States was founded, he argues, on the idea that interpreting its foundational documents was the highest calling of opinion, and for a brief moment at midcentury, the country turned to English teachers as the people best positioned to train students to thrive as interpreters—which is to say as citizens of a democracy. Tracing the roots of that belief in the humanities through American history, Harpham builds a strong case that, even in very different contemporary circumstances, the emphasis on social and cultural knowledge that animated the midcentury university is a resource that we can, and should, draw on today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 25, 2017

"The Infidel and the Professor"

New from Princeton University Press: The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought by Dennis C. Rasmussen.

About the book, from the publisher:
The story of the greatest of all philosophical friendships—and how it influenced modern thought

David Hume is widely regarded as the most important philosopher ever to write in English, but during his lifetime he was attacked as “the Great Infidel” for his skeptical religious views and deemed unfit to teach the young. In contrast, Adam Smith was a revered professor of moral philosophy, and is now often hailed as the founding father of capitalism. Remarkably, the two were best friends for most of their adult lives, sharing what Dennis Rasmussen calls the greatest of all philosophical friendships. The Infidel and the Professor is the first book to tell the fascinating story of the friendship of these towering Enlightenment thinkers—and how it influenced their world-changing ideas.

The book follows Hume and Smith’s relationship from their first meeting in 1749 until Hume’s death in 1776. It describes how they commented on each other’s writings, supported each other’s careers and literary ambitions, and advised each other on personal matters, most notably after Hume’s quarrel with Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Members of a vibrant intellectual scene in Enlightenment Scotland, Hume and Smith made many of the same friends (and enemies), joined the same clubs, and were interested in many of the same subjects well beyond philosophy and economics—from psychology and history to politics and Britain’s conflict with the American colonies. The book reveals that Smith’s private religious views were considerably closer to Hume’s public ones than is usually believed. It also shows that Hume contributed more to economics—and Smith contributed more to philosophy—than is generally recognized.

Vividly written, The Infidel and the Professor is a compelling account of a great friendship that had great consequences for modern thought.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Seeking Sanctuary"

New from Oxford University Press: Seeking Sanctuary: Crime, Mercy, and Politics in English Courts, 1400-1550 by Shannon McSheffrey.

About the book, from the publisher:
Seeking Sanctuary explores a curious aspect of premodern English law: the right of felons to shelter in a church or ecclesiastical precinct, remaining safe from arrest and trial in the king's courts. This is the first volume in more than a century to examine sanctuary in England in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Looking anew at this subject challenges the prevailing assumptions in the scholarship that this 'medieval' practice had become outmoded and little-used by the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Although for decades after 1400 sanctuary-seeking was indeed fairly rare, the evidence in the legal records shows the numbers of felons seeing refuge in churches began to climb again in the late fifteenth century and reached its peak in the period between 1525 and 1535. Sanctuary was not so much a medieval practice accidentally surviving into the early modern era, as it was an organism that had continued to evolve and adapt to new environments and indeed flourished in its adapted state. Sanctuary suited the early Tudor regime: it intersected with rapidly developing ideas about jurisdiction and provided a means of mitigating the harsh capital penalties of the English law of felony that was useful not only to felons but also to the crown and the political elite. Sanctuary's resurgence after 1480 means we need to rethink how sanctuary worked, and to reconsider more broadly the intersections of culture, law, politics, and religion in the years between 1400 and 1550.
--Marshal Zeringue