Sunday, September 30, 2018

"Practical Shape"

New from Oxford University Press: Practical Shape: A Theory of Practical Reasoning by Jonathan Dancy.

About the book, from the publisher:
It is widely accepted that we can reason to a new belief from beliefs that we already have. Aristotle thought that we could also reason from beliefs to action. Many philosophers have disregarded Aristotle's claim, but Jonathan Dancy aims to establish the possibility of reasoning to action, by showing how similar such reasoning is to reasoning to belief. He offers a general theory of reasoning which is Aristotelian in spirit, and which smoothly admits the differences there may be between reasoning to action and reasoning to belief, while also considering the possibility of reasoning to hope, to fear, to doubt, and to intention.
Jonathan Dancy has worked at the University of Texas at Austin since 2005. He previously taught at the University of Keele for 25 years and then at the University of Reading before retiring in the UK in 2011. His books include Practical Reality (2000) and Ethics Without Principles (2004).

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 29, 2018

"Battling the Buddha of Love"

New from Cornell University Press: Battling the Buddha of Love: A Cultural Biography of the Greatest Statue Never Built by Jessica Marie Falcone.

About the book, from the publisher:
Battling the Buddha of Love is a work of advocacy anthropology that explores the controversial plans and practices of the Maitreya Project, a transnational Buddhist organization, as it sought to build the "world's tallest statue" as a multi-million-dollar "gift" to India. Hoping to forcibly acquire 750 acres of occupied land for the statue park in the Kushinagar area of Uttar Pradesh, the Buddhist statue planners ran into obstacle after obstacle, including a full-scale grassroots resistance movement of Indian farmers working to "Save the Land."

Falcone sheds light on the aspirations, values, and practices of both the Buddhists who worked to construct the statue, as well as the Indian farmer-activists who tirelessly protested against the Maitreya Project. Because the majority of the supporters of the Maitreya Project statue are converts to Tibetan Buddhism, individuals Falcone terms "non-heritage" practitioners, she focuses on the spectacular collision of cultural values between small agriculturalists in rural India and transnational Buddhists hailing from Portland to Pretoria. She asks how could a transnational Buddhist organization committed to compassionate practice blithely create so much suffering for impoverished rural Indians.

Falcone depicts the cultural logics at work on both sides of the controversy, and through her examination of these logics she reveals the divergent, competing visions of Kushinagar's potential futures. Battling the Buddha of Love traces power, faith, and hope through the axes of globalization, transnational religion, and rural grassroots activism in South Asia, showing the unintended local consequences of an international spiritual development project.
--Marshal Zeringue

"The Deed is Everything"

New from Oxford University Press: The Deed is Everything: Nietzsche on Will and Action by Aaron Ridley.

About the book, from the publisher:
Nietzsche is often held to be a sceptic about human agency, keen to debunk it along every dimension. Rather than dismissing notions of autonomy and morality, The Deed is Everything presents a new and engaging interpretation of Nietzsche as being committed to an 'expressivist' conception of agency.

Ridley argues that, contrary to debunking the existence of agents or selves, Nietzsche develops highly distinctive accounts of freedom, morality, and selfhood. The text revisits a variety of central Nietzschean themes - including self-creation, the sovereign individual, will to power, Kantian and Christian morality, and amor fati - often to unexpected effect. The Nietzsche who emerges from this analysis has a clear conception of human agency and a robust commitment to the value of human excellence in all of its forms.

This comprehensive study of Nietzsche and expressive action is important reading for all Nietzsche scholars and philosophers of agency.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 28, 2018

"Land, Liberty, and Water"

New from the University of Arizona Press: Land, Liberty, and Water: Morelos After Zapata, 1920-1940 by Salvador Salinas.

About the book, from the publisher:
Following the death of Emiliano Zapata in 1919, the Zapatistas continued to lead the struggle for land reform. Land, Liberty, and Water offers a political and environmental history of the aftermath of the 1910 Mexican Revolution by examining the outcomes of the insurgency in the state of Morelos.

Salvador Salinas takes readers inside the diverse pueblos of the former Zapatistas during the 1920s and 1930s and recounts the first statewide land reform carried out in postrevolutionary Mexico. Based on extensive archival research, he reveals how an alliance with the national government that began in 1920 stimulated the revival of rural communities after ten years of warfare and helped once-landless villagers reclaim Morelos’s valley soils, forested mountains, and abundant irrigation waters.

During the presidency of Plutarco Elías Calles (1924–1928), pueblos forged closer ties to the centralized government in Mexico City through a plethora of new national institutions, such as ejidos, forestry cooperatives, water juntas, credit societies, and primary schools. At the same time, the expansion of charcoal production in the Sierra de Ajusco and rice cultivation in the lowland valleys accelerated deforestation and intensified water conflicts.

Salinas recounts how the federal reforms embraced by the countryside aided the revival of the pueblos, and in return, villagers repeatedly came to the defense of an embattled national regime. Salinas gives readers interested in modern Mexico, the Zapatista revolution, and environmental history a deeply researched analysis of the outcomes of the nation’s most famous revolutionary insurgency.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Suffering and Virtue"

New from Oxford University Press: Suffering and Virtue by Michael S. Brady.

About the book, from the publisher:
Suffering, in one form or another, is present in all of our lives. But why do we suffer? On one reading, this is a question about the causes of physical and emotional suffering. On another, it is a question about whether suffering has a point or purpose or value. In this ground-breaking book, Michael Brady argues that suffering is vital for the development of virtue, and hence for us to live happy or flourishing lives. After presenting a distinctive account of suffering and a novel interpretation of its core element - unpleasantness - Brady focuses on three claims that are central to his picture. The first is that forms of suffering, like pain and remorse, can themselves constitute virtuous responses. The second is that suffering is essential for four important classes of virtue: virtues of strength, such as fortitude and courage; virtues of vulnerability, such as adaptability and humility; moral virtues, such as compassion; and the practical and epistemic excellences that make up wisdom. His third and final claim is that suffering is vital for the social virtues of justice, love, and trust, and hence for the flourishing of social groups.
Michael S. Brady is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, having previously taught at the University of Stirling. His research centres on the philosophy of emotion, and its links with moral philosophy and epistemology. He was Director of the British Philosophical Association, having previously served as Secretary of the Scots Philosophical Association, and he is Philosopher in Residence with Quarantine, the Manchester-based theatre and performance company.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 27, 2018

"Behind the Throne"

New from Basic Books: Behind the Throne: A Domestic History of the British Royal Household by Adrian Tinniswood.

About the book, from the publisher:
An upstairs/downstairs history of the British royal court, from the Middle Ages to the reign of Queen Elizabeth II

Monarchs: they’re just like us. They entertain their friends and eat and worry about money. Henry VIII tripped over his dogs. George II threw his son out of the house. James I had to cut back on the alcohol bills.

In Behind the Throne, historian Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the reality of five centuries of life at the English court, taking the reader on a remarkable journey from one Queen Elizabeth to another and exploring life as it was lived by clerks and courtiers and clowns and crowned heads: the power struggles and petty rivalries, the tension between duty and desire, the practicalities of cooking dinner for thousands and of ensuring the king always won when he played a game of tennis.

A masterful and witty social history of five centuries of royal life, Behind the Throne offers a grand tour of England’s grandest households.
Visit Adrian Tinniswood's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

"Ptolemy's Philosophy: Mathematics as a Way of Life"

New from Princeton University Press: Ptolemy's Philosophy: Mathematics as a Way of Life by Jacqueline Feke.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Greco-Roman mathematician Claudius Ptolemy is one of the most significant figures in the history of science. He is remembered today for his astronomy, but his philosophy is almost entirely lost to history. This groundbreaking book is the first to reconstruct Ptolemy’s general philosophical system—including his metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics—and to explore its relationship to astronomy, harmonics, element theory, astrology, cosmology, psychology, and theology.

In this stimulating intellectual history, Jacqueline Feke uncovers references to a complex and sophisticated philosophical agenda scattered among Ptolemy’s technical studies in the physical and mathematical sciences. She shows how he developed a philosophy that was radical and even subversive, appropriating ideas and turning them against the very philosophers from whom he drew influence. Feke reveals how Ptolemy’s unique system is at once a critique of prevailing philosophical trends and a conception of the world in which mathematics reigns supreme.

A compelling work of scholarship, Ptolemy’s Philosophy demonstrates how Ptolemy situated mathematics at the very foundation of all philosophy—theoretical and practical—and advanced the mathematical way of life as the true path to human perfection.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Restraining Great Powers"

New from Yale University Press: Restraining Great Powers: Soft Balancing from Empires to the Global Era by T. V. Paul.

About the book, from the publisher:
How subtler forms of balance-of-power politics can help states achieve their goals against aggressive powers without wars or arms races

At the end of the Cold War, the United States emerged as the world’s most powerful state, and then used that power to initiate wars against smaller countries in the Middle East and South Asia. According to balance-of-power theory—the bedrock of realism in international relations—other states should have joined together militarily to counterbalance the U.S.’s rising power. Yet they did not. Nor have they united to oppose Chinese aggression in the South China Sea or Russian offensives along its Western border.

This does not mean balance-of-power politics is dead, argues renowned international relations scholar T.V. Paul, but that it has taken a different form. Rather than employ familiar strategies such as active military alliances and arms buildups, leading powers have engaged in “soft balancing,” which seeks to restrain threatening powers through the use of international institutions, informal alignments, and economic sanctions. Paul places the evolution of balancing behavior in historical perspective from the post-Napoleonic era to today’s globalized world.
Visit T.V. Paul's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

"The Road to Resegregation"

New from the University of California Press: The Road to Resegregation: Northern California and the Failure of Politics by Alex Schafran.

About the book, from the publisher:
How could Northern California, the wealthiest and most politically progressive region in the United States, become one of the earliest epicenters of the foreclosure crisis? How could this region continuously reproduce racial poverty and reinvent segregation in old farm towns one hundred miles from the urban core?

This is the story of the suburbanization of poverty, the failures of regional planning, urban sprawl, NIMBYism, and political fragmentation between middle class white environmentalists and communities of color. As Alex Schafran shows, the responsibility for this newly segregated geography lies in institutions from across the region, state, and political spectrum, even as the Bay Area has never managed to build common purpose around the making and remaking of its communities, cities, and towns. Schafran closes the book by presenting paths toward a new politics of planning and development that weave scattered fragments into a more equitable and functional whole.
Visit Alex Schafran's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 24, 2018

"Building Mid-Republican Rome"

New from Oxford University Press: Building Mid-Republican Rome: Labor, Architecture, and the Urban Economy by Seth Bernard.

About the book, from the publisher:
Building Mid-Republican Rome offers a holistic treatment of the development of the Mid-Republican city from 396 to 168 BCE. As Romans established imperial control over Italy and beyond, the city itself radically transformed from an ambitious central Italian settlement into the capital of the Mediterranean world. Seth Bernard describes this transformation in terms of both new urban architecture, much of it unprecedented in form and extent, and new socioeconomic structures, including slavery, coinage, and market-exchange. These physical and historical developments were closely linked: building the Republican city was expensive, and meeting such costs had significant implications for urban society. Building Mid-Republican Rome brings both architectural and socioeconomic developments into a single account of urban change. Bernard, a specialist in the period's history and archaeology, assembles a wide array of evidence, from literary sources to coins, epigraphy, and especially archaeological remains, revealing the period's importance for the decline of the Roman state's reliance on obligation and dependency and the rise of slavery and an urban labor market. This narrative is told through an investigation of the evolving institutional frameworks shaping the organization of public construction. A quantitative model of the costs of the Republican city walls reconstructs their economic impact. A new account of building technology in the period allows for a better understanding of the social and demographic profile of the city's builders. Building Mid-Republican Rome thus provides an innovative synthesis of a major Western city's spatial and historical aspects, shedding much-needed light on a seminal period in Rome's development.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 23, 2018

"Supermarket USA"

New from Yale University Press: Supermarket USA: Food and Power in the Cold War Farms Race by Shane Hamilton.

About the book, from the publisher:
America fought the Cold War in part through supermarkets—and the food economy pioneered then has helped shape the way we eat today

Supermarkets were invented in the United States, and from the 1940s on they made their way around the world, often explicitly to carry American-style economic culture with them. This innovative history tells us how supermarkets were used as anticommunist weapons during the Cold War, and how that has shaped our current food system.

The widespread appeal of supermarkets as weapons of free enterprise contributed to a “farms race” between the United States and the Soviet Union, as the superpowers vied to show that their contrasting approaches to food production and distribution were best suited to an abundant future. In the aftermath of the Cold War, U.S. food power was transformed into a global system of market power, laying the groundwork for the emergence of our contemporary world, in which transnational supermarkets operate as powerful institutions in a global food economy.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 22, 2018

"American Indians in Early New Orleans"

New from LSU Press: American Indians in Early New Orleans: From Calumet to Raquette by Daniel H. Usner, Jr.

About the book, from the publisher:
From a peace ceremony conducted by Chitimacha diplomats before Governor Bienville’s makeshift cabin in 1718 to a stickball match played by Choctaw teams in 1897 in Athletic Park, American Indians greatly influenced the history and culture of the Crescent City during its first two hundred years. In American Indians in Early New Orleans, Daniel H. Usner lays to rest assumptions that American Indian communities vanished long ago from urban south Louisiana and recovers the experiences of Native Americans in Old New Orleans from their perspective.

Centuries before the arrival of Europeans, American Indians controlled the narrow strip of land between the Mississippi River and present-day Lake Pontchartrain to transport goods, harvest resources, and perform rituals. The birth and growth of colonial New Orleans depended upon the materials and services provided by Native inhabitants as liaisons, traders, soldiers, and even slaves. Despite losing much of their homeland and political power after the Louisiana Purchase, Lower Mississippi Valley Indians refused to retreat from New Orleans’s streets and markets; throughout the 1800s, Choctaw and other nearby communities improvised ways of expressing their cultural autonomy and economic interests—as peddlers, laborers, and performers—in the face of prejudice and hostility from non-Indian residents. Numerous other American Indian tribes, forcibly removed from the southeastern United States, underwent a painful passage through the city before being transported farther up the Mississippi River. At the dawn of the twentieth century, a few Indian communities on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain continued to maintain their creative relationship with New Orleans by regularly vending crafts and plants in the French Market.

In this groundbreaking narrative, Usner explores the array of ways that Native people used this river port city, from its founding to the World War I era, and demonstrates their crucial role in New Orleans’s history.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Elizabeth Seton: American Saint"

New from Cornell University Press: Elizabeth Seton: American Saint by Catherine O'Donnell.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1975, two centuries after her birth, Pope Paul VI canonized Elizabeth Ann Seton, making her the first saint to be a native-born citizen of the United States in the Roman Catholic Church. Seton came of age in Manhattan as the city and her family struggled to rebuild themselves after the Revolution, explored both contemporary philosophy and Christianity, converted to Catholicism from her native Episcopalian faith, and built the St. Joseph’s Academy and Free School in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Hers was an exemplary early American life of struggle, ambition, questioning, and faith, and in this flowing biography, Catherine O’Donnell has given Seton her due.

O’Donnell places Seton squarely in the context of the dynamic and risky years of the American and French Revolutions and their aftermath. Just as Seton’s dramatic life was studded with hardship, achievement, and grief so were the social, economic, political, and religious scenes of the Early American Republic in which she lived. O’Donnell provides the reader with a strong sense of this remarkable woman’s intelligence and compassion as she withstood her husband’s financial failures and untimely death, undertook a slow conversion to Catholicism, and struggled to reconcile her single-minded faith with her respect for others’ different choices. The fruit of her labors were the creation of a spirituality that embraced human connections as well as divine love and the American Sisters of Charity, part of an enduring global community with a specific apostolate for teaching.

The trove of correspondence, journals, reflections, and community records that O’Donnell weaves together throughout Elizabeth Seton provides deep insight into her life and her world. Each source enriches our understanding of women’s friendships and choices, illuminates the relationships within the often-opaque world of early religious communities, and upends conventional wisdom about the ways Americans of different faiths competed and collaborated during the nation’s earliest years. Through her close and sympathetic reading of Seton’s letters and journals, O’Donnell reveals Seton the person and shows us how, with both pride and humility, she came to understand her own importance as Mother Seton in the years before her death in 1821.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 21, 2018

"A History of America in Ten Strikes"

New from The New Press: A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis.

About the book, from the publisher:
Powerful and accessible, A History of America in Ten Strikes challenges all of our contemporary assumptions around labor, unions, and American workers. In this brilliant book, labor historian Erik Loomis recounts ten critical workers’ strikes in American labor history that everyone needs to know about (and then provides an annotated list of the 150 most important moments in American labor history in the appendix). From the Lowell Mill Girls strike in the 1830s to Justice for Janitors in 1990, these labor uprisings do not just reflect the times in which they occurred, but speak directly to the present moment.

For example, we often think that Lincoln ended slavery by proclaiming the slaves emancipated, but Loomis shows that they freed themselves during the Civil War by simply withdrawing their labor. He shows how the hopes and aspirations of a generation were made into demands at a GM plant in Lordstown in 1972. And he takes us to the forests of the Pacific Northwest in the early nineteenth century where the radical organizers known as the Wobblies made their biggest inroads against the power of bosses. But there were also moments when the movement was crushed by corporations and the government; Loomis helps us understand the present perilous condition of American workers and draws lessons from both the victories and defeats of the past.

In crystalline narratives, labor historian Erik Loomis lifts the curtain on workers’ struggles, giving us a fresh perspective on American history from the boots up.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 20, 2018

"Borderline Citizens"

New from Cornell University Press: Borderline Citizens: The United States, Puerto Rico, and the Politics of Colonial Migration by Robert C. McGreevey.

About the book, from the publisher:
Borderline Citizens explores the intersection of U.S. colonial power and Puerto Rican migration. Robert C. McGreevey examines a series of confrontations in the early decades of the twentieth century between colonial migrants seeking work and citizenship in the metropole and various groups—employers, colonial officials, court officers, and labor leaders—policing the borders of the U.S. economy and polity. Borderline Citizens deftly shows the dynamic and contested meaning of American citizenship.

At a time when colonial officials sought to limit citizenship through the definition of Puerto Rico as a U.S. territory, Puerto Ricans tested the boundaries of colonial law when they migrated to California, Arizona, New York, and other states on the mainland. The conflicts and legal challenges created when Puerto Ricans migrated to the U.S. mainland thus serve, McGreevey argues, as essential, if overlooked, evidence crucial to understanding U.S. empire and citizenship.

McGreevey demonstrates the value of an imperial approach to the history of migration. Drawing attention to the legal claims migrants made on the mainland, he highlights the agency of Puerto Rican migrants and the efficacy of their efforts to find an economic, political, and legal home in the United States. At the same time, Borderline Citizens demonstrates how colonial institutions shaped migration streams through a series of changing colonial legal categories that tracked alongside corporate and government demands for labor mobility. McGreevey describes a history shaped as much by the force of U.S. power overseas as by the claims of colonial migrants within the United States.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Reading Machiavelli"

New from Princeton University Press: Reading Machiavelli: Scandalous Books, Suspect Engagements, and the Virtue of Populist Politics by John P. McCormick.

About the book, from the publisher:
To what extent was Machiavelli a “Machiavellian”? Was he an amoral adviser of tyranny or a stalwart partisan of liberty? A neutral technician of power politics or a devout Italian patriot? A reviver of pagan virtue or initiator of modern nihilism? Reading Machiavelli answers these questions through original interpretations of Niccolò Machiavelli’s three major political works—The Prince, Discourses, and Florentine Histories—and demonstrates that a radically democratic populism seeded the Florentine’s scandalous writings. John McCormick challenges the misguided understandings of Machiavelli set forth by prominent thinkers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau and representatives of the Straussian and Cambridge schools.

McCormick emphasizes the fundamental, often unacknowledged elements of a vibrant Machiavellian politics: the utility of vigorous class conflict between elites and common citizens for virtuous democratic republics, the necessity of political and economic equality for genuine civic liberty, and the indispensability of religious tropes for the exercise of effective popular judgment. Interrogating the established reception of Machiavelli’s work by such readers as Rousseau, Leo Strauss, Quentin Skinner, and J.G.A. Pocock, McCormick exposes what was effectively an elite conspiracy to suppress the Florentine’s contentious, egalitarian politics. In recovering the too-long-concealed quality of Machiavelli’s populism, this book acts as a Machiavellian critique of Machiavelli scholarship.

Advancing fresh renderings of works by Machiavelli while demonstrating how they have been misread previously, Reading Machiavelli presents a new outlook for how politics should be conceptualized and practiced.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

"The Alternatives to War"

New from Oxford University Press: The Alternatives to War: From Sanctions to Nonviolence by James Pattison.

About the book, from the publisher:
If states are not to go to war, what should they do instead? In The Alternatives to War, James Pattison considers the case for the alternatives to military action to address mass atrocities and aggression.

The volume examines the normative issues raised by measures ranging from comprehensive economic sanctions, diplomacy, and positive incentives, to criminal prosecutions, nonviolent resistance, accepting refugees, and arming rebels. For instance, given the indiscriminateness of many sanctions regimes, are sanctions any better than war? Should states avoid 'megaphone diplomacy' and adopt more subtle measures? What, if anything, can nonviolent methods such as civilian defence and civilian peacekeeping do in the face of a ruthless opponent? Is it a serious concern that positive incentives can appear to reward aggressors? Overall, Pattison provides a comprehensive account of the ethics of the alternatives to war. In doing so, he argues that the case for war is weaker and the case for many of the alternatives is stronger than commonly thought. The upshot is that, when reacting to mass atrocities and aggression, states are generally required to pursue the alternatives to war rather than military action. The volume concludes that this has significant implications for pacifism, just war theory, and the responsibility to protect doctrine.
Visit James Pattison's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Morality of Private War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

"The Grind"

New from Rutgers University Press: The Grind: Black Women and Survival in the Inner City by Alexis S. McCurn.

About the book, from the publisher:
Few scholars have explored the collective experiences of women living in the inner city and the innovative strategies they develop to navigate daily life in this setting. The Grind illustrates the lived experiences of poor African American women and the creative strategies they develop to manage these events and survive in a community commonly exposed to violence.

Alexis S. McCurn draws on nearly two years of naturalistic field research among adolescents and adults in Oakland, California to provide an ethnographic account of how black women accomplish the routine tasks necessary for basic survival in poor inner-city neighborhoods and how the intersections of race, gender, and class shape how black women interact with others in public. This book makes the case that the daily consequences of racialized poverty in the lives of African Americans cannot be fully understood without accounting for the personal and collective experiences of poor black women.
Alexis S. McCurn is an assistant professor of sociology at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Eating NAFTA"

New from the University of California Press: Eating NAFTA: Trade, Food Policies, and the Destruction of Mexico by Alyshia Gálvez.

About the book, from the publisher:
Mexican cuisine has emerged as a paradox of globalization. Food enthusiasts throughout the world celebrate the humble taco at the same time that Mexicans are eating fewer tortillas and more processed food. Today Mexico is experiencing an epidemic of diet-related chronic illness. The precipitous rise of obesity and diabetes—attributed to changes in the Mexican diet—has resulted in a public health emergency.

In her gripping new book, Alyshia Gálvez exposes how changes in policy following NAFTA have fundamentally altered one of the most basic elements of life in Mexico—sustenance. Mexicans are faced with a food system that favors food security over subsistence agriculture, development over sustainability, market participation over social welfare, and ideologies of self-care over public health. Trade agreements negotiated to improve lives have resulted in unintended consequences for people’s everyday lives.
Visit Alyshia Gálvez's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 17, 2018

"Politics under the Influence"

New from Cornell University Press: Politics under the Influence: Vodka and Public Policy in Putin's Russia by Anna L. Bailey.

About the book, from the publisher:
"You know just how serious a problem alcoholism has become for our country. Frankly speaking, it has taken on the proportions of a national disaster." So spoke Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2009 as the government launched its latest anti-alcohol campaign. Challenging the standard narrative of top-down implementation of policy, Anna Bailey’s Politics under the Influence breaks new ground in the analysis of Russian alcoholism and the politics of the Putin regime.

The state is supposed to make policy in the national interest, to preserve the nation’s health against the ravages inflicted by widespread alcohol abuse. In fact, Bailey shows, the Russian state is deeply divided, and policy is commonly a result of the competitive interactions of stakeholders with vested interests. Politics under the Influence turns a spotlight on the powerful vodka industry whose ties to Putin’s political elite have grown in influence since 2009. She details how that lobby has used the anti-alcohol campaign as a way to reduce the competitiveness of its main rival—the multinational beer industry. Drawing on a wide range of sources including fieldwork interviews, government documents, media articles, and opinion polls, Bailey reveals the many ambivalences, informal practices, and paradoxes in contemporary Russian politics. Politics under the Influence exhibits the kleptocratic nature of the Putin regime; as a result, analysis of vested interests and informal sources of power is essential to understanding public policy in contemporary Russia. This book will be an invaluable resource for anyone working on policy and corruption in Putin’s Russia.
--Marshal Zeringue

"In Defense of Openness"

New from Oxford University Press: In Defense of Openness: Why Global Freedom Is the Humane Solution to Global Poverty by Bas van der Vossen and Jason Brennan.

About the book, from the publisher:
The topic of global justice has long been a central concern within political philosophy and political theory, and there is no doubt that it will remain significant given the persistence of poverty on a massive scale and soaring global inequality. Yet, virtually every analysis in the vast literature of the subject seems ignorant of what developmental economists, both left and right, have to say about the issue.

In Defense of Openness illuminates the problem by stressing that that there is overwhelming evidence that economic rights and freedom are necessary for development, and that global redistribution tends to hurt more than it helps. Bas van der Vossen and Jason Brennan instead ask what a theory of global justice would look like if it were informed by the facts that mainstream development and institutional economics have brought to light. They conceptualize global justice as global freedom and insist we can help the poor-and help ourselves at the same time-by implementing open borders, free trade, the strong protection of individual freedom, and economic rights and property for all around the world. In short, they work from empirical, consequentialist grounds to advocate for the market society as a model for global justice.

A spirited challenge to mainstream political theory from two leading political philosophers, In Defense of Openness offers a new approach to global justice: We don't need to "save" the poor. The poor will save themselves, if we would only get out of their way and let them.
Visit Jason Brennan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 16, 2018

"The Postwar Origins of the Global Environment"

New from Columbia University Press: The Postwar Origins of the Global Environment: How the United Nations Built Spaceship Earth by Perrin Selcer.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the wake of the Second World War, internationalists identified science as both the cause of and the solution to world crisis. Unless civilization learned to control the unprecedented powers science had unleashed, global catastrophe was imminent. But the internationalists found hope in the idea of world government. In The Postwar Origins of the Global Environment, Perrin Selcer argues that the metaphor of “Spaceship Earth”—the idea of the planet as a single interconnected system—exemplifies this moment, when a mix of anxiety and hope inspired visions of world community and the proliferation of international institutions.

Selcer tells the story of how the United Nations built the international knowledge infrastructure that made the global-scale environment visible. Experts affiliated with UN agencies helped make the “global”—as in global population, global climate, and global economy—an object in need of governance. Selcer traces how UN programs such as UNESCO’s Arid Lands Project, the production of a soil map of the world, and plans for a global environmental-monitoring system fell short of utopian ambitions to cultivate world citizens but did produce an international community of experts with influential connections to national governments. He shows how events and personalities, cultures and ecologies, bureaucracies and ideologies, decolonization and the Cold War interacted to make global knowledge. A major contribution to global history, environmental history, and the history of development, this book relocates the origins of planetary environmentalism in the postwar politics of scale.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 15, 2018

"Time Biases"

New from Oxford University Press: Time Biases: A Theory of Rational Planning and Personal Persistence by Meghan Sullivan.

About the book, from the publisher:
Should you care less about your distant future? What about events in your life that have already happened? How should the passage of time affect your planning and assessment of your life? Most of us think it is irrational to ignore the future but completely harmless to dismiss the past. But this book argues that rationality requires temporal neutrality: if you are rational you don't engage in any kind of temporal discounting. The book draws on puzzles about real-life planning to build the case for temporal neutrality. How much should you save for retirement? Does it make sense to cryogenically freeze your brain after death? How much should you ask to be compensated for a past injury? Will climate change make your life meaningless? Meghan Sullivan considers what it is for you to be a person extended over time, how time affects our ability to care about ourselves, and all of the ways that our emotions might bias our rational planning. Drawing substantially from work in social psychology, economics and the history of philosophy, the book offers a systematic new theory of rational planning.
Meghan Sullivan is a Professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame and the Director of the University Philosophy Requirement. Sullivan's research tends to focus on philosophical problems concerning time, modality, rational planning and religious belief.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Blue-Collar Conservatism"

New from the University of Pennsylvania Press: Blue-Collar Conservatism: Frank Rizzo's Philadelphia and Populist Politics by Timothy J. Lombardo.

About the book, from the publisher:
The postwar United States has experienced many forms of populist politics, none more consequential than that of the blue-collar white ethnics who brought figures like Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump to the White House. Blue-Collar Conservatism traces the rise of this little-understood, easily caricatured variant of populism by presenting a nuanced portrait of the supporters of Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo.

In 1971, Frank Rizzo became the first former police commissioner elected mayor of a major American city. Despite serving as a Democrat, Rizzo cultivated his base of support by calling for "law and order" and opposing programs like public housing, school busing, affirmative action, and other policies his supporters deemed unearned advantages for nonwhites. Out of this engagement with the interwoven politics of law enforcement, school desegregation, equal employment, and urban housing, Timothy J. Lombardo argues, blue-collar populism arose.

Based on extensive archival research, and with an emphasis on interrelated changes to urban space and blue-collar culture, Blue-Collar Conservatism challenges the familiar backlash narrative, instead contextualizing blue-collar politics within postwar urban and economic crises. Historian and Philadelphia-native Lombardo demonstrates how blue-collar whites did not immediately abandon welfare liberalism but instead selectively rejected liberal policies based on culturally defined ideas of privilege, disadvantage, identity, and entitlement. While grounding his analysis in the postwar era's familiar racial fissures, Lombardo also emphasizes class identity as an indispensable driver of blue-collar political engagement. Blue-Collar Conservatism ultimately shows how this combination of factors created one of the least understood but most significant political developments in recent American history.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 14, 2018

"The Internet Trap"

New from Princeton University Press: The Internet Trap: How the Digital Economy Builds Monopolies and Undermines Democracy by Matthew Hindman.

About the book, from the publisher:
A book that challenges everything you thought you knew about the online economy

The internet was supposed to fragment audiences and make media monopolies impossible. Instead, behemoths like Google and Facebook now dominate the time we spend online—and grab all the profits from the attention economy. The Internet Trap explains how this happened. This provocative and timely book sheds light on the stunning rise of the digital giants and the online struggles of nearly everyone else—and reveals what small players can do to survive in a game that is rigged against them.

Matthew Hindman shows how seemingly tiny advantages in attracting users can snowball over time. The internet has not reduced the cost of reaching audiences—it has merely shifted who pays and how. Challenging some of the most enduring myths of digital life, Hindman explains why the internet is not the postindustrial technology that has been sold to the public, how it has become mathematically impossible for grad students in a garage to beat Google, and why net neutrality alone is no guarantee of an open internet. He also explains why the challenges for local digital news outlets and other small players are worse than they appear and demonstrates what it really takes to grow a digital audience and stay alive in today’s online economy.

The Internet Trap shows why, even on the internet, there is still no such thing as a free audience.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 13, 2018

"Dispositional Pluralism"

New from Oxford University Press: Dispositional Pluralism by Jennifer McKitrick.

About the book, from the publisher:
Jennifer McKitrick offers an opinionated guide to the philosophy of dispositions. In her view, when an object has a disposition, it is such that, if a certain type of circumstance were to occur, a certain kind of event would occur. Since it is very common for this to be the case for a variety of reasons, dispositions are very abundant and diverse. They include such varied properties as character traits like a hero's courage, characteristics of physical objects like a wine glass's fragility, and characteristics of microphysical entities like an electron's charge. Some dispositions are natural while others are non-natural. Some dispositions called "powers" are ungrounded while non-fundamental dispositions are grounded in other properties. Some dispositions manifest constantly, some of them manifest spontaneously, while others manifest only when they are triggered to do so. Some dispositions manifest by causing another dispositional property to be instantiated, while others have manifestations that involve non-dispositional properties and relations. Some dispositions are intrinsic to their bearers while others are extrinsic. Some of them are causally relevant to their manifestations while others are not. Some dispositions manifest in some particular way in particular circumstances, while other dispositions manifest in various ways in various circumstances. What makes all of these diverse properties dispositions is their connection to a certain kind of counterfactual fact. Nevertheless, disposition ascriptions are not semantically reducible to counterfactual claims.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Humanism in Ruins"

New from Stanford University Press: Humanism in Ruins: Entangled Legacies of the Greek-Turkish Population Exchange by Aslı Iğsız.

About the book, from the publisher:
The 1923 Greek-Turkish population exchange forcibly relocated one and a half million people: Muslims in Greece were resettled in Turkey, and Greek Orthodox Christians in Turkey were moved to Greece. This landmark event set a legal precedent for population management on the basis of religious or ethnic difference. Similar segregative policies—such as creating walls, partitions, and apartheids—have followed in its wake. Strikingly, the exchange was purportedly enacted as a means to achieve peace.

Humanism in Ruins maps the links between liberal discourses on peace and the legacies of this forced migration. Aslı Iğsız weaves together past and present, making visible the effects in Turkey across the ensuing century, of the 1923 exchange. Liberal humanism has responded to segregative policies by calling for coexistence and the acceptance of cultural diversity. Yet, as Iğsız makes clear, liberal humanism itself, with its ahistorical emphasis on a shared humanity, fails to confront an underlying racialized logic. This far-reaching and multilayered cultural history investigates what it means to be human—historically, socially, and politically. It delivers an urgent message about the politics of difference at a time when the reincarnation of fascism in different parts of the world invites citizens to participate in perpetuating a racialized and unequal world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

"The Lost History of Liberalism"

New from Princeton University Press: The Lost History of Liberalism: From Ancient Rome to the Twenty-First Century by Helena Rosenblatt.

About the book, from the publisher:
The changing face of the liberal creed from the ancient world to today

The Lost History of Liberalism challenges our most basic assumptions about a political creed that has become a rallying cry—and a term of derision—in today’s increasingly divided public square. Taking readers from ancient Rome to today, Helena Rosenblatt traces the evolution of the words “liberal” and “liberalism,” revealing the heated debates that have taken place over their meaning.

In this timely and provocative book, Rosenblatt debunks the popular myth of liberalism as a uniquely Anglo-American tradition centered on individual rights. She shows that it was the French Revolution that gave birth to liberalism and Germans who transformed it. Only in the mid-twentieth century did the concept become widely known in the United States—and then, as now, its meaning was hotly debated. Liberals were originally moralists at heart. They believed in the power of religion to reform society, emphasized the sanctity of the family, and never spoke of rights without speaking of duties. It was only during the Cold War and America’s growing world hegemony that liberalism was refashioned into an American ideology focused so strongly on individual freedoms.

Today, we still can’t seem to agree on liberalism’s meaning. In the United States, a “liberal” is someone who advocates big government, while in France, big government is contrary to “liberalism.” Political debates become befuddled because of semantic and conceptual confusion. The Lost History of Liberalism sets the record straight on a core tenet of today’s political conversation and lays the foundations for a more constructive discussion about the future of liberal democracy.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

"The Alchemy of Slavery"

New from the University of Pennsylvania Press: The Alchemy of Slavery: Human Bondage and Emancipation in the Illinois Country, 1730-1865 by M. Scott Heerman.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this sweeping saga that spans empires, peoples, and nations, M. Scott Heerman chronicles the long history of slavery in the heart of the continent and traces its many iterations through law and social practice. Arguing that slavery had no fixed institutional form, Heerman traces practices of slavery through indigenous, French, and finally U.S. systems of captivity, inheritable slavery, lifelong indentureship, and the kidnapping of free people. By connecting the history of indigenous bondage to that of slavery and emancipation in the Atlantic world, Heerman shows how French, Spanish, and Native North American practices shaped the history of slavery in the United States.

The Alchemy of Slavery foregrounds the diverse and adaptable slaving practices that masters deployed to build a slave economy in the Upper Mississippi River Valley, attempting to outmaneuver their antislavery opponents. In time, a formidable cast of lawyers and antislavery activists set their sights on ending slavery in Illinois. Abraham Lincoln, Lyman Trumbull, Richard Yates, and many other future leaders of the Republican party partnered with African Americans to wage an extended campaign against slavery in the region. Across a century and a half, slavery's nearly perpetual reinvention takes center stage: masters turning Indian captives into slaves, slaves into servants, former slaves into kidnapping victims; and enslaved people turning themselves into free men and women.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Secret Wars"

New from Princeton University Press: Secret Wars: Covert Conflict in International Politics by Austin Carson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Secret Wars is the first book to systematically analyze the ways powerful states covertly participate in foreign wars, showing a recurring pattern of such behavior stretching from World War I to U.S.-occupied Iraq. Investigating what governments keep secret during wars and why, Austin Carson argues that leaders maintain the secrecy of state involvement as a response to the persistent concern of limiting war. Keeping interventions “backstage” helps control escalation dynamics, insulating leaders from domestic pressures while communicating their interest in keeping a war contained.

Carson shows that covert interventions can help control escalation, but they are almost always detected by other major powers. However, the shared value of limiting war can lead adversaries to keep secret the interventions they detect, as when American leaders concealed clashes with Soviet pilots during the Korean War. Escalation concerns can also cause leaders to ignore covert interventions that have become an open secret. From Nazi Germany’s role in the Spanish Civil War to American covert operations during the Vietnam War, Carson presents new insights about some of the most influential conflicts of the twentieth century.

Parting the curtain on the secret side of modern war, Secret Wars provides important lessons about how rival state powers collude and compete, and the ways in which they avoid outright military confrontations.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 10, 2018

"Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty"

New from Duke University Press: Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty: Land, Sex, and the Colonial Politics of State Nationalism by J. Kēhaulani Kauanui.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty J. Kehaulani Kauanui examines contradictions of indigeneity and self-determination in U.S. domestic policy and international law. She theorizes paradoxes in the laws themselves and in nationalist assertions of Hawaiian Kingdom restoration and demands for U.S. deoccupation, which echo colonialist models of governance. Kauanui argues that Hawaiian elites' approaches to reforming and regulating land, gender, and sexuality in the early nineteenth century that paved the way for sovereign recognition of the kingdom complicate contemporary nationalist activism today, which too often includes disavowing the indigeneity of the Kanaka Maoli (Indigenous Hawaiian) people. Problematizing the ways the positing of the Hawaiian Kingdom's continued existence has been accompanied by a denial of U.S. settler colonialism, Kauanui considers possibilities for a decolonial approach to Hawaiian sovereignty that would address the privatization and capitalist development of land and the ongoing legacy of the imposition of heteropatriarchal modes of social relations.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 9, 2018

"Forging the Franchise"

New from Princeton University Press: Forging the Franchise: The Political Origins of the Women's Vote by Dawn Langan Teele.

About the book, from the publisher:
The important political motivations behind why women finally won the right to vote

In the 1880s, women were barred from voting in all national-level elections, but by 1920 they were going to the polls in nearly thirty countries. What caused this massive change? Why did male politicians agree to extend voting rights to women? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it was not because of progressive ideas about women or suffragists’ pluck. In most countries, elected politicians fiercely resisted enfranchising women, preferring to extend such rights only when it seemed electorally prudent and in fact necessary to do so. Through a careful examination of the tumultuous path to women’s political inclusion in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, Forging the Franchise demonstrates that the formation of a broad movement across social divides, and strategic alliances with political parties in competitive electoral conditions, provided the leverage that ultimately transformed women into voters.

As Dawn Teele shows, in competitive environments, politicians had incentives to seek out new sources of electoral influence. A broad-based suffrage movement could reinforce those incentives by providing information about women’s preferences, and an infrastructure with which to mobilize future female voters. At the same time that politicians wanted to enfranchise women who were likely to support their party, suffragists also wanted to enfranchise women whose political preferences were similar to theirs. In contexts where political rifts were too deep, suffragists who were in favor of the vote in principle mobilized against their own political emancipation.

Exploring tensions between elected leaders and suffragists and the uncertainty surrounding women as an electoral group, Forging the Franchise sheds new light on the strategic reasons behind women’s enfranchisement.
Visit Dawn Langan Teele's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Incidental Archaeologists"

New from Cornell University Press: Incidental Archaeologists: French Officers and the Rediscovery of Roman North Africa by Bonnie Effros.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Incidental Archaeologists, Bonnie Effros examines the archaeological contributions of nineteenth-century French military officers, who, raised on classical accounts of warfare and often trained as cartographers, developed an interest in the Roman remains they encountered when commissioned in the colony of Algeria. By linking the study of the Roman past to French triumphant narratives of the conquest and occupation of the Maghreb, Effros demonstrates how Roman archaeology in the forty years following the conquest of the Ottoman Regencies of Algiers and Constantine in the 1830s helped lay the groundwork for the creation of a new identity for French military and civilian settlers.

Effros uses France’s violent colonial war, its efforts to document the ancient Roman past, and its brutal treatment of the region’s Arab and Berber inhabitants to underline the close entanglement of knowledge production with European imperialism. Significantly, Incidental Archaeologists shows how the French experience in Algeria contributed to the professionalization of archaeology in metropolitan France.

Effros demonstrates how the archaeological expeditions undertaken by the French in Algeria and the documentation they collected of ancient Roman military accomplishments reflected French confidence that they would learn from Rome’s technological accomplishments and succeed, where the Romans had failed, in mastering the region.
Visit Bonnie Effros's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, September 8, 2018

"Transforming the Elite"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Transforming the Elite: Black Students and the Desegregation of Private Schools by Michelle A. Purdy.

About the book, from the publisher:
When traditionally white public schools in the South became sites of massive resistance in the wake of the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision, numerous white students exited the public system altogether, with parents choosing homeschooling or private segregationist academies. But some historically white elite private schools opted to desegregate. The black students that attended these schools courageously navigated institutional and interpersonal racism but ultimately emerged as upwardly mobile leaders. Transforming the Elite tells this story. Focusing on the experiences of the first black students to desegregate Atlanta's well-known The Westminster Schools and national efforts to diversify private schools, Michelle A. Purdy combines social history with policy analysis in a dynamic narrative that expertly re-creates this overlooked history.

Through gripping oral histories and rich archival research, this book showcases educational changes for black southerners during the civil rights movement including the political tensions confronted, struggles faced, and school cultures transformed during private school desegregation. This history foreshadows contemporary complexities at the heart of the black community's mixed feelings about charter schools, school choice, and education reform.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 7, 2018

"One Person, No Vote"

New from Bloomsbury USA: One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of White Rage, the startling--and timely--history of voter suppression in America, with a foreword by Senator Dick Durbin.

In her New York Times bestseller White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically impeded black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With One Person, No Vote, she chronicles a related history: the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Known as the Shelby ruling, this decision effectively allowed districts with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice.

Focusing on the aftermath of Shelby, Anderson follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding before our very eyes as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws. In gripping, enlightening detail she explains how voter suppression works, from photo ID requirements to gerrymandering to poll closures. And with vivid characters, she explores the resistance: the organizing, activism, and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans as the nation gears up for the 2018 midterm elections.
Visit Carol Anderson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Power Button"

New from the MIT Press: Power Button: A History of Pleasure, Panic, and the Politics of Pushing by Rachel Plotnick.

About the book, from the publisher:
Push a button and turn on the television; tap a button and get a ride; click a button and “like” something. The touch of a finger can set an appliance, a car, or a system in motion, even if the user doesn't understand the underlying mechanisms or algorithms. How did buttons become so ubiquitous? Why do people love them, loathe them, and fear them? In Power Button, Rachel Plotnick traces the origins of today's push-button society by examining how buttons have been made, distributed, used, rejected, and refashioned throughout history. Focusing on the period between 1880 and 1925, when “technologies of the hand” proliferated (including typewriters, telegraphs, and fingerprinting), Plotnick describes the ways that button pushing became a means for digital command, which promised effortless, discreet, and fool-proof control. Emphasizing the doubly digital nature of button pushing—as an act of the finger and a binary activity (on/off, up/down)—Plotnick suggests that the tenets of precomputational digital command anticipate contemporary ideas of computer users.

Plotnick discusses the uses of early push buttons to call servants, and the growing tensions between those who work with their hands and those who command with their fingers; automation as “automagic,” enabling command at a distance; instant gratification, and the victory of light over darkness; and early twentieth-century imaginings of a future push-button culture. Push buttons, Plotnick tells us, have demonstrated remarkable staying power, despite efforts to cast button pushers as lazy, privileged, and even dangerous.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 6, 2018

"Unsettled"

New from Oxford University Press: Unsettled: Refugee Camps and the Making of Multicultural Britain by Jordanna Bailkin.

About the book, from the publisher:
Today, no one really thinks of Britain as a land of camps. Camps seem to happen "elsewhere", from Greece, to Palestine, to the global South. Yet over the course of the twentieth century, dozens of British refugee camps housed hundreds of thousands of Belgians, Jews, Basques, Poles, Hungarians, Anglo-Egyptians, Ugandan Asians, and Vietnamese. Refugee camps in Britain were never only for refugees. Refugees shared a space with Britons who had been displaced by war and poverty, as well as thousands of civil servants and a fractious mix of volunteers. Unsettled: Refugee Camps and the Making of Multicultural Britain explores how these camps have shaped today's multicultural Britain. They generated unique intimacies and frictions, illuminating the closeness of individuals that have traditionally been kept separate--"citizens" and "migrants", but also refugee populations from diverse countries and conflicts.

As the world's refugee crisis once again brings to Europe the challenges of mass encampment, Unsettled offers warnings from a liberal democracy's recent past. Through lively anecdotes from interviews with former camp residents and workers Unsettled conveys the vivid, everyday history of refugee camps, which witnessed births and deaths, love affairs and violent conflicts, strikes and protests, comedy and tragedy. Their story--like that of today's refugee crisis--is one of complicated intentions that played out in unpredictable ways. The aim of this book is not to redeem camps--nor, indeed, to condemn them. It is to refuse to ignore them. Unsettled speaks to all who are interested in the plight of the encamped, and the global uses of encampment in our present world.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Financial Citizenship"

New from Cornell University Press: Financial Citizenship: Experts, Publics, and the Politics of Central Banking by Annelise Riles.

About the book, from the publisher:
Government bailouts; negative interest rates and markets that do not behave as economic models tell us they should; new populist and nationalist movements that target central banks and central bankers as a source of popular malaise; new regional organizations and geopolitical alignments laying claim to authority over the global economy; households, consumers, and workers facing increasingly intolerable levels of inequality: These dramatic conditions seem to cry out for new ways of understanding the purposes, roles, and challenges of central banks and financial governance more generally. Financial Citizenship reveals that the conflicts about who gets to decide how central banks do all these things, and about whether central banks are acting in everyone’s interest when they do them, are in large part the product of a culture clash between experts and the various global publics that have a stake in what central banks do.

Experts—central bankers, regulators, market insiders, and their academic supporters—are a special community, a cultural group apart from many of the communities that make up the public at large. When the gulf between the culture of those who govern and the cultures of the governed becomes unmanageable, the result is a legitimacy crisis. This book is a call to action for all of us—experts and publics alike—to address this legitimacy crisis head on, for our economies and our democracies.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

"Nature Behind Barbed Wire"

New from Oxford University Press: Nature Behind Barbed Wire: An Environmental History of the Japanese American Incarceration by Connie Y. Chiang.

About the book, from the publisher:
The mass imprisonment of over 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry during World War II was one of the most egregious violations of civil liberties in United States history. Removed from their homes on the temperate Pacific Coast, Japanese Americans spent the war years in desolate camps in the nation's interior. Photographers including Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange visually captured these camps in images that depicted the environment as a source of both hope and hardship. And yet the literature on incarceration has most often focused on the legal and citizenship statuses of the incarcerees, their political struggles with the US government, and their oral testimony.

Nature Behind Barbed Wire shifts the focus to the environment. It explores how the landscape shaped the experiences of both Japanese Americans and federal officials who worked for the War Relocation Authority (WRA), the civilian agency that administered the camps. The complexities of the natural world both enhanced and constrained the WRA's power and provided Japanese Americans with opportunities to redefine the terms and conditions of their confinement. Even as the environment compounded their feelings of despair and outrage, the incarcerees also found that their agency in transforming and adapting to the natural world could help them survive and contest their incarceration. Japanese Americans and WRA officials negotiated the terms of confinement with each other and with a dynamic natural world.

Ultimately, as Connie Chiang demonstrates, the Japanese American incarceration was fundamentally an environmental story.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

"The Oath and the Office"

New from W.W. Norton: The Oath and the Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents by Corey Brettschneider.

About the book, from the publisher:
An essential guide to the presidential powers and limits of the Constitution, for anyone voting—or running—for our highest office.

Can the president launch a nuclear attack without congressional approval? Is it ever a crime to criticize the president? Can states legally resist a president’s executive order? In today’s fraught political climate, it often seems as if we must become constitutional law scholars just to understand the news from Washington, let alone make a responsible decision at the polls.

The Oath and the Office is the book we need, right now and into the future, whether we are voting for or running to become president of the United States. Constitutional law scholar and political science professor Corey Brettschneider guides us through the Constitution and explains the powers—and limits—that it places on the presidency. From the document itself and from American history’s most famous court cases, we learn why certain powers were granted to the presidency, how the Bill of Rights limits those powers, and what “we the people” can do to influence the nation’s highest public office—including, if need be, removing the person in it. In these brief yet deeply researched chapters, we meet founding fathers such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, as well as key figures from historic cases such as Brown v. Board of Education and Korematsu v. United States.

Brettschneider breathes new life into the articles and amendments that we once read about in high school civics class, but that have real impact on our lives today. The Oath and the Office offers a compact, comprehensive tour of the Constitution, and empowers all readers, voters, and future presidents with the knowledge and confidence to read and understand one of our nation’s most important founding documents.
The Page 99 Test: When the State Speaks, What Should It Say?.

Visit Corey Brettschneider's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 3, 2018

"Invisible Agents"

New from Oxford University Press: Invisible Agents: Women and Espionage in Seventeenth-Century Britain by Nadine Akkerman.

About the book, from the publisher:
It would be easy for the modern reader to conclude that women had no place in the world of early modern espionage, with a few seventeenth-century women spies identified and then relegated to the footnotes of history. If even the espionage carried out by Susan Hyde, sister of Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, during the turbulent decades of civil strife in Britain can escape the historiographer's gaze, then how many more like her lurk in the archives?

Nadine Akkerman's search for an answer to this question has led to the writing of Invisible Agents, the very first study to analyse the role of early modern women spies, demonstrating that the allegedly-male world of the spy was more than merely infiltrated by women. This compelling and ground-breaking contribution to the history of espionage details a series of case studies in which women--from playwright to postmistress, from lady-in-waiting to laundry woman--acted as spies, sourcing and passing on confidential information on account of political and religious convictions or to obtain money or power.

The struggle of the She-Intelligencers to construct credibility in their own time is mirrored in their invisibility in modern historiography. Akkerman has immersed herself in archives, libraries, and private collections, transcribing hundreds of letters, breaking cipher codes and their keys, studying invisible inks, and interpreting riddles, acting as a modern-day Spymistress to unearth plots and conspiracies that have long remained hidden by history.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone)"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone) by Sam Wineburg.

About the book, from the publisher:
Let’s start with two truths about our era that are so inescapable as to have become clichés: We are surrounded by more readily available information than ever before. And a huge percentage of it is inaccurate. Some of the bad info is well-meaning but ignorant. Some of it is deliberately deceptive. All of it is pernicious.

With the internet always at our fingertips, what’s a teacher of history to do? Sam Wineburg has answers, beginning with this: We definitely can’t stick to the same old read-the-chapter-answer-the-questions-at-the-back snoozefest we’ve subjected students to for decades. If we want to educate citizens who can sift through the mass of information around them and separate fact from fake, we have to explicitly work to give them the necessary critical thinking tools. Historical thinking, Wineburg shows us in Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone), has nothing to do with test prep–style ability to memorize facts. Instead, it’s an orientation to the world that we can cultivate, one that encourages reasoned skepticism, discourages haste, and counters our tendency to confirm our biases. Wineburg draws on surprising discoveries from an array of research and experiments—including surveys of students, recent attempts to update history curricula, and analyses of how historians, students, and even fact checkers approach online sources—to paint a picture of a dangerously mine-filled landscape, but one that, with care, attention, and awareness, we can all learn to navigate.

It’s easy to look around at the public consequences of historical ignorance and despair. Wineburg is here to tell us it doesn’t have to be that way. The future of the past may rest on our screens. But its fate rests in our hands.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 2, 2018

"Delhi's Meatscapes"

New from Oxford University Press: Delhi's Meatscapes: Muslim Butchers in a Transforming Mega City by Zarin Ahmad.

About the book, from the publisher:
This work is about the Qureshi Muslim butchers of Delhi-an endogamous group among Muslims in India, traditionally involved in the Islamic Halaal slaughtering and selling of animal meat. Ethnographic studies on Qureshi Muslims in India have been rare. The aim of this work is to add to the small and scattered literature on social diversities among Indian Muslims. It looks at the lives of an urban occupational people who are engaged in the meat sector, the commodity meat, and the socio-political, economic, and cultural spaces that meat occupies in urban areas. In doing so, the author follows the transformation of the animal to diverse commodities and their trajectory from the farm to the meat shop. The author argues that the meat sector itself has undergone significant technological changes, mechanizing many of the tasks that were earlier performed manually. This has signalled a huge socio-economic shift for butchers and as well as the meat trade. The domain of the butchers it is argued was already polarized and problematized due to the complexities of meat in the Indian religious, political, and social landscape. This study thus aims to understand and document these shifts and contextualize the changing identities of a marginalized community.
--Marshal Zeringue