Tuesday, March 31, 2020

"Dragonomics"

New from Yale University Press: Dragonomics: How Latin America Is Maximizing (or Missing Out on) China's International Development Strategy by Carol Wise.

About the book, from the publisher:
An insightful examination of the political and economic ties between China and Latin America from the 1950s to the present

This book explores the impact of Chinese growth on Latin America since the early 2000s. Roughly twenty years ago, Chinese entrepreneurs headed to the Western Hemisphere in search of profits and commodities, specifically those that China lacked and that some Latin American countries held in abundance—copper, iron ore, crude oil, soybeans, and fish meal. Focusing largely on Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Peru, Carol Wise traces the evolution of political and economic ties between China and these countries and analyzes how success has varied by sector, project, and country. She also assesses the costs and benefits of Latin America’s recent pivot toward Asia. Wise argues that while opportunities for closer economic integration with China are seemingly infinite, so are the risks, and contends that the best outcomes have stemmed from endeavors where the rule of law, regulatory oversight, and a clear strategy exist on the Latin American side.
Carol Wise is professor of international relations at the University of Southern California, where she focuses on international political economy and development with an emphasis on Latin America. She lives in Los Angeles, CA.

--Marshal Zeringue

"Love in the Drug War"

New from the University of Texas Press: Love in the Drug War: Selling Sex and Finding Jesus on the Mexico-US Border by Sarah Luna.

About the book, from the publisher:
Sex, drugs, religion, and love are potent combinations in la zona, a regulated prostitution zone in the city of Reynosa, across the border from Hidalgo, Texas. During the years 2008 and 2009, a time of intense drug violence, Sarah Luna met and built relationships with two kinds of migrants, women who moved from rural Mexico to Reynosa to become sex workers and American missionaries who moved from the United States to forge a fellowship with those workers.

Luna examines the entanglements, both intimate and financial, that define their lives. Using the concept of obligar, she delves into the connections that tie sex workers to their families, their clients, their pimps, the missionaries, and the drug dealers—and to the guilt, power, and comfort of faith. Love in the Drug War scrutinizes not only la zona and the people who work to survive there, but also Reynosa itself—including the influences of the United States—adding nuance and new understanding to the current US-Mexico border crisis.
Sarah Luna is the Kathryn A. McCarthy Assistant Professor in Women's Studies in the Department of Anthropology and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Tufts University, with a focus on issues of sexual labor, migration, race, borderlands, and queer studies.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 30, 2020

"Crippling Leviathan"

New from Cornell University Press: Crippling Leviathan: How Foreign Subversion Weakens the State by Melissa M. Lee.

About the book, from the publisher:
Policymakers worry that "ungoverned spaces" pose dangers to security and development. Why do such spaces exist beyond the authority of the state? Earlier scholarship—which addressed this question with a list of domestic failures—overlooked the crucial role that international politics play. In this shrewd book, Melissa M. Lee argues that foreign subversion undermines state authority and promotes ungoverned space. Enemy governments empower insurgents to destabilize the state and create ungoverned territory. This kind of foreign subversion is a powerful instrument of modern statecraft. But though subversion is less visible and less costly than conventional force, it has insidious effects on governance in the target state.

To demonstrate the harmful consequences of foreign subversion for state authority, Crippling Leviathan marshals a wealth of evidence and presents in-depth studies of Russia's relations with the post-Soviet states, Malaysian subversion of the Philippines in the 1970s, and Thai subversion of Vietnamese-occupied Cambodia in the 1980s. The evidence presented by Lee is persuasive: foreign subversion weakens the state.

She challenges the conventional wisdom on statebuilding, which has long held that conflict promotes the development of strong, territorially consolidated states. Lee argues instead that conflictual international politics prevents state development and degrades state authority. In addition, Crippling Leviathan illuminates the use of subversion as an underappreciated and important feature of modern statecraft. Rather than resort to war, states resort to subversion. Policymakers interested in ameliorating the consequences of ungoverned space must recognize the international roots that sustain weak statehood.
Visit Melissa M. Lee's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 29, 2020

"Inhaling Spirit"

New from Oxford University Press: Inhaling Spirit: Harmonialism, Orientalism, and the Western Roots of Modern Yoga by Anya P. Foxen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Recent scholarship has shown that modern postural yoga is the outcome of a complex process of transcultural exchange and syncretism. This book doubles down on those claims and digs even deeper, looking to uncover the disparate but entangled roots of modern yoga practice. Anya Foxen shows that some of what we call yoga, especially in North America and Europe, is genealogically only slightly related to pre-modern Indian yoga traditions. Rather, it is equally, if not more so, grounded in Hellenistic theories of the subtle body, Western esotericism and magic, pre-modern European medicine, and late-nineteenth-century women's wellness programs. The book begins by examining concepts arising out of Greek philosophy and religion, including Pythagoreanism, Stoicism, Neo-Platonism, Galenic medicine, theurgy, and other cultural currents that have traditionally been categorized as "Western esotericism," as well as the more recent examples which scholars of American traditions have labeled "metaphysical religion." Marshaling these under the umbrella category of "harmonialism," Foxen argues that they represent a history of practices that were gradually subsumed into the language of yoga.

Orientalism and gender become important categories of analysis as this narrative moves into the nineteenth century. Women considerably outnumber men in all studies of yoga except those conducted in India, and modern anglophone yoga exhibits important continuities with women's physical culture, feminist reform, and white women's engagement with Orientalism. Foxen's study allows us to recontextualize the peculiarities of American yoga--its focus on aesthetic representation, its privileging of bodily posture and unsystematic incorporation of breathwork, and above all its overwhelmingly white female demographic. In this context it addresses the ongoing conversation about cultural appropriation within the yoga community.
Visit Anya P. Foxen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

"The American Robot"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The American Robot: A Cultural History by Dustin A. Abnet.

About the book, from the publisher:
Although they entered the world as pure science fiction, robots are now very much a fact of everyday life. Whether a space-age cyborg, a chess-playing automaton, or simply the smartphone in our pocket, robots have long been a symbol of the fraught and fearful relationship between ourselves and our creations. Though we tend to think of them as products of twentieth-century technology—the word “robot” itself dates to only 1921—as a concept, they have colored US society and culture for far longer, as Dustin A. Abnet shows to dazzling effect in The American Robot.

In tracing the history of the idea of robots in US culture, Abnet draws on intellectual history, religion, literature, film, and television. He explores how robots and their many kin have not only conceptually connected but literally embodied some of the most critical questions in modern culture. He also investigates how the discourse around robots has reinforced social and economic inequalities, as well as fantasies of mass domination—chilling thoughts that the recent increase in job automation has done little to quell. The American Robot argues that the deep history of robots has abetted both the literal replacement of humans by machines and the figurative transformation of humans into machines, connecting advances in technology and capitalism to individual and societal change. Look beneath the fears that fracture our society, Abnet tells us, and you’re likely to find a robot lurking there.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 28, 2020

"Exit from Hegemony"

New from Oxford University Press: Exit from Hegemony: The Unraveling of the American Global Order by Alexander Cooley and Daniel Nexon.

About the book, from the publisher:
We live in a period of great uncertainty about the fate of America's global leadership. Many believe that Donald Trump's presidency marks the end of liberal international order-the very system of global institutions, rules, and values that shaped the American international system since the end of World War II. Trump's repeated rejection of liberal order, criticisms of long-term allies of the US, and affinity for authoritarian leaders certainly undermines the American international system, but the truth is that liberal international order has been quietly eroding for at least 15 years.

In Exit from Hegemony, Alexander Cooley and Daniel Nexon develop a new, integrated approach to understanding the rise and decline of hegemonic orders. Their approach identifies three distinct ways in which the liberal international order is undergoing fundamental transformation. First, Russia and China have targeted the order, positioning themselves as revisionist powers by establishing alternative regional institutions and pushing counter-norms. Second, weaker states are hollowing out the order by seeking patronage and security partnership from nations outside of the order, such as Saudi Arabia and China. Even though they do not always seek to disrupt American hegemony, these new patron-client relationships lack the same liberal political and economic conditions as those involving the United States and its democratic allies. Third, a new series of transnational networks emphasizing illiberalism, nationalism, and right-wing values increasing challenges the anti-authoritarian, progressive transnational networks of the 1990s. These three pathways erode the primacy of the liberal international order from above, laterally, and from below. The Trump administration, with its "America First" doctrine, accelerates all three processes, critically lessening America's position as a world power.
The Page 99 Test: Daniel Nexon's The Struggle for Power in Early Modern Europe.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 27, 2020

"Coffeeland"

New from Penguin Press: Coffeeland: One Man’s Dark Empire and the Making of Our Favorite Drug by Augustine Sedgewick.

About the book, from the publisher:
The epic story of how coffee connected and divided the modern world

Coffee is an indispensable part of daily life for billions of people around the world–one of the most valuable commodities in the history of global capitalism, the leading source of the world’s most popular drug, and perhaps the most widespread word on the planet. Augustine Sedgewick’s Coffeeland tells the hidden and surprising story of how this came to be, tracing coffee’s five-hundred-year transformation from a mysterious Muslim ritual into an everyday necessity.

This story is one that few coffee drinkers know. It centers on the volcanic highlands of El Salvador, where James Hill, born in the slums of Manchester, England, founded one of the world’s great coffee dynasties at the turn of the twentieth century. Adapting the innovations of the Industrial Revolution to plantation agriculture, Hill helped to turn El Salvador into perhaps the most intensive monoculture in modern history, a place of extraordinary productivity, inequality, and violence.

Following coffee from Hill family plantations into supermarkets, kitchens, and workplaces across the United States, and finally into today’s ubiquitous caf├ęs, Sedgewick reveals how coffee bred vast wealth and hard poverty, at once connecting and dividing the modern world. In the process, both El Salvador and the United States earned the nickname “Coffeeland,” but for starkly different reasons, and with consequences that reach into the present. This extraordinary history of coffee opens up a new perspective on how the globalized world works, ultimately provoking a reconsideration of what it means to be connected to faraway people and places through the familiar things that make up our day-to-day lives.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Appetite and Its Discontents"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Appetite and Its Discontents: Science, Medicine, and the Urge to Eat, 1750-1950 by Elizabeth A. Williams.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why do we eat? Is it instinct? Despite the necessity of food, anxieties about what and how to eat are widespread and persistent. In Appetite and Its Discontents, Elizabeth A. Williams explores contemporary worries about eating through the lens of science and medicine to show us how appetite—once a matter of personal inclination—became an object of science.

Williams charts the history of inquiry into appetite between 1750 and 1950, as scientific and medical concepts of appetite shifted alongside developments in physiology, natural history, psychology, and ethology. She shows how, in the eighteenth century, trust in appetite was undermined when researchers who investigated ingestion and digestion began claiming that science alone could say which ways of eating were healthy and which were not. She goes on to trace nineteenth- and twentieth-century conflicts over the nature of appetite between mechanists and vitalists, experimentalists and bedside physicians, and localists and holists, illuminating struggles that have never been resolved. By exploring the core disciplines in investigations in appetite and eating, Williams reframes the way we think about food, nutrition, and the nature of health itself.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 26, 2020

"OD: Naloxone and the Politics of Overdose"

New from the MIT Press: OD: Naloxone and the Politics of Overdose by Nancy D. Campbell.

About the book, from the publisher:
The history of an unnatural disaster—drug overdose—and the emergence of naloxone as a social and technological solution.

For years, drug overdose was unmentionable in polite society. OD was understood to be something that took place in dark alleys—an ugly death awaiting social deviants—neither scientifically nor clinically interesting. But over the last several years, overdose prevention has become the unlikely object of a social movement, powered by the miracle drug naloxone. In OD, Nancy Campbell charts the emergence of naloxone as a technological fix for overdose and describes the remaking of overdose into an experience recognized as common, predictable, patterned—and, above all, preventable. Naloxone, which made resuscitation, rescue, and “reversal” after an overdose possible, became a tool for shifting law, policy, clinical medicine, and science toward harm reduction. Liberated from emergency room protocols and distributed in take-home kits to non-medical professionals, it also became a tool of empowerment.

After recounting the prehistory of naloxone—the early treatment of OD as a problem of poisoning, the development of nalorphine (naloxone's predecessor), the idea of “reanimatology”—Campbell describes how naloxone emerged as a tool of harm reduction. She reports on naloxone use in far-flung locations that include post-Thatcherite Britain, rural New Mexico, and cities and towns in Massachusetts. Drawing on interviews with approximately sixty advocates, drug users, former users, friends, families, witnesses, clinicians, and scientists—whom she calls the “protagonists” of her story—Campbell tells a story of saving lives amid the complex, difficult conditions of an unfolding unnatural disaster.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

"Across the Great Divide"

New from Stanford University Press: Across the Great Divide: Between Analytic and Continental Political Theory by Jeremy Arnold.

About the book, from the publisher:
The division between analytic and continental political theory remains as sharp as it is wide, rendering basic problems seemingly intractable. Across the Great Divide offers an accessible and compelling account of how this split has shaped the field of political philosophy and suggests means of addressing it. Rather than advocating a synthesis of these philosophical modes, author Jeremy Arnold argues for aporetic cross-tradition theorizing: bringing together both traditions in order to show how each is at once necessary and limited.

Across the Great Divide engages with a range of fundamental political concepts and theorists—from state legitimacy and violence in the work of Stanley Cavell, to personal freedom and its civic institutionalization in Philip Pettit and Hannah Arendt, and justice in John Rawls and Jacques Derrida—not only illustrating the shortcomings of theoretical synthesis but also demonstrating a productive alternative. By outlining the failings of "political realism" as a synthetic cross-tradition approach to political theory and by modeling an aporetic mode of engagement, Arnold shows how we can better understand and address the pressing political issues of civil freedom and state justice today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

"Power in Modernity"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Power in Modernity: Agency Relations and the Creative Destruction of the King's Two Bodies by Isaac Ariail Reed.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Power in Modernity, Isaac Ariail Reed proposes a bold new theory of power that describes overlapping networks of delegation and domination. Chains of power and their representation, linking together groups and individuals across time and space, create a vast network of intersecting alliances, subordinations, redistributions, and violent exclusions. Reed traces the common action of “sending someone else to do something for you” as it expands outward into the hierarchies that control territories, persons, artifacts, minds, and money.

He mobilizes this theory to investigate the onset of modernity in the Atlantic world, with a focus on rebellion, revolution, and state formation in colonial North America, the early American Republic, the English Civil War, and French Revolution. Modernity, Reed argues, dismantled the “King’s Two Bodies”—the monarch’s physical body and his ethereal, sacred second body that encompassed the body politic—as a schema of representation for forging power relations. Reed’s account then offers a new understanding of the democratic possibilities and violent exclusions forged in the name of “the people,” as revolutionaries sought new ways to secure delegation, build hierarchy, and attack alterity.

Reconsidering the role of myth in modern politics, Reed proposes to see the creative destruction and eternal recurrence of the King’s Two Bodies as constitutive of the modern attitude, and thus as a new starting point for critical theory. Modernity poses in a new way an eternal human question: what does it mean to be the author of one’s own actions?
Visit Isaac Ariail Reed's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 23, 2020

"Powering Empire"

New from the University of California Press: Powering Empire: How Coal Made the Middle East and Sparked Global Carbonization by On Barak.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Age of Empire was driven by coal, and the Middle East—as an idea—was made by coal. Coal’s imperial infrastructure presaged the geopolitics of oil that wreaks carnage today, as carbonization threatens our very climate. Powering Empire argues that we cannot promote worldwide decarbonization without first understanding the history of the globalization of carbon energy. How did this black rock come to have such long-lasting power over the world economy?

Focusing on the flow of British carbon energy to the Middle East, On Barak excavates the historic nexus between coal and empire to reveal the political and military motives behind what is conventionally seen as a technological innovation. He provocatively recounts the carbon-intensive entanglements of Western and non-Western powers and reveals unfamiliar resources—such as Islamic risk-aversion and Gandhian vegetarianism—for a climate justice that relies on more diverse and ethical solutions worldwide.
On Barak is a social historian of science and technology in non-Western settings, and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of On Time: Technology and Temporality in Modern Egypt.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 22, 2020

"Why Isn’t Government Policy More Preventive?"

New from Oxford University Press: Why Isn't Government Policy More Preventive? by Paul Cairney and Emily St Denny.

About the book, from the publisher:
If 'prevention is better than cure', why isn't policy more preventive? Policymakers only have the ability to pay attention to, and influence, a tiny proportion of their responsibilities, and they engage in a policymaking environment of which they have limited understanding and even less control. This simple insight helps explain the gap between stated policymaker expectations and actual policy outcomes. Why Isn't Government Policy more Preventive? uses these insights to produce new empirical studies of 'wicked' problems with practical lessons. The authors find that the UK and Scottish governments both use a simple idiom - prevention is better than cure - to sell a package of profound changes to policy and policymaking. Taken at face value, this focus on 'prevention' policy seems like an idea 'whose time has come'. Yet, 'prevention' is too ambiguous until governments give it meaning. No government has found a way to turn this vague aim into a set of detailed, consistent, and defendable policies. This book examines what happens when governments make commitments without knowing how to deliver them. It compares their policymaking contexts, roles and responsibilities, policy styles, language, commitments, and outcomes in several cross-cutting policy areas (including health, families, justice, and employability) to make sense of their experiences. The book uses multiple insights from policy theory to help research and analyse the results. The results help policymakers reflect on how to avoid a cycle of optimism and despair when trying to solve problems that their predecessors did not.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Graphic News"

New from the University of Illinois Press: Graphic News: How Sensational Images Transformed Nineteenth-Century Journalism by Amanda Frisken.

About the book, from the publisher:
Pictures, profits, and peril in the yellow journalism era

"You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war." This famous but apocryphal quote, long attributed to newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, encapsulates fears of the lengths to which news companies would go to exploit visual journalism in the late nineteenth century. From 1870 to 1900, newspapers disrupted conventional reporting methods with sensationalized line drawings. A fierce hunger for profits motivated the shift to emotion-driven, visual content. But the new approach, while popular, often targeted, and further marginalized, vulnerable groups.

Amanda Frisken examines the ways sensational images of pivotal cultural events—obscenity litigation, anti-Chinese bloodshed, the Ghost Dance, lynching, and domestic violence—changed the public's consumption of the news. Using intersectional analysis, Frisken explores how these newfound visualizations of events during episodes of social and political controversy enabled newspapers and social activists alike to communicate—or challenge—prevailing understandings of racial, class, and gender identities and cultural power.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 21, 2020

"Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism"

New from Princeton University Press: Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism by Anne Case and Angus Deaton.

About the book, from the publisher:
Life expectancy in the United States has recently fallen for three years in a row—a reversal not seen since 1918 or in any other wealthy nation in modern times. In the past two decades, deaths of despair from suicide, drug overdose, and alcoholism have risen dramatically, and now claim hundreds of thousands of American lives each year—and they’re still rising. Anne Case and Angus Deaton, known for first sounding the alarm about deaths of despair, explain the overwhelming surge in these deaths and shed light on the social and economic forces that are making life harder for the working class. They demonstrate why, for those who used to prosper in America, capitalism is no longer delivering.

Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism paints a troubling portrait of the American dream in decline. For the white working class, today’s America has become a land of broken families and few prospects. As the college educated become healthier and wealthier, adults without a degree are literally dying from pain and despair. In this critically important book, Case and Deaton tie the crisis to the weakening position of labor, the growing power of corporations, and, above all, to a rapacious health-care sector that redistributes working-class wages into the pockets of the wealthy. Capitalism, which over two centuries lifted countless people out of poverty, is now destroying the lives of blue-collar America.

This book charts a way forward, providing solutions that can rein in capitalism’s excesses and make it work for everyone.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 20, 2020

"Military Medicine and the Making of Race"

New from Cambridge University Press: Military Medicine and the Making of Race: Life and Death in the West India Regiments, 1795–1874 by Tim Lockley.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book demonstrates how Britain's black soldiers helped shape attitudes towards race throughout the nineteenth century. The West India Regiments were part of the British military establishment for 132 years, generating vast records with details about every one of their 100,000+ recruits which made them the best-documented group of black men in the Atlantic World. Tim Lockley shows how, in the late eighteenth century, surgeons established in medical literature that white and black bodies were radically different, forging a notion of the 'superhuman' black soldier able to undertake physical challenges far beyond white soldiers. By the late 1830s, however, military statisticians would contest these ideas and highlight the vulnerabilities of black soldiers instead. The popularity and pervasiveness of these publications spread far beyond British military or medical circles and had a significant international impact, particularly in the US, both reflecting and reinforcing changing notions about blackness.
Tim Lockley is Professor of North American History at the University of Warwick and the author of Lines in the Sand: Race and Class in Lowcountry Georgia, 1750–1860 (2001), Welfare and Charity in the Antebellum South (2007) and Maroon Communities in South Carolina (2009).

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 19, 2020

"The Jews of Ottoman Izmir"

New from Stanford University Press: The Jews of Ottoman Izmir: A Modern History by Dina Danon.

About the book, from the publisher:
By the turn of the twentieth century, the eastern Mediterranean port city of Izmir had been home to a vibrant and substantial Sephardi Jewish community for over four hundred years, and had emerged as a major center of Jewish life. The Jews of Ottoman Izmir tells the story of this long overlooked Jewish community, drawing on previously untapped Ladino archival material.

Across Europe, Jews were often confronted with the notion that their religious and cultural distinctiveness was somehow incompatible with the modern age. Yet the view from Ottoman Izmir invites a different approach: what happens when Jewish difference is totally unremarkable? Dina Danon argues that while Jewish religious and cultural distinctiveness might have remained unquestioned in this late Ottoman port city, other elements of Jewish identity emerged as profound sites of tension, most notably those of poverty and social class. Through the voices of both beggars on the street and mercantile elites, shoe-shiners and newspaper editors, rabbis and housewives, this book argues that it was new attitudes to poverty and class, not Judaism, that most significantly framed this Sephardi community's encounter with the modern age.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

"Risking Immeasurable Harm"

New from the University of Nebraska Press: Risking Immeasurable Harm: Immigration Restriction and U.S.-Mexican Diplomatic Relations, 1924-1932 by Benjamin C. Montoya.

About the book, from the publisher:
The debate over restricting the number of Mexican immigrants to the United States began early in the twentieth century, a time when U.S.-Mexican relations were still tenuous following the Mexican Revolution and when heated conflicts over mineral rights, primarily oil, were raging between the two nations. Though Mexico had economic reasons for curbing emigration, the racist tone of the quota debate taking place in the United States offended Mexicans’ national pride and played a large part in obstructing mutual support for immigration restriction between the United States and Mexico.

Risking Immeasurable Harm
explains how the prospect of immigration restriction affects diplomatic relations by analyzing U.S. efforts to place a quota on immigration from Mexico during the late 1920s and early 1930s. The controversial quota raised important questions about how domestic immigration policy debates had international consequences, primarily how the racist justifications for immigration restriction threatened to undermine U.S. relations with Mexico.

Benjamin C. Montoya follows the quota debate from its origin in 1924, spurred by the passage of the Immigration Act, to its conclusion in 1932. He examines congressional policy debate and the U.S. State Department’s steady opposition to the quota scheme. Despite the concerns of American diplomats, in 1930 the Senate passed the Harris Bill, which singled out Mexico among all other Latin American nations for immigration restriction. The lingering effects of the quota debates continued to strain diplomatic relations between the United States and Mexico beyond the Great Depression.

Relevant to current debates about immigration and the role of restrictions in inter-American diplomacy, Risking Immeasurable Harm demonstrates the correlation of immigration restriction and diplomacy, the ways racism can affect diplomatic relations, and how domestic immigration policy can have international consequences.
Visit Benjamin C. Montoya's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

"How the South Won the Civil War"

New from Oxford University Press: How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America by Heather Cox Richardson.

About the book, from the publisher:
While the North prevailed in the Civil War, ending slavery and giving the country a "new birth of freedom," Heather Cox Richardson argues in this provocative work that democracy's blood-soaked victory was ephemeral. The system that had sustained the defeated South moved westward and there established a foothold. It was a natural fit. Settlers from the East had for decades been pushing into the West, where the seizure of Mexican lands at the end of the Mexican-American War and treatment of Native Americans cemented racial hierarchies. The South and West equally depended on extractive industries-cotton in the former and mining, cattle, and oil in the latter-giving rise a new birth of white male oligarchy, despite the guarantees provided by the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, and the economic opportunities afforded by expansion.

To reveal why this happened, How the South Won the Civil War traces the story of the American paradox, the competing claims of equality and subordination woven into the nation's fabric and identity. At the nation's founding, it was the Eastern "yeoman farmer" who galvanized and symbolized the American Revolution. After the Civil War, that mantle was assumed by the Western cowboy, singlehandedly defending his land against barbarians and savages as well as from a rapacious government. New states entered the Union in the late nineteenth century and western and southern leaders found yet more common ground. As resources and people streamed into the West during the New Deal and World War II, the region's influence grew. "Movement Conservatives," led by westerners Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan, claimed to embody cowboy individualism and worked with Dixiecrats to embrace the ideology of the Confederacy.

Richardson's searing book seizes upon the soul of the country and its ongoing struggle to provide equal opportunity to all. Debunking the myth that the Civil War released the nation from the grip of oligarchy, expunging the sins of the Founding, it reveals how and why the Old South not only survived in the West, but thrived.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 16, 2020

"Building the Buddhist Revival"

New from Oxford University Press: Building the Buddhist Revival: Reconstructing Monasteries in Modern China by Gregory Adam Scott.

About the book, from the publisher:
Between 1850 and 1966, tens of thousands of Buddhist sacred sites in China were destroyed, victims of targeted destruction, accidental damage, or simply neglect. During the same period, however, many of these sites were reconstructed, a process that involved both rebuilding material structures and reviving religious communities. The conventionally accepted narrative of Chinese Buddhism during the modern era is that it underwent a revival initiated by innovative monastics and laypersons, leaders who reinvented Buddhist traditions to meet the challenges of modernity. Gregory Adam Scott shows, however, that over time it became increasingly difficult for reconstruction leaders to resist the interests of state actors, who sought to refashion monastery sites as cultural monuments rather than as living religious communities. These sites were then intended to serve as symbols of Chinese history and cultural heritage, while their function as a frame for religious life was increasingly pushed aside. As a result, the power to determine whether and how a monastery would be reconstructed, and the types of activities that would be reinstated or newly introduced, began to shift from religious leaders and communities to state agencies that had a radically different set of motivations and values.

Building the Buddhist Revival explores the history of Chinese Buddhist monastery reconstruction from the end of the Imperial period through the first seventeen years of the People's Republic. Over this century of history, the nature and significance of reconstructing Buddhist monasteries changes drastically, mirroring broader changes in Chinese society. Yet this book argues that change has always been in the nature of religious communities such as Buddhist monasteries, and that reconstruction, rather than a return to the past, represents innovative and adaptive change. In this way, it helps us understand the broader significance of the Buddhist "revival" in China during this era, as a creative reconstruction of religion upon longstanding foundations.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 15, 2020

"Coerced: Work Under Threat of Punishment"

New from the University of California Press: Coerced: Work Under Threat of Punishment by Erin Hatton.

About the book, from the publisher:
What do prisoner laborers, graduate students, welfare workers, and college athletes have in common? According to sociologist Erin Hatton, they are all part of a growing workforce of coerced laborers.

Coerced explores this world of coerced labor through an unexpected and compelling comparison of these four groups of workers, for whom a different definition of "employment" reigns supreme—one where workplace protections do not apply and employers wield expansive punitive power, far beyond the ability to hire and fire. Because such arrangements are common across the economy, Hatton argues that coercion—as well as precarity—is a defining feature of work in America today.

Theoretically forceful yet vivid and gripping to read, Coerced compels the reader to reevaluate contemporary dynamics of work, pushing beyond concepts like "career" and "gig work." Through this bold analysis, Hatton offers a trenchant window into this world of work from the perspective of those who toil within it—and who are developing the tools needed to push back against it.
Visit Erin Hatton's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 14, 2020

"Defense Management Reform"

New from Stanford University Press: Defense Management Reform: How to Make the Pentagon Work Better and Cost Less by Peter Levine.

About the book, from the publisher:
Pentagon spending has been the target of decades of criticism and reform efforts. Billions of dollars are spent on weapons programs that are later abandoned. State-of-the-art data centers are underutilized and overstaffed. New business systems are built at great expense but fail to meet the needs of their users. Every Secretary of Defense for the last five Administrations has made it a priority to address perceived bloat and inefficiency by making management reform a major priority. The congressional defense committees have been just as active, enacting hundreds of legislative provisions. Yet few of these initiatives produce significant results, and the Pentagon appears to go on, as wasteful as ever.

In this book, Peter Levine addresses why, despite a long history of attempted reform, the Pentagon continues to struggle to reduce waste and inefficiency. The heart of Defense Management Reform is three case studies covering civilian personnel, acquisitions, and financial management. Narrated with the insight of an insider, the result is a clear understanding of what went wrong in the past and a set of concrete guidelines to plot a better future.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 13, 2020

"A Comedian and an Activist Walk into a Bar"

New from the University of California Press: A Comedian and an Activist Walk into a Bar: The Serious Role of Comedy in Social Justice by Caty Borum Chattoo and Lauren Feldman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Comedy is a powerful contemporary source of influence and information. In the still-evolving digital era, the opportunity to consume and share comedy has never been as available. And yet, despite its vast cultural imprint, comedy is a little-understood vehicle for serious public engagement in urgent social justice issues – even though humor offers frames of hope and optimism that can encourage participation in social problems. Moreover, in the midst of a merger of entertainment and news in the contemporary information ecology, and a decline in perceptions of trust in government and traditional media institutions, comedy may be a unique force for change in pressing social justice challenges.

Comedians who say something serious about the world while they make us laugh are capable of mobilizing the masses, focusing a critical lens on injustices, and injecting hope and optimism into seemingly hopeless problems. By combining communication and social justice frameworks with contemporary comedy examples, authors Caty Borum Chattoo and Lauren Feldman show us how comedy can help to serve as a vehicle of change.

Through rich case studies, audience research, and interviews with comedians and social justice leaders and strategists, A Comedian and an Activist Walk Into a Bar: The Serious Role of Comedy in Social Justice explains how comedy – both in the entertainment marketplace and as cultural strategy – can engage audiences with issues such as global poverty, climate change, immigration, and sexual assault, and how activists work with comedy to reach and empower publics in the networked, participatory digital media age.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 12, 2020

"These Islands Are Ours"

New from Stanford University Press: These Islands Are Ours: The Social Construction of Territorial Disputes in Northeast Asia by Alexander Bukh.

About the book, from the publisher:
Territorial disputes are one of the main sources of tension in Northeast Asia. Escalation in such conflicts often stems from a widely shared public perception that the territory in question is of the utmost importance to the nation. While that's frequently not true in economic, military, or political terms, citizens' groups and other domestic actors throughout the region have mounted sustained campaigns to protect or recover disputed islands. Quite often, these campaigns have wide-ranging domestic and international consequences.

Why and how do territorial disputes that at one point mattered little, become salient? Focusing on non-state actors rather than political elites, Alexander Bukh explains how and why apparently inconsequential territories become central to national discourse in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. These Islands Are Ours challenges the conventional wisdom that disputes-related campaigns originate in the desire to protect national territory and traces their roots to times of crisis in the respective societies. This book gives us a new way to understand the nature of territorial disputes and how they inform national identities by exploring the processes of their social construction, and amplification.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

"Thinking Nature and the Nature of Thinking"

New from Stanford University Press: Thinking Nature and the Nature of Thinking: From Eriugena to Emerson by Willemien Otten.

About the book, from the publisher:
A fresh and more capacious reading of the Western religious tradition on nature and creation, Thinking Nature and the Nature of Thinking puts medieval Irish theologian John Scottus Eriugena (810–877) into conversation with American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882). Challenging the biblical stewardship model of nature and histories of nature and religion that pit orthodoxy against the heresy of pantheism, Willemien Otten reveals a line of thought that has long made room for nature's agency as the coworker of God. Embracing in this more elusive idea of nature in a world beset by environmental crisis, she suggests, will allow us to see nature not as a victim but as an ally in a common quest for re-attunement to the divine. Putting its protagonists into further dialogue with such classic authors as Augustine, Maximus the Confessor, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and William James, her study deconstructs the idea of pantheism and paves the way for a new natural theology.
Willemien Otten is Professor of the History of Christianity and Theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School, where she serves as the Director of the Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

"Precarious Partners"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Precarious Partners: Horses and Their Humans in Nineteenth-Century France by Kari Weil.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the recent spate of equine deaths on racetracks to protests demanding the removal of mounted Confederate soldier statues to the success and appeal of War Horse, there is no question that horses still play a role in our lives—though fewer and fewer of us actually interact with them. In Precarious Partners, Kari Weil takes readers back to a time in France when horses were an inescapable part of daily life. This was a time when horse ownership became an attainable dream not just for soldiers but also for middle-class children; when natural historians argued about animal intelligence; when the prevalence of horse beatings led to the first animal protection laws; and when the combined magnificence and abuse of these animals inspired artists, writers, and riders alike.

Weil traces the evolving partnerships established between French citizens and their horses through this era. She considers the newly designed “races” of workhorses who carried men from the battlefield to the hippodrome, lugged heavy loads through the boulevards, or paraded women riders, amazones, in the parks or circus halls—as well as those unfortunate horses who found their fate on a dinner plate. Moving between literature, painting, natural philosophy, popular cartoons, sports manuals, and tracts of public hygiene, Precarious Partners traces the changing social, political, and emotional relations with these charismatic creatures who straddled conceptions of pet and livestock in nineteenth-century France.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 9, 2020

"Last Subway"

New from Cornell University Press: Last Subway: The Long Wait for the Next Train in New York City by Philip Mark Plotch.

About the book, from the publisher:
Last Subway is the fascinating and dramatic story behind New York City's struggle to build a new subway line under Second Avenue and improve transit services all across the city. With his extraordinary access to powerful players and internal documents, Philip Mark Plotch reveals why the city's subway system, once the best in the world, is now too often unreliable, overcrowded, and uncomfortable. He explains how a series of uninformed and self-serving elected officials have fostered false expectations about the city's ability to adequately maintain and significantly expand its transit system.

Since the 1920s, New Yorkers have been promised a Second Avenue subway. When the first of four planned phases opened on Manhattan's Upper East Side in 2017, subway service improved for tens of thousands of people. Riders have been delighted with the clean, quiet, and spacious new stations. Yet these types of accomplishments will not be repeated unless New Yorkers learn from their century-long struggle.

Last Subway offers valuable lessons in how governments can overcome political gridlock and enormous obstacles to build grand projects. However, it is also a cautionary tale for cities. Plotch reveals how false promises, redirected funds and political ambitions have derailed subway improvements. Given the ridiculously high cost of building new subways in New York and their lengthy construction period, the Second Avenue subway (if it is ever completed) will be the last subway built in New York for generations to come.
Visit Philip Mark Plotch's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 8, 2020

"Hitler's First Hundred Days"

New from Basic Books: Hitler's First Hundred Days: When Germans Embraced the Third Reich by Peter Fritzsche.

About the book, from the publisher:
This unsettling and illuminating history reveals how Germany’s fractured republic gave way to the Third Reich, from the formation of the Nazi party to the rise of Hitler.

Amid the ravages of economic depression, Germans in the early 1930s were pulled to political extremes both left and right. Then, in the spring of 1933, Germany turned itself inside out, from a deeply divided republic into a one-party dictatorship. In Hitler’s First Hundred Days, award-winning historian Peter Fritzsche offers a probing account of the pivotal moments when the majority of Germans seemed, all at once, to join the Nazis to construct the Third Reich. Fritzsche examines the events of the period — the elections and mass arrests, the bonfires and gunfire, the patriotic rallies and anti-Jewish boycotts — to understand both the terrifying power the National Socialists exerted over ordinary Germans and the powerful appeal of the new era they promised.

Hitler’s First Hundred Days is the chilling story of the beginning of the end, when one hundred days inaugurated a new thousand-year Reich.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 7, 2020

"Vernacular Industrialism in China"

New from Columbia University Press: Vernacular Industrialism in China: Local Innovation and Translated Technologies in the Making of a Cosmetics Empire, 1900–1940 by Eugenia Lean.

About the book, from the publisher:
In early twentieth-century China, Chen Diexian (1879–1940) was a maverick entrepreneur—at once a prolific man of letters and captain of industry, a magazine editor and cosmetics magnate. He tinkered with chemistry in his private studio, used local cuttlefish to source magnesium carbonate, and published manufacturing tips in how-to columns. In a rapidly changing society, Chen copied foreign technologies and translated manufacturing processes from abroad to produce adaptations of global commodities that bested foreign brands. Engaging in the worlds of journalism, industry, and commerce, he drew on literati practices associated with late-imperial elites but deployed them in novel ways within a culture of educated tinkering that generated industrial innovation.

Through the lens of Chen’s career, Eugenia Lean explores how unlikely individuals devised unconventional, homegrown approaches to industry and science in early twentieth-century China. She contends that Chen’s activities exemplify “vernacular industrialism,” the pursuit of industry and science outside of conventional venues, often involving ad hoc forms of knowledge and material work. Lean shows how vernacular industrialists accessed worldwide circuits of law and science and experimented with local and global processes of manufacturing to navigate, innovate, and compete in global capitalism. In doing so, they presaged the approach that has helped fuel China’s economic ascent in the twenty-first century. Rather than conventional narratives that depict China as belatedly borrowing from Western technology, Vernacular Industrialism in China offers a new understanding of industrialization, going beyond material factors to show the central role of culture and knowledge production in technological and industrial change.
Visit Eugenia Lean's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, March 6, 2020

"Marijuana Boom"

New from the University of California Press: Marijuana Boom: The Rise and Fall of Colombia's First Drug Paradise by Lina Britto.

About the book, from the publisher:
Before Colombia became one of the world’s largest producers of cocaine in the 1980s, traffickers from the Caribbean coast partnered with American buyers in the 1970s to make the South American country the main supplier of marijuana for a booming US drug market, fueled by the US hippie counterculture. How did Colombia become central to the creation of an international drug trafficking circuit? Marijuana Boom is the story of this forgotten history. Combining deep archival research with unprecedented oral history, Lina Britto deciphers a puzzle: Why did the Colombian coffee republic, a model of Latin American representative democracy and economic modernization, transform into a drug paradise, and at what cost?
Lina Britto is an Assistant Professor of History at Northwestern University.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, March 5, 2020

"Indian Sex Life"

New from Princeton University Press: Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought by Durba Mitra.

About the book, from the publisher:
During the colonial period in India, European scholars, British officials, and elite Indian intellectuals—philologists, administrators, doctors, ethnologists, sociologists, and social critics—deployed ideas about sexuality to understand modern Indian society. In Indian Sex Life, Durba Mitra shows how deviant female sexuality, particularly the concept of the prostitute, became foundational to this knowledge project and became the primary way to think and write about Indian society.

Bringing together vast archival materials from diverse disciplines, Mitra reveals that deviant female sexuality was critical to debates about social progress and exclusion, caste domination, marriage, widowhood and inheritance, women’s performance, the trafficking of girls, abortion and infanticide, industrial and domestic labor, indentured servitude, and ideologies about the dangers of Muslim sexuality. British authorities and Indian intellectuals used the concept of the prostitute to argue for the dramatic reorganization of modern Indian society around Hindu monogamy. Mitra demonstrates how the intellectual history of modern social thought is based in a dangerous civilizational logic built on the control and erasure of women’s sexuality. This logic continues to hold sway in present-day South Asia and the postcolonial world.

Reframing the prostitute as a concept, Indian Sex Life overturns long-established notions of how to write the history of modern social thought in colonial India, and opens up new approaches for the global history of sexuality.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Istanbul, City of the Fearless"

New from the University of California Press: Istanbul, City of the Fearless: Urban Activism, Coup d'Etat, and Memory in Turkey by Christopher Houston.

About the book, from the publisher:
Based on extensive field research in Turkey, Istanbul, City of the Fearless explores social movements and the broader practices of civil society in Istanbul in the critical years before and after the 1980 military coup, the defining event in the neoliberal reengineering of the city. Bringing together developments in anthropology, urban studies, cultural geography, and social theory, Christopher Houston offers new insights into the meaning and study of urban violence, military rule, activism and spatial tactics, relations between political factions and ideologies, and political memory and commemoration. This book is both a social history and an anthropological study, investigating how activist practices and the coup not only contributed to the globalization of Istanbul beginning in the 1980s but also exerted their force and influence into the future.
Christopher Houston is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University in Sydney. He is the author of Kurdistan: Crafting of National Selves and Islam, Kurds and the Turkish Nation-State.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

"Sovereign Necropolis"

New from Cornell University Press: Sovereign Necropolis: The Politics of Death in Semi-Colonial Siam by Trais Pearson.

About the book, from the publisher:
By the 1890s, Siam (Thailand) was the last holdout against European imperialism in Southeast Asia. But the kingdom's exceptional status came with a substantial caveat: Bangkok, its bustling capital, was a port city that was subject to many of the same legal and fiscal constraints as other colonial treaty ports. Sovereign Necropolis offers new insight into turn-of-the-century Thai history by disinterring the forgotten stories of those who died "unnatural deaths" during this period and the work of the Siamese state to assert their rights in a pluralistic legal arena.

Based on a neglected cache of inquest files compiled by the Siamese Ministry of the Capital, official correspondence, and newspaper accounts, Trais Pearson documents the piecemeal introduction of new forms of legal and medical concern for the dead. He reveals that the investigation of unnatural death demanded testimony from diverse strata of society: from the unlettered masses to the king himself. These cases raised questions about how to handle the dead—were they spirits to be placated or legal subjects whose deaths demanded compensation?—as well as questions about jurisdiction, rights, and liability.

Exhuming the history of imperial politics, transnational commerce, technology, and expertise, Sovereign Necropolis demonstrates how the state's response to global flows transformed the nature of legal subjectivity and politics in lasting ways. A compelling exploration of the troubling lives of the dead in a cosmopolitan treaty port, the book is a notable contribution to the growing corpus of studies in science, law, and society in the non-Western world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

"Migrant Conversions"

New from the University of California Press: Migrant Conversions: Transforming Connections Between Peru and South Korea by Erica Vogel.

About the book, from the publisher:
Peruvian migrant workers began arriving in South Korea in large numbers in the mid 1990s, eventually becoming one of the largest groups of non-Asians in the country. Migrant Conversions shows how despite facing unstable income and legal exclusion, migrants come to see Korea as an ideal destination. Some even see it as part of their divine destiny. Faced with looming departures, Peruvians develop cosmopolitan plans to transform themselves from economic migrants into pastors, lovers, and leaders. Set against the backdrop of 2008’s global financial crisis, Vogel explores the intersections of three types of conversions— money, religious beliefs and cosmopolitan plans—to argue that conversions are how migrants negotiate the meaning of their lives in a constantly changing transnational context. At the convergence of cosmopolitan projects spearheaded by the state, churches, and other migrants, Peruvians change the value and meaning of their migrations. Yet, in attempting to make themselves at home in the world and give their families more opportunities, they also create potential losses. As Peruvians help carve out social spaces, they create complex and uneven connections between Peru and Korea that challenge a global hierarchy of nations and migrants. Exploring how migrants, churches and nations change through processes of conversion reveals how globalization continues to impact people’s lives and ideas about their futures and pasts long after they have stopped moving, or that particular global moment has come to an end.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Conquered Populations in Early Islam"

New from Edinburgh University Press: Conquered Populations in Early Islam: Non-Arabs, Slaves and the Sons of Slave Mothers by Elizabeth Urban.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book traces the journey of new Muslims as they joined the early Islamic community and articulated their identities within it. It focuses on Muslims of slave origins, who belonged to the society in which they lived but whose slave background rendered them somehow alien. How did these Muslims at the crossroads of insider and outsider find their place in early Islamic society? How did Islamic society itself change to accommodate these new members?

By analysing how these liminal Muslims resolved the tension between belonging and otherness, Conquered Populations in Early Islam reveals the shifting boundaries of the early Islamic community and celebrates the dynamism of Islamic history.
Elizabeth Urban is Assistant Professor of the Islamic World in the Department of History at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, March 2, 2020

"The King and the People"

New from Oxford University Press: The King and the People: Sovereignty and Popular Politics in Mughal Delhi by Abhishek Kaicker.

About the book, from the publisher:
An original exploration of the relationship between the Mughal emperor and his subjects in the space of the Mughal empire's capital, The King and the People overturns an axiomatic assumption in the history of premodern South Asia: that the urban masses were merely passive objects of rule and remained unable to express collective political aspirations until the coming of colonialism. Set in the Mughal capital of Shahjahanabad (Delhi) from its founding to Nadir Shah's devastating invasion of 1739, this book instead shows how the trends and events in the second half of the seventeenth century inadvertently set the stage for the emergence of the people as actors in a regime which saw them only as the ruled.

Drawing on a wealth of sources from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, this book is the first comprehensive account of the dynamic relationship between ruling authority and its urban subjects in an era that until recently was seen as one of only decline. By placing ordinary people at the centre of its narrative, this wide-ranging work offers fresh perspectives on imperial sovereignty, on the rise of an urban culture of political satire, and on the place of the practices of faith in the work of everyday politics. It unveils a formerly invisible urban panorama of soldiers and poets, merchants and shoemakers, who lived and died in the shadow of the Red Fort during an era of both dizzying turmoil and heady possibilities.

As much an account of politics and ideas as a history of the city and its people, this lively and lucid book will be equally of value for specialists, students, and lay readers interested in the lives and ambitions of the mass of ordinary inhabitants of India's historic capital three hundred years ago.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, March 1, 2020

"Sharia Transformations"

New from the University of California Press: Sharia Transformations: Cultural Politics and the Rebranding of an Islamic Judiciary by Michael G. Peletz.

About the book, from the publisher:
Few symbols in today’s world are as laden and fraught as sharia—an Arabic-origin term referring to the straight path, the path God revealed for humans, the norms and rules guiding Muslims on that path, and Islamic law and normativity as enshrined in sacred texts or formal statute. Yet the ways in which Muslim men and women experience the myriad dimensions of sharia often go unnoticed and unpublicized. So too do recent historical changes in sharia judiciaries and contemporary strategies on the part of political and religious elites, social engineers, and brand stewards to shape, solidify, and rebrand these institutions.

Sharia Transformations is an ethnographic, historical, and theoretical study of the practice and lived entailments of sharia in Malaysia, arguably the most economically successful Muslim-majority nation in the world. The book focuses on the routine everyday practices of Malaysia’s sharia courts and the changes that have occurred in the court discourses and practices in recent decades. Michael G. Peletz approaches Malaysia’s sharia judiciary as a global assemblage and addresses important issues in the humanistic and social-scientific literature concerning how Malays and other Muslims engage ethical norms and deal with law, social justice, and governance in a rapidly globalizing world.
--Marshal Zeringue

"City on a Hill"

New from Yale University Press: City on a Hill: A History of American Exceptionalism by Abram C. Van Engen.

About the book, from the publisher:
A fresh, original history of America’s national narratives, told through the loss, recovery, and rise of one influential Puritan sermon from 1630 to the present day

In this illuminating book, Abram Van Engen shows how the phrase “City on a Hill,” from a 1630 sermon by Massachusetts Bay governor John Winthrop, shaped the story of American exceptionalism in the twentieth century.

By tracing the history of Winthrop’s speech, its changing status throughout time, and its use in modern politics, Van Engen asks us to reevaluate our national narratives. He tells the story of curators, librarians, collectors, archivists, antiquarians, and often anonymous figures who emphasized the role of the Pilgrims and Puritans in American history, paving the way for the saving and sanctifying of a single sermon. This sermon’s rags-to-riches rise reveals the way national stories take shape and shows us how those tales continue to influence competing visions of the country—the many different meanings of America that emerge from its literary past.
--Marshal Zeringue