Sunday, August 18, 2019

"Female Fighters"

New from Columbia University Press: Female Fighters: Why Rebel Groups Recruit Women for War by Reed M. Wood.

About the book, from the publisher:
The presence of women combatants on the battlefield—especially in large numbers—strikes many observers as a notable departure from the historical norm. Yet women have played a significant active role in many contemporary armed rebellions. Over recent decades, numerous resistance movements in many regions of the globe have deployed thousands of female fighters in combat.

In Female Fighters, Reed M. Wood explains why some rebel groups deploy women in combat while others exclude women from their ranks, and the strategic implications of this decision. Examining a vast original dataset on female fighters in over 250 rebel organizations, Wood argues rebel groups can gain considerable strategic advantages by including women fighters. Drawing on women increases the pool of available recruits and helps ameliorate resource constraints. Furthermore, the visible presence of female fighters often becomes an important propaganda tool for domestic and international audiences. Images of women combatants help raise a group’s visibility, boost local recruitment, and aid the group’s efforts to solicit support from transnational actors and diaspora communities. However, Wood finds that, regardless of the wartime resource challenges they face, religious fundamentalist rebels consistently resist utilizing female fighters. A rich, data-driven study, Female Fighters presents a systematic, comprehensive analysis of the impact women’s participation has on organized political violence in the modern era.
Visit Reed M. Wood's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 17, 2019

"Indebted: How Families Make College Work at Any Cost"

New from Princeton University Press: Indebted: How Families Make College Work at Any Cost by Caitlin Zaloom.

About the book, from the publisher:
How the financial pressures of paying for college affect the lives and well-being of middle-class families

The struggle to pay for college is one of the defining features of middle-class life in America today. At kitchen tables all across the country, parents agonize over whether to burden their children with loans or to sacrifice their own financial security by taking out a second mortgage or draining their retirement savings. Indebted takes readers into the homes of middle-class families throughout the nation to reveal the hidden consequences of student debt and the ways that financing college has transformed family life.

Caitlin Zaloom gained the confidence of numerous parents and their college-age children, who talked candidly with her about stressful and intensely personal financial matters that are usually kept private. In this remarkable book, Zaloom describes the profound moral conflicts for parents as they try to honor what they see as their highest parental duty—providing their children with opportunity—and shows how parents and students alike are forced to take on enormous debts and gamble on an investment that might not pay off. What emerges is a troubling portrait of an American middle class fettered by the "student finance complex"—the bewildering labyrinth of government-sponsored institutions, profit-seeking firms, and university offices that collect information on household earnings and assets, assess family needs, and decide who is eligible for aid and who is not.

Superbly written and unflinchingly honest, Indebted breaks through the culture of silence surrounding the student debt crisis, revealing the unspoken costs of sending our kids to college.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 16, 2019

"The Republic of Color"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Republic of Color: Science, Perception, and the Making of Modern America by Michael Rossi.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Republic of Color delves deep into the history of color science in the United States to unearth its origins and examine the scope of its influence on the industrial transformation of turn-of-the-century America.

For a nation in the grip of profound economic, cultural, and demographic crises, the standardization of color became a means of social reform—a way of sculpting the American population into one more amenable to the needs of the emerging industrial order. Delineating color was also a way to characterize the vagaries of human nature, and to create ideal structures through which those humans would act in a newly modern American republic. Michael Rossi’s compelling history goes far beyond the culture of the visual to show readers how the control and regulation of color shaped the social contours of modern America—and redefined the way we see the world.
Michael Rossi is assistant professor of the history of science and medicine at the University of Chicago.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 15, 2019

"Lives on the Line"

New from Oxford University Press: Lives on the Line: How the Philippines became the World's Call Center Capital by Jeffrey J. Sallaz.

About the book, from the publisher:
The call center industry is booming in the Philippines. Around the year 2005, the country overtook India as the world's "voice capital," and industry revenues are now the second largest contributor to national GDP. In Lives on the Line, Jeffrey J. Sallaz retraces the assemblage of a global market for voice over the past two decades. Drawing upon case studies of sixty Filipino call center workers and two years of fieldwork in Manila, he illustrates how offshore call center jobs represent a middle path for educated Filipinos, who are faced with the dismaying choice to migrate abroad in search of prosperity versus stay at home as an impoverished professional. A rich ethnographic study, this book challenges existing stereotypes regarding offshore service jobs and sheds light upon the reasons that the Philippines has become the world's favored location for "voice." It looks beyond call centers and beyond India to advance debates concerning global capitalism, the future of work, and the lives of those who labor in offshored jobs.
Jeffrey J. Sallaz is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Arizona.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

"Remaking a Life"

New from the University of California Press: Remaking a Life: How Women Living with HIV/AIDS Confront Inequality by Celeste Watkins-Hayes.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the face of life-threatening news, how does our view of life change—and what do we do it transform it? Remaking a Life uses the HIV/AIDS epidemic as a lens to understand how women generate radical improvements in their social well being in the face of social stigma and economic disadvantage. Drawing on interviews with nationally recognized AIDS activists as well as over one hundred Chicago-based women living with HIV/AIDS, Celeste Watkins-Hayes takes readers on an uplifting journey through women’s transformative projects, a multidimensional process in which women shift their approach to their physical, social, economic, and political survival, thereby changing their viewpoint of “dying from” AIDS to “living with” it. With an eye towards improving the lives of women, Remaking a Life provides techniques to encourage private, nonprofit, and government agencies to successfully collaborate, and shares policy ideas with the hope of alleviating the injuries of inequality faced by those living with HIV/AIDS everyday.
Celeste Watkins-Hayes is Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, and Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. She is also the author of The New Welfare Bureaucrats: Entanglements of Race, Class, and Policy Reform.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

"Why America Loses Wars"

New from Cambridge University Press: Why America Loses Wars: Limited War and US Strategy from the Korean War to the Present by Donald Stoker.

About the book, from the publisher:
How can you achieve victory in war if you don't have a clear idea of your political objectives and a vision of what victory means? In this provocative challenge to US policy and strategy, Donald Stoker argues that America endures endless wars because its leaders no longer know how to think about war, particularly limited wars. He reveals how ideas on limited war and war in general evolved against the backdrop of American conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. These ideas, he shows, were flawed and have undermined America's ability to understand, wage, and win its wars, and to secure peace afterwards. America's leaders have too often taken the nation to war without understanding what they want or valuing victory, leading to the 'forever wars' of today. Why America Loses Wars dismantles seventy years of misguided thinking and lays the foundations for a new approach to the wars of tomorrow.
The Page 99 Test: The Grand Design.

My Book, The Movie: Clausewitz: His Life and Work.

The Page 99 Test: Clausewitz: His Life and Work.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 12, 2019

"Mary, Countess of Derby, and the Politics of Victorian Britain"

New from Oxford University Press: Mary, Countess of Derby, and the Politics of Victorian Britain by Jennifer Davey.

About the book, from the publisher:
Lady Mary Derby (1824-1900) occupied a pivotal position in Victorian politics, yet her activities have largely been overlooked or ignored. This volume places Mary back into the political position she occupied and offers the first dedicated account of her career.

Based on extensive archival research, including hitherto neglected or lost sources, this study reconstructs the political worlds Mary inhabited. Her political landscape was dominated by the machinations and intrigues of high politics and diplomacy. As Jennifer Davey uncovers, Mary's political skill and acumen were highly valued by leading politicians of the day, including Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone, and she played a significant role in many of the key events of the mid-Victorian era. This included the passing of the Second Reform Act, the formation of Disraeli's 1874 Government, the Eastern Crisis of 1875-1878, and Gladstone's 1880-1885 Government.

By exploring how one woman was able to exercise influence at the heart of Victorian politics, this book considers what Mary's career tells us about the nature of political life in the mid-nineteenth century. It sheds new light on the connections between informal and formal political culture, incorporating the politics of the home, letter-writing, and social relations into a consideration of the politics of Parliament and Government. It provides a rich investigation of how a woman, with few legal or constitutional rights, was able to become a significant figure in mid-Victorian political life.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, August 11, 2019

"The Costs of Connection"

New from Stanford University Press: The Costs of Connection: How Data Is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating It for Capitalism by Nick Couldry and Ulises A. Mejias.

About the book, from the publisher:
Just about any social need is now met with an opportunity to "connect" through digital means. But this convenience is not free—it is purchased with vast amounts of personal data transferred through shadowy backchannels to corporations using it to generate profit. The Costs of Connection uncovers this process, this "data colonialism," and its designs for controlling our lives—our ways of knowing; our means of production; our political participation.

Colonialism might seem like a thing of the past, but this book shows that the historic appropriation of land, bodies, and natural resources is mirrored today in this new era of pervasive datafication. Apps, platforms, and smart objects capture and translate our lives into data, and then extract information that is fed into capitalist enterprises and sold back to us. The authors argue that this development foreshadows the creation of a new social order emerging globally—and it must be challenged. Confronting the alarming degree of surveillance already tolerated, they offer a stirring call to decolonize the internet and emancipate our desire for connection.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, August 10, 2019

"Preserving Islamic Tradition"

New from Oxford University Press: Preserving Islamic Tradition: Abu Nasr Qursawi and the Beginnings of Modern Reformism by Nathan Spannaus.

About the book, from the publisher:
The end of the eighteenth century was a transformational period for the Muslim communities of the Russian Empire and their relationship with the tsarist state. Though they had been under Russian rule since the sixteenth century, it was at this time that they were incorporated into the imperial bureaucracy, most significantly through the founding of an official hierarchy for the Islamic religious scholars in 1788.

The introduction of a state-backed structure for Muslim religious institutions altered Islamic religious authority and, in turn, religious discourse. One of the major figures to emerge from this new context was Abu Nasr Qursawi (1776-1812). A controversial figure who was condemned for heresy in Bukhara in 1808, Qursawi put forward a sweeping reform of the Islamic scholarly tradition. Focusing on taqlid, the principle of conformity to established doctrine, Qursawi argued that its overuse had weakened scholarship in the areas of Islamic law (fiqh) and theology (kalam) and undermined scholars' ability to serve as religious guides.

In Preserving Islamic Tradition, Nathan Spannaus presents the first detailed analysis of Qursawi's reformist project, both in its contours and broad historical setting. Spannaus shows how state control of Muslim institutions impacted religious discourse, but also how it altered the entire religious environment into the twentieth century. Addressing issues of modernity, secularity, tradition, and intellectual history, Preserving Islamic Tradition demonstrates how the interaction with a European imperial state transformed the Islamic tradition, both directly and indirectly, and elicited new forms of religious thought and discourse.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, August 9, 2019

"World War II and American Racial Politics"

New from Cambridge University Press: World War II and American Racial Politics: Public Opinion, the Presidency, and Civil Rights Advocacy by Steven White.

About the book, from the publisher:
World War II played an important role in the trajectory of race and American political development, but the War's effects were much more complex than many assume. Steven White offers an extensive analysis of rarely utilized survey data and archival evidence to assess white racial attitudes and the executive branch response to civil rights advocacy. He finds that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the white mass public's racial policy attitudes largely did not liberalize during the war against Nazi Germany. In this context, advocates turned their attention to the possibility of unilateral action by the president, emphasizing a wartime civil rights agenda focused on discrimination in the defense industry and segregation in the military. This book offers a reinterpretation of this critical period in American political development, as well as implications for the theoretical relationship between war and the inclusion of marginalized groups in democratic societies.
Steven White is Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, New York. His research examines race and American political development, particularly the complicated relationship between war and the inclusion of marginalized groups.

--Marshal Zeringue