Saturday, October 31, 2020

"The Truth Society"

New from Cornell University Press: The Truth Society: Science, Disinformation, and Politics in Berlusconi's Italy by Noelle Molé Liston.

About the book, from the publisher:
Noelle Molé Liston's The Truth Society seeks to understand how a period of Italian political spectacle, which regularly blurred fact and fiction, has shaped how people understand truth, mass-mediated information, scientific knowledge, and forms of governance. Liston scrutinizes Italy's late twentieth-century political culture, particularly the impact of the former prime minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi. By doing so, she examines how this truth-bending political era made science, logic, and rationality into ideas that needed saving.

With the prevalence of fake news and our seeming lack of shared reality in the "post-truth" world, many people struggle to figure out where this new normal came from. Liston argues that seemingly disparate events and practices that have unfolded in Italy are historical reactions to mediatized political forms and particular, cultivated ways of knowing. Politics, then, is always sutured to how knowledge is structured, circulated, and processed. The Truth Society offers Italy as a case study for understanding the remaking of politics in an era of disinformation.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 30, 2020

"Intoxicating Zion"

New from Stanford University Press: Intoxicating Zion: A Social History of Hashish in Mandatory Palestine and Israel by Haggai Ram.

About the book, from the publisher:
When European powers carved political borders across the Middle East following World War I, a curious event in the international drug trade occurred: Palestine became the most important hashish waystation in the region and a thriving market for consumption. British and French colonial authorities utterly failed to control the illicit trade, raising questions about the legitimacy of their mandatory regimes. The creation of the Israeli state, too, had little effect to curb illicit trade. By the 1960s, drug trade had become a major point of contention in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and drug use widespread.

Intoxicating Zion is the first book to tell the story of hashish in Mandatory Palestine and Israel. Trafficking, use, and regulation; race, gender, and class; colonialism and nation-building all weave together in Haggai Ram's social history of the drug from the 1920s to the aftermath of the 1967 War. The hashish trade encompassed smugglers, international gangs, residents, law enforcers, and political actors, and Ram traces these flows through the interconnected realms of cross-border politics, economics, and culture. Hashish use was and is a marker of belonging and difference, and its history offers readers a unique glimpse into how the modern Middle East was made.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 29, 2020

"Rivals in Arms"

New from McGill-Queens University Press: Rivals in Arms: The Rise of UK-France Defence Relations in the Twenty-First Century by Alice Pannier.

About the book, from the publisher:
As the UK leaves the European Union and as the multilateral order is increasingly under stress, bilateral security links are more important than ever. Among such relationships, the UK-France partnership has become particularly critical in the past decades. Alice Pannier's Rivals in Arms reveals the history of the growing special partnership between Europe's two leading military powers in the twenty-first century. Using an innovative analytical framework rooted in theories of cooperation and negotiation, this book exposes the challenges the two countries have faced to develop, equip, and employ their military capabilities together. Through a decade-long study, Pannier highlights how France and the UK have endeavoured to make their partnership more effective and resistant to domestic and international shifts, including Brexit. Building on more than one hundred interviews with key stakeholders and unmatched access to primary sources, Rivals in Arms takes the reader behind the scenes, investigating the complicated but crucial defence relationship between France and the UK - a relationship that is critical to the future of Euro-Atlantic security.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

"Say What Your Longing Heart Desires"

New from Stanford University Press: Say What Your Longing Heart Desires: Women, Prayer, and Poetry in Iran by Niloofar Haeri.

About the book, from the publisher:
Following the 1979 revolution, the Iranian government set out to Islamize society. Muslim piety had to be visible, in personal appearance and in action. Iranians were told to pray, fast, and attend mosques to be true Muslims. The revolution turned questions of what it means to be a true Muslim into a matter of public debate, taken up widely outside the exclusive realm of male clerics and intellectuals.

Say What Your Longing Heart Desires offers an elegant ethnography of these debates among a group of educated, middle-class women whose voices are often muted in studies of Islam. Niloofar Haeri follows them in their daily lives as they engage with the classical poetry of Rumi, Hafez, and Saadi, illuminating a long-standing mutual inspiration between prayer and poetry. She recounts how different forms of prayer may transform into dialogues with God, and, in turn, Haeri illuminates the ways in which believers draw on prayer and ritual acts as the emotional and intellectual material through which they think, deliberate, and debate.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

"How to Prevent Coups d'État"

New from Cornell University Press: How to Prevent Coups d'État: Counterbalancing and Regime Survival by Erica De Bruin.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this lively and provocative book, Erica De Bruin looks at the threats that rulers face from their own armed forces. Can they make their regimes impervious to coups?

How to Prevent Coups d'État shows that how leaders organize their coercive institutions has a profound effect on the survival of their regimes. When rulers use presidential guards, militarized police, and militia to counterbalance the regular military, efforts to oust them from power via coups d'état are less likely to succeed. Even as counterbalancing helps to prevent successful interventions, however, the resentment that it generates within the regular military can provoke new coup attempts. And because counterbalancing changes how soldiers and police perceive the costs and benefits of a successful overthrow, it can create incentives for protracted fighting that result in the escalation of a coup into full-blown civil war.

Drawing on an original dataset of state security forces in 110 countries over a span of fifty years, as well as case studies of coup attempts in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, De Bruin sheds light on how counterbalancing affects regime survival. Understanding the dynamics of counterbalancing, she shows, can help analysts predict when coups will occur, whether they will succeed, and how violent they are likely to be. The arguments and evidence in this book suggest that while counterbalancing may prevent successful coups, it is a risky strategy to pursue—and one that may weaken regimes in the long term.
Visit Erica De Bruin's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 26, 2020

"Forging Global Fordism"

New from Princeton University Press: Forging Global Fordism: Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and the Contest over the Industrial Order by Stefan J. Link.

About the book, from the publisher:
As the United States rose to ascendancy in the first decades of the twentieth century, observers abroad associated American economic power most directly with its burgeoning automobile industry. In the 1930s, in a bid to emulate and challenge America, engineers from across the world flocked to Detroit. Chief among them were Nazi and Soviet specialists who sought to study, copy, and sometimes steal the techniques of American automotive mass production, or Fordism. Forging Global Fordism traces how Germany and the Soviet Union embraced Fordism amid widespread economic crisis and ideological turmoil. This incisive book recovers the crucial role of activist states in global industrial transformations and reconceives the global thirties as an era of intense competitive development, providing a new genealogy of the postwar industrial order.

Stefan Link uncovers the forgotten origins of Fordism in Midwestern populism, and shows how Henry Ford’s antiliberal vision of society appealed to both the Soviet and Nazi regimes. He explores how they positioned themselves as America’s antagonists in reaction to growing American hegemony and seismic shifts in the global economy during the interwar years, and shows how Detroit visitors like William Werner, Ferdinand Porsche, and Stepan Dybets helped spread versions of Fordism abroad and mobilize them in total war.

Forging Global Fordism challenges the notion that global mass production was a product of post–World War II liberal internationalism, demonstrating how it first began in the global thirties, and how the spread of Fordism had a distinctly illiberal trajectory.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, October 25, 2020

"Slavery, Fatherhood, and Paternal Duty in African American Communities over the Long Nineteenth Century"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Slavery, Fatherhood, and Paternal Duty in African American Communities over the Long Nineteenth Century by Libra R. Hilde.

About the book, from the publisher:
Analyzing published and archival oral histories of formerly enslaved African Americans, Libra R. Hilde explores the meanings of manhood and fatherhood during and after the era of slavery, demonstrating that black men and women articulated a surprisingly broad and consistent vision of paternal duty across more than a century. Complicating the tendency among historians to conflate masculinity within slavery with heroic resistance, Hilde emphasizes that, while some enslaved men openly rebelled, many chose subtle forms of resistance in the context of family and local community. She explains how a significant number of enslaved men served as caretakers to their children and shaped their lives and identities. From the standpoint of enslavers, this was particularly threatening--a man who fed his children built up the master’s property, but a man who fed them notions of autonomy put cracks in the edifice of slavery.

Fatherhood highlighted the agonizing contradictions of the condition of enslavement, and to be an involved father was to face intractable dilemmas, yet many men tried. By telling the story of the often quietly heroic efforts that enslaved men undertook to be fathers, Hilde reveals how formerly enslaved African Americans evaluated their fathers (including white fathers) and envisioned an honorable manhood.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, October 24, 2020

"The Bloomsbury Look"

New from Yale University Press: The Bloomsbury Look by Wendy Hitchmough.

About the book, from the publisher:
An in-depth study of how the famed Bloomsbury Group expressed their liberal philosophies and collective identity in visual form

The Bloomsbury Group was a loose collective of forward-thinking writers, artists, and intellectuals in London, with Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, and E. M. Forster among its esteemed members. The group’s works and radical beliefs, spanning literature, economics, politics, and non-normative relationships, changed the course of 20th-century culture and society. Although its members resisted definition, their art and dress imparted a coherent, distinctive group identity.

Drawing on unpublished photographs and extensive new research, The Bloomsbury Look is the first in-depth analysis of how the Bloomsbury Group generated and broadcast its self-fashioned aesthetic. One chapter is dedicated to photography, which was essential to the group’s visual narrative—from casual snapshots, to amateur studio portraits, to family albums. Others examine the Omega Workshops as a design center, and the evidence for its dress collections, spreading the Bloomsbury aesthetic to the general public. Finally, the book considers the group’s extensive participation in 20th-century modernism as artists, models, curators, critics, and collectors.
Wendy Hitchmough is senior lecturer in art history at the University of Sussex and was curator at the Bloomsbury artists’ home, Charleston, for over 12 years.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 23, 2020

"Embodying Geopolitics"

New from the University of California Press: Embodying Geopolitics: Generations of Women’s Activism in Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon by Nicola Pratt.

About the book, from the publisher:
When women took to the streets during the mass protests of the Arab Spring, the subject of feminism in the Middle East and North Africa returned to the international spotlight. In the subsequent years, countless commentators treated the region’s gender inequality as a consequence of fundamentally cultural or religious problems. In so doing, they overlooked the specifically political nature of these women’s activism. Moving beyond such culturalist accounts, this book turns to the relations of power in regional and international politics to understand women’s struggles for their rights.

Based on over a hundred extensive personal narratives from women of different generations in Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon, Nicola Pratt traces women’s activism from national independence through to the Arab uprisings, arguing that activist women are critical geopolitical actors. Weaving together these personal accounts with the ongoing legacies of colonialism, Embodying Geopolitics demonstrates how the production and regulation of gender is integrally bound up with the exercise and organization of geopolitical power, with consequences for women’s activism and its effects.
Nicola Pratt is Associate Professor of International Politics of the Middle East at the University of Warwick. She is the coauthor of What Kind of Liberation? Women and the Occupation of Iraq and author of Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Arab World.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 22, 2020

"Comrades Betrayed"

New from Cornell University Press: Comrades Betrayed: Jewish World War I Veterans under Hitler by Michael Geheran.

About the book, from the publisher:
At the end of 1941, six weeks after the mass deportations of Jews from Nazi Germany had begun, Gestapo offices across the Reich received an urgent telex from Adolf Eichmann, decreeing that all war-wounded and decorated Jewish veterans of World War I be exempted from upcoming "evacuations." Why this was so, and how Jewish veterans at least initially were able to avoid the fate of ordinary Jews under the Nazis, is the subject of Comrades Betrayed.

Michael Geheran deftly illuminates how the same values that compelled Jewish soldiers to demonstrate bravery in the front lines in World War I made it impossible for them to accept passively, let alone comprehend, persecution under Hitler. After all, they upheld the ideal of the German fighting man, embraced the fatherland, and cherished the bonds that had developed in military service. Through their diaries and private letters, as well as interviews with eyewitnesses and surviving family members and records from the police, Gestapo, and military, Michael Geheran presents a major challenge to the prevailing view that Jewish veterans were left isolated, neighborless, and having suffered a social death by 1938.

Tracing the path from the trenches of the Great War to the extermination camps of the Third Reich, Geheran exposes a painful dichotomy: while many Jewish former combatants believed that Germany would never betray them, the Holocaust was nonetheless a horrific reality. In chronicling Jewish veterans' appeal to older, traditional notions of comradeship and national belonging, Comrades Betrayed forces reflection on how this group made use of scant opportunities to defy Nazi persecution and, for some, to evade becoming victims of the Final Solution.
--Marshal Zeringue