Sunday, January 31, 2021

"Fueling Resistance"

New from Oxford University Press: Fueling Resistance: The Contentious Political Economy of Biofuels and Fracking by Kate J. Neville.

About the book, from the publisher:
A series of concurrent pressures in the early 2000s--climate change, financial system crashes, economic development in rural regions, and shifts in geopolitics--intensified interest in alternative energy production. At the same time, rising oil prices rendered alternative fuels a more economically viable option. Among these energy sources, liquid biofuels (bioethanol and biodiesel) and natural gas derived from hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") took center stage as promising commodities and technologies. But controversy quickly erupted in surprisingly similar ways around both renewable fuels. Global enthusiasm for these fuels--and the widespread projections for their production around the world--collided with local politics in debates over "food versus fuel" and concerns over "land grabs." What seemed, from a global perspective, like empty lands ripe for development were, to rural communities, vibrant and already contested spaces. As proposals for biofuels and fracking landed in specific communities and ecosystems, they reignited and reshaped old disputes over land, water, and decision-making authority.

Fueling Resistance offers an account of how and why controversies over these different fuels unfolded in surprisingly similar ways in the global North and South. To explain these convergent dynamics of contention and resistance, Kate J. Neville argues that the emergence of grievances and the patterns of resistance to new fuel technologies depends less on the type of energy developed (renewable versus fossil fuel) than on intersecting elements of the political economy of energy: finance, ownership, and trade relations. As local commodities enter global supply chains and are integrated into existing corporate structures, opportunities arise to broker connections between otherwise disparate communities.

Neville looks at biofuels in Kenya and fracking in the Canadian Yukon and shows how organizers connect specific energy projects to broader issues of globalization, climate, food, water, and justice. Taken together, the intersecting elements of the political economy of energy shape the contentious politics of biofuels and fracking at both local and global scales, and help explain how and why particular mechanisms of contention emerge at different times and places.
Visit Kate J. Neville's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 30, 2021

"An Empire Transformed"

New from New York University Press: An Empire Transformed: Remolding Bodies and Landscapes in the Restoration Atlantic by Kate Luce Mulry.

About the book, from the publisher:
Examines the efforts to bring political order to the English empire through projects of environmental improvement

When Charles II ascended the English throne in 1660 after two decades of civil war, he was confronted with domestic disarray and a sprawling empire in chaos. His government sought to assert control and affirm the King’s sovereignty by touting his stewardship of both England’s land and the improvement of his subjects’ health. By initiating ambitious projects of environmental engineering, including fen and marshland drainage, forest rehabilitation, urban reconstruction, and garden transplantation schemes, agents of the English Restoration government aimed to transform both places and people in service of establishing order. Merchants, colonial officials, and members of the Royal Society encouraged royal intervention in places deemed unhealthy, unproductive, or poorly managed. Their multiple schemes reflected an enduring belief in the complex relationships between the health of individual bodies, personal and communal character, and the landscapes they inhabited.

In this deeply researched work, Kate Mulry highlights a period of innovation during which officials reassessed the purpose of colonies, weighed their benefits and drawbacks, and engineered and instituted a range of activities in relation to subjects’ bodies and material environments. These wide-ranging actions offer insights about how restoration officials envisioned authority within a changing English empire.

An Empire Transformed is an interdisciplinary work addressing a series of interlocking issues concerning ideas about the environment, governance, and public health in the early modern English Atlantic empire.
Visit Kate Mulry's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 29, 2021

"Village Gone Viral"

New from Stanford University Press: Village Gone Viral: Understanding the Spread of Policy Models in a Digital Age by Marit Tolo Østebø.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 2001, Ethiopian Television aired a documentary about a small, rural village called Awra Amba, where women ploughed, men worked in the kitchen, and so-called harmful traditional practices did not exist. The documentary radically challenged prevailing images of Ethiopia as a gender-conservative and aid-dependent place, and Awra Amba became a symbol of gender equality and sustainable development in Ethiopia and beyond.

Village Gone Viral uses the example of Awra Amba to consider the widespread circulation and use of modeling practices in an increasingly transnational and digital policy world. With a particular focus on traveling models—policy models that become "viral" through various vectors, ranging from NGOs and multilateral organizations to the Internet—Marit Tolo Østebø critically examines the hidden dimensions of models and model making. While a policy model may be presented as a "best practice," one that can be scaled up and successfully applied to other places, the local impacts of the model paradigm are far more ambivalent—potentially increasing social inequalities, reinforcing social stratification, and concealing injustice. With this book, Østebø ultimately calls for a reflexive critical anthropology of the production, circulation, and use of models as instruments for social change.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 28, 2021

"Why Nations Rise"

New from Oxford University Press: Why Nations Rise: Narratives and the Path to Great Power by Manjari Chatterjee Miller.

About the book, from the publisher:
What are rising powers? Do they challenge the international order? Why do some countries but not others become rising powers? In Why Nations Rise, Manjari Chaterjee Miller answers these questions and shows that some countries rise not just because they develop the military and economic power to do so but because they develop particular narratives about how to become a great power in the style of the great power du jour. These active rising powers accept the prevalent norms of the international order in order to become great powers. On the other hand, countries which have military and economic power but not these narratives do not rise enough to become great powers--they stay reticent powers. An examination of the narratives in historical (the United States, the Netherlands, Meiji Japan) and contemporary (Cold War Japan, post-Cold War China and India) cases, Why Nations Rise shows patterns of active and reticent rising powers and presents lessons for how to understand the rising powers of China and India today.
Manjari Chatterjee Miller is Associate Professor of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, and a Research Associate at the School of Global and Area Studies, University of Oxford. She is the author of Wronged by Empire: Post-Imperial Ideology and Foreign Policy in India and China, and the co-editor of the Routledge Handbook on China-India Relations.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

"A View from Abroad"

New from New York University Press: A View from Abroad: The Story of John and Abigail Adams in Europe by Jeanne E. Abrams.

About the book, from the publisher:
Reveals how the European travels of John and Abigail Adams helped define what it meant to be an American

From 1778 to 1788, the Founding Father and later President John Adams lived in Europe as a diplomat. Joined by his wife, Abigail, in 1784, the two shared rich encounters with famous heads of the European royal courts, including the ill-fated King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette, and the staid British Monarchs King George III and Queen Charlotte.

In this engaging narrative, A View from Abroad takes us on the first full exploration of the Adams’s lives abroad. Jeanne E. Abrams reveals how the journeys of John and Abigail Adams not only changed the course of their intellectual, political, and cultural development—transforming the couple from provincials to sophisticated world travelers—but most importantly served to strengthen their loyalty to America.

Abrams shines a new light on how the Adamses and their American contemporaries set about supplanting their British origins with a new American identity. They and their fellow Americans grappled with how to reorder their society as the new nation took its place in the international transatlantic world. After just a short time abroad, Abigail maintained that, “My Heart and Soul is more American than ever. We are a family by ourselves.” The Adamses’ quest to define what it means to be an American, and the answers they discovered in their time abroad, still resonate with us to this day.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

"The Experimental Fire"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Experimental Fire: Inventing English Alchemy, 1300-1700 by Jennifer M. Rampling.

About the book, from the publisher:
In medieval and early modern Europe, the practice of alchemy promised extraordinary physical transformations. Who would not be amazed to see base metals turned into silver and gold, hard iron into soft water, and deadly poison into elixirs that could heal the human body? To defend such claims, alchemists turned to the past, scouring ancient books for evidence of a lost alchemical heritage and seeking to translate their secret language and obscure imagery into replicable, practical effects.

Tracing the development of alchemy in England over four hundred years, from the beginning of the fourteenth century to the end of the seventeenth, Jennifer M. Rampling illuminates the role of alchemical reading and experimental practice in the broader context of national and scientific history. Using new manuscript sources, she shows how practitioners like George Ripley, John Dee, and Edward Kelley, as well as many previously unknown alchemists, devised new practical approaches to alchemy while seeking the support of English monarchs. By reconstructing their alchemical ideas, practices, and disputes, Rampling reveals how English alchemy was continually reinvented over the space of four centuries, resulting in changes to the science itself. In so doing, The Experimental Fire bridges the intellectual history of chemistry and the wider worlds of early modern patronage, medicine, and science.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 25, 2021

"Dress Codes"

New from Simon & Schuster: Dress Codes: How the Laws of Fashion Made History by Richard Thompson Ford.

About the book, from the publisher:
A revelatory exploration of fashion through the ages that asks what our clothing reveals about ourselves and our society.

Dress codes are as old as clothing itself. For centuries, clothing has been a wearable status symbol; fashion, a weapon in struggles for social change; and dress codes, a way to maintain political control. Merchants who dressed like princes and butchers’ wives wearing gem-encrusted crowns were public enemies in medieval societies structured by social hierarchy and defined by spectacle. In Tudor England, silk, velvet, and fur were reserved for the nobility and ballooning pants called “trunk hose” could be considered a menace to good order. The Renaissance era Florentine patriarch Cosimo de Medici captured the power of fashion and dress codes when he remarked, “One can make a gentleman from two yards of red cloth.” Dress codes evolved along with the social and political ideals of the day, but they always reflected struggles for power and status. In the 1700s, South Carolina’s “Negro Act” made it illegal for Black people to dress “above their condition.” In the 1920s, the bobbed hair and form-fitting dresses worn by free-spirited flappers were banned in workplaces throughout the United States and in the 1940s the baggy zoot suits favored by Black and Latino men caused riots in cities from coast to coast.

Even in today’s more informal world, dress codes still determine what we wear, when we wear it—and what our clothing means. People lose their jobs for wearing braided hair, long fingernails, large earrings, beards, and tattoos or refusing to wear a suit and tie or make-up and high heels. In some cities, wearing sagging pants is a crime. And even when there are no written rules, implicit dress codes still influence opportunities and social mobility. Silicon Valley CEOs wear t-shirts and flip flops, setting the tone for an entire industry: women wearing fashionable dresses or high heels face ridicule in the tech world and some venture capitalists refuse to invest in any company run by someone wearing a suit.

In Dress Codes, law professor and cultural critic Richard Thompson Ford presents an insightful and entertaining history of the laws of fashion from the middle ages to the present day, a walk down history’s red carpet to uncover and examine the canons, mores, and customs of clothing—rules that we often take for granted. After reading Dress Codes, you’ll never think of fashion as superficial again—and getting dressed will never be the same.
The Page 69 Test: Racial Culture.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 24, 2021

"The Poison Trials"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Poison Trials: Wonder Drugs, Experiment, and the Battle for Authority in Renaissance Science by Alisha Rankin.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1524, Pope Clement VII gave two condemned criminals to his physician to test a promising new antidote. After each convict ate a marzipan cake poisoned with deadly aconite, one of them received the antidote, and lived—the other died in agony. In sixteenth-century Europe, this and more than a dozen other accounts of poison trials were committed to writing. Alisha Rankin tells their little-known story.

At a time when poison was widely feared, the urgent need for effective cures provoked intense excitement about new drugs. As doctors created, performed, and evaluated poison trials, they devoted careful attention to method, wrote detailed experimental reports, and engaged with the problem of using human subjects for fatal tests. In reconstructing this history, Rankin reveals how the antidote trials generated extensive engagement with “experimental thinking” long before the great experimental boom of the seventeenth century and investigates how competition with lower-class healers spurred on this trend.

The Poison Trials sheds welcome and timely light on the intertwined nature of medical innovations, professional rivalries, and political power.
Follow Alisha Rankin on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 23, 2021

"Halfway Home"

New from Little, Brown and Company: Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration by Reuben Jonathan Miller.

About the book, from the publisher:
Each year, more than half a million Americans are released from prison and join a population of twenty million people who live with a felony record.

Reuben Miller, a chaplain at the Cook County Jail in Chicago and is now a sociologist studying mass incarceration, spent years alongside prisoners, ex-prisoners, their friends, and their families to understand the lifelong burden that even a single arrest can entail. What his work revealed is a simple, if overlooked truth: life after incarceration is its own form of prison. The idea that one can serve their debt and return to life as a full-fledge member of society is one of America’s most nefarious myths. Recently released individuals are faced with jobs that are off-limits, apartments that cannot be occupied and votes that cannot be cast.

As The Color of Law exposed about our understanding of housing segregation, Halfway Home shows that the American justice system was not created to rehabilitate. Parole is structured to keep classes of Americans impoverished, unstable, and disenfranchised long after they’ve paid their debt to society.

Informed by Miller’s experience as the son and brother of incarcerated men, captures the stories of the men, women, and communities fighting against a system that is designed for them to fail. It is a poignant and eye-opening call to arms that reveals how laws, rules, and regulations extract a tangible cost not only from those working to rebuild their lives, but also our democracy. As Miller searchingly explores, America must acknowledge and value the lives of its formerly imprisoned citizens.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 22, 2021

"Identity Capitalists"

New from Stanford University Press: Identity Capitalists: The Powerful Insiders Who Exploit Diversity to Maintain Inequality by Nancy Leong.

About the book, from the publisher:
Nancy Leong reveals how powerful people and institutions use diversity to their own advantage and how the rest of us can respond—and do better.

Why do people accused of racism defend themselves by pointing to their black friends? Why do men accused of sexism inevitably talk about how they love their wife and daughters? Why do colleges and corporations alike photoshop people of color into their websites and promotional materials? And why do companies selling everything from cereal to sneakers go out of their way to include a token woman or person of color in their advertisements?

In this groundbreaking book, Nancy Leong coins the term "identity capitalist" to label the powerful insiders who eke out social and economic value from people of color, women, LGBTQ people, the poor, and other outgroups. Leong deftly uncovers the rules that govern a system in which all Americans must survive: the identity marketplace. She contends that the national preoccupation with diversity has, counterintuitively, allowed identity capitalists to infiltrate the legal system, educational institutions, the workplace, and the media. Using examples from law to literature, from politics to pop culture, Leong takes readers on a journey through the hidden agendas and surprising incentives of various ingroup actors. She also uncovers a dire dilemma for outgroup members: do they play along and let their identity be used by others, or do they protest and risk the wrath of the powerful?

Arming readers with the tools to recognize and mitigate the harms of exploitation, Identity Capitalists reveals what happens when we prioritize diversity over equality.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 21, 2021

"The Global Indies"

New from Yale University Press: The Global Indies: British Imperial Culture and the Reshaping of the World, 1756-1815 by Ashley L. Cohen.

About the book, from the publisher:
A study of British imperialism’s imaginative geography, exploring the pairing of India and the Atlantic world from literature to colonial policy

In this lively book, Ashley Cohen weaves a complex portrait of the imaginative geography of British imperialism. Contrary to most current scholarship, eighteenth-century Britons saw the empire not as separate Atlantic and Indian spheres but as an interconnected whole: the Indies. Crisscrossing the hemispheres, Cohen traces global histories of race, slavery, and class, from Boston to Bengal. She also reveals the empire to be pervasively present at home, in metropolitan scenes of fashionable sociability. Close-reading a mixed archive of plays, poems, travel narratives, parliamentary speeches, political pamphlets, visual satires, paintings, memoirs, manuscript letters, and diaries, Cohen reveals how the pairing of the two Indies in discourse helped produce colonial policies that linked them in practice. Combining the methods of literary studies and new imperial history, Cohen demonstrates how the imaginative geography of the Indies shaped the culture of British imperialism, which in turn changed the shape of the world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 20, 2021


New from Oxford University Press: Orchestration: China's Economic Statecraft Across Asia and Europe by James Reilly.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Chinese government has more control over more wealth than any other government in world history. With the Communist Party controlling the "commanding heights" of the world's second-largest economy, China appears ideally structured to pursue economic statecraft, using economic resources to advance its foreign policy goals. Yet as this book shows, domestic complications frequently constrain Chinese leaders. They have responded with a distinctive approach to economic statecraft: orchestration. Drawing upon extensive field research across Asia and Europe, Orchestration traces the origins, operations, and effectiveness of China's economic statecraft.

In this book, James Reilly examines the ideas and institutions at the heart of China's approach to economic statecraft, and assesses Beijing's orchestration in four cases: Myanmar, North Korea, Western Europe, and Central/Eastern Europe. China's unique experience as a planned economy, and then a developmental state, all under a single Leninist party, left Chinese leaders with unchallenged authority over their economy. However, despite successfully mobilizing companies, banks, and local officials to rapidly expand trade and investment abroad, Chinese leaders largely failed to influence key policy decisions overseas. For countries around the world, economic engagement with China thus yields more benefits with fewer costs than generally assumed.

Orchestration engages three central questions. First, why does China deploy economic statecraft in this particular fashion? Secondly, when is China's economic statecraft most effective? Finally, what can the China case tell us about economic statecraft more broadly? The findings show how China uses economic resources to exert influence abroad and identify when Beijing is most effective. By exploring the domestic drivers of China's economic statecraft, this book helps launch a new research field: the comparative study of economic statecraft.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

"Idi Amin: The Story of Africa's Icon of Evil"

New from Yale University Press: Idi Amin: The Story of Africa's Icon of Evil by Mark Leopold.

About the book, from the publisher:
The first serious full-length biography of modern Africa’s most famous dictator

Idi Amin began his career in the British army in colonial Uganda, and worked his way up the ranks before seizing power in a British-backed coup in 1971. He built a violent and unstable dictatorship, ruthlessly eliminating perceived enemies and expelling Uganda’s Asian population as the country plunged into social and economic chaos.

In this powerful and provocative new account, Mark Leopold places Amin’s military background and close relationship with the British state at the heart of the story. He traces the interwoven development of Amin’s career and his popular image as an almost supernaturally evil monster, demonstrating the impossibility of fully distinguishing the truth from the many myths surrounding the dictator. Using an innovative biographical approach, Leopold reveals how Amin was, from birth, deeply rooted in the history of British colonial rule, how his rise was a legacy of imperialism, and how his monstrous image was created.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 18, 2021

"Transcending Dystopia"

New from Oxford University Press: Transcending Dystopia: Music, Mobility, and the Jewish Community in Germany, 1945-1989 by Tina Frühauf.

About the book, from the publisher:
By the end of the Second World War, Germany was in ruins and its Jewish population so gravely diminished that a rich cultural life seemed unthinkable. And yet, as surviving Jews returned from hiding, the camps, and their exiles abroad, so did their music. Transcending Dystopia tells the story of the remarkable revival of Jewish musical activity that developed in postwar Germany against all odds. Author Tina Frühauf provides a kaleidoscopic panorama of musical practices in worship and social life across the country to illuminate how music contributed to transitions and transformations within and beyond Jewish communities in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

Drawing on newly unearthed sources from archives and private collections, this book covers a wide spectrum of musical activity-from its role in commemorations and community events to synagogue concerts and its presence on the radio-across the divided Germany until the Fall of the Wall in 1989. Frühauf's use of mobility as a conceptual framework reveals the myriad ways in which the reemergence of Jewish music in Germany was shaped by cultural transfer and exchange that often relied on the circulation of musicians, their ideas, and practices within and between communities. By illuminating the centrality of mobility to Jewish experiences and highlighting how postwar Jewish musical practices in Germany were defined by politics that reached across national borders to the United States and Israel, this pioneering study makes a major contribution to our understanding of Jewish life and culture in a transnational context.
Visit Tina Frühauf's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 17, 2021

"Empire of Convicts"

New from the University of California Press: Empire of Convicts: Indian Penal Labor in Colonial Southeast Asia by Anand A. Yang.

About the book, from the publisher:
Empire of Convicts focuses on male and female Indians incarcerated in Southeast Asia for criminal and political offenses committed in colonial South Asia. From the seventeenth century onward, penal transportation was a key strategy of British imperial rule, exemplified by deportations first to the Americas and later to Australia. Case studies from the insular prisons of Bengkulu, Penang, and Singapore illuminate another carceral regime in the Indian Ocean World that brought South Asia and Southeast Asia together through a global system of forced migration and coerced labor. A major contribution to histories of crime and punishment, prisons, law, labor, transportation, migration, colonialism, and the Indian Ocean World, Empire of Convicts narrates the experiences of Indian bandwars (convicts) and shows how they exercised agency in difficult situations, fashioning their own worlds and even becoming “their own warders.” Anand A. Yang brings long journeys across kala pani (black waters) to life in a deeply researched and engrossing account that moves fluidly between local and global contexts.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 16, 2021

"An Equal Place"

New from Oxford University Press: An Equal Place: Lawyers in the Struggle for Los Angeles by Scott L. Cummings.

About the book, from the publisher:
An Equal Place is a monumental study of the role of lawyers in the movement to challenge economic inequality in one of America's most unequal cities: Los Angeles. Breaking with the traditional focus on national civil rights history, the book turns to the stories of contemporary lawyers, on the front lines and behind the scenes, who use law to reshape the meaning of low-wage work in the local economy.

Covering a transformative period of L.A. history, from the 1992 riots to the 2008 recession, Scott Cummings presents an unflinching account of five pivotal campaigns in which lawyers ally with local movements to challenge the abuses of garment sweatshops, the criminalization of day labor, the gentrification of downtown retail, the incursion of Wal-Mart groceries, and the misclassification of port truck drivers.

Through these campaigns, lawyers and activists define the city as a space for redefining work in vital industries transformed by deindustrialization, outsourcing, and immigration. Organizing arises outside of traditional labor law, powered by community-labor and racial justice groups using levers of local government to ultimately change the nature of labor law itself.

Cummings shows that sophisticated legal strategy — engaging yet extending beyond courts, in which lawyers are equal partners in social movements — is an indispensable part of the effort to make L.A. a more equal place. Challenging accounts of lawyers' negative impact on movements, Cummings argues that the L.A. campaigns have achieved meaningful reform, while strengthening the position of workers in local politics, through legal innovation. Dissecting the reasons for failure alongside the conditions for success, this groundbreaking book illuminates the crucial role of lawyers in forging a new model of city-building for the twenty-first century.
The Page 99 Test: Blue and Green.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 15, 2021

"America and Iran"

New from Knopf: America and Iran: A History, 1720 to the Present by John Ghazvinian.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this rich, fascinating history, John Ghazvinian traces the complex story of the relations of these two powers back to the Persian Empire of the eighteenth century–the subject of great admiration of Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams–and an America seen by Iranians as an ideal to emulate for their own government. Drawing on years of archival research both in the United States and Iran–including access to Iranian government archives rarely available to Western scholars–the Iranian-born, Oxford-educated historian leads us through the four seasons of U.S.-Iran relations: the “spring” of mutual fascination; the “summer” of early interactions; the “autumn” of close strategic ties; and the long, dark “winter” of mutual hatred. Ghazvinian, with grasp and a storyteller’s ability, makes clear where, how, and when it all went wrong. And shows why two countries that once had such heartfelt admiration for each other became such committed enemies; showing us, as well, how it didn’t have to turn out this way.
Follow John Ghazvinian on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 14, 2021

"Goering's Man in Paris"

New from Yale University Press: Goering's Man in Paris: The Story of a Nazi Art Plunderer and His World by Jonathan Petropoulos.

About the book, from the publisher:
A charged biography of a notorious Nazi art plunderer and his career in the postwar art world

Bruno Lohse (1911–2007) was one of the most notorious art plunderers in history. Appointed by Hermann Göring to Hitler’s art looting agency in Paris, he went on to help supervise the systematic theft and distribution of more than thirty thousand artworks, taken largely from French Jews, and to assist Göring in amassing an enormous private art collection. By the 1950s Lohse was officially denazified but was back in the art dealing world, offering masterpieces of dubious origin to American museums. After his death, dozens of paintings by Renoir, Monet, and Pissarro, among others, were found in his Zurich bank vault and adorning the walls of his Munich home. Jonathan Petropoulos spent nearly a decade interviewing Lohse and continues to serve as an expert witness for Holocaust restitution cases. Here he tells the story of Lohse’s life, offering a critical examination of the postwar art world.
Writers Read: Jonathan Petropoulos (December 2014).

The Page 99 Test: Artists Under Hitler.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

"From Raj to Republic"

New from Stanford University Press: From Raj to Republic: Sovereignty, Violence, and Democracy in India by Sunil Purushotham.

About the book, from the publisher:
Between 1946 and 1952, the British Raj, the world's largest colony, was transformed into the Republic of India, the world's largest democracy. Independence, the Constituent Assembly Debates, the founding of the Republic, and India's first universal franchise general election occurred amidst the violence and displacement of the Partition, the uncertain and contested integration of the princely states, and the forceful quelling of internal dissent. This book investigates the ways in which these violent conjunctures constituted a postcolonial regime of sovereignty and shaped the historical development of democracy in India at the foundational moment of decolonization and national independence. From Raj to Republic presents a multifaceted history of sovereignty and democracy in India by linking together the princely state of Hyderabad's attempt to establish itself as an independent sovereign state, the partitioning of Punjab, and the communist-led revolutionary movement in the southern Indian region of Telangana. A national, territorial, republican, and liberal polity in India emerged out of a violent and contested process that forged new power relations and opened up historical trajectories with lasting consequences for modern India.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

"Forever Prisoners"

New from Oxford University Press: Forever Prisoners: How the United States Made the World's Largest Immigrant Detention System by Elliott Young.

About the book, from the publisher:
Stories of non-US citizens caught in the jaws of the immigration bureaucracy and subject to indefinite detention are in the headlines daily. These men, women, and children remain almost completely without rights, unprotected by law and the Constitution, and their status as outsiders, even though many of have lived and worked in this country for years, has left them vulnerable to the most extreme forms of state power. Although the rhetoric surrounding these individuals is extreme, the US government has been locking up immigrants since the late nineteenth century, often for indefinite periods and with limited ability to challenge their confinement.

Forever Prisoners offers the first broad history of immigrant detention in the United States. Elliott Young focuses on five stories, including Chinese detained off the coast of Washington in the late 1880s, an "insane" Russian-Brazilian Jew caught on a ship shuttling between New York and South America during World War I, Japanese Peruvians kidnapped and locked up in a Texas jail during World War II, a prison uprising by Mariel Cuban refugees in 1987, and a Salvadoran mother who grew up in the United States and has spent years incarcerated while fighting deportation. Young shows how foreigners have been caged not just for immigration violations, but also held in state and federal prisons for criminal offenses, in insane asylums for mental illness, as enemy aliens in INS facilities, and in refugee camps. Since the 1980s, the conflation of criminality with undocumented migrants has given rise to the most extensive system of immigrant incarceration in the nation's history. Today over half a million immigrants are caged each year, some serving indefinite terms in what has become the world's most extensive immigrant detention system. And yet, Young finds, the rate of all forms of incarceration for immigrants was as high in the early twentieth century as it is today, demonstrating a return to past carceral practices.

Providing critical historical context for today's news cycle, Forever Prisoners focuses on the sites of limbo where America's immigration population have been and continue to be held.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 11, 2021

"A Contest of Civilizations"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: A Contest of Civilizations: Exposing the Crisis of American Exceptionalism in the Civil War Era by Andrew F. Lang.

About the book, from the publisher:
Most mid-nineteenth-century Americans regarded the United States as an exceptional democratic republic that stood apart from a world seemingly riddled with revolutionary turmoil and aristocratic consolidation. Viewing themselves as distinct from and even superior to other societies, Americans considered their nation an unprecedented experiment in political moderation and constitutional democracy. But as abolitionism in England, economic unrest in Europe, and upheaval in the Caribbean and Latin America began to influence domestic affairs, the foundational ideas of national identity also faced new questions. And with the outbreak of civil war, as two rival governments each claimed the mantle of civilized democracy, the United States’ claim to unique standing in the community of nations dissolved into crisis. Could the Union chart a distinct course in human affairs when slaveholders, abolitionists, free people of color, and enslaved African Americans all possessed irreconcilable definitions of nationhood?

In this sweeping history of political ideas, Andrew F. Lang reappraises the Civil War era as a crisis of American exceptionalism. Through this lens, Lang shows how the intellectual, political, and social ramifications of the war and its meaning rippled through the decades that followed, not only for the nation’s own people but also in the ways the nation sought to redefine its place on the world stage.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 10, 2021

"Shredding Paper"

New from Cornell University Press: Shredding Paper: The Rise and Fall of Maine's Mighty Paper Industry by Michael G. Hillard.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the early twentieth century until the 1960s, Maine led the nation in paper production. The state could have earned a reputation as the Detroit of paper production, however, the industry eventually slid toward failure. What happened? Shredding Paper unwraps the changing US political economy since 1960, uncovers how the paper industry defined and interacted with labor relations, and peels away the layers of history that encompassed the rise and fall of Maine's mighty paper industry.

Michael G. Hillard deconstructs the paper industry's unusual technological and economic histories. For a century, the story of the nation's most widely read glossy magazines and card stock was one of capitalism, work, accommodation, and struggle. Local paper companies in Maine dominated the political landscape, controlling economic, workplace, land use, and water use policies. Hillard examines the many contributing factors surrounding how Maine became a paper powerhouse and then shows how it lost that position to changing times and foreign interests.

Through a retelling of labor relations and worker experiences from the late nineteenth century up until the late 1990s, Hillard highlights how national conglomerates began absorbing family-owned companies over time, which were subject to Wall Street demands for greater short-term profits after 1980. This new political economy impacted the economy of the entire state and destroyed Maine's once-vaunted paper industry. Shredding Paper truthfully and transparently tells the great and grim story of blue-collar workers and their families and analyzes how paper workers formulated a "folk" version of capitalism's history in their industry. Ultimately, Hillard offers a telling example of the demise of big industry in the United States.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 9, 2021

"Mobilizing Black Germany"

New from the University of Illinois Press: Mobilizing Black Germany: Afro-German Women and the Making of a Transnational Movement by Tiffany N. Florvil.

About the book, from the publisher:
The women and groups behind Black German thought and resistance of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries

In the 1980s and 1990s, Black German women began to play significant roles in challenging the discrimination in their own nation and abroad. Their grassroots organizing, writings, and political and cultural activities nurtured innovative traditions, ideas, and practices. These strategies facilitated new, often radical bonds between people from disparate backgrounds across the Black Diaspora.

Tiffany N. Florvil examines the role of queer and straight women in shaping the contours of the modern Black German movement as part of the Black internationalist opposition to racial and gender oppression. Florvil shows the multifaceted contributions of women to movement making, including Audre Lorde’s role in influencing their activism; the activists who inspired Afro-German women to curate their own identities and histories; and the evolution of the activist groups Initiative of Black Germans (ISD) and Afro-German Women (ADEFRA). These practices and strategies became a rallying point for isolated and marginalized women (and men) and shaped the roots of contemporary Black German activism.

Richly researched and multidimensional in scope, Mobilizing Black Germany offers a rare in-depth look at the emergence of the modern Black German movement and Black feminists’ politics, intellectualism, and internationalism.
Visit Tiffany N. Florvil's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 8, 2021

"White Freedom"

New from Princeton University Press: White Freedom: The Racial History of an Idea by Tyler Stovall.

About the book, from the author:
The era of the Enlightenment, which gave rise to our modern conceptions of freedom and democracy, was also the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. America, a nation founded on the principle of liberty, is also a nation built on African slavery, Native American genocide, and systematic racial discrimination. White Freedom traces the complex relationship between freedom and race from the eighteenth century to today, revealing how being free has meant being white.

Tyler Stovall explores the intertwined histories of racism and freedom in France and the United States, the two leading nations that have claimed liberty as the heart of their national identities. He explores how French and American thinkers defined freedom in racial terms and conceived of liberty as an aspect and privilege of whiteness. He discusses how the Statue of Liberty—a gift from France to the United States and perhaps the most famous symbol of freedom on Earth—promised both freedom and whiteness to European immigrants. Taking readers from the Age of Revolution to today, Stovall challenges the notion that racism is somehow a paradox or contradiction within the democratic tradition, demonstrating how white identity is intrinsic to Western ideas about liberty. Throughout the history of modern Western liberal democracy, freedom has long been white freedom.

A major work of scholarship that is certain to draw a wide readership and transform contemporary debates, White Freedom provides vital new perspectives on the inherent racism behind our most cherished beliefs about freedom, liberty, and human rights.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 7, 2021

"Nested Nationalism"

New from Cornell University Press: Nested Nationalism: Making and Unmaking Nations in the Soviet Caucasus by Krista A. Goff.

About the book, from the publisher:
Nested Nationalism is a study of the politics and practices of managing national minority identifications, rights, and communities in the Soviet Union and the personal and political consequences of such efforts. Titular nationalities that had republics named after them in the USSR were comparatively privileged within the boundaries of "their" republics, but they still often chafed both at Moscow's influence over republican affairs and at broader Russian hegemony across the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, members of nontitular communities frequently complained that nationalist republican leaders sought to build titular nations on the back of minority assimilation and erasure. Drawing on extensive archival and oral history research conducted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan, Georgia, and Moscow, Krista A. Goff argues that Soviet nationality policies produced recursive, nested relationships between majority and minority nationalisms and national identifications in the USSR.

Goff pays particular attention to how these asymmetries of power played out in minority communities, following them from Azerbaijan to Georgia, Dagestan, and Iran in pursuit of the national ideas, identifications, and histories that were layered across internal and international borders. What mechanisms supported cultural development and minority identifications in communities subjected to assimilationist politics? How did separatist movements coalesce among nontitular minority activists? And how does this historicization help us to understand the tenuous space occupied by minorities in nationalizing states across contemporary Eurasia? Ranging from the early days of Soviet power to post-Soviet ethnic conflicts, Nested Nationalism explains how Soviet-era experiences and policies continue to shape interethnic relationships and expectations today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

"Federal Ground"

New from Oxford University Press: Federal Ground: Governing Property and Violence in the First U.S. Territories by Gregory Ablavsky.

About the book, from the publisher:
Federal Ground depicts the haphazard and unplanned growth of federal authority in the Northwest and Southwest Territories, the first U.S. territories established under the new territorial system. The nation's foundational documents, particularly the Constitution and the Northwest Ordinance, placed these territories under sole federal jurisdiction and established federal officials to govern them. But, for all their paper authority, these officials rarely controlled events or dictated outcomes. In practice, power in these contested borderlands rested with the regions' pre-existing inhabitants-diverse Native peoples, French villagers, and Anglo-American settlers. These residents nonetheless turned to the new federal government to claim ownership, jurisdiction, protection, and federal money, seeking to obtain rights under federal law.

Two areas of governance proved particularly central: contests over property, where plural sources of title created conflicting land claims, and struggles over the right to use violence, in which customary borderlands practice intersected with the federal government's effort to establish a monopoly on force. Over time, as federal officials improvised ad hoc, largely extrajudicial methods to arbitrate residents' claims, they slowly insinuated federal authority deeper into territorial life. This authority survived even after the former territories became Tennessee and Ohio: although these new states spoke a language of equal footing and autonomy, statehood actually offered former territorial citizens the most effective way yet to make claims on the federal government. The federal government, in short, still could not always prescribe the result in the territories, but it set the terms and language of debate-authority that became the foundation for later, more familiar and bureaucratic incarnations of federal power.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

"Homeschooling the Right"

New from Columbia University Press: Homeschooling the Right: How Conservative Education Activism Erodes the State by Heath Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:
For four decades, the number of conservative parents who homeschool their children has risen. But unlike others who teach at home, conservative homeschool families and organizations have amassed an army of living-room educators ready to defend their right to instruct their children as they wish, free from government intrusion. Through intensive but often hidden organizing, homeschoolers have struck fear into state legislators, laying the foundations for Republican electoral success.

In Homeschooling the Right, the political scientist Heath Brown provides a novel analysis of the homeschooling movement and its central role in conservative efforts to shrink the public sector. He traces the aftereffects of the passage of state homeschool policies in the 1980s and the results of ongoing conservative education activism on the broader political landscape, including the campaigns of George W. Bush and the rise of the Tea Party. Brown finds that by opting out of public education services in favor of at-home provision, homeschoolers have furthered conservative goals of reducing the size and influence of government. He applies the theory of policy feedback—how public-policy choices determine subsequent politics—to demonstrate the effects of educational activism for other conservative goals such as gun rights, which are similarly framed as matters of liberty and freedom. Drawing on decades of county data, dozens of original interviews, and original archives of formal and informal homeschool organizations, this book is a groundbreaking investigation of the politics of the conservative homeschooling movement.
The Page 99 Test: Immigrants and Electoral Politics.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 4, 2021

"Reworking Japan"

New from ILR Press: Reworking Japan: Changing Men at Work and Play under Neoliberalism by Nana Okura Gagné.

About the book, from the publisher:
Reworking Japan examines how the past several decades of neoliberal economic restructuring and reforms in Japan have reshaped the nation's corporate ideologies, gender ideologies, and subjectivities of individual employees. With Japan's remarkable economic growth since the 1950s, the lifestyles and life courses of "salarymen" came to embody the "New Middle Class" family ideal. As Nana Okura Gagné demonstrates, however, the nearly three decades of economic stagnation since the bursting of the economic bubble in the early 1990s has tarnished this positive image of salarymen. In a sweeping appraisal of recent history, Gagné shows how economic restructuring has reshaped Japanese corporations, workers, and ideals, as well as how Japanese companies and employees have responded to such changes.

Gagné explores Japan's fraught and problematic transition from the postwar ideology of "companyism" to the emergent ideology of neoliberalism and the subsequent large-scale economic restructuring. By juxtaposing Japan's economic history with case studies and life stories, Gagné goes beyond the abstract to explore the human dimension of the neoliberal reforms that have impacted the nation's corporate governance, socioeconomic class, workers' ideals, and gender relations. Reworking Japan, with its firsthand analysis of how the supposedly hegemonic neoliberal regime does not completely transform existing cultural frames and social relations, will shake up preconceived ideas about Japanese men in general and salarymen in particular.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 3, 2021

"Agents of God"

New from Oxford University Press: Agents of God: Boundaries and Authority in Muslim and Christian Schools by Jeffrey Guhin.

About the book, from the publisher:
Sociologist Jeffrey Guhin spent a year and a half embedded in four high schools in the New York City area -- two of them Sunni Muslim and two Evangelical Christian. At first pass, these communities do not seem to have much in common. But under closer inspection Guhin finds several common threads: each school community holds to a conservative approach to gender and sexuality, a hostility towards the theory of evolution, and a deep suspicion of secularism. All possess a double-sided image of America, on the one hand as a place where their children can excel and prosper, and on the other hand as a land of temptations that could lead their children astray. He shows how these school communities use boundaries of politics, gender, and sexuality to distinguish themselves from the secular world, both in school and online. Guhin develops his study of boundaries in the book's first half to show how the school communities teach their children who they are not; the book's second half shows how the communities use "external authorities" to teach their children who they are. These "external authorities" -- such as Science, Scripture, and Prayer -- are experienced by community members as real powers with the ability to issue commands and coerce action. By offloading agency to these external authorities, leaders in these schools are able to maintain a commitment to religious freedom while simultaneously reproducing their moral commitments in their students. Drawing on extensive classroom observation, community participation, and 143 formal interviews with students, teachers, and staff, this book makes an original contribution to sociology, religious studies, and education.
Visit Jeffrey Guhin's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 2, 2021

"More Than Medals"

New from Cornell University Press: More Than Medals: A History of the Paralympics and Disability Sports in Postwar Japan by Dennis J. Frost.

About the book, from the publisher:
How does a small provincial city in southern Japan become the site of a world-famous wheelchair marathon that has been attracting the best international athletes since 1981?

In More Than Medals, Dennis J. Frost answers this question and addresses the histories of individuals, institutions, and events—the 1964 Paralympics, the FESPIC Games, the Ōita International Wheelchair Marathon, the Nagano Winter Paralympics, and the 2021 Tokyo Summer Games that played important roles in the development of disability sports in Japan. Sporting events in the postwar era, Frost shows, have repeatedly served as forums for addressing the concerns of individuals with disabilities. More Than Medals provides new insights on the cultural and historical nature of disability and demonstrates how sporting events have challenged some stigmas associated with disability, while reinforcing or generating others.

Frost analyzes institutional materials and uses close readings of media, biographical sources, and interviews with Japanese athletes to highlight the profound—though often ambiguous—ways in which sports have shaped how postwar Japan has perceived and addressed disability. His novel approach highlights the importance of the Paralympics and the impact that disability sports have had on Japanese society.
Dennis J. Frost is Wen Chao Chen Associate Professor of East Asian Studies at Kalamazoo College.

The Page 99 Test: Seeing Stars.

Writers Read: Dennis J. Frost.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 1, 2021

"United Front"

New from Stanford University Press: United Front: Projecting Solidarity through Deliberation in Vietnam’s Single-Party Legislature by Paul Schuler.

About the book, from the publisher:
Conventional wisdom emerging from China and other autocracies claims that single-party legislatures and elections are mutually beneficial for citizens and autocrats. This line of thought reasons that these institutions can serve multiple functions, like constraining political leaders or providing information about citizens. In United Front, Paul Schuler challenges these views through his examination of the past and present functioning of the Vietnam National Assembly (VNA), arguing that the legislature's primary role is to signal strength to the public. When active, the critical behavior from delegates in the legislature represents cross fire within the regime rather than genuine citizen feedback. In making these arguments, Schuler counters a growing scholarly trend to see democratic institutions within single-party settings like China and Vietnam as useful for citizens or regime performance. His argument also suggests that there are limits to generating genuinely "consultative authoritarianism" through quasi-democratic institutions. Applying a diverse range of cutting-edge social science methods on a wealth of original data such as legislative speeches, election returns, and surveys, Schuler shows that even in a seemingly vociferous legislature like the VNA, the ultimate purpose of the institution is not to reflect the views of citizens, but rather to signal the regime's preferences while taking down rivals.
Visit Paul Schuler's website.

--Marshal Zeringue