Sunday, February 28, 2021

"The Humanity of Universal Crime"

New from Oxford University Press: The Humanity of Universal Crime: Inclusion, Inequality, and Intervention in International Political Thought by Sinja Graf.

About the book, from the publisher:
The international crime of "crimes against humanity" has become integral to contemporary political and legal discourse. However, the conceptual core of the term--an act against all of mankind--has a longer and deeper history in international political thought. In an original excavation of this history, The Humanity of Universal Crime examines theoretical mobilizations of the idea of universal crime in colonial and post-colonial contexts. Sinja Graf demonstrates the overlooked centrality of humanity and criminality to political liberalism's historical engagement with world politics, thereby breaking with the exhaustively studied status of individual rights in liberal thought. Graf argues that invocations of universal crime project humanity as a normatively integrated, yet minimally inclusive and hierarchically structured subject. Such visions of humanity have in turn underwritten justifications of foreign rule and outsider intervention based on claims to an injury universally suffered by all mankind.

Foregrounding the "political productivity" of universal crime, the book traces the intellectual history of the rise, fall, and reappearance of notions of universal crime in political theory over time. It looks particularly at the way European theorists have deployed the concept in assessing the legitimacy of colonial rule and foreign intervention in non-European societies. The book argues that an "inclusionary Eurocentrism" subtends the authorizing and coercive dimensions of universal crime. Unlike much-studied "exclusionary Eurocentrist" thinking, "inclusionary Eurocentrist" arguments have historically extended an unequal, repressive "recognition via liability" to non-European peoples. Overall the book offers a novel view of how claims to act in the name of humanity are deeply steeped in practices that reproduce structures of inequality at a global level, particularly across political empires.
Visit Sinja Graf's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 27, 2021

"The First Reconstruction"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: The First Reconstruction: Black Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War by Van Gosse.

About the book, from the publisher:
It may be difficult to imagine that a consequential black electoral politics evolved in the United States before the Civil War, for as of 1860, the overwhelming majority of African Americans remained in bondage. Yet free black men, many of them escaped slaves, steadily increased their influence in electoral politics over the course of the early American republic. Despite efforts to disfranchise them, black men voted across much of the North, sometimes in numbers sufficient to swing elections. In this meticulously-researched book, Van Gosse offers a sweeping reappraisal of the formative era of American democracy from the Constitution's ratification through Abraham Lincoln’s election, chronicling the rise of an organized, visible black politics focused on the quest for citizenship, the vote, and power within the free states.

Full of untold stories and thorough examinations of political battles, this book traces a First Reconstruction of black political activism following emancipation in the North. From Portland, Maine and New Bedford, Massachusetts to Brooklyn and Cleveland, black men operated as voting blocs, denouncing the notion that skin color could define citizenship.
Visit Van Gosse's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 26, 2021

"The Accidental Possibilities of the City"

New from the University of California Press: The Accidental Possibilities of the City: Claes Oldenburg's Urbanism in Postwar America by Katherine Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
Claes Oldenburg’s commitment to familiar objects has shaped accounts of his career, but his associations with Pop art and postwar consumerism have overshadowed another crucial aspect of his work. In this revealing reassessment, Katherine Smith traces Oldenburg’s profound responses to shifting urban conditions, framing his enduring relationship with the city as a critical perspective and conceiving his art as urban theory.

Smith argues that Oldenburg adapted lessons of context, gleaned from New York’s changing cityscape in the late 1950s, to large-scale objects and architectural plans. By examining disparate projects from New York to Los Angeles, she situates Oldenburg’s innovations in local geographies and national debates. In doing so, Smith illuminates patterns of urbanization through the important contributions of one of the leading artists in the United States.
Katherine Smith is Professor of Art History at Agnes Scott College.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 25, 2021

"The Long Crisis"

New from Oxford University Press: The Long Crisis: New York City and the Path to Neoliberalism by Benjamin Holtzman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Across all the boroughs, The Long Crisis shows, New Yorkers helped transform their broke and troubled city in the 1970s by taking the responsibilities of city governance into the private sector and market, steering the process of neoliberalism.

Newspaper headlines beginning in the mid-1960s blared that New York City, known as the greatest city in the world, was in trouble. They depicted a metropolis overcome by poverty and crime, substandard schools, unmanageable bureaucracy, ballooning budget deficits, deserting businesses, and a vanishing middle class. By the mid-1970s, New York faced a situation perhaps graver than the urban crisis: the city could no longer pay its bills and was tumbling toward bankruptcy. The Long Crisis turns to this turbulent period to explore the origins and implications of the diminished faith in government as capable of solving public problems. Conventional accounts of the shift toward market and private sector governing solutions have focused on the rising influence of conservatives, libertarians, and the business sector. Benjamin Holtzman, however, locates the origins of this transformation in the efforts of city dwellers to preserve liberal commitments of the postwar period. As New York faced an economic crisis that disrupted long-standing assumptions about the services city government could provide, its residents--organized within block associations, non-profits, and professional organizations--embraced an ethos of private volunteerism and, eventually, of partnership with private business in order to save their communities' streets, parks, and housing from neglect. Local liberal and Democratic officials came to see such alliances not as stopgap measures but as legitimate and ultimately permanent features of modern governance. The ascent of market-based policies was driven less by a political assault of pro-market ideologues than by ordinary New Yorkers experimenting with novel ways to maintain robust public services in the face of the city's budget woes.

Local people and officials, The Long Crisis argues, built neoliberalism from the ground up, creating a system that would both exacerbate old racial and economic inequalities and produce new ones that continue to shape metropolitan areas today.
Visit Benjamin Holtzman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

"London and the Seventeenth Century"

New from Yale University Press: London and the Seventeenth Century: The Making of the World's Greatest City by Margarette Lincoln.

About the book, from the publisher:
The first comprehensive history of seventeenth-century London, told through the lives of those who experienced it

The Gunpowder Plot, the Civil Wars, Charles I’s execution, the Plague, the Great Fire, the Restoration, and then the Glorious Revolution: the seventeenth century was one of the most momentous times in the history of Britain, and Londoners took center stage.

In this fascinating account, Margarette Lincoln charts the impact of national events on an ever-growing citizenry with its love of pageantry, spectacle, and enterprise. Lincoln looks at how religious, political, and financial tensions were fomented by commercial ambition, expansion, and hardship. In addition to events at court and parliament, she evokes the remarkable figures of the period, including Shakespeare, Bacon, Pepys, and Newton, and draws on diaries, letters, and wills to trace the untold stories of ordinary Londoners. Through their eyes, we see how the nation emerged from a turbulent century poised to become a great maritime power with London at its heart—the greatest city of its time.
Visit Margarette Lincoln's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

"The Devil's Fruit"

New from Rutgers University Press: The Devil's Fruit: Farmworkers, Health, and Environmental Justice by Dvera I. Saxton.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Devil's Fruit describes the facets of the strawberry industry as a harm industry, and explores author Dvera Saxton’s activist ethnographic work with farmworkers in response to health and environmental injustices. She argues that dealing with devilish—as in deadly, depressing, disabling, and toxic—problems requires intersecting ecosocial, emotional, ethnographic, and activist labors. Through her work as an activist medical anthropologist, she found the caring labors of engaged ethnography take on many forms that go in many different directions. Through chapters that examine farmworkers’ embodiment of toxic pesticides and social and workplace relationships, Saxton critically and reflexively describes and analyzes the ways that engaged and activist ethnographic methods, frameworks, and ethics aligned and conflicted, and in various ways helped support still ongoing struggles for farmworker health and environmental justice in California. These are problems shared by other agricultural communities in the U.S. and throughout the world.
Dvera I. Saxton is an associate professor of anthropology at California State University, Fresno.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 22, 2021

"The Invisibility Bargain"

New from Oxford University Press: The Invisibility Bargain: Governance Networks and Migrant Human Security by Jeffrey D. Pugh.

About the book, from the publisher:
Migrants fleeing economic hardship or violence are entitled to a range of protections and rights under domestic and international law, yet they are often denied such protections in practice. In an era of mass migration and restrictive responses, migrant acceptance is often contingent on the expectation that they contribute economically to the host country while remaining politically and socially invisible. These unwritten expectations, which Jeffrey D. Pugh calls the "invisibility bargain", produce a precarious status in which migrants' visible differences or overt political demands on the state may be met with hostile backlash from the host society. In this context, governance networks of state and non-state actors form an institutional web that can provide indirect access to rights, resources, and protection, but simultaneously help migrants avoid negative backlash against visible political activism.

The Invisibility Bargain seeks to understand how migrants negotiate their place in receiving societies and adapt innovative strategies to integrate, participate, and access protection. Specifically, the book examines Ecuador, the largest recipient of refugees in Latin America, and assesses how it achieved migrant human security gains despite weak state presence in peripheral areas. Pugh deploys evidence from 15 months of fieldwork spanning ten years in Ecuador, including 170 interviews, an original survey of Colombian migrants in six provinces, network analysis, and discourse analysis of hundreds of presidential speeches and news media articles. He argues that localities with more dense networks composed of more diverse actors tend to produce greater human security for migrants and their neighbors. The book challenges the conventional understanding of migration and security, providing a new approach to the negotiation of authority between state and society. By examining the informal pathways to human security, Pugh dismantles the false dichotomy between international and national politics, and exposes the micro politics of institutional innovation.
Visit Jeffrey D. Pugh's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 21, 2021

"The New Age of Empire"

New from PublicAffairs: The New Age of Empire: How Racism and Colonialism Still Rule the World by Kehinde Andrews.

About the book, from the publisher:
A damning exploration of the many ways in which the effects and logic of anti-black colonialism continue to inform our modern world.

Colonialism and imperialism are often thought to be distant memories, whether they're glorified in Britain's collective nostalgia or taught as a sin of the past in history classes. This idea is bolstered by the emergence of India, China, Argentina and other non-western nations as leading world powers. Multiculturalism, immigration and globalization have led traditionalists to fear that the west is in decline and that white people are rapidly being left behind; progressives and reactionaries alike espouse the belief that we live in a post-racial society.

But imperialism, as Kehinde Andrews argues, is alive and well. It's just taken a new form: one in which the U.S. and not Europe is at the center of Western dominion, and imperial power looks more like racial capitalism than the expansion of colonial holdings. The International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization and even the United Nations are only some of these modern mechanisms of Western imperialism. Yet these imperialist logics and tactics are not limited to just the west or to white people, as in the neocolonial relationship between China and Africa. Diving deep into the concepts of racial capitalism and racial patriarchy, Andrews adds nuance and context to these often over-simplified narratives, challenging the right and the left in equal measure.

Andrews takes the reader from genocide to slavery to colonialism, deftly explaining the histories of these phenomena, how their justifications are linked, and how they continue to shape our world to this day. The New Age of Empire is a damning indictment of white-centered ideologies from Marxism to neoliberalism, and a reminder that our histories are never really over.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 20, 2021

"Sovereignty Sharing in Fragile States"

New from Stanford University Press: Sovereignty Sharing in Fragile States by John D. Ciorciari.

About the book, from the publisher:
In fragile states, domestic and international actors sometimes take the momentous step of sharing sovereign authority to provide basic public services and build the rule of law. While sovereignty sharing can help address gaps in governance, it is inherently difficult, risking redundancy, confusion over roles, and feuds between partners when their interests diverge.

In Sovereignty Sharing in Fragile States, John D. Ciorciari sheds light on how and why these extraordinary joint ventures are created, designed, and implemented. Based on extensive field research in several countries and more than 150 interviews with senior figures from governments, the UN, donor states, and civil society, Ciorciari discusses when sovereignty sharing may be justified and when it is most likely to achieve its aims. The two, he argues, are closely related: perceived legitimacy and continued political and popular support are keys to success.

This book examines a diverse range of sovereignty-sharing arrangements, including hybrid criminal tribunals, joint policing arrangements, and anti-corruption initiatives, in Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Lebanon, Timor-Leste, Guatemala, and Liberia. Ciorciari provides the first comparative assessment of these remarkable attempts to repair ruptures in the rule of law—the heart of a well-governed state.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 19, 2021

"A Contested Caribbean Indigeneity"

New from Rutgers University Press: A Contested Caribbean Indigeneity: Language, Social Practice, and Identity within Puerto Rican Taíno Activism by Sherina Feliciano-Santos.

About the book, from the publisher:
A Contested Caribbean Indigeneity is an in-depth analysis of the debates surrounding Taíno/Boricua activism in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean diaspora in New York City. Drawing on in-depth ethnographic research, media analysis, and historical documents, the book explores the varied experiences and motivations of Taíno/Boricua activists as well as the alternative fonts of authority they draw on to claim what is commonly thought to be an extinct ethnic category. It explores the historical and interactional challenges involved in claiming membership in, what for many Puerto Ricans, is an impossible affiliation. In focusing on Taíno/Boricua activism, the books aims to identify a critical space from which to analyze and decolonize ethnoracial ideologies of Puerto Ricanness, issues of class and education, Puerto Rican nationalisms and colonialisms, as well as important questions regarding narrative, historical memory, and belonging.
Sherina Feliciano-Santosis an associate professor of anthropology at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 18, 2021

"The New Entrepreneurial Advocacy"

New from Oxford University Press: The New Entrepreneurial Advocacy: Silicon Valley Elites in American Politics by Darren R. Halpin and Anthony J. Nownes.

About the book, from the publisher:
The role of business in American politics has provoked much controversy and attention over recent years. One need look no further than the Koch brothers or the Trump administration to get an idea of the extent to which the interests of private business wield influence over the political system. Contemporary evidence of the clear and growing disparities in wealth between ordinary citizens and business elites has drawn new attention to this topic. Recently, the canon on the activities of business elites in politics has also grown as we have learned a great deal about how business firms and their ultra-wealthy leaders and investors seek to exert political influence.

This book looks at one form of business elite activity that has thus far received little attention, despite the high-profile political efforts of billionaire businesspeople including Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg: a phenomenon that Darren R. Halpin and Anthony J. Nownes call new entrepreneurial advocacy. This "entrepreneurial advocacy" is a mode of political engagement in which wealthy entrepreneurs (often from Silicon Valley) use their vast resources to form new organizations that advocate for their vision of the social good, which may or may not be directly linked to their private or business interests.

While previous studies focus on a cross section of either the wealthiest Americans or the largest firms in the United States, this book takes a deep-dive into the political activities of a single, yet pivotal, cohort--the founders and CEOs of Silicon Valley firms. Specifically, the authors trace the development of new entrepreneurial advocacy to understand its extent, its breadth, and whose interests they represent, who supports them financially, and why business elites choose to create new organizations to engage in advocacy rather than do so under the umbrellas of their companies. Crucially, the authors also look at the impact of these organizations and what their activity means for American democracy. Leveraging a vast range of unique datasets, from political donations and lobbying to philanthropic giving and social media commentary, this book examines the role of this important set of elites in contemporary American political life.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

"At the Threshold of Liberty"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Shifting Identities in Washington, D.C. by Tamika Y. Nunley.

About the book, from the publisher:
The capital city of a nation founded on the premise of liberty, nineteenth-century Washington, D.C., was both an entrepôt of urban slavery and the target of abolitionist ferment. The growing slave trade and the enactment of Black codes placed the city’s Black women within the rigid confines of a social hierarchy ordered by race and gender. At the Threshold of Liberty reveals how these women--enslaved, fugitive, and free--imagined new identities and lives beyond the oppressive restrictions intended to prevent them from ever experiencing liberty, self-respect, and power.

Consulting newspapers, government documents, letters, abolitionist records, legislation, and memoirs, Tamika Y. Nunley traces how Black women navigated social and legal proscriptions to develop their own ideas about liberty as they escaped from slavery, initiated freedom suits, created entrepreneurial economies, pursued education, and participated in political work. In telling these stories, Nunley places Black women at the vanguard of the history of Washington, D.C., and the momentous transformations of nineteenth-century America.
Visit Tamika Y. Nunley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

"Slow Anti-Americanism"

New from Stanford University Press: Slow Anti-Americanism: Social Movements and Symbolic Politics in Central Asia by Edward Schatz.

About the book, from the publisher:
Negative views of the United States abound, but we know too little about how such views affect politics. Drawing on careful research on post-Soviet Central Asia, Edward Schatz argues that anti-Americanism is best seen not as a rising tide that swamps or as a conflagration that overwhelms. Rather, "America" is a symbolic resource that resides quietly in the mundane but always has potential value for social and political mobilizers. Using a wide range of evidence and a novel analytic framework, Schatz considers how Islamist movements, human rights activists, and labor mobilizers across Central Asia avail themselves of this fact, thus changing their ability to pursue their respective agendas. By refocusing our analytic gaze away from high politics, he affords us a clearer view of the slower-moving, partially occluded, and socially embedded processes that ground how "America" becomes political. In turn, we gain a nuanced appreciation of the downstream effects of US foreign policy choices and a sober sense of the challenges posed by the politics of traveling images.

Most treatments of anti-Americanism focus on politics in the realm of presidential elections and foreign policies. By focusing instead on symbols, Schatz lays bare how changing public attitudes shift social relations in politically significant ways, and considers how changing symbolic depictions of the United States recombine the raw material available for social mobilizers. Just like sediment traveling along waterways before reaching its final destination, the raw material that constitutes symbolic America can travel among various social groups, and can settle into place to form the basis of new social meanings. Symbolic America, Schatz shows us, matters for politics in Central Asia and beyond.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 15, 2021

"Fears of a Setting Sun"

New from Princeton University Press: Fears of a Setting Sun: The Disillusionment of America's Founders by Dennis C. Rasmussen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Americans seldom deify their Founding Fathers any longer, but they do still tend to venerate the Constitution and the republican government that the founders created. Strikingly, the founders themselves were far less confident in what they had wrought, particularly by the end of their lives. In fact, most of them—including George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson—came to deem America’s constitutional experiment an utter failure that was unlikely to last beyond their own generation. Fears of a Setting Sun is the first book to tell the fascinating and too-little-known story of the founders’ disillusionment.

As Dennis Rasmussen shows, the founders’ pessimism had a variety of sources: Washington lost his faith in America’s political system above all because of the rise of partisanship, Hamilton because he felt that the federal government was too weak, Adams because he believed that the people lacked civic virtue, and Jefferson because of sectional divisions laid bare by the spread of slavery. The one major founder who retained his faith in America’s constitutional order to the end was James Madison, and the book also explores why he remained relatively optimistic when so many of his compatriots did not. As much as Americans today may worry about their country’s future, Rasmussen reveals, the founders faced even graver problems and harbored even deeper misgivings.

A vividly written account of a chapter of American history that has received too little attention, Fears of a Setting Sun will change the way that you look at the American founding, the Constitution, and indeed the United States itself.
The Page 99 Test: The Infidel and the Professor.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 14, 2021

"Borderlands Curanderos"

New from the University of Texas Press: Borderlands Curanderos: The Worlds of Santa Teresa Urrea and Don Pedrito Jaramillo by Jennifer Koshatka Seman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Santa Teresa Urrea and Don Pedrito Jaramillo were curanderos—faith healers—who, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, worked outside the realm of "professional medicine," seemingly beyond the reach of the church, state, or certified health practitioners whose profession was still in its infancy. Urrea healed Mexicans, Indigenous people, and Anglos in northwestern Mexico and cities throughout the US Southwest, while Jaramillo conducted his healing practice in the South Texas Rio Grande Valley, healing Tejanos, Mexicans, and Indigenous people there. Jennifer Koshatka Seman takes us inside the intimate worlds of both "living saints," demonstrating how their effective healing—curanderismo—made them part of the larger turn-of-the century worlds they lived in as they attracted thousands of followers, validated folk practices, and contributed to a modernizing world along the US-Mexico border.

While she healed, Urrea spoke of a Mexico in which one did not have to obey unjust laws or confess one's sins to Catholic priests. Jaramillo restored and fed drought-stricken Tejanos when the state and modern medicine could not meet their needs. Then, in 1890, Urrea was expelled from Mexico. Within a decade, Jaramillo was investigated as a fraud by the American Medical Association and the US Post Office. Borderlands Curanderos argues that it is not only state and professional institutions that build and maintain communities, nations, and national identities but also those less obviously powerful.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 13, 2021

"Staging Indigeneity"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Staging Indigeneity: Salvage Tourism and the Performance of Native American History by Katrina Phillips.

About the book, from the publisher:
As tourists increasingly moved across the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a surprising number of communities looked to capitalize on the histories of Native American people to create tourist attractions. From the Happy Canyon Indian Pageant and Wild West Show in Pendleton, Oregon, to outdoor dramas like Tecumseh! in Chillicothe, Ohio, and Unto These Hills in Cherokee, North Carolina, locals staged performances that claimed to honor an Indigenous past while depicting that past on white settlers' terms. Linking the origins of these performances to their present-day incarnations, this incisive book reveals how they constituted what Katrina Phillips calls "salvage tourism"—a set of practices paralleling so-called salvage ethnography, which documented the histories, languages, and cultures of Indigenous people while reinforcing a belief that Native American societies were inevitably disappearing.

Across time, Phillips argues, tourism, nostalgia, and authenticity converge in the creation of salvage tourism, which blends tourism and history, contestations over citizenship, identity, belonging, and the continued use of Indians and Indianness as a means of escape, entertainment, and economic development.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 12, 2021

"The Volga: A History"

New from Yale University Press: The Volga: A History by Janet M. Hartley.

About the book, from the publisher:
A rich and fascinating exploration of the Volga—the first to fully reveal its vital place in Russian history

The longest river in Europe, the Volga stretches over three and a half thousand km from the heart of Russia to the Caspian Sea, separating west from east. The river has played a crucial role in the history of the peoples who are now a part of the Russian Federation—and has united and divided the land through which it flows.

Janet Hartley explores the history of Russia through the Volga from the seventh century to the present day. She looks at it as an artery for trade and as a testing ground for the Russian Empire’s control of the borderlands, at how it featured in Russian literature and art, and how it was crucial for the outcome of the Second World War at Stalingrad. This vibrant account unearths what life on the river was really like, telling the story of its diverse people and its vital place in Russian history.
Janet M. Hartley is emeritus professor of international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science and author of Siberia: A History of the People.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 11, 2021

"Apostles of Change"

New from the University of Texas Press: Apostles of Change: Latino Radical Politics, Church Occupations, and the Fight to Save the Barrio by Felipe Hinojosa.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the late 1960s, the American city found itself in steep decline. An urban crisis fueled by federal policy wreaked destruction and displacement on poor and working-class families. The urban drama included religious institutions, themselves undergoing fundamental change, that debated whether to stay in the city or move to the suburbs. Against the backdrop of the Black and Brown Power movements, which challenged economic inequality and white supremacy, young Latino radicals began occupying churches and disrupting services to compel church communities to join their protests against urban renewal, poverty, police brutality, and racism.

Apostles of Change tells the story of these occupations and establishes their context within the urban crisis; relates the tensions they created; and articulates the activists' bold, new vision for the church and the world. Through case studies from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Houston, Felipe Hinojosa reveals how Latino freedom movements frequently crossed boundaries between faith and politics and argues that understanding the history of these radical politics is essential to understanding the dynamic changes in Latino religious groups from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

"Shakespeare and the Political Way"

New from Oxford University Press: Shakespeare and the Political Way by Elizabeth Frazer.

About the book, from the publisher:
Studies of Shakespeare and politics often ask the question whether his dramas are on the side of aristocratic or monarchical sovereign authority, or are on the side of those who resist; whether he endorses a standard view of male and patriarchal authority, or whether his cross-dressing heroines put him among feminist thinkers. Scholars also show that Shakespeare's representations of rule, revolt, and arguments about laws and constitutions draw on and allude to stories and real events that were contemporaneous for him, as well as historical ones.

Building on scholarship about Shakespeare and politics, this book argues that Shakespeare's representations and stagings of political power, sovereignty, resistance, and controversy are more complex. The merits of political life, as opposed to life governed by monetary exchange, religious truth, supernatural power, military heroism, or interpersonal love, are rehearsed in the plots. And the clashing and contradictory meanings of politics -- its association with free truthful speech but also with dishonest hypocrisy, with open action and argument as much as occult behind the scenes manoevring -- are dramatized by him, to show that although violence, lies, and authoritarianism do often win out in the world there is another kind of politics, and a political way that we would do well to follow when we can. The book offers original readings of the characters and plots of Shakespeare's dramas in order to illustrate the subtlety of his pictures of political power, how it works, and what is wrong and right with it.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

"Brown Trans Figurations"

New from The University of Texas Press: Brown Trans Figurations: Rethinking Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Chicanx/Latinx Studies by Francisco J. Galarte.

About the book, from the publisher:
Within queer, transgender, and Latinx and Chicanx cultural politics, brown transgender narratives are frequently silenced and erased. Brown trans subjects are treated as deceptive, unnatural, nonexistent, or impossible, their bodies, lives, and material circumstances represented through tropes and used as metaphors. Restoring personhood and agency to these subjects, Francisco J. Galarte advances “brown trans figuration” as a theoretical framework to describe how transness and brownness coexist within the larger queer, trans, and Latinx historical experiences.

Brown Trans Figurations presents a collection of representations that reveal the repression of brown trans narratives and make that repression visible and palpable. Galarte examines the violent deaths of two transgender Latinas and the corresponding narratives that emerged about their lives, analyzes the invisibility of brown transmasculinity in Chicana feminist works, and explores how issues such as transgender politics can be imagined as part of Chicanx and Latinx political movements. This book considers the contexts in which brown trans narratives appear, how they circulate, and how they are reproduced in politics, sexual cultures, and racialized economies.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 8, 2021

"Forgery and Memory at the End of the First Millennium"

New from Princeton University Press: Forgery and Memory at the End of the First Millennium by Levi Roach.

About the book, from the publisher:

Forgery and Memory at the End of the First Millennium takes a fresh look at documentary forgery and historical memory in the Middle Ages. In the tenth and eleventh centuries, religious houses across Europe began falsifying texts to improve local documentary records on an unprecedented scale. As Levi Roach illustrates, the resulting wave of forgery signaled major shifts in society and political culture, shifts which would lay the foundations for the European ancien régime.

Spanning documentary traditions across France, England, Germany and northern Italy, Roach examines five sets of falsified texts to demonstrate how forged records produced in this period gave voice to new collective identities within and beyond the Church. Above all, he indicates how this fad for falsification points to new attitudes toward past and present—a developing fascination with the signs of antiquity. These conclusions revise traditional master narratives about the development of antiquarianism in the modern era, showing that medieval forgers were every bit as sophisticated as their Renaissance successors. Medieval forgers were simply interested in different subjects—the history of the Church and their local realms, rather than the literary world of classical antiquity.

A comparative history of falsified records at a crucial turning point in the Middle Ages, Forgery and Memory at the End of the First Millennium offers valuable insights into how institutions and individuals rewrote and reimagined the past.
Writers Read: Levi Roach (November 2016).

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 7, 2021

"An Organ of Murder"

New from Rutgers University Press: An Organ of Murder: Crime, Violence, and Phrenology in Nineteenth-Century America by Courtney E. Thompson.

About the book, from the publisher:
An Organ of Murder explores the origins of both popular and elite theories of criminality in the nineteenth-century United States, focusing in particular on the influence of phrenology. In the United States, phrenology shaped the production of medico-legal knowledge around crime, the treatment of the criminal within prisons and in public discourse, and sociocultural expectations about the causes of crime. The criminal was phrenology’s ideal research and demonstration subject, and the courtroom and the prison were essential spaces for the staging of scientific expertise. In particular, phrenology constructed ways of looking as well as a language for identifying, understanding, and analyzing criminals and their actions. This work traces the long-lasting influence of phrenological visual culture and language in American culture, law, and medicine, as well as the practical uses of phrenology in courts, prisons, and daily life.
Courtney E. Thompson is an assistant professor of the history of science and medicine and U.S. women’s history at Mississippi State University in Starkville. She received her Ph.D. from the program in the history of science and medicine of Yale University in 2015.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 6, 2021

"At Home in Our Sounds"

New from Oxford University Press: At Home in Our Sounds: Music, Race, and Cultural Politics in Interwar Paris by Rachel Anne Gillett.

About the book, from the publisher:
At Home in Our Sounds illustrates the effect jazz music had on the enormous social challenges Europe faced in the aftermath of World War I. Examining the ways African American, French Antillean, and French West African artists reacted to the heightened visibility of racial difference in Paris during this era, author Rachel Anne Gillett addresses fundamental cultural questions that continue to resonate today: Could one be both black and French? Was black solidarity more important than national and colonial identity? How could French culture include the experiences and contributions of Africans and Antilleans?

Providing a well-rounded view of black reactions to jazz in interwar Paris, At Home in Our Sounds deals with artists from highly educated women like the Nardal sisters of Martinique, to the working black musicians performing at all hours throughout the city. In so doing, the book places this phenomenon in its historical and political context and shows how music and music-making constituted a vital terrain of cultural politics--one that brought people together around pianos and on the dancefloor, but that did not erase the political, regional, and national differences between them.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 5, 2021

"Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes"

New from Yale University Press: Reclaiming Patriotism in an Age of Extremes by Steven B. Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
A rediscovery of patriotism as a virtue in line with the core values of democracy in an extremist age

The concept of patriotism has fallen on hard times. What was once a value that united Americans has become so politicized by both the left and the right that it threatens to rip apart the social fabric. On the right, patriotism has become synonymous with nationalism and an “us versus them” worldview, while on the left it is seen as an impediment to acknowledging important ethnic, religious, or racial identities and a threat to cosmopolitan globalism.

Steven B. Smith reclaims patriotism from these extremist positions and advocates for a patriotism that is broad enough to balance loyalty to country against other loyalties. Describing how it is a matter of both the head and the heart, Smith shows how patriotism can bring the country together around the highest ideals of equality and is a central and ennobling disposition that democratic societies cannot afford to do without.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 4, 2021

"A Dream of the Judgment Day"

New from Oxford University Press: A Dream of the Judgment Day: American Millennialism and Apocalypticism, 1620-1890 by John Howard Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
The United States has long thought of itself as exceptional--a nation destined to lead the world into a bright and glorious future. These ideas go back to the Puritan belief that Massachusetts would be a "city on a hill," and in time that image came to define the United States and the American mentality. But what is at the root of these convictions? John Howard Smith's A Dream of the Judgment Day explores the origins of beliefs about the biblical end of the world as Americans have come to understand them, and how these beliefs led to a conception of the United States as an exceptional nation with a unique destiny to fulfill. However, these beliefs implicitly and explicitly excluded African Americans and American Indians because they didn't fit white Anglo-Saxon ideals. While these groups were influenced by these Christian ideas, their exclusion meant they had to craft their own versions of millenarian beliefs. Women and other marginalized groups also played a far larger role than usually acknowledged in this phenomenon, greatly influencing the developing notion of the United States as the "redeemer nation."

Smith's comprehensive history of eschatological thought in early America encompasses traditional and non-traditional Christian beliefs in the end of the world. It reveals how millennialism and apocalypticism played a role in destructive and racist beliefs like "Manifest Destiny," while at the same time influencing the foundational idea of the United States as an "elect nation." Featuring a broadly diverse cast of historical figures, A Dream of the Judgment Day synthesizes more than forty years of scholarship into a compelling and challenging portrait of early America.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

"Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots"

New from Penguin Press: Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots by James Suzman.

About the book, from the publisher:
A revolutionary new history of humankind through the prism of work by leading anthropologist James Suzman

Work defines who we are. It determines our status, and dictates how, where, and with whom we spend most of our time. It mediates our self-worth and molds our values. But are we hard-wired to work as hard as we do? Did our Stone Age ancestors also live to work and work to live? And what might a world where work plays a far less important role look like?

To answer these questions, James Suzman charts a grand history of “work” from the origins of life on Earth to our ever more automated present, challenging some of our deepest assumptions about who we are. Drawing insights from anthropology, archaeology, evolutionary biology, zoology, physics, and economics, he shows that while we have evolved to find joy meaning and purpose in work, for most of human history our ancestors worked far less and thought very differently about work than we do now. He demonstrates how our contemporary culture of work has its roots in the agricultural revolution ten thousand years ago. Our sense of what it is to be human was transformed by the transition from foraging to food production, and, later, our migration to cities. Since then, our relationships with one another and with our environments, and even our sense of the passage of time, have not been the same.

Arguing that we are in the midst of a similarly transformative point in history, Suzman shows how automation might revolutionize our relationship with work and in doing so usher in a more sustainable and equitable future for our world and ourselves.
Visit James Suzman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

"Teaching Moral Sex"

New from Oxford University Press: Teaching Moral Sex: A History of Religion and Sex Education in the United States by Kristy L. Slominski.

About the book, from the publisher:
Whose job is it to teach the public about sex? Parents? The churches? The schools? And what should they be taught? These questions have sparked some of the most heated political debates in recent American history, most recently the battle between proponents of comprehensive sex education and those in favor of an “abstinence-only” curriculum.

Kristy Slominski shows that these questions have a long, complex, and surprising history. Teaching Moral Sex is the first comprehensive study of the role of religion in the history of public sex education in the United States. The field of sex education, Slominski shows, was created through a collaboration between religious sex educators-primarily liberal Protestants, along with some Catholics and Reform Jews-and “men of science”-namely physicians, biology professors, and social scientists. She argues that the work of early religious sex educators laid the foundation for both sides of contemporary controversies that are now often treated as disputes between “religious” and “secular” Americans.

Slominski examines the religious contributions to national sex education organizations from the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first. Far from being a barrier to sex education, she demonstrates, religion has been deeply embedded in the history of sex education, and its legacy has shaped the terms of current debates. Focusing on religion uncovers an under-recognized cast of characters-including Quaker and Unitarian social purity reformers, military chaplains, and the Young Men's Christian Association- who, Slominski deftly shows, worked to make sex education more acceptable to the public through a strategic combination of progressive and restrictive approaches to sexuality.

Teaching Moral Sex highlights the essential contributions of religious actors to the movement for sex education in the United States and reveals where their influence can still be felt today.
Visit Kristy L. Slominski's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 1, 2021

"Birthing a Movement"

New from Stanford University Press: Birthing a Movement: Midwives, Law, and the Politics of Reproductive Care by Renée Ann Cramer.

About the book, from the publisher:
Rich, personal stories shed light on midwives at the frontier of women's reproductive rights.

Midwives in the United States live and work in a complex regulatory environment that is a direct result of state and medical intervention into women's reproductive capacity. In Birthing a Movement, Renée Ann Cramer draws on over a decade of ethnographic and archival research to examine the interactions of law, politics, and activism surrounding midwifery care.

Framed by gripping narratives from midwives across the country, she parses out the often-paradoxical priorities with which they must engage—seeking formal professionalization, advocating for reproductive justice, and resisting state-centered approaches. Currently, professional midwives are legal and regulated in their practice in 32 states and illegal in eight, where their practice could bring felony convictions and penalties that include imprisonment. In the remaining ten states, Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) are unregulated, but nominally legal. By studying states where CPMs have differing legal statuses, Cramer makes the case that midwives and their clients engage in various forms of mobilization—at times simultaneous, and at times inconsistent—to facilitate access to care, autonomy in childbirth, and the articulation of women's authority in reproduction. This book brings together literatures not frequently in conversation with one another, on regulation, mobilization, health policy, and gender, offering a multifaceted view of the experiences and politics of American midwifery, and promising rich insights to a wide array of scholars, activists, healthcare professionals alike.
--Marshal Zeringue