Saturday, December 31, 2022

"Pacific Power Paradox"

New from Yale University Press: Pacific Power Paradox: American Statecraft and the Fate of the Asian Peace by Van Jackson.

About the book, from the publisher:
A new history of America's paradoxical role in the Asian peace since 1979

After more than a century of recurring conflict, the countries of the Asia-Pacific region have managed something remarkable: avoiding war among nations. Since 1979, Asia has endured threats, near-miss crises, and nuclear proliferation but no interstate war. How fragile is this "Asian peace," and what is America's role in it? Van Jackson argues that because Washington takes for granted that the United States is a force for good, successive presidencies have failed to see how their statecraft impedes more durable forms of security and inadvertently embrittles peace. At times, the United States has been the region's bulwark against instability, but America has been a threat to Asian peace as much as it has been its guarantor. By grappling with how America fits into the Asian story, Van Jackson shows how regional stability has diminished because of U.S. choices, and why America's margin for geopolitical error is less now than ever before.
Visit Van Jackson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 30, 2022

"Beyond the Lines"

New from Cornell University Press: Beyond the Lines: Social Networks and Palestinian Militant Organizations in Wartime Lebanon by Sarah E. Parkinson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Beyond the Lines explores the social underpinnings of rebel adaptation and resilience. How do rebel groups cope with crises such as repression, displacement, and fragmentation? What explains changes in militant organizations' structures and behaviors over time?

Drawing on nearly two years of ethnographic research, Sarah E. Parkinson traces shifts in Palestinian militant groups' internal structures and practices during the civil war of 1975 to 1990 and foreign occupations of Lebanon. She shows that most militants approach asymmetrical warfare as a series of challenges centered around information and logistics, characterized by problems such as supplying constantly mobile forces, identifying collaborators, disrupting rival belligerents' operations, and providing essential services like healthcare. Effective negotiation of these challenges contributes to militant organizations' resilience and survival. In this context, the foundation of rebel resilience lies with militants' ability to repurpose their everyday social networks to organizational ends.

In the Lebanese setting, Beyond the Lines demonstrates how regionalized differences in Israeli, Syrian, and Lebanese deployment of violence triggered distinct social network responses that led to divergent organizational outcomes for Palestinian militants.
Visit Sarah E. Parkinson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 29, 2022

"The Myth of Left and Right"

New from Oxford University Press: The Myth of Left and Right: How the Political Spectrum Misleads and Harms America by Verlan Lewis and Hyrum Lewis.

About the book, from the publisher:
A groundbreaking argument that the political spectrum today is inadequate to twenty-first century America and a major source of the confusion and hostility that characterize contemporary political discourse.

As American politics descends into a battle of anger and hostility between two groups called "left" and "right," people increasingly ask: What is the essential difference between these two ideological groups? In The Myth of Left and Right, Hyrum Lewis and Verlan Lewis provide the surprising answer: nothing. As the authors argue, there is no enduring philosophy, disposition, or essence uniting the various positions associated with the liberal and conservative ideologies of today. Far from being an eternal dividing line of American politics, the political spectrum came to the United States in the 1920s and, since then, left and right have evolved in so many unpredictable and even contradictory ways that there is currently nothing other than tribal loyalty holding together the many disparate positions that fly under the banners of "liberal" and "conservative." Powerfully argued and cutting against the grain of most scholarship on polarization in America, this book shows why the idea that the political spectrum measures deeply held worldviews is the central political myth of our time and a major cause of the confusion and vitriol that characterize public discourse.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

"The Right Kind of Suffering"

New from the University of Texas Press: The Right Kind of Suffering: Gender, Sexuality, and Arab Asylum Seekers in America by Rhoda Kanaaneh.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the overloaded courts with their constantly changing dates and appointments to the need to prove oneself the “right" kind of victim, the asylum system in the United States is an exacting and drawn-out immigration process that itself results in suffering. When anthropologist Rhoda Kanaaneh became a volunteer interpreter for Arab asylum seekers, she learned how applicants were pushed to craft specific narratives to satisfy the system's requirements.

Kanaaneh tells the stories of four Arab asylum seekers who sought protection in the United States on the basis of their gender or sexuality: Saud, who relived painful memories of her circumcision and police harassment in Sudan and then learned to number and sequence these recollections; Fatima, who visited doctors and therapists in order to document years of spousal abuse without over-emphasizing her resulting mental illness; Fadi, who highlighted the homophobic motivations that provoked his arrest and torture in Jordan, all the while sidelining connected issues of class and racism; and Marwa, who showcased her private hardships as a lesbian in a Shiite family in Lebanon and downplayed her environmental activism. The Right Kind of Suffering is a compelling portrait of Arab asylum seekers whose success stories stand in contrast with those whom the system failed.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

"A People's History of SFO"

New from the University of California Press: A People's History of SFO: The Making of the Bay Area and an Airport by Eric Porter.

About the book, from the publisher:
An illuminating profile of the San Francisco Bay Area, and its regional and global influence, as seen from the focal point of San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

A People's History of SFO uses the history of San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to tell a multifaceted story of development, encounter, and power in the surrounding region from the eighteenth century to the present. In lively, engaging stories, Eric Porter reveals SFO's unique role in the San Francisco Bay Area's growth as a globally connected hub of commerce, technology innovation, and political, economic, and social influence.

Starting with the very land SFO was built on, A People's History of SFO sees the airport as a microcosm of the forces at work in the Bay Area—from its colonial history and early role in trade, mining, and agriculture to the economic growth, social sanctuary, and environmental transformations of the twentieth century. In ways both material and symbolic, small human acts have overlapped with evolving systems of power to create this bustling metropolis. A People's History of SFO ends by addressing the climate crisis, as sea levels rise and threaten SFO itself on the edge of San Francisco Bay.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 26, 2022

"Adrift on an Inland Sea"

New from Stanford University Press: Adrift on an Inland Sea: Misinformation and the Limits of Empire in the Brazilian Backlands by Hal Langfur.

About the book, from the publisher:
From 1750 until Brazil won its independence in 1822, the Portuguese crown sought to extend imperial control over the colony's immense, sea-like interior and exploit its gold and diamond deposits using enslaved labor. Carrying orders from Lisbon into the Brazilian backlands, elite vassals, soldiers, and scientific experts charged with exploring multiple frontier zones and establishing royal authority conducted themselves in ways that proved difficult for the crown to regulate. The overland expeditions they mounted in turn encountered actors operating beyond the state's purview: seminomadic Native peoples, runaway slaves, itinerant poor, and those deemed criminals, who eluded, defied, and reshaped imperial ambitions.

This book measures Portugal's transatlantic projection of power against a particular obstacle: imperial information-gathering, which produced a confusion of rumors, distortions, claims, conflicting reports, and disputed facts. Drawing on interdisciplinary scholarship in the fields of ethnohistory, slavery and diaspora studies, and legal and literary history, Hal Langfur considers how misinformation destabilized European sovereignty in the Americas, making a major contribution to histories of empire, frontiers and borderlands, knowledge production, and scientific exploration in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 25, 2022

"The Death Penalty's Denial of Fundamental Human Rights"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Death Penalty's Denial of Fundamental Human Rights: International Law, State Practice, and the Emerging Abolitionist Norm by John Bessler.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Death Penalty's Denial of Fundamental Human Rights details how capital punishment violates universal human rights-to life; to be free from torture and other forms of cruelty; to be treated in a non-arbitrary, non-discriminatory manner; and to dignity. In tracing the evolution of the world's understanding of torture, which now absolutely prohibits physical and psychological torture, the book argues that an immutable characteristic of capital punishment-already outlawed in many countries and American states-is that it makes use of death threats. Mock executions and other credible death threats, in fact, have long been treated as torturous acts. When crime victims are threatened with death and are helpless to prevent their deaths, for example, courts routinely find such threats inflict psychological torture. With simulated executions and non-lethal corporal punishments already prohibited as torturous acts, death sentences and real executions, the book contends, must be classified as torturous acts, too.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 24, 2022

"The First British Trade Expedition to China"

New from Hong Kong University Press: The First British Trade Expedition to China: Captain Weddell and the Courteen Fleet in Asia and Late Ming Canton by Nicholas D. Jackson.

About the book, from the publisher:
A groundbreaking study of early modern British enterprise in south China.

In The First British Trade Expedition to China, Nicholas D. Jackson explores the pioneering British trade expedition to China launched in the late Ming period by Charles I and the Courteen Association. Utilizing the vivid perspective of its commander Captain John Weddell, this study concentrates on the fleet’s adventures in south China between Portuguese Macao and the provincial capital, Guangzhou. Tracing the obscure origins of Sino-British diplomatic and commercial relations back to the late Ming era, Jackson examines the first episodes of Sino-British interaction, exchange, and collision in the seventeenth century. His analysis constitutes a groundbreaking study of early modern British initiatives and enterprises in the coastal areas of south China.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 23, 2022

"The Age of Interconnection"

New from Oxford University Press: The Age of Interconnection: A Global History of the Second Half of the Twentieth Century by Jonathan Sperber.

About the book, from the publisher:
A panoramic view of global history from the end of World War Two to the dawn of the new millennium, and a portrait of an age of unprecedented transformation.

In this ambitious, groundbreaking, and sweeping work, Jonathan Sperber guides readers through six decades of global history, from the end of World War Two to the onset of the new millennium. As Sperber's immersive and propulsive book reveals, the defining quality of these decades involved the rising and unstoppable flow of people, goods, capital, and ideas across boundaries, continents, and oceans, creating prosperity in some parts of the world, destitution in others, increasing a sense of collective responsibility while also reinforcing nationalism and xenophobia. It was an age of transformation in every realm of human existence: from relations with nature to relations between and among nations, superpowers to emerging states; from the forms of production to the foundations of religious faith. These changes took place on an unprecedentedly global scale. The world both developed and contracted. Most of all, it became interconnected.

To make sense of it, Sperber illuminates the central trends and crucial developments across a wide variety of topics, adopting a chronology that divides the era into three distinct periods: the postwar, from 1945 through 1966, which retained many elements of period of world wars; the upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s, when the pillars of the postwar world were undermined; and the two decades at the end of the millennium, when new structures were developed, structures that form the basis of today's world, even as the iconic World Trade Center was reduced by terrorism to rubble. The Age of Interconnection is a clear-eyed portrait of an age of blinding change.
The Page 99 Test: Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life.

My Book, The Movie: Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 22, 2022

"One China, Many Taiwans"

Coming soon from Cornell University Press: One China, Many Taiwans: The Geopolitics of Cross-Strait Tourism by Ian Rowen.

About the book, from the publisher:
One China, Many Taiwans shows how tourism performs and transforms territory. In 2008, as the People's Republic of China pointed over a thousand missiles across the Taiwan Strait, it sent millions of tourists in the same direction with the encouragement of Taiwan's politicians and businesspeople. Contrary to the PRC's efforts to use tourism to incorporate Taiwan into an imaginary "One China," tourism aggravated tensions between the two polities, polarized Taiwanese society, and pushed Taiwanese popular sentiment farther toward support for national self-determination.

Consequently, Taiwan was performed as a part of China for Chinese group tourists versus experienced as a place of everyday life. Taiwan's national identity grew increasingly plural, such that not just one or two, but many Taiwans coexisted, even as it faced an existential military threat. Ian Rowen's treatment of tourism as a political technology provides a new lens for social scientists and area specialists to examine the impacts of Chinese tourism, which is increasing in importance not only in the region but worldwide.
Visit Ian Rowen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

"Fragile Victory"

New from Yale University Press: Fragile Victory: The Making and Unmaking of Liberal Order by James E. Cronin.

About the book, from the publisher:
How the history of liberal order and democratic politics since the 1930s explains ongoing threats to democracy and international order

The liberal democratic order that seemed so stable in North America and Western Europe has become precarious. James E. Cronin argues that liberalism has never been secure and that since the 1930s the international order has had to be crafted, redeployed, and extended in response to both victories and setbacks.

Beginning with the German and Japanese efforts in the 1930s to establish a system based on empire, race, economic protectionism, and militant nationalism, Cronin shows how the postwar system, established out of a revulsion at the ideas of fascism, repeatedly reinvented itself in the face of the Cold War, anticolonial insurgencies, the economic and political crises of the 1970s, the collapse of communism, the rise of globalization, and the financial crisis of 2008. Cronin emphasizes the links between internal and external politics in sustaining liberal order internationally and the domestic origins and correlates of present difficulties. Fragile Victory provides the context necessary to understand such diverse challenges as the triumph of Brexit, the election of Trump, the rise of populism, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

"Migrants and Machine Politics"

New from Princeton University Press: Migrants and Machine Politics: How India's Urban Poor Seek Representation and Responsiveness by Adam Michael Auerbach and Tariq Thachil.

About the book, from the publisher:
As the Global South rapidly urbanizes, millions of people have migrated from the countryside to urban slums, which now house one billion people worldwide. The transformative potential of urbanization hinges on whether and how poor migrants are integrated into city politics. Popular and scholarly accounts paint migrant slums as exhausted by dispossession, subdued by local dons, bought off by wily politicians, or polarized by ethnic appeals. Migrants and Machine Politics shows how slum residents in India routinely defy such portrayals, actively constructing and wielding political machine networks to demand important, albeit imperfect, representation and responsiveness within the country’s expanding cities.

Drawing on years of pioneering fieldwork in India’s slums, including ethnographic observation, interviews, surveys, and experiments, Adam Michael Auerbach and Tariq Thachil reveal how migrants harness forces of political competition—as residents, voters, community leaders, and party workers—to sow unexpected seeds of accountability within city politics. This multifaceted agency provokes new questions about how political networks form during urbanization. In answering these questions, this book overturns longstanding assumptions about how political machines exploit the urban poor to stifle competition, foster ethnic favoritism, and entrench vote buying.

By documenting how poor migrants actively shape urban politics in counterintuitive ways, Migrants and Machine Politics sheds new light on the political consequences of urbanization across India and the Global South.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 19, 2022

"Fathers in a Motherland"

New from Oxford University Press: Fathers in a Motherland: Imagining Fatherhood in Colonial India by Swapna M. Banerjee.

About the book, from the publisher:
This monograph breaks new ground by weaving stories of fathers and children into the history of gender, family and nation in colonial India. Focusing on the reformist Bengali Hindu and Brahmo communities, the author contends that fatherhood assumed new meaning and significance in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century India. During this time of social and political change, fathers extended their roles beyond breadwinning to take an active part in rearing their children. Utilizing pedagogic literature, articles in scientific journals, autobiographies, correspondence, and published essays, Fathers in a Motherland documents the different ways the authority and power of the father was invoked and constituted both metaphorically and in everyday experiences. Exploring specific moments when educated men--as biological fathers, literary activists, and educators--assumed guardianship and became crucial agents of change, Banerjee interrogates the connections between fatherhood and masculinity. The last chapter of the book moves beyond Bengal and draws on the lives of Mohandas K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru to provide a broader salience to its argument. Reclaiming two missing links in Indian history-fathers and children-the book argues that biological and imaginary "fathers" assumed the moral guardianship of an incipient nation and rested their hopes and dreams on the future generation.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 18, 2022

"Oceans under Glass"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Oceans under Glass: Tank Craft and the Sciences of the Sea by Samantha Muka.

About the book, from the publisher:
A welcome dive into the world of aquarium craft that offers much-needed knowledge about undersea environments.

Atlantic coral is rapidly disappearing in the wild. To save the species, they will have to be reproduced quickly in captivity, and so for the last decade conservationists have been at work trying to preserve their lingering numbers and figure out how to rebuild once-thriving coral reefs from a few survivors. Captive environments, built in dedicated aquariums, offer some hope for these corals. This book examines these specialized tanks, charting the development of tank craft throughout the twentieth century to better understand how aquarium modeling has enhanced our knowledge of the marine environment.

Aquariums are essential to the way we understand the ocean. Used to investigate an array of scientific questions, from animal behavior to cancer research and climate change, they are a crucial factor in the fight to mitigate the climate disaster already threatening our seas. To understand the historical development of this scientific tool and the groups that have contributed to our knowledge about the ocean, Samantha Muka takes up specialty systems—including photographic aquariums, kriesel tanks (for jellyfish), and hatching systems—to examine the creation of ocean simulations and their effect on our interactions with underwater life. Lively and engaging, Oceans under Glass offers a fresh history about how the aquarium has been used in modern marine biology and how integral it is to knowing the marine world.
Follow Samantha Muka on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 17, 2022

"A World Without Hunger"

New from Liverpool University Press: A World Without Hunger: Josué de Castro and the History of Geography by Archie Davies.

About the book, from the publisher:
An Open Access edition of this book is available on the Liverpool University Press website and the OAPEN library as part of the Opening the Future project with COPIM.

Drawing on the rich personal archive of the geographer Josué de Castro, this book tells a new history of geography by following one of the twentieth century’s most influential and creative Brazilian intellectuals from the estuarine city of Recife to the halls of the UN, the chambers of Brasília, and exile amid the political fervour of the universities of Paris in 1968.

This is the first English language book on the absorbing life of Josué de Castro. It follows modern anticolonial geographical thought in formation, re-reading Castro’s metabolic, humanist geography as the anchor of a utopian practice of freedom: the demand for a world without hunger.

Starting from Castro’s life and work, the book offers new takes on the history of nutrition, translation in geography, Brazilian modernist art and practice in post-war internationalism, the radical geographical intellectual, the problem of the region in the Brazilian Northeast, and the birth of political ecology and critical environmental thought. At once a biographical intellectual history and a work of geographical theory, this innovative book tells the story of 20th century geography from a new angle and in new company.
Follow Archie Davies on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 16, 2022

"Anglo-India and the End of Empire"

New from Oxford University Press: Anglo-India and the End of Empire by Uther Charlton-Stevens.

About the book, from the publisher:
The standard image of the Raj is of an aloof, pampered and prejudiced British elite lording it over an oppressed and hostile Indian subject population. Like most caricatures, this obscures as much truth as it reveals. The British had not always been so aloof. The earlier, more cosmopolitan period of East India Company rule saw abundant 'interracial' sex and occasional marriage, alongside greater cultural openness and exchange. The result was a large and growing 'mixed-race' community, known by the early twentieth century as Anglo-Indians.

Notwithstanding its faults, Empire could never have been maintained without the active, sometimes enthusiastic, support of many colonial subjects. These included Indian elites, professionals, civil servants, businesspeople and minority groups of all kinds, who flourished under the patronage of the imperial state, and could be used in a 'divide and rule' strategy to prolong colonial rule. Independence was profoundly unsettling to those destined to become minorities in the new nation, and the Anglo-Indians were no exception.

This refreshing account looks at the dramatic end of British rule in India through Anglo-Indian eyes, a perspective that is neither colonial apologia nor nationalist polemic. Its history resonates strikingly with the complex identity debates of the twenty-first century.
Follow Uther Charlton-Stevens on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 15, 2022


New from Cornell University Press: Smitten: Sex, Gender, and the Contest for Souls in the Second Great Awakening by Rodney Hessinger.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Smitten, Rodney Hessinger examines how the Second Great Awakening disrupted gender norms across a breadth of denominations. The displacement and internal migration of Americans created ripe conditions for religious competition in the North. Hessinger argues that during this time of religious ferment, religious seekers could, in turn, play the missionary or the convert. The dynamic of religious rivalry inexorably led toward sexual and gender disruption. Contending within an increasingly democratic religious marketplace, preachers had to court converts in order to flourish. They won followers through charismatic allure and making concessions to the desires of the people. Opening their own hearts to new religious impulses, some religious visionaries offered up radical dispensations—including new visions of how God wanted them to reorder sex and gender relations in society. A wide array of churches, including Methodists, Baptists, Mormons, Shakers, Catholics, and Perfectionists, joined the fray.

Religious contention and innovation ultimately produced backlash. Charges of seduction and gender trouble ignited fights within, among, and against churches. Religious opponents insisted that the newly converted were smitten with preachers, rather than choosing churches based on reason and scripture. Such criticisms coalesced into a broader pan-Protestant rejection of religious enthusiasm. Smitten reveals the sexual disruptions and subsequent domestication of religion during the Second Great Awakening.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

"God-Optional Religion in Twentieth-Century America"

New from Oxford University Press: God-Optional Religion in Twentieth-Century America: Quakers, Unitarians, Reconstructionist Jews, and the Crisis Over Theism by Isaac Barnes May.

About the book, from the publisher:
By the beginning of the twentieth century, it had become harder for many Americans to believe in God. Religious groups struggled to adapt to rapidly changing cultural and scientific developments that seemed to challenge the plausibility of traditional beliefs. In God-Optional Religion in Twentieth-Century America, Isaac Barnes May focuses on the stories of three groups-liberal Quakers, Unitarians, and the forerunners of what would become Reconstructionist Judaism-that attempted to preserve their faith in the modern world by redefining what it meant to be religious. Between the 1920s and the 1960s, these communities underwent the most massive theological change imaginable, allowing their members the choice of what kind of God they wanted to believe in, or the option to not believe in God at all.

These groups pioneered the idea that being religious and believing in God might be separate concepts, a notion that spread widely, moving from church pulpits to novels and magazine covers. Eventually, the Supreme Court enshrined the idea that "God" could mean many different things in American law. God-Optional Religion in Twentieth-Century America provides an intellectual history that helps make sense of why most contemporary Americans' answer to whether they believe in God is often far more complicated than a simple "yes" or "no."
Follow Isaac Barnes May on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

"Before Busing"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Before Busing: A History of Boston's Long Black Freedom Struggle by Zebulon Vance Miletsky.

About the book, from the publisher:
In many histories of Boston, African Americans have remained almost invisible. Partly as a result, when the 1972 crisis over school desegregation and busing erupted, many observers professed shock at the overt racism on display in the "cradle of liberty." Yet the city has long been divided over matters of race, and it was also home to a far older Black organizing tradition than many realize. A community of Black activists had fought segregated education since the origins of public schooling and racial inequality since the end of northern slavery.

Before Busing tells the story of the men and women who struggled and demonstrated to make school desegregation a reality in Boston. It reveals the legal efforts and battles over tactics that played out locally and influenced the national Black freedom struggle. And the book gives credit to the Black organizers, parents, and children who fought long and hard battles for justice that have been left out of the standard narratives of the civil rights movement. What emerges is a clear picture of the long and hard-fought campaigns to break the back of Jim Crow education in the North and make Boston into a better, more democratic city—a fight that continues to this day.
Follow Zebulon Miletsky on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 12, 2022

"On the Scale of the World"

New from the University of California Press: On the Scale of the World: The Formation of Black Anticolonial Thought by Musab Younis.

About the book, from the publisher:
This expansive history of Black political thought shows us the origins—and the echoes—of anticolonial liberation on a global scale.

On the Scale of the World examines the reverberations of anticolonial ideas that spread across the Atlantic between the two world wars. From the 1920s to the 1940s, Black intellectuals in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean established theories of colonialism and racism as structures that must be understood, and resisted, on a global scale. In this richly textured book, Musab Younis gathers the work of writers and poets, journalists and editors, historians and political theorists whose insights speak urgently to contemporary movements for liberation.

Bringing together literary and political texts from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, France, the United States, and elsewhere, Younis excavates a vibrant and understudied tradition of international political thought. From the British and French colonial occupations of West Africa to the struggles of African Americans, the hypocrisy of French promises of 'assimilation,' and the many-sided attacks on the sovereignties of Haiti, Liberia, and Ethiopia, On the Scale of the World shows how racialized imperialism provoked critical responses across the interwar Black Atlantic. By transcending the boundaries of any single imperial system, these counternarratives of global order enabled new ways of thinking about race, nation, and empire.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 11, 2022

"States and the Masters of Capital"

New from Columbia University Press: States and the Masters of Capital: Sovereign Lending, Old and New by Quentin Bruneau.

About the book, from the publisher:
Today, states’ ability to borrow private capital depends on stringent evaluations of their creditworthiness. While many presume that this has long been the case, Quentin Bruneau argues that it is a surprisingly recent phenomenon—the outcome of a pivotal shift in the social composition of financial markets.

Investigating the financiers involved in lending capital to sovereigns over the past two centuries, Bruneau identifies profound changes in their identities, goals, and forms of knowledge. He shows how an old world made up of merchant banking families pursuing both profit and status gradually gave way to a new one dominated by large companies, such as joint stock banks and credit rating agencies, exclusively pursuing profit. Lacking the web of personal ties to sovereigns across the world that their established rivals possessed, these financial institutions began relying on a different form of knowledge created to describe and compare states through quantifiable data: statistics. Over the course of this epochal shift, which only came to an end a few decades ago, financial markets thus reconceptualized states. Instead of a set of individuals to be known in person, they became numbers on a page. Raising new questions about the history of sovereign lending, this book illuminates the nature of the relationship between states and financial markets today—and suggests that it may be on the cusp of another major transformation.
Visit Quentin Bruneau's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 10, 2022

"The Index of Prohibited Books"

New from Reaktion Books: The Index of Prohibited Books: Four Centuries of Struggle over Word and Image for the Greater Glory of God by Robin Vose.

About the book, from the publisher:
The first comprehensive history of the Catholic Church’s notorious Index, with resonance for ongoing debates over banned books, censorship, and free speech.

For more than four hundred years, the Catholic Church’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum struck terror into the hearts of authors, publishers, and booksellers around the world, while arousing ridicule and contempt from many others, especially those in Protestant and non-Christian circles. Biased, inconsistent, and frequently absurd in its attempt to ban objectionable texts of every conceivable description—with sometimes fatal consequences—the Index also reflected the deep learning and careful consideration of many hundreds of intellectual contributors over the long span of its storied evolution. This book constitutes the first full study of the Index of Prohibited Books to be published in English. It examines the reasons behind the Church’s attempts to censor religious, scientific, and artistic works, and considers not only why this most sustained of campaigns failed, but what lessons can be learned for today’s debates over freedom of expression and cancel culture.
Follow Robin Vose on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 9, 2022

"In Praise of Ambivalence"

New from Oxford University Press: In Praise of Ambivalence by D. Justin Coates.

About the book, from the publisher:
Ambivalence is a form of inner volitional conflict that we experience as being irresolvable without significant cost. Because of this, very few of us relish feelings of ambivalence. Yet for many in the Western philosophical tradition, ambivalence is not simply an unappealing experience that's hard to manage. According to Unificationists--whose view finds its historical roots in Plato and Augustine and is ably defended by contemporary philosophers such as Harry Frankfurt and Christine Korsgaard--ambivalence is a failure of well-functioning agency. The reasons for this, we're told, are threefold. First, it precludes agents from resolving their wills in a way that is necessary for autonomy. Second, it precludes agents from fully affirming their live and, in particular, from fully affirming the choices they make. As a result, ambivalence robs them of an important source of meaning. Finally, ambivalence causes agents to act in self-defeating ways. In so doing, they act without integrity. Ambivalence is thus seen as a threat to a trio of important agential goods, and as a result, it imperils the best forms of human agency.

Against the Unificationists, D. Justin Coates argues that ambivalence does not preclude volitional resolution or normatively significant forms of affirmation. Nor does it guarantee self-defeat. Consequently, ambivalence as such is no threat to autonomy, meaning, or integrity. In assessing these arguments, ambivalence is also revealed to have an important role in securing the very goods that unificationists contend it undermines. The reason for this is that each of these goods requires the agent to be normatively competent. But normative competence itself, Coates argues, often leads agents to be ambivalent. The best forms of human agency are therefore shown to be not only compatible with ambivalence but as regularly requiring it. Ambivalence is thus not a volitional defect, but a crucial constituent of well-functioning agency.
Visit D. Justin Coates's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 8, 2022

"Mass Incarceration Nation"

New from Cambridge University Press: Mass Incarceration Nation: How the United States Became Addicted to Prisons and Jails and How It Can Recover by Jeffrey Bellin.

About the book, from the publisher:
The United States imprisons a higher proportion of its population than any other nation. Mass Incarceration Nation offers a novel, in-the-trenches perspective to explain the factors – historical, political, and institutional – that led to the current system of mass imprisonment. The book examines the causes and impacts of mass incarceration on both the political and criminal justice systems. With accessible language and straightforward statistical analysis, former prosecutor turned law professor Jeffrey Bellin provides a formula for reform to return to the low incarceration rates that characterized the United States prior to the 1970s.
Follow Jeffrey Bellin on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

"The Power of Organizations"

New from Princeton University Press: The Power of Organizations: A New Approach to Organizational Theory by Heather A. Haveman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Organizations are all around us: government agencies, multinational corporations, social-movement organizations, religious congregations, scientific bodies, sports teams, and more. Immensely powerful, they shape all social, economic, political, and cultural life, and are critical for the planning and coordination of every activity from manufacturing cardboard boxes to synthesizing new drugs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To understand our world, we must understand organizations. The Power of Organizations defines the features of organizations, examines how they operate, traces their rise over the course of a millennium, and explains how research on organizations has evolved from the mid-nineteenth century to today.

Heather Haveman shows how almost all contemporary research on organizations fits into three general perspectives: demographic, relational, and cultural. She offers constructive criticism of existing research, showing how it can be remade to be both more interesting and influential. She examines how we can use existing theories to understand the changes wrought by digital technologies, and she argues that organizational scholars can and should alter the impact that organizations have on society, particularly societal and global inequality, formal politics, and environmental degradation.

The Power of Organizations demonstrates the benefits and dangers of these ubiquitous foundations of modern society.
Visit Heather A. Haveman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

"Touchy Subject"

Coming soon from the University of Chicago Press: Touchy Subject: The History and Philosophy of Sex Education by Lauren Bialystok and Lisa M. F. Andersen.

About the book, from the publisher:
A case for sex education that puts it in historical and philosophical context.

In the United States, sex education is more than just an uncomfortable rite of passage: it's a political hobby horse that is increasingly out of touch with young people’s needs. In Touchy Subject, philosopher Lauren Bialystok and historian Lisa M. F. Andersen unpack debates over sex education, explaining why it’s worth fighting for, what points of consensus we can build upon, and what sort of sex education schools should pursue in the future.

Andersen surveys the history of school-based sex education in the United States, describing the key question driving reform in each era. In turn, Bialystok analyzes the controversies over sex education to make sense of the arguments and offer advice about how to make educational choices today. Together, Bialystok and Andersen argue for a novel framework, Democratic Humanistic Sexuality Education, which exceeds the current conception of “comprehensive sex education” while making room for contextual variation. More than giving an honest run-down of the birds and the bees, sex education should respond to the features of young people’s evolving worlds, especially the digital world, and the inequities that put some students at much higher risk of sexual harm than others. Throughout the book, the authors show how sex education has progressed and how the very concept of “progress” remains contestable.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 5, 2022

"The Pursuit of Dominance"

New from Oxford University Press: The Pursuit of Dominance: 2000 Years of Superpower Grand Strategy by Christopher J. Fettweis.

About the book, from the publisher:
A sweeping yet concise account of history's empires that managed to maintain dominance for long stretches.

What should the United States do with its power? What goals should it have, and how should it pursue them? Ultimately, what do Americans want their country to be? These are questions of grand strategy. The United States is the most powerful actor in the international system, but it is facing a set of challenges that might lead to its decline as this century unfolds.

In The Pursuit of Dominance, Christopher J. Fettweis examines the grand strategy of previous superpowers to see how they maintained, or failed to maintain, their status. Over the course of six cases, from Ancient Rome to the British Empire, he seeks guidance from the past for present US policymakers. Like the United States, the examples Fettweis uses were the world' strongest powers at particularly moments in time, and they were hoping to stay that way. Rather than focusing on those powers' rise or how they ruled, however, Fettweis looks at how they sought to maintain their power. From these cases, one paramount lesson becomes clear: Dominant powers usually survive even the most incompetent leaders. Fettweis is most interested in how these superpowers defined their interests, the grand strategies these regimes followed to maintain superiority over their rivals, and how the practice of that strategy worked.

A sweeping history of grand strategy, The Pursuit of Dominance looks at the past 2,000 years to highlight what--if anything--current US strategists can learn from the experience of earlier superpowers.
Follow Chris Fettweis on Twitter.

The Page 99 Test: Losing Hurts Twice as Bad.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 4, 2022

"The Fulton Fish Market"

New from Columbia University Press: The Fulton Fish Market: A History by Jonathan H. Rees.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Fulton Fish Market stands out as an iconic New York institution. At first a neighborhood retail market for many different kinds of food, it became the nation’s largest fish and seafood wholesaling center by the late nineteenth century. Waves of immigrants worked at the Fulton Fish Market and then introduced the rest of the city to their seafood traditions. In popular culture, the market—celebrated by Joseph Mitchell in The New Yorker—conjures up images of the bustling East River waterfront, late-night fishmongering, organized crime, and a vanished working-class New York.

This book is a lively and comprehensive history of the Fulton Fish Market, from its founding in 1822 through its move to the Bronx in 2005. Jonathan H. Rees explores the market’s workings and significance, tracing the transportation, retailing, and consumption of fish. He tells the stories of the people and institutions that depended on the Fulton Fish Market—including fishermen, retail stores, restaurants, and chefs—and shows how the market affected what customers in New York and around the country ate. Rees examines transformations in food provisioning systems through the lens of a vital distribution point, arguing that the market’s wholesale dealers were innovative businessmen who adapted to technological change in a dynamic industry. He also explains how changes in the urban landscape and economy affected the history of the market and the surrounding neighborhood.

Bringing together economic, technological, urban, culinary, and environmental history, this book demonstrates how the Fulton Fish Market shaped American cuisine, commerce, and culture.
Follow Jonathan Rees on Twitter.

The Page 99 Test: Refrigeration Nation.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 3, 2022

"Making Sense"

New from Stanford University Press: Making Sense: Markets from Stories in New Breast Cancer Therapeutics by Sophie Mützel.

About the book, from the publisher:
Breast cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers and a leading cause of death for women worldwide. With advances in molecular engineering in the 1980s, hopes began to rise that a non-toxic and non-invasive treatment for breast cancer could be developed. These hopes were stoked by the researchers, biotech companies, and analysts who worked to make sense of the uncertainties during product development. In Making Sense Sophie Mützel traces this emergence of "innovative breast cancer therapeutics" from the late 1980s up to 2010, through the lens of the narratives of the involved actors. Combining theories of economic and cultural sociology, Mützel shows how stories are integral for the emergence of new markets; stories of the future create a market of expectations prior to any existing products; stories also help to create categories on what such a new market and its products are about. Making Sense uses thousands of press statements, media reports, scientific reports, and financial and industry analyses, and combines qualitative and large-scale computational text analyses, to illustrate these mechanisms, presenting a fresh view of how life-prolonging innovations can be turned into market products.
Follow Sophie Mützel on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 2, 2022

"Mercy: Humanity in War"

New from Oxford University Press: Mercy: Humanity in War by Cathal J. Nolan.

About the book, from the publisher:
War presents the most degraded moral environment humanity creates. It is an arena where individuality is subsumed in collective violence and humanity is obscured as a faceless, merciless enemy pitted against its reflection in an elemental struggle for survival.

A barbaric logic has guided the conduct of war throughout history. Yet as Cathal Nolan reveals in this gripping, poignant, and powerful book, even as war can obliterate hope and decency at the grand level it simultaneously produces conditions that permit astonishing exceptions of mercy and shared dignity. Pulling the trigger is usually both the expedient thing and required by war's grim and remorseless calculus. Yet somehow the trigger is not always pulled. A different choice is made. Restraint triumphs. Humanity is rediscovered and honored in a flash of recognition.

This book gathers and explores acts of singular mercy, giving them form and substance—across wars, causes, and opposing uniforms. These acts demand our attention not only for the moral uplift they supply but because they challenge assumptions about humanity itself. Rising above ordinary courage, they may ultimately transcend our understanding, entering the realm of the ineffable. Nevertheless, as Nolan shows, acts of mercy in war are not the provenance of saints but of ordinary men and women who perform them at great personal risk. As much or more than the normal war hero stories, we must recognize the extraordinary courage of the merciful in war.

Mercy is an exceptional book about exceptions, challenging myths and heroic fabrications, refuting claims to exclusive moral virtue. It reminds us that decency in warfare is also universal, offering a haunting and compellingly humane counternarrative to war's usual inhumane logic.
The Page 99 Test: The Allure of Battle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 1, 2022

"A Cultural History of the British Empire"

New from Yale University Press: A Cultural History of the British Empire by John MacKenzie.

About the book, from the publisher:
A compelling history of British imperial culture, showing how it was adopted and subverted by colonial subjects around the world

As the British Empire expanded across the globe, it exported more than troops and goods. In every colony, imperial delegates dispersed British cultural forms. Facilitated by the rapid growth of print, photography, film, and radio, imperialists imagined this new global culture would cement the unity of the empire. But this remarkably wide-ranging spread of ideas had unintended and surprising results.

In this groundbreaking history, John M. MacKenzie examines the importance of culture in British imperialism. MacKenzie describes how colonized peoples were quick to observe British culture—and adapted elements to their own ends, subverting British expectations and eventually beating them at their own game. As indigenous communities integrated their own cultures with the British imports, the empire itself was increasingly undermined.

From the extraordinary spread of cricket and horse racing to statues and ceremonies, MacKenzie presents an engaging imperial history—one with profound implications for global culture in the present day.
Visit John M. MacKenzie's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

"Data Driven"

New from Princeton University Press: Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance by Karen Levy.

About the book, from the publisher:
Long-haul truckers are the backbone of the American economy, transporting goods under grueling conditions and immense economic pressure. Truckers have long valued the day-to-day independence of their work, sharing a strong occupational identity rooted in a tradition of autonomy. Yet these workers increasingly find themselves under many watchful eyes. Data Driven examines how digital surveillance is upending life and work on the open road, and raises crucial questions about the role of data collection in broader systems of social control.

Karen Levy takes readers inside a world few ever see, painting a bracing portrait of one of the last great American frontiers. Federal regulations now require truckers to buy and install digital monitors that capture data about their locations and behaviors. Intended to address the pervasive problem of trucker fatigue by regulating the number of hours driven each day, these devices support additional surveillance by trucking firms and other companies. Traveling from industry trade shows to law offices and truck-stop bars, Levy reveals how these invasive technologies are reconfiguring industry relationships and providing new tools for managerial and legal control—and how truckers are challenging and resisting them.

Data Driven contributes to an emerging conversation about how technology affects our work, institutions, and personal lives, and helps to guide our thinking about how to protect public interests and safeguard human dignity in the digital age.
Visit Karen Levy's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

"Order out of Chaos"

New from Cornell University Press: Order out of Chaos: Islam, Information, and the Rise and Fall of Social Orders in Iraq by David Siddhartha Patel.

About the book, from the publisher:
Order out of Chaos explains why Iraqis turned to the mosque after state collapse. In 2003, the US-led invasion of Iraq destroyed the Bathist state. Despite this the citizens of Basra established predictable routines of daily life and social order as the familiar and customary structures of state-imposed order collapsed. What enabled individuals in Basra to work together to produce order amid anarchy? The answer: the Friday mosque.

A week after the regime fell, Shii imams introduced Friday congregational prayers and associated sermons for the first time in most places since the 1950s. These sermons facilitated the spread of common knowledge and coordination, both locally and nationally, and contributed to the emergence of a relatively cohesive imagined community of Iraqi Shia that came to dominate Iraq's political order.

Combining rational choice approaches, ethnographic understanding, and GIS analysis, David Siddhartha Patel reveals the interconnectedness of the enduring problem of how societies create social order in a stateless environment, the origins and limits of political authority and leadership, and the social and political salience of collective identity.
Visit David Siddhartha Patel's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 28, 2022

"Under the Gun"

New from Cambridge University Press: Under the Gun: Political Parties and Violence in Pakistan by Niloufer A. Siddiqui.

About the book, from the publisher:
Political parties are integral to democracy and yet they frequently engage in anti-democratic, violent behaviour. Parties can employ violence directly, outsource violence to gangs and militias, or form electoral alliances with non-state armed actors. When do parties engage in, or facilitate, violence? What determines the strategies of violence that they employ? Drawing on data from Pakistan, Under the Gun argues that party violence is not a simple manifestation of weak state capacity but instead the intentional product of political incentives, further complicating the process of democratization. Using a rigorous multi-method approach based on over a hundred interviews and numerous surveys, the book demonstrates that a party's violence strategy depends on the incentives it faces in the subnational political landscape in which it operates, the cost it incurs from its voters for violent acts, and its organizational capacity for violence.
Visit Niloufer A. Siddiqui's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 27, 2022

"The Culture Transplant"

New from Stanford University Press: The Culture Transplant: How Migrants Make the Economies They Move To a Lot Like the Ones They Left by Garett Jones.

About the book, from the publisher:
A provocative new analysis of immigration's long-term effects on a nation's economy and culture.

Over the last two decades, as economists began using big datasets and modern computing power to reveal the sources of national prosperity, their statistical results kept pointing toward the power of culture to drive the wealth of nations. In The Culture Transplant, Garett Jones documents the cultural foundations of cross-country income differences, showing that immigrants import cultural attitudes from their homelands—toward saving, toward trust, and toward the role of government—that persist for decades, and likely for centuries, in their new national homes. Full assimilation in a generation or two, Jones reports, is a myth. And the cultural traits migrants bring to their new homes have enduring effects upon a nation's economic potential.

Built upon mainstream, well-reviewed academic research that hasn't pierced the public consciousness, this book offers a compelling refutation of an unspoken consensus that a nation's economic and political institutions won't be changed by immigration. Jones refutes the common view that we can discuss migration policy without considering whether migration can, over a few generations, substantially transform the economic and political institutions of a nation. And since most of the world's technological innovations come from just a handful of nations, Jones concludes, the entire world has a stake in whether migration policy will help or hurt the quality of government and thus the quality of scientific breakthroughs in those rare innovation powerhouses.
Follow Garett Jones on Twitter.

The Page 99 Test: 10% Less Democracy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 26, 2022

"Violent Victors"

New from Princeton University Press: Violent Victors: Why Bloodstained Parties Win Postwar Elections by Sarah Zukerman Daly.

About the book, from the publisher:
One of the great puzzles of electoral politics is how parties that commit mass atrocities in war often win the support of victimized populations to establish the postwar political order. Violent Victors traces how parties derived from violent, wartime belligerents successfully campaign as the best providers of future societal peace, attracting votes not just from their core supporters but oftentimes also from the very people they targeted in war.

Drawing on more than two years of groundbreaking fieldwork, Sarah Daly combines case studies of victim voters in Latin America with experimental survey evidence and new data on postwar elections around the world. She argues that, contrary to oft-cited fears, postconflict elections do not necessarily give rise to renewed instability or political violence. Daly demonstrates how war-scarred citizens reward belligerent parties for promising peace and security instead of blaming them for war. Yet, in so casting their ballots, voters sacrifice justice, liberal democracy, and social welfare.

Proposing actionable interventions that can help to moderate these trade-offs, Violent Victors links war outcomes with democratic outcomes to shed essential new light on political life after war and offers global perspectives on important questions about electoral behavior in the wake of mass violence.
Follow Sarah Zukerman Daly on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 25, 2022

"Perpetrator Disgust"

New from Oxford University Press: Perpetrator Disgust: The Moral Limits of Gut Feelings by Ditte Marie Munch-Jurisic.

About the book, from the publisher:
What is the significance of our gut feelings? In this volume, Munch-Jurisic considers this question through the phenomenon of perpetrator disgust. Across time and cultures, individuals who have committed atrocities have been known to exhibit severe emotional and physical distress during the act of violence or upon recalling it, with symptoms as severe as vomiting and convulsions. Munch-Jurisic explores whether such responses reflect a moral judgment on the part of the perpetrator and asks what conclusions we can draw about the relationship of our gut feelings to human nature, cognition, and moral frameworks.

Drawing on a broad range of historical examples of perpetrator disgust and the latest philosophical and scientific research on emotions, Munch-Jurisic argues that gut feelings do not carry a straightforward and transparent intentionality in themselves, nor do they motivate any core, specific response. Instead, she suggests, they are templates that can embody a broad range of values and morals. With this core insight, she proposes a contextual understanding of emotions, by which an agent's environment shapes their available hermeneutic equipment (such as concepts, categories, and names) that an agent relies on to understand their emotions and navigate the world.

Grounded in empirical evidence and historical context, Perpetrator Disgust explores intriguing new avenues of inquiry in moral psychology and promises to be of interest to any student or scholar of philosophy, psychology, or sociology whose research considers violence, ethics, or emotions.
Follow Ditte Marie Munch-Jurisic on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 24, 2022

"Unsettling the University"

New from Johns Hopkins University Press: Unsettling the University: Confronting the Colonial Foundations of US Higher Education by Sharon Stein.

About the book, from the publisher:
Shifts the narrative around the history of US higher education to examine its colonial past.

Over the past several decades, higher education in the United States has been shaped by marketization and privatization. Efforts to critique these developments often rely on a contrast between a bleak present and a romanticized past. In Unsettling the University, Sharon Stein offers a different entry point—one informed by decolonial theories and practices—for addressing these issues.

Stein describes the colonial violence underlying three of the most celebrated moments in US higher education history: the founding of the original colonial colleges, the creation of land-grant colleges and universities, and the post–World War II "Golden Age." Reconsidering these historical moments through a decolonial lens, Stein reveals how the central promises of higher education—the promises of continuous progress, a benevolent public good, and social mobility—are fundamentally based on racialized exploitation, expropriation, and ecological destruction.

Unsettling the University invites readers to confront universities' historical and ongoing complicity in colonial violence; to reckon with how the past has shaped contemporary challenges at institutions of higher education; and to accept responsibility for redressing harm and repairing relationships in order to reimagine a future for higher education rooted in social and ecological accountability.
--Marshal Zeringue