Tuesday, May 31, 2022

"Feeding Washington's Army"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Feeding Washington's Army: Surviving the Valley Forge Winter of 1778 by Ricardo A. Herrera.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this major new history of the Continental Army's Grand Forage of 1778, award-winning military historian Ricardo A. Herrera uncovers what daily life was like for soldiers during the darkest and coldest days of the American Revolution: the Valley Forge winter. Here, the army launched its largest and riskiest operation—not a bloody battle against British forces but a campaign to feed itself and prevent starvation or dispersal during the long encampment. Herrera brings to light the army's herculean efforts to feed itself, support local and Continental governments, and challenge the British Army.

Highlighting the missteps and triumphs of both General George Washington and his officers as well as ordinary soldiers, sailors, and militiamen, Feeding Washington's Army moves far beyond oft-told, heroic, and mythical tales of Valley Forge and digs deeply into its daily reality, revealing how close the Continental Army came to succumbing to starvation and how strong and resourceful its soldiers and leaders actually were.
Follow Ricardo A. Herrera on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 30, 2022

"Afterlives of Data"

New from the University of California Press: Afterlives of Data: Life and Debt under Capitalist Surveillance by Mary F.E. Ebeling.

About the book, from the publisher:
What our health data tell American capitalism about our value—and how that controls our lives.

Afterlives of Data
follows the curious and multiple lives that our data live once they escape our control. Mary F. E. Ebeling's ethnographic investigation shows how information about our health and the debt that we carry becomes biopolitical assets owned by healthcare providers, insurers, commercial data brokers, credit reporting companies, and platforms. By delving into the oceans of data built from everyday medical and debt traumas, Ebeling reveals how data about our lives come to affect our bodies and our life chances and to wholly define us.

Investigations into secretive data collection and breaches of privacy by the likes of Cambridge Analytica have piqued concerns among many Americans about exactly what is being done with their data. From credit bureaus and consumer data brokers like Equifax and Experian to the secretive military contractor Palantir, this massive industry has little regulatory oversight for health data and works to actively obscure how it profits from our data. In this book, Ebeling traces the health data—medical information extracted from patients' bodies—that are digitized and repackaged into new data commodities that have afterlives in database lakes and oceans, algorithms, and statistical models used to score patients on their creditworthiness and riskiness. Critical and disturbing, Afterlives of Data examines how Americans' data about their health and their debt are used in the service of marketing and capitalist surveillance.
Visit Mary Ebeling's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 29, 2022

"Azusa Reimagined"

New from Stanford University Press: Azusa Reimagined: A Radical Vision of Religious and Democratic Belonging by Keri Day.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Azusa Reimagined, Keri Day explores how the Azusa Street Revival of 1906, out of which U.S. Pentecostalism emerged, directly critiqued America's distorted capitalist values and practices at the start of the twentieth century. Employing historical research, theological analysis, and critical theory, Day demonstrates that Azusa's religious rituals and traditions rejected the racial norms and profit-driven practices that many white Christian communities gladly embraced.

Through its sermons and social practices, the Azusa community critiqued racialized conceptions of citizenship that guided early capitalist endeavors such as world fairs and expositions. Azusa also envisioned deeper democratic practices of human belonging and care than the white nationalist loyalties early U.S. capitalism encouraged. In this lucid work, Day makes Azusa's challenge to this warped economic ecology visible, showing how Azusa not only offered a radical critique of racial capitalism but also offers a way for contemporary religious communities to cultivate democratic practices of belonging against the backdrop of late capitalism's deep racial divisions and material inequalities.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 28, 2022

"The Insurgent's Dilemma"

New from Oxford University Press: The Insurgent's Dilemma: A Struggle to Prevail by David H. Ucko.

About the book, from the publisher:
Despite attracting headlines and hype, insurgents rarely win. Even when they claim territory and threaten governmental writ, they typically face a military backlash too powerful to withstand. States struggle with addressing the political roots of such movements, and their military efforts mostly just "mow the grass," yet, for the insurgent, the grass is nonetheless mowed-and the armed project must start over. This is the insurgent's dilemma: the difficulty of asserting oneself, of violently challenging authority, and of establishing sustainable power.

In the face of this dilemma, some insurgents are learning new ways to ply their trade. With subversion, spin and disinformation claiming centre stage, insurgency is being reinvented, to exploit the vulnerabilities of our times and gain new strategic salience for tomorrow. As the most promising approaches are refined and repurposed, what we think of as counterinsurgency will also need to change.

The Insurgent's Dilemma explores three particularly adaptive strategies and their implications for response. These emerging strategies target the state where it is weak and sap its power, sometimes without it noticing. There are options for response, but fresh thinking is urgently needed-about society, legitimacy and political violence itself.
Follow David Ucko on Twitter.

The Page 99 Test: Counterinsurgency in Crisis: Britain and the Challenges of Modern Warfare by David H. Ucko and Robert Egnell.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 27, 2022

"Isle of Devils, Isle of Saints"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Isle of Devils, Isle of Saints: An Atlantic History of Bermuda, 1609–1684 by Michael J. Jarvis.

About the book, from the publisher:
How can the small, isolated island of Bermuda help us to understand the early expansion of English America?

First discovered by Europeans in 1505, the island of Bermuda had no indigenous population and no permanent European presence until the early seventeenth century. Settled five years after Virginia and eight years before Plymouth, Bermuda is a foundational site of English colonization. Its history reveals strikingly different paths of potential colonial development as a place where slave-owning puritan tobacco planters raised large families, engaged overseas markets, built ships, created a Christian commonwealth, hanged witches, wrestled to define racial difference, and welcomed godly pirates raiding Spanish America.

In Isle of Devils, Isle of Saints, Michael J. Jarvis presents readers with a new narrative social and cultural history of Bermuda. Adopting a holistic, multidisciplinary approach that draws upon thirty years of research and archaeological fieldwork, Jarvis recounts Bermuda's turbulent, dynamic past from the Sea Venture's dramatic 1609 shipwreck through the 1684 dissolution of the Bermuda Company. He argues that the island was the first of England's colonies to produce a successful staple, form a stable community, turn a profit, transplant civic institutions, and harness bound African knowledge and labor. Bermuda was a tabula rasa that fired the imaginations of English thinkers aspiring to create an American utopia. It was also England's first puritan colony, founded as a covenanted Christian commonwealth in 1612 by self-consciously religious settlers who committed themselves to building a moral society.

By the 1670s, Bermuda had become England's most densely populated possession and was poised to become an intercolonial maritime hub after freeing itself from its antiquated parent company. The first scholarly monograph in eighty years on this important, neglected colony's first century, Isle of Devils, Isle of Saints is a worthy prequel to In the Eye of All Trade, Jarvis's masterful first book. Revealing the dynamic interplay of race, gender, slavery, and environment at the dawn of English America, Jarvis's work challenges us to rethink how Europeans and Africans became distinctly American within the crucible of colonization.
Visit Michael J. Jarvis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 26, 2022

"Imagining the World from Behind the Iron Curtain"

New from Oxford University Press: Imagining the World from Behind the Iron Curtain: Youth and the Global Sixties in Poland by Malgorzata Fidelis.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Global Sixties are well known as a period of non-conformist lifestyles, experimentation with consumer products and technology, counterculture, and leftist politics. While the period has been well studied in the West and increasingly researched for the Global South, young people in the "Second World" too were active participants in these movements. The Iron Curtain was hardly a barrier against outside influences, and young people from students and hippies to mainstream youth in miniskirts and blue jeans saw themselves as part of the global community of like-minded people as well as citizens of Eastern Bloc countries.

Drawing on Polish youth magazines, rural people's diaries, sex education manuals, and personal testimonies, Malgorzata Fidelis follows jazz lovers, university students, hippies, and young rural rebels. Fidelis colorfully narrates their everyday engagement with a dynamically changing world, from popular media and consumption to counterculture and protest movements. She delineates their anti-authoritarian solidarities and competing visions of transnationalism, with the West as well as the ruling communist regime. Even as youth demonstrations were violently suppressed, Fidelis shows, youth culture was not. By the early 1970s, the state incorporated elements of Sixties culture into their official vision of socialist modernity.

From the perspective of youth, Malgorzata Fidelis argues, the post-1989 transition in Poland from communism to liberal democracy, often dubbed as "the return to Europe," was less of a breakthrough and more of a continuation of trends in which they participated. Indeed, they had already created new modes of self-expression and cultural spaces in which ideas of alternative social and political organization became imaginable.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

"Sustaining Empire"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Sustaining Empire: Venezuela's Trade with the United States during the Age of Revolutions, 1797–1828 by Edward P. Pompeian.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why did trade with the United States prolong Spanish colonial rule during the Venezuelan independence struggles?

From 1790 to 1815, much of the Atlantic World was roiled by European imperial wars. While the citizens of the United States profited from the waste of blood and treasure, Spanish American colonists struggled to preserve their prosperity on an imperial periphery. Along the Caribbean coast of South America, colonial elites and officials fought to secure Venezuela from threats of foreign invasion, slave rebellion, and revolution. For these elites, trading with the United States and other neutral nations was not a way to subvert colonial rule but to safeguard the prosperity and happiness of loyal subjects of the Spanish Crown. Food insecurity, deprivation, and political uncertainty left Venezuela vulnerable to revolution, however.

In Sustaining Empire, Edward P. Pompeian lets readers see liberal free trade just as colonial Venezuelans did. From the vantage point of the slave-holding elite to which revolutionary figures like Simón Bolívar belonged, neutral commerce was a valuable and effectual way to conserve the colonial status quo. But after Spain's crisis of sovereignty in 1808, it proved an impediment to Venezuelan independence. Analyzing the diplomatic and economic linkages between the new US republic and revolutionary Latin American governments, Pompeian reminds us that the United States did not, and does not, exist in a vacuum, and that the historic relationships between nations mattered then and matters now.

Examining an overlooked region, Pompeian offers a novel interpretation of early United States relations with Latin America, showing how US merchants executed government contracts and established flour, tobacco, and slave trading monopolies that facilitated the maintenance of colonial rule and the Spanish Empire. Trading with the United States, Pompeian argues, kept both colony and empire under a tenuous hold despite revolutionary circumstances. A fascinating revisionist history, Sustaining Empire challenges long-standing assertions that this commerce served primarily as a vector for the one-way transmission of revolutionary, liberal ideas from the North to South Atlantic.
Visit Edward P. Pompeian's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 24, 2022


New from Stanford University Press: Supercorporate: Distinction and Participation in Post-Hierarchy South Korea by Michael Prentice.

About the book, from the publisher:
What should South Korean offices look like in a post-hierarchical world? In Supercorporate, anthropologist Michael M. Prentice examines a central tension in visions of big corporate life in South Korea's twenty-first century: should corporations be sites of fair distinction or equal participation?

As South Korea distances itself from images and figures of a hierarchical past, Prentice argues that the drive to redefine the meaning of corporate labor echoes a central ambiguity around corporate labor today. Even as corporations remain idealized sites of middle-class aspiration in South Korea, employees are torn over whether they want greater recognition for their work or meaningful forms of cooperation. Through an in-depth ethnography of the Sangdo Group conglomerate, the book examines how managers attempt to perfect corporate social life through new office programs while also minimizing the risks of creating new hierarchies. Ultimately, this book reveals how office life is a battleground for working out the promises and the perils of economic democratization in one of East Asia's most dynamic countries.
Follow Mike Prentice on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 23, 2022

"From the Holy Roman Empire to the Land of the Tsars"

New from Oxford University Press: From the Holy Roman Empire to the Land of the Tsars: One Family's Odyssey, 1768-1870 by Alexander M. Martin.

About the book, from the publisher:
In a manuscript in a Russian archive, an anonymous German eyewitness describes what he saw in Moscow during Napoleon's Russian campaign. Who was this nameless memoirist, and what brought him to Moscow in 1812? The search for answers to those questions uncovers a remarkable story of German and Russian life at the dawn of the modern age.

Johannes Ambrosius Rosenstrauch (1768-1835), the manuscript's author, was a man always on the move and reinventing himself. He spent half his life in the Holy Roman Empire, and the other half in Russia. He was a barber-surgeon, an actor, and a merchant, as well as a Catholic, a Freemason, and a Lutheran pastor. He saw the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, founded a business that flourished for sixty years, and took part in the Enlightenment, the consumer revolution, the Pietist Awakening, and Russia's colonization of the Black Sea steppe. A restless wanderer and seeker, but also the progenitor of an influential merchant family, he was a characteristic figure both of the Age of Revolution and of the bourgeois era that followed.

Presenting a broad panorama of life in the German lands and Russia from the Old Regime to modernity, this microhistory explores how individual people shape, and are shaped by, the historical forces of their time.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 22, 2022

"Powering American Farms"

New from the Johns Hopkins University Press: Powering American Farms: The Overlooked Origins of Rural Electrification by Richard F. Hirsh.

About the book, from the publisher:
The untold story of the power industry's efforts to electrify growing numbers of farms in the years before the creation of Depression-era government programs.

Even after decades of retelling, the story of rural electrification in the United States remains dramatic and affecting. As textbooks and popular histories inform us, farmers obtained electric service only because a compassionate federal government established the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The agencies' success in raising the standard of living for millions of Americans contrasted with the failure of the greedy big-city utility companies, which showed little interest in the apparently unprofitable nonurban market. Traditional accounts often describe the nation's population as split in two, separated by access to a magical form of energy: just past cities' limits, a bleak, preindustrial class of citizens endured, literally in near darkness at night and envious of their urban cousins, who enjoyed electrically operated lights, refrigerators, radios, and labor-saving appliances.

In Powering American Farms, Richard F. Hirsh challenges the notion that electric utilities neglected rural customers in the years before government intervention. Drawing on previously unexamined resources, Hirsh demonstrates that power firms quadrupled the number of farms obtaining electricity in the years between 1923 and 1933, for example. Though not all corporate managers thought much of the farm business, a cadre of rural electrification advocates established the knowledge base and social infrastructure upon which New Deal organizations later capitalized. The book also suggests that the conventional storyline of rural electrification remains popular because it contains a colorful hero, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and villainous utility magnates, such as Samuel Insull, who make for an engaging—but distorted—narrative.

Hirsh describes the evolution of power company managers' thinking in the 1920s and early 1930s—from believing that rural electrification made no economic sense to realizing that serving farmers could mitigate industry-wide problems. This transformation occurred as agricultural engineers in land-grant universities, supported by utilities, demonstrated productive electrical technologies that yielded healthy profits to farmers and companies alike. Gaining confidence in the value of rural electrification, private firms strung wires to more farms than did the REA until 1950, a fact conveniently omitted in conventional accounts. Powering American Farms will interest academic and lay readers of New Deal history, the history of technology, and revisionist historiography.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 21, 2022

"In the Shade of the Sunna"

New from the University of California Press: In the Shade of the Sunna: Salafi Piety in the Twentieth-Century Middle East by Aaron Rock-Singer.

About the book, from the publisher:
Salafis explicitly base their legitimacy on continuity with the Quran and the Sunna, and their distinctive practices—praying in shoes, wearing long beards and short pants, and observing gender segregation—are understood to have a similarly ancient pedigree. In this book, however, Aaron Rock-Singer draws from a range of media forms as well as traditional religious texts to demonstrate that Salafism is a creation of the twentieth century and that its signature practices emerged primarily out of Salafis’ competition with other social movements amid the intellectual and social upheavals of modernity. In the Shade of the Sunna thus takes readers beyond the surface claims of Salafism’s own proponents—and the academics who often repeat them—into the larger sociocultural and intellectual forces that have shaped Islam’s fastest growing revivalist movement.
Follow Aaron Rock-Singer on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 20, 2022


New from Stanford University Press: Sextarianism: Sovereignty, Secularism, and the State in Lebanon by Maya Mikdashi.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Lebanese state is structured through religious freedom and secular power sharing across sectarian groups. Every sect has specific laws that govern kinship matters like marriage or inheritance. Together with criminal and civil laws, these laws regulate and produce political difference. But whether women or men, Muslims or Christians, queer or straight, all people in Lebanon have one thing in common—they are biopolitical subjects forged through bureaucratic, ideological, and legal techniques of the state.

With this book, Maya Mikdashi offers a new way to understand state power, theorizing how sex, sexuality, and sect shape and are shaped by law, secularism, and sovereignty. Drawing on court archives, public records, and ethnography of the Court of Cassation, the highest civil court in Lebanon, Mikdashi shows how political difference is entangled with religious, secular, and sexual difference. She presents state power as inevitably contingent, like the practices of everyday life it engenders, focusing on the regulation of religious conversion, the curation of legal archives, state and parastatal violence, and secular activism. Sextarianism locates state power in the experiences, transitions, uprisings, and violence that people in the Middle East continue to live.
Follow Maya Mikdashi on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 19, 2022

"Distrust of Institutions in Early Modern Britain and America"

New from Oxford University Press: Distrust of Institutions in Early Modern Britain and America by Brian P. Levack.

About the book, from the publisher:
Distrust of public institutions, which reached critical proportions in Britain and the United States in the first two decades of the twenty-first century, was an important theme of public discourse in Britain and colonial America during the early modern period. Demonstrating broad chronological and thematic range, the historian Brian P. Levack explains that trust in public institutions is more tenuous and difficult to restore once it has been betrayed than trust in one's family, friends, and neighbors, because the vast majority of the populace do not personally know the officials who run large national institutions. Institutional distrust shaped the political, legal, economic, and religious history of England, Scotland, and the British colonies in America. It provided a theoretical and rhetorical foundation for the two English revolutions of the seventeenth century and the American Revolution in the late eighteenth century. It also inspired reforms of criminal procedure, changes in the system of public credit and finance, and challenges to the clergy who dominated the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, and the churches in the American colonies. This study reveals striking parallels between the loss of trust in British and American institutions in the early modern period and the present day.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 18, 2022


New from Stanford University Press: Crimesploitation: Crime, Punishment, and Pleasure on Reality Television by Paul Kaplan and Daniel LaChance.

About the book, from the publisher:
"Due to the graphic nature of this program, viewer discretion is advised." Most of us have encountered this warning while watching television at some point. It is typically attached to a brand of reality crime TV that Paul Kaplan and Daniel LaChance call "crimesploitation": spectacles designed to entertain mass audiences by exhibiting "real" criminal behavior and its consequences. This book examines their enduring popularity in American culture. Analyzing the structure and content of several popular crimesploitation shows, including Cops, Dog: The Bounty Hunter, and To Catch a Predator, as well as newer examples like Making a Murderer and Don't F**K with Cats, Kaplan and LaChance highlight the troubling nature of the genre: though it presents itself as ethical and righteous, its entertainment value hinges upon suffering. Viewers can imagine themselves as deviant and ungovernable like the criminals in the show, thereby escaping a law-abiding lifestyle. Alternatively, they can identify with law enforcement officials, exercising violence, control, and "justice" on criminal others. Crimesploitation offers a sobering look at the depictions of criminals, policing, and punishment in modern America.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

"Coalitions of the Weak"

New from Cambridge University Press: Coalitions of the Weak by Victor C. Shih.

About the book, from the publisher:
For the first time since Mao, a Chinese leader may serve a life-time tenure. Xi Jinping may well replicate Mao's successful strategy to maintain power. If so, what are the institutional and policy implications for China? Victor C. Shih investigates how leaders of one-party autocracies seek to dominate the elite and achieve true dictatorship, governing without fear of internal challenge or resistance to major policy changes. Through an in-depth look of late-Mao politics informed by thousands of historical documents and data analysis, Coalitions of the Weak uncovers Mao's strategy of replacing seasoned, densely networked senior officials with either politically tainted or inexperienced officials. The book further documents how a decentralized version of this strategy led to two generations of weak leadership in the Chinese Communist Party, creating the conditions for Xi's rapid consolidation of power after 2012.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 16, 2022

"The Currency of Politics"

New from Princeton University Press: The Currency of Politics: The Political Theory of Money from Aristotle to Keynes by Stefan Eich.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, critical attention has shifted from the economy to the most fundamental feature of all market economies—money. Yet despite the centrality of political struggles over money, it remains difficult to articulate its democratic possibilities and limits. The Currency of Politics takes readers from ancient Greece to today to provide an intellectual history of money, drawing on the insights of key political philosophers to show how money is not just a medium of exchange but also a central institution of political rule.

Money appears to be beyond the reach of democratic politics, but this appearance—like so much about money—is deceptive. Even when the politics of money is impossible to ignore, its proper democratic role can be difficult to discern. Stefan Eich examines six crucial episodes of monetary crisis, recovering the neglected political theories of money in the thought of such figures as Aristotle, John Locke, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes. He shows how these layers of crisis have come to define the way we look at money, and argues that informed public debate about money requires a better appreciation of the diverse political struggles over its meaning.

Recovering foundational ideas at the intersection of monetary rule and democratic politics, The Currency of Politics explains why only through greater awareness of the historical limits of monetary politics can we begin to articulate more democratic conceptions of money.
Visit Stefan Eich's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 15, 2022

"Geek Girls"

New from NYU Press: Geek Girls: Inequality and Opportunity in Silicon Valley by France Winddance Twine.

About the book, from the publisher:
An inside account of gender and racial discrimination in the high-tech industry

Why is being a computer “geek” still perceived to be a masculine occupation? Why do men continue to greatly outnumber women in the high-technology industry? Since 2014, a growing number of employment discrimination lawsuits has called attention to a persistent pattern of gender discrimination in the tech world. Much has been written about the industry’s failure to adequately address gender and racial inequalities, yet rarely have we gotten an intimate look inside these companies. In Geek Girls, France Winddance Twine provides the first book by a sociologist that “lifts the Silicon veil” to provide firsthand accounts of inequality and opportunity in the tech ecosystem. This work draws on close to a hundred interviews with male and female technology workers of diverse racial, ethnic, and educational backgrounds who are currently employed at tech firms such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, and at various start-ups in the San Francisco Bay area. Geek Girls captures what it is like to work as a technically skilled woman in Silicon Valley.

With a sharp eye for detail and compelling testimonials from industry insiders, Twine shows how the technology industry remains rigged against women, and especially Black, Latinx, and Native American women from working class backgrounds. From recruitment and hiring practices that give priority to those with family, friends, and classmates employed in the industry, to social and educational segregation, to academic prestige hierarchies, Twine reveals how women are blocked from entering this industry. Women who do not belong to the dominant ethnic groups in the industry are denied employment opportunities, and even actively pushed out, despite their technical skills and qualifications.

While the technology firms strongly embrace the rhetoric of diversity and oppose discrimination in the workplace, Twine argues that closed social networks and routine hiring practices described by employees reinforce the status quo and reproduce inequality. The myth of meritocracy and gender stereotypes operate in tandem to produce a culture where the use of race-, color-, and power-evasive language makes it difficult for individuals to name the micro-aggressions and forms of discrimination that they experience.

Twine offers concrete insights into how the technology industry can address ongoing racial and gender disparities, create more transparency and empower women from underrepresented groups, who continued to be denied opportunities.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 14, 2022

"The Riviera, Exposed"

New from Cornell University Press: The Riviera, Exposed: An Ecohistory of Postwar Tourism and North African Labor by Stephen L. Harp.

About the book, from the publisher:
A sweeping social and environmental history, The Riviera, Exposed illuminates the profound changes to the physical space that we know as the quintessential European tourist destination. Stephen L. Harp uncovers the behind-the-scenes impact of tourism following World War II, both on the environment and on the people living and working on the Riviera, particularly North African laborers, who not only did much of the literal rebuilding of the Riviera but also suffered in that process.

Outside of Paris, the Riviera has been the most visited region in France, depending almost exclusively on tourism as its economic lifeline. Until recently, we knew a great deal about the tourists but much less about the social and environmental impacts of their activities or about the life stories of the North African workers upon whom the Riviera's prosperity rests. The technologies embedded in roads, airports, hotels, water lines, sewers, beaches, and marinas all required human intervention—and travelers were encouraged to disregard this intervention. Harp's sharp analysis explores the impacts of massive construction and public works projects, revealing the invisible infrastructure of tourism, its environmental effects, and the immigrants who built the Riviera.

The Riviera, Exposed unearths a gritty history, one of human labor and ecological degradation that forms the true foundation of the glamorous Riviera of tourist mythology.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 13, 2022

"The Everyday Crusade"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Everyday Crusade: Christian Nationalism in American Politics by Eric L. McDaniel, Irfan Nooruddin, and Allyson F. Shortle.

About the book, from the publisher:
What is causing the American public to move more openly into alt-right terrain? What explains the uptick in anti-immigrant hysteria, isolationism, and an increasing willingness to support alternatives to democratic governance? The Everyday Crusade provides an answer. The book points to American Religious Exceptionalism (ARE), a widely held religious nationalist ideology steeped in myth about the nation's original purpose. The book opens with a comprehensive synthesis of research on nationalism and religion in American public opinion. Making use of survey data spanning three different presidential administrations, it then develops a new theory of why Americans form extremist attitudes, based on religious exceptionalism myths. The book closes with an examination of what's next for an American public that confronts new global issues, alongside existing challenges to perceived cultural authority. Timely and enlightening, The Everyday Crusade offers a critical touchstone for better understanding American national identity and the exclusionary ideologies that have plagued the nation since its inception.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 12, 2022

"Stars and Shadows"

Coming soon from Oxford University Press: Stars and Shadows: The Politics of Interracial Friendship from Jefferson to Obama by Saladin Ambar.

About the book, from the publisher:
The oppression of Blacks is America's original sin -- a sin that took root in 1619 and plagues the country to this day. Yet there have been instances of interracial bonding and friendship even in the worst of times. In Stars and Shadows -- a term taken from Huckleberry Finn -- Saladin Ambar analyzes two centuries of noteworthy interracial friendships that served as windows into the state of race relations in the US and, more often than not, as models for advancing the cause of racial equality.

Stars and Shadows is the first work in American political history to offer a comprehensive overview of how friendship has come to shape the possibilities for democratic politics in America. Covering ten cases -- from Benjamin Banneker and Thomas Jefferson's ill-fated effort to navigate the limits imposed on democracy by slavery and white supremacy, to the more hopeful stories of James Baldwin and Marlon Brando as well as Angela Davis and Gloria Steinem -- Ambar's study illuminates how friendship is critical to understanding the potential for multiracial democracy. Political leaders and cultural figures are frequently involved in translating private feelings, relationships, and ideas, into a public ideal. Friendships and their meaning are therefore a significant part of any effort to shape public or elite opinion.

The symbolism inherent in interracial friendship has always been readily apparent, down to the powerful example of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who were not only allied politicians, but most importantly, friends. Ambar weaves a set of interlocking stories that help create a working theory of multiracial democracy that demands more of us as citizens: a commitment to engage one another and to engage our past with even greater courage and trust. Such gestures are a vital part of the story of how race and America have been shaped. Stars and Shadows helps explain America's enduring difficulty in making friends of citizens across the color line -- and why the narrative of racial friendship matters.
Follow Saladin Ambar on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

"Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples"

New from Cornell University Press: Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples: Ethnic Mixing in Soviet Central Asia by Adrienne Edgar.

About the book, from the publisher:
Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples examines the racialization of identities and its impact on mixed couples and families in Soviet Central Asia. In marked contrast to its Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union celebrated mixed marriages among its diverse ethnic groups as a sign of the unbreakable friendship of peoples and the imminent emergence of a single "Soviet people." Yet the official Soviet view of ethnic nationality became increasingly primordial and even racialized in the USSR's final decades. In this context, Adrienne Edgar argues, mixed families and individuals found it impossible to transcend ethnicity, fully embrace their complex identities, and become simply "Soviet."

Looking back on their lives in the Soviet Union, ethnically mixed people often reported that the "official" nationality in their identity documents did not match their subjective feelings of identity, that they were unable to speak "their own" native language, and that their ambiguous physical appearance prevented them from claiming the nationality with which they most identified. In all these ways, mixed couples and families were acutely and painfully affected by the growth of ethnic primordialism and by the tensions between the national and supranational projects in the Soviet Union.

Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples is based on more than eighty in-depth oral history interviews with members of mixed families in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, along with published and unpublished Soviet documents, scholarly and popular articles from the Soviet press, memoirs and films, and interviews with Soviet-era sociologists and ethnographers.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

"Magic in Merlin's Realm"

New from Cambridge University Press: Magic in Merlin's Realm: A History of Occult Politics in Britain by Francis Young.

About the book, from the publisher:
Belief in magic was, until relatively recent times, widespread in Britain; yet the impact of such belief on determinative political events has frequently been overlooked. In his wide-ranging new book, Francis Young explores the role of occult traditions in the history of the island of Great Britain: Merlin's realm. He argues that while the great magus and artificer invented by Geoffrey of Monmouth was a powerful model for a succession of actual royal magical advisers (including Roger Bacon and John Dee), monarchs nevertheless often lived in fear of hostile sorcery while at other times they even attempted magic themselves. Successive governments were simultaneously fascinated by astrology and alchemy, yet also deeply wary of the possibility of treasonous spellcraft. Whether deployed in warfare, rebellion or propaganda, occult traditions were of central importance to British history and, as the author reveals, these dark arts of magic and politics remain entangled to this day.
Visit Francis Young's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 9, 2022

"Anatomy of Torture"

New from Cornell University Press: Anatomy of Torture by Ron E. Hassner.

About the book, from the publisher:
Does torture "work?" Can controversial techniques such as waterboarding extract crucial and reliable intelligence? Since 9/11, this question has been angrily debated in the halls of power and the court of public opinion. In Anatomy of Torture, Ron E. Hassner mines the archives of the Spanish Inquisition to propose an answer that will frustrate and infuriate both sides of the divide.

The Inquisition's scribes recorded every torment, every scream, and every confession in the torture chamber. Their transcripts reveal that Inquisitors used torture deliberately and meticulously, unlike the rash, improvised methods used by the United States after 9/11. In their relentless pursuit of underground Jewish communities in Spain and Mexico, the Inquisition tortured in cold blood. But they treated any information extracted with caution: torture was used to test information provided through other means, not to uncover startling new evidence.

Hassner's findings in Anatomy of Torture have important implications for ongoing torture debates. Rather than insist that torture is ineffective, torture critics should focus their attention on the morality of torture. If torture is evil, its efficacy is irrelevant. At the same time, torture defenders cannot advocate for torture as a counterterrorist "quick fix": torture has never located, nor will ever locate, the hypothetical "ticking bomb" that is frequently invoked to justify brutality in the name of security.
The Page 99 Test: War on Sacred Grounds.

The Page 99 Test: Religion on the Battlefield.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 8, 2022

"In the Hands of God"

New from Princeton University Press: In the Hands of God: How Evangelical Belonging Transforms Migrant Experience in the United States by Johanna Bard Richlin.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why do migrants become more deeply evangelical in the United States and how does this religious identity alter their self-understanding? In the Hands of God examines this question through a unique lens, foregrounding the ways that churches transform what migrants feel. Drawing from her extensive fieldwork among Brazilian migrants in the Washington, DC, area, Johanna Bard Richlin shows that affective experience is key to comprehending migrants’ turn toward intense religiosity, and their resulting evangelical commitment.

The conditions of migrant life—family separation, geographic isolation, legal precariousness, workplace vulnerability, and deep uncertainty about the future—shape specific affective maladies, including loneliness, despair, and feeling stuck. These feelings in turn trigger novel religious yearnings. Evangelical churches deliberately and deftly articulate, manage, and reinterpret migrant distress through affective therapeutics, the strategic “healing” of migrants’ psychological pain. Richlin offers insights into the affective dimensions of migration, the strategies pursued by evangelical churches to attract migrants, and the ways in which evangelical belonging enables migrants to feel better, emboldening them to improve their lives.

Looking at the ways evangelical churches help migrants navigate negative emotions, In the Hands of God sheds light on the versatility and durability of evangelical Christianity.
--Marshal Zeringue

"Democracy’s Chief Executive"

Coming soon from the University of California Press: Democracy’s Chief Executive: Interpreting the Constitution and Defining the Future of the Presidency by Peter M. Shane.

About the book, from the publisher:
Legal scholar Peter M. Shane confronts U.S. presidential entitlement and offers a more reasonable way of conceptualizing our constitutional presidency in the twenty-first century.

In the eyes of modern-day presidentialists, the United States Constitution’s vesting of “executive power” means today what it meant in 1787. For them, what it meant in 1787 was the creation of a largely unilateral presidency, and in their view, a unilateral presidency still best serves our national interest. Democracy’s Chief Executive challenges each of these premises, while showing how their influence on constitutional interpretation for more than forty years has set the stage for a presidency ripe for authoritarianism.

Democracy’s Chief Executive explains how dogmatic ideas about expansive executive authority can create within the government a psychology of presidential entitlement that threatens American democracy and the rule of law. Tracing today’s aggressive presidentialism to a steady consolidation of White House power aided primarily by right-wing lawyers and judges since 1981, Peter M. Shane argues that this is a dangerously authoritarian form of constitutional interpretation that is not even well supported by an originalist perspective. Offering instead a fresh approach to balancing presidential powers, Shane develops an interpretative model of adaptive constitutionalism, rooted in the values of deliberative democracy. Democracy’s Chief Executive demonstrates that justifying outcomes explicitly based on core democratic values is more, not less, constraining for judicial decision making—and presents a model that Americans across the political spectrum should embrace.
Follow Peter M. Shane on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 7, 2022

"They Eat Our Sweat"

New from Oxford University Press: They Eat Our Sweat: Transport Labor, Corruption, and Everyday Survival in Urban Nigeria by Daniel E. Agbiboa.

About the book, from the publisher:
Accounts of corruption in Africa and the Global South are generally overly simplistic and macro-oriented, and commonly disconnect everyday (petty) corruption from political (grand) corruption. In contrast to this tendency, They Eat Our Sweat offers a fresh and engaging look at the corruption complex in Africa through a micro analysis of its informal transport sector, where collusion between state and nonstate actors is most rife. Focusing on Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital and Africa's largest city, Daniel Agbiboa investigates the workaday world of road transport operators as refracted through the extortion racket and violence of transport unions acting in complicity with the state. Steeped in an embodied knowledge of Lagos and backed by two years of thorough ethnographic fieldwork, including working as an informal bus conductor, Agbiboa provides an emic perspective on precarious labour, popular agency and the daily pursuit of survival under the shadow of the modern world system. Corruption, Agbiboa argues, is not rooted in Nigerian culture but is shaped by the struggle to get by and get ahead on the fast and slow lanes of Lagos. The pursuit of economic survival compels transport operators to participate in the reproduction of the very transgressive system they denounce. They Eat Our Sweat is not just a book about corruption but also about transportation, politics, and governance in urban Africa.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 6, 2022

"Small Bites"

New from the University of British Columbia Press: Small Bites: Biocultural Dimension of Children’s Food and Nutrition by Tina Moffat.

About the book, from the publisher:
Presents an anthropological and biocultural approach to child nutrition.

Picky eating. Obesity. Malnutrition. Small Bites challenges preconceptions about the biological basis of children’s eating habits, gendered and parent-focused responsibility, and the notion of naturally determined children’s foods. Tina Moffat draws on extensive anthropological research to explore the biological and sociocultural determinants of child nutrition and feeding. Are children naturally picky eaters? How can school meal programs help to address food insecurity and malnutrition? How has the industrial food system commodified children’s food and shaped children’s bodies? Small Bites investigates how children are fed in school and at home in Nepal, France, Japan, Canada, and the United States to reveal the ways child nutrition reflects broader cultural approaches to childhood and food. This important work also sets a course for food policy, schools, communities, and caregivers to improve children’s food and nutrition equitably and sustainably.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 5, 2022

"Catholic Spectacle and Rome's Jews"

New from Princeton University Press: Catholic Spectacle and Rome's Jews: Early Modern Conversion and Resistance by Emily Michelson.

About the book, from the publisher:

A new investigation that shows how conversionary preaching to Jews was essential to the early modern Catholic Church and the Roman religious landscape

Starting in the sixteenth century, Jews in Rome were forced, every Saturday, to attend a hostile sermon aimed at their conversion. Harshly policed, they were made to march en masse toward the sermon and sit through it, all the while scrutinized by local Christians, foreign visitors, and potential converts. In Catholic Spectacle and Rome’s Jews, Emily Michelson demonstrates how this display was vital to the development of early modern Catholicism.

Drawing from a trove of overlooked manuscripts, Michelson reconstructs the dynamics of weekly forced preaching in Rome. As the Catholic Church began to embark on worldwide missions, sermons to Jews offered a unique opportunity to define and defend its new triumphalist, global outlook. They became a point of prestige in Rome. The city’s most important organizations invested in maintaining these spectacles, and foreign tourists eagerly attended them. The title of “Preacher to the Jews” could make a man’s career. The presence of Christian spectators, Roman and foreign, was integral to these sermons, and preachers played to the gallery. Conversionary sermons also provided an intellectual veneer to mask ongoing anti-Jewish aggressions. In response, Jews mounted a campaign of resistance, using any means available.

Examining the history and content of sermons to Jews over two and a half centuries, Catholic Spectacle and Rome’s Jews argues that conversionary preaching to Jews played a fundamental role in forming early modern Catholic identity.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

"Riot and Rebellion in Mexico"

New from the University of Texas Press: Riot and Rebellion in Mexico: The Making of a Race War Paradigm by Ana Sabau.

About the book, from the publisher:
Many scholars assert that Mexico’s complex racial hierarchy, inherited from Spanish colonialism, became obsolete by the turn of the nineteenth century as class-based distinctions became more prominent and a largely mestizo population emerged. But the residues of the colonial caste system did not simply dissolve after Mexico gained independence. Rather, Ana Sabau argues, ever-present fears of racial uprising among elites and authorities led to persistent governmental techniques and ideologies designed to separate and control people based on their perceived racial status, as well as to the implementation of projects for development in fringe areas of the country.

Riot and Rebellion in Mexico traces this race-based narrative through three historical flashpoints: the Bajío riots, the Haitian Revolution, and the Yucatan’s caste war. Sabau shows how rebellions were treated as racially motivated events rather than political acts and how the racialization of popular and indigenous sectors coincided with the construction of “whiteness” in Mexico. Drawing on diverse primary sources, Sabau demonstrates how the race war paradigm was mobilized in foreign and domestic affairs and reveals the foundations of a racial state and racially stratified society that persist today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

"Making Refugees in India"

New from Oxford University Press: Making Refugees in India by Ria Kapoor.

About the book, from the publisher:
Offering a global history of India's refugee regime, Making Refugees in India explores how one of the first postcolonial states during the mid-twentieth century wave of decolonisation rewrote global practices surrounding refugees - signified by India's refusal to sign the 1951 UN Refugee Convention. In broadening the scope of this decision well beyond the Partition of India, starting with the so called 'Wilsonian moment' and extending to the 1970s, the refugee is placed within the postcolonial effort to address the inequalities of the subject-citizenship of the British empire through the fullest realisation of self-determination. India's 'strategically ambiguous' approach to refugees is thus far from ad hoc, revealing a startling consistency when viewed in conversation of postcolonial state building and anti-imperial worldmaking to address inequity across the former colonies. The anti-colonial cry for self-determination as the source of all rights, it is revealed in this work, was in tension with the universal human rights that focused on the individual, and the figure of the refugee felt this irreconcilable difference most intensely. To elucidate this, this work explores contrasts in Indians' and Europeans' rights in the British empire and in World War Two, refugee rehabilitation during Partition, the arrival of the Tibetan refugees, and the East Pakistani refugee crisis. Ria Kapoor finds that the refugee was constitutive of postcolonial Indian citizenship, and that assistance permitted to refugees - a share of the rights guaranteed by self-determination - depended on their potential to threaten or support national sovereignty that allowed Indian experiences to be included in the shaping of universal principles.
Follow Ria Kapoor on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 2, 2022

"Untying Things Together"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Untying Things Together: Philosophy, Literature, and a Life in Theory by Eric L. Santner.

About the book, from the publisher:
Untying Things Together helps to clarify the stakes of the last fifty years of literary and cultural theory by proposing the idea of a sexuality of theory.

In 1905, Freud published his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, the book that established the core psychoanalytic thesis that sexuality is central to formations of the unconscious. With this book, Eric L. Santner inverts Freud’s title to take up the sexuality of theory—or, more exactly, the modes of enjoyment to be found in the kinds of critical thinking that, since the 1960s, have laid claim to that ancient word, “theory.” Santner unfolds his argument by tracking his own relationship with this tradition and the ways his intellectual and spiritual development has been informed by it.

Untying Things Together is both an intellectual history of major theoretical paradigms and a call for their reexamination and renewal. Revisiting many of the topics he has addressed in previous work, Santner proposes a new way of conceptualizing the eros of thinking, attuned to how our minds and bodies individually and collectively incorporate or “encyst” on a void at the heart of things. Rather than proposing a “return to theory,” Santner’s book simply employs theory as a way of further “(un)tying together” the resources of philosophy, art and literature, theology, psychoanalysis, political thought, and more.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 1, 2022

"Prisons of Debt"

New from the University of California Press: Prisons of Debt: The Afterlives of Incarcerated Fathers by Lynne Haney.

About the book, from the publisher:
A profound portrait of the hidden injustices that trap fathers in a cycle of punishment and debt.

In the first study of its kind, sociologist Lynne Haney travels into state institutions across the country to document the experiences of the millions of fathers cycling through the criminal justice and child support systems. Prisons of Debt shows how these systems work together to create complex entanglements—rather than "piling up" in men's lives, these entanglements form feedback loops of disadvantage. The prison–child support pipeline flows in both directions, deepening parents' debt and criminal justice involvement.

Through moving accounts of men struggling to be fathers from behind prison walls and under the weight of support debt, Prisons of Debt exposes how the criminalization of child support undermines the most essential of familial relationships. Haney argues that these state systems can end up producing exactly the kind of parent they fear and loathe: bitter, unreliable, and cyclical fathers. Based on observations of 1,200 child support cases and interviews with 145 indebted fathers in New York, California, and Florida, Prisons of Debt reveals the actual practices of child support adjudication and enforcement alongside the lived realities of fathers trapped in those systems. The result is a rigorously documented analysis of how poor men are too often denied their rights of citizenship and of fatherhood.
--Marshal Zeringue