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

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

"Poverty and Wealth in East Africa"

New from Duke University Press: Poverty and Wealth in East Africa: A Conceptual History by Rhiannon Stephens.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Poverty and Wealth in East Africa Rhiannon Stephens offers a conceptual history of how people living in eastern Uganda have sustained and changed their ways of thinking about wealth and poverty over the past two thousand years. This history serves as a powerful reminder that colonialism and capitalism did not introduce economic thought to this region and demonstrates that even in contexts of relative material equality between households, people invested intellectual energy in creating new ways to talk about the poor and the rich. Stephens uses an interdisciplinary approach to write this history for societies without written records before the nineteenth century. She reconstructs the words people spoke in different eras using the methods of comparative historical linguistics, overlaid with evidence from archaeology, climate science, oral traditions, and ethnography. Demonstrating the dynamism of people’s thinking about poverty and wealth in East Africa long before colonial conquest, Stephens challenges much of the received wisdom about the nature and existence of economic and social inequality in the region’s deeper past.
Follow Rhiannon Stephens on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

"Beijing's Global Media Offensive"

New from Oxford University Press: Beijing's Global Media Offensive: China's Uneven Campaign to Influence Asia and the World by Joshua Kurlantzick.

About the book, from the publisher:
A major analysis of how China is attempting to become a media and information superpower around the world, seeking to shape the politics, local media, and information environments of both East Asia and the World.

Since China's ascendancy toward major-power status began in the 1990s, many observers have focused on its economic growth and expanding military. China's ability was limited in projecting power over information and media and the infrastructure through which information flows. That has begun to change. Beijing's state-backed media, which once seemed incapable having a significant effect globally, has been overhauled and expanded. At a time when many democracies' media outlets are consolidating due to financial pressures, China's biggest state media outlets, like the newswire Xinhua, are modernizing, professionalizing, and expanding in attempt to reach an international audience. Overseas, Beijing also attempts to impact local media, civil society, and politics by having Chinese firms or individuals with close links buy up local media outlets, by signing content-sharing deals with local media, by expanding China's social media giants, and by controlling the wireless and wired technology through which information now flows, among other efforts.

In Beijing's Global Media Offensive--a major analysis of how China is attempting to build a media and information superpower around the world, and how this media power integrates with other forms of Chinese influence--Joshua Kurlantzick focuses on how all of this is playing out in both China's immediate neighborhood--Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand--and also in the United States and many other parts of the world. He traces the ways in which China is trying to build an information and influence superpower, but also critically examines the new conventional wisdom that Beijing has enjoyed great success with these efforts. While China has worked hard to build a global media and information superpower, it often has failed to reap gains from its efforts, and has undermined itself with overly assertive, alienating diplomacy. Still, Kurlantzick contends, China's media, information and political influence campaigns will continue to expand and adapt, helping Beijing exports its political model and protect the ruling Party, and potentially damaging press freedoms, human rights, and democracy abroad. An authoritative account of how this sophisticated and multi-pronged campaign is unfolding, Beijing's Global Media Offensive provides a new window into China's attempts to make itself an information superpower.
Follow Joshua Kurlantzick on Twitter.

The Page 69 Test: Charm Offensive.

The Page 99 Test: A Great Place to Have a War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 21, 2022

"Drastic Dykes and Accidental Activists"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Drastic Dykes and Accidental Activists: Queer Women in the Urban South by La Shonda Mims.

About the book, from the publisher:
After World War II, Atlanta and Charlotte emerged as leading urban centers in the South, redefining the region through their competing metropolitan identities. Both cities also served as home to queer communities who defined themselves in accordance with their urban surroundings and profited to varying degrees from the emphasis on economic growth. Uniting southern women's history with urban history, La Shonda Mims considers an imaginatively constructed archive including feminist newsletters and queer bar guides alongside sources revealing corporate boosterism and political rhetoric to explore the complex nature of lesbian life in the South.

Mims's work reveals significant differences between gay men's and lesbian women's lived experiences, with lesbians often missing out on the promises of prosperity that benefitted some members of gay communities. Money, class, and race were significant variables in shaping the divergent life experiences for the lesbian communities of Atlanta and Charlotte; whiteness especially bestowed certain privileges. In Atlanta, an inclusive corporate culture bolstered the city's queer community. In Charlotte, tenacious lesbian collectives persevered, as many queer Charlotteans leaned on Atlanta's enormous Pride celebrations for sanctuary when similar institutional community supports were lacking at home.
Follow La Shonda Mims on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 20, 2022

"Jewish Soldiers in the Civil War"

New from NYU Press: Jewish Soldiers in the Civil War: The Union Army by Adam D. Mendelsohn.

About the book, from the publisher:
Offers an engaging account of the experiences of Jewish soldiers in the Union Army during the Civil War

What was it like to be a Jew in Lincoln’s armies? The Union army was as diverse as the embattled nation it sought to preserve, a unique mixture of ethnicities, religions, and identities. Almost one Union soldier in four was born abroad, and natives and newcomers fought side-by-side, sometimes uneasily. Yet though scholars have parsed the trials and triumphs of Irish, Germans, African Americans, and others in the Union ranks, they have remained largely silent on the everyday experiences of the largest non-Christian minority to have served.

In ways visible and invisible to their fellow recruits and conscripts, the experience of Jews was distinct from that of other soldiers who served in Lincoln’s armies. Adam D. Mendelsohn draws for the first time upon the vast database of verified listings of Jewish soldiers serving in the Civil War collected by The Shapell Roster, as well as letters, diaries, and newspapers, to examine the collective experience of Jewish soldiers and to recover their voices and stories. The volume examines when and why they decided to enlist, explores their encounters with fellow soldiers, and describes their efforts to create community within the ranks. This monumental undertaking rewrites much of what we think we know about Jewish soldiers during the Civil War.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 19, 2022


New from Cornell University Press: Euromissiles: The Nuclear Weapons That Nearly Destroyed NATO by Susan Colbourn.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Euromissiles, Susan Colbourn tells the story of the height of nuclear crisis and the remarkable waning of the fear that gripped the globe.

In the Cold War conflict that pitted nuclear superpowers against one another, Europe was the principal battleground. Washington and Moscow had troops on the ground and missiles in the fields of their respective allies, the NATO nations and the states of the Warsaw Pact. Euromissiles—intermediate-range nuclear weapons to be used exclusively in the regional theater of war—highlighted how the peoples of Europe were dangerously placed between hammer and anvil. That made European leaders uncomfortable and pushed fearful masses into the streets demanding peace in their time.

At the center of the story is NATO. Colbourn highlights the weakness of the alliance seen by many as the most effective bulwark against Soviet aggression. Divided among themselves and uncertain about the depth of US support, the member states were riven by the missile issue. This strategic crisis was, as much as any summit meeting between US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, the hinge on which the Cold War turned.

Euromissiles is a history of diplomacy and alliances, social movements and strategy, nuclear weapons and nagging fears, and politics. To tell that history, Colbourn takes a long view of the strategic crisis—from the emerging dilemmas of allied defense in the early 1950s through the aftermath of the INF Treaty thirty-five years later. The result is a dramatic and sweeping tale that changes the way we think about the Cold War and its culmination.
Visit Susan Colbourn's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 18, 2022

"The Dragon Roars Back"

New from Stanford University Press: The Dragon Roars Back: Transformational Leaders and Dynamics of Chinese Foreign Policy by Suisheng Zhao.

About the book, from the publisher:
China is unique in modern world history. No other rising power has experienced China's turbulent history in its relations with neighbors and Western countries. Its sheer size dominates the region. With leader Xi Jinping's political authority unmatched, Xi's sense of mission to restore what he believes is China's natural position as a great power drives the current course of the nation's foreign policy. When China was weak, it was subordinated to others. Now, China is strong, and it wants others to subordinate, at least on the issues involving what it regards as core national interests.

What are the primary forces and how have these forces driven China's reemergence to global power? This book weaves together complex events, processes, and players to provide a historically in-depth, conceptually comprehensive, and up-to-date analysis of Chinese foreign policy transition since the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC), arguing that transformational leaders with new visions and political wisdom to make their visions prevail are the game changers. Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Xi Jinping are transformational leaders who have charted unique courses of Chinese foreign policy in the quest for security, prosperity, and power. With the ultimate decision-making authority on national security and strategic policies, these leaders have made political use of ideational forces, tailoring bureaucratic institutions, exploiting the international power distribution, and responding strategically to the international norms and rules to advance their foreign policy agendas in the path of China's ascendance.
Follow Suisheng Zhao on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 17, 2022

"The Mirror and the Mind"

New from Princeton University Press: The Mirror and the Mind: A History of Self-Recognition in the Human Sciences by Katja Guenther.

About the book, from the publisher:
Since the late eighteenth century, scientists have placed subjects—humans, infants, animals, and robots—in front of mirrors in order to look for signs of self-recognition. Mirrors served as the possible means for answering the question: What makes us human? In The Mirror and the Mind, Katja Guenther traces the history of the mirror self-recognition test, exploring how researchers from a range of disciplines—psychoanalysis, psychiatry, developmental and animal psychology, cybernetics, anthropology, and neuroscience—came to read the peculiar behaviors elicited by mirrors. Investigating the ways mirrors could lead to both identification and misidentification, Guenther looks at how such experiments ultimately failed to determine human specificity.

The mirror test was thrust into the limelight when Charles Darwin challenged the idea that language sets humans apart. Thereafter the mirror, previously a recurrent if marginal scientific tool, became dominant in attempts to demarcate humans from other animals. But because researchers could not rely on language to determine what their nonspeaking subjects were experiencing, they had to come up with significant innovations, including notation strategies, testing protocols, and the linking of scientific theories across disciplines. From the robotic tortoises of Grey Walter and the mark test of Beulah Amsterdam and Gordon Gallup, to anorexia research and mirror neurons, the mirror test offers a window into the emergence of such fields as biology, psychology, psychiatry, animal studies, cognitive science, and neuroscience.

The Mirror and the Mind offers an intriguing history of experiments in self-awareness and the advancements of the human sciences across more than a century.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

"The Nuclear Club"

New from Stanford University Press: The Nuclear Club: How America and the World Policed the Atom from Hiroshima to Vietnam by Jonathan R. Hunt.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Nuclear Club reveals how a coalition of powerful and developing states embraced global governance in hopes of a bright and peaceful tomorrow. While fears of nuclear war were ever-present, it was the perceived threat to their preeminence that drove Washington, Moscow, and London to throw their weight behind the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) banishing nuclear testing underground, the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco banning atomic armaments from Latin America, and the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) forbidding more countries from joining the most exclusive club on Earth.

International society, the Cold War, and the imperial U.S. presidency were reformed from 1945 to 1970, when a global nuclear order was inaugurated, averting conflict in the industrial North and yielding what George Orwell styled a "peace that is no peace" everywhere else. Today the nuclear order legitimizes foreign intervention worldwide, empowering the nuclear club and, above all, the United States, to push sanctions and even preventive war against atomic outlaws, all in humanity's name.
Visit Jonathan R. Hunt's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

"To Be Real"

New from Oxford University Press: To Be Real: Truth and Racial Authenticity in African American Standup Comedy by Lanita Jacobs.

About the book, from the publisher:
To Be Real: Truth and Racial Authenticity in African American Standup Comedy examines Black standup comedy over the past decade as a stage for understanding why notions of racial authenticity--in essence, appeals to "realness" and "real Blackness"--emerge as a cultural imperative in African American culture. Ethnographic observations and interviews with Black comedians ground this telling, providing a narrative arc of key historical moments in the new millennium. Readers will understand how and why African American comics invoke "realness" to qualify nationalist 9/11 discourses and grapple with the racial entailments of the war, overcome a sense of racial despair in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, critique Michael Richards' ["Kramer's"] notorious rant at The Laugh Factory and subsequent attempts to censor their use of the n-word, and reconcile the politics of a "real" in their own and other Black folks' everyday lives.

Additionally, readers will hear through audience murmurs, hisses, and boos how beliefs about racial authenticity are intensely class-wrought and fraught. Moreover, they will appreciate how context remains ever critical to when and why African American comics and audiences lobby for and/or lampoon jokes that differentiate the "real" from the "fake" or "Black folks" from so-called "niggahs." Context and racial vulnerability are critical to understanding how and why allusions to "racial authenticity" persist in the African American comedic and cultural imagination.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 14, 2022

"Free Joan Little"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Free Joan Little: The Politics of Race, Sexual Violence, and Imprisonment by Christina Greene.

About the book, from the publisher:
Early on a summer morning in 1974, local officials found the jailer Clarence Alligood stabbed to death in a cell in the women's section of a rural North Carolina jail. Fleeing the scene was Joan Little, twenty years old, poor, Black, and in trouble. After turning herself in, Little faced a possible death sentence in the state's gas chamber. At her trial, which was followed around the world, Little claimed that she had killed Alligood in self-defense against sexual assault. Local and national figures took up Little's cause, protesting her innocence. After a five-week trial, Little was acquitted. But the case stirred debate about a woman's right to use deadly force to resist sexual violence.

Through the prism of Little's rape-murder trial and the Free Joan Little campaign, Christina Greene explores the intersecting histories of African American women, mass incarceration, sexual violence, and social movements of the 1970s and 1980s. Greene argues that Little's circumstances prior to her arrest, assault, and trial were shaped by unprecedented increases in federal financing of local law enforcement and a decades-long criminalization of Blackness. She also reveals tensions among Little's defenders and recovers Black women's intersectional politics of the period, which linked women's prison protest and antirape activism with broader struggles for economic and political justice.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 13, 2022

"Defining Nature’s Limits"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Defining Nature’s Limits: The Roman Inquisition and the Boundaries of Science by Neil Tarrant.

About the book, from the publisher:
A look at the history of censorship, science, and magic from the Middle Ages to the post-Reformation era.

Neil Tarrant challenges conventional thinking by looking at the longer history of censorship, considering a five-hundred-year continuity of goals and methods stretching from the late eleventh century to well into the sixteenth.

Unlike earlier studies, Defining Nature’s Limits engages the history of both learned and popular magic. Tarrant explains how the church developed a program that sought to codify what was proper belief through confession, inquisition, and punishment and prosecuted what they considered superstition or heresy that stretched beyond the boundaries of religion. These efforts were continued by the Roman Inquisition, established in 1542. Although it was designed primarily to combat Protestantism, from the outset the new institution investigated both practitioners of “illicit” magic and inquiries into natural philosophy, delegitimizing certain practices and thus shaping the development of early modern science. Describing the dynamics of censorship that continued well into the post-Reformation era, Defining Nature’s Limits is revisionist history that will interest scholars of the history science, the history of magic, and the history of the church alike.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 12, 2022

"This Is My Jail"

New from the University of Pennsylvania Press: This Is My Jail: Local Politics and the Rise of Mass Incarceration by Melanie Newport.

About the book, from the publisher:
While state and federal prisons like Attica and Alcatraz occupy a central place in the national consciousness, most incarceration in the United States occurs within the walls of local jails. In This Is My Jail, Melanie D. Newport situates the late twentieth-century escalation of mass incarceration in a longer history of racialized, politically repressive jailing. Centering the political actions of people until now overlooked—jailed people, wardens, corrections officers, sheriffs, and the countless community members who battled over the functions and impact of jails—Newport shows how local, grassroots contestation shaped the rise of the carceral state.

As ground zero for struggles over criminal justice reform, particularly in the latter half of the twentieth century, jails in Chicago and Cook County were models for jailers and advocates across the nation who aimed to redefine jails as institutions of benevolent transformation. From a slave sale on the jail steps to new jail buildings to electronic monitoring, from therapy to job training, these efforts further criminalized jailed people and diminished their capacity to organize for their civil rights. With prisoners as famous as Al Capone, Dick Gregory, and Harold Washington, and a place in culture ranging from Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle to B. B. King’s Live in Cook County Jail, This Is My Jail places jails at the heart of twentieth-century urban life and politics.

As a sweeping history of urban incarceration, This Is My Jail shows that jails are critical sites of urban inequality that sustain the racist actions of the police and judges and exacerbate the harms wrought by housing discrimination, segregated schools, and inaccessible health care. Structured by liberal anti-Blackness and legacies of violence, today’s jails reflect longstanding local commitments to the unfreedom of poor people of color.
Visit Melanie Newport's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 11, 2022

"Peace, Preference, and Property"

New from the University of Michigan Press: Peace, Preference, and Property: Return Migration after Violent Conflict by Sandra F. Joireman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Growing numbers of people are displaced by war and violent conflict. In Ukraine, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Myanmar, Syria, and elsewhere violence pushes civilian populations from their homes and sometimes from their countries, making them refugees. In previous decades, millions of refugees and displaced people returned to their place of origin after conflict or were resettled in countries in the Global North. Now displacements last longer, the number of people returning home is lower, and opportunities for resettlement are shrinking. More and more people spend decades in refugee camps or displaced within their own countries, raising their children away from their home communities and cultures. In this context, international policies encourage return to place of origin.

Using case studies and first-person accounts from interviews and fieldwork in post-conflict settings such as Uganda, Liberia, and Kosovo, Sandra F. Joireman highlights the divergence between these policies and the preferences of conflict-displaced people. Rather than looking from the top down, at the rights that people have in international and domestic law, the perspective of this text is from the ground up—examining individual and household choices after conflict. Some refugees want to go home, some do not want to return, some want to return to their countries of origin but live in a different place, and others are repatriated against their will when they have no other options. Peace, Preference, and Property suggests alternative policies that would provide greater choice for displaced people in terms of property restitution and solutions to displacement.
Visit Sandra Joireman's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 10, 2022

"City of Newsmen"

New from the University of Chicago Press: City of Newsmen: Public Lies and Professional Secrets in Cold War Washington by Kathryn J. McGarr.

About the book, from the publisher:
An inside look at how midcentury DC journalists silenced their own skepticism and shaped public perceptions of the Cold War.

Americans’ current trust in journalists is at a dismayingly low ebb, particularly on the subject of national and international politics. For some, it might be tempting to look back to the mid-twentieth century, when the nation’s press corps was a seemingly venerable and monolithic institution that conveyed the official line from Washington with nary a glint of anti-patriotic cynicism. As Kathryn McGarr’s City of Newsmen shows, however, the real story of what Cold War–era journalists did and how they did it wasn’t exactly the one you’d find in the morning papers.

City of Newsmen explores foreign policy journalism in Washington during and after World War II—a time supposedly defined by the press’s blind patriotism and groupthink. McGarr reveals, though, that DC reporters then were deeply cynical about government sources and their motives, but kept their doubts to themselves for professional, social, and ideological reasons. The alliance and rivalries among these reporters constituted a world of debts and loyalties: shared memories of harrowing wartime experiences, shared frustrations with government censorship and information programs, shared antagonisms, and shared mentors. McGarr ventures into the back hallways and private clubs of the 1940s and 1950s to show how white male reporters suppressed their skepticism to build one of the most powerful and enduring constructed realities in recent US history—the Washington Cold War consensus. Though by the 1960s, this set of reporters was seen as unduly complicit with the government—failing to openly critique the decisions and worldviews that led to disasters like the Vietnam War—McGarr shows how self-aware these reporters were as they negotiated for access, prominence, and, yes, the truth—even as they denied those things to their readers.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

"Narratives of Civic Duty"

New from Cornell University Press: Narratives of Civic Duty: How National Stories Shape Democracy in Asia by Aram Hur.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Narratives of Civic Duty, Aram Hur investigates the impulse behind a sense of civic duty in democracies. Why do some citizens feel a responsibility to vote, pay taxes, or take up arms in defense of one's country? Through comparing democratic societies in East Asia and elsewhere, Hur shows that the sense of obligation to be a good citizen―upon which the resilience of a democracy depends―emerges from a force long thought to be detrimental to democracy itself: national attachments.

Nationalism's illiberal and exclusive tendencies are typically viewed as disruptive to democratic processes, but Hur argues that there is nothing inherently antidemocratic about nationalism. Rather, whether nationalism helps or hinders democracy is shaped by the historicized relationship between a national people and their democratic state. When national stories portray that relationship as one of mutual commitment, nationalism strengthens democracies by motivating widespread civic duty among citizens. Drawing on personal narratives, statistical surveys, and experiments, Narratives of Civic Duty offers a provocative national theory of civic duty that cuts to the heart of what makes democracies thrive.
Visit Aram Hur's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

"The Democratic Collapse"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: The Democratic Collapse: How Gender Politics Broke a Party and a Nation, 1856-1861 by Lauren N. Haumesser.

About the book, from the publisher:
This fresh examination of antebellum politics comprehensively examines the ways that gender issues and gendered discourse exacerbated fissures within the Democratic Party in the critical years between 1856 and 1861. Whereas the cultural politics of gender had bolstered Democratic unity through the 1850s, the Lecompton crisis and John Brown's raid revealed that white manhood and its association with familial and national protection meant disparate—and ultimately incompatible—things in free and slave society. In fierce debates over the extension of slavery, gendered rhetoric hardened conflicts that ultimately led to the outbreak of the Civil War.

Lauren Haumesser here traces how northern and southern Democrats and their partisan media organs used gender to make powerful arguments about slavery as the sectional crisis grew, from the emergence of the Republican Party to secession. Gendered charges and countercharges turned slavery into an intractable cultural debate, raising the stakes of every dispute and making compromise ever more elusive.
Follow Lauren Haumesser on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 7, 2022

"A Brilliant Commodity"

New from Oxford University Press: A Brilliant Commodity: Diamonds and Jews in a Modern Setting by Saskia Coenen Snyder.

About the book, from the publisher:
Following diamonds from African mines to the necklines of high society women, this international history shows why Jews were central to the transatlantic gem trade and its growth into a global industry.

During the late nineteenth century, tens of thousands of diggers, prospectors, merchants, and dealers extracted and shipped over 50 million carats of diamonds from South Africa to London. The primary supplier to the world, South Africa's diamond fields became one of the formative sites of modern capitalist production. At each stage of the diamond's route through the British empire and beyond-from Cape Town to London, from Amsterdam to New York City-carbon gems were primarily mined, processed, appraised, and sold by Jews.

In A Brilliant Commodity, historian Saskia Coenen Snyder traces how once-peripheral Jewish populations became the central architects of a new, global exchange of diamonds that connected African sites of supply, European manufacturing centers, American retailers, and western consumers. Centuries of restrictions had limited Jews to trade and finance, businesses that often heavily relied on internal networks. Jews were well-positioned to become key players in the earliest stage of the diamond trade and its growth into a global industry, a development fueled by technological advancements, a dramatic rise in the demand of luxury goods, and an abundance of rough stones. Relying on mercantile and familial ties across continents, Jews created a highly successful commodity chain that included buyers, brokers, cutters, factory owners, financiers, and retailers.

Working within a diasporic ethnic community that bridged city and countryside, metropole and colony, Jews helped build a flourishing diamond industry, notably Hatton Garden in London and the Diamond District of New York City, and a place for themselves in the modern world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 6, 2022

"Mao and Markets"

New from Yale University Press: Mao and Markets: The Communist Roots of Chinese Enterprise by Christopher Marquis and Kunyuan Qiao.

About the book, from the publisher:
A thoroughly researched assessment of how China’s economic success continues to be shaped by the communist ideology of Chairman Mao

It was long assumed that as China embraced open markets and private enterprise, its state-controlled economy would fall by the wayside, that free markets would inevitably lead to a more liberal society. Instead, China’s growth over the past four decades has positioned state capitalism as a durable foil to the orthodoxy of free markets, to the confusion of many in the West.

Christopher Marquis and Kunyuan Qiao argue that China’s economic success is based on—not in spite of—the continuing influence of Communist leader Mao Zedong. They illustrate how Mao’s ideological principles, mass campaigns, and socialist institutions have enduringly influenced Chinese entrepreneurs’ business strategies and the management of their ventures. Grounded in case studies and quantitative analyses, this book shows that while private enterprise is the engine of China’s growth, Chinese companies see no contradictions between commercial drive and a dedication to Maoist ideology.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 5, 2022

"The Perfection of Nature"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Perfection of Nature: Animals, Breeding, and Race in the Renaissance by Mackenzie Cooley.

About the book, from the publisher:
A deep history of how Renaissance Italy and the Spanish empire were shaped by a lingering fascination with breeding.

The Renaissance is celebrated for the belief that individuals could fashion themselves to greatness, but there is a dark undercurrent to this fêted era of history. The same men and women who offered profound advancements in European understanding of the human condition—and laid the foundations of the Scientific Revolution—were also obsessed with controlling that condition and the wider natural world.

Tracing early modern artisanal practice, Mackenzie Cooley shows how the idea of race and theories of inheritance developed through animal breeding in the shadow of the Spanish Empire. While one strand of the Renaissance celebrated a liberal view of human potential, another limited it by biology, reducing man to beast and prince to stud. “Race,” Cooley explains, first referred to animal stock honed through breeding. To those who invented the concept, race was not inflexible, but the fragile result of reproductive work. As the Spanish empire expanded, the concept of race moved from nonhuman to human animals. Cooley reveals how, as the dangerous idea of controlled reproduction was brought to life again and again, a rich, complex, and ever-shifting language of race and breeding was born.

Adding nuance and historical context to discussions of race and human and animal relations, The Perfection of Nature provides a close reading of undertheorized notions of generation and its discontents in the more-than-human world.
Visit Mackenzie Cooley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 4, 2022

"Mad with Freedom"

New from LSU Press: Mad with Freedom: The Political Economy of Blackness, Insanity, and Civil Rights in the U.S. South, 1840–1940 by Élodie Edwards-Grossi.

About the book, from the publisher:
The use of race in studies of insanity in the 1840s and 1850s gave rise to politically charged theories on the differential biology and pathologies of brains in whites and Blacks. In Mad with Freedom, Élodie Edwards-Grossi explores the largely unknown social history of these racialized theories on insanity in the segregated South. She unites an institutional history of psychiatric spaces in the South that housed Black patients with an intellectual history of early psychiatric theories that defined the Black body as a locus for specific pathologies. Edwards-Grossi also reveals the subtle, localized techniques of resistance later employed by Black patients to confront medical power. Her work shows the continuous politicization of science and theories on insanity in the context of Reconstruction and the Jim Crow South.
Follow Élodie Edwards-Grossi on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 3, 2022

"German Jews in Love: A History"

New from Stanford University Press: German Jews in Love: A History by Christian Bailey.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book explores the dynamic role of love in German-Jewish lives, from the birth of the German Empire in the 1870s, to the 1970s, a generation after the Shoah. During a remarkably turbulent hundred-year period when German Jews experienced five political regimes, rapid urbanization, transformations in gender relations, and war and genocide, the romantic ideals of falling in love and marrying for love helped German Jews to develop a new sense of self. Appeals to romantic love were also significant in justifying relationships between Jews and non-Jews, even when those unions created conflict within and between communities.

By incorporating novel approaches from the history of emotions and life-cycle history, Christian Bailey moves beyond existing research into the sexual and racial politics of modern Germany and approaches a new frontier in the study of subjectivity and the self. German Jews in Love draws on a rich array of sources, from newspapers and love letters to state and other official records. Calling on this evidence, Bailey shows the ways German Jews' romantic relationships reveal an aspect of acculturation that has been overlooked: how deeply cultural scripts worked their way into emotions; those most intimate and seemingly pre-political aspects of German-Jewish subjectivity.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

"A Philosophy of Beauty"

New from Princeton University Press: A Philosophy of Beauty: Shaftesbury on Nature, Virtue, and Art by Michael B. Gill.

About the book, from the publisher:
An engaging account of how Shaftesbury revolutionized Western philosophy

At the turn of the eighteenth century, Anthony Ashley Cooper, the third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671–1713), developed the first comprehensive philosophy of beauty to be written in English. It revolutionized Western philosophy. In A Philosophy of Beauty, Michael Gill presents an engaging account of how Shaftesbury’s thought profoundly shaped modern ideas of nature, religion, morality, and art―and why, despite its long neglect, it remains compelling today.

Before Shaftesbury’s magnum opus, Charactersticks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times (1711), it was common to see wilderness as ugly, to associate religion with fear and morality with unpleasant restriction, and to dismiss art as trivial or even corrupting. But Shaftesbury argued that nature, religion, virtue, and art can all be truly beautiful, and that cherishing and cultivating beauty is what makes life worth living. And, as Gill shows, this view had a huge impact on the development of natural religion, moral sense theory, aesthetics, and environmentalism.

Combining captivating historical details and flashes of humor, A Philosophy of Beauty not only rediscovers and illuminates a fascinating philosopher but also offers an inspiring reflection about the role beauty can play in our lives.
Visit Michael B. Gill's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

"Cult of the Dead"

New from the University of California Press: Cult of the Dead: A Brief History of Christianity by Kyle Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
A cultural history of how Christianity was born from its martyrs.

Though it promises eternal life, Christianity was forged in death. Christianity is built upon the legacies of the apostles and martyrs who chose to die rather than renounce the name of their lord. In this innovative cultural history, Kyle Smith shows how a devotion to death has shaped Christianity for two thousand years.

For centuries, Christians have cared for their saints, curating their deaths as examples of holiness. Martyrs’ stories, lurid legends of torture, have been told and retold, translated and rewritten. Martyrs’ bones are alive in the world, relics pulsing with wonder. Martyrs’ shrines are still visited by pilgrims, many in search of a miracle. Martyrs have even shaped the Christian conception of time, with each day of the year celebrating the death of a saint. From Roman antiquity to the present, by way of medieval England and the Protestant Reformation, Cult of the Dead tells the fascinating story of how the world’s most widespread religion is steeped in the memory of its martyrs.
Visit Kyle Smith's website.

The Page 99 Test: Constantine and the Captive Christians of Persia.

--Marshal Zeringue