Tuesday, January 31, 2023

"Learning to Save the World"

New from Cornell University Press: Learning to Save the World: Global Health Pedagogies and Fantasies of Transformation in Botswana by Betsey Behr Brada.

About the book, from the publisher:
Learning to Save the World provides an innovative analysis of how individuals inhabit, refuse, and reconfigure the contours of global health.

In 2001, Botswana's government, faced with one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, committed itself to sub-Saharan Africa's first free public HIV treatment program. US-based private foundations and medical schools offered support to demonstrate the feasibility of public HIV treatment in Africa. Given US interest and investment in global health, this support created opportunities for US physicians and medical trainees to interact with local practitioners, treat patients, and shape health policy in Botswana.

Although global health has emerged as a powerful call to planetary moral action, the nature of this exhortation remains unclear. Is global health a new movement for social justice, or is it neocolonial, creating new dependencies under the banner of humanitarianism? Betsey Behr Brada shows that global health is a frontier, an imaginative framework that organizes the space, time, and ethics of encounter.

Learning to Save the World reveals how individuals and collectivities engaged in global health―visiting experts as well as local clinicians and patients―come to regard themselves and others in terms of this framework.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 30, 2023

"Culture: The Story of Us, From Cave Art to K-Pop"

New from W.W. Norton: Culture: The Story of Us, From Cave Art to K-Pop by Martin Puchner.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Culture, acclaimed author, professor, and public intellectual Martin Puchner takes us on a breakneck tour through pivotal moments in world history, providing a global introduction to the arts and humanities in one engaging volume.

What good are the arts? Why should we care about the past? For millennia, humanity has sought to understand and transmit to future generations not just the “know-how” of life, but the “know-why”—the meaning and purpose of our existence, as expressed in art, architecture, religion, and philosophy. This crucial passing down of knowledge has required the radical integration of insights from the past and from other cultures. In Culture, acclaimed author, professor, and public intellectual Martin Puchner takes us on a breakneck tour through pivotal moments in world history, providing a global introduction to the arts and humanities in one engaging volume.

From Nefertiti’s lost city to the plays of Wole Soyinka; from the theaters of ancient Greece to Chinese travel journals to Arab and Aztec libraries; from a South Asian statuette found at Pompeii to a time capsule left behind on the Moon, Puchner tells the gripping story of human achievement through our collective losses and rediscoveries, power plays and heroic journeys, innovations, imitations, and appropriations. More than a work of history, Culture is an archive of humanity’s most monumental junctures and a guidebook for the future of us humans as a creative species. Witty, erudite, and full of wonder, Puchner argues that the humanities are (and always have been) essential to the transmission of knowledge that drives the efforts of human civilization.
Visit Martin Puchner's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 29, 2023

"Birth Figures"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Birth Figures: Early Modern Prints and the Pregnant Body by Rebecca Whiteley.

About the book, from the publisher:
The first full study of “birth figures” and their place in early modern knowledge-making.

Birth figures are printed images of the pregnant womb, always shown in series, that depict the variety of ways in which a fetus can present for birth. Historian Rebecca Whiteley coined the term and here offers the first systematic analysis of the images’ creation, use, and impact. Whiteley reveals their origins in ancient medicine and explores their inclusion in many medieval gynecological manuscripts, focusing on their explosion in printed midwifery and surgical books in Western Europe from the mid-sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth century. During this period, birth figures formed a key part of the visual culture of medicine and midwifery and were widely produced. They reflected and shaped how the pregnant body was known and treated. And by providing crucial bodily knowledge to midwives and surgeons, birth figures were also deeply entangled with wider cultural preoccupations with generation and creativity, female power and agency, knowledge and its dissemination, and even the condition of the human in the universe.

Birth Figures studies how different kinds of people understood childbirth and engaged with midwifery manuals, from learned physicians to midwives to illiterate listeners. Rich and detailed, this vital history reveals the importance of birth figures in how midwifery was practiced and in how people, both medical professionals and lay readers, envisioned and understood the mysterious state of pregnancy.
Follow Rebecca Whiteley on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 28, 2023

"Angels Tapping at the Wine-shop's Door"

Coming May 1 from Oxford University Press: Angels Tapping at the Wine-shop's Door: A History of Alcohol in the Islamic World by Rudi Matthee.

About the book, from the publisher:
Islam is the only major world religion that resists the juggernaut of alcohol consumption. In many Islamic countries, alcohol is banned; in others, it plays little role in social life. Yet, Muslims throughout history did drink, often to excess--whether sultans and shahs in their palaces, or commoners in taverns run by Jews or Christians.

This evocative study delves into drinking's many historic, literary and social manifestations in Islam, going beyond references to 'hypocrisy' or the temptations of 'forbidden fruit'. Rudi Matthee argues that alcohol, through its 'absence' as much as its presence, takes us to the heart of Islam. Exploring the long history of this faith--from the eight-century Umayyad dynasty to Erdogan's Turkey, and from Islamic Spain to modern Pakistan--he unearths a tradition of diversity and multiplicity in which Muslims drank, and found myriad excuses to do so. They celebrated wine and used it as a poetic metaphor, even viewing alcohol as a gift from God--the key to unlocking eternal truth.

Drawing on a plethora of sources, Matthee presents Islam not as an austere and uncompromising faith, but as a set of beliefs and practices that embrace ambivalence, allowing for ambiguity and even contradiction.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 27, 2023

"The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover"

New from Princeton University Press: The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover: How the FBI Aided and Abetted the Rise of White Christian Nationalism by Lerone A. Martin.

About the book, from the publisher:
On a Sunday morning in 1966, a group of white evangelicals dedicated a stained glass window to J. Edgar Hoover. The FBI director was not an evangelical, but his Christian admirers anointed him as their political champion, believing he would lead America back to God. The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover reveals how Hoover and his FBI teamed up with leading white evangelicals and Catholics to bring about a white Christian America by any means necessary.

Lerone Martin draws on thousands of newly declassified FBI documents and memos to describe how, under Hoover’s leadership, FBI agents attended spiritual retreats and worship services, creating an FBI religious culture that fashioned G-men into soldiers and ministers of Christian America. Martin shows how prominent figures such as Billy Graham, Fulton Sheen, and countless other ministers from across the country partnered with the FBI and laundered bureau intel in their sermons while the faithful crowned Hoover the adjudicator of true evangelical faith and allegiance. These partnerships not only solidified the political norms of modern white evangelicalism, they also contributed to the political rise of white Christian nationalism, establishing religion and race as the bedrock of the modern national security state, and setting the terms for today’s domestic terrorism debates.

Taking readers from the pulpits and pews of small-town America to the Oval Office, and from the grassroots to denominational boardrooms, The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover completely transforms how we understand the FBI, white evangelicalism, and our nation’s entangled history of religion and politics.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 26, 2023

"Moving Crops and the Scales of History"

New from Yale University Press: Moving Crops and the Scales of History by Francesca Bray, Barbara Hahn, John Bosco Lourdusamy, and Tiago Saraiva.

About the book, from the publisher:
A bold redefinition of historical inquiry based on the “cropscape”—the people, creatures, technologies, ideas, and places that surround a crop

Human efforts to move crops from one place to another have been a key driving force in history. Crops have been on the move for millennia, from wildlands into fields, from wetlands to dry zones, from one imperial colony to another. This book is a bold but approachable attempt to redefine historical inquiry based on the “cropscape”: the assemblage of people, places, creatures, technologies, and other elements that form around a crop.

The cropscape is a method of reconnecting the global with the local, the longue durée with microhistory, and people, plants, and places with abstract concepts such as tastes, ideas, skills, politics, and economic forces. Through investigating a range of contrasting cropscapes spanning millennia and the globe, the authors break open traditional historical structures of period, geography, and direction to glean insight into previously invisible actors and forces.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

"Among Women across Worlds"

New from Cornell University Press: Among Women across Worlds: North Korea in the Global Cold War by Suzy Kim.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Among Women across Worlds, Suzy Kim excavates the transnational linkages between women of North Korea and a worldwide women's movement. Women of Asia, especially those espousing communism, are often portrayed as victims or pawns of a patriarchal Confucian state. Kim undercuts this standard analysis through detailed archival work in the international women's press, and finds that North Korean women asserted themselves in unexpected places from the late 1940s―just before the official beginning of the Korean War―to 1975, the year designated by the UN as International Women's Year.

By centering North Korea and the "East," Kim defies convention to offer an entirely new genealogy of the global women's movement. Women of the Korean Democratic Women's Union (KDWU), as part of the global left women's movement led by the Women's International Democratic Federation (WIDF), insisted family and domestic issues must be part of both national and international debates, highlighting how race, nationality, sex, and class connect to form systems of colonial and capitalist exploitation. Their intersectional program claimed that there is "no peace without justice," that "the personal is the political," and that "women's rights are human rights" many decades before activists of the West embraced such agendas. Among Women across Worlds is an archaeology of forgotten movements and ideas that became the foundation for those that have come to define our era.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

"Oil Beach"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Oil Beach: How Toxic Infrastructure Threatens Life in the Ports of Los Angeles and Beyond by Christina Dunbar-Hester.

About the book, from the publisher:
Can the stories of bananas, whales, sea birds, and otters teach us to reconsider the seaport as a place of ecological violence, tied to oil, capital, and trade?

San Pedro Bay, which contains the contiguous Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, is a significant site for petroleum shipping and refining as well as one of the largest container shipping ports in the world—some forty percent of containerized imports to the United States pass through this so-called America’s Port. It is also ecologically rich. Built atop a land- and waterscape of vital importance to wildlife, the heavily industrialized Los Angeles Harbor contains estuarial wetlands, the LA River mouth, and a marine ecology where colder and warmer Pacific Ocean waters meet. In this compelling interdisciplinary investigation, award-winning author Christina Dunbar-Hester explores the complex relationships among commerce, empire, environment, and the nonhuman life forms of San Pedro Bay over the last fifty years—a period coinciding with the era of modern environmental regulation in the United States. The LA port complex is not simply a local site, Dunbar-Hester argues, but a node in a network that enables the continued expansion of capitalism, propelling trade as it drives the extraction of natural resources, labor violations, pollution, and other harms. Focusing specifically on cetaceans, bananas, sea birds, and otters whose lives are intertwined with the vitality of the port complex itself, Oil Beach reveals how logistics infrastructure threatens ecologies as it circulates goods and capital—and helps us to consider a future where the accumulation of life and the accumulation of capital are not in violent tension.
Visit Christina Dunbar-Hester's website.

The Page 99 Test: Hacking Diversity.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 23, 2023

"An English Tradition?"

Coming March 26 from Oxford University Press: An English Tradition?: The History and Significance of Fair Play by Jonathan Duke-Evans.

About the book, from the publisher:
For hundreds of years English people have claimed that fair play is at the core of their national identity. Jonathan Duke-Evans looks at the history of fair play in Britain from earliest times to the present, asking whether it is in fact a British, or alternatively an English, characteristic at all - and if so, whether fair play still matters today?

In An English Tradition?, Jonathan Duke-Evans explores the origins of the idea of fair play, tracing it back to the classical world and the Dark Ages, and finding its genesis deep within England's social structure. Charting its early development through both the tales of chivalry and the stories of popular legend, the book shows how fair play manifested itself in literature, the law, the Christian religion, and the family. It examines the way in which fair play was conceived during the ages of slavery and empire, and it proposes a new account of the birth of modern sport in the encounter between age-old popular games and the Victorian cult of amateurism. Taking in the Scottish, Irish, and Welsh manifestations of fair play, Duke-Evans offers contrasts and comparisons from cultures all around the world, and suggests new perspectives on the relevance of fair play in the twenty-first century.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 22, 2023

"Ybor City: Crucible of the Latina South"

Coming April 11 from the University of North Carolina Press: Ybor City: Crucible of the Latina South by Sarah McNamara.

About the book, from the publisher:
When we think about the origins of Latina/o Florida, we often imagine Cuban immigrants who fled the regime of Fidel Castro. But decades before Miami became Havana USA, a wave of leftist, radical, working-class women and men from prerevolutionary Cuba crossed the Florida Straits, made Ybor City the global capital of the Cuban cigar industry, and established the foundation of latinidad in the sunshine state. Located on the eastern edge of the Gulf Coast port city of Tampa, Ybor City was a neighborhood of cigar workers and Caribbean revolutionaries who sought refuge against the shifting tides of international political turmoil during the early half of the twentieth century.

Here historian Sarah McNamara tells the story of immigrant and U.S.-born Latinas/os who fought for survival across generations and against the backdrop of a reconstructed southern order. McNamara follows Latinas who organized strikes, marched against fascism, and criticized U.S. foreign policy. While many members of the immigrant generation maintained their dedication to progressive ideals for years to come, those who came of age in the wake of World War II distanced themselves from leftist politics amidst the Red Scare and the wrecking ball of urban renewal. This portrait of the political shifts that defined Ybor City highlights the underexplored role of women’s leadership within movements for social and economic justice as it illustrates how people, places, and politics become who and what they are.
Follow Sarah McNamara on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 21, 2023

"Queer Career"

New from Princeton University Press: Queer Career: Sexuality and Work in Modern America by Margot Canaday.

About the book, from the publisher:
A masterful history of the LGBT workforce in America

Workplaces have traditionally been viewed as “straight spaces” in which queer people passed. As a result, historians have directed limited attention to the experiences of queer people on the job. Queer Career rectifies this, offering an expansive historical look at sexual minorities in the modern American workforce. Arguing that queer workers were more visible than hidden and, against the backdrop of state aggression, vulnerable to employer exploitation, Margot Canaday positions employment and fear of job loss as central to gay life in postwar America.

Rather than finding that many midcentury employers tried to root out gay employees, Canaday sees an early version of “don’t ask / don’t tell”: in all kinds of work, as long as queer workers were discreet, they were valued for the lower wages they could be paid, their contingency, their perceived lack of familial ties, and the ease with which they could be pulled in and pushed out of the labor market. Across the socioeconomic spectrum, they were harbingers of post-Fordist employment regimes we now associate with precarity. While progress was not linear, by century’s end some gay workers rejected their former discretion, and some employers eventually offered them protection unattained through law. Pushed by activists at the corporate grass roots, business emerged at the forefront of employment rights for sexual minorities. It did so, at least in part, in response to the way that queer workers aligned with, and even prefigured, the labor system of late capitalism.

Queer Career shows how LGBT history helps us understand the recent history of capitalism and labor and rewrites our understanding of the queer past.
The Page 99 Test: The Straight State.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 20, 2023

"Actual Malice"

Coming soon from the University of California Press: Actual Malice: Civil Rights and Freedom of the Press in New York Times v. Sullivan by Samantha Barbas.

About the book, from the publisher:
A deeply researched legal drama that documents this landmark First Amendment ruling—one that is more critical and controversial than ever.

Actual Malice tells the full story of New York Times v. Sullivan, the dramatic case that grew out of segregationists' attempts to quash reporting on the civil rights movement. In its landmark 1964 decision, the Supreme Court held that a public official must prove "actual malice" or reckless disregard of the truth to win a libel lawsuit, providing critical protections for free speech and freedom of the press.

Drawing on previously unexplored sources, including the archives of the New York Times Company and civil rights leaders, Samantha Barbas tracks the saga behind one of the most important First Amendment rulings in history. She situates the case within the turbulent 1960s and the history of the press, alongside striking portraits of the lawyers, officials, judges, activists, editors, and journalists who brought and defended the case. As the Sullivan doctrine faces growing controversy, Actual Malice reminds us of the stakes of the case that shaped American reporting and public discourse as we know it.
Visit Samantha Barbas's website.

The Page 99 Test: Laws of Image.

The Page 99 Test: Newsworthy.

The Page 99 Test: The Rise and Fall of Morris Ernst, Free Speech Renegade.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 19, 2023

"Bucking the Buck"

Coming March 10 from Oxford University Press: Bucking the Buck: US Financial Sanctions and the International Backlash against the Dollar by Daniel McDowell.

About the book, from the publisher:
The US dollar is the world's indispensable currency. The dollar's preeminent status gives the United States enormous coercive powers which it flexes in the form of financial sanctions to punish its adversaries. Over the last twenty years, Washington has relied on financial sanctions with greater and greater frequency. Bucking the Buck argues that the more the United States wields the dollar as a weapon of foreign policy, the more its adversaries will move their international economic activities into other currencies to avoid Washington's coercive reach. Through a combination of case studies and statistical analysis, the book establishes a relationship between US financial sanctions and the rise of "anti-dollar" policies, which are designed to reduce an economy's reliance on the US currency. Though some anti-dollar policies fail to achieve this goal, McDowell's analysis indicates that in many cases they are successful. Patterns of "de-dollarization" following sanctions are clear. In some cases, the anticipation of future sanctions may provoke similar policy measures.

Though McDowell does not conclude that sanctions threaten the dollar's status as the world's key currency, the potential consequences of sanctions overuse remain important. Most notably, the use of sanctions may, over time, weaken their effectiveness as US adversaries develop systems and methods to minimize costs associated with such measures. If the United States wishes to preserve the potency of financial sanctions and protect the dollar's dominant position in the world economy, Bucking the Buck argues that Washington's approach to sanctions use should become more discerning.
Visit Daniel McDowell's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

"Love Spells and Lost Treasure"

New from Cambridge University Press: Love Spells and Lost Treasure: Service Magic in England from the Later Middle Ages to the Early Modern Era by Tabitha Stanmore.

About the book, from the publisher:
Magic is ubiquitous across the world and throughout history. Yet if witchcraft is acknowledged as a persistent presence in the medieval and early modern eras, practical magic by contrast – performed to a useful end for payment, and actually more common than malign spellcasting – has been overlooked. Exploring many hundred instances of daily magical usage, and setting these alongside a range of imaginative and didactic literatures, Tabitha Stanmore demonstrates the entrenched nature of 'service' magic in premodern English society. This, she shows, was a type of spellcraft for needs that nothing else could address: one well established by the time of the infamous witch trials. The book explores perceptions of magical practitioners by clients and neighbours, and the way such magic was utilised by everyone: from lowliest labourer to highest lord. Stanmore reveals that – even if technically illicit – magic was for most people an accepted, even welcome, aspect of everyday life.
Follow Tabitha Stanmore on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

"How Slavoj Became Žižek"

New from the University of Chicago Press: How Slavoj Became Žižek: The Digital Making of a Public Intellectual by Eliran Bar-El.

About the book, from the publisher:
An engrossing account of the meteoric rise of contemporary philosophy’s most contentious and prolific intellectual.

Slovenian philosopher bad boy Slavoj Žižek is one of the most famous intellectuals of our time, publishing at a breakneck speed and lecturing around the world. With his unmistakable speaking style and set of mannerisms that have made him ripe material for internet humor and meme culture, he is recognizable to a wide spectrum of fans and detractors. But how did an intellectual from a remote Eastern European country come to such popular notoriety? In How Slavoj Became Žižek, sociologist Eliran Bar-El plumbs the emergence, popularization, and development of this phenomenon called “Žižek.”

Beginning with Žižek’s early years as a thinker and political figure in Slovenian civil society, Bar-El traces Žižek’s rise from Marxist philosopher to a political candidate to eventual intellectual celebrity as Žižek perfects his unique performative style and a rhetorical arsenal of “Hegelacanese.” Following 9/11, Žižek’s career as a global op-ed writer and TV commentator married his rhetoric with global events such as the War on Terror, the financial crisis of 2008, and the Arab Spring of 2011. Yet, at the same time, this mainstream popularity, as well as a series of politically incorrect views, almost entirely estranged the Slovenian from the normal workings of academia. Ultimately, this account shows how Žižek harnessed the power of the digital era in his own self-fashioning as a public intellectual.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 16, 2023

"Jewish Muslims"

New from the University of California Press: Jewish Muslims: How Christians Imagined Islam as the Enemy by David M. Freidenreich.

About the book, from the publisher:
Uncovering the hidden history of Islamophobia and its surprising connections to the long-standing hatred of Jews.

Hatred of Jews and hatred of Muslims have been intertwined in Christian thought since the rise of Islam. In Jewish Muslims, David M. Freidenreich explores the history of this complex, perplexing, and emotionally fraught phenomenon. He makes the compelling case that, then and now, hate-mongers target "them" in an effort to define "us."

Analyzing anti-Muslim sentiment in texts and images produced across Europe and the Middle East over a thousand years, the author shows how Christians intentionally distorted reality by alleging that Muslims were just like Jews. They did so not only to justify assaults against Muslims on theological grounds but also to motivate fellow believers to live as "good" Christians. The disdain premodern polemicists expressed for Islam and Judaism was never really about these religions. Rather, they sought to promote their own visions of Christianity—a dynamic that similarly animates portrayals of Muslims and Jews today.
The Page 99 Test: Foreigners and Their Food.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 15, 2023

"The Blazing World"

Coming April 11 from Knopf: The Blazing World: A New History of Revolutionary England, 1603-1689 by Jonathan Healey.

About the book, from the publisher:
A fresh, exciting history of seventeenth-century England, a time of revolution when society was on fire and simultaneously forging the modern world

The seventeenth century was a revolutionary age for the English. It started as they suddenly found themselves ruled by a Scotsman, and it ended in the shadow of an invasion by the Dutch. Under James I, England suffered terrorism and witch panics. Under his son Charles, state and society collapsed into civil war, to be followed by an army coup and regicide. For a short time—for the only time in history—England was a republic. There were bitter struggles over faith and Parliament asserted itself like never before. There were no boundaries to politics. In fiery, plague-ridden London, in coffee shops and alehouses, new ideas were forged that were angry, populist, and almost impossible for monarchs to control.

But the story of this century is less well known than it should be. Myths have grown around key figures. People may know about the Gunpowder Plot and the Great Fire of London, but the Civil War is a half-remembered mystery to many. And yet the seventeenth century has never seemed more relevant. The British constitution is once again being bent and contorted, and there is a clash of ideologies reminiscent of when Roundhead fought Cavalier.

The Blazing World is the story of this strange, twisting, fascinating century. It shows a society in sparkling detail. It was a new world of wealth, creativity, and daring curiosity, but also of greed, pugnacious arrogance, and colonial violence.
Follow Jonathan Healey on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 14, 2023

"The Great New York Fire of 1776"

New from Yale University Press: The Great New York Fire of 1776: A Lost Story of the American Revolution by Benjamin L. Carp.

About the book, from the publisher:
Who set the mysterious fire that burned down much of New York City shortly after the British took the city during the Revolutionary War?

New York City, the strategic center of the Revolutionary War, was the most important place in North America in 1776. That summer, an unruly rebel army under George Washington repeatedly threatened to burn the city rather than let the British take it. Shortly after the Crown’s forces took New York City, much of it mysteriously burned to the ground.

This is the first book to fully explore the Great Fire of 1776 and why its origins remained a mystery even after the British investigated it in 1776 and 1783. Uncovering stories of espionage, terror, and radicalism, Benjamin L. Carp paints a vivid picture of the chaos, passions, and unresolved tragedies that define a historical moment we usually associate with “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The Page 99 Test: Defiance of the Patriots.

Visit Benjamin L. Carp's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 13, 2023

"Learning to Live Naturally"

Coming February 24 from Oxford University Press: Learning to Live Naturally: Stoic Ethics and its Modern Significance by Christopher Gill.

About the book, from the publisher:
At a time of unprecedented interest in Stoicism among scholars and the general public, this book offers a sustained examination of the core Stoic ethical claims and their significance for modern moral theory. The first part considers the Stoic ideas of happiness as the life according to nature and virtue as expertise in leading a happy life and explores the senses of 'nature' (both human and universal) relevant for ethics. The second part studies Stoic thinking on ethical development (learning to live naturally), bringing out the interconnections between growth in ethical understanding, forming social relationships, and emotional responses. The third part discusses how Stoic ethics, as interpreted here, can contribute to contemporary moral theory, especially virtue ethics. It suggests that Stoic thinking on the virtue-happiness relationship offers a cogent alternative to Aristotle, currently the main ancient prototype for virtue ethical theory, and it explores ways in which Stoic ideas on human and universal nature can contribute to modern ethical debates, notably on how to respond effectively to the pressing challenge of climate breakdown. It also highlights the value of Stoic guidance for virtue ethics as well as contemporary 'life-guidance'. A further distinctive feature of the book is the close and extended study of key sources for Stoic ethics, including Cicero's On Ends and On Duties, which enables readers of different kinds to interpret these source for themselves.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 12, 2023

"Dark Agoras"

New from NYU Press: Dark Agoras: Insurgent Black Social Life and the Politics of Place by J.T. Roane.

About the book, from the publisher:
A history of Black urban placemaking and politics in Philadelphia from the Great Migration to the era of Black Power

In this book, author J.T. Roane shows how working-class Black communities cultivated two interdependent modes of insurgent assembly—dark agoras—in twentieth century Philadelphia. He investigates the ways they transposed rural imaginaries about and practices of place as part of their spatial resistances and efforts to contour industrial neighborhoods. In acts that ranged from the mundane acts of refashioning intimate spaces to expressly confrontational and liberatory efforts to transform the city’s social and ecological arrangement, these communities challenged the imposition of Progressive and post-Progressive visions for urban order seeking to enclose or displace them.

Under the rubric of dark agoras Roane brings together two formulations of collectivity and belonging associated with working-class Black life. While on their surface diametrically opposed, the city’s underground—its illicit markets, taverns, pool halls, unlicensed bars, as well as spaces housing illicit sex and informal sites like corners associated with the economically and socially disreputable--constituted a spatial and experiential continuum with the city’s set apart—its house meetings, storefronts, temples, and masjid, as well as the extensive spiritually appropriated architectures of the interwar mass movements that included rural land experiments as well as urban housing, hotels, and recreational facilities. Together these sites incubated Black queer urbanism, or dissident visions for urban life challenging dominant urban reform efforts and their modes of producing race, gender, and ultimately the city itself. Roane shows how Black communities built a significant if underappreciated terrain of geographic struggle shaping Philadelphia between the Great Migration and Black Power. This fascinating book will help readers appreciate the importance of Black spatial imaginaries and worldmaking in shaping matters of urban place and politics.
Follow J.T. Roane on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

"The Culture Trap"

New from Oxford University Press: The Culture Trap: Ethnic Expectations and Unequal Schooling for Black Youth by Derron Wallace.

About the book, from the publisher:
In The Culture Trap, Derron Wallace argues that the overreliance on culture to explain Black students' achievement and behavior in schools is a trap that undermines the historical factors and institutional processes that shape how Black students experience schooling. This trap is consequential for a host of racial and ethnic minority youth in schools, including Black Caribbean young people in London and New York City. Since the 1920s, Black Caribbeans in New York have been considered a high-achieving Black model minority. Conversely, since the 1950s, Black Caribbeans in London have been regarded as a chronically underachieving minority. In both contexts, however, it is often suggested that Caribbean culture informs their status, whether as a celebrated minority in the US or as a demoted minority in Britain.

Drawing on rich ethnographic observations, as well as interview and archival data from two of the largest public schools in London and New York City, Wallace interrogates the fault lines of these claims, and highlights the influence of colonialism, class, and context in shaping Black Caribbeans' educational experiences. As racial and ethnic achievement gaps and discussions about what to do about them persist in the US and Britain, Wallace shows how culture is at times used as an alibi for racism in schools, and points out what educators, parents, and students can do to change it.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

"The Once and Future Sex"

New from W.W. Norton: The Once and Future Sex: Going Medieval on Women's Roles in Society by Eleanor Janega.

About the book, from the publisher:
A vibrant and illuminating exploration of medieval thinking on women’s beauty, sexuality, and behavior.

What makes for the ideal woman? How should she look, love, and be? In this vibrant, high-spirited history, medievalist Eleanor Janega turns to the Middle Ages, the era that bridged the ancient world and modern society, to unfurl its suppositions about women and reveal what’s shifted over time—and what hasn’t.

Enshrined medieval thinkers, almost always male, subscribed to a blend of classical Greek and Roman philosophy and Christian theology for their concepts of the sexes. For the height of female attractiveness, they chose the mythical Helen of Troy, whose imagined pear shape, small breasts, and golden hair served as beauty’s epitome. Casting Eve’s shadow over medieval women, they derided them as oversexed sinners, inherently lustful, insatiable, and weak. And, unless a nun, a woman was to be the embodiment of perfect motherhood.

In contrast, drawing on accounts of remarkable and subversive medieval women like Eleanor of Aquitaine and Hildegard of Bingen, along with others hidden in documents and court cases, Janega shows us how real women of the era lived. While often mothers, they were industrious farmers, brewers, textile workers, artists, and artisans and paved the way for new ideas about women’s nature, intellect, and ability.

In The Once and Future Sex, Janega unravels the restricting expectations on medieval women and the ones on women today. She boldly questions why, if our ideas of women have changed drastically over time, we cannot reimagine them now to create a more equitable future.
Follow Eleanor Janega on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 9, 2023

"Junk Food Politics"

New from Johns Hopkins University Press: Junk Food Politics: How Beverage and Fast Food Industries Are Reshaping Emerging Economies by Eduardo J. Gómez.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why do sugary beverage and fast food industries thrive in the emerging world?

An interesting public health paradox has emerged in some developing nations. Despite government commitment to eradicating noncommunicable diseases and innovative prevention programs aimed at reducing obesity and type 2 diabetes, sugary beverage and fast food industries are thriving. But political leaders in countries such as Mexico, Brazil, India, China, and Indonesia are reluctant to introduce policies regulating the marketing and sale of their products, particularly among vulnerable groups like children and the poor. Why?

In Junk Food Politics, Eduardo J. Gómez argues that the challenge lies with the strategic politics of junk food industries in these countries. Industry leaders have succeeded in creating supportive political coalitions by, ironically, partnering with governments to promote soda taxes, food labeling, and initiatives focused on public awareness and exercise while garnering presidential support (and social popularity) through contributions to government anti-hunger and anti-poverty campaigns. These industries have also manipulated scientific research by working with academic allies while creating their own support bases among the poor through employment programs and community services. Taken together, these tactics have hampered people's ability to mobilize in support of stricter regulation for the marketing and sale of unhealthy products made by companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé.

Drawing on detailed historical case studies, Junk Food Politics proposes an alternative political science framework that emphasizes how junk food corporations restructure politics and society before agenda-setting ever takes place. This pathbreaking book also reveals how these global corporations further their policy influence through the creation of transnational nongovernmental organizations that support industry views.
Follow Eduardo J. Gómez on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 8, 2023

"The Return of Resentment"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Return of Resentment: The Rise and Decline and Rise Again of a Political Emotion by Robert A. Schneider.

About the book, from the publisher:
Charts the long history of resentment, from its emergence to its establishment as the word of the moment.

The term “resentment,” often casually paired with words like “hatred,” “rage,” and “fear,” has dominated US news analysis since November 2016. Despite its increased use, this word seems to defy easy categorization. Does “resentment” describe many interlocking sentiments, or is it just another way of saying “anger”? Does it suggest an irrational grievance, as opposed to a legitimate callout of injustice? Does it imply political leanings, or is it nonpartisan by nature?

In The Return of Resentment, Robert A. Schneider explores these questions and more, moving from eighteenth-century Britain to the aftermath of the French Revolution to social movements throughout the twentieth century. Drawing on a wide range of writers, thinkers, and historical experiences, Schneider illustrates how resentment has morphed across time, coming to express a collective sentiment felt by people and movements across the political spectrum. In this history, we discover resentment’s modernity and its ambiguity—how it can be used to dismiss legitimate critique and explain away violence, but also convey a moral stance that demands recognition. Schneider anatomizes the many ways resentment has been used to label present-day movements, from followers of Trump and supporters of Brexit to radical Islamicists and proponents of identity politics. Addressing our contemporary political situation in a novel way, The Return of Resentment challenges us to think critically about the roles different emotions play in politics.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, January 7, 2023

"My Soul Is a Witness"

New from Yale University Press: My Soul Is a Witness: The Traumatic Afterlife of Lynching by Mari N. Crabtree.

About the book, from the publisher:
An intimate look at the afterlife of lynching through the personal stories of Black victims and survivors who lived through and beyond its trauma

Mari N. Crabtree traces the long afterlife of lynching in the South through the traumatic memories it left in its wake. She unearths how African American victims and survivors found ways to live through and beyond the horrors of lynching, offering a theory of African American collective trauma and memory rooted in the ironic spirit of the blues sensibility—a spirit of misdirection and cunning that blends joy and pain.

Black southerners often shielded their loved ones from the most painful memories of local lynchings with strategic silences but also told lynching stories about vengeful ghosts or a wrathful God or the deathbed confessions of a lyncher tormented by his past. They protested lynching and its legacies through art and activism, and they mourned those lost to a mob’s fury. They infused a blues element into their lynching narratives to confront traumatic memories and keep the blues at bay, even if just for a spell. Telling their stories troubles the simplistic binary of resistance or submission that has tended to dominate narratives of Black life and reminds us that amid the utter devastation of lynching were glimmers of hope and an affirmation of life.
Visit Mari N. Crabtree's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, January 6, 2023

"Triumph and Despair"

New from Oxford University Press: Triumph and Despair: In Search of Iran's Islamic Republic by Mehran Kamrava.

About the book, from the publisher:
Triumph and Despair tells the dramatic story of post-revolutionary Iran's first four decades, from its establishment in 1979 until today. The revolutionary coalition that overthrew the monarchy was at once democratic, populist and Islamic. The Islamists, and the Khomeinists in particular, were able to capitalize effectively on prevailing conditions on the ground; to frame the new republic's constitution, capture nascent institutions, and consolidate their power by eliminating opponents through a reign of terror. Once the war with Iraq was over and after the death of the new order's charismatic founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic was consolidated: first by tweaking its institutional arrangements, and then by fostering economic development and post-war reconstruction. A reformist interlude then followed, reversed unceremoniously by a return of populism and a broader authoritarian retrenchment. Today Iran remains at odds with itself, its economy too deeply political to yield meaningful developmental results, its foreign relations too conflicted to allow it a productive place in the community of nations. As Iran's nationalities and its women and youth carve out spaces for themselves in the broader narrative, competing identities-religious, national and otherwise-abound. After forty years, the Islamic Republic remains a country in search of itself.
Visit Mehran Kamrava's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 5, 2023

"Communism's Public Sphere"

New from Cornell University Press: Communism's Public Sphere: Culture as Politics in Cold War Poland and East Germany by Kyrill Kunakhovich.

About the book, from the publisher:
Communism's Public Sphere explores the political role of cultural spaces in the Eastern Bloc. Under communist regimes that banned free speech, political discussions shifted to spaces of art: theaters, galleries, concert halls, and youth clubs. Kyrill Kunakhovich shows how these venues turned into sites of dialogue and contestation. While officials used them to spread the communist message, artists and audiences often flouted state policy and championed alternative visions. Cultural spaces therefore came to function as a public sphere, or a rare outlet for discussing public affairs.

Focusing on Kraków in Poland and Leipzig in East Germany, Communism's Public Sphere sheds new light on state-society interactions in the Eastern Bloc. In place of the familiar trope of domination and resistance, it highlights unexpected symbioses like state-sponsored rock and roll, socialist consumerism, and sanctioned dissent.

By examining nearly five decades of communist rule, from the Red Army's arrival in Poland in 1944 to German reunification in 1990, Kunakhovich argues that cultural spaces played a pivotal mediating role. They helped reform and stabilize East European communism but also gave cover to the protest movements that ultimately brought it down.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

"Indigenous Memory, Urban Reality"

New from NYU Press: Indigenous Memory, Urban Reality: Stories of American Indian Relocation and Reclamation by Michelle R. Jacobs.

About the book, from the publisher:
Contemporary accounts of urban Native identity in two pan-Indian communities

In the last half century, changing racial and cultural dynamics in the United States have caused an explosion in the number of people claiming to be American Indian, from just over half a million in 1960 to over three million in 2013. Additionally, seven out of ten American Indians live in or near cities, rather than in tribal communities, and that number is growing.

In Indigenous Memory, Urban Reality, Michelle Jacobs examines the new reality of the American Indian urban experience. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted over two and a half years, Jacobs focuses on how some individuals are invested in reclaiming Indigenous identities whereas others are more invested in relocating their sense of self to the urban environment. These groups not only apply different meanings to indigeneity, but they also develop different strategies for asserting and maintaining Native identities in an urban space inundated with false memories and fake icons of “Indian-ness.” Jacobs shows that “Indianness” is a highly contested phenomenon among these two groups: some are accused of being "wannabes" who merely "play Indian," while others are accused of being exclusionary and "policing the boundaries of Indianness." Taken together, the interconnected stories of relocators and reclaimers expose the struggles of Indigenous and Indigenous-identified participants in urban pan-Indian communities. Indigenous Memory, Urban Reality offers a complicated portrait of who can rightfully claim and enact American Indian identities and what that tells us about how race is “made” today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

"Yemen in the Shadow of Transition"

New from Oxford University Press: Yemen in the Shadow of Transition: Pursuing Justice Amid War by Stacey Philbrick Yadav.

About the book, from the publisher:
Responding to a diplomatic stalemate and a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, Yemen's civil actors work every day to build peace in fragmented local communities across the country. This book shows how their efforts relate to longstanding justice demands in Yemeni society, and details three decades of alternating elite indifference toward, or strategic engagement with, questions of justice. Exploring the transformative impact of the 2011 uprising and Yemenis' substantive wrestling with questions of justice in the years that followed, leading Yemen scholar Stacey Philbrick Yadav shows how the transitional process was ultimately overtaken by war, and explains why features of the transitional framework nevertheless remain a central reference point for civil actors engaged in peacebuilding today. In the absence of a negotiated settlement, everyday peacebuilding has become a new site for justice work, as an arena in which civil actors enjoy agency and social recognition. Drawing on seventeen years of field research and interviews with civil actors, Yadav positions Yemen's non-combatants not-or not only-as victims of conflict, but as political agents imagining and enacting the justice they wish to see.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 2, 2023

"Arid Empire"

New from Verso Books: Arid Empire: The Entangled Fates of Arizona and Arabia by Natalie Koch.

About the book, from the publisher:
A revelatory new history of the colonization of the American West

The iconic deserts of the American southwest could not have been colonized and settled without the help of desert experts from the Middle East. For example: In 1856, a caravan of thirty-three camels arrived in Indianola, Texas, led by a Syrian cameleer the Americans called "Hi Jolly." This "camel corps," the US government hoped, could help the army secure the new southwest swath of the country just wrested from Mexico. Though the dream of the camel corps - and sadly, the camels - died, the idea of drawing on expertise, knowledge, and practices from the desert countries of the Middle East did not.

As Natalie Koch demonstrates in this evocative, narrative history, the exchange of colonial technologies between the Arabian Peninsula and United States over the past two centuries - from date palm farming and desert agriculture to the utopian sci-fi dreams of Biosphere 2 and Frank Herbert's Dune - bound the two regions together, solidifying the colonization of the US West and, eventually, the reach of American power into the Middle East. Koch teaches us to see deserts anew, not as mythic sites of romance or empty wastelands but as an "arid empire," a crucial political space where imperial dreams coalesce.
Visit Natalie Koch's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 1, 2023

"Dangerous Intercourse"

New from Cornell University Press: Dangerous Intercourse: Gender and Interracial Relations in the American Colonial Philippines, 1898-1946 by Tessa Winkelmann.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Dangerous Intercourse, Tessa Winkelmann examines interracial social and sexual contact between Americans and Filipinos in the early twentieth century via a wide range of relationships—from the casual and economic to the formal and long term. Winkelmann argues that such intercourse was foundational not only to the colonization of the Philippines but also to the longer, uneven history between the two nations. Although some relationships between Filipinos and Americans served as demonstrations of US "benevolence," too-close sexual relations also threatened social hierarchies and the so-called civilizing mission. For the Filipino, Indigenous, Moro, Chinese, and other local populations, intercourse offered opportunities to negotiate and challenge empire, though these opportunities often came at a high cost for those most vulnerable.

Drawing on a multilingual array of primary sources, Dangerous Intercourse highlights that sexual relationships enabled US authorities to police white and nonwhite bodies alike, define racial and national boundaries, and solidify colonial rule throughout the archipelago. The dangerous ideas about sexuality and Filipina women created and shaped by US imperialists of the early twentieth century remain at the core of contemporary American notions of the island nation and indeed, of Asian and Asian American women more generally.
--Marshal Zeringue