Tuesday, February 28, 2023

"The Allure of Empire"

New from Oxford University Press: The Allure of Empire: American Encounters with Asians in the Age of Transpacific Expansion and Exclusion by Chris Suh.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Allure of Empire traces how American ideas about race in the Pacific were made and remade on the imperial stage before World War II. Following the Russo-Japanese War, the United States cultivated an amicable relationship with Japan based on the belief that it was a "progressive" empire akin to its own. Even as the two nations competed for influence in Asia and clashed over immigration issues in the American West, the mutual respect for empire sustained their transpacific cooperation until Pearl Harbor, when both sides disavowed their history of collaboration and cast each other as incompatible enemies.

In recovering this lost history, Chris Suh reveals the surprising extent to which debates about Korea shaped the politics of interracial cooperation. American recognition of Japan as a suitable partner depended in part on a positive assessment of its colonial rule of Korea. It was not until news of Japan's violent suppression of Koreans soured this perception that the exclusion of Japanese immigrants became possible in the United States. Central to these shifts in opinion was the cooperation of various Asian elites aspiring to inclusion in a "progressive" American empire. By examining how Korean, Japanese, and other nonwhite groups appealed to the United States, this book demonstrates that the imperial order sustained itself through a particular form of interracial collaboration that did not disturb the existing racial hierarchy.
Follow Chris Suh on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 27, 2023

"Reconciliation by Stealth"

New from Cornell University Press: Reconciliation by Stealth: How People Talk about War Crimes by Denisa Kostovicova.

About the book, from the publisher:
Reconciliation by Stealth advances a novel approach to evaluating the effects of transitional justice in post-conflict societies. Through her examination of the Balkan conflicts, Denisa Kostovicova asks what happens when former adversaries discuss legacies of violence and atrocity, and whether it is possible to do so without further deepening animosities. Reconciliation by Stealth shifts our attention from what people say about war crimes, to how they deliberate past wrongs.

Bringing together theories of democratic deliberation and peace-building, Kostovicova demonstrates how people from opposing ethnic groups reconcile through reasoned, respectful, and empathetic deliberation of a difficult legacy. She finds that expression of ethnic difference plays a role in good-quality deliberation across ethnic lines, while revealed intraethnic divisions help deliberators expand moral horizons previously narrowed by conflict. In the process, people forge bonds of solidarity and offset divisive identity politics that bears upon their deliberations.

Reconciliation by Stealth shows us the importance of theoretical and methodological innovation in capturing how transitional justice can promote reconciliation, and points to the untapped potential of deliberative problem-solving to repair relationships fractured by conflict.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 26, 2023

"Magical Thinking in Public Policy"

New from Oxford University Press: Magical Thinking in Public Policy: Why Naïve Ideals about Better Policymaking Persist in Cynical Times by John Boswell.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book explores why naïve ideals about better policymaking persist even in cynical times, revealing the careful reflection at the heart of what appears to be 'magical thinking' in public policy. Contemporary policy scholarship tends to be cynical about movements to reform policymaking by making it more rational or more democratic. Scholars point to the pathologies and vagaries of realpolitik that render ideals such as evidence-based policymaking, long-term prevention, collaboration, transparency, and citizen engagement unattainable. Increasingly, many go further to warn about the democratic dangers of pursuing these foolhardy goals. The fact is, however, that scholarly objections about political obstacles and practical constraints are not news to policy actors themselves - they are acutely aware of the challenges of policy work amid uncertainty, complexity and contestation. They privately express doubt, frustration, and cynicism, but they continue to support, promote, and work towards these key aspirations in practice. Through rich case studies and wide-ranging theoretical discussion, John Boswell offers novel insights into the continuing appeal of seemingly naïve ideals. In particular, he shows how turning to these ideals helps actors to reconcile and resolve key dilemmas and challenges in their everyday work. Ultimately, the book offers a nuanced and spirited defence of the value of clinging on to seemingly naïve ideals for better policymaking, even in the face of inevitable failures and disappointments.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 25, 2023


New from Johns Hopkins University Press: Unsettling: The El Paso Massacre, Resurgent White Nationalism, and the US-Mexico Border by Gilberto Rosas.

About the book, from the publisher:
Documents the cruel immigration policies and treatment toward border crossers on the US-Mexico border.

On August 3, 2019, a far-right extremist committed a deadly mass shooting at a major shopping center in El Paso, Texas, a city on the border of the United States and Mexico. In Unsettling, Gilberto Rosas situates this devastating shooting as the latest unsettling consequence of our border crisis and currents of deeply rooted white nationalism embedded in the United States.

Tracing strict immigration policies and inhumane border treatment from the Clinton era through Democratic and Republican administrations alike, Rosas shows how the rhetoric around these policies helped lead to the Trump administration's brutal crackdown on migration—and the massacre in El Paso. Rosas draws on poignant stories and compelling testimonies from workers in immigrant justice organizations, federal public defenders, immigration attorneys, and human rights activists to document the cruelties and indignities inflicted on border crossers.

Borders, as sites of crossings and spaces long inhabited by marginalized populations, generate deep anxiety across much of the contemporary world. Rosas demonstrates how the Trump administration amplified and weaponized immigration and border policy, including family separation, torture, and murder. None of this dehumanization and violence was inevitable, however. The border zone in El Paso (which translates to "the Pass") was once a very different place, one marked by frequent and inconsequential crossings to and from both sides—and with more humane immigration policies, it could become that once again.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 24, 2023

"The Caliph and the Imam"

New from Oxford University Press: The Caliph and the Imam: The Making of Sunnism and Shiism by Toby Matthiesen.

About the book, from the publisher:
The authoritative account of Islam's schism that for centuries has shaped events in the Middle East and the Islamic world.

In 632, soon after the Prophet Muhammad died, a struggle broke out among his followers as to who would succeed him. Most Muslims argued that the leader of Islam should be elected by the community's elite and rule as Caliph. They would later become the Sunnis. Others—who would become known as the Shia—believed that Muhammad had designated his cousin and son-in-law Ali as his successor, and that henceforth Ali's offspring should lead as Imams. This dispute over who should guide Muslims, the Caliph or the Imam, marks the origin of the Sunni-Shii split in Islam.

Toby Matthiesen explores this hugely significant division from its origins to the present day. Moving chronologically, his book sheds light on the many ways that it has shaped the Islamic world, outlining how over the centuries Sunnism and Shiism became Islam's two main branches, and how Muslim Empires embraced specific sectarian identities. Focussing on connections between the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East, it reveals how colonial rule and the modern state institutionalised sectarian divisions and at the same time led to pan-Islamic resistance and Sunni and Shii revivalism. It then focuses on the fall-out from the 1979 revolution in Iran and the US-led military intervention in Iraq. As Matthiesen shows, however, though Sunnism and Shiism have had a long and antagonistic history, most Muslims have led lives characterised by confessional ambiguity and peaceful co-existence. Tensions arise when sectarian identity becomes linked to politics.

Based on a synthesis of decades of scholarship in numerous languages, The Caliph and the Imam will become the standard text for readers looking for a deeper understanding of contemporary sectarian conflict and its historical roots.
Visit Toby Matthiesen's website.

Writers Read: Toby Matthiesen (January 2015).

The Page 99 Test: The Other Saudis.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 23, 2023

"Community Benefits"

New from the University of Pennsylvania Press: Community Benefits: Developers, Negotiations, and Accountability by Jovanna Rosen.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Community Benefits, Jovanna P. Rosen explores a new pattern in urban development: local residents and community representatives leveraging large-scale development projects for agreements that promise dedicated local benefits, such as parks and jobs. In general, such development projects have not produced impactful benefits for local residents, and often have contributed to significant community harm, including gentrification and displacement. In response, community activists have launched a fight to control development, using benefits-sharing agreements to ensure that projects produced better outcomes for local residents. While such agreements now exist across the nation, the process of negotiating and enforcing them remains challenging. This book dives deep into four case studies―in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle, and Milwaukee―to answer the following questions: Who ultimately benefits from both the agreements and the projects in question? How do benefits get delivered, and who controls this process? What works for these agreements to successfully produce community outcomes?

Rosen shows that, without agreements that promote accountability, developers and other project proponents can walk away from the negotiating table once the agreement is signed and the development moves forward. This disregard for community benefits and priorities can leave community residents solely responsible for benefits delivery during implementation, but with few viable avenues to ensure that outcomes materialize. The cases reveal specific elements that agreements require to achieve success during implementation: community participation, managerial connections, effective partnerships, responsiveness, and vigorous oversight with accountability mechanisms. Although creating these conditions is difficult, sometimes impossible, and contingent on fragile processes, Rosen concludes the book with recommendations for both the agreement negotiation and implementation phases to ensure success.
Follow Jovanna Rosen on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

"The Ideological Scramble for Africa"

New from Cornell University Press: The Ideological Scramble for Africa: How the Pursuit of Anticolonial Modernity Shaped a Postcolonial Order, 1945–1966 by Frank Gerits.

About the book, from the publisher:
In The Ideological Scramble for Africa, Frank Gerits examines how African leaders in the 1950s and 1960s crafted an anticolonial modernization project. Rather than choose Cold War sides between East and West, anticolonial nationalists worked to reverse the psychological and cultural destruction of colonialism.

Kwame Nkrumah's African Union was envisioned as a federation of liberation to challenge the extant imperial forces: the US empire of liberty, the Soviet empire of equality, and the European empires of exploitation. In the 1950s, the goal of proving the potency of a pan-African ideology shaped the agenda of the Bandung Conference and Ghana's support for African liberation, while also determining what was at stake in the Congo crisis and in the fight against white minority rule in southern and eastern Africa. In the 1960s, the attempt to remake African psychology was abandoned, and socioeconomic development came into focus. Anticolonial nationalists did not simply resist or utilize imperial and Cold War pressures but drew strength from the example of the Haitian Revolution of 1791, in which Toussaint Louverture demanded the universal application of Europe's Enlightenment values. The liberationists of the postwar period wanted to redesign society in the image of the revolution that had created them.

The Ideological Scramble for Africa demonstrates that the Cold War struggle between capitalism and Communism was only one of two ideological struggles that picked up speed after 1945; the battle between liberation and imperialism proved to be more enduring.
Visit Frank Gerits's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

"Developing Scholars"

New from Oxford University Press: Developing Scholars: Race, Politics, and the Pursuit of Higher Education by Domingo Morel.

About the book, from the publisher:
Over the past fifty years, debates concerning race and college admissions have focused primarily on the policy of affirmative action at elite institutions of higher education. But a less well-known approach to affirmative action also emerged in the 1960s in response to urban unrest and Black and Latino political mobilization. The programs that emerged in response to community demands offered a more radical view of college access: admitting and supporting students who do not meet regular admissions requirements and come from families who are unable to afford college tuition, fees, and other expenses. While conventional views of affirmative action policies focus on the "identification" of high-achieving students of color to attend elite institutions of higher education, these programs represent a community-centered approach to affirmative action. This approach is based on a logic of developing scholars who can be supported at their local public institutions of higher education.

In Developing Scholars, Domingo Morel explores the history and political factors that led to the creation of college access programs for students of color in the 1960s. Through a case study of an existing community-centered affirmative action program, Talent Development, Morel shows how protest, including violent protest, has been instrumental in the maintenance of college access programs. He also reveals that in response to the college expansion efforts of the 1960s, hidden forms of restriction emerged that have significantly impacted students of color. Developing Scholars argues that the origin, history, and purpose of these programs reveal gaps in our understanding of college access expansion in the US that challenge conventional wisdom of American politics.
Visit Domingo Morel's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 20, 2023

"Undermining the State from Within"

New from Cambridge University Press: Undermining the State from Within: The Institutional Legacies of Civil War in Central America by Rachel A. Schwartz.

About the book, from the publisher:
Undermining the State from Within pulls back the curtain on the counterinsurgent state to better understand how conflict dynamics affect state institutions and continue to shape political and economic development in the postwar period. Drawing on unique archival and interview data from war and postwar Central America, this book illuminates how counterinsurgent actors, under the pretext of combatting an insurgent threat, introduce alternative rules within state institutions, which undermine core activities like tax collection, public security provision, and property administration. Moreover, it uncovers how the counterinsurgent elite outmaneuvers governance reforms during democratic transition and peacebuilding to preserve the predatory wartime status quo. In so doing, this book rethinks the relationship between war and state formation, challenges existing scholarly and policy approaches to peacebuilding and post-conflict institutional reform and contributes a new understanding of what civil war leaves behind in an institutional sense.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 19, 2023

"Beyond Data"

New from The MIT Press: Beyond Data: Reclaiming Human Rights at the Dawn of the Metaverse by Elizabeth M. Renieris.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why laws focused on data cannot effectively protect people—and how an approach centered on human rights offers the best hope for preserving human dignity and autonomy in a cyberphysical world.

Ever-pervasive technology poses a clear and present danger to human dignity and autonomy, as many have pointed out. And yet, for the past fifty years, we have been so busy protecting data that we have failed to protect people. In Beyond Data, Elizabeth Renieris argues that laws focused on data protection, data privacy, data security and data ownership have unintentionally failed to protect core human values, including privacy. And, as our collective obsession with data has grown, we have, to our peril, lost sight of what’s truly at stake in relation to technological development—our dignity and autonomy as people.

Far from being inevitable, our fixation on data has been codified through decades of flawed policy. Renieris provides a comprehensive history of how both laws and corporate policies enacted in the name of data privacy have been fundamentally incapable of protecting humans. Her research identifies the inherent deficiency of making data a rallying point in itself—data is not an objective truth, and what’s more, its “entirely contextual and dynamic” status makes it an unstable foundation for organizing. In proposing a human rights–based framework that would center human dignity and autonomy rather than technological abstractions, Renieris delivers a clear-eyed and radically imaginative vision of the future.

At once a thorough application of legal theory to technology and a rousing call to action, Beyond Data boldly reaffirms the value of human dignity and autonomy amid widespread disregard by private enterprise at the dawn of the metaverse.
Visit Elizabeth M. Renieris's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 18, 2023

"The Zelensky Effect"

New from Oxford University Press: The Zelensky Effect by Olga Onuch and Henry E. Hale.

About the book, from the publisher:
With Russian shells raining on Kyiv and tanks closing in, American forces prepared to evacuate Ukraine's leader. Just three years earlier, his apparent main qualification had been playing a president on TV. But Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly retorted, 'I need ammunition, not a ride.' Ukrainian forces won the battle for Kyiv, ensuring their country's independence even as a longer war began for the southeast.

You cannot understand the historic events of 2022 without understanding Zelensky. But the Zelensky effect is less about the man himself than about the civic nation he embodies: what makes Zelensky most extraordinary in war is his very ordinariness as a Ukrainian.

The Zelensky Effect explains this paradox, exploring Ukraine's national history to show how its now-iconic president reflects the hopes and frustrations of the country's first 'independence generation'. Interweaving social and political background with compelling episodes from Zelensky's life and career, this is the story of Ukraine told through the journey of one man who has come to symbolize his country.
Visit Olga Onuch's website and Henry E. Hale's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 17, 2023

"The Politics of Ritual"

Coming soon from Princeton University Press: The Politics of Ritual by Molly Farneth.

About the book, from the publisher:
An illuminating look at the transformative role that rituals play in our political lives

The Politics of Ritual is a major new account of the political power of rituals. In this incisive and wide-ranging book, Molly Farneth argues that rituals are social practices in which people create, maintain, and transform themselves and their societies. Far from mere scripts or mechanical routines, rituals are dynamic activities bound up in processes of continuity and change. Emphasizing the significance of rituals in democratic engagement, Farneth shows how people adapt their rituals to redraw the boundaries of their communities, reallocate goods and power within them, and cultivate the habits of citizenship.

Transforming our understanding of rituals and their vital role in the political conflicts and social movements of our time, The Politics of Ritual examines a broad range of rituals enacted to just and democratic ends, including border Eucharists, candlelight vigils, and rituals of mourning. This timely book makes a persuasive case for an innovative democratic ritual life that can enable people to create and sustain communities that are more just, inclusive, and participatory than those in which they find themselves.
The Page 99 Test: Hegel's Social Ethics.

Follow Molly Farneth on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 16, 2023

"The New Heretics"

New from NYU Press: The New Heretics: Skepticism, Secularism, and Progressive Christianity by Rebekka King.

About the book, from the publisher:
Charts the development of progressive Christianity’s engagement with modern science, historical criticism, and liberal humanism

Christians who have doubts about the existence of God? Who do not believe in the divinity of Jesus? Who reject the accuracy of the Bible? The New Heretics explores the development of progressive Christianity, a movement of Christians who do not reject their identity as Christians, but who believe Christianity must be updated for today’s times and take into consideration modern science, historical criticism, and liberal humanism.

Drawing on three years of ethnographic fieldwork in North America, Rebekka King focuses on testimonies of deconversion, collective reading practices, and the ways in which religious beliefs and practices are adapted to fit secular lives. King introduces the concept of “lived secularity” as a category with which to examine the ways in which religiosity often is entangled with and subsumed by secular identities over and against religious ones. This theoretical framework provides insight into the study of religious and cultural hybridity, new emerging groups such as “the nones,” atheism, religious apostasy, and multi-religious identities.

The New Heretics pays close attention to the ways that progressive Christians understand themselves vis-à-vis a conservative or fundamentalist Christian “other,” providing context concerning the presumed divide between the religious right and the religious left. King shows that while it might be tempting to think of progressive Christians as atheists, there are religious and moral dimensions to their disbelief. For progressive Christians the act of questioning and rejecting God—alongside other theological tenets—is framed as a moral activity. Ultimately, the book showcases the importance of engaging with the ethics of belief in understanding contemporary Christianity.
Visit Rebekka King's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

"Race, Politics, and Irish America"

New from Oxford University Press: Race, Politics, and Irish America: A Gothic History by Mary M. Burke.

About the book, from the publisher:
Figures from the Scots-Irish Andrew Jackson to the Caribbean-Irish Rihanna, as well as literature, film, caricature, and beauty discourse, convey how the Irish racially transformed multiple times: in the slave-holding Caribbean, on America's frontiers and antebellum plantations, and along its eastern seaboard. This cultural history of race and centuries of Irishness in the Americas examines the forcibly transported Irish, the eighteenth-century Presbyterian Ulster-Scots, and post-1845 Famine immigrants. Their racial transformations are indicated by the designations they acquired in the Americas: 'Redlegs,' 'Scots-Irish,' and 'black Irish.' In literature by Fitzgerald, O'Neill, Mitchell, Glasgow, and Yerby (an African-American author of Scots-Irish heritage), the Irish are both colluders and victims within America's racial structure. Depictions range from Irish encounters with Native and African Americans to competition within America's immigrant hierarchy between 'Saxon' Scots-Irish and 'Celtic' Irish Catholic. Irish-connected presidents feature, but attention to queer and multiracial authors, public women, beauty professionals, and performers complicates the 'Irish whitening' narrative. Thus, 'Irish Princess' Grace Kelly's globally-broadcast ascent to royalty paves the way for 'America's royals,' the Kennedys. The presidencies of the Scots-Irish Jackson and Catholic-Irish Kennedy signalled their respective cohorts' assimilation. Since Gothic literature particularly expresses the complicity that attaining power ('whiteness') entails, subgenres named 'Scots-Irish Gothic' and 'Kennedy Gothic' are identified: in Gothic by Brown, Poe, James, Faulkner, and Welty, the violence of the colonial Irish motherland is visited upon marginalized Americans, including, sometimes, other Irish groupings. History is Gothic in Irish-American narrative because the undead Irish past replays within America's contexts of race.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

"Shirts Powdered Red"

New from Cornell University Press: Shirts Powdered Red: Haudenosaunee Gender, Trade, and Exchange across Three Centuries by Maeve Kane.

About the book, from the publisher:
Beginning with a purchased shirt and ending with a handmade dress, Shirts Powdered Red shows how Haudenosaunee women and their work shaped their nations from the sixteenth century through the nineteenth century.

By looking at clothing that was bought, created, and remade, Maeve Kane brings to life how Haudenosaunee women used access to global trade to maintain a distinct and enduring Haudenosaunee identity in the face of colonial pressures to assimilate and disappear. Drawing on rich oral, archival, material, visual, and quantitative evidence, Shirts Powdered Red tells the story of how Haudenosaunee people worked to maintain their nations' cultural and political sovereignty through selective engagement with trade and the rhetoric of civility, even as Haudenosaunee clothing and gendered labor increasingly became the focus of colonial conversion efforts throughout the upheavals and dispossession of the nineteenth century.

Shirts Powdered Red offers a sweeping, detailed cultural history of three centuries of Haudenosaunee women's labor and their agency to shape their nations' future.
Visit Maeve Kane's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 13, 2023

"Letterpress Revolution"

New from Duke University Press: Letterpress Revolution: The Politics of Anarchist Print Culture by Kathy E. Ferguson.

About the book, from the publisher:
While the stock image of the anarchist as a masked bomber or brick thrower prevails in the public eye, a more representative figure should be a printer at a printing press. In Letterpress Revolution, Kathy E. Ferguson explores the importance of printers, whose materials galvanized anarchist movements across the United States and Great Britain from the late nineteenth century to the 1940s. Ferguson shows how printers—whether working at presses in homes, offices, or community centers—arranged text, ink, images, graphic markers, and blank space within the architecture of the page. Printers' extensive correspondence with fellow anarchists and the radical ideas they published created dynamic and entangled networks that brought the decentralized anarchist movements together. Printers and presses did more than report on the movement; they were constitutive of it, and their vitality in anarchist communities helps explain anarchism’s remarkable persistence in the face of continuous harassment, arrest, assault, deportation, and exile. By inquiring into the political, material, and aesthetic practices of anarchist print culture, Ferguson points to possible methods for cultivating contemporary political resistance.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 12, 2023

"Sacred Rivals"

New from Oxford University Press: Sacred Rivals: Catholic Missions and the Making of Islam in Nineteenth-Century France and Algeria by Joseph W. Peterson.

About the book, from the publisher:
In 1839, the Abbé Jacques Suchet was sent to the Algerian city of Constantine, recently conquered by French forces, to minister to the new French colonial population there. He commented favorably on the Arabs' Muslim religiosity, perhaps seeing them as fertile ground for missionary work. In the mid-1870s, when the Abbé Edmond Lambert toured another colonial Algerian city, he recorded that Arabs were inherently "liars, thieves, lazy in body and spirit" and that even their seeming piety was insincere. In the space of less than forty years, some French Catholics went from viewing Muslims in Algeria as fellow religious devotees, potential converts, and allies against French secularism to viewing them as enemies of civilization.

Sacred Rivals focuses on French Catholic ideas about Islam and Arab-ness-"Catholic orientalism"-in the context of religious culture wars in France and of missionary work in colonial Algeria. It examines the way the stereotype of "Islam" was used and abused in religious and political debates in French society, as well as actual missionary encounters with Muslims in Algeria, where missionaries and their potential converts came into intimate, daily contact. It reveals that, counter-intuitively, it was sometimes the most conservative Catholics who spoke most sympathetically of Muslim religiosity. "Liberal," mainstream Catholics were often quicker to denigrate Islam as backward, fanatical, and dangerously theocratic. As Catholics increasingly came to identify with France's more secular "civilizing mission," any admiration for Islam would be eclipsed by a more racialized, colonialist view of Islam. Disillusioned with the possibility of Muslim conversion and seeking an explanation for their failure, even missionaries in Algeria joined in with racially-coded attacks on "Arab" Islam.

Through stories of personal encounters, Sacred Rivals exposes the ways in which religious prejudices against Muslims transformed into racial ones, as well as the ways in which Algerian Muslims adapted, used, and resisted French culture and imperialism.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 11, 2023

"Fire and Rain"

New from University of California Press: Fire and Rain: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Wars in Southeast Asia by Carolyn Woods Eisenberg.

About the book, from the publisher:
This gripping account interweaves Nixon and Kissinger's pursuit of the war in Southeast Asia and their diplomacy with the Soviet Union and China with on-the-ground military events and US domestic reactions to the war conducted in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

Fire and Rain is a compelling, meticulous narrative of the way national security decisions formed at the highest levels of government affect the lives of individuals at home and abroad. By drawing these connections, Carolyn Woods Eisenberg brings to life policy decisions about Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, conveying their significance to a new generation of readers. She breaks fresh ground in contextualizing Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger's decisions within a wider institutional and societal framework. While recognizing the distinctive personalities and ideas of these two men, this study more broadly conveys the competing roles and impact of the professional military, the Congress, and a mobilized peace movement.

Drawing upon a vast collection of declassified documents, Eisenberg presents an important re-interpretation of the Nixon Administration's relations with the Soviet Union and China vis a vis the war in Southeast Asia. She argues that in their desperate effort to overcome, or at least overshadow, their failure in Vietnam, Nixon and Kissinger made major concessions to both nations in the field of arms control, their response to the India-Pakistan war, and the diplomacy surrounding Taiwan--much of this secret. Despite policymakers' claims that the Vietnam War was a "national security" necessity that would demonstrate American strength to the communist superpowers and "credibility" to friendly governments, the historical record suggests a different reality.

A half-century after the Paris Peace Conference marking the withdrawal of US troops and advisors from Vietnam and foreign troops from Laos and Cambodia, Fire and Rain is a dramatic account of geopolitical decision making, civil society, and the human toll of the war on the people of Southeast Asia.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 10, 2023

"The Holy Vote"

New from University of California Press: The Holy Vote: Inequality and Anxiety among White Evangelicals by Sarah Diefendorf.

About the book, from the publisher:
Through two years of ethnographic fieldwork at a megachurch, sociologist Sarah Diefendorf investigates the ways in which the evangelical church is working to grow during a time in which cultural shifts are leading young people to leave religion behind. In order to expand, the church has revisited topics long understood as external threats to the organization, such as feminism, gender equality, racial inclusivity, and queer life—topics Diefendorf classifies as the “imagined secular” in the minds of evangelicals.

The Holy Vote shows, however, that the church continues to uphold already privileged identities even as it reworks its messages to appear more welcoming, offering insight into how White evangelical understandings about sex and families have shaped a political movement that has helped remake the Republican Party and transform American politics. In this enlightening work, Diefendorf highlights the complex origins of these understandings and considers their intersections with contemporary culture and enduring social inequalities.
Visit Sarah Diefendorf's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 9, 2023

"Impermanent Blackness"

New from Princeton University Press: Impermanent Blackness: The Making and Unmaking of Interracial Literary Culture in Modern America by Korey Garibaldi.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Impermanent Blackness, Korey Garibaldi explores interracial collaborations in American commercial publishing—authors, agents, and publishers who forged partnerships across racial lines—from the 1910s to the 1960s. Garibaldi shows how aspiring and established Black authors and editors worked closely with white interlocutors to achieve publishing success, often challenging stereotypes and advancing racial pluralism in the process.

Impermanent Blackness explores the complex nature of this almost-forgotten period of interracial publishing by examining key developments, including the mainstream success of African American authors in the 1930s and 1940s, the emergence of multiracial children’s literature, postwar tensions between supporters of racial cosmopolitanism and of “Negro literature,” and the impact of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements on the legacy of interracial literary culture.

By the end of the 1960s, some literary figures once celebrated for pushing the boundaries of what Black writing could be, including the anthologist W. S. Braithwaite, the bestselling novelist Frank Yerby, the memoirist Juanita Harrison, and others, were forgotten or criticized as too white. And yet, Garibaldi argues, these figures—at once dreamers and pragmatists—have much to teach us about building an inclusive society. Revisiting their work from a contemporary perspective, Garibaldi breaks new ground in the cultural history of race in the United States.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

"Forbidden Intimacies"

New from Stanford University Press: Forbidden Intimacies: Polygamies at the Limits of Western Tolerance by Melanie Heath.

About the book, from the publisher:
A poignant account of everyday polygamy and what its regulation reveals about who is viewed as an "Other"

In the past thirty years, polygamy has become a flashpoint of conflict as Western governments attempt to regulate certain cultural and religious practices that challenge seemingly central principles of family and justice. In Forbidden Intimacies, Melanie Heath comparatively investigates the regulation of polygamy in the United States, Canada, France, and Mayotte. Drawing on a wealth of ethnographic and archival sources, Heath uncovers the ways in which intimacies framed as "other" and "offensive" serve to define the very limits of Western tolerance. These regulation efforts, counterintuitively, allow the flourishing of polygamies on the ground. The case studies illustrate a continuum of justice, in which some groups, like white fundamentalist Mormons in the U.S., organize to fight against the prohibition of their families' existence, whereas African migrants in France face racialized discrimination in addition to rigid migration policies. The matrix of legal and social contexts, informed by gender, race, sexuality, and class, shapes the everyday experiences of these relationships. Heath uses the term "labyrinthine love" to conceptualize the complex ways individuals negotiate different kinds of relationships, ranging from romantic to coercive. What unites these families is the secrecy in which they must operate. As government intervention erodes their abilities to secure housing, welfare, work, and even protection from abuse, Heath exposes the huge variety of intimacies, and the power they hold to challenge heteronormative, Western ideals of love.
Follow Melanie Heath on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

"The Suffragist Peace"

New from Oxford University Press: The Suffragist Peace: How Women Shape the Politics of War by Robert F. Trager and Joslyn N. Barnhart.

About the book, from the publisher:
A deep and historical examination of how the political influence of women at the ballot box has shaped the course of war and peace.

In the modern age, some parts of the world are experiencing a long peace. Nuclear weapons, capitalism and the widespread adoption of democratic institutions have been credited with fostering this relatively peaceful period. Yet, these accounts overlook one of the most dramatic transformations of the 20th century: the massive redistribution of political power as millions of women around the world won the right to vote.

Through gripping history and careful reasoning, this book examines how the political influence of women at the ballot box has shaped war and peace. What would a world ruled by women look like? For more than a hundred years, conventional wisdom held that women's votes had little effect. That view is changing - it turns out that women voters had a profound effect on the world we know and in ways we hardly understand. A world ruled by women's voices is a world that is less willing to fall in love with war as a noble end in itself, less prone to lapse into violence for the sake of maintaining an image. In other words, it is the world we live in now, more so than we have ever realized.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 6, 2023

"At War with Women"

New from Cornell University Press: At War with Women: Military Humanitarianism and Imperial Feminism in an Era of Permanent War by Jennifer Greenburg.

About the book, from the publisher:
At War with Women reveals how post-9/11 politics of gender and development have transformed US military power. In the mid-2000s, the US military used development as a weapon as it revived counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military assembled all-female teams to reach households and wage war through development projects in the battle for "hearts and minds." Despite women technically being banned from ground combat units, the all-female teams were drawn into combat nonetheless. Based on ethnographic fieldwork observing military trainings, this book challenges liberal feminist narratives that justified the Afghanistan War in the name of women's rights and celebrated women's integration into combat as a victory for gender equality.

Jennifer Greenburg critically interrogates a new imperial feminism and its central role in securing US hegemony. Women's incorporation into combat through emotional labor has reinforced gender stereotypes, with counterinsurgency framing female soldiers as global ambassadors for women's rights. This book provides an analysis of US imperialism that keeps the present in tension with the past, clarifying where colonial ideologies of race, gender, and sexuality have resurfaced and how they are changing today.
Follow Jennifer Greenburg on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, February 5, 2023

"Choosing Well"

New from Oxford University Press: Choosing Well: The Good, the Bad, and the Trivial by Chrisoula Andreou.

About the book, from the publisher:
Self-defeating behavior and the damage it can cause constitute a rich and intriguing area of philosophical inquiry. Choosing Well explores the challenges associated with effective choice over time from both theoretical and practical perspectives. Andreou focuses on the challenges raised by cyclic preferences and incomplete preferences, both of which interfere with our ability to neatly order our options and thus make us susceptible to self-defeating patterns of choice which in turn create unacceptable results.

What are we to do if we find ourselves with cyclic preferences or with incomplete preferences? Do such preferences make us irrational? Andreou argues that rationality does not invariably prohibit disorderly preferences but does prompt us to proceed with caution when preferences are disorderly. Theories of rational choice often dismiss or abstract away from the sorts of disorderly preferences that Andreou focuses on, since they assume that rational agents can and should have neat preferences over their options. Instead, Andreou suggests, rationality can validate certain disorderly preference structures while also protecting us from self-defeating patterns of choice.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, February 4, 2023

"India Is Broken"

New from Stanford University Press: India Is Broken: A People Betrayed, Independence to Today by Ashoka Mody.

About the book, from the publisher:
A provocative new account of how India moved relentlessly from its hope-filled founding in 1947 to the dramatic economic and democratic breakdowns of today.

When Indian leaders first took control of their government in 1947, they proclaimed the ideals of national unity and secular democracy. Through the first half century of nation-building, leaders could point to uneven but measurable progress on key goals, and after the mid-1980s, dire poverty declined for a few decades, inspiring declarations of victory. But today, a vast majority of Indians live in a state of underemployment and are one crisis away from despair. Public goods―health, education, cities, air and water, and the judiciary―are in woeful condition. And good jobs will remain scarce as long as that is the case. The lack of jobs will further undermine democracy, which will further undermine job creation. India is Broken provides the most persuasive account available of this economic catch-22.

Challenging prevailing narratives, Mody contends that successive post-independence leaders, starting with its first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, failed to confront India's true economic problems, seeking easy solutions instead. As a popular frustration grew, and corruption in politics became pervasive, India's economic growth relied increasingly on unregulated finance and environmentally destructive construction. The rise of a violent Hindutva has buried all prior norms in civic life and public accountability.

Combining statistical data with creative media, such as literature and cinema, to create strong, accessible, people-driven narratives, this book is a meditation on the interplay between democracy and economic progress, with lessons extending far beyond India. Mody proposes a path forward that is fraught with its own peril, but which nevertheless offers something resembling hope.
Follow Ashoka Mody on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 3, 2023

"The Declassification Engine"

New from Pantheon: The Declassification Engine: What History Reveals About America's Top Secrets by Matthew Connelly.

About the book, from the publisher:
Every day, thousands of new secrets are created by the United States government. What is all this secrecy really for? And whom does it benefit?

Before World War II, transparent government was a proud tradition in the United States. In all but the most serious of circumstances, classification, covert operations, and spying were considered deeply un-American. But after the war, the power to decide what could be kept secret proved too tempting to give up. Since then, we have radically departed from that open tradition, allowing intelligence agencies, black sites, and classified laboratories to grow unchecked. Officials insist that only secrecy can keep us safe, but its true costs have gone unacknowledged for too long.

Using the latest techniques in data science, historian Matthew Connelly analyzes a vast trove of state secrets to unearth not only what the government really does not want us to know but also why they don’t want us to know it. Culling this research and carefully examining a series of pivotal moments in recent history, from Pearl Harbor to drone warfare, Connelly sheds light on the drivers of state secrecy—especially incompetence and criminality—and how rampant overclassification makes it impossible to protect truly vital information.

What results is an astonishing study of power: of the greed it enables, of the negligence it protects, and of what we lose as citizens when our leaders cannot be held to account. A crucial examination of the self-defeating nature of secrecy and the dire state of our nation’s archives, The Declassification Engine is a powerful reminder of the importance of preserving the past so that we may secure our future.
Visit Matthew Connelly's website.

The Page 99 Test: Fatal Misconception.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, February 2, 2023

"Feeling Trapped"

New from the University of California Press: Feeling Trapped: Social Class and Violence against Women by James Ptacek.

About the book, from the publisher:
The relationship between class and intimate violence against women is much misunderstood. While many studies of intimate violence focus on poor and working-class women, few examine the issue comparatively in terms of class privilege and class disadvantage. James Ptacek draws on in-depth interviews with sixty women from wealthy, professional, working-class, and poor communities to investigate how social class shapes both women's experiences of violence and the responses of their communities to this violence. Ptacek's framing of women's victimization as "social entrapment" links private violence to public responses and connects social inequalities to the dilemmas that women face.
James Ptacek is Professor Emeritus in Sociology at Suffolk University. He is author of Battered Women in the Courtroom and editor of Restorative Justice and Violence against Women.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

"The French Invention of Menopause and the Medicalisation of Women's Ageing"

New from Oxford University Press: The French Invention of Menopause and the Medicalisation of Women's Ageing: A History by Alison M. Downham Moore.

About the book, from the publisher:
Doctors writing about menopause in France vastly outnumbered those in other cultures throughout the entire nineteenth century. The concept of menopause was invented by French male medical students in the aftermath of the French Revolution, becoming an important pedagogic topic and a common theme of doctors' professional identities in postrevolutionary biomedicine. Older women were identified as an important patient cohort for the expanding medicalisation of French society and were advised to entrust themselves to the hygienic care of doctors in managing the whole era of life from around and after the final cessation of menses. However, menopause owed much of its conceptual weft to earlier themes of women as the sicker sex, of vitalist crisis, of the vapours, and of astrological climacteric years.

This is the first comprehensive study of the origins of the medical concept of menopause, richly contextualising its role in nineteenth-century French medicine and revealing the complex threads of meaning that informed its invention. It tells a complex story of how women's ageing featured in the demographic revolution in modern science, in the denigration of folk medicine, in the unique French field of hygiène, and in the fixation on women in the emergence of modern psychiatry. It reveals the nineteenth-century French origins of the still-current medical and alternative-health approaches to women's ageing as something to be managed through gynaecological surgery, hormonal replacement, and lifestyle intervention.
--Marshal Zeringue