Sunday, April 30, 2023

"Mandeville’s Fable"

New from Princeton University Press: Mandeville’s Fable: Pride, Hypocrisy, and Sociability by Robin Douglass.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why we should take Bernard Mandeville seriously as a philosopher

Bernard Mandeville’s The Fable of the Bees outraged its eighteenth-century audience by proclaiming that private vices lead to public prosperity. Today the work is best known as an early iteration of laissez-faire capitalism. In this book, Robin Douglass looks beyond the notoriety of Mandeville’s great work to reclaim its status as one of the most incisive philosophical studies of human nature and the origin of society in the Enlightenment era. Focusing on Mandeville’s moral, social, and political ideas, Douglass offers a revelatory account of why we should take Mandeville seriously as a philosopher.

Douglass expertly reconstructs Mandeville’s theory of how self-centred individuals, who care for their reputation and social standing above all else, could live peacefully together in large societies. Pride and shame are the principal motives of human behaviour, on this account, with a large dose of hypocrisy and self-deception lying behind our moral practices. In his analysis, Douglass attends closely to the changes between different editions of the Fable; considers Mandeville’s arguments in light of objections and rival accounts from other eighteenth-century philosophers, including Shaftesbury, Hume, and Smith; and draws on more recent findings from social psychology.

With this detailed and original reassessment of Mandeville’s philosophy, Douglass shows how The Fable of the Bees―by shining a light on the dark side of human nature―has the power to unsettle readers even today.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 29, 2023

"The Floating University"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Floating University: Experience, Empire, and the Politics of Knowledge by Tamson Pietsch.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Floating University sheds light on a story of optimism and imperialist ambition in the 1920s.

In 1926, New York University professor James E. Lough—an educational reformer with big dreams—embarked on a bold experiment he called the Floating University. Lough believed that taking five hundred American college students around the globe by ship would not only make them better citizens of the world but would demonstrate a model for responsible and productive education amid the unprecedented dangers, new technologies, and social upheavals of the post–World War I world. But the Floating University’s maiden voyage was also its last: when the ship and its passengers returned home, the project was branded a failure—the antics of students in hotel bars and port city back alleys that received worldwide press coverage were judged incompatible with educational attainment, and Lough was fired and even put under investigation by the State Department.

In her new book, Tamson Pietsch excavates a rich and meaningful picture of Lough’s grand ambition, its origins, and how it reveals an early-twentieth-century America increasingly defined both by its imperialism and the professionalization of its higher education system. As Pietsch argues, this voyage—powered by an internationalist worldview—traced the expanding tentacles of US power, even as it tried to model a new kind of experiential education. She shows that this apparent educational failure actually exposes a much larger contest over what kind of knowledge should underpin university authority, one in which direct personal experience came into conflict with academic expertise. After a journey that included stops at nearly fifty international ports and visits with figures ranging from Mussolini to Gandhi, what the students aboard the Floating University brought home was not so much knowledge of the greater world as a demonstration of their nation’s rapidly growing imperial power.
Visit Tamson Pietsch's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 28, 2023

"AI and the Bomb"

New from Oxford University Press: AI and the Bomb: Nuclear Strategy and Risk in the Digital Age by James Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Will AI make accidental nuclear war more likely? If so, how might these risks be reduced? AI and the Bomb provides a coherent, innovative, and multidisciplinary examination of the potential effects of AI technology on nuclear strategy and escalation risk. It addresses a gap in the international relations and strategic studies literature, and its findings have significant theoretical and policy ramifications for using AI technology in the nuclear enterprise. The book advances an innovative theoretical framework to consider AI technology and atomic risk, drawing on insights from political psychology, neuroscience, computer science, and strategic studies. In this multidisciplinary work, James Johnson unpacks the seminal cognitive-psychological features of the Cold War-era scholarship, and offers a novel explanation of why these matter for AI applications and strategic thinking. The study offers crucial insights for policymakers and contributes to the literature that examines the impact of military force and technological change.
Visit James Johnson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 27, 2023

"Country Capitalism"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Country Capitalism: How Corporations from the American South Remade Our Economy and the Planet by Bart Elmore.

About the book, from the publisher:
The rural roads that led to our planet-changing global economy ran through the American South. That region's impact on the interconnected histories of business and ecological change is narrated here by acclaimed scholar Bart Elmore, who uses the histories of five southern firms—Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Walmart, FedEx, and Bank of America—to investigate the environmental impact of our have-it-now, fly-by-night, buy-on-credit economy. Drawing on exclusive interviews with company executives, corporate archives, and other records, Elmore explores the historical, economic, and ecological conditions that gave rise to these five trailblazing corporations. He then considers what each has become: an essential presence in the daily workings of the global economy and an unmistakable contributor to the reshaping of the world's ecosystems. Even as businesses invest in sustainability initiatives and respond to new calls for corporate responsibility, Elmore shows the limits of their efforts to "green" their operations and offers insights on how governments and activists can push corporations to do better.

At the root, Elmore reveals a fundamental challenge: Our lives are built around businesses that connect far-flung rural places to urban centers and global destinations. This "country capitalism" that proved successful in the US South has made it possible to satisfy our demands at the click of a button, but each click comes with hidden environmental costs. This book is a must-read for anyone who hopes to create an ecologically sustainable future economy.
Learn more about the book and author at Bartow J. Elmore's website.

The Page 99 Test: Citizen Coke.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

"Politicizing Islam"

New from Oxford University Press: Politicizing Islam: From the Russian Revolution to the Afghan and Syrian Jihads by Kathleen Collins.

About the book, from the publisher:
A sweeping history of Islamism in Central Asia from the Russian Revolution to the present through Soviet-era archival documents, oral histories, and a trove of interviews and focus groups.

Few observers anticipated a surge of Islamism in Central Asia, after seventy years of forced communist atheism. Muslims do not inevitably support Islamism, a modern political ideology of Islam. Yet, Islamism became the dominant form of political opposition in post-Soviet Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. In Politicizing Islam in Central Asia, Kathleen Collins explores the causes, dynamics, and variation in Islamist movements-first within the USSR, and then in the post-Soviet states of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Drawing upon extensive ethnographic and historical research on Islamist mobilization, she explains the strategies and relative success of each Central Asian Islamist movement. Collins argues that in each case, state repression of Islam, by Soviet and post-Soviet regimes, together with the diffusion of religious ideologies, motivated Islamist mobilization. Sweeping in scope, this book traces the dynamics of Central Asian Islamist movements from the Soviet era through the Tajik civil war, the Afghan jihad against the US, and the foreign fighter movement joining the Syrian jihad.
Visit Kathleen Collins's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

"Aid and the Help"

New from Stanford University Press: Aid and the Help: International Development and the Transnational Extraction of Care by Dinah Hannaford.

About the book, from the publisher:
Hiring domestic workers is a routine part of the expat development lifestyle. Whether working for the United Nations, governmental aid agencies, or NGOs such as Oxfam, Save the Children, or World Vision, expatriate aid workers in the developing world employ maids, nannies, security guards, gardeners and chauffeurs. Though nearly every expat aid worker in the developing world has local people working within the intimate sphere of their homes, these relationships are seldom, if ever, discussed in analyses of the development paradigm and its praxis. Aid and the Help addresses this major lacuna through an ethnographic analysis of the intersection of development work and domestic work. Examining the reproductive labor cheaply purchased by aid workers posted overseas opens the opportunity to assess the multiple ways that the ostensibly "giving" industry of development can be an extractive industry as well.
Visit Dinah Hannaford's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 24, 2023

"Since Time Immemorial"

New from Duke University Press: Since Time Immemorial: Native Custom and Law in Colonial Mexico by Yanna Yannakakis.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Since Time Immemorial Yanna Yannakakis traces the invention of Native custom, a legal category that Indigenous litigants used in disputes over marriage, self-governance, land, and labor in colonial Mexico. She outlines how, in the hands of Native litigants, the European category of custom—social practice that through time takes on the normative power of law—acquired local meaning and changed over time. Yannakakis analyzes sources ranging from missionary and Inquisition records to Native pictorial histories, royal surveys, and Spanish and Native-language court and notarial documents. By encompassing historical actors who have been traditionally marginalized from legal histories and highlighting spaces outside the courts like Native communities, parishes, and missionary schools, she shows how imperial legal orders were not just imposed from above but also built on the ground through translation and implementation of legal concepts and procedures. Yannakakis argues that, ultimately, Indigenous claims to custom, which on the surface aimed to conserve the past, provided a means to contend with historical change and produce new rights for the future.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 23, 2023

"Behind Crimmigration"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Behind Crimmigration: ICE, Law Enforcement, and Resistance in America by Felicia Arriaga.

About the book, from the publisher:
In recent years, dozens of counties in North Carolina have partnered with federal law enforcement in the criminalization of immigration—what many have dubbed "crimmigration." Southern border enforcement still monopolizes the national immigration debate, but immigration enforcement has become common within the United States as well. While Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations are a major part of American immigration enforcement, Felicia Arriaga maintains that ICE relies on an already well-established system—the use of local law enforcement and local governments to identify, incarcerate, and deport undocumented immigrants.

Arriaga contends that the long-term partnership between local sheriffs and immigration law enforcement in places like North Carolina has created a form of racialized social control of the Latinx community. Arriaga uses data from five county sheriff’s offices and their governing bodies to trace the creation and subsequent normalization of ICE and local law enforcement partnerships. Arriaga argues that the methods used by these partnerships to control immigration are employed throughout the United States, but they have been particularly visible in North Carolina, where the Latinx population increased by 111 percent between 2000 and 2010. Arriaga's evidence also reveals how Latinx communities are resisting and adapting to these systems.
Visit Felicia Arriaga's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 22, 2023

"Building Socialism"

New from Cambridge University Press: Building Socialism: The Communist Party and the Making of the Soviet System, 1921–1941 by Yiannis Kokosalakis.

About the book, from the publisher:
By placing the party grassroots at the centre of its focus, Building Socialism presents an original account of the formative first two decades of the Soviet system. Assembled in a large network of primary party organisations (PPO), the Bolshevik rank-and-file was an army of activists made up of ordinary people. While far removed from the levers of power, they were nevertheless charged with promoting the Party's programme of revolutionary social transformation in their workplaces, neighbourhoods, and households. Their regular meetings, conferences and campaigns have generated a voluminous source base. This rich material provides a unique view of the practical manifestation of the Party's revolutionary mission and forms the basis of this insightful new narrative of how the Soviet republic functioned in the period from the end of the Russian Civil War in 1921 to its invasion by Nazi Germany in 1941.
Visit Yiannis Kokosalakis's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 21, 2023

"The Sensation of Security"

Coming soon from Cornell University Press: The Sensation of Security: Private Guards and Social Order in Brazil by Erika Robb Larkins.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Sensation of Security explores how private security guards are a permanent, conspicuous fixture of everyday life in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. Drawing on long-term ethnographic research with security laborers, managers, company owners, and elite global consultants, Erika Robb Larkins examines the provision of security in Rio from the perspective of security personnel, providing an analysis of the racialized logics that underpin the ongoing work of securing the city. Larkins shows how guards communicate a sensação de segurança (a sensation of security) to clients and customers who have the capital to pay for it. Cultivated through performances by security laborers, the sensation of security is a set of culturally shaped racialized and gendered impressions related to safety, order, well-being, and cleanliness. While the sensação de segurança indexes an outward-facing task of allaying fears of crime and maintaining order in elite spaces, it also refers to the emotional labor and embodied worlds that security workers navigate.
Erika Robb Larkins is Associate Professor of Anthropology, Behner Stiefel Chair of Brazilian Studies, and Director of the Behner Stiefel Center for Brazilian Studies at San Diego State University.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 20, 2023

"Sesame Street: A Transnational History"

New from Oxford University Press: Sesame Street: A Transnational History by Helle Strandgaard Jensen.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Sesame Street: A Transnational History, author Helle Strandgaard Jensen tells the story of how the American television show became a global brand. Jensen argues that because the show's domestic production was not financially viable from the beginning, Sesame Street became a commodity that its producers assertively marketed all over the world. Sesame Street: A Transnational History combines archival research from seven countries, bolstering an insightful analysis of how local reception and rejection of the show related to the global sales strategies and American ideals it was built upon.

Contrary to the producers' oft-publicized claims of Sesame Street's universality, the show was heavily shaped by a fixed set of assumptions about childhood, education, and commercial entertainment. This made sales difficult as Sesame Street met both skepticism and direct hostility from foreign television producers who did not share these ideals. Drawing on insights from new histories about childhood, education, and transnational media, the book lays bare a cultural clash of international proportions rooted in divergent approaches to children's television. In doing so, it provides a reflective backdrop to the many ongoing debates about children's media.

In contrasting the positive receptions and renunciations of Sesame Street, Jensen demonstrates that it was only after a substantial rethinking of Sesame Street's aims and business model that this program ended up on numerous broadcasting schedules by the mid-1970s. Along the way, this rethinking and the constant negotiations with potential international buyers created and shaped the business and corporate brand that paved the way for the Sesame Street we know today.
Follow Helle Strandgaard Jensen on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

"Bedouin Bureaucrats"

New from Stanford University Press: Bedouin Bureaucrats: Mobility and Property in the Ottoman Empire by Nora Elizabeth Barakat.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the late nineteenth century, the Ottoman government sought to fill landscapes they legally defined as "empty." Both land and people were incorporated into territorially bounded grids of administrative law. Bedouin Bureaucrats examines how tent-dwelling, seasonally migrating Bedouin engaged in these processes of Ottoman state transformation on local, imperial, and global scales. As the "tribe" became a category of Ottoman administration, Bedouin in the Syrian interior used this category both to gain political influence and to organize community resistance to maintain control over land.

Narrating the lives of Bedouin individuals involved in Ottoman administration, Nora Elizabeth Barakat brings this population to the center of modern state-making, from their involvement in the pilgrimage administration in the eighteenth century and their performance of land registration and taxation as the Ottoman bureaucracy expanded in the nineteenth, to their eventual rejection of Ottoman attempts to reallocate the "empty land" they inhabited in the twentieth. She places the Syrian interior in a global context of imperial expansion into regions formerly deemed marginal, especially in relation to American and Russian empires. Ultimately, the book illuminates Ottoman state formation attempts within Bedouin communities and the unique trajectory of Bedouin in Syria, who maintained their control over land.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

"The News Event"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The News Event: Popular Sovereignty in the Age of Deep Mediatization by Francis Cody.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the hypermediated world of Tamil Nadu, Francis Cody studies how “news events” are made.

Not merely the act of representing events with words or images, a “news event” is the reciprocal relationship between the events being reported in the news and the event of the news coverage itself. In The News Event, Francis Cody focuses on how imaginaries of popular sovereignty have been remade through the production and experience of such events. Political sovereignty is thoroughly mediated by the production of news, and subjects invested in the idea of democracy are remarkably reflexive about the role of publicly circulating images and texts in the very constitution of their subjectivity. The law comes to stand as both a limit and positive condition in this process of event making, where acts of legal and extralegal repression of publication can also become the stuff of news about news makers. When the subjects of news inhabit multiple participant roles in the unfolding of public events, when the very technologies of recording and circulating events themselves become news, the act of representing a political event becomes difficult to disentangle from that of participating in it. This, Cody argues, is the crisis of contemporary news making: the news can no longer claim exteriority to the world on which it reports.
Follow Francis Cody on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 17, 2023

"The Problem of Immigration in a Slaveholding Republic"

New from Oxford University Press: The Problem of Immigration in a Slaveholding Republic: Policing Mobility in the Nineteenth-Century United States by Kevin Kenny.

About the book, from the publisher:
A powerful analysis of how regulation of the movement of enslaved and free black people produced a national immigration policy in the period between the American Revolution and the end of Reconstruction.

Today the United States considers immigration a federal matter. Yet, despite America's reputation as a "nation of immigrants," the Constitution is silent on the admission, exclusion, and expulsion of foreigners. Before the Civil War, the federal government played virtually no role in regulating immigration, and states set their own terms for regulating the movement of immigrants, free blacks, and enslaved people. Insisting that it was their right and their obligation to protect the public health and safety, states passed their own laws prohibiting the arrival of foreign convicts, requiring shipmasters to post bonds or pay taxes for passengers who might become public charges, ordering the deportation of immigrant paupers, quarantining passengers who carried contagious diseases, excluding or expelling free blacks, and imprisoning black sailors. To the extent that these laws affected foreigners, they comprised the immigration policy of the United States.

Offering an original interpretation of nineteenth-century America, The Problem of Immigration in a Slaveholding Republic argues that the existence, abolition, and legacies of slavery were central to the emergence of a national immigration policy. In the century after the American Revolution, states controlled mobility within and across their borders and set their own rules for community membership. Throughout the antebellum era, defenders of slavery feared that, if Congress gained control over immigration, it could also regulate the movement of free black people and the interstate slave trade. The Civil War and the abolition of slavery removed the political and constitutional obstacles to a national immigration policy, which was first directed at Chinese immigrants. Admission remained the norm for Europeans, but Chinese laborers were excluded through techniques of registration, punishment, and deportation first used against free black people in the antebellum South. To justify these measures, the Supreme Court ruled that immigration authority was inherent in national sovereignty and required no constitutional justification. The federal government continues to control admissions and exclusions today, while some states monitor and punish immigrants, and others offer sanctuary and refuse to act as agents of federal law enforcement.

By revealing the tangled origins of border control, incarceration, and deportation, distinguished historian Kevin Kenny sheds light on the history of race and belonging in America, as well as the ongoing tensions between state and federal authority over immigration.
Follow Kevin Kenny on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 16, 2023

"The Catch"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Catch: An Environmental History of Medieval European Fisheries by Richard C. Hoffmann.

About the book, from the publisher:
This definitive environmental history of medieval fish and fisheries provides a comprehensive examination of European engagement with aquatic systems between c. 500 and 1500 CE. Using textual, zooarchaeological, and natural records, Richard C. Hoffmann's unique study spans marine and freshwater fisheries across western Christendom, discusses effects of human-nature relations and presents a deeper understanding of evolving European aquatic ecosystems. Changing climates, landscapes, and fishing pressures affected local stocks enough to shift values of fish, fishing rights, and dietary expectations. Readers learn what the abbess Waldetrudis in seventh-century Hainault, King Ramiro II (d.1157) of Aragon, and thirteenth-century physician Aldebrandin of Siena shared with English antiquarian William Worcester (d. 1482), and the young Martin Luther growing up in Germany soon thereafter. Sturgeon and herring, carp, cod, and tuna played distinctive roles. Hoffmann highlights how encounters between medieval Europeans and fish had consequences for society and the environment - then and now.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 15, 2023

"The Interlopers"

New from Johns Hopkins University Press: The Interlopers: Early Stuart Projects and the Undisciplining of Knowledge by Vera Keller.

About the book, from the publisher:
A reframing of how scientific knowledge was produced in the early modern world.

Many accounts of the scientific revolution portray it as a time when scientists disciplined knowledge by first disciplining their own behavior. According to these views, scientists such as Francis Bacon produced certain knowledge by pacifying their emotions and concentrating on method. In The Interlopers, Vera Keller rejects this emphasis on discipline and instead argues that what distinguished early modernity was a navigation away from restraint and toward the violent blending of knowledge from across society and around the globe.

Keller follows early seventeenth-century English "projectors" as they traversed the world, pursuing outrageous entrepreneurial schemes along the way. These interlopers were developing a different culture of knowledge, one that aimed to take advantage of the disorder created by the rise of science and technological advances. They sought to deploy the first submarine in the Indian Ocean, raise silkworms in Virginia, and establish the English slave trade. These projectors developed a culture of extreme risk-taking, uniting global capitalism with martial values of violent conquest. They saw the world as a riskscape of empty spaces, disposable people, and unlimited resources.

By analyzing the disasters—as well as a few successes—of the interlopers she studies, Keller offers a new interpretation of the nature of early modern knowledge itself. While many influential accounts of the period characterize European modernity as a disciplining or civilizing process, The Interlopers argues that early modernity instead entailed a great undisciplining that entangled capitalism, colonialism, and science.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 14, 2023

"Indigenous Borderlands"

New from the University of Oklahoma Press: Indigenous Borderlands: Native Agency, Resilience, and Power in the Americas by Joaquín Rivaya-Martínez.

About the book, from the publisher:
Pervasive myths of European domination and indigenous submission in the Americas receive an overdue corrective in this far-reaching revisionary work. Despite initial upheavals caused by the European intrusion, Native people often thrived after contact, preserving their sovereignty, territory, and culture and shaping indigenous borderlands across the hemisphere. Borderlands, in this context, are spaces where diverse populations interact, cross-cultural exchanges are frequent and consequential, and no polity or community holds dominion. Within the indigenous borderlands of the Americas, as this volume shows, Native peoples exercised considerable power, often retaining control of the land, and remaining paramount agents of historical transformation after the European incursion. Conversely, European conquest and colonialism were typically slow and incomplete, as the newcomers struggled to assert their authority and implement policies designed to subjugate Native societies and change their beliefs and practices.

Indigenous Borderlands covers a wide chronological and geographical span, from the sixteenth-century U.S. South to twentieth-century Bolivia, and gathers leading scholars from the United States and Latin America. Drawing on previously untapped or underutilized primary sources, the original essays in this volume document the resilience and relative success of indigenous communities commonly and wrongly thought to have been subordinated by colonial forces, or even vanished, as well as the persistence of indigenous borderlands within territories claimed by people of European descent. Indeed, numerous indigenous groups remain culturally distinct and politically autonomous.

Hemispheric in its scope, unique in its approach, this work significantly recasts our understanding of the important roles played by Native agents in constructing indigenous borderlands in the era of European imperialism.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 13, 2023

"Slandering the Sacred"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Slandering the Sacred: Blasphemy Law and Religious Affect in Colonial India by J. Barton Scott.

About the book, from the publisher:
A history of global secularism and political feeling through colonial blasphemy law.

Why is religion today so often associated with giving and taking offense? To answer this question, Slandering the Sacred invites us to consider how colonial infrastructures shaped our globalized world. Through the origin and afterlives of a 1927 British imperial law (Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code), J. Barton Scott weaves a globe-trotting narrative about secularism, empire, insult, and outrage. Decentering white martyrs to free thought, his story calls for new histories of blasphemy that return these thinkers to their imperial context, dismantle the cultural boundaries of the West, and transgress the borders between the secular and the sacred as well as the public and the private.
Visit J. Barton Scott's website.

The Page 99 Test: Spiritual Despots.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

"Living Together: Inventing Moral Science"

New from Oxford University Press: Living Together: Inventing Moral Science by David Schmidtz.

About the book, from the publisher:
Is moral philosophy more foundational than political theory? It is often assumed to be. David Schmidtz argues that the reverse is true: the question of how to live in a community is more fundamental than questions about how to live. This book questions whether we are getting to the foundations of human morality when we ignore contingent features of communities in which political animals live.

Schmidtz disputes the idea that reflection on how to live needs to begin with timeless axioms. Rather, theorizing about how to live together should take its cue from contemporary moral philosophy's attempts to go beyond formal theory, and ask which principles have a history of demonstrably being organizing principles of actual thriving communities at their best. Ideals emerging from such research should be a distillation of social scientific insight from observable histories of successful community building. What emerges from ongoing testing in the crucible of life experience will be path-dependent in detail even if not in general outline, partly because any way of life is a response to challenges that are themselves contingent, path dependent, and in flux.

Building on this view, Schmidtz argues that justice evolved as a device for grounding peace in the mutual recognition that everyone has their own life to live, and everyone has the right and the responsibility to decide for themselves what to want. Justice, he says, evolved as a device for conveying our mutual intention not to be in each other's way, and beyond that, our mutual intention to build places for ourselves as contributors to a community. Any understanding of justice should thus rely not on untestable intuitions but should instead be grounded in observable fact.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

"German Blood, Slavic Soil"

New from Cornell University Press: German Blood, Slavic Soil: How Nazi Königsberg Became Soviet Kaliningrad by Nicole Eaton.

About the book, from the publisher:
German Blood, Slavic Soil reveals how Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, twentieth-century Europe's two most violent revolutionary regimes, transformed a single city and the people who lived there. During World War II, this single city became an epicenter in the apocalyptic battle between their two regimes.

Drawing on sources and perspectives from both sides, Nicole Eaton explores not only what Germans and Soviets thought about each other, but also how the war brought them together. She details an intricate timeline, first describing how Königsberg, a seven-hundred-year-old German port city on the Baltic Sea and lifelong home of Immanuel Kant, became infamous in the 1930s as the easternmost bastion of Hitler's Third Reich and the launching point for the Nazis' genocidal war in the East. She then describes how, after being destroyed by bombing and siege warfare in 1945, Königsberg became Kaliningrad, the westernmost city of Stalin's Soviet Union. Königsberg/Kaliningrad is the only city to have been ruled by both Hitler and Stalin as their own―in both wartime occupation and as integral territory of the two regimes.

German Blood, Slavic Soil presents an intimate look into the Nazi-Soviet encounter during World War II. Eaton impressively shows how this outpost city, far from the centers of power in Moscow and Berlin, became a closed-off space where Nazis and Stalinists each staged radical experiments in societal transformation and were forced to reimagine their utopias in dialogue with the encounter between the victims and proponents of the two regimes.
Follow Nicole Eaton on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 10, 2023

"City of Sediments"

New from Stanford University Press: City of Sediments: A History of Seoul in the Age of Colonialism by Se-Mi Oh.

About the book, from the publisher:
Once the capital of the five-hundred-year Chosŏn dynasty (1392–1897) and the Taehan Empire (1897–1910), the city of Seoul posed unique challenges to urban reform and modernization under Japanese colonial rule in the early twentieth century, constrained by the labyrinthian built environment of the old Korean capital. Colonial authorities attempted to employ a strategy of "erasure"—monumental Japanese architecture was, for instance, superimposed upon existing palace structures—to articulate to colonized Korean subjects the transition from the pre-modern to the modern, and the naturalization of colonial rule as inevitable historical change.

Drawing from and analyzing a wide range of materials, from architecture and photography to print media and sound recordings, City of Sediments shows how Seoul became a site to articulate a new mode of time—modernity—that defined the place of the colonized in accordance with the progression of history, and how the underbelly of the city, latent places of darkness filled with chatters of the alleyway, challenged this visual language of power. To do so, Se-Mi Oh builds an inventive new model of history where discrete events do not unfold one after the other, but rather one in which histories layer atop each other like sediment, allowing a new map of colonial Seoul to emerge, a map where the material traces of the city are overlapping, with vibrant residues of earlier times defiantly visible among the superimposed signs of modernity and colonial domination.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 9, 2023

"The Queer Art of History"

New from Duke University Press: The Queer Art of History: Queer Kinship after Fascism by Jennifer V. Evans.

About the book, from the publisher:
In The Queer Art of History Jennifer V. Evans examines postwar and contemporary German history to broadly argue for a practice of queer history that moves beyond bounded concepts and narratives of identity. Drawing on Black feminism, queer of color critique, and trans studies, Evans points out that although many rights for LGBTQI people have been gained in Germany, those rights have not been enjoyed equally. There remain fundamental struggles around whose bodies, behaviors, and communities belong. Evans uses kinship as an analytic category to identify the fraught and productive ways that Germans have confronted race, gender nonconformity, and sexuality in social movements, art, and everyday life. Evans shows how kinship illuminates the work of solidarity and intersectional organizing across difference and offers an openness to forms of contemporary and historical queerness that may escape the archive’s confines. Through forms of kinship, queer and trans people test out new possibilities for citizenship, love, and public and family life in postwar Germany in ways that question claims about liberal democracy, the social contract, and the place of identity in rights-based discourses.
Visit Jennifer V. Evans's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 8, 2023

"Escalation Dynamics in Cyberspace"

New from Oxford University Press: Escalation Dynamics in Cyberspace by Erica D. Lonergan and Shawn W. Lonergan.

About the book, from the publisher:
To what extent do cyberspace operations increase the risks of escalation between nation-state rivals? Scholars and practitioners have been concerned about cyber escalation for decades, but the question remains hotly debated. The issue is increasingly important for international politics as more states develop and employ offensive cyber capabilities, and as the international system is increasingly characterized by emergent multipolarity.

In Escalation Dynamics in Cyberspace, Erica D. Lonergan and Shawn W. Lonergan tackle this question head-on, presenting a comprehensive theory that explains the conditions under which cyber operations may lead to escalation. In doing so, they challenge long-held assumptions about strategic interactions in cyberspace, arguing that cyberspace is not as dangerous as the conventional wisdom might suggest. In some cases, cyber operations could even facilitate the de-escalation of international crises. To support their claims, Lonergan and Lonergan test their theory against a range of in-depth case studies, including strategic interactions between the United States and key rivals; a series of case studies of the role of cyber operations in international crises; and plausible future scenarios involving cyber operations during conflict. They then apply their analytical insights to policymaking, making the case that skepticism is warranted about the overall efficacy of employing cyber power for strategic ends. By exploring the role of cyber operations in routine competition, crises, and warfighting, Escalation Dynamics in Cyberspace presents nuanced insights about how cyberspace affects international politics.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 7, 2023

"The Pornography Wars"

New from Bloomsbury: The Pornography Wars: The Past, Present, and Future of America’s Obscene Obsession by Kelsy Burke.

About the book, from the publisher:
For readers of Peggy Orenstein and Rebecca Traister, an authoritative, big think look at pornography in all its facets - historical, religious, and cultural.

In the 1960s, sex researchers Masters and Johnson declared the end of the fake orgasm. Nearly two decades later, in 1982, evangelical activist Tim LaHaye foretold that the entire pornography industry would soon be driven out of business. Neither prediction proved true. Instead, with the rise of the internet, pornography saturates the American conscience more than ever and has reshaped our understanding of sexuality, relationships, media, and even the nature of addiction.

Dr. Kelsy Burke has spent the last five years researching and interviewing internet pornography's opponents and its sympathizers. In The Pornography Wars, Burke does a deep dive into the long history of pornography in America and then turns her gaze on our present society to examine the ways this industry touches on the most intimate parts of American lives. She offers a complete understanding of the major players in the debates around porn's place in society: everyone from sex workers, activists, therapists, religious leaders, and consumers. In doing so, she addresses and debunks the myths that surround porn and porn usage while showing how everything from the way we teach children about sex to the legal protections for what can be published is tied up in the deeply complicated battles over pornography.

Sweeping, savvy, and deeply researched, The Pornography Wars is a necessary and comprehensive new look at pornography and American life.
Visit Kelsy Burke's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 6, 2023

"An Army Afire"

Coming soon from the University of North Carolina Press: An Army Afire: How the US Army Confronted Its Racial Crisis in the Vietnam Era by Beth Bailey.

About the book, from the publisher:
By the late 1960s, what had been widely heralded as the best qualified, best-trained army in US history was descending into crisis as the Vietnam War raged without end. Morale was tanking. AWOL rates were rising. And in August 1968, a group of Black soldiers seized control of the infamous Long Binh Jail, burned buildings, and beat a white inmate to death with a shovel. The days of "same mud, same blood" were over, and a new generation of Black GIs had decisively rejected the slights and institutional racism their forefathers had endured.

As Black and white soldiers fought in barracks and bars, with violence spilling into surrounding towns within the US and in West Germany, Vietnam, South Korea, and Japan, army leaders grew convinced that the growing racial crisis undermined the army’s ability to defend the nation. Acclaimed military historian Beth Bailey shows how the US Army tried to solve that racial crisis (in army terms, “the problem of race”). Army leaders were surprisingly creative in confronting demands for racial justice, even willing to challenge fundamental army principles of discipline, order, hierarchy, and authority. Bailey traces a frustrating yet fascinating story, as a massive, conservative institution came to terms with demands for change.
Follow Beth Bailey on Twitter.

The Page 99 Test: America's Army.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

"Banking on Slavery"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Banking on Slavery: Financing Southern Expansion in the Antebellum United States by Sharon Ann Murphy.

About the book, from the publisher:
A sobering excavation of how deeply nineteenth-century American banks were entwined with the institution of slavery.

It’s now widely understood that the fullest expression of nineteenth-century American capitalism was found in the structures of chattel slavery. It’s also understood that almost every other institution and aspect of life then was at least entangled with—and often profited from—slavery’s perpetuation. Yet as Sharon Ann Murphy shows in her powerful and unprecedented book, the centrality of enslaved labor to banking in the antebellum United States is far greater than previously thought.

Banking on Slavery sheds light on precisely how the financial relationships between banks and slaveholders worked across the nineteenth-century South. Murphy argues that the rapid spread of slavery in the South during the 1820s and ’30s depended significantly upon southern banks’ willingness to financialize enslaved lives, with the use of enslaved individuals as loan collateral proving central to these financial relationships. She makes clear how southern banks were ready—and, in some cases, even eager—to alter time-honored banking practices to meet the needs of slaveholders. In the end, many of these banks sacrificed themselves in their efforts to stabilize the slave economy. Murphy also details how banks and slaveholders transformed enslaved lives from physical bodies into abstract capital assets. Her book provides an essential examination of how our nation’s financial history is more intimately intertwined with the dehumanizing institution of slavery than scholars have previously thought.
Follow Sharon Ann Murphy on Twitter.

The Page 99 Test: Other People's Money.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

"Hailing the State"

New from Duke University Press: Hailing the State: Indian Democracy between Elections by Lisa Mitchell.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Hailing the State, Lisa Mitchell explores the methods of collective assembly that people in India use to hold elected officials and government administrators accountable, demand inclusion in decision making, and stage informal referendums. Mitchell traces the colonial and postcolonial lineages of collective forms of assembly, in which—rather than rejecting state authority—participants mobilize with expectations that officials will uphold the law and fulfill electoral promises. She shows how assembly, which ranges from sit-ins, hunger strikes, and demands for meetings with officials to massive general strikes and road and rail blockades, is fundamental to the functioning of democracy in India. These techniques are particularly useful for historically marginalized groups and others whose voices may not be easily heard. Moving beyond an exclusive focus on electoral processes, Mitchell argues that to understand democracy—both in India and beyond—we must also pay attention to what occurs between elections, thereby revising understanding of what is possible for democratic action around the world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 3, 2023

"The Nature of Endangerment in India"

New from Oxford University Press: The Nature of Endangerment in India: Tigers, 'Tribes', Extermination & Conservation, 1818-2020 by Ezra Rashkow.

About the book, from the publisher:
Perhaps no category of people on earth has been perceived as more endangered, nor subjected to more conservation efforts, than indigenous peoples. And in India, calls for the conservation of Adivasi culture have often reached a fever pitch, especially amongst urban middle-class activists and global civil society groups. But are India's 'tribes' really endangered? Do they face extinction? And is this threat somehow comparable to the threat of extinction facing tigers and other wildlife? Combining years of fieldwork and archival research with rigorous theoretical interrogations, this book examines fears of interlinking biological and cultural (or biocultural) diversity loss-particularly in regard to Bhil and Gond communities facing conservation and development-induced displacement in western and central India. It also problematizes the frequent usage of dehumanizing animal analogies that carelessly equate the fates of endangered species and societies. In doing so, it offers a global intellectual history of the concepts of endangerment and extinction, demonstrating that anxieties over tribal extinction existed long before there was even scientific awareness of the extinction of non-human species. The book is not a history or an ethnography of the tribes of India, but rather a history of discourses-including Adivasis' own-about what is often perceived to be the fundamental question for nearly all indigenous peoples in the modern world: the question of survival.
Follow Ezra Rashkow on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 2, 2023

"Struggle for the Street"

New from the University of North Carolina Press: Struggle for the Street: Social Networks and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Pittsburgh by Jessica D. Klanderud.

About the book, from the publisher:
Cities are nothing without the streets—the arteries through which goods, people, and ideas flow. Neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block, the city streets are where politics begins. In Struggle for the Street, Jessica D. Klanderud documents the development of class-based visions of political, social, and economic equality in Pittsburgh's African American community between World War I and the early 1970s. Klanderud emphasizes how middle-class and working-class African Americans struggled over the appropriate uses and dominant meanings of street spaces in their neighborhoods as they collectively struggled to define equality.

In chapters that move from one community to the next, Klanderud tracks the transformation of tactics over time with a streets-eye view that reveals the coalescing alliances between neighbors and through space. Drawing on oral histories of neighborhood residents, Black newspapers, and papers from the NAACP and Urban League, this study reveals complex class negotiations in the struggle for civil rights at the street level.
Follow Jessica D. Klanderud on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, April 1, 2023

"Uncertain Climes"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Uncertain Climes: Debating Climate Change in Gilded Age America by Joseph Giacomelli.

About the book, from the publisher:
Uncertain Climes looks to the late nineteenth century to reveal how climate anxiety was a crucial element in the emergence of American modernity.

Even people who still refuse to accept the reality of human-induced climate change would have to agree that the topic has become inescapable in the United States in recent decades. But as Joseph Giacomelli shows in Uncertain Climes, this is actually nothing new: as far back as Gilded Age America, climate uncertainty has infused major debates on economic growth and national development.

In this ambitious examination of late-nineteenth-century understandings of climate, Giacomelli draws on the work of scientists, foresters, surveyors, and settlers to demonstrate how central the subject was to the emergence of American modernity. Amid constant concerns about volatile weather patterns and the use of natural resources, nineteenth-century Americans developed a multilayered discourse on climate and what it might mean for the nation’s future. Although climate science was still in its nascent stages during the Gilded Age, fears and hopes about climate change animated the overarching political struggles of the time, including expansion into the American West. Giacomelli makes clear that uncertainty was the common theme linking concerns about human-induced climate change with cultural worries about the sustainability of capitalist expansionism in an era remarkably similar to the United States’ unsettled present.
--Marshal Zeringue