Wednesday, May 31, 2023

"Neuroethics: Agency in the Age of Brain Science"

New from Oxford University Press: Neuroethics: Agency in the Age of Brain Science by Joshua May.

About the book, from the publisher:
Is free will an illusion? Is addiction a brain disease? Should we enhance our brains beyond normal? Neuroethics blends philosophical analysis with modern brain science to address these and other critical questions through captivating cases. The result is a nuanced view of human agency as surprisingly diverse and flexible. With a lively and accessible writing style, Neuroethics is an indispensable resource for students and scholars in both the sciences and humanities.
Visit Josh May's website.

Joshua May is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is the author of Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind (2018) and co-editor of Agency in Mental Disorder (2022).

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

"Feel the Grass Grow"

Coming soon from Stanford University Press: Feel the Grass Grow: Ecologies of Slow Peace in Colombia by Angela Jill Lederach.

About the book, from the publisher:
On November 24, 2016, the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia signed a revised peace accord that marked a political end to over a half-century of war. Feel the Grass Grow traces the far less visible aspects of moving from war to peace: the decades of campesino struggle to defend life, land, and territory prior to the national accord, as well as campesino social leaders' engagement with the challenges of the state's post-accord reconstruction efforts. In the words of the campesino organizers, "peace is not signed, peace is built." Drawing on nearly a decade of extensive ethnographic and participatory research, Angela Jill Lederach advances a theory of "slow peace." Slowing down does not negate the urgency that animates the defense of territory in the context of the interlocking processes of political and environmental violence that persist in post-accord Colombia. Instead, Lederach shows how the campesino call to "slowness" recenters grassroots practices of peace, grounded in multigenerational struggles for territorial liberation. In examining the various layers of meaning embedded within campesino theories of "the times (los tiempos)," this book directs analytic attention to the holistic understanding of peacebuilding found among campesino social leaders. Their experiences of peacebuilding shape an understanding of time as embodied, affective, and emplaced. The call to slow peace gives primacy to the everyday, where relationships are deepened, ancestral memories reclaimed, and ecologies regenerated.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 29, 2023

"Phoenicians among Others"

New from Oxford University Press: Phoenicians among Others: Why Migrants Mattered in the Ancient Mediterranean by Denise Demetriou.

About the book, from the publisher:
Phoenicians among Others provides the first history of Phoenician immigrants in the ancient Mediterranean from the fourth to the first centuries BCE. Through an examination of inscriptions, many bilingual in Phoenician and Greek or Egyptian, Phoenicians among Others demonstrates how mobility and migration challenged migrants and states alike. Far from being excluded, and despite facing prejudices, immigrants mobilized adaptive strategies to mediate their experiences and encourage a sense of membership and belonging, constructed new identities, and transformed the societies they joined.

By integrating the voices and histories of immigrants with those of the states in which they lived, Denise Demetriou highlights the diverse ways that migrants influenced the development of societies, introduced new institutions, shaped the policies of their home and host states, made notions of citizenship more fluid, and changed the course of local, regional, and Mediterranean histories.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 28, 2023

"Sexuality and the Rise of China"

New from Duke University Press: Sexuality and the Rise of China: The Post-1990s Gay Generation in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China by Travis S. K. Kong.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Sexuality and the Rise of China Travis S. K. Kong examines the changing meanings of same-sex identities, communities, and cultures for young Chinese gay men in contemporary Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China. Drawing on ninety life stories, Kong’s transnational queer sociological approach shows the complex interplay between personal biography and the dramatically changing social institutions in these three societies. Kong conceptualizes coming out as relational politics and the queer/tongzhi community and commons as an affective, imaginative means of connecting, governed by homonormative masculinity. He shows how monogamy is a form of cruel optimism and envisions state and sexuality intertwining in different versions of homonationalism in each location. Tracing the alternately diverging and converging paths of being young, "Chinese," gay, and male, Kong reveals how both Western and emerging inter- and intra- Asian queer cultures shape queer/tongzhi experiences. Most significantly, at this historical juncture characterized by the rise of China, Kong criticizes the globalization of sexuality by emphasizing inter-Asia modeling, referencing, and solidarities and debunks the essentializing myth of Chineseness, thereby decolonizing Western sexual knowledge and demonstrating the differential meanings of Chineseness/queerness across the Sinophone world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 27, 2023

"Democracy and Exclusion"

New from Oxford University Press: Democracy and Exclusion by Patti Tamara Lenard.

About the book, from the publisher:
As people become more mobile around the world, the nature of citizenship, and all its attendant rights, has become the object of intense scrutiny. And, as we know, democracies forcefully and coercively exclude those whom they believe do not belong on their territory or among their constituency.

In Democracy and Exclusion, Patti Tamara Lenard looks at how and when democracies exclude both citizens and noncitizens from territory and from membership to determine if and when there are instances when such exclusion is justified. To make her case, Lenard draws on the all-subjected principle, or the idea that all those who are the subject of law--that is, those who are required to abide by the law and who are subject to coercion if they do not do so voluntarily--should have a say in what the law is. If we assess who is subjected to the power of a state at any particular moment, and especially over time, we can see who ought to be treated as a member and therefore be granted citizenship or the right to stay.

With an in-depth look at instances in which democratic states have expanded or adopted policies that permit the exclusion of citizens--including denationalization, stateless peoples, labor migrants, returning foreign fighters, and LGBTQ+ refugee resettlement--Lenard argues that admission to territory and membership is either favored by, or required by, democratic justice. Democracy and Exclusion makes a powerful case that subjection to the power of a state, without proper protection from exclusion, is a violation of democratic principle.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 26, 2023

"The Rise of the Masses"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Rise of the Masses: Spontaneous Mobilization and Contentious Politics by Benjamin Abrams.

About the book, from the publisher:
An insightful examination of how intersecting individual motivations and social structures mobilize spontaneous mass protests.

Between 15 and 26 million Americans participated in protests surrounding the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others as part of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, which is only one of the most recent examples of an immense mobilization of citizens around a cause. In The Rise of the Masses, sociologist Benjamin Abrams addresses why and how people spontaneously protest, riot, and revolt en masse. While most uprisings of such a scale require tremendous resources and organizing, this book focuses on cases where people with no connection to organized movements take to the streets, largely of their own accord. Looking to the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and the Black Lives Uprising, as well as the historical case of the French Revolution, Abrams lays out a theory of how and why massive mobilizations arise without the large-scale planning that usually goes into staging protests.

Analyzing a breadth of historical and regional cases that provide insight into mass collective behavior, Abrams draws on first-person interviews and archival sources to argue that people organically mobilize when a movement speaks to their pre-existing dispositions and when structural and social conditions make it easier to get involved—what Abrams terms affinity-convergence theory. Shedding a light on the drivers behind large spontaneous protests, The Rise of the Masses offers a significant theory that could help predict movements to come.
Visit Benjamin Abrams's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 25, 2023

"The Returns to Power"

New from Oxford University Press: The Returns to Power: A Political Theory of Economic Inequality by Thomas F. Remington.

About the book, from the publisher:
An unconventional perspective on contemporary economic inequality in America and its dangers for democracy, using comparisons with Russia, China and Germany.

Since the economic liberalization wave that began in the late 1970s, inequality around the world has skyrocketed.

In The Returns to Power, Thomas F. Remington examines the rise of extreme economic inequality in the United States since the late 1970s by drawing comparisons to the effects of market reforms in transition countries such as Russia, China, and Germany. Employing an unconventional comparative framework, he brings together the latest scholarship in economics and political science and draws on Russian, Chinese, and German-language sources. As he shows, the US embraced deregulation and market-based solutions around the same time that China and Russia implemented major privatization and liberalization reforms. The long-term result was increasing inequality in all three nations. To illustrate why, Remington contrasts the effects of these policies with the postwar economic recovery program in Germany, which succeeded in protecting market competition within the framework of a social market economy that provides widely shared prosperity, high growth, and robust democracy. The book concludes with an analysis of the political dangers posed by high inequality and calls for a new public philosophy of liberal capitalism and liberal democracy that would restore political equality and inclusive growth by strengthening political and market competition, expanding the provision of public goods, and broadening social insurance protection.

An ambitious account of why political and economic inequality has increased so much in recent times, The Returns to Power's emphasis on policy variation across democracies also reminds us that it did not have to turn out this way.
Visit Thomas F. Remington's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

"Idealism and the Harmony of Thought and Reality"

New from Oxford University Press: Idealism and the Harmony of Thought and Reality by Thomas Hofweber.

About the book, from the publisher:
Do human beings have a special and distinguished place in reality? In Idealism and the Harmony of Thought and Reality Thomas Hofweber contends that they do. We are special since there is an intimate connection between our human minds and reality itself. This book defends a form of idealism which holds that our human minds constrain, but do not construct, reality as the totality of facts. Reality as the totality of facts is thus not independent of our minds, and our minds play a metaphysically special role in all of reality. But reality as the totality of things is taken to be completely independent of us.

Hofweber's proposed form of conceptual idealism is formulated via the notion of a harmony between our minds and reality. This harmony is defended through considerations in the philosophy of language. How can one possibly defend a metaphysical thesis like idealism from considerations about our own representation? A key step in the book's argument is to consider a special class of concepts--inescapable concepts--which we cannot rationally replace with different ones. This leads to a new approach for making progress in metaphysics--immanent metaphysics--which is broadly neo-Kantian in spirit.
Visit Thomas Hofweber's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

"A Region among States"

New from the University of Chicago Press: A Region among States: Law and Non-sovereignty in the Caribbean by Lee Cabatingan.

About the book, from the publisher:
Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork at the Caribbean Court of Justice, A Region among States explores the possibility of constituting a region on a geopolitical and ideological terrain dominated by the nation-state.

How is it that a great swath of the independent, English-speaking Caribbean continues to accept the judicial oversight of their former colonizer via the British institution of the Privy Council? And what possibilities might the Caribbean Court of Justice—a judicial institution responsive to the region, not to any single nation—offer for untangling sovereignty and regionhood, law and modernity, and postcolonial Caribbean identity?

Joining the Court as an intern, Lee Cabatingan studied its work up close: she attended each court hearing and numerous staff meetings, served on committees, assisted with the organization of conferences, and helped prepare speeches and presentations for the judges. She now offers insight into not only how the Court positions itself vis-à-vis the Caribbean region and the world but also whether the Court—and, perhaps, the region itself as an overarching construct—might ever achieve a real measure of popular success. In their quest for an accepting, eager constituency, the Court is undertaking a project of extrajudicial region building that borrows from the toolbox of the nation-state. In each chapter, Cabatingan takes us into an analytical dimension familiar from studies of nation and state building—myth, territory, people, language, and brand—to help us understand not only the Court and its ambitions but also the regionalist project, beset as it is with false starts and disappointments, as a potential alternative to the sovereign state.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 22, 2023

"Lawyer, Jailer, Ally, Foe"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Lawyer, Jailer, Ally, Foe: Complicity and Conscience in America's World War II Concentration Camps by Eric L. Muller.

About the book, from the publisher:
It is 1942, and World War II is raging. In the months since Pearl Harbor, the US has plunged into the war overseas—and on the home front, it has locked up tens of thousands of innocent Japanese Americans in concentration camps, tearing them from their homes on the West Coast with the ostensible goal of neutralizing a supposed internal threat.

At each of these camps the government places a white lawyer with contradictory instructions: provide legal counsel to the prisoners, and keep the place running. Within that job description are a vast array of tasks, and an enormous amount of discretion they can use for good or for ill. They fight to protect the property the prisoners were forced to leave behind; they help the prisoners with their wills and taxes; and they interrogate them about their loyalties, sometimes driving them to tears. Most of these lawyers think of themselves as trying to do good in a bad system, and yet each ends up harming the prisoners more than helping them, complicit in a system that strips people of their freedoms and sometimes endangers their lives.

In Lawyer, Jailer, Ally, Foe, Eric L. Muller brings to vivid life the stories of three of these men, illuminating a shameful episode of American history through imaginative narrative deeply grounded in archival evidence. As we look through the lawyers' sometimes-clear and sometimes-clouded eyes, what emerges is a powerful look at the day-by-day, brick-by-brick perpetration of racial injustice—not just by the system itself, but by the men struggling to do good within it.
Follow Eric L. Muller on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 21, 2023

"On Taking Offence"

New from Oxford University Press: On Taking Offence by Emily McTernan.

About the book, from the publisher:
Someone fails to shake your outstretched hand, puts you down in front of others, or makes a joke in poor taste. Should we take offence? Wouldn't it be better if we didn't? In the face of popular criticism of people taking offence too easily, and the social problems that creates, Emily McTernan defends taking offence as often morally appropriate and socially valuable. Within societies marred by inequality, taking offence can resist the day-to-day patterning of social hierarchies.

This book defends the significance of details of our social interactions. Cumulatively, small acts, and the social norms underlying these, can express and reinforce social hierarchies. But by taking offence, we mark an act as an affront to our social standing. We also often communicate our rejection of that affront to others. At times, taking offence can be a way to renegotiate the shared social norms around what counts as respectful treatment. Rather than a mere expression of hurt feelings then, to take offence can be to stand up for one's standing.

When taken by those deemed to have less social standing, to take offence can be a direct act of insubordination against a social hierarchy. Taking offence can resist everyday inequalities. In unequal societies, the inclination to take offence at the right things, and to the right degree, may even be a civic virtue. These right things at which to take offence include many of the very instances that the opponents of a culture of taking offence find most objectionable: apparently trivial and small-scale details of our social interactions.
Visit Emily McTernan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 20, 2023

"Outrage: The Arts and the Creation of Modernity"

Coming soon from Stanford University Press: Outrage: The Arts and the Creation of Modernity by Katherine Giuffre.

About the book, from the publisher:
A cultural revolution in England, France, and the United States beginning during the time of the industrial and political revolutions helped usher in modernity. This cultural revolution worked alongside the better documented political and economic revolutions to usher in the modern era of continuous revolution. Focusing on the period between 1847 and 1937, the book examines in depth six of the cultural "battles" that were key parts of this revolution: the novels of the Brontë sisters, the paintings of the Impressionists, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, the Ballets Russes production of Le Sacre du printemps, James Joyce's Ulysses, and Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Using contemporaneous reviews in the press as well as other historical material, we can see that these now-canonical works provoked outrage at the time of their release because they addressed critical points of social upheaval and transformation in ways that engaged broad audiences with subversive messages. This framework allows us to understand and navigate the cultural debates that play such an important role in 21st century politics.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 19, 2023

"The Life and Death of States"

Coming soon from Princeton University Press: The Life and Death of States: Central Europe and the Transformation of Modern Sovereignty by Natasha Wheatley.

About the book, from the publisher:
An intellectual history of sovereignty that reveals how the Habsburg Empire became a crucible for our contemporary world order

Sprawled across the heartlands of Europe, the Habsburg Empire resisted all the standard theories of singular sovereignty. The 1848 revolutions sparked decades of heady constitutional experimentation that pushed the very concept of “the state” to its limits. This intricate multinational polity became a hothouse for public law and legal philosophy and spawned ideas that still shape our understanding of the sovereign state today. The Life and Death of States traces the history of sovereignty over one hundred tumultuous years, explaining how a regime of nation-states theoretically equal under international law emerged from the ashes of a dynastic empire.

Natasha Wheatley shows how a new sort of experimentation began when the First World War brought the Habsburg Empire crashing down: the making of new states. Habsburg lands then became a laboratory for postimperial sovereignty and a new international order, and the results would echo through global debates about decolonization for decades to come. Wheatley explores how the Central European experience opens a unique perspective on a pivotal legal fiction―the supposed juridical immortality of states.

A sweeping work of intellectual history, The Life and Death of States offers a penetrating and original analysis of the relationship between sovereignty and time, illustrating how the many deaths and precarious lives of the region’s states expose the tension between the law’s need for continuity and history’s volatility.
Follow Natasha Wheatley on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 18, 2023

"Chimpanzees, War, and History"

New from Oxford University Press: Chimpanzees, War, and History: Are Men Born to Kill? by R. Brian Ferguson.

About the book, from the publisher:
The question of whether men are predisposed to war runs hot in contemporary scholarship and online discussion. Within this debate, chimpanzee behavior is often cited to explain humans' propensity for violence; the claim is that male chimpanzees kill outsiders because they are evolutionarily inclined, suggesting to some that people are too. The longstanding critique that killing is instead due to human disturbance has been pronounced dead and buried. In Chimpanzees, War, and History, R. Brian Ferguson challenges this consensus.

By historically contextualizing every reported chimpanzee killing, Ferguson offers and empirically substantiates two hypotheses. Primarily, he provides detailed demonstration of the connection between human impact and intergroup killing of adult chimpanzees. Secondarily, he argues that killings within social groups reflect status conflicts, display violence against defenseless individuals, and payback killings of fallen status bullies. Ferguson also explains broad chimpanzee-bonobo differences in violence through constructed and transmitted social organizations consistent with new perspectives in evolutionary theory. He deconstructs efforts to illuminate human warfare via chimpanzee analogy, and provides an alternative anthropological theory grounded in Pan-human contrasts that is applicable to different types of warfare. Bringing readers on a journey through theoretical struggle and clashing ideas about chimpanzees, bonobos, and evolution, Ferguson opens new ground on the age-old question--are men born to kill?
Visit R. Brian Ferguson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

"Secret Leviathan"

New from Stanford University Press: Secret Leviathan: Secrecy and State Capacity under Soviet Communism by Mark Harrison.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Soviet Union was one of the most secretive states that ever existed. Defended by a complex apparatus of rules and checks administered by the secret police, the Soviet state had seemingly unprecedented capabilities based on its near monopoly of productive capital, monolithic authority, and secretive decision making. But behind the scenes, Soviet secrecy was double-edged: it raised transaction costs, incentivized indecision, compromised the effectiveness of government officials, eroded citizens' trust in institutions and in each other, and led to a secretive society and an uninformed elite. The result is what this book calls the secrecy/capacity tradeoff: a bargain in which the Soviet state accepted the reduction of state capacity as the cost of ensuring its own survival. This book is the first comprehensive, analytical, multi-faceted history of Soviet secrecy in the English language. Harrison combines quantitative and qualitative evidence to evaluate the impact of secrecy on Soviet state capacity from the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Based on multiple years of research in once-secret Soviet-era archives, this book addresses two gaps in history and social science: one the core role of secrecy in building and stabilizing the communist states of the twentieth century; the other the corrosive effects of secrecy on the capabilities of authoritarian states.
Visit Mark Harrison's Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

"The Politics of German Idealism"

New from Oxford University Press: The Politics of German Idealism by Christopher Yeomans.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Politics of German Idealism reconstructs the political philosophies of Kant, Fichte and Hegel against the background of their social-historical context. Christopher Yeomans' guiding thought is to understand German Idealist political philosophy as political, i.e., as a set of policy options and institutional designs aimed at a broadly but distinctively German set of social problems. 'Political' here refers to use of the state's power to enforce law, and 'social' to the norms and groups which are regulated by that enforcement, but which also antedate or exceed that enforcement. Because the power to enforce law is very much still being actualized by state-building in the period at issue, 'political' refers quite narrowly to a certain kind of practical legal project rather than to a perennial set of problems from the history of philosophy. By way of method, Yeomans claims that to reveal the political nature of German Idealist political philosophy requires understanding German Idealism as both taking place in and conceptualizing its own historical present--this is the sense in which it is not only political, but political philosophy. The most important general feature of the historical present of the German Idealists is the way in which the period from 1770 to 1830 was a transitional period between early and late modernity, a so-called saddle period (Sattelzeit) in which the metaphor is of a Bergsattel or shallow valley between two mountain peaks.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 15, 2023

"The Gas Mask in Interwar Germany"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Gas Mask in Interwar Germany: Visions of Chemical Modernity by Peter Thompson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Exploring the history of the gas mask in Germany from 1915 to the eve of the Second World War, Peter Thompson traces how chemical weapons and protective technologies like the gas mask produced new relationships to danger, risk, management and mastery in the modern age of mass destruction. Recounting the apocalyptic visions of chemical death that circulated in interwar Germany, he argues that while everyday encounters with the gas mask tended to exacerbate fears, the gas mask also came to symbolize debates about the development of military and chemical technologies in the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. He underscores how the gas mask was tied into the creation of an exclusionary national community under the Nazis and the altered perception of environmental danger in the second half of the twentieth century. As this innovative new history shows, chemical warfare and protection technologies came to represent poignant visions of the German future.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 14, 2023

"Activism under Fire"

New from Oxford University Press: Activism under Fire: The Politics of Non-Violence in Rio de Janeiro's Gang Territories by Anjuli Fahlberg.

About the book, from the publisher:
Rio de Janeiro's favelas have become well-known sites of gang and police violence. Since the 1970s, dangerous networks between drug traffickers and corrupt state actors have transformed these poor neighborhoods into sites of armed conflict and political repression, limiting residents' ability to speak out against violence or demand their democratic rights. Despite these challenges, nonviolent politics remains an integral element in Cidade de Deus--City of God--one of Rio's most dangerous and famous favelas.

In Activism under Fire, Anjuli Fahlberg provides an original account of how conflict activism operates in Cidade de Deus. Drawing on fieldwork, virtual ethnography, and participatory action research, Fahlberg documents how activists strategically navigate local constraints and opportunities--including gendered governing dynamics and racialized practices of solidarity--to create space for non-violent governance amid armed repression. By working within urban, national, and transnational political networks and social movements, local activists bring resources into their neighborhood and protest violence while avoiding dangerous alliances.

Activism under Fire demonstrates that non-violent collective action is possible amid extreme poverty and violence, and shows what strategies enable it to survive and effect political change. In so doing, Fahlberg reveals the possibilities for collective action in violent and chaotic democratic states, not only in Latin America, but throughout the world.
Visit Anjuli Fahlberg's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 13, 2023

"Locusts of Power"

New from Cambridge University Press: Locusts of Power: Borders, Empire, and Environment in the Modern Middle East by Samuel Dolbee.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this highly original environmental history, Samuel Dolbee sheds new light on borders and state formation by following locusts and revealing how they shaped both the environment and people's imaginations from the late Ottoman Empire to the Second World War. Drawing on a wide range of archival research in multiple languages, Dolbee details environmental, political, and spatial transformations in the region's history by tracing the movements of locusts and their intimate relationship to people in motion, including Arab and Kurdish nomads, Armenian deportees, and Assyrian refugees, as well as states of the region. With locusts and moving people at center stage, surprising continuities and ruptures appear in the Jazira, the borderlands of today's Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Transcending approaches focused on the collapse of the Ottoman Empire or the creation of nation states, Dolbee provides a new perspective on the modern Middle East grounded in environmental change, state violence, and popular resistance.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 12, 2023

"Women and the Crusades"

New from Oxford University Press: Women and the Crusades by Helen J. Nicholson.

About the book, from the publisher:
The crusade movement needed women: their money, their prayer support, their active participation, and their inspiration...

This book surveys women's involvement in medieval crusading between the second half of the eleventh century, when Pope Gregory VII first proposed a penitential military expedition to help the Christians of the East, and 1570, when the last crusader state, Cyprus, was captured by the Ottoman Turks. It considers women's actions not only on crusade battlefields but also in recruiting crusaders, supporting crusades through patronage, propaganda, and prayer, and as both defenders and aggressors. It argues that medieval women were deeply involved in the crusades but the roles that they could play and how their contemporaries recorded their deeds were dictated by social convention and cultural expectations. Although its main focus is the women of Latin Christendom, it also looks at the impact of the crusades and crusaders on the Jews of western Europe and the Muslims of the Middle East, and compares relations between Latin Christians and Muslims with relations between Muslims and other Christian groups.
Follow Helen J. Nicholson on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 11, 2023

"The Return of the Taliban"

New from Yale University Press: The Return of the Taliban: Afghanistan after the Americans Left by Hassan Abbas.

About the book, from the publisher:
The first account of the new Taliban—showing who they are, what they want, and how they differ from their predecessors

Since the fall of Kabul in 2021, the Taliban have effective control of Afghanistan—a scenario few Western commentators anticipated. But after a twenty-year-long bitter war against the Republic of Afghanistan, reestablishing control is a complex procedure. What is the Taliban’s strategy now that they’ve returned to power?

In this groundbreaking new account, Hassan Abbas examines the resurgent Taliban as ruptures between moderates and the hardliners in power continue to widen. The group is now facing debilitating threats—from humanitarian crises to the Islamic State in Khorasan—but also engaging on the world stage, particularly with China and central Asian states. Making considered use of sources and contacts in the region, and offering profiles of major Taliban leaders, Return of the Taliban is the essential account of the movement as it develops and consolidates its grasp on Afghanistan.
Follow Hassan Abbas on Twitter.

The Page 99 Test: The Taliban Revival.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

"Bad Things"

New from Oxford University Press: Bad Things: The Nature and Normative Role of Harm by Neil Feit.

About the book, from the publisher:
Bad Things addresses various philosophical questions about the nature and moral relevance of harm. The most basic question is this: under what conditions does an event (or do some events) harm a given individual? Neil Feit focuses primarily on the metaphysics of harm, and he both defends and extends the counterfactual comparative account of harm. On this account, in its most basic form, an act or event harms an individual provided that she would have been better off if it had not occurred. The counterfactual comparative account is widely accepted but also widely criticized. Feit provides detailed and thorough responses to the most challenging objections. He argues that an adequate theory of harm should entail the counterfactual comparative account but also make room for a certain kind plural harm, where two or more events together harm an individual although neither one by itself is harmful. These harmful events are bad things, collectively, even if no single event is itself a bad thing. Feit sets out and defends a detailed account of plural harm, addressing issues about the magnitude and the time of the harm suffered by the victim. The primary focus of the book is on the metaphysics of harm, but issues concerning its normative or moral relevance are addressed. In particular, Feit questions the received view that there are strong reasons, which can be overridden only in unusual circumstances, against harming per se.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

"Talking Back"

New from Yale University Press: Talking Back: Native Women and the Making of the Early South by Alejandra Dubcovsky.

About the book, from the publisher:
A pathbreaking look at Native women of the early South who defined power and defied authority

Historian Alejandra Dubcovsky tells a story of war, slavery, loss, remembrance, and the women whose resilience and resistance transformed the colonial South. In exploring their lives she rewrites early American history, challenging the established male-centered narrative.

Dubcovsky reconstructs the lives of Native women—Timucua, Apalachee, Chacato, and Guale—to show how they made claims to protect their livelihoods, bodies, and families. Through the stories of the Native cacica who demanded her authority be recognized; the elite Spanish woman who turned her dowry and household into a source of independent power; the Floridiana who slapped a leading Native man in the town square; and the Black woman who ran a successful business at the heart of a Spanish town, Dubcovsky reveals the formidable women who claimed and used their power, shaping the history of the early South.
Follow Alejandra Dubcovsky on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 8, 2023

"Convicting the Mormons"

Coming soon from the University of North Carolina Press: Convicting the Mormons: The Mountain Meadows Massacre in American Culture by Janiece Johnson.

About the book, from the publisher:
On September 11, 1857, a small band of Mormons led by John D. Lee massacred an emigrant train of men, women, and children heading west at Mountain Meadows, Utah. News of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, as it became known, sent shockwaves through the western frontier of the United States, reaching the nation's capital and eventually crossing the Atlantic. In the years prior to the massacre, Americans dubbed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the "Mormon problem" as it garnered national attention for its "unusual" theocracy and practice of polygamy. In the aftermath of the massacre, many Americans viewed Mormonism as a real religious and physical threat to white civilization. Putting the Mormon Church on trial for its crimes against American purity became more important than prosecuting those responsible for the slaughter.

Religious historian Janiece Johnson analyzes how sensational media attention used the story of the Mountain Meadows Massacre to enflame public sentiment and provoke legal action against Latter-day Saints. Ministers, novelists, entertainers, cartoonists, and federal officials followed suit, spreading anti-Mormon sentiment to collectively convict the Mormon religion itself. This troubling episode in American religious history sheds important light on the role of media and popular culture in provoking religious intolerance that continues to resonate in the present.
Follow Janiece Johnson on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 7, 2023

"Kant, Race, and Racism"

New from Oxford University Press: Kant, Race, and Racism: Views from Somewhere by Huaping Lu-Adler.

About the book, from the publisher:
Kant scholars have paid relatively little attention to his raciology. They assume that his racism, as personal prejudice, can be disentangled from his core philosophy. They also assume that racism contradicts his moral theory. In this book, philosopher Huaping Lu-Adler challenges both assumptions. She shows how Kant's raciology--divided into racialism and racism--is integral to his philosophical system. She also rejects the individualistic approach to Kant and racism. Instead, she uses the notion of racism as ideological formation to demonstrate how Kant, from his social location both as a prominent scholar and as a lifelong educator, participated in the formation of modern racist ideology.

As a scholar, Kant developed a ground-breaking scientific theory of race from the standpoint of a philosophical investigator of nature or Naturforscher. As an educator, he transmitted denigrating depictions of the racialized others and imbued those descriptions with normative relevance. In both roles, he left behind, as one of his legacies, a worldview that excluded non-whites from such goods as recognitional respect and candidacy for cultural and moral achievements. Scholars who research and teach Kant's philosophy therefore have an unshakable burden to take part in the ongoing antiracist struggles, through their teaching practices as well as their scholarship. And they must do so with a pragmatic attention to nonideal social realities and a deliberate orientation toward substantial racial justice, equality, and inclusion.

Lu-Adler pushes the discourse about Kant and racism well beyond the old debates about whether he was racist or whether his racism contaminates his philosophy. By foregrounding the lasting legacies of Kant's raciology, her work calls for a profound reorientation of Kant scholarship.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 6, 2023

"Seven Crashes"

New from Yale University Press: Seven Crashes: The Economic Crises That Shaped Globalization by Harold James.

About the book, from the publisher:
A leading economic historian presents a new history of financial crises, showing how some led to greater globalization while others kept nations apart

The eminent economic historian Harold James presents a new perspective on financial crises, dividing them into “good” crises, which ultimately expand markets and globalization, and “bad” crises, which result in a smaller, less prosperous world. Examining seven turning points in financial history—from the depression of the 1840s through the Great Depression of the 1930s to the Covid-19 crisis—James shows how crashes prompted by a lack of supply, like the oil shortages of the 1970s, lead to greater globalization as markets expand and producers innovate to increase supply. By contrast, crises triggered by a lack of demand—such as the Global Financial Crisis of 2007–2008—result in less globalization as markets contract, austerity measures are imposed, and skepticism of government grows.

By considering not only the times but also the observers who shaped our understanding of each crisis—from Karl Marx to John Maynard Keynes to Larry Summers—James shows how the uneven course of globalization has led to new economic thinking, and how understanding this history can help us better prepare for the future.
The Page 99 Test: Making the European Monetary Union.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 5, 2023

"From Homemakers to Breadwinners to Community Leaders"

New from Rutgers University Press: From Homemakers to Breadwinners to Community Leaders: Migrating Women, Class, and Color by Norma Fuentes-Mayorga.

About the book, from the publisher:
In From Homemakers to Breadwinners to Community Leaders, Norma Fuentes-Mayorga compares the immigration and integration experiences of Dominican and Mexican women in New York City, a traditional destination for Dominicans but a relatively new one for Mexicans. Her book documents the significance of women-led migration within an increasingly racialized context and underscores the contributions women make to their communities of origin and of settlement. Fuentes-Mayorga’s research is timely, especially against the backdrop of policy debates about the future of family reunification laws and the unprecedented immigration of women and minors from Latin America, many of whom seek human rights protection or to reunite with families in the US. From Homemakers to Breadwinners to Community Leaders provides a compelling look at the suffering of migrant mothers and the mourning of family separation, but also at the agency and contributions that women make with their imported human capital and remittances to the receiving and sending community. Ultimately the book contributes further understanding to the heterogeneity of Latin American immigration and highlights the social mobility of Afro-Caribbean and indigenous migrant women in New York.
Visit Norma Fuentes-Mayorga's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 4, 2023

"Caught on Tape"

New from Oxford University Press: Caught on Tape: White Masculinity and Obscene Enjoyment by Casey Ryan Kelly.

About the book, from the publisher:
In a surveillance culture, the ubiquity of audio-visual recording devices has enabled the unprecedented documentation of private indiscretions, scandalous conversations, and obscene behaviors performed by both ordinary and high-profile people. From former President Donald J. Trump's lewd banter on the infamous Access Hollywood video and leaked audio of celebrity racist tirades to outburst of violent hate speech posted daily to YouTube, contemporary media culture is awash in obscene performances of transgressive white masculinity. Such exposés are screened and viewed under the assumption that revealing secret prejudices will necessarily realize the promises of democracy and bring about a postracial and postfeminist future. This book addresses why the culture of public revelations has failed to hold the perpetrators accountable.

Caught on Tape illustrates how public revelations constitute a symbolic and imaginary world for the public that is preoccupied with the obscene enjoyment of transgressive white masculinity: a compulsively repetitive experience of ecstatic and excessive pleasure-in-pain that arises from encounters with that which disturbs, traumatizes, and interrupts illusory notions of our coherent selves and reality. Caught on Tape argues that addressing race and gender inequality with the promise of scandalous hot mics and obscene private videos transforms antiracism and gender justice into disempowering forms of spectatorship that ultimately conceal the structural nature of whiteness, white supremacy, and patriarchy. The central argument of this book is that the spectators are the ones really caught on tape.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

"The Age of Atlantic Revolution"

New from Yale University Press: The Age of Atlantic Revolution: The Fall and Rise of a Connected World by Patrick Griffin.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Age of Atlantic Revolution was a defining moment in western history. Our understanding of rights, of what makes the individual an individual, of how to define a citizen versus a subject, of what states should or should not do, of how labor, politics, and trade would be organized, of the relationship between the church and the state, and of our attachment to the nation all derive from this period (c. 1750–1850).

Historian Patrick Griffin shows that the Age of Atlantic Revolution was rooted in how people in an interconnected world struggled through violence, liberation, and war to reimagine themselves and sovereignty. Tying together the revolutions, crises, and conflicts that undid British North America, transformed France, created Haiti, overturned Latin America, challenged Britain and Europe, vexed Ireland, and marginalized West Africa, Griffin tells a transnational tale of how empires became nations and how our world came into being.
The Page 69 Test: American Leviathan: Empire, Nation, and Revolutionary Frontier.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

"Life Beyond Waste"

New from Stanford University Press: Life Beyond Waste: Work and Infrastructure in Urban Pakistan by Waqas Butt.

About the book, from the publisher:
Over the last several decades, life in Lahore has been undergoing profound transformations, from rapid and uneven urbanization to expanding state institutions and informal economies. What do these transformations look like if viewed from the lens of waste materials and the lives of those who toil with them? In Lahore, like in many parts of Pakistan and South Asia, waste workers—whether municipal employees or informal laborers—are drawn from low- or noncaste (Dalit) groups and dispose the collective refuse of the city's 11 million inhabitants. Bringing workers into contact with potentially polluting materials reinforces their stigmatization and marginalization, and yet, their work allows life to go on across Lahore and beyond. This historical and ethnographic account examines how waste work has been central to organizing and transforming the city of Lahore—its landscape, infrastructures, and life—across historical moments, from the colonial period to the present. Building upon conversations about changing configurations of work and labor under capitalism, and utilizing a theoretical framework of reproduction, Waqas H. Butt traces how forms of life in Punjab, organized around caste-based relations, have become embedded in infrastructures across Pakistan, making them crucial to numerous processes unfolding at distinct scales. Life Beyond Waste maintains that processes reproducing life in a city like Lahore must be critically assessed along the lines of caste, class, and religion, which have been constitutive features of urbanization across South Asia.
Follow Waqas Butt on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 1, 2023

"The Bounds of Defense"

New from Oxford University Press: The Bounds of Defense: Killing, Moral Responsibility, and War by Bradley Jay Strawser.

About the book, from the publisher:
Most people believe that killing someone, while generally morally wrong, can in some cases be a permissible act. Most people similarly believe that war, while awful, can be justified. Bradley Jay Strawser examines a set of related moral issues in war: when it is permissible to kill in defense of others; what moral responsibility would be required to be liable for such defensive killing; how that permission can extend to whole groups of people; and, lastly, what values undergird the permissibility of that defense, such as individual autonomy. Strawser argues for a rights-based account of permissible defensive harm and an 'evidence-relative' basis for the holding those responsible. His view is that in order to be properly responsible for an unjust harm to be justifiably killed, one must act wrongly according to the evidence available to them.

Extending this view, Strawser explores how such a rights-based model can make sense of the wide-spread destructive harms of war. He endorses a revisionist approach to just war theory and argues in its defense; and he also shows how his evidence-relative account supports revisionist just war theory by better grounding it in the real world of modern warfare. Lastly, he offers a new proposal for how targeting in war could better align with respect for the rights of individual persons, and demonstrate how revisionist just war theory-and any rights-respecting just war account more broadly-could conceivably work in practical ways.
Visit Bradley Jay Strawser's website.

--Marshal Zeringue