Monday, July 31, 2023

"Rating Politics"

New from Oxford University Press: Rating Politics: Sovereign Credit Ratings and Democratic Choice in Prosperous Developed Countries by Zsófia Barta and Alison Johnston.

About the book, from the publisher:
How do countries' political and policy choices affect the credit ratings they receive? Sovereign ratings influence countries' cost of funding, and observers have long worried that rating agencies - these unelected, unappointed, unaccountable, for-profit organizations - can interfere with democratic sovereignty if they assign lower ratings to certain political and policy choices. The questions of whether, how, and why ratings react to policy and politics, however, remain unexplored. Rating Politics opens the black box of sovereign ratings to uncover the logic that drives rating responses to political and policy factors. Relying on statistical analysis of rating scores, interviews with sovereign rating analysts, and a close reading of the official communications of rating agencies about their decisions, Zsófia Barta and Alison Johnston show that ratings penalize center-left governments and many (though not all) policies associated with the center-left agenda. The motivation for such penalties is not rooted in assumptions about how those political and policy features affect growth and debt servicing capacity. Instead, ratings are lower in the presence of those features because they are expected to make a country more vulnerable to market panics whenever the economy is hit by unforeseen shocks, as they signal insufficient willingness and/or ability to engage in determined austerity for the sake of reassuring markets. Since market panics and the resulting "sudden stops" of funding lead to humiliating collapses of ratings, rating agencies attempt to insure themselves against "rating failures" by pre-emptively assigning lower ratings to countries with the "wrong" political and policy mix.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 30, 2023

"Resistance from the Right"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Resistance from the Right: Conservatives and the Campus Wars in Modern America by Lauren Lassabe Shepherd.

About the book, from the publisher:
Pivoting from studies that emphasize the dominance of progressivism on American college campuses during the late sixties and early seventies, Lauren Lassabe Shepherd positions conservative critiques of, and agendas in, American colleges and universities as an essential dimension of a broader conversation of conservative backlash against liberal education.

This book explores the story of how stakeholders in American higher education organized and reacted to challenges to their power from the New Left and Black Power student resistance movements of the late 1960s. By examining the range of conservative student organizations and coalition building, Shepherd shows how wealthy donors and conservative intellectuals trained future GOP leaders such as Karl Rove, Bill Barr, Jeff Sessions, Pat Buchanan, and others in conservative politics, providing them with tactics to consciously drive American politics and culture further to the authoritarian right and to "reclaim" American higher education.
Visit Lauren Lassabe Shepherd's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 29, 2023

"The Science of Dignity"

New from Oxford University Press: The Science of Dignity: Measuring Personhood and Well-Being in the United States by Steven Hitlin and Matthew A. Andersson.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book provides original evidence arguing for dignity as an indicator of public health, by offering a scientific framework for measuring dignity and its social determinants. Hitlin and Andersson show that dignity can be efficiently measured by using simple survey items that ask individuals whether there is "dignity" in their life or in how they are treated by others. National survey data show that unhappiness, sadness, anger, and lower general health are far more common for those reporting undignified lives. These differences in reported dignity come from inequalities in social and economic resources and from experiences of disrespect, threat, or life stress. Social groups with less power generally report lower levels of dignity linked to these multifaceted resource and stress inequalities, which are examined throughout the book. Hitlin and Andersson show that dignity possesses universal value for health and well-being in America, providing a scientific basis for collective consensus and social inspiration.
Steven Hitlin is a sociological social psychologist whose work spans morality, self and identity, the life course, and social theory. Before his faculty position at Iowa, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is author or co-author for several books and academic articles including Unequal Foundations: Inequality, Morality and Emotions Across Cultures and Moral Selves, Evil Selves: The Social Psychology of Conscience.

Matthew A. Andersson is a sociologist who studies health inequalities across the life course. His research has been published in numerous publications in leading journals in the social and population health sciences. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University and a Presidential Graduate Research Fellow at The University of Iowa. He serves on the editorial boards of Society and Mental Health and Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 28, 2023

"Bishops and Bodies"

New from Rutgers University Press: Bishops and Bodies: Reproductive Care in American Catholic Hospitals by Lori Freedman.

About the book, from the publisher:
One out of every six patients in the United States is treated in a Catholic hospital that follows the policies of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. These policies prohibit abortion, sterilization, contraception, some treatments for miscarriage and gender confirmation, and other reproductive care, undermining hard-won patients’ rights to bodily autonomy and informed decision-making. Drawing on rich interviews with patients and providers, this book reveals both how the bishops’ directives operate and how people inside Catholic hospitals navigate the resulting restrictions on medical practice. In doing so, Bishops and Bodies fleshes out a vivid picture of how The Church’s stance on sex, reproduction, and “life” itself manifests in institutions that affect us all.
Lori Freedman is a sociologist, bioethicist, and professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences with the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) program of the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco. She is the author of Willing and Unable: Doctors’ Constraints in Abortion Care.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 27, 2023

"Mission, Race, and Empire"

New from Oxford University Press: Mission, Race, and Empire: The Episcopal Church in Global Context by Jennifer C. Snow.

About the book, from the publisher:
The history of the Episcopal Church is intimately bound up with the history of empire. The two grew in tandem in the modern era, and as they grew they developed particular ideologies and practices around race. As slavery was carried over into the new political formations of the United States, so too were racially based exclusions carried over in the Episcopal Church.

Mission, Race, and Empire presents a new history of the Episcopal Church from its origins in the early British Empire up to the present, told through the lenses of empire and race. The book demonstrates the dramatic shifts within the Episcopal Church, from initial colonial violence to reflective self-critique. Jennifer Snow centers the stories of groups and individuals that have often been sidelined, including Native Americans, Black Americans, Asian Americans, women, and LGBTQ people, as well as the institutional leaders who sought to create, or fought against, a church that desired to be a house of prayer for all people.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

"The Two Revolutions"

New from NYU Press: The Two Revolutions: A History of the Transgender Internet by Avery Dame-Griff.

About the book, from the publisher:
The internet origins of the American transgender movement

The Two Revolutions
explores how the rise of the internet shaped transgender identity and activism from the 1980s to the present. Through extensive archival research and media archeology, Avery Dame-Griff reconstructs the manifold digital networks of transgender activists, cross-dressing computer hobbyists, and others interested in gender nonconformity who incited the second revolution of the title: the ascendance of “transgender” as an umbrella identity in the mid-1990s.

Dame-Griff argues that digital communications sparked significant momentum within what would become the transgender movement, but also further cemented existing power structures. Covering both a historical period that is largely neglected within the history of computing, and the poorly understood role of technology in queer and trans social movements, The Two Revolutions offers a new understanding of both revolutions—the internet’s early development and the structures of communication that would take us to today’s tipping point of trans visibility politics. Through a history of how trans people online exploited different digital infrastructures in the early days of the internet to build a community, The Two Revolutions tells a crucial part of trans history itself.
Visit Avery Dame-Griff's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

"Nice Is Not Enough"

New from the University of California Press: Nice Is Not Enough: Inequality and the Limits of Kindness at American High by C. J. Pascoe.

About the book, from the publisher:
This provocative story of contemporary high school argues that a shallow culture of kindness can do more lasting harm than good.

Based on two years of research, Nice Is Not Enough shares striking dispatches from one high school's "regime of kindness" to underline how the culture operates as a Band-Aid on persistent inequalities. Through incisive storytelling and thoughtful engagement with students, this brilliant study by C.J. Pascoe exposes uncomfortable truths about American politics and our reliance on individual solutions instead of profound systemic change.

Nice Is Not Enough brings readers into American High, a middle- and working-class high school characterized by acceptance, connection, and kindness—a place where, a prominent sign states, "there is no room for hate." Here, inequality is narrowly understood as a problem of individual merit, meanness, effort, or emotion rather than a structural issue requiring deeper intervention. Surface-level sensitivity allows American High to avoid "political" topics related to social inequality based on race, sex, gender, or class. Being nice to each other, Pascoe reveals, does not serve these students or solve the broader issues we face; however, a true politics of care just might.
Visit C. J. Pascoe's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 24, 2023

"America's New Vaccine Wars"

New from Oxford University Press: America's New Vaccine Wars: California and the Politics of Mandates by Mark C. Navin and Katie Attwell.

About the book, from the publisher:
Bioethicist Mark Navin and policy scholar Katie Attwell explore the evolution of American childhood vaccination policy through the prism of political history, contemporary parenthood, and diverse governance strategies. America's New Vaccine Wars focuses on the origins and the outcomes of America's recent efforts to eliminate nonmedical exemptions to school and daycare vaccine mandates. These policy developments have increased immunization rates, but they have also ignited polarizing, nationwide debates about parents' rights, democracy, and the authority of the government to use coercion to promote health. This book explores the meaning of these battles for parents, doctors, the politics of public health, and the future of bioethics.

Navin and Attwell ground the book with a case study of California's efforts to exclude unvaccinated children from school and daycare following the Disneyland Measles Outbreak of 2014. The authors use original interviews with key policymakers and activists to explain the development and execution of California's new vaccination policies, and they connect California's immunization policy developments to similar efforts across America and in other countries.

America's New Vaccine Wars is a story about how political and community actors fought to exclude unvaccinated children from school in the face of significant opposition and failing public health institutions. The book unpacks the meaning and impact of these efforts for broader debates about America's immunization governance, including conflicts about coercive public health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 23, 2023

"The Victims’ Rights Movement"

New from NYU Press: The Victims’ Rights Movement: What It Gets Right, What It Gets Wrong by Michael Vitiello.

About the book, from the publisher:
Outlines the successes and failures of the movement to support survivors of violence

The Victims’ Rights Movement (VRM) has been one of the most meaningful criminal justice reforms in the United States. Every state and the federal government has adopted major VRM laws to enact protections for victims and increase criminal sanctions, and the movement has received support from politicians of all backgrounds. Despite recognition of its excesses, the movement remains an important force in the criminal justice arena.

The Victims' Rights Movement offers a measured overview of the successes and the failures of the VRM. Among its widely acknowledged accomplishments are expanded resources to help victims deal with trauma, greater sensitivity to sexual assault victims in many jurisdictions, and increased chances of victims receiving restitution from perpetrators of harm. Conversely, the movement has led to excessive punishment for many defendants and destruction of defendants’ families. It has exacerbated racial inequality in the imposition of the death penalty and criminal sentencing generally, and falsely promises “closure” to crime victims and their families.

Michael Vitiello considers whether the VRM serves those injured by crime well by focusing on “victimhood.” He urges a reframing of the movement to fight for universal health care and limits on access to weapons—two policies that would reduce the number of victims and help those who do become victims of crime.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 22, 2023

"Democracy in Captivity"

New from the University of California Press: Democracy in Captivity: Prisoners, Patients, and the Limits of Self-Government by Christopher D. Berk.

About the book, from the publisher:
Who ought to govern those held in custody, and by what right? Democracy in Captivity examines various efforts to answer these questions, centering on two case studies at custodial institutions: the rise and demise of patient self-governance at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, DC, between 1947 and 1965 and the prisoner-organized governance of Massachusetts's Walpole State Prison following a 1973 prison-guard strike. As Christopher D. Berk shows, the promise of these initiatives was tempered by the custodians' backlash to their wards' attempts at self-rule. This backlash arrived not only in the blunt forms of restraint chairs, riot gear, and a surgeon's scalpel but also as more covert measures taken under the cover of so-called democratic management­­—which in turn entrenched disenfranchisement and naturalized authoritarian rule. Turning from these case studies to a wider consideration of custody and democracy, Berk explores pathologies that have captured the politics of punishment, with pressing implications for the practice of democracy both inside and outside custodial institutions.
Visit Christopher D. Berk's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 21, 2023

"The Liberalism Trap"

New from Oxford University Press: The Liberalism Trap: John Stuart Mill and Customs of Interpretation by Menaka Philips.

About the book, from the publisher:
Arguments about liberalism's meanings, endurance, imminent death, or revival are widespread in modern political thought. But what effect do these preoccupations with liberalism have on the way political questions are taken up?

In The Liberalism Trap, Menaka Philips argues that the focus on liberalism has become a customary limit on our political imaginations. To examine the costs of that custom, Philips turns to John Stuart Mill-the so-called paradigmatic liberal. As she argues, Mill's famed liberal status is habitually substituted for his political arguments such that the now standard association of Mill with liberalism determines how and why he is read. Philips, however, takes a break from that ready association. Her comparative reading of Mill's work concerning women's emancipation, class reform, and the British Empire recovers a thinker guided not by the ideological certainties he is often made out to represent, but by a politics of uncertainty-a politics which generated radical, gradualist, and paternalist strategies throughout his proposals on domestic and imperial questions.

By reading Mill against the limits of liberalism, Philips draws out the possibilities and risks of Mill's own political practice, while inviting a critical evaluation of the customs of interpretation that shape contemporary political thought.
Visit Menaka Philips's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 20, 2023

"Popularizing the Past"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Popularizing the Past: Historians, Publishers, and Readers in Postwar America by Nick Witham.

About the book, from the publisher:
Popularizing the Past tells the stories of five postwar historians who changed the way ordinary Americans thought about their nation’s history.

What’s the matter with history? For decades, critics of the discipline have argued that the historical profession is dominated by scholars unable, or perhaps even unwilling, to write for the public. In Popularizing the Past, Nick Witham challenges this interpretation by telling the stories of five historians—Richard Hofstadter, Daniel Boorstin, John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, and Gerda Lerner—who, in the decades after World War II, published widely read books of national history.

Witham compellingly argues that we should understand historians’ efforts to engage with the reading public as a vital part of their postwar identity and mission. He shows how the lives and writings of these five authors were fundamentally shaped by their desire to write histories that captivated both scholars and the elusive general reader. He also reveals how these authors’ efforts could not have succeeded without a publishing industry and a reading public hungry to engage with the cutting-edge ideas then emerging from American universities. As Witham’s book makes clear, before we can properly understand the heated controversies about American history so prominent in today’s political culture, we must first understand the postwar effort to popularize the past.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

"The Opening of the Protestant Mind"

New from Oxford University Press: The Opening of the Protestant Mind: How Anglo-American Protestants Embraced Religious Liberty by Mark Valeri.

About the book, from the publisher:
During the mid-seventeenth century, Anglo-American Protestants described Native American ceremonies as savage devilry, Islamic teaching as violent chicanery, and Catholicism as repugnant superstition. By the mid-eighteenth century, they would describe amicable debates between evangelical missionaries and Algonquian religious leaders about the moral appeal of Christianity, recount learned conversations between English merchants and Muslim scholars, and tell of encounters with hospitable and sincere priests in Catholic Canada and Europe. What explains this poignant shift?

Using a variety of sources--travel narratives, dictionaries and encyclopaedias of the world's religions, missionary tracts, and sermons, The Opening of the Protestant Mind traces a transformation in how English and colonial American Protestants described other religions during a crucial period of English colonization of North America. After the English Revolution of 1688 and the subsequent growth of the British empire, observers began to link Britain's success to civic moral virtues, including religious toleration, rather than to any particular religious creed. Mark Valeri shows how a wide range of Protestants--including liberal Anglicans, Calvinist dissenters, deists, and evangelicals--began to see other religions not as entirely good or entirely bad, but as complex, and to evaluate them according to their commitment to religious liberty. In the view of these Protestants, varieties of religion that eschewed political power were laudable, while types of religion that combined priestly authority with political power were illegitimate. They also changed their evangelistic practices, jettisoning civilizing agendas in favor of reasoned persuasion.

Valeri neither valorizes Anglo-Protestants nor condemns them. Instead, he reveals the deep ambiguities in their ideas while showing how those ideas contained the seeds of modern religious liberty.
The Page 99 Test: Heavenly Merchandize.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

"The Law of Freedom"

New from Cambridge University Press: The Law of Freedom: The Supreme Court and Democracy by Jacob Eisler.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Supreme Court has been at the center of great upheavals in American democracy across the last seventy years. From the end of Jim Crow to the rise of wealth-dominated national campaigns, the Court has battled over if democracy is an egalitarian collaboration to serve the good of all citizens, or a competitive struggle by private interests. In The Law of Freedom, Jacob Eisler questions why the Court has the moral authority to shape democracy at all. Analyzing leading cases through the lens of philosophy and social science, Eisler demonstrates how the soul of election law is a battle between two philosophical understandings of democratic freedom and popular self-rule. This remarkable book reveals that the Court's battle over democracy has shaped how Americans rule themselves, marking election law as the most dramatic judicial intervention in constitutional history.
Jacob Eisler is the James Edmund and Margaret Elizabeth Corry Professor at the Florida State University College of Law.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 17, 2023

"Defensive Nationalism"

New from Oxford University Press: Defensive Nationalism: Explaining the Rise of Populism and Fascism in the 21st Century by B. S. Rabinowitz.

About the book, from the publisher:
A stunningly novel account of why populism and fascism are on the rise in the early 21st century.

Today we find in the most technologically advanced societies, wild conspiracy theories and a broad distrust of science and expertise have created deep political divisions that are splitting nations in two. Defensive Nationalism explains this paradox, using history as a guide. B. S. Rabinowitz finds that the turn-of-the 19th century was also a period of exceptional technological innovation that ended with toxic political upheavals. To investigate why, the author combines Karl Polanyi's concept of the "double movement" with Joseph Schumpeter's theory of innovation. Weaving together a fascinating narrative that spans two centuries, the book traces how the rapid transformation of transportation and communications during the Industrial Revolution and the Digital Revolution created economic interdependence and capital flows that induced radical economic, social, and political disruptions. In response, separate national-populist movements, stemming from particular national histories and struggles, arose concurrently to produce an era of "defensive nationalism." Distinguishing between creative, consolidating, and defensive nationalism, Rabinowitz offers a persuasively fresh way to study socio-political patterns across time and space.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 16, 2023

"Between God and Hitler"

New from Cambridge University Press: Between God and Hitler: Military Chaplains in Nazi Germany by Doris L. Bergen.

About the book, from the publisher:
During the Second World War, approximately 1000 Christian chaplains accompanied Wehrmacht forces wherever they went, from Poland to France, Greece, North Africa, and the Soviet Union. Chaplains were witnesses to atrocity and by their presence helped normalize extreme violence and legitimate its perpetrators. Military chaplains played a key role in propagating a narrative of righteousness that erased Germany's victims and transformed the aggressors into noble figures who suffered but triumphed over their foes. Between God and Hitler is the first book to examine Protestant and Catholic military chaplains in Germany from Hitler's rise to power, to defeat, collapse, and Allied occupation. Drawing on a wide array of sources – chaplains' letters and memoirs, military reports, Jewish testimonies, photographs, and popular culture – this book offers insight into how Christian clergy served the cause of genocide, sometimes eagerly, sometimes reluctantly, even unknowingly, but always loyally.
Doris L. Bergen is the Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on issues of religion, gender, and ethnicity in the Holocaust and World War II and comparatively in other cases of extreme violence. Her publications include War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust, now going into its fourth edition, with translations into Polish and Ukrainian. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and has taught in Canada, the USA, Germany, Poland, Bosnia, and Kosovo.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 15, 2023

"Traders in Men"

New from Yale University Press: Traders in Men: Merchants and the Transformation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade by Nicholas Radburn.

About the book, from the publisher:
A sweeping new history that reveals how British, African, and American merchants developed the transatlantic slave trade

During the eighteenth century, Britain’s slave trade exploded in size. Formerly a small and geographically constricted business, the trade had, by the eve of the American Revolution, grown into a transatlantic system through which fifty thousand men, women, and children were enslaved every year.

In this wide-ranging history, Nicholas Radburn explains how thousands of merchants collectively transformed the slave trade by devising highly efficient but violent new business methods. African brokers developed commercial infrastructure that facilitated the enslavement and sale of millions of people. Britons invented shipping methods that quelled enslaved people’s constant resistance on the Middle Passage. And American slave traders formulated brutal techniques through which shiploads of people could be quickly sold to colonial buyers. Truly Atlantic-wide in its vision, this study shows how the slave trade dragged millions of people into its terrible vortex and became one of the most important phenomena in world history.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 14, 2023

"In Her Hands"

New from the University of California Press: In Her Hands: Women's Fight against AIDS in the United States by Emma Day.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Her Hands examines the various strategies women have utilized to fight for recognition as individuals vulnerable to and living with HIV/AIDS across multiple settings since the 1980s. Taking a new chronological and thematic approach to the study of the US epidemic, it explores five arenas of women’s AIDS activism: transmission and recognition, reproductive justice, safer sex campaigns for queer women, the carceral state, and HIV prevention and treatment. In so doing, it moves the historical understanding of women’s experiences of AIDS beyond their exclusion from the initial medical response and the role women played as the supporters of gay men. Asking how and on what terms women succeeded in securing state support, In Her Hands argues that women protesting the neglect of their health-care needs always risked encountering punitive intervention on behalf of the symbolic needs of fetuses and children – as well as wider society – deemed to need protecting from them.
Follow Emma Day or Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 13, 2023

"Remaking the World"

New from The University Press of Kentucky: Remaking the World: Decolonization and the Cold War by Jessica M. Chapman.

About the book, from the publisher:
Between 1945 and 1965, more than fifty nations declared their independence from colonial rule. At the height of the Cold War, the global process of decolonization complicated US-Soviet relations, while Soviet and American interventionism transformed the decolonizing process. Remaking the World examines the connections between the Cold War and decolonization. Through six carefully selected case studies—India, Egypt, the Congo, Vietnam, Angola, and Iran—historian Jessica M. Chapman addresses the shifting of Soviet, American, Chinese, and Cuban policies, the centrality of modernization, the role of the United Nations, the influence of regional actors like Israel and South Africa, and seminal post–Vietnam War shifts in the international system. Each case study analyzes at least one geopolitical turning point, demonstrating that the Cold War and decolonization were mutually constitutive processes in which local, national, and regional developments altered the superpower competition. Chapman presents the complexities of international relations and the ways in which local communist and democratic movements differed from their Soviet and American ties, as did their visions for independence and success.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

"Toward a Free Economy"

New from Princeton University Press: Toward a Free Economy: Swatantra and Opposition Politics in Democratic India by Aditya Balasubramanian.

About the book, from the publisher:
Neoliberalism is routinely characterized as an antidemocratic, expert-driven project aimed at insulating markets from politics, devised in the North Atlantic and projected on the rest of the world. Revising this understanding, Toward a Free Economy shows how economic conservatism emerged and was disseminated in a postcolonial society consistent with the logic of democracy.

Twelve years after the British left India, a Swatantra (“Freedom”) Party came to life. It encouraged Indians to break with the Indian National Congress Party, which spearheaded the anticolonial nationalist movement and now dominated Indian democracy. Rejecting Congress’s heavy-industrial developmental state and the accompanying rhetoric of socialism, Swatantra promised “free economy” through its project of opposition politics.

As it circulated across various genres, “free economy” took on meanings that varied by region and language, caste and class, and won diverse advocates. These articulations, informed by but distinct from neoliberalism, came chiefly from communities in southern and western India as they embraced new forms of entrepreneurial activity. At their core, they connoted anticommunism, unfettered private economic activity, decentralized development, and the defense of private property.

Opposition politics encompassed ideas and practice. Swatantra’s leaders imagined a conservative alternative to a progressive dominant party in a two-party system. They communicated ideas and mobilized people around such issues as inflation, taxation, and property. And they made creative use of India’s institutions to bring checks and balances to the political system.

Democracy’s persistence in India is uncommon among postcolonial societies. By excavating a perspective of how Indians made and understood their own democracy and economy, Aditya Balasubramanian broadens our picture of neoliberalism, democracy, and the postcolonial world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

"Mind as Metaphor"

New from Oxford University Press: Mind as Metaphor: A Defence of Mental Fictionalism by Adam Toon.

About the book, from the publisher:
We often think of the mind as an inner world. Once, this inner world might have been a spirit or soul - a "ghost in the machine", in Gilbert Ryle's memorable phrase. Nowadays, we are told it will be found in the brain. Adam Toon argues that this is a mistake. In fact, our concept of mind is fundamentally metaphorical: we project the 'outer world' of human culture onto the 'inner world' of the mind. This is an enormously powerful way of making sense of people and their behaviour. But we must not forget that this inner world is only a useful fiction.

Mind as Metaphor develops this idea to offer a radical new approach to the mind, known as mental fictionalism. Toon shows that mental fictionalism can make sense of our ordinary concept of mind (or folk psychology), while avoiding the difficulties faced by alternative approaches, such as behaviourism or instrumentalism. In doing so, Mind as Metaphor sheds new light on a range of issues, from the mind's capacity to represent the world (or intentionality) to the way in which new tools and practices expand the limits of inquiry.

Written in a concise, engaging, and accessible style, Mind as Metaphor is essential reading for anyone interested in the nature of the mind and its relationship to human culture
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 10, 2023

"Discriminatory Clubs"

New from Princeton University Press: Discriminatory Clubs: The Geopolitics of International Organizations by Christina L. Davis.

About the book, from the publisher:
Member selection is one of the defining elements of social organization, imposing categories on who we are and what we do. Discriminatory Clubs shows how international organizations are like social clubs, ones in which institutional rules and informal practices enable states to favor friends while excluding rivals.

Where race or socioeconomic status may be a basis for discrimination by social clubs, geopolitical alignment determines who gets into the room to make the rules of global governance. Christina Davis brings together a wealth of data on membership provisions for more than three hundred organizations to reveal the prevalence of club-style selection on the world stage. States join organizations to deepen their association with a particular group of states—most often their allies—and for the gains from policy coordination. Even organizations that claim to be universal, to target narrow issues, or to cover geographic regions use club-style admission criteria. Davis demonstrates that when it comes to the most important decision of cooperation—who belongs to the club and who doesn’t—geopolitical alignment can matter more than the merits or policies of potential members.

With illuminating case studies ranging from nineteenth-century Japan to contemporary Palestine and Taiwan, Discriminatory Clubs sheds light on how, for global and regional organizations such as the WTO and the EU, alliance ties and shared foreign-policy positions form the basis of cooperation.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 9, 2023

"Empires of the Dead"

Coming soon from Oxford University Press: Empires of the Dead: Inca Mummies and the Peruvian Ancestors of American Anthropology by Christopher Heaney.

About the book, from the publisher:
When the Smithsonian's Hall of Physical Anthropology opened in 1965 it featured 160 Andean skulls affixed to a wall to visualize how the world's human population had exploded since the birth of Christ. Through a history of Inca mummies, a pre-Hispanic surgery called trepanation, and Andean crania like these, Empires of the Dead explains how "ancient Peruvians" became the single largest population in the Smithsonian and many other museums in Peru, the Americas, and beyond.

In 1532, when Spain invaded the Inca empire, Europeans learned that Inca and Andean peoples made their ancestors sacred by preserving them with the world's oldest practices of artificial mummification. To extinguish their power, the Spaniards collected these ancestors as specimens of conquest, science, nature, and race. Yet colonial Andean communities also found ways to keep the dead alive, making "Inca mummies" a symbol of resistance that Spanish American patriots used to introduce Peruvian Independence and science to the world. Inspired, nineteenth-century US anthropologists disinterred and collected Andean mummies and skulls to question the antiquity and civilization of the American "race" in publications, world's fairs, and US museums. Peruvian scholars then used those mummies and skulls to transform anthropology itself, curating these "scientific ancestors" as evidence of pre-Hispanic superiority in healing.

Bringing together the history of science, race, and museums' possession of Indigenous remains, from the sixteenth century to the twentieth, Empires of the Dead illuminates how South American ancestors became coveted mummies, skulls, and specimens of knowledge and nationhood. In doing so it reveals how Peruvian and Andean peoples have learned from their dead, seeking the recovery of looted heritage in the centuries before North American museums began their own work of decolonization.
Learn more about the book and author at Christopher Heaney's website.

The Page 99 Test: Cradle of Gold.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 8, 2023

"Feeling Memory"

New from Columbia University Press: Feeling Memory: Remembering Wartime Childhoods in France by Lindsey Dodd.

About the book, from the publisher:
What did it feel like to be a child in France during World War II? Feeling Memory is an affective exploration of children’s lives in wartime France and the ways they are remembered.

Lindsey Dodd draws on the recorded oral narratives of a hundred people to examine the variety of experiences children had during the war. She considers different aspects of remembering, underscoring the centrality of emotion to memory. This book covers a wide range of locations—the country and the city, Occupied France and the Free Zone—and situations—well-off and poor children, those separated from their families and those with them; it places Jewish children’s experiences alongside non-Jewish children’s. Against the backdrop of momentous events, readers encounter children playing, working, eating, thinking, doing, and feeling.

An investigation of the emotions of history, Feeling Memory argues for the transformative potential of affect theory and affective methodologies in oral history and the history of everyday life. This book makes major contributions to the history of France during World War II, understandings of children’s lives in war, and the use of memory in historical and oral history analysis.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 7, 2023

"Colonizing Kashmir"

New from Stanford University Press: Colonizing Kashmir: State-building under Indian Occupation by Hafsa Kanjwal.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Indian government, touted as the world's largest democracy, often repeats that Jammu and Kashmir—its only Muslim-majority state—is "an integral part of India." The region, which is disputed between India and Pakistan, and is considered the world's most militarized zone, has been occupied by India for over seventy-five years. In this book, Hafsa Kanjwal interrogates how Kashmir was made "integral" to India through a study of the decade long rule (1953-1963) of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, the second Prime Minister of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Drawing upon a wide array of bureaucratic documents, propaganda materials, memoirs, literary sources, and oral interviews in English, Urdu, and Kashmiri, Kanjwal examines the intentions, tensions, and unintended consequences of Bakshi's state-building policies in the context of India's colonial occupation. She reveals how the Kashmir government tailored its policies to integrate Kashmir's Muslims while also showing how these policies were marked by inter-religious tension, corruption, and political repression. Challenging the binaries of colonial and postcolonial, Kanjwal historicizes India's occupation of Kashmir through processes of emotional integration, development, normalization, and empowerment to highlight the new hierarchies of power and domination that emerged in the aftermath of decolonization. In doing so, she urges us to question triumphalist narratives of India's state-formation, as well as the sovereignty claims of the modern nation-state.
Visit Hafsa Kanjwal's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 6, 2023

"A Is for Arson"

New from Cornell University Press: A Is for Arson: A History of Vandalism in American Education by Campbell F. Scribner.

About the book, from the publisher:
In A Is for Arson, Campbell F. Scribner sifts through two centuries of debris to uncover the conditions that have prompted school vandalism and to explain why attempts at prevention have inevitably failed. Vandalism costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars every year, as students, parents, and even teachers wreak havoc on school buildings. Why do they do it? Can anything stop them? Who should pay for the damage? Underlying these questions are long-standing tensions between freedom and authority, and between wantonness and reason.

Property destruction is not simply a moral failing, to be addressed with harsher punishments, nor can the problem be solved through more restrictive architecture or policing. Scribner argues that education itself is a source of intractable struggle, and that vandalism is often the result of an unruly humanity. To understand schooling in the United States, one must first confront the all-too-human emotions that have led to fires, broken windows, and graffiti.

A Is for Arson captures those emotions through new historical evidence and diverse theoretical perspectives, helping readers understand vandalism variously as a form of political conflict, as self-education, and as sheer chaos. By analyzing physical artifacts as well as archival sources, Scribner offers new perspectives on children's misbehavior and adults' reactions and allows readers to see the complexities of education—the built environment of teaching and learning, evolving approaches to youth psychology and student discipline—through the eyes of its often resistant subjects.
The Page 99 Test: The Fight for Local Control.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

"Rebuilding Community"

New from Oxford University Press: Rebuilding Community: Displaced Women and the Making of a Shia Ismaili Muslim Sociality by Shenila Khoja-Moolji.

About the book, from the publisher:
Over the course of the twentieth century, Shia Ismaili Muslim communities were repeatedly displaced. How, in the aftermath of these displacements, did they remake their communities? Shenila Khoja-Moolji highlights women's critical role in this rebuilding process and breaks new ground by writing women into modern Ismaili history.

Rebuilding Community tells the story of how Ismaili Muslim women who fled East Pakistan and East Africa in the 1970s recreated religious community (jamat) in North America. Drawing on oral histories, fieldwork, and memory texts, Khoja-Moolji illuminates the placemaking activities through which Ismaili women reproduce bonds of spiritual kinship: from cooking for congregants on feast days and looking after sick coreligionists to engaging in memory work through miracle stories and cookbooks. Khoja-Moolji situates these activities within the framework of ethical norms that more broadly define and sustain the Ismaili sociality. Jamat--and religious community more generally--is not a given, but an ethical relation that is maintained daily and intergenerationally through everyday acts of care. By emphasizing women's care work in producing relationality and repairing trauma, Khoja-Moolji disrupts the conventional articulation of displaced people as dependent subjects.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

"A Lab for all Seasons"

New from Yale University Press: A Lab for all Seasons: The Laboratory Revolution in Modern Botany and the Rise of Physiological Plant Ecology by Sharon E. Kingsland.

About the book, from the publisher:
Laboratory innovation since the mid-twentieth century has powered advances in the study of plant adaptation, evolution, and ecosystem function. The phytotron, an integrated complex of controlled-environment greenhouse and laboratory spaces, invented by Frits W. Went in the 1950s, set off a worldwide laboratory movement and transformed the plant sciences. Sharon Kingsland explores this revolution through a comparative study of work in the United States, France, Australia, Israel, the USSR, and Hungary. These advances in botanical research energized physiological plant ecology. Case studies explore the development of phytotron spinoffs such as mobile laboratories, rhizotrons, and ecotrons. Scientific problems include the significance of plant emissions of volatile organic compounds, symbiosis between plants and soil fungi, and the discovery of new pathways for photosynthesis as an adaptation to hot, dry climates. The advancement of knowledge through synthesis is a running theme: linking disciplines, combining laboratory and field research, and moving across ecological scales from leaf to ecosystem. The book also charts the history of modern scientific responses to the emerging crisis of food insecurity in the era of global warming.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 3, 2023

"Beatrice's Last Smile"

New from Oxford University Press: Beatrice's Last Smile: A New History of the Middle Ages by Mark Gregory Pegg.

About the book, from the publisher:
A new history of the Middle Ages, revealing how Christianity and Islam evolved out of a shared cultural and religious ferment, and how this shaped the development of the West

Mark Gregory Pegg's history of the Middle Ages opens and closes with martyrdom, the first that of a young Roman mother in a North African amphitheater in 203 and the second a French girl burned to death beside the Seine in 1431. Both Vibia Perpetua and Jeanne la Pucelle died for their Christian beliefs, yet that for which they willingly sacrificed their lives connects and separates them. Both were divinely inspired, but one believed her deity shared the universe with other gods, and the other knew that her Creator ruled heaven and earth. Between them, across the centuries, lives were shaped by the ebb and flow of the divine and the human. Here is the story of people struggling in life and in death to understand themselves and their relationship to God.

Beatrice's Last Smile interweaves vivid portraits of such individuals to offer a sweeping and immersive story. Some are of enduring renown — Augustine, Muhammad, Charlemagne, Heloise —and others are obscure. An Egyptian youth fighting demons in the desert as the first monk; a Briton becomes a holy man after enslavement in Ireland; an emperor in Constantinople watches as rioters torch the city; a old Syrian monk advises the English on sex; the soul of a Merovingian noble flies through the night sky to heaven; an Irish warrior surfs the waves like a dolphin as he flees the Vikings; a crusader's boots squelch with blood on the streets of Jerusalem; a troubadour sings of love; a Muslim lord expresses admiration of the Templars; a pope proclaims that Christendom encompasses all time and space; a barefoot Franciscan friar visits the Great Khan of the Mongols; a Parisian rabbi argues for the holiness of the Talmud; and a poet laments being alive amid the horror of the Black Death. Together, they take readers from the vastness of the Roman Empire to small communities between the Mediterranean and the North Sea, from the nomads of the Asian steppes to the triumphant Church of Latin Christendom.

Beatrice's Last Smile offers a pulsating history of the West: the passionate belief in the old gods that yields to a cosmos shaped by one; the transition from a penitential culture to a confessional one; the universal obsession with imitating Christ. The book is named for the moment in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy when his long-dead love, Beatrice, smiles one final time at Dante in paradise before turning away to look eternally upon the face of God.

Mark Gregory Pegg's epic narrative captures a millennium within that fleeting smile, in ways that modern readers will find illuminating and haunting.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 2, 2023

"Making Money in the Early Middle Ages"

New from Princeton University Press: Making Money in the Early Middle Ages by Rory Naismith.

About the book, from the publisher:
An examination of coined money and its significance to rulers, aristocrats and peasants in early medieval Europe Between the end of the Roman Empire in the fifth century and the economic transformations of the twelfth, coined money in western Europe was scarce and high in value, difficult for the majority of the population to make use of. And yet, as Rory Naismith shows in this illuminating study, coined money was made and used throughout early medieval Europe. It was, he argues, a powerful tool for articulating people’s place in economic and social structures and an important gauge for levels of economic complexity. Working from the premise that using coined money carried special significance when there was less of it around, Naismith uses detailed case studies from the Mediterranean and northern Europe to propose a new reading of early medieval money as a point of contact between economic, social, and institutional history.

Naismith examines structural issues, including the mining and circulation of metal and the use of bullion and other commodities as money, and then offers a chronological account of monetary development, discussing the post-Roman period of gold coinage, the rise of the silver penny in the seventh century and the reconfiguration of elite power in relation to coinage in the tenth and eleventh centuries. In the process, he counters the conventional view of early medieval currency as the domain only of elite gift-givers and intrepid long-distance traders. Even when there were few coins in circulation, Naismith argues, the ways they were used―to give gifts, to pay rents, to spend at markets―have much to tell us.
Follow Rory Naismith on Facebook.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 1, 2023

"War on the Ballot"

New from Columbia University Press: War on the Ballot: How the Election Cycle Shapes Presidential Decision-Making in War by Andrew Payne.

About the book, from the publisher:
The president of the United States is at once holder of the highest elected office and commander in chief of the armed forces. How do upcoming elections influence presidents’ behavior during wartime? How do presidents balance perceptions of the national interest with personal political interests?

War on the Ballot examines how electoral politics shaped presidential decisions on military and diplomatic strategy during the wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. Drawing on a wealth of declassified documents and interviews with senior officials and military officers, Andrew Payne reveals the surprisingly large role played by political considerations during conflicts. He demonstrates how the exigencies of the electoral cycle drove leaders to miss opportunities to limit the human and financial costs of each war, gain strategic advantage, or sue for peace, sometimes making critical decisions with striking disregard for the consequences on the ground. Payne emphasizes the importance of electoral pressures throughout the full course of a conflict, not just around the initial decision to intervene. He shows how electoral constraints operate across different phases of the political calendar, going beyond the period immediately preceding a presidential election.

Offering a systematic analysis of the relationship between electoral politics and wartime decision-making, this book raises crucial questions about democratic accountability in foreign policy.
--Marshal Zeringue