Sunday, July 14, 2024

"Propagandists of the Book"

New from Oxford University Press: Propagandists of the Book: Protestant Missions, Christian Literacy, and the Making of Brazilian Evangelicalism by Pedro Feitoza.

About the book, from the publisher:
The evolution and spread of Protestantism has been shaped largely by its focus on reading and interpreting the Bible. For evangelists in late-nineteenth-century Brazil, the promotion of literacy was key to spreading the gospel throughout the country, a fact that shaped the communities and cultures that grew up around the faith.

In this book, Pedro Feitoza explores the intricacies of the early history of Brazilian Protestantism through an analysis of the production and circulation of evangelical texts. He examines the experiences, aspirations, and ideas of key missionaries, ministers, schoolteachers, and booksellers, whose proselytism was dependent on the distribution of religious texts and who went to great means to support the publication and circulation of this work. Through the pages of such texts, evangelical ministers and writers projected themselves and their religious communities into the public debates of their era. This book uncovers how foreign missionaries and local religious experts navigated among multiple conceptual and ideological landscapes and transmitted Protestant ideas and theology to the Brazilian public, while simultaneously promoting their religious and socio-political arguments.

Considering an array of periodicals, tracts, books, missionary correspondence, conversion narratives, and autobiographies from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Feitoza evaluates both these texts' ideas and ideologies and the practices that emerged in their wake. Propagandists of the Book provides a nuanced and comprehensive view of religious change during this time.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 13, 2024

"Egoism without Permission"

New from the University of Pittsburgh Press: Egoism without Permission: The Moral Psychology of Ayn Rand's Ethics by Tara Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
Ayn Rand controversially defended rational egoism, the idea that people should regard their own happiness as their highest goal. Given that numerous scholars in philosophy and psychology alike are examining the nature of human flourishing and an ethics of well-being, the time is ripe for a close examination of Rand’s theory. Egoism without Permission illuminates Rand’s thinking about how to practice egoism by exploring some of its crucial psychological dimensions. Tara Smith examines the dynamics among four partially subconscious factors in an individual’s well-being: a person’s foundational motivation for being concerned with morality; their attitude toward their desires; their independence; and their self-esteem. A clearer grasp of each, Smith argues, sheds light on the others, and a better understanding of the set, in turn, enriches our understanding of self-interest and its sensible pursuit. Smith then traces the implications for a broader understanding of what a person’s self-interest genuinely is, and, correspondingly, of what its pursuit through rational egoism involves. By highlighting these previously underexplored features of Rand’s conceptions of self-interest and egoism, Smith betters our understanding of how vital these psychological levers are to a person’s genuine flourishing.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 12, 2024

"Sacred Capital"

New from the University of Virginia Press: Sacred Capital: Methodism and Settler Colonialism in the Empire of Liberty by Hunter Price.

About the book, from the publisher:
How Methodist settlers in the American West acted as agents of empire

In the early years of American independence, Methodism emerged as the new republic’s fastest growing religious movement and its largest voluntary association. Following the contours of settler expansion, the Methodist Episcopal Church also quickly became the largest denomination in the early American West. With Sacred Capital, Hunter Price resituates the Methodist Episcopal Church as a settler-colonial institution at the convergence of “the Methodist Age” and Jefferson’s “Empire of Liberty.”

Price offers a novel interpretation of the Methodist Episcopal Church as a network through which mostly white settlers exchanged news of land and jobs and facilitated financial transactions. Benefiting from Indigenous dispossession and removal policies, settlers made selective, strategic use of the sacred and the secular in their day-to-day interactions to advance themselves and their interests. By analyzing how Methodists acted as settlers while identifying as pilgrims, Price illuminates the ways that ordinary white Americans fulfilled Jefferson’s vision of an Empire of Liberty while reinforcing the inequalities at its core.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 11, 2024

"Coca-Cola, Black Panthers, and Phantom Jets"

New from Stanford University Press: Coca-Cola, Black Panthers, and Phantom Jets: Israel in the American Orbit, 1967-1973 by Oz Frankel.

About the book, from the publisher:
In the late 1960s, Israel became more closely entwined with the United States not just as a strategic ally but also through its intensifying intimacy with American culture, society, and technology. Coca-Cola, Black Panthers, and Phantom Jets shows how transatlantic exchanges shaped national sentiments and private experiences in a time of great transition, forming a consumerist order, accentuating social cleavages, and transforming Jewish identities. Nevertheless, there remained lingering ambivalence about, and resistance to, American influences. Rather than growing profoundly "Americanized," Israelis forged unique paths into the American orbit. As supporters and immigrants, American Jews assumed an ambiguous role, expediting but also complicating the Israeli-American exchange.

Taking an expansive view of Israeli–American encounters, historian Oz Frankel reveals their often unexpected consequences, including the ripple effects that the rise of Black Power had on both extremes of Israeli politics, the adoption of American technology that fed the budding Israeli military-industrial complex, the consumerist ideologies that ensnared even IDF soldiers and Palestinians in the newly occupied territories, and the cultural performances that lured Israelis to embrace previously shunned diasporic culture. What made the racial strife in the US and the tensions between Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews in Israel commensurable? How did an American military jet emerge as a national fixation? Why was the US considered a paragon of both spectacular consumption and restrained, rational consumerism? In ten topical chapters, this book demonstrates that the American presence in Israel back then, as it is today, was multifaceted and contradictory.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

"Serpent in Eden"

New from Oxford University Press: Serpent in Eden: Foreign Meddling and Partisan Politics in James Madison's America by Tyson Reeder.

About the book, from the publisher:
A story of espionage, shadow diplomacy, foreign scheming, and domestic backstabbing in the formative years of the American republic.

Tyson Reeder's book traces early America's rocky beginnings, when foreign interference and political conflict threatened to undermine its aspirations and ideals, even its very existence. Spanning the period from the Revolution to the War of 1812, and focusing particularly on the presidency of James Madison, it reveals a nation adjusting to rancorous partisan politics, aggravated by the untested and imperfect new tools of governance and the growing power of media. Foreign powers, mainly Great Britain and Napoleonic France, exploited these conditions to advance their own agendas, interfering in U.S. elections to promote the outcome they favored. Dissent and disloyalty became dangerously interdigitated, nearly bringing the new republic to the brink of collapse.

No figure was more in the center of it all than James Madison. As a leading delegate at the Constitutional Convention, Republican congressional leader, secretary of state, and president, Madison grappled with foreign meddling for over three decades. At the same time, he emerged as a political leader, feeding the very partisanship that bred foreign intrigues. As chief executive, he presided over the calamitous barrage of accusations and counteraccusations of foreign collusion that culminated in the War of 1812. Madison left a mixed but indelible legacy: as a fierce adversary of foreign interference, a fiery champion of political debate, and a partisan operative who facilitated the former by inflaming the latter.

Forged in partisan conflict, the United States remains vulnerable to forces that test whether the constitutional system Madison was so central in implementing can withstand outside meddling while accommodating partisan conflict. Madison's successes and failures, along with his original vision of the Constitution and party politics, illuminate the ongoing struggle between domestic polarization and foreign interference.
The Page 99 Test: Smugglers, Pirates, and Patriots.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

"Learning to Love"

New from the University of Michigan Press: Learning to Love: Intimacy and the Discourse of Development in China by Sonya E. Pritzker.

About the book, from the publisher:
Learning to Love offers a range of perspectives on the embodied, relational, affective, and sociopolitical project of “learning to love” at the New Life Center for Holistic Growth, a popular “mind-body-spirit” bookstore and practice space in northeast China, in the early part of the 21st century. This intimate form of self-care exists alongside the fast-moving, growing capitalist society of contemporary China and has emerged as an understandable response to the pressures of Chinese industrialized life in the early 21st century. Opening with an investigation of the complex ways newcomers to the center suffered a sense of being “off,” both in and with the world at multiple scales, Learning to Love then examines how new horizons of possibility are opened as people interact with one another as well as with a range of aesthetic objects at New Life.

Author Sonya Pritzker draws upon the core concepts of scalar intimacy—a participatory, discursive process in which people position themselves in relation to others as well as dominant ideologies, concepts, and ideals—and scalar inquiry—the process through which speakers interrogate these forms, their relationship with them, and their participation in reproducing them. In demonstrating the collaborative interrogation of culture, history, and memory, she examines how these exercises in physical, mental, and spiritual self-care allow participants to grapple with past social harms and forms of injustice, how historical systems of power—including both patriarchal and governance structures—continue in the present, and how they might be transformed in the future. By examining the interactions and relational experiences from New Life, Learning to Love offers a range of novel theoretical interventions into political subjectivity, temporality, and intergenerational trauma/healing.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 8, 2024

"An Ordinary Landscape of Violence"

New from Rutgers University Press: An Ordinary Landscape of Violence: Women Loving Women in Guyana by Preity R. Kumar.

About the book, from the publisher:
An Ordinary Landscape of Violence: Women Loving Women in Guyana tells a new history of queer women in postcolonial Guyana. While the country has experienced a rise in queer activism, especially toward human rights efforts, members of the Guyanese queer community have also been victims of extreme violence. This book asks how a hetero-patriarchal state shapes queer and "women-lovin’ women’s" experiences, and how such women navigate racialized, sexualized, and homophobic violence. With a unique focus on the lives of queer women in Guyana, it reveals their manifold experiences of violence, explores regional differences, and shows their complicated understanding of what exactly constitutes “rights” and the limitations of those rights in their lives. While activism against violence is crucial, this book addresses not only the violence against women, but theorizes the intimate partner violence between women, and demonstrates the ways that violence is both racialized and sexualized.
Preity Kumar is an assistant professor of gender and women's studies at the University of Rhode Island. She holds a Ph.D. in Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies from York University, Toronto, Canada.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 7, 2024

"Not in My Gayborhood"

New from Columbia University Press: Not in My Gayborhood: Gay Neighborhoods and the Rise of the Vicarious Citizen by Theodore Greene.

About the book, from the publisher:
Gay neighborhoods are disappearing―or so the conventional story goes. In this narrative, political gains and mainstream social acceptance, combined with the popularity of dating apps like Grindr, have reduced the need for LGBTQ+ people to seek refuges or build expressly queer places. Yet even though residential patterns have shifted, traditionally gay neighborhoods remain centers of queer public life.

Exploring “gayborhoods” in Washington, DC, Theodore Greene investigates how neighborhoods retain their cultural identities even as their inhabitants change. He argues that the success and survival of gay neighborhoods have always depended on participation from nonresidents in the life of the community, which he terms “vicarious citizenship.” Vicarious citizens are diverse self-identified community members, sometimes former or displaced locals, who make symbolic claims to the neighborhood. They defend their vision of community by temporarily reviving the traditions and cultures associated with the gay neighborhood and challenging the presence of straight families and other newcomers, the displacement of local institutions, or the taming of sexual culture. Greene pays careful attention to the significance of race and racism, highlighting the important role of Black LGBTQ+ culture in shaping gay neighborhoods past and present. Examining the diverse placemaking strategies that queer people deploy to foster and preserve LGBTQ+ geographies, Not in My Gayborhood illuminates different ways of imagining urban neighborhoods and communities.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 6, 2024

"Upstart"

New from Oxford University Press: Upstart: How China Became a Great Power by Oriana Skylar Mastro.

About the book, from the publisher:
A powerful new explanation of China's rise that draws from the business world to show that China is not simply copying established great powers, but exploiting geopolitical opportunities around the world that those other powers had ignored.

Thirty years ago, the idea that China could challenge the United States economically, globally, and militarily seemed unfathomable. Yet today, China is considered another great power in the international system. How did China manage to build power, from a weaker resource position, in an international system that was dominated by the U.S.? What factors determined the strategies Beijing pursued to achieve this feat?

Using granular data and authoritative Chinese sources, Oriana Skylar Mastro demonstrates that China was able to climb to great power status through a careful mix of strategic emulation, exploitation, and entrepreneurship on the international stage. This “upstart approach” ― determined by where and how China chose to compete ― allowed China to rise economically, politically, and militarily, without triggering a catastrophic international backlash that would stem its rise. China emulated (i.e. pursued similar strategies to the U.S. in similar areas) when its leaders thought doing so would build power, while reassuring the U.S. of its intentions. China exploited (i.e. adopted similar approaches to the U.S. in new areas of competition) when China felt that the overall U.S. strategy was effective, but didn't want to risk direct confrontation. Lastly, China pursued entrepreneurial actions (i.e. innovative approaches to new and existing areas of competition) when it believed emulation might elicit a negative reaction and a more effective approach was available. Beyond explaining the unique nature of China's rise, Upstart: How China Became a Great Power provides policy guidance on how the U.S. can maintain a competitive edge in this new era of great power competition.
Visit Oriana Skylar Mastro's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 5, 2024

"Automotive Empire"

New from Cornell University Press: Automotive Empire: How Cars and Roads Fueled European Colonialism in Africa by Andrew Denning.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Automotive Empire, Andrew Denning uncovers how roads and vehicles began to transform colonial societies across Africa but rarely in the manner Europeans expected. Like seafaring ships and railroads, automobiles and roads were more than a mode of transport―they organized colonial spaces and structured the political, economic, and social relations of empire, both within African colonies and between colonies and the European metropole.

European officials in French, Italian, British, German, Belgian, and Portuguese territories in Africa shared a common challenge―the transport problem. While they imagined that roads would radiate commerce and political hegemony by collapsing space, the pressures of constructing and maintaining roads rendered colonial administration thin, ineffective, and capricious. Automotive empire emerged as the European solution to the transport problem, but revealed weakness as much as it extended power.

As Automotive Empire reveals, motor vehicles and roads seemed the ideal solution to the colonial transport problem. They were cheaper and quicker to construct than railroads, overcame the environmental limitations of rivers, and did not depend on the recruitment and supervision of African porters. At this pivotal moment of African colonialism, when European powers transitioned from claiming territories to administering and exploiting them, automotive empire defined colonial states and societies, along with the brutal and capricious nature of European colonialism itself.
Writers Read: Andrew Denning (December 2014).

The Page 99 Test: Skiing into Modernity.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 4, 2024

"Nobody's Boy and His Pals"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Nobody's Boy and His Pals: The Story of Jack Robbins and the Boys’ Brotherhood Republic by Hendrik Hartog.

About the book, from the publisher:
An engaging account of social reformer Jack Robbins, the Boys’ Brotherhood Republic, and their legacy.

In 1914, social reformer Jack Robbins and a group of adolescent boys in Chicago founded the Boys’ Brotherhood Republic, an unconventional and unusual institution. During a moral panic about delinquent boys, Robbins did not seek to rehabilitate and/or punish wayward youths. Instead, the boys governed themselves, democratically and with compassion for one another, and lived by their mantra “So long as there are boys in trouble, we too are in trouble.” For nearly thirty years, Robbins was their “supervisor,” and the will he drafted in the late 1950s suggests that he continued to care about forgotten boys, even as the political and legal contexts that shaped children’s lives changed dramatically.

Nobody’s Boy and His Pals is a lively investigation that challenges our ideas about the history of American childhood and the law. Scouring the archives for traces of the elusive Jack Robbins, Hendrik Hartog examines the legal histories of Progressive reform, childhood, criminality, repression, and free speech. The curiosity of Robbins’s story is compounded by the legal challenges to his will, which wound up establishing the extent to which last wishes must conform to dominant social values. Filled with persistent mysteries and surprising connections, Nobody’s Boy and His Pals illuminates themes of childhood and adolescence, race and ethnicity, sexuality, wealth and poverty, and civil liberties, across the American Century.
The Page 99 Test: Someday All This Will Be Yours.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

"Second-Class Saints"

New from Oxford University Press: Second-Class Saints: Black Mormons and the Struggle for Racial Equality by Matthew L. Harris.

About the book, from the publisher:
An in-depth account--grounded in new archival discoveries--of the most consequential development in Mormon history since the end of polygamy

On June 9, 1978, the phones at the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) were ringing nonstop. Word began to spread that a momentous change in church policy had been announced and everyone wanted to know: was it true? The answer would have profound implications for the church and American society more broadly.

On that historic day, LDS church president Spencer W. Kimball announced a revelation lifting the church's 126-year-old ban barring Black people from the priesthood and Mormon temples. It was the most significant change in LDS doctrine since the end of polygamy almost 100 years earlier.

Drawing on never-before-seen private papers of LDS apostles and church presidents, including Spencer W. Kimball, Matthew L. Harris probes the plot twists and turns, the near-misses and paths not taken, of this incredible story. While the notion that Kimball received a revelation might imply a sudden command from God, Harris shows that a variety of factors motivated Kimball and other church leaders to reconsider the ban, including the civil rights movement, which placed LDS racial policies and practices under a glaring spotlight, perceptions of racism that dogged the church and its leaders, and Kimball's own growing sense that the ban was morally wrong.

Harris also shows that the lifting of the ban was hardly a panacea. The church's failure to confront and condemn its racial theology in the decades after the 1978 revelation stifled their efforts to reach Black communities and made Black members the target of racism in LDS meetinghouses. Vigilant members pestered church leaders to repudiate their anti-Black theology, forcing them to live up to the creed in Mormon scripture that "all are alike unto God." Deeply informed, engagingly written, and grounded in deep archival research, Harris provides a compelling and detailed account of how Mormon leaders lifted the priesthood and temple ban, then came to reckon with the church's controversial racial heritage.
Visit Matthew L. Harris's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

"Losing Hearts and Minds"

New from Stanford University Press: Losing Hearts and Minds: Race, War, and Empire in Singapore and Malaya, 1915–1960 by Kate Imy.

About the book, from the publisher:
Losing Hearts and Minds explores the loss of British power and prestige in colonial Singapore and Malaya from the First World War to the Malayan Emergency. During this period, British leaders relied on a growing number of Asian, European and Eurasian allies and servicepeople, including servants, police, soldiers, and medical professionals, to maintain their empire. At the same time, British institutions and leaders continued to use racial and gender violence to wage war. As a result, those colonial subjects closest to British power frequently experienced the limits of belonging and the broken promises of imperial inclusion, hastening the end of British rule in Southeast Asia. From the World Wars to the Cold War, European, Indigenous, Chinese, Malay, and Indian civilians resisted or collaborated with British and Commonwealth soldiers, rebellious Indian troops, invading Japanese combatants, and communists. Historian Kate Imy tells the story of how Singapore and Malaya became sites of some of the most impactful military and anti-colonial conflicts of the twentieth century, where British military leaders repeatedly tried—but largely failed—to win the "hearts and minds" of colonial subjects.
The Page 99 Test: Faithful Fighters.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 1, 2024

"Reading Herzl in Beirut"

New from Princeton University Press: Reading Herzl in Beirut: The PLO Effort to Know the Enemy by Jonathan Marc Gribetz.

About the book, from the publisher:
How the Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center informed the PLO’s relationship to Zionism and Israel

In September 1982, the Israeli military invaded West Beirut and Israel-allied Lebanese militiamen massacred Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Meanwhile, Israeli forces also raided the Palestine Liberation Organization Research Center and trucked its complete library to Israel. Palestinian activists and supporters protested loudly to international organizations and the Western press, claiming that the assault on the Center proved that the Israelis sought to destroy not merely Palestinian militants but Palestinian culture as well. The protests succeeded: in November 1983, Israel returned the library as part of a prisoner exchange. What was in that library?

Much of the expansive collection the PLO amassed consisted of books about Judaism, Zionism, and Israel. In Reading Herzl in Beirut, Jonathan Marc Gribetz tells the story of the PLO Research Center from its establishment in 1965 until its ultimate expulsion from Lebanon in 1983. Gribetz explores why the PLO invested in research about the Jews, what its researchers learned about Judaism and Zionism, and how the knowledge they acquired informed the PLO’s relationship to Israel.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 30, 2024

"The Silver Empire"

New from Oxford University Press: The Silver Empire: How Germany Created Its First Common Currency by Oliver Volckart.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Silver Empire is the first comprehensive account of how the Holy Roman Empire created a common currency in the sixteenth century.

The problems that gave rise to the widespread desire to introduce a common a currency were myriad. While trade was able to cope with-and even to benefit from-the parallel circulation of many different types of coin, it nevertheless harmed both the common people and the political authorities. The authorities in particular suffered from neighbours who used their comparatively good money as raw material to mint poor imitations. Debasing their own coinage provided an, at best, short-term solution. Over the medium and long term, it drove the members of the Empire into rounds of competitive debasements, until they realised that a common currency was the only answer that addressed the core of the problem.

Oliver Volckart examines the conditions that shaped the monetary outlook of the member states of the Empire, paying particular attention to the uneven access to silver and gold. Following closely the negotiations that prepared the common currency, he is able to illuminate the interest groups that were formed, what their agendas and ulterior motives were, how alliances were forged, and how it was eventually possible to obtain majority agreement on what a common currency should look like: a silver-based currency that was introduced in 1559-66.

In fact, in contrast to what historians once believed, the common currency they achieved turns out to have functioned not significantly worse than other currencies of the time: it had similar problems and similar advantages as the money issued by more centralized governments.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 29, 2024

"Sanctuary People"

New from NYU Press: Sanctuary People: Faith-Based Organizing in Latina/o Communities by Gina M. Pérez.

About the book, from the publisher:
Explores ways faith communities offer protection and services for Latina/o communities

The New Sanctuary Movement is a network of faith-based organizations committed to offering safe haven to those in danger, often in churches, often outside the law, and often at risk to themselves. The practice of sanctuary, with its capacity to provide safety, shelter, and protection to society's most vulnerable, gained significant prominence after the 2016 presidential election and the ushering in of particularly harsh anti-immigration policies.

Since 2017, Ohio has had some of the highest numbers of public sanctuary cases in the nation. Sanctuary People explores these sanctuary practices in Ohio and locates them in broader local and national efforts to provide refuge and care in the face of the challenges facing Latina/o communities in a moment of increased surveillance, migrant detention, displacement, and economic and social marginalization. Pérez argues for a conceptualization of sanctuary that is capacious, placing support of Puerto Ricans displaced in the wake of Hurricane Maria within the broader practices of sanctuary and expanding our understandings of the movement that addresses the precarious conditions of Latinas/os beyond migration status.

Based on four years of ethnographic research and interviews at the local, state, and national levels, Sanctuary People offers a compelling exploration of the ways in which faith communities are creating new activist strategies and enacting new forms of solidarity, working within the sometimes conflicting ideological space between religion and activism to answer the call of justice and live their faith.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 28, 2024

"The Heart of the Wild"

Coming August 13 from Princeton University Press: The Heart of the Wild: Essays on Nature, Conservation, and the Human Future, edited by Ben A. Minteer and Jonathan B. Losos.

About the book, from the publisher:
Timely and provocative reflections on the future of the wild in an increasingly human world

The Heart of the Wild brings together some of today’s leading scientists, humanists, and nature writers to offer a thought-provoking meditation on the urgency of learning about and experiencing our wild places in an age of rapidly expanding human impacts.

These engaging essays present nuanced and often surprising perspectives on the meaning and value of “wildness” amid the realities of the Anthropocene. They consider the trends and forces—from the cultural and conceptual to the ecological and technological—that are transforming our relationship with the natural world and sometimes seem only to be pulling us farther away from wild places and species with each passing day. The contributors make impassioned defenses of naturalism, natural history, and nature education in helping us to rediscover a love for the wild at a time when our connections with it have frayed or been lost altogether.

Charting a new path forward in an era of ecological uncertainty, The Heart of the Wild reframes our understanding of nature and our responsibility to learn from and sustain it as the human footprint sinks ever deeper into the landscapes around us.

With contributions by Bill Adams, Joel Berger, Susan Clayton, Eileen Crist, Martha L. Crump, Thomas Lowe Fleischner, Harry W. Greene, Hal Herzog, Jonathan B. Losos, Emma Marris, Ben A. Minteer, Kathleen Dean Moore, Gary Paul Nabhan, Peter H. Raven, Christopher J. Schell, Richard Shine, and Kyle Whyte.
Visit Ben Minteer's website and Jonathan B. Losos's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Fall of the Wild.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 27, 2024

"Pot for Profit"

New from Stanford University Press: Pot for Profit: Cannabis Legalization, Racial Capitalism, and the Expansion of the Carceral State by Joseph Mello.

About the book, from the publisher:
The United States has experienced a dramatic shift in attitudes towards cannabis use from the 1970s, when only 12% of Americans said that they thought that cannabis should be legal, to today. What once had been a counterculture drug supplied for the black market by socially marginal figures like drug smugglers and hippies has become a big business, dominated by a few large corporations. Pot for Profit, traces the cultural, historical, political, and legal roots of these changing attitudes towards cannabis. The book also showcases interviews with dispensary owners, bud tenders, and other industry employees about their experience working in the legal cannabis industry, and cannabis reform activists working towards legalization. Mello argues that embracing the profit potential of this drug has been key to the success of cannabis reform, and that this approach has problematic economic and racial implications. The story of cannabis reform shows that neoliberalism may not be an absolute barrier to social change, but it does determine the terrain on which these debates must occur. When activists capitulate to these pressures, they may make some gains, but those gains come with strings attached. This only serves to reinforce the totalizing power of the neoliberal ethos on American life. The book concludes by meditating on what, if anything, can be done to move the cannabis legalization movement back onto a more progressive track.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

"Global Justice and the Biodiversity Crisis"

New from Oxford University Press: Global Justice and the Biodiversity Crisis: Conservation in a World of Inequality by Chris Armstrong.

About the book, from the publisher:
The world is in the midst of a biodiversity crisis, which existing conservation policies have failed to arrest. Policymakers, academics, and the general public are coming to recognise that much more ambitious conservation policies are in order. But biodiversity conservation raises major issues of global justice - even if the connection between conservation and global justice is too seldom made.

The lion's share of conservation funding is spent in the global North, despite the fact that most biodiversity exists in the global South, and local people can often scarcely afford to make sacrifices in the interests of biodiversity conservation. Many responses to the biodiversity crisis threaten to exacerbate existing global injustices, to lock people into poverty, and to exploit the world's poor. At the extreme, policies aimed at protecting biodiversity have also been associated with exclusion, dispossession, and violence. The challenge this book grapples with is how biodiversity might be conserved without producing global injustice. It distinguishes policies which are likely to exacerbate global injustice, and policies which promise to reduce them. The struggle to formulate and implement just conservation policies is vital to our planet's future.
Visit Chris Armstrong's website.

The Page 99 Test: A Blue New Deal.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

"Catland: Louis Wain and the Great Cat Mania"

New from Johns Hopkins University Press: Catland: Louis Wain and the Great Cat Mania by Kathryn Hughes.

About the book, from the publisher:
How cat mania exploded in the early twentieth century, transforming cats from pests into beloved pets.

In 1900, Britain and America were in the grip of a cat craze. An animal that had for centuries been seen as a household servant or urban nuisance had now become an object of pride and deep affection. From presidential and royal families who imported exotic breeds to working-class men competing for cash prizes for the fattest tabby, people became enthralled to the once-humble cat. Multiple industries sprang up to feed this new obsession, selling everything from veterinary services to leather bootees via dedicated cat magazines. Cats themselves were now traded for increasingly large sums of money, bolstered by elaborate pedigrees that claimed noble ancestry and promised aesthetic distinction.

In Catland, Kathryn Hughes chronicles the cat craze of the early twentieth century through the life and career of Louis Wain. Wain's anthropomorphic drawings of cats in top hats falling in love, sipping champagne, golfing, driving cars, and piloting planes are some of the most instantly recognizable images from the era. His round-faced fluffy characters established the prototype for the modern cat, which cat "fanciers" were busily trying to achieve using their newfound knowledge of the latest scientific breeding techniques. Despite being a household name, Wain endured multiple bankruptcies and mental breakdowns, spending his last fifteen years in an asylum, drawing abstract and multicolored felines. But it was his ubiquitous anthropomorphic cats that helped usher the formerly reviled creatures into homes across Europe.

Beautifully illustrated and based on new archival findings about Wain's life, the wider cat fancy, and the media frenzy it created, Catland chronicles the fascinating history of how the modern cat emerged.
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 24, 2024

"Chinatown, Honolulu"

New from Columbia University Press: Chinatown, Honolulu: Place, Race, and Empire by Nancy E. Riley.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Chinese experience in Hawai‘i has long been told as a story of inclusion and success. During the Cold War, the United States touted the Chinese community in Hawai‘i as an example of racial harmony and American opportunity, claiming that all ethnic groups had the possibility to attain middle-class lives. Today, Honolulu’s Chinatown is not only a destination for tourism and consumption but also a celebration of Chinese accomplishments, memorializing past discrimination and present prominence within a framework of multiculturalism. This narrative, however, conceals many other histories and processes that played crucial roles in shaping Chinatown.

This book offers a critical account of the history of Chinese in Hawai‘i from the mid-nineteenth century to the present in this context of U.S. empire, settler colonialism, and racialization. Nancy E. Riley foregrounds elements that are often left out of narratives of Chinese history in Hawai‘i, particularly the place of Native Hawaiians, geopolitics and U.S. empire building, and the ongoing construction of race and whiteness. Tracing how Chinatown became a site of historical remembrance, she argues that it is also used to reinforce the ideology of neoliberal multiculturalism, which upholds racial hierarchy by lauding certain ethnic groups while excluding others. An insightful and in-depth analysis of the story of Honolulu’s Chinatown, this book offers new perspectives on the making of the racial landscape of Hawai‘i and the United States more broadly.
--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 23, 2024

"Healing Movements"

New from NYU Press: Healing Movements: Chicanx-Indigenous Activism and Criminal Justice in California by Megan S. Raschig.

About the book, from the publisher:
How a grassroots abolitionist project of cultural healing counters the carceral state in a Chicanx community in California

For many, gang involvement can be a guaranteed life sentence, a force which traps them in an inescapable cycle of violence even if it does not lead to actual prison time. Healing Movements explores the work of formerly gang-involved Chicanx men and women in California who draw on the social connections made during their gang-involved years to forge new pathways for cultural healing and countering the carceral system.

Known colloquially as the “movement of healing,” this Chicanx-Indigenous abolitionist project based in Salinas, California, was spurred on by a series of four police homicides of Latino men in 2014. Organizing around such issues as police brutality and mass incarceration, these collectives―two of which are discussed in this book, one mixed-gender, and the other women-only―turned to their often obscured Mesoamerican ancestry to find new resources for building a different future for themselves and subsequent generations.

Drawing on extensive fieldwork conducted in Salinas, Healing Movements reveals how these communities have taken shape in large part through a conscious effort to uplift Chicanx-Indigenous culture and ceremonial practices. By tapping into their Indigeneity, the members of these collectives access a wealth of new resources to shape their future, opening up novel ways to organize and build strong relational ties that are noteworthy to anyone invested in abolitionist work.
Visit Megan S. Raschig's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 22, 2024

"Ethics for Rational Animals"

New from Oxford University Press: Ethics for Rational Animals: The Moral Psychology at the Basis of Aristotle's Ethics by Elena Cagnoli Fiecconi.

About the book, from the publisher:
Ethics for Rational Animals brings to light a novel account of akrasia, practical wisdom, and character virtue through an original and comprehensive study of the moral psychology at the basis of Aristotle's ethics. It argues that practical wisdom is a persuasive rational excellence, that virtue is a listening excellence, and that the ignorance involved in akrasia is in fact a failure of persuasion. Aristotle's moral psychology emerges from this reconstruction as a qualified intellectualism. The view is intellectualistic because it describes practical wisdom as the sort of knowledge that can govern desire and action and akrasia as involving a form of ignorance. However, Aristotle's intellectualism is qualified because practical wisdom goes beyond grasping the truth about the human good, for it must also be able to convey the truth persuasively to non-rational cognition and desires.

Through a study of Aristotle's works on ethics, psychology, and biology, Elena Cagnoli Fiecconi shows that there are unexplored ways in which rational and non-rational cognition and desire cooperate and influence one another. These include attention, the capacity of the rational part of the soul to manipulate the non-rational part of the soul, and the capacity to exercise phantasia for speculation, creativity, and research. She argues that, despite being integrated with non-rational cognition and desire, rational cognition of value struggles to control human behaviour and motivation. More specifically, she defends the key thesis that grasping the truth about the human good is not sufficient for humans to regulate action and desire. Therefore, practical wisdom does not merely grasp the truth about the human good, but it controls action and desire because it conveys the truth effectively to the non-rational part of the soul. Conversely, akrasia does not merely involve a lack of epistemic access to the truth about the human good, but a failure to persuade the non-rational part of the soul about it. This study of practical wisdom and akrasia also sheds light on character virtue, which emerges as a practical excellence whose task is to listen to reason.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 20, 2024

"The Political Development of American Debt Relief"

New from the University of Chicago Press: The Political Development of American Debt Relief by Emily Zackin & Chloe N. Thurston.

About the book, from the publisher:
A political history of the rise and fall of American debt relief.

Americans have a long history with debt. They also have a long history of mobilizing for debt relief. Throughout the nineteenth century, indebted citizens demanded government protection from their financial burdens, challenging readings of the Constitution that exalted property rights at the expense of the vulnerable. Their appeals shaped the country’s periodic experiments with state debt relief and federal bankruptcy law, constituting a pre-industrial safety net. Yet, the twentieth century saw the erosion of debtor politics and the eventual retrenchment of bankruptcy protections.

The Political Development of American Debt Relief traces how geographic, sectoral, and racial politics shaped debtor activism over time, enhancing our understanding of state-building, constitutionalism, and social policy.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

"The Making of Dissidents"

New from the University of Pittsburgh Press: The Making of Dissidents: Hungary’s Democratic Opposition and its Western Friends, 1973-1998 by Victoria Harms.

About the book, from the publisher:
Before Hungary’s transition from communism to democracy, local dissidents and like-minded intellectuals, activists, and academics from the West influenced each other and inspired the fight for human rights and civil liberties in Eastern Europe. Hungarian dissidents provided Westerners with a new purpose and legitimized their public interventions in a bipolar world order. The Making of Dissidents demonstrates how Hungary’s Western friends shaped public perceptions and institutionalized their advocacy long before the peaceful revolutions of 1989. But liberalism failed to take root in Hungary, and Victoria Harms explores how many former dissidents retreated and Westerners shifted their attention elsewhere during the 1990s, paving the way for nationalism and democratic backsliding.
Visit Victoria Harms's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

"Complicit Participation"

New from Oxford University Press: Complicit Participation: The Liberal Audience for Theater of Racial Justice by Carrie J. Preston.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this incisive critique of the ways performances of allyship can further entrench white privilege, author Carrie J. Preston analyses her own complicit participation and that of other audience members and theater professionals, deftly examining the prevailing framework through which white liberals participate in antiracist theater and institutional “diversity, equity, and inclusion” initiatives. The book addresses immersive, documentary, site-specific, experimental, street, and popular theatre in chapters on Jean Genet's The Blacks, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's An Octoroon, George C. Wolfe's Shuffle Along, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, Anna Deavere Smith's Notes from the Field, and Claudia Rankine's The White Card. Far from abandoning the work to dismantle institutionalized racism, Preston seeks to reveal the contradictions and complicities at the heart of allyship as a crucial step toward full and radical participation in antiracist efforts.
Carrie J. Preston is the Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Professor and Director of Kilachand Honors College, Professor of English and Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, and the founding Associate Director of the Center on Forced Displacement at Boston University. She is the author of Modernism's Mythic Pose: Gender, Genre, & Solo Performance and Learning to Kneel: Noh, Modernism, & Journeys in Teaching.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 17, 2024

"The Latecomer's Rise"

New from Cornell University Press: The Latecomer's Rise: Policy Banks and the Globalization of China's Development Finance by Muyang Chen.

About the book, from the publisher:
In The Latecomer's Rise, Muyang Chen reveals the nature and impact of a rapidly growing form of international lending: Chinese development finance.

Over the past few decades, China has become the world's largest provider of bilateral development finance. Through its two national policy banks, the China Development Bank (CDB) and the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim), it has funded infrastructure and industrial projects in numerous emerging markets and developing countries. Yet this very surge and magnitude of capital has raised questions about the characteristics of Chinese bilateral lending and its repercussions on the international order.

Drawing on a variety of novel Chinese primary sources, including interviews and official bank documents, Chen pinpoints the distinctiveness of Chinese bilateral development finance, explains its origins, and analyzes its effects. She compares Chinese policy banks with their foreign counterparts to show that the CDB and China Exim, while state-supported, are in fact also market-oriented―they are as much government organs as they are profit-driven financial agencies that serve both state and firms' interests. This approach, which emerged out of China's particular economic history, suggests that Chinese overseas lending is not merely a tool of economic statecraft that challenges Western-led economic regimes. Instead, China's responses to extant rules, norms, and practices across given issue areas have varied between contestation and convergence.

Rich with empirical detail and penetrating insights, The Latecomer's Rise demystifies the little-known workings of Chinese development finance to revise our conceptions of China's role in the international financial system.
Visit Muyang Chen's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 16, 2024

"Chinese Workers of the World"

New from Stanford University Press: Chinese Workers of the World: Colonialism, Chinese Labor, and the Yunnan–Indochina Railway by Selda Altan.

About the book, from the publisher:
Chinese workers helped build the modern world. They labored on New World plantations, worked in South African mines, and toiled through the construction of the Panama Canal, among many other projects. While most investigations of Chinese workers focus on migrant labor, Chinese Workers of the World explores Chinese labor under colonial regimes within China through an examination of the Yunnan-Indochina Railway, constructed between 1898–1910. The Yunnan railway―a French investment in imperial China during the age of "railroad colonialism"―connected French-colonized Indochina to Chinese markets with a promise of cross-border trade in tin, silk, tea, and opium. However, this ambitious project resulted in fiasco. Thousands of Chinese workers died during the horrid construction process, and costs exceeded original estimates by 74%.

Drawing on Chinese, French, and British archival accounts of day-to-day worker struggles and labor conflicts along the railway, Selda Altan argues that long before the Chinese Communist Party defined Chinese workers as the vanguard of a revolutionary movement in the 1920s, the modern figure of the Chinese worker was born in the crosscurrents of empire and nation in the late nineteenth century. Yunnan railway workers contested the conditions of their employment with the knowledge of a globalizing capitalist market, fundamentally reshaping Chinese ideas of free labor, national sovereignty, and regional leadership in East and Southeast Asia.
--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 15, 2024

"Worthy of Freedom"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Worthy of Freedom: Indenture and Free Labor in the Era of Emancipation by Jonathan Connolly.

About the book, from the publisher:
A study of Indian indentured labor in Mauritius, British Guiana, and Trinidad that explores the history of indenture’s normalization.

In this book, historian Jonathan Connolly traces the normalization of indenture from its controversial beginnings to its widespread adoption across the British Empire during the nineteenth century. Initially viewed as a covert revival of slavery, indenture caused a scandal in Britain and India. But over time, economic conflict in the colonies altered public perceptions of indenture, now increasingly viewed as a legitimate form of free labor and a means of preserving the promise of abolition. Connolly explains how the large-scale, state-sponsored migration of Indian subjects to work on sugar plantations across Mauritius, British Guiana, and Trinidad transformed both the notion of post-slavery free labor and the political economy of emancipation.

Excavating legal and public debates and tracing practical applications of the law, Connolly carefully reconstructs how the categories of free and unfree labor were made and remade to suit the interests of capital and empire, showing that emancipation was not simply a triumphal event but, rather, a deeply contested process. In so doing, he advances an original interpretation of how indenture changed the meaning of “freedom” in a post-abolition world.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 14, 2024

"Oceans Rise Empires Fall"

New from Oxford University Press: Oceans Rise Empires Fall: Why Geopolitics Hastens Climate Catastrophe by Gerard Toal.

About the book, from the publisher:
A powerful explanation of why geopolitical competition makes implementing effective climate change policies so difficult. As the Russia-Ukraine war has shown, great-power competition drives states to prioritize fossil fuel acquisition over working toward a zero-carbon future.

In the last few years, it has become abundantly clear that the effects of accelerating climate change will be catastrophic, from rising seas to more violent storms to desertification. Yet why do nation-states find it so difficult to implement transnational policies that can reduce carbon output and slow global warming? In Oceans Rise, Empires Fall, Gerard Toal identifies geopolitics as the culprit. States would prefer to reduce emissions in the abstract, but in the great global competition for geopolitical power, states always prioritize access to carbon-based fuels necessary for generating the sort of economic growth that helps them compete with rival states. Despite what we now know about the long-term impacts of climate change, geopolitical contests continue to sideline attempts to halt or slow down the process.

The Ukraine conflict in particular exposes our priorities. To escape reliance on Russia's vast oil and gas reserves, states have expanded fossil fuel production that necessarily increases the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. The territorial control imperatives of great powers preclude collaborative behavior to address common challenges. Competitive territorial, resource, and technological dramas across the geopolitical chessboard currently obscure the deterioration of the planet's life support systems. In the contest between geopolitics and sustainable climate policies, the former takes precedence-especially when competition shifts to outright conflict. In this book, Toal interrogates that relationship and its stakes for the ongoing acceleration of climate change.
Visit Gerard Toal's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 13, 2024

"Privileging Place"

New from Princeton University Press: Privileging Place: How Second Homeowners Transform Communities and Themselves by Meaghan L. Stiman.

About the book, from the publisher:
How second homeowners strategically leverage their privilege across multiple spaces

In recent decades, Americans have purchased second homes at unprecedented rates. In Privileging Place, Meaghan Stiman examines the experiences of predominantly upper-middle-class suburbanites who bought second homes in the city or the country. Drawing on interviews with more than sixty owners of second homes and ethnographic data collected over the course of two years in Rangeley, Maine, and Boston, Massachusetts, Stiman uncovers the motivations of these homeowners and analyzes the local consequences of their actions. By doing so, she traces the contours of privilege across communities in the twenty-first century.

Stiman argues that, for the upper-middle-class residents of suburbia who bought urban or rural second homes, the purchase functioned as a way to balance a desire for access to material resources in suburban communities with a longing for a more meaningful connection to place in the city or the country. The tension between these two contradictory aims explains why homeowners bought second homes, how they engaged with the communities around them, and why they ultimately remained in their suburban hometowns. The second home is a place-identity project—a way to gain a sense of place identity they don’t find in their hometowns while still holding on to hometown resources. Stiman’s account offers a cautionary tale of the layers of privilege within and across geographies in the twenty-first century.
--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

"Revolt of the Rich"

New from Columbia University Press: Revolt of the Rich: How the Politics of the 1970s Widened America's Class Divide by David N. Gibbs.

About the book, from the publisher:
Inequality in the United States has reached staggering proportions, with a massive share of wealth held by the very richest. How was such a dramatic shift in favor of a narrow elite possible in a democratic society? David N. Gibbs explores the forces that shaped the turn toward free market economics and wealth concentration and finds their roots in the 1970s. He argues that the political transformations of this period resulted from a “revolt of the rich,” whose defense of their class interests came at the expense of the American public.

Drawing on extensive archival research, Gibbs examines how elites established broad coalitions that brought together business conservatives, social traditionalists, and militarists. At the very top, Richard Nixon’s administration quietly urged corporate executives to fund conservative think tanks and seeded federal agencies with free-market economists. Even Jimmy Carter’s ostensibly liberal administration brought deregulation to the financial sector along with the imposition of severe austerity measures that hurt the living standards of the working class. Through a potent influence campaign, academics and intellectuals sold laissez-faire to policy makers and the public, justifying choices to deregulate industry, cut social spending, curb organized labor, and offshore jobs, alongside expanding military interventions overseas.

Shedding new light on the political alliances and policy decisions that tilted the playing field toward the ultrawealthy, Revolt of the Rich unveils the origins of today’s stark disparities.
--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

"Chuco Punk"

New from the University of Texas Press: Chuco Punk: Sonic Insurgency in El Paso by Tara López.

About the book, from the publisher:
An immersive study of the influential and predominantly Chicanx punk rock scene in El Paso, Texas.

Punk rock is known for its daring subversion, and so is the West Texas city of El Paso. In Chuco Punk, Tara López dives into the rebellious sonic history of the city, drawing on more than seventy interviews with punks, as well as unarchived flyers, photos, and other punk memorabilia. Connecting the scene to El Paso's own history as a borderland, a site of segregation, and a city with a long lineage of cultural and musical resistance, López throws readers into the heat of backyard punx shows, the chaos of riots in derelict mechanic shops, and the thrill of skateboarding on the roofs of local middle schools. She reveals how, in this predominantly Chicanx punk rock scene, women forged their own space, sound, and community. Covering the first roots of Chuco punk in the late 1970s through the early 2000s, López moves beyond the breakout bands to shed light on how the scene influenced not only the contours of sound and El Paso but the entire topography of punk rock.
Tara López is an assistant professor of ethnic studies at Winona State University and the author of The Winter of Discontent: Myth, Memory, and History.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 10, 2024

"The Last Human Job"

New from Princeton University Press: The Last Human Job: The Work of Connecting in a Disconnected World by Allison J. Pugh.

About the book, from the publisher:
A timely and urgent argument for preserving the work that connects us in the age of automation

With the rapid development of artificial intelligence and labor-saving technologies like self-checkouts and automated factories, the future of work has never been more uncertain, and even jobs requiring high levels of human interaction are no longer safe. The Last Human Job explores the human connections that underlie our work, arguing that what people do for each other in these settings is valuable and worth preserving.

Drawing on in-depth interviews and observations with people in a broad range of professions—from physicians, teachers, and coaches to chaplains, therapists, caregivers, and hairdressers—Allison Pugh develops the concept of “connective labor,” a kind of work that relies on empathy, the spontaneity of human contact, and a mutual recognition of each other’s humanity. The threats to connective labor are not only those posed by advances in AI or apps; Pugh demonstrates how profit-driven campaigns imposing industrial logic shrink the time for workers to connect, enforce new priorities of data and metrics, and introduce standardized practices that hinder our ability to truly see each other. She concludes with profiles of organizations where connective labor thrives, offering practical steps for building a social architecture that works.

Vividly illustrating how connective labor enriches the lives of individuals and binds our communities together, The Last Human Job is a compelling argument for us to recognize, value, and protect humane work in an increasingly automated and disconnected world.
Visit Allison Pugh's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 9, 2024

"Consent Matters"

New from Oxford University Press: Consent Matters by Robert E. Goodin.

About the book, from the publisher:
Consent works moral magic. Things that would otherwise be wrong to do to someone are, with that person's consent, made morally permissible. But what is consent, and how does it work? What can be taken for consent (perhaps wrongly) and with what consequences? How does consent come into being and pass out of it? How can consent be conferred, invoked and revoked? What is the role of social and legal norms in governing consent? How contextually sensitive should those norms be in applying to diverse settings, ranging from sexual encounters to prison hospitals to the poll booth? Those are the sorts of broad questions animating this book. It aspires to provide a comprehensive account of the social practice of consent, informed by deep reading in the history of ideas, philosophy, law, political science and sociology. Consent Matters thus serves, at one and the same time, as a guide for the perplexed social practitioner of consent and as a touchstone for philosophical attempts to theorize and to refine those existing practices.
Robert Goodin, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Australian National University, specializes in political theory and public policy. He was founding Editor of the Journal of Political Philosophy and General Editor of the eleven-volume Oxford Handbooks of Political Science. A Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, he has been awarded the Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science and the Stein Rokkan Prize for Comparative Social Science Research.

The Page 99 Test: On Complicity and Compromise by Chiara Lepora and Robert E. Goodin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 8, 2024

"Mission Manifest"

New from Cornell University Press: Mission Manifest: American Evangelicals and Iran in the Twentieth Century by Matthew K. Shannon.

About the book, from the publisher:
In Mission Manifest, Matthew Shannon argues that American evangelicals were central to American-Iranian relations during the decades leading up to the 1979 revolution. These Presbyterian missionaries and other Americans with ideals worked with US government officials, nongovernmental organizations, and their Iranian counterparts as cultural and political brokers―the living sinews of a binational relationship during the Second World War and early Cold War.

As US global hegemony peaked between the 1940s and the 1960s, the religious authority of the Presbyterian Mission merged with the material power of the American state to infuse US foreign relations with the messianic ideals of Christian evangelicalism. In Tehran, the missions of American evangelicals became manifest in the realms of religion, development programs, international education, and cultural associations. Americans who lived in Iran also returned to the United States to inform the growth of the national security state, higher education, and evangelical culture. The literal and figurative missions of American evangelicals in late Pahlavi Iran had consequences for the binational relationship, the global evangelical movement, and individual Americans and Iranians.

Mission Manifest offers a history of living, breathing people who shared personal, professional, and political aims in Iran at the height of American global power.
--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 7, 2024

"Making Never-Never Land"

New from The University of North Carolina Press: Making Never-Never Land: Race and Law in the Creation of Puerto Rico by Mónica A. Jiménez.

About the book, from the publisher:
Puerto Rico has been an "unincorporated territory" of the United States for over a century. For much of that time, the archipelago has been mostly invisible to US residents and neglected by the government. However, a series of crises in the first two decades of the twenty-first century, from outsized debt to climate fueled disasters, have led to massive protests and brought Puerto Rico greater visibility.

Monica A. Jimenez argues that to fully understand how and why Puerto Rico finds itself in this current moment of precarity, we must look to a larger history of US settler colonialism and racial exclusion in law. The federal policies and jurisprudence that created Puerto Rico exist within a larger pantheon of exclusionary, race-based laws and policies that have carved out "states of exception" for racial undesirables: Native Americans, African Americans, and the inhabitants of the insular territories. This legal regime has allowed the federal government plenary or complete power over these groups. Jimenez brings these histories together to demonstrate that despite Puerto Rico's unique position as a twenty-first-century colony, its path to that place was not exceptional.
--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 6, 2024

"After the Flying Saucers Came"

New from Oxford University Press: After the Flying Saucers Came: A Global History of the UFO Phenomenon by Greg Eghigian.

About the book, from the publisher:
Roswell, 1947. Washington, DC, 1952. Quarouble, 1954. New Hampshire, 1961. Pascagoula, 1973. Petrozavodsk, 1977. Copley Woods, 1983. Explore how sightings of UFOs and aliens seized the world's attention and discover what the fascination with flying saucers and extraterrestrial visitors says about our changing views on science, technology, and the paranormal.

In the summer of 1947, a private pilot flying over the state of Washington saw what he described as several pie pan-shaped aircraft traveling in formation at remarkably high speed. Within days, journalists began referring to the objects as "flying saucers." Over the course of that summer, Americans reported seeing them in the skies overhead. News quickly spread, and within a few years, flying saucers were being spotted across the world. The question on everyone's mind was, what were they? Some new super weapon in the Cold War? Strange weather patterns? Optical illusions? Or perhaps it was all a case of mass hysteria? Some, however, concluded they could only be one thing: spacecrafts built and piloted by extraterrestrials. The age of the unidentified flying object, the UFO, had arrived.

Greg Eghigian tells the story of the world's fascination with UFOs and the prospect that they were the work of visitors from outer space. While accounts of great wonders in the sky date back to antiquity, reports of UFOs took place against the unique backdrop of the Cold War and space age, giving rise to disputed government inquiries, breathtaking news stories, and single-minded sleuths. After the Flying Saucers Came traces how a seemingly isolated incident sparked an international drama involving shady figures, questionable evidence, suspicions of conspiracy, hoaxes, new religions, scandals, unsettling alien encounters, debunkers, and celebrities. It examines how descriptions, theories, and debates about unidentified flying objects and alien abduction changed over time and how they appeared in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Russia. And it explores the impact UFOs have had on our understanding of space, science, technology, and ourselves up through the present day.

Replete with stories of the people who have made up the ufology community, the military and defense units that investigate them, the scientists and psychologists who have researched these unexplained encounters, and the many novels, movies, TV shows, and websites that have explored these phenomena, After the Flying Saucers Came speaks to believers and skeptics alike.
--Marshal Zeringue