A Reading List for the Next Presidential Era

Today we officially enter a new world ripe for change—both good and bad—as well as unprecedented conflict and inequality. Read on to discover some of our new and forthcoming titles that will help you make sense of the next four years.

Exceptional America: What Divides Americans from the World and from Each Other by Mugambi Jouet

Why does a country built on the concept of liberty have 9780520293298the highest incarceration rate in the world? How could the first Western nation to elect a person of color as its leader suffer from institutional racism? How does Christian fundamentalism coexist with gay marriage in the American imagination? In essence, what makes the United States exceptional? In this provocative exploration of American exceptionalism, Mugambi Jouet examines why Americans are far more divided than other Westerners over basic issues—including wealth inequality, health care, climate change, evolution, the literal truth of the Bible, abortion, gay rights, gun control, mass incarceration, and war.

 

Borderwall as Architecture: A Manifesto for the US-Mexico Boundary by Ronald Rael

Borderwall as Architecture is an artistic and intellectual hand 9780520283947-1grenade of a book, and a timely re-examination of what the physical barrier that divides the United States of America from the United Mexican States is and could be. It is both a protest against the wall and a projection about its future. Through a series of propositions suggesting that the nearly seven hundred miles of wall is an opportunity for economic and social development along the border that encourages its conceptual and physical dismantling, the book takes readers on a journey along a wall that cuts through a “third nation”—the Divided States of America.

 

 

La Nueva California: Latinos from Pioneers to Post-Millenials by David Hayes-Bautista

9780520292536Since late 2001 more than fifty percent of the babies born in California have been Latino. When these babies reach adulthood, they will, by sheer force of numbers, influence the course of the Golden State. Spanning one hundred years, this complex, fascinating analysis suggests that the future of Latinos in California will be neither complete assimilation nor unyielding separatism. Instead, the development of a distinctive regional identity will be based on Latino definitions of what it means to be American.

 

 

 

The FBI and Religion: Faith and National Security before and after 9/11 edited by Sylvester A. Johnson and Steven Weitzman

9780520287280The Federal Bureau of Investigation has had a long and tortuous relationship with religion over almost the entirety of its existence. The FBI and Religion recounts this fraught and fascinating history, focusing on key moments in the Bureau’s history. Starting from the beginnings of the FBI before World War I, moving through the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War, up to 9/11 and today, this book tackles questions essential to understanding not only the history of law enforcement and religion, but also the future of religious liberty in America.

 

 

Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy Across the Political Divide by Ruth Braunstein

9780520293656In the wake of the Great Recession and rising discontent with government responsiveness to ordinary citizens, participants in two very different groups—a progressive faith-based community organization and a conservative Tea Party group—worked together to become active and informed citizens, put their faith in action, and hold government accountable. Prophets and Patriots offers a fresh look at two active grassroots movements and highlights cultural convergences and contradictions at the heart of American political culture.

 

 

 

How May I Help You? An Immigrant’s Journey from MBA to Minimum Wage by Deepak Singh

9780520293311In this moving and insightful work, Deepak Singh chronicles his downward mobility as an immigrant to a small town in Virginia. Armed with an MBA from India, Singh can get only a minimum-wage job in an electronics store. Every day he confronts unfamiliar American mores, from strange idioms to deeply entrenched racism. How May I Help You? is an incisive take on life in the United States and a reminder that the stories of low-wage employees can bring candor and humanity to debates about work, race, and immigration.


Worldly Affiliations Wins the 2017 Bernard S. Cohn Book Prize

We are delighted to announce that Sonal Khullar was awarded the Bernard S. Cohn Book Prize for her book, Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990 on behalf of the Association for Asian Studies’ South Asia Council.

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The Bernard S. Cohn Book Prize each year honors outstanding and innovative scholarship across discipline and country of specialization for a first single-authored monograph on South Asia, published during the preceding year.

Published by the press in 2015, Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990 has received considerable praise from reviewers, and we’re proud that Sonal’s work has earned this significant recognition.

“Beautifully written, compellingly argued, Khullar’s book not only offers a major contribution to the study of Indian modernism, it also advances our methodological understanding of modern art at large. A vital addition to an exciting body of emerging art-historical scholarship that promises to fundamentally transform received ideas on modernism in the coming years.”—Iftikhar Dadi, Cornell University

“Provocatively argued, this book is a must-read for art students, critics, and all those who are interested in modern Indian art, as well as all concerned with global modernism.”—Partha Mitter, University of Sussex


Anti-Discrimination Legislation: A Report from France

by Marie Mercat-Bruns, author of Discrimination at Work: Comparing European, French, and American Law

9780520283800_mercat-brunsSince the publication of Discrimination at Work, a comparative study and critique of European, French and American anti-discrimination law, France has been the focus of continuous debates on discrimination in and outside of the workplace. In 2016, despite new terrorist attacks and the rising popularity of Marine Le Pen’s nationalist movement, both the burkini ban on Riviera beaches and racial profiling were declared illegal by the French supreme courts (civil and administrative high courts). An important national report came out this past September on the high cost of discriminating in employment in France (Le coût économique des discriminations, Rapport France Stratégie, Sept. 2016). It brought to the forefront a different justification to combat inequality beyond the human rights argument too often ignored: the glass ceiling and the gender wage gap for women and unemployment and wage disparities affecting workers with a sub-Saharan or North African background.

What is in store for the new year? A significant piece of legislation passed in November sets up a class action suit to combat discrimination. Will civil society seize this opportunity to engage in strategic litigation to eradicate systemic discrimination in housing, health care, employment, goods and services, or education ? Probably not right away.

The sources of resistance are twofold. First, the class action à la française has been carefully tailored in employment to avoid significant action by specialized NGOs in the field. Only unions are entitled to introduce a claim against discrimination in employment. Few labor representatives have played a very proactive role in the past to fight against racial and sex discrimination. NGOs can only bring a suit for discrimination in hiring, the hardest to prove. Second, even if the discrimination is proven, the new law requires workers to seek individual remedies for personal harm by engaging subsequent claims in labor courts. Under these circumstances, what is the use of a collective mode of action ? The only redeeming feature of this group action, as it is coined in France, is the possibility for the judge to deliver an injunction to cease discrimination in the future. This allows strategic litigation to have a broader impact and target the structural causes of the discrimination in the company.

The most optimistic civil rights defenders see the new French class action suit, despite its narrow scope, as a first step in raising awareness about systemic discrimination at work. “Incremental change is better than no change at all,” some contend. The next French presidential election will certainly determine in part whether public enforcement of discrimination law is high on the political agenda in a context where “religious neutrality” (which could allow for the banning of religious garments in the workplace, for example) has recently been officially recognized as a legitimate business practice in the new French labor law reform of August 8, 2016.

Discrimination at Work is a Luminos Open Access e-book and available for free download.

 

mercat-bruns_au-photoMarie Mercat-Bruns is Affiliated Professor at Sciences Po Law School and Associate Professor in Labor and Employment Law at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris. She is a member of the Research Institute LISE CNRS (Codirector of the program Gender, Categories and Policy) and also of the scientific committee of PRESAGE (Sciences Po/OFCE Research and Academic Program on Gender Thinking).

 

 

 


“Why Do People March on Washington?” A History of Democracy in Action

Marching on Washington has returned to the center stage of national politics. This weekend, The Women’s March on Washington will take place in protest of the inauguration of Donald Trump. In their official policy platform, the organizers invoke Martin Luther King Jr, quoting: “We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”

In the spirit of the upcoming march and Dr. King’s birthday, we look back at the history of marching on the capital with Lucy G. Barber’s Marching on Washington: The Forging of an American Political Tradition.

In her preface, Barber writes:

Why do people march on W2604050ashington? At times, as when this question was asked with sneering sincerity, I was tempted to respond that people gather because it is their right, which is too simple an answer for a question at the heart of this book. As you will learn while reading, people have not always had the right to march on Washington. It was won for us through the efforts of others. At some level the answer to this question is the same today as it was in 1894, when the first group marched on Washington. People who march on Washington believe that their opinion belongs in their capital, and they want to present it there themselves. They want to be with other people who share their opinion so that they can see each other and so that the rest of us can see them united. That they do so and can do so is something that I hope you will learn to value as an essential part of democracy.

Throughout Marching on Washington, Barber shows just how this tactic achieved its transformation from unacceptable to legitimate, beginning as early as 1894 when Jacob Coxey’s army marched into Washington, D.C., in the first concerted effort by citizens to use the capital for national public protest. Barber demonstrates how such highly visible events—including the women’s suffrage procession in 1913, the veterans’ bonus march in 1932, and the march on Washington for jobs and freedom in 1963, among others—contributed to the development of a broader and more inclusive view of citizenship and transformed the capital from the exclusive domain of politicians and officials into a national stage for Americans to participate directly in national politics.

Since 1894, millions of people have marched on Washington. When I began exploring the history of marches on Washington, I thought that the story would be relatively easy to tell. By exploring how ambitious, skillful, and daring organizers challenged the government for the right to protest in Washington during the twentieth century, I would counter prevailing assumptions at the end of the twentieth century that ordinary people no longer influence national politics. The story turned out to be more complex but also more interesting. Two intertwined and interrelated themes became the focus of my narrative: the changing spatial politics of the capital and the strategic uses of American citizenship. With these lenses, the history of marching on Washington is a story of spaces lost and spaces won. It is a story about the power of American citizens but also about the shifting terrain of citizenship. It is a story about the possibilities and the limits of the tradition of marching on Washington for changing national politics.


Living Out Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Dream

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed – we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963

MLK Jr.As we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., one cannot help but wonder what he would think of the world as it is today. Many believe his legacy and dream for racial equality and civil rights comes under fire with the upcoming presidency of Donald Trump. From the government’s previous racial bias case against Trump and his father, to Trump’s current treatment of civil rights activist John Lewis, and to his nomination of Jeff Sessions as attorney general—a man that Coretta Scott King says could “irreparably damage the work of my husband”—, many believe Trump has shown a willingness to both circumvent and prevent justice.

How do we learn from lessons of the past to avoid an unjust future? And how do we continue to step forward instead of taking steps back?

In an effort to support civil rights and maintain King’s legacy, UC Press continues it’s ongoing partnership to publish the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project, currently in it’s seventh volume.

Martin Berger’s Freedom Now! presents a collection of photographs that illustrate the action, heroism, and strength of African American activists in driving social and legislative change.

Aldon Morris, author of The Scholar Denied, will be this year’s keynote speaker at Colby College, discussing “Du Bois at the Center: From Science to Martin Luther King to Black Lives Matter.”

And for those who plan to attend rallies, marches, or protests, Randy Shaw’s The Activist’s Handbook proves to be an indispensable guide not only for activists, but for anyone interested in the future of progressive politics in America.

“The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963


Society for Cinema Studies Recognizes UC Press Titles in 2017 Book Awards

When the Society for Cinema and Media Studies announced their 2017 award winners, we were honored and proud to see three books from UC Press in the mix.

Hearty congratulations to our team of talented authors and editors for this esteemed recognition, along with all the other winners from fellow university presses.

BEST EDITED COLLECTION

9780520284685Winner: L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema

Edited by Allyson Field, Jan-Christopher Horak, and Jacqueline Najuma Stewart

“. . . a groundbreaking and highly readable compendium focused on the kaleidoscopic network of filmmakers based at UCLA between the 1960s and the 1990s. The collection opens up previously obscured historical pathways that deepen our knowledge of black American cinema, and should inspire further research and scholarship.”—Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards

 

 

9780520219083Award of Distinction: The Promise of Cinema: German Film Theory, 1907-1933

Edited by Anton Kaes, Nicholas Baer, and Michael Cowan

“A treasure trove of insights and ideas, this book uncovers the excitement cinema generated as the art form of modernity. Film studies may take years to digest the richness this volume contains—and I believe it will never be quite the same afterward.” —Tom Gunning, author of The Films of Fritz Lang: Allegories of Vision and Modernity

 

 

BEST FIRST BOOK AWARD

9780520279773Stealing the Show: African American Performers and Audiences in 1930s Hollywood

By Miriam J. Petty

 

“[Miriam Petty’s] ambitious book places Stepin’ Fetchit (the persona of Lincoln Perry) in a new light, and all of her subjects in high relief… [a] fine book.” —Carrie Rickey, Film Quarterly

 

 

If you are attending the annual conference in Chicago this year, please join in for the Awards Ceremony to celebrate their outstanding achievements!


University Press Books We Loved in 2016

Thanks to The Scholarly Kitchen for allowing us to re-blog the following post from UC Press Director Alison Mudditt.


As a follow-up to the chefs’ best books read during 2016, I’m happy to present a selection of our favorite university press reads of 2016 (and thanks to one of our commenters for the suggestion!). We tend to think of university presses as focused primarily on humanities and social science (dare I say esoteric?) monographs and to be sure, a critical part of our mission is to support scholarship from less-funded, smaller and emerging fields. But every year new university press publications also include blockbusters (think Thomas Piketty), innovative fiction and poetry, important critiques that shape the public sphere and regional publishing gems. Read on to see some of our favorites from 2016!

arctic labyrinth coverCharlie Rapple: I’m not sure how my fascination with cold places started. It was either travelling in Iceland, or reading Sara Wheeler’s Terra Incognita, both of which I did in my early twenties. Ever since, I’ve sought out and devoured both fictional and non-fictional insights into life in a cold climate (think Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow or The Shipping News; indeed, it may all have started with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s stories of pioneer winters). Hence I came to read Arctic Labyrinth by Glyn Williams, published by the University of California Press. Williams brings together in one neat narrative years’ and years’ worth of expeditions to find the Northwest Passage. The book is academic in tone and the research it represents is deep and detailed, but the stories leap off the page nonetheless – here are a few that have stayed with me:

  • Explorations of the Northwest Passage began at the turn of the 16th century — long before the glory days of the Elizabethan mariners even, people were setting out into this unknown and incomprehensibly inhospitable climate, almost comically ill-equipped in terms of everything from footwear to clothing to food to the ships themselves. Given that five hundred years later, cold-weather expeditions still suffer occasional fatalities because of the harshness of the conditions, I found myself shaking my head in wide-eyed awe trying to imagine the experiences of John Cabot’s crew. Throughout the book this sense of wonder at extraordinary exploits prevails: crews have to scuttle ships during the winter, so that they would survive underwater, rather than be crushed by ice — how on earth do you re-float a scuttled ship in Arctic conditions in the middle of the 17th century? But they did. Just as they carved through the ice with saws to advance ships by a handful of feet each day, or endured winter-long camps in sub-freezing darkness, or made monstrously long treks in desperate hope first of discovery and then finally of survival.
  • Given the subject matter, very few women merit a mention (though the persistence of Lady Jane Franklin, whose husband was lost during his fourth Arctic expedition, is poignantly documented), but I find my thoughts returning again and again to the scant mention of Kitty Smith, the first white woman to spend a winter in Hudson Bay (her husband captained an expedition in 1745-46). Much general detail is given about the hardships endured by those who wintered in the Arctic; it seems survival was contingent on, firstly, undertaking relatively strenuous physical activity (a fact not discovered for some time — early crews suffered greatly from misguided ideas of hunkering down) and, secondly, camaraderie among the crew. What on earth must the experience have been like for a mid-eighteenth-century woman, likely not encouraged to participate in either? I doubt there is much primary evidence but oh, what a story there could be around Kitty Smith’s adventures.
  • Franklin’s lost ship (HMS Terror) was only discovered in September 2016 (when I was midway through the book, which was published in 2011) — so the reader is left uncertain as to whether the Northwest Passage had been discovered during that fateful expedition of 1845-48. This continued uncertainty evokes for the reader what it must have been like to be back at home, waiting for occasional updates as to an expedition’s progress. It is fascinating to learn how those on the expeditions communicated, from letters sent home via merchant seamen, to diaries brought back from voyages (or discovered in abandoned vessels/camps), to the notices left in cairns to advise on routes taken, discoveries made, crew lost. Williams does not spare the reader the grim tragedy of the Franklin expedition which was uncovered through a combination of letters, diaries, cairns, oral (Inuit) history and archaeology; to summarize, the crews ended up having to abandon their ships to the ice and spent months or (in some cases) years surviving in the Arctic wilderness; some survivors ultimately resorted to cannibalism. Though some graves have been found over the years, no one knows where Franklin himself is buried. The final position of his ships, the data discovered from them, and the other evidence that has materialized over the years suggests that he and his crews had not, in the end, discovered the passage. For all its fascinating insights, the book is overall a sobering reminder of how much was invested, and how many lives were lost, in an endeavor that was driven at best (?) by commercial optimism, at worst by national pride, and at its most galling, by malignant fabrication. The northwest passage may exist, but is so rarely navigable that it has made no real difference – unless you count the fact that cruise passengers can now complete the transit, which does not seem an achievement worthy of the extraordinary efforts of Cabot, McClure, Rae, Ross, Franklin, and all the other expedition captains and crews.

Big Data CoverKent Anderson: The university press book I decided to review is one I contributed to, so this is a volume I’ve known about for a while — Big Data Is Not a Monolith, from MIT Press, edited by Cassidy Sugimoto, Hamid Ekbia, and Michael Mattiolo. As a contributor, I had limited exposure to the entire work before publication, so seeing the book in final form was a revelation, and a happy one. The book is interesting and informative, with intriguing tidbits about how big data is being used to shape everything from Uber rides to public policy, and grander philosophical questions about the webs of data that could entangle us all, the value of theory in a world of all-encompassing data, and the relevance of small data. The writing is very good given the number of contributors and a variety of voices that had to be edited into a consistent fabric, and the subject is definitely worth visiting and revisiting. The book is divided into three sections: Big Data and Society, Big Data and Science, and Big Data and Organizations. From stewardship to downsides to vast potential, many scenarios are explored carefully and thoughtfully. If you want a primer on big data, the big questions it raises, and the big potential it holds, this slim volume (approx. 220 pages plus references and, thank heavens, a very good index) might do the trick.

Moral Commerce coverKarin Wulf: This is a great feature! But how to pick just one 2016 university press book? Between teaching, research, and the publishing program at the Omohundro Institute I read a lot of books newly published by university presses. Among those I’ve picked up in the last months are Maria Argen (ed.), Making a Living, Making a Difference: Gender and Work in Early Modern European Society (Oxford University Press, 2016), and Richard Rabinowitz’s Curating America: Journeys Through Storyscapes of the American Past (University of North Carolina Press, 2016). A book that’s gripped my attention and that my graduate seminar will read in the spring is Marisa Fuentes’ Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016). If you don’t think writing and reading about history is urgent political business, any one of these will, in different ways, change your mind.

But I’ve picked something just around the corner from my field to highlight: Moral Commerce: Quakers and the Transatlantic Boycott of the Slave Labor Economy (Cornell University Press, 2016) by Julie Holcomb. Holcomb looks at the how concerns about ethical consumer behavior animated abolitionists, leading them to boycott sugar, cotton, and other commodities cultivated or processed with unfree labor. She explores the extent, character and impact of the free produce movement beginning with eighteenth-century efforts to articulate the connection between slavery and goods as fruit of a poisonous tree and into the more elaborate nineteenth-century free produce movement that included merchants and storefronts. Quakers argued that among the many immoral aspects of slavery was the theft of a person’s labor, and thus sugar and cotton were illicit goods. A key part of Holcomb’s book is the work of black activists in pushing boycotts as a radical form of abolitionist protest.

The political salience of nineteenth-century America hasn’t been lost on other writers. Rebecca Onion and others have pointed to the abolitionists as models for political insurgency. Another historian of abolitionism, Manisha Sinha, author of The Slaves’ Cause: A History of Abolition (Yale University Press, 2016) recalled that the fall of 2016 feels like “The fall of Reconstruction.” Holcomb’s Moral Commerce adds a reminder that questioning the ethical implications of our consumption patterns also has a recent and relevant history.

Holcomb was interviewed on the LA Review of Books channel Marginalia; as well as the podcast, which I recommend.

Joy of Set coverRobert Harington: This is the time when jigsaw puzzles take up your dining room table, hoping that your dog will not eat the one, or two puzzle pieces you actually need, and it is a time when families to turn to board games to pass the time away. A classic game that is completely addictive be you a kindergartner, or mathematician, is the game of SET. It is a card game, one that has been around for quite a long time now – since 1974. There are eighty-one cards consisting of one, two, or three symbols of different shapes (diamond, oval, squiggle), shadings (solid, striped, open), and colors (green, purple, red). In order to win, players must identify “SETs” of three cards with each of these 4 attributes either being all the same or one of each. For example, one attribute is color – then your three cards must all be the same color, or be one of each color (one red, one purple, one green). It sounds simple, but keeping track of all the various combinations as you are looking at 12 cards placed on a table with your friends all itching to shout “SET” is hard and stressful – in that addictive way.

The Joy of Set (Liz McMahon, Gary Gordon, Hannah Gordon and Rebecca Gordon, from Princeton University Press) takes readers on a fascinating journey into this seemingly simple card game. So why is it so enjoyable? The authors are quite clearly fans of SET. They are a family of husband, wife and two daughters and have been playing the game for twenty years. Three out of the four of the authors also happen to mathematicians, and the other daughter is a “grandmaster” of SET. What they have done is to share their excitement for the game and for its connections to math. There are threads of geometry, abstract algebra, linear algebra and combinatorics that all bear on this game. Pedagogically, this game is an elegant way to introduce these math concepts to students. The first half of the book is really written for anyone, and then if you want a little deeper brain activity the second half has enough complexity to feed even a professional mathematician’s curiosity.

Let’s look at some of the mathematical questions you can ask about SET. One obvious question you may ask is “How many SETs are there?” Or you could ask, “What percentage of SETs differ in all their four features?” There is a perhaps surprising link to geometry. The word “geometry,” means earth or land measure – from the Greek. In math you are really talking about insights into shapes and the nature of space and also more broadly with visual phenomena. Geometry is not finite, meaning that there are an infinite number of points on a line. As an example look at stick of thin spaghetti. You can keep cutting the spaghetti into smaller and smaller pieces — infinite pieces — suggesting that there are infinitely many points that make up the line segment, or spaghetti stick. There is also a branch of geometry called finite geometry. When you play SET, as the authors say “…you have cloned three ancient scholars, Socrates, Euclid, and Theano, who are now in your home discussing geometry.” SET is related to geometry in this finite sense, where you can look at each card as a point, and the SETS as lines.

So you get the idea – this game is deep, and it just happens to be both simple and excruciatingly hard to play as well. The book is in my view just the right way to talk about math as fun, and intellectually challenging. To enjoy math you do not have to be a genius – it is just another way of experiencing the world more fully.

Bacon coverAlison Mudditt: A dinner at the Charleston conference in 2015 highlighted all that I’ve always struggled with in southern cooking: our dinner rolls had been deep fried in bacon fat. What’s wrong with that, I hear you say, but even for a lover of just about any kind of salted pig such as myself this seemed a step too far. Nonetheless, I was delighted to discover Bacon by Fred Thompson in the University of North Carolina Press’s Savor the South series. In addition to many fabulous recipes (salted caramel bacon brownies, anyone?), the author provides a fascinating summary of bacon’s place in southern cuisine along with everything you’ll ever need to know about bacon. And it’s just one of an amazing array of regional titles published by university presses, large and small.

Ice Bear coverSpeaking of which, I must also mention the gorgeous and compelling Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon from the University of Washington Press. Like Charlie, I’ve always been fascinated with the Arctic and my childhood bedroom was adorned with pictures of polar bears – making this book impossible to resist. Beautifully illustrated with photographs and paintings, Michael Engelhard tells the cultural history of the polar bear through myth, legend and other stories. The author is both a trained cultural anthropologist and a wilderness guide in the Arctic National Wildlife refuge, and he weaves together these perspectives in a moving exploration of our complex relationship with this iconic bear. At a time when the threat of climate change for this species is so very real, it is also a grim reminder of the ways in which human and natural history have grown so far out of kilter.


alisonmudditt1

Alison Mudditt has been Director of University of California Press since January 2011, where she has focused on reshaping the Press’s strategy and structure to meet the needs of its diverse audiences in the digital age. Alison more than twenty-five years experience in academic publishing which began at Blackwell in Oxford, and then at Taylor & Francis Inc. in Philadelphia as Publishing Director of the Behavioral Sciences Division. Alison joined SAGE in 2001 as Vice President and Editorial Director, and was appointed Executive Vice President in 2004 where she led the SAGE’s publishing programs across books, journals and digital during a period of tremendous growth. Alison is a regular speaker at industry meetings and is currently Vice Chair of the Scientific Publications Committee and member of the Open Science Committee of the American Heart Association, and member of the Board of Directors of K|N Consultants. She has also served on the Executive Council of the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the American Association of Publishers, and was Co-Chair of the Dean’s Leadership Council at California State University, Channel Islands.


Judaisms: Finalist in the 2016 National Jewish Book Awards

Aaron J. Hahn Tapper’s book, Judaisms: A Twenty-First-Century Introduction to Jews and Jewish Identities, was selected by the Jewish Book Council as a finalist for the Dorothy Kripke Award for Education and Jewish Identity as part of the 2016 Jewish Book Awards.

The Jewish Book Council, dating back to 1925, is one of the oldest organizations providing continual service to the American Jewish community. Additionally, the National Jewish Book Awards, which began in 1950, is the longest running awards program of its kind in the field of Jewish literature and is recognized as the most prestigious, giving recognition to outstanding books.

In their review of Judaisms, the Jewish Book Council had this to say:

Judaisms: A Twenty-First-Century Introduction to Jews and Jewish Identities by Aaron J. Hahn Tapper is a lively and comprehensive college textbook on the Jewish experience in the United States and Israel. . . . a visually attractive book that will appeal to Jew and non-Jew alike. It is filled with fascinating information and can be used as a reference book or read in its entirety.

Read the full review here, and learn more about the awards and the full results here. Many congratulations to Aaron and the rest of this year’s NJBA finalists and winners!


The Intersection of Religion and Environmental Activism

by Amanda J. Baugh, author of God and the Green Divide: Religious Environmentalism in Black and White

On Monday afternoon, the Rev. Canon Sally Bingham spoke in front of the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein as part of #DayAgainstDenial, a nationwide series of events asking senators to block climate change deniers from serving in the Trump cabinet. Leaders of the ecumenical Christian group Creation Justice Ministries and the Coalition on the Environment in Jewish Life, and even evangelical and Catholic pro-life Christian groups have also banded together to oppose the appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. These groups appeal to their scriptures and faith traditions as they urge legislators to advance a biblical mandate to be good stewards of God’s Creation.

This type of religiously grounded environmental activism has become increasingly prevalent in the last decade, but the motivations inspiring religious communities to act are much more complicated than a simple hunch that God wants us to “go green.”

In God and the Green Divide, I examine religious environmental organizing in Chicago to show how dynamics of race, ethnicity, and class have shaped contemporary “greening of religion” movements. Focusing on the interfaith environmental organization Faith in Place, I analyze differing environmental values and motivations among the organization’s black and white participants. Faith in Place’s leaders suggested that every religion supports concern for the earth so all people of faith must take measures to protect the planet. Yet participants engaged in environmental activism based on a complex set of factors specific to their own communities, including concerns about job opportunities and health, urgencies of displaying positive civic identity, and feelings of guilt that arise from white privilege. Attending to the complex array of factors that shape individuals’ decisions to “go green” can offer a more complete understanding of the intersection of contemporary religious and environmental worlds.


Amanda J. Baugh is Assistant Professor of Religion and Environment at California State University, Northridge.


Mapping the Metropolis: Riot!

As we make our way through Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, we’re dipping into some of the maps and essays featured within the atlas—each offering a vividly imagined version of New York that reveals a richly layered, social history. For more peeks inside, head here.


img_4608
Detail from the map “Riot! Periodic Eruptions in Volcanic New York,” featured in the book “Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas”

This week, we take a look at New York City’s history of resistance. “However you classify riots,” write the book’s editors, “New York City has been good at them, or at least good at having them. . . . Riots happen when those in charge can contain that energy no more—or fail to give it proper release.”

Walking through New York means passing through sites of popular uprisings and violent clashes, where people took to the streets to protest and make their strife known. In his essay, “The Violence of Inequality,” contributor Luc Sante writes that nearly half of New York’s riots have been about race, beginning as early as 1712.

The Negro Riot of 1712 was New York’s very first social upheaval. Its facts are scant—between twenty and seventy African slaves allegedly set fire to a building on Maiden Lane, then the city’s northern boundary, and attacked whites attempting to douse the flames, killing nine. Of the forty-three slaves arraigned, eighteen were acquitted, twenty hanged, and three burned at the stake. In 1741 the facts are even murkier—a ship was seized, possibly for piracy, and its African crew were sold as slaves, but they managed to break free and burn down a number of houses, including the governor’s mansion. The Doctors Riot of 1788 was sparked by medical students digging up cadavers for dissection from the Negroes Burial Ground. A petition from African American citizens was ignored by the authorities, but when a newspaper article alleged that the body of a white woman had been dug up, citizens attacked the hospital and the violence resulted in some twenty deaths.

In the 19th century, these riots were sometimes sparked by opponents of slavery—the Eagle Street Riot of 1801 began with an attempt to free slaves—and sometimes by supporters, as when anti-abolitionists ransacked the home of an abolitionist and attacked the abolitionist-owned Bowery Theater in 1834.

The white abolitionists of the period tended to be well-educated members of the upper classes; their activities were resented by many in the white working class—mostly Irish Catholic immigrants—who saw free blacks as competing for their jobs and accepting lower wages. Tempers rose to the point of violence in the Anti- Abolitionist Riots of 1834, when a mob ransacked the Rose Street home of the abolitionist Lewis Tappan and attacked the Bowery eater, whose stage manager was a British-born abolitionist—he appeased them by sending out an actor in blackface to sing “Zip Coon.” The Brooklyn Cigar Factory Riot of 1862 was the work of local Irish and German unskilled laborers who resented the fact that African Americans, who commuted from other parts of the city, were employed as skilled cigar rollers and made more money.

The map and Sante’s essay focus on mass eruptions sparked by race as well as those rooted in wealth and class—inequality being a chief theme among these uprisings. 2011’s Occupy Wall Street makes its mark on the map as does the deadliest riot in American history, The Draft Riots of 1863 where thousands of pro-South and pro-slavery New Yorkers lashed out in a deadly mix of racial hatred, economic insecurity, and class warfare as they rampaged through Manhattan, beating and murdering black men, soldiers, and police. But the map also contains some of the weirder and more inexplicable riots in the city, such as the fashion faux-pas that launched a citywide crime spree: The Straw Hat Riot of 1922. 

Take a peek at a few highlights and plots on the map below:

Nonstop Metropolis is available in paperback and hardcover.


Dance RecitalJJ SchapiroNonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas is the final volume in our trilogy of atlases by Rebecca Solnit, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, Rebecca Snedeker, and a host of notable contributors. Following the publication of the critically lauded Infinite City (San Francisco) and Unfathomable City (New Orleans), we bring you this homage—and challenge—to the way we know and see New York City, in an exquisitely designed and gorgeously illustrated atlas that excavates the many buried layers of all five boroughs of New York City and parts of New Jersey.