Studies in Late Antiquity Launches First Issue

University of California Press is excited to announce that the first issue of Studies in Late Antiquity (SLA) is now available at sla.ucpress.edu. To celebrate the journal launch, SLA 1.1 will be freely accessible online for the rest of 2017. To access future issues, become an individual subscriber or ask your institution’s library to subscribe on your behalf.

Edited by Elizabeth DePalma Digeser (UC Santa Barbara), SLA will publish original scholarship, book reviews, and exhibit reviews on a wide range of topics pertaining to the world of Late Antiquity (150 – 750 CE). A defining focus of the journal is fostering multi- and interdisciplinary research that emphasizes the interconnectedness of the Mediterranean with other parts of the late ancient world.

Scholars interested in submitting to the journal can learn more about SLA‘s Call for Papers and Author Guidelines here.

 

“We enjoy the methodological diversity of our field, which has long embraced scholars from Archaeology, History, Classics, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Art History. But because of that very diversity we never find ourselves all assembled in one place. Studies in Late Antiquity is a unique effort to put in conversation scholarship engaged with global late antiquity.”

—Elizabeth DePalma Digeser, Editor, UC Santa Barbara

Table of Contents

Why Does the World Need a New Journal on Late Antiquity?
The Editor and Associate Editors

Community Matters
Elizabeth DePalma Digeser

Late Antiquity and World History: Challenging Conventional Narratives and Analyses
Mark Humphries

How Perilous was it to Write Political History in Late Antiquity?
Anthony Kaldellis

From a Classical to a Christian City: Civic Evergetism and Charity in Fifth Century Rome
Michele Salzman

Book Reviews

Review: Digital_Humanities, by Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp
Sarah E. Bond, Tom Keegan

Review: Décadence: “Decline and Fall” or “Other Antiquity”?, edited by Marco Formisano, Therese Fuhrer, and Anna-Lena Stock
Lorenzo DiTommaso

Review: A State of Mixture. Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity, by Richard E. Payne
Greg Fisher

Review: From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity, by Kyle Harper
Wendy Mayer

Review: The Arid Lands. History, Power, Knowledge, by Diana K. Davis
Steven E. Sidebotham


What’s in a Name? W. E. B. Du Bois vs. W.E.B. DeBois

By Aldon Morris, author of The Scholar Denied: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology

Today marks the 149th anniversary of the birth of W. E. B. Du Bois. Just over a week ago, The United States Department of Education, headed by its newly appointed Secretary Betsy DeVos, set out to honor Du Bois during Black History Month. On the Department’s official website Du Bois’ famous quote “Education must not simply teach work – it must teach life” was emblazoned. It was wonderful that this great controversial scholar and activist was being honored by the Department of Education. However, all hell broke loose once the quotation made its rounds through social and print media, and radio and television. The reason for the explosion is that the Department of Education attributed Du Bois’ quote to “W.E.B. DeBois!”

Du Bois was precise when it came to the written word. He would have been unamused by the misspelling of his name and by all people, the Department of Education. Responding to a speaking invitation by the Chicago Sunday Evening Club in 1939, Du Bois made it clear that: “My name is pronounced in the clear English fashion: Du, with u as in Sue; Bois, as in oi in voice. The accent is on the second syllable.” Given Du Bois’ exactness regarding the spelling and pronunciation of his name, the Department of Education was derelict in its duty to educate. Like the school children it represents, the least DeVos and her Department should do is their homework before going public.

We should not merely obsess with this terrible spelling error. The significance of Du Bois’ work for the nation and the world should be the focus always. Du Bois excelled as a social scientist, man of letters, journalist, philosopher, poet and novelist and prodigious activist. He is the scholar of the twentieth century that taught us most about race and its future place in America and the world. His penetrating work on the global color line unraveling the souls of black and white people remains highly relevant in these troubling times. No person today should be labeled “learned” without having read Du Bois’ timeless classics, The Souls of Black Folk, and Black Reconstruction as well as his unsettling article, The Souls of White Folk.

Du Bois’ activism influenced social change throughout the twentieth century. Du Bois’ radical ideas and activism helped overthrow colonialism and race oppression in Africa, Asia, and South America. Du Bois was crucial in changing America. By being a founder of the Niagara Movement, the NAACP and the Crisis Magazine, Du Bois created the blueprint by which Martin Luther king, Jr. and the civil rights movement overthrew Jim Crow. In honoring Du Bois’ pioneering activism, Dr. King wrote, “One idea he insistently taught was that black people have been kept in oppression and deprivation by a poisonous fog of lies… The twisted logic ran if the black man was inferior he was not oppressed-his place in society was appropriate to his meager talent and intellect. Dr. Du Bois recognized that the keystone in the arch of oppression was the myth of inferiority and he dedicated his brilliant talents to demolish it.”

Du Bois supported young black student protesters reminiscent of activists in Black Lives Matter today. Responding to Black student protests in the 1920s, Du Bois exclaimed, “And here again we are always actually or potentially saying hush to children and students, we are putting on the soft peddle, we are teaching them subterfuge and compromise, we are leading them around to back doors for fear that they shall express themselves. And yet whenever and wherever we do this we are wrong, absolutely and eternally wrong. Unless we are willing to train our children to be cowards, to run like dogs when they are kicked, to whine and lick the hand that slaps them, we have got to teach them self-realization and self-expression.”

The Department of Education should not have misspelled Du Bois’ name. However, on Du Bois’ 149th birthday, we should not mistake the trees (misspelled name) for the forest (prodigious body of scholarship and activism) when considering the meaning of Du Bois. Indeed, the mythical “DeBois” withers from sight when confronted with the real W. E. B. Du Bois.


Aldon D. Morris is Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University and the author of The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement: Black Communities Organizing for Change, among other books. And read more about Aldon’s thoughts From Du Bois to Black Lives Matter.

 


After ‘Cronkite Moment,’ Johnson doubled down on Viet policy

by W. Joseph Campbell, author of Getting It Wrong: Debunking the Greatest Myths in American Journalism

9780520291294One of the most cherished stories in American journalism is also a tenacious media-driven myth — a tall tale claiming great achievement for the media.

This cherished story/media myth is commonly known as the “Cronkite Moment” of 1968, when CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite supposedly exposed the bankruptcy of the Vietnam War. Forty-nine years ago next week, Cronkite declared in an editorial comment at the end of a special TV report that the U.S. military was “mired in stalemate” in Vietnam and that negotiations might offer a way out.

As I discuss in Getting It Wrong, an expanded second edition of which was published not long ago, the “Cronkite Moment” had few of the effects that are often, and extravagantly, attached to it.

Notable among those effects was that President Lyndon B. Johnson watched the program and, upon hearing Cronkite’s dire assessment, understood his war policy was a shambles. It was like an epiphany for the president.

But we know that’s not true: Johnson did not see the Cronkite program when it aired on February 27, 1968. He was in Austin, Texas, at that time, at a birthday party for a long-time political ally, Governor John Connally. It is not clear whether, or when, Johnson saw the program on videotape at some later date.

In any case, Cronkite said nothing about the war that hadn’t been said by leading journalists many times before. By February 1968, “stalemate” was a decidedly unoriginal way to characterize the Vietnam War.

The second edition of Getting It Wrong, which includes three new chapters and new material elsewhere, presents further evidence underscoring that the “Cronkite Moment” is a media myth.

This material elaborates on Johnson’s conduct in the immediate aftermath of Cronkite’s special report — the days and weeks when Cronkite’s assessment should have exerted greatest impact.

But instead of recognizing that Cronkite had shown him the light, Johnson doubled down. He mounted an aggressive defense of his war policy, demonstrating by his forcefulness that he had not taken the anchorman’s message to heart.

Three days after Cronkite’s program aired, Johnson vowed that America would “not cut and run” from Vietnam. “We’re not going to be Quislings,” the president said. “And we’re not going to be appeasers.”

Johnson spoke with similar energy in mid-March 1968, telling a meeting of business leaders in Washington, D.C.:

“We must meet our commitments in the world and in Vietnam. We shall and we are going to win. … I don’t want a man in here to go back home thinking otherwise — we are going to win.”

Two days after that, the president traveled to Minneapolis to speak at the National Farmers Union convention. He took the occasion to urge “a total national effort to win the war” in Vietnam, and slapped the lectern for emphasis. “We love nothing more than peace,” Johnson declared, “but we hate nothing worse than surrender and cowardice.”

He disparaged war critics as ready and inclined to “tuck our tail and violate our commitments.”

A day later, Johnson insisted in a talk at the State Department: “We have set our course” in Vietnam. “And we will prevail.”

Thus at a time when Cronkite’s views should been most keenly felt, the president remained tenaciously hawkish.

The shift in the president’s approach came not in the immediate aftermath of the “Cronkite Moment” (which was not referred to as such until many years later). It took place in meetings with an informal group of senior counselors who collectively were known as the “Wise Men.”

They included foreign policy notables such as Dean Acheson, a former secretary of state; McGeorge Bundy, a former national security adviser, and George Ball, a former under secretary of state.

The “Wise Men” had met in November 1967 and expressed near-unanimous support for Johnson’s Vietnam policy. They met again in late March 1968, and most of them expressed opposition to America’s escalating the war in Vietnam, as Johnson was then contemplating. “The theme that ran around the table was, ‘You’ve got to lower your sights,’” George Ball later recalled.

The president “was shaken by this kind of advice from people in whose judgment he necessarily had some confidence, because they’d had a lot of experience,” Ball noted.

The counsel of the Wise Men probably was the tipping point for Johnson on Vietnam. On March 31, 1968, he announced the United States would stop almost all bombing missions over North Vietnam — and that he would not seek reelection to the presidency.


wjc_pnp_large_crop2W. Joseph Campbell is a professor at American University’s School of Communication in Washington, D.C. He is the author of six books, including Getting It Wrong and 1995: The Year The Future Began.


The Presidential Recommended Reading List: UC Press Edition

Today on President’s Day, the nation commemorates the achievements of all of America’s chief executives. From the best books about American presidents to the favorite books of each of the 44 presidents, books help people gain insight on their presidents—and can help presidents gain insight on their constituents.

As many provide recommended reading lists for current President Donald Trump to learn from, we add here our list of suggested titles.

Political Economics

Immigration

Education

Law and Justice

What book would you add to the president’s recommended reading list?

 


Happy National Drink Wine Day!

In honor of National Drink Wine Day, read below to get some recommendations from our very knowledgeable wine authors. Be sure to click on the links for each wine to see where you can purchase their suggestions near you. Salud!

Rod Phillips, author of French Wine: A History

I’ve been exploring the various regional sparkling wines of France, some called crémants: there’s a Crémant de Bourgogne, a Crémant de Loire, a Crémant de Bordeaux, and so on. They’re made by the “Traditional Method” from local grape varieties and are generally very good value. Right now I’m enjoying a Crémant de Limoux, from southwestern France, where Limoux is generally thought to have been well ahead of Champagne in making sparkling wine.

 

Chianti Classico coverBill Nesto and Frances Di Savino, author of Chianti Classico: The Search for Tuscany’s Noblest Wine

2012 Montevertine, Le Pergole Torte, Toscana IGT

Le Pergole Torte is not Chianti Classico in name, but in essenzialità (essentialness). Hailing from the Montevertine estate in Radda, the heart of Chianti, and named after “the twisted pergolas” of the original vineyard where it was born, this selection of the estate’s best Sangiovese grapes undergoes a basic vinification in concrete vats followed by almost a year in French oak barriques and then at least a year in larger casks. The time in larger casks shakes off the barriques’ oaky aroma while mellowing their tannic boost.  When we tasted the 2012 vintage with dinner in October 2016 at Stir Boston, it had a bright, translucent, ruby color, a lively cherry fruit nose, followed by a mouth which emphasized fruit over astringency. It is moderate in both alcohol and acidity, and Pinot Noir-like in character. It paired perfectly with the pappardelle al cinghiale – broad, flat pasta served with a wild boar ragù, seasoned with sage, and sprinkled with pecorino shavings. At $110 per bottle, delicacy champions power. This wine is the essence of the true Chianti.

Patrick Comiskey, author of American Rhone: How Maverick Winemakers Changed the Way Americans Drink

Let’s recommend Kunin 2014 Central Coast Pape Star Red Blend.

One of the more compelling red blends coming from the Central Coast, Kunin’s 2014 Pape Star Rouge is an homage to Chateauneuf du Pape reds in more ways than one. Like those wines Kunin privileges Grenache and Mourvedre here, leaving Syrah in the background for structure, as well as a bit of Counoise for lift and perfume. A robust wine with Grenache at the forefront here, with its sunny cherry scents and robust red fruit flavors, displaying a subtle power that will leave an impression that’s less about juicy fruit and more about grip and drive.

Check out more of our new and bestselling wine titles on our website. Use promo code 16W5075 at checkout to save 30% on your purchase. Promo code expires 2/28/2017.


Law and Order and the Last Great Strike in America

by Ahmed White, author of The Last Great Strike: Little Steel, the CIO, and the Struggle for Labor Rights in New Deal America

Several weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency, millions of Americans have skipped work, walked off their jobs, or otherwise demonstrated in protest of his policies. Many others are planning to do so in the weeks ahead. For those of us who study strikes and protests, these developments are at once thrilling and portentous, particularly in light of the peculiar place that strikes occupy in our country’s history. For most of American history since the late Nineteenth Century, it was quite a normal thing for people to go out on strike. In 1937, for instance, over 7 percent of American workers went out on strike; in 1946, that number reached 10 percent. Even as recently as 1970, almost six million men and women spent some time out on strike. But recently strikes have been exceedingly uncommon with only a handful each year. Even most union members have never been on strike.

Why are strikes so uncommon? The reasons are complicated, but one important thing stands out. The strikes of the 1930s and 1940s, especially, were extremely effective. They built the modern labor movement, upheld the New Deal against reactionary attacks, and ensured the foundations of the postwar political system. But precisely because they were so effective, the strikes were the targets of relentless counterattack by powerful business interests and their allies in government. At first, the dominant response to strikes in this period was a rather simple and venerable one. Strikes were considered presumptively illegitimate and often met with naked force, only crudely justified by law. Put into practice, this approach left probably 200 workers dead in the 1930s alone. However, later in that decade, even as some of the most violent strikes were still unfolding, the approach to strikes was rebuilt around the notion that, while the right was guaranteed by federal law and the U.S. Constitution, it was far from absolute and had to yield if strikers were violent or coercive. Although superficially reasonable, the real import of this new approach was to make the kinds of strikes that promised to be effective also the most costly for strikers and most likely to be found unlawful. And not because only disorderly strikes could be effective, but because even the anticipation of coercion or violence on the part of strikers was enough to justify arresting them, firing them, enjoining their picket lines, and using lawful force against them. Nor was the fact that strikers might have been provoked to act in these ways much of an excuse. The most notable example of this new approach can be found in one of the most tragic episodes in the history of protest: the 1937 “Little Steel” Strike, in which steel companies and their allies killed at least sixteen strikers in order to break a strike which they had caused, and yet paid almost no penalty for doing so. So it was that the repression of strikes was brought in line with modern notions of law and order.

Of course this all happened a long time ago, in the unique context of the labor movement and the labor law. But the approach to the law and politics that underlie it are broadly established in American law and provide the basis of an important caution to anti-Trump protesters who may not be familiar with this story. That caution is this: These protests may never be particularly effective. So far, their effects seem pretty modest and the response to them relatively mild. But if they do succeed in challenging powerful interests in government and business, they are not unlikely to become the target of a campaign of repression which will paint them as irresponsible enemies of the social good, regardless of how protesters have actually comported themselves. The history of striking in America tell us that you can bet on that.


Ahmed White is a Professor of Law at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His scholarship centers on the intersection of labor and criminal law and on the concept of rule of law.


World Anthropology Day: The Field Under the Current Administration

Happy World Anthropology Day! Today is a day to celebrate the field and join a global recognition of all things anthropological. It is also a day to look forward and think about the future of the field, especially under our current political administration. Below, several UC Press authors share their thoughts on what the state of the field may be over the next four years.

T.M. Luhurmann and Jocelyn Marrow, authors of Our Most Troubling Madness: Case Studies in Schizophrenia across Cultures

“I think this new president is highly unpredictable, and it is not at all clear what will happen within the world, not to mention our field. On the upside, the chaos has made some of us feel that scholarship, careful methods, and good evidence matter now acutely.”

Jon Bialecki, author of A Diagram for Fire: Miracles and Variation in an American Charismatic Movement

“Other than the obvious and unfortunate changes to disciplinary funding resources that Trump’s expected budget cuts will bring, I think that this will bring back some of the classic Foucaultian concerns with power and the political that have been partially eclipsed by discussions of topics such as ontology, ethics, and post humanism. The challenge will be for anthropologists to bring the array of possibilities pend up by these more recent discussions to those earlier concerns with power and politics, and to do so in a way that will allow us to connect with a wider audience.”

Naomi Leite, author of Unorthodox Kin: Portuguese Marranos and the Global Search for Belonging

“For decades cultural anthropologists have emphasized the situated, partial nature of all knowledge, including our own, and avoided making claims to truth. The more we hear of “alternative facts” and open dismissal of academic expertise, however, the more I think we will see anthropology move in the opposite direction, toward reclaiming an authoritative voice in the public sphere—or so one can hope.”

Sarah Besky, author of The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India

“As anthropologists, we aren’t in the business of predicting the future, so I can’t say what the impact of this administration will be.  What we can do is help our students and each other gain a better sense of where we are now, and how we got here, by critically examining the intersection of racism, inequality, and corporate power.”

Juan Thomas Ordonez, author of Jornalero: Being a Day Laborer in the USA

“The new administration poses challenges to our discipline in a world where truth, lies and perceptions are conflated and used in the name of a non-existent but well “imagined” homogenous nation; a thing so absurd we had put it more or less aside in our fields of inquiry. We must meet such challenges on different fronts, from the critical stances that have made us what we are, to a more engaged anthropology that is accessible to everyone. Now is the time to speak up in unison, and to do so “bigly.””

Deborah Boehm, author of Returned: Going and Coming in an Age of Deportation

“In these turbulent times, anthropologists are reminded of the immediate—even urgent—need for public scholarship. On World Anthropology Day, I am grateful to be part of a field that includes the tools to carry out this kind of engaged research. Ethnographers are especially well positioned to witness, analyze, and respond to injustice, and to call on policymakers and the public to bring about change.”


Day Without Immigrants

Today, immigrants across the country have decided to miss work, skip school, and not shop as part of the “Day without Immigrants” protest. The protest aims to demonstrate the true nature of the economic impact of immigrants in the workforce and in our everyday lives.

Below are some additional titles that share the contributions of immigrants to the U.S. economy.

And learn more about how to integrate immigration topics into lecture discussion by using an Immigration Syllabus to foster a broader understanding of immigrants’ impact on U.S. society.

Share using #DayWithoutImmigrants.


Shelley Stamp Wins Prize for Work in Media and History from IAMHIST

Shelley Stamp’s acclaimed book, Lois Weber in Early Hollywood, recently won the juried 2017 Michael Nelson Prize from the International Association for Media and History (IAMHIST).

The prize is awarded biennially to the book “making the best contribution on the subject of media and history “, and the names of the winners will be published in the association’s Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television as well as displayed in the universities of teaching members of IAMHIST.

Lois Weber in Early Hollywood is an essential addition to histories of silent cinema, early filmmaking in Los Angeles, and women’s contributions to American culture.”—IAMHIST 2017

Congratulations to Shelley for this recognition—she will be accepting the prize at the 2017 IAMHIST conference in Paris.


Shelley Stamp is author of Movie-Struck Girls: Women and Motion Picture Culture after the Nickelodeon; coeditor of American Cinema’s Transitional Era: Audiences, Institutions, Practices; and founding editor of Feminist Media Histories: An International Journal. She is Professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and she is also editor of Feminist Media Histories, published by UC Press.


Vintage Valentines

This post was originally published on February 11th, 2016.

It’s Valentine’s Day! As the rush for candy, roses, stuffed animals, and jewelry hits its peak, let’s not forget the old standard: Valentine’s cards.

Though the deepest roots of the holiday are still quite difficult to confirm, we do know that the modern Valentine’s celebration has roots in England, most obviously with the poetry of Chaucer in the late Middle Ages. America caught on in the 1840s, “mainly with a torrent of cards”: once printers could readily produce ready-made greetings, giving of Valentine’s cards stateside took off dramatically.

9780520284722_Forbes

Bruce Forbes describes the old practice in America’s Favorite Holidays: “The individually written notes were indeed exchanges, so that if a man sent a poem to a woman expressing his interest and asking her to be his valentine, she would be expected to reply, either positively or negatively. This did not happen in just one day, so the valentine period informally extended over a week or so as one side composed and sent a note and then waited for a reply.”

The poems on the cards could also be drawn from “Valentine Writers”, or little booklets containing ready-made poems for those who wouldn’t (or couldn’t) compose their own verses. Here is an sample, including two possible replies:

FROM A COTTAGER TO HIS FAVORITE LASS
I for my Valentine have got
A little comfortable cot;
I’ve got a little piece of land,
And other things too at command:
Oh, tell me then if you’ll be mine,
Say if you’ll be my Valentine.

ANSWER OF COMPLIANCE
To my thanks you have a claim,
For the kindness which you proffer:
I should be indeed to blame,
Were I to reject your offer.

ANSWER OF REJECTION
’Tis not land that can impart,
A good temper, a good heart,
In the cottage we may find,
Anger and a troubled mind.

Furthermore, the practice of anonymous Valentines was much more widespread in the early days of the American Valentine’s Day—which made humorous, suggestive, or downright insulting messages much easier to send without repercussion. In 1858, Harper’s Weekly estimated an even split between sentimental and satiric valentines in the United States, with about one and a half million cards in each category.

Read more about the roots of America’s cultural standbys in America’s Favorite Holidays.