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In this groundbreaking work, Professor Brandon T. Jett unearths how police departments evolved with the urbanization of the Jim Crow South, to target African Americans through a variety of mechanisms of control and violence, such as violent interactions, unjust arrests, and the enforcement of segregation laws and customs. Race, Crime, and Policing …
 
Walt Whitman knew a great deal about democracy that we don’t. Most of that knowledge is concentrated in one stunning poem, Song of Myself. In Song of Ourselves: Walt Whitman and the Fight for Democracy (Harvard UP, 2021), esteemed cultural and literary thinker Mark Edmundson offers a bold reading of the 1855 poem, included here in its entirety. He …
 
The great forces of population change – the balance of births, deaths and migrations – have made the world what it is today. They have determined which countries are superpowers and which languish in relative obscurity, which economies top the international league tables and which are at best also-rans. The same forces that have shaped our past and…
 
The word neoliberalism is often used more as an insult than a description of a set of beliefs. And people can be rather hazy about the beliefs it refers to – although the mix generally includes free markets, privatisation and globalisation and high levels of inequality. In his book The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in…
 
In China and the International Human Rights Regime (Cambridge University Press, 2021), Rana Siu Inboden examines the evolution of China’s posture towards the U.N. human rights system since the early 1980s. The book examines in unprecedented details China’s role and impact on the complex negotiations between U.N. members over the International Coven…
 
Alice Dailey’s How to Do Things with Dead People: History, Technology, and Temporality from Shakespeare to Warhol (Cornell University Press, 2022) is an exploration of Shakespeare’s chronicle plays through the theoretical rubric of modern technology. Dailey is Professor of English at Villanova University and is the author of the monograph The Engli…
 
In Frontier Religion: The Mormon-American Contest for the Meaning of America, 1857-1907 (U Utah Press, 2019) Konden Smith Hansen examines the dramatic influence these perceptions of the frontier had on Mormonism and other religions in America. Endeavoring to better understand the sway of the frontier on religion in the United States, this book foll…
 
Immigration is one of the most fraught, and possibly most misunderstood, topics in American social discourse—yet, in most cases, the things we believe about immigration are based largely on myth, not facts. Using the tools of modern data analysis and ten years of pioneering research, Streets of Gold: America's Untold Story of Immigrant Success (Pub…
 
Does the idea of a world in which facts mean nothing cause anxiety? Fear? Maybe even paranoia? Disinformation: The Nature of Facts and Lies in the Post-Truth Era (Rowman and Littlefield, 2022) cannot cure all the ills of a post-truth world, but by demonstrating how the emergence of digital technology into everyday life has knitted together a number…
 
In the beginning was the Big Bang: an unimaginably hot fire almost fourteen billion years ago in which the first elements were forged. The physical theory of the hot nascent universe--the Big Bang--was one of the most consequential developments in twentieth-century science. And yet it leaves many questions unanswered: Why is the universe so big? Wh…
 
When looking at historic records of all kinds—from prehistoric cave drawings and ancient rock art in Africa and India, from poetic narrations of travelers to hunter memoirs and press stories about zoos, from reports of mystical graveyards to museum warehouses collecting bones—notions about elephants in the West have come a long way. These ideas (th…
 
Prisons operate according to the clockwork logic of our criminal justice system: we punish people by making them “serve” time. The Cage of Days: Time and Temporal Experience in Prison (Columbia UP, 2022) combines the perspectives of K. C. Carceral, a formerly incarcerated convict criminologist, and Michael G. Flaherty, a sociologist who studies tem…
 
Eve Ng’s new book Cancel Culture: A Critical Analysis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022), examines the phenomenon of "cancel culture" from a critical media studies perspective, as both cancel practices (what people and institutional actors do) and cancel discourses (commentary about cancelling). Ng traces multiple lines of origins for cancel practices and …
 
Uncovering a history buried by different nationalist narratives (Jewish, Israeli, Arab and Palestinian) the book by Louis Fishman looks at how the late Ottoman era set the stage for the on-going Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This work presents an innovative analysis of the struggle in its first years, when Palestine was still an integral part of th…
 
In Poland in the 1940s and '50s, a new kind of Catholic intended to remake European social and political life--not with guns, but French philosophy. Piotr H. Kosicki's book Catholics on the Barricades: Poland, France, and 'Revolution,' 1891-1956 (Yale UP, 2018) examines generations of deeply religious thinkers whose faith drove them into public lif…
 
Present-day relations between ‘the West’ and each of China, Russia and North Korea are often fractious to say the least, yet today’s global atmosphere of menace or crisis just as often has to do with history as it does with contemporary disagreements. All states of course seek ‘usable pasts’ which may or may not be in conflict with one another, but…
 
“Identity politics” is everywhere, polarizing discourse from the campaign trail to the classroom and amplifying antagonisms in the media, both online and off. But the compulsively referenced phrase bears little resemblance to the concept as first introduced by the radical Black feminist Combahee River Collective. While the Collective articulated a …
 
Curtis Mayfield. The Chi-Lites. Chaka Khan. Chicago’s place in the history of soul music is rock solid. But for Chicagoans, soul music in its heyday from the 1960s to the 1980s was more than just a series of hits: it was a marker and a source of black empowerment. In Move On Up: Chicago Soul Music and Black Cultural Power (U Chicago Press, 2019), A…
 
The Presidency of Donald J. Trump: A First Historical Assessment (Princeton University Press, 2022) presents a first draft of history by offering needed perspective on one of the nation's most divisive presidencies. Acclaimed political historian Julian Zelizer brings together many of today's top scholars to provide balanced and strikingly original …
 
Why has the underrepresentation of women and racial minorities in elected office proved so persistent in American politics? In Nowhere to Run: Race, Gender, and Immigration in American Elections (Oxford UP, 2021), Dr. Christian Dyogi Phillips argues that any analysis must contend with multiple dimensions of identity, context, and the simultaneous d…
 
In Chinese Communist Espionage: An Intelligence Primer (Naval Institute Press, 2019), authors Mathew Brazil and Peter Mattis present an unprecedented look into the murky world of Chinese espionage. An introduction-cum-reference guide, the book describes the institutions, operations, individuals, and ideology that have shaped modern China’s intellig…
 
Across the twentieth century, Earth's human population increased undeniably quickly, rising from 1.6 billion people in 1900 to 6.1 billion in 2000. As population grew, it also began to take the blame for some of the world's most serious problems, from global poverty to environmental degradation, and became an object of intervention for governments …
 
From its early days as a sport to build “muscular Christianity” among young men flooding nineteenth-century cities to its position today as a global symbol of American culture, basketball has been a force in American society. It grew through high school gymnasiums, college pep rallies, and the fits and starts of professionalization. It was a playgr…
 
Race is the subject of passionate and increasingly angry debate. But amidst all the talk of unconscious bias it’s an area into which many fear to tread. In this podcast Professor McWhorter of Colombia University outlines his sometimes controversial views on these issues and explains why he wants to debate them in public. His latest book is Woke Rac…
 
"Sincerely held religious belief" is now a common phrase in discussions of American religious freedom, from opinions handed down by the US Supreme Court to local controversies. The "sincerity test" of religious belief has become a cornerstone of US jurisprudence, framing what counts as legitimate grounds for First Amendment claims in the eyes of th…
 
Animals are both the focus of rodeo and its most invisible participants, argues University of Guelph history professor Susan Nance in Rodeo: An Animal History (U Oklahoma, 2020). Nance flips the usual script on rodeo history, focusing on the experiences of animals in rodeo's long history. Often that history is one of animals struggling to survive i…
 
There is no political power without control of the archive, if not of memory. Effective democratization can always be measured by this essential criterion: the participation in and the access to the archive, its constitution, and its interpretation. – epigraph in The Long Land War by Jo Guldi (2021) Every political order contains within it tensions…
 
In Breaking Things at Work: The Luddites are Right About Why You Hate Your Job (Verso, 2021), Gavin Mueller provides a bracing and wide-ranging study of the fractious relationship between workers and technology under capitalism. Mueller traces the thought and actions of ordinary people past and present – including hackers, dockers, musicians and th…
 
Stand-up comedians have a long history of walking a careful line between serious and playful engagement with social issues: Lenny Bruce questioned the symbolic valence of racial slurs, Dick Gregory took time away from the stage to speak alongside Martin Luther King Jr., and—more recently—Tig Notaro challenged popular notions of damaged or abject bo…
 
Few would disagree that inclusion is both the right thing to do and good for business. Then why are we so terrible at it? If we believe in the morality and the profitability of including people of diverse and underestimated backgrounds in the workplace, why don’t we do it? Because, explains Ruchika Tulshyan in this eye-opening book, we don’t realiz…
 
Undoing Drugs: The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction (Hachette Go, 2021) tells a long-running, but largely unknown, story of how a few people and groups – propelled at first by the AIDS pandemic -- swam against one of the most powerful policy tides in America – our nation’s 50-year war on drugs. Maia Szalavitz’s book is a p…
 
In How Machines Came to Speak: Media Technologies and Freedom of Speech (Duke University Press, 2022), Jennifer Petersen constructs a genealogy of how legal conceptions of “speech” have transformed over the last century in response to new media technologies. Drawing on media and legal history, Petersen shows that the legal category of speech has va…
 
How to Do Things with Emotions: The Morality of Anger and Shame across Cultures (Princeton UP, 2021) is an expansive look at how culture shapes our emotions—and how we can benefit, as individuals and a society, from less anger and more shame The world today is full of anger. Everywhere we look, we see values clashing and tempers rising, in ways tha…
 
“One should really only do philosophy as poetry.” What could Ludwig Wittgenstein have meant by this? What was the context for this odd remark? In Wittgenstein’s Artillery: Philosophy as Poetry (MIT Press, 2021), James Klagge provides a perspective on Wittgenstein as a person and how his life intersected with his work, in particular in the transitio…
 
Rejecting claims that migration is a crisis for Europe, Europe's Migration Crisis: Border Deaths and Human Dignity (Cambridge University Press, 2020) instead suggests that the 'migration crisis' reflects a more fundamental breakdown of a modern European tradition of humanism. Squire provides a detailed and broad-ranging analysis of the EU's respons…
 
Over the last 40 years, the US penal system has grown at an unprecedented rate―five times larger than in the past and grossly out of scale with the rest of the world. In The Punishment Imperative: The Rise and Failure of Mass Incarceration in America (New York University Press, 2013), criminologists Todd Clear and Natasha Frost argue that America’s…
 
Elizabeth and John talk about fantasy's power of world-making with Edinburgh professor Anna Vaninskaya, author of William Morris and the Idea of Community: Romance, History and Propaganda, 1880-1914 ( 2010) and Fantasies of Time and Death: Dunsany, Eddison, Tolkien ( 2020). Anna uncovers the melancholy sense of displacement and loss running through…
 
This groundbreaking book examines the role of rulers with nomadic roots in transforming the great societies of Eurasia, especially from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries. Distinguished historian Pamela Kyle Crossley, drawing on the long history of nomadic confrontation with Eurasia’s densely populated civilizations, argues that the distinctive …
 
An interview with Jennifer Egan, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and author most recently of The Candy House (Scribner, 2022), the story of the intersections across space and time of characters desperate to understand their interior lives. At the hub of these stories, a machine capable of capturing and shari…
 
This is an age of crisis. That much we can agree on. But a crisis of what? And how do we get out of it? Many on the right call for tax cuts and deregulation. Others on the left rage against the top 1 percent and demand wholesale economic change. Voices on both sides line up against globalization: restrict trade to protect jobs. In The Wolf at the D…
 
In popular understandings of the modern history of Vietnam we are familiar with Ho Chi Minh’s anti-imperialism, but we know much less about the anticommunist nationalism of South Vietnam – officially the Republic of Vietnam (RVN). The RVN tends to be viewed as a creation of the French and later a “puppet” of the Americans. But as Nu-Anh Tran shows …
 
Oligarchy is a threat to the American republic. When too much economic and political power is concentrated in too few hands, we risk losing the “republican form of government” the Constitution requires. Today, courts enforce the constitution as if it had almost nothing to say about this threat. The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution: Reconstructing the Ec…
 
In the United States, the national debate over public monuments often frames the removal of statutes as a revision of history. But Dr. Thompson suggests that we need to interrogate both the creation and removal of monuments to understand the essential role they play in creating national narratives and determining who is seen as an American. Using a…
 
This sourcebook provides the first systematic overview of witchcraft laws and trials in Russia and Ukraine from medieval times to the late nineteenth century. Witchcraft in Russia and Ukraine (Northern Illinois UP, 2020) weaves scholarly commentary with never-before-published primary source materials translated from Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian. …
 
Bitch: On the Female of the Species (Basic Books, 2022) is a fierce, funny, and revolutionary look at the queens of the animal kingdom. Studying zoology made Lucy Cooke feel like a sad freak. Not because she loved spiders or would root around in animal feces: all her friends shared the same curious kinks. The problem was her sex. Being female meant…
 
During the nineteenth century, nearly ten thousand Americans traveled to Germany to study in universities renowned for their research and teaching. By the mid-twentieth century, American institutions led the world. How did America become the center of excellence in higher education? And what does that story reveal about who will lead in the twenty-…
 
In the first decades after World War II, many newly independent Asian and African countries and established Latin American states pursued a socialist development model. In Ripe for Revolution: Building Socialism in the Third World (Harvard UP, 2022), Jeremy Friedman traces the socialist experiment over forty years through the experience of five cou…
 
Nick Enfield’s book, Language vs. Reality: Why Language is Good for Lawyers and Bad for Scientists (MIT Press, 2022), argues that language is primarily for social coordination, not precisely transferring thoughts from one person to another. Drawing on empirical research, Enfield shows that human lexicons the world over are far more coarse-grained t…
 
Ian Tyrrell's American Exceptionalism: A New History of an Old Idea (UChicago Press, 2021) is a powerful dissection of a core American myth. The idea that the United States is unlike every other country in world history is a surprisingly resilient one. Throughout his distinguished career, Ian Tyrrell has been one of the most influential historians …
 
In the fall of 2020, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal decreed that the country’s near-total ban on abortion was too liberal; henceforth, pregnancies could be terminated only in cases of rape, incest, or imminent threat to the mother’s life. The court’s decision triggered a nationwide Women’s Strike, whose social mobilization galvanized reproductive…
 
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