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New Books in American Studies

English, Cultural, 2 seasons, 5841 episodes, 5 days, 13 hours, 43 minutes
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Interviews with Scholars of America about their New Books Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
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Rose Miron, "Indigenous Archival Activism: Mohican Interventions in Public History and Memory" (U Minnesota Press, 2024)

The past several decades have seen a massive shift in debates over who owns and has the right to tell Native American history and stories. For centuries, non-Native actors have collected, stolen, sequestered, and gained value from Native stories and documents, human remains, and sacred objects. However, thanks to the work of Native activists, Native history is now increasingly repatriated back to the control of tribes and communities. Indigenous Archival Activism: Mohican Interventions in Public History and Memory (U Minnesota Press, 2024) takes readers into the heart of these debates by tracing one tribe’s fifty-year fight to recover and rewrite its history. Rose Miron tells the story of the Stockbridge–Munsee Mohican Nation and its Historical Committee, a group composed mostly of Mohican women who have been collecting and reorganizing historical materials since 1968. She shows how their work is exemplary of how tribal archives can strategically shift how Native history is accessed, represented, written, and, most important, controlled. Based on a more than decade-long reciprocal relationship with the Stockbridge–Munsee Mohican Nation, Miron’s research and writing are shaped primarily by materials found in the tribal archive and ongoing conversations and input from the Stockbridge–Munsee Historical Committee. Miron is not Mohican and is careful to consider her own positionality and reflects on what it means for non-Native researchers and institutions to build reciprocal relationships with Indigenous nations in the context of academia and public history, offering a model both for tribes undertaking their own reclamation projects and for scholars looking to work with tribes in ethical ways. Jen Hoyer is Technical Services and Electronic Resources Librarian at CUNY New York City College of Technology. Jen edits for Partnership Journal and organizes with the TPS Collective. She is co-author of What Primary Sources Teach: Lessons for Every Classroom and The Social Movement Archive. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/18/202444 minutes, 18 seconds
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Richard Olsen-Harbich, "Sun, Sea, Soil, Wine: Winemaking on the North Fork of Long Island" (SUNY Press, 2024)

With his new book Sun, Sea, Soil, Wine: Winemaking on the North Fork of Long Island (SUNY Press, 2024), Richard Olsen-Harbich, Long Island's longest-tenured winemaker, weighs in on what makes the North Fork so unique for fine wine production. He shares his journey through the intricate art of winemaking – a tale of dedication, passion, and the remarkable bond between the sun-soaked earth, the sea-kissed vines, and the creation of exceptional wines. The artfully delves into the rich history, distinct terroir, and the stories behind some of the region's most celebrated vintages. Talking to New Books Network, Olsen-Harbich discusses the book, delving into the environmental elements that make the North Fork an idyllic location for great winemaking. He provides expert insights into the impact of climate change, the natural wine trend, and the genetically modified plant debate. In addition, he offers his views on restaurant wine programs, books for aspiring winemakers, and the best wineries to visit in the region. Interview by Laura Goldberg, longtime food blogger at Vittlesvamp.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/17/202458 minutes, 19 seconds
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Eve Golden, "Strictly Dynamite: The Sensational Life of Lupe Velez" (UP of Kentucky, 2023)

Before Salma Hayek, Eva Longoria, and Penelope Cruz, there was Lupe Velez―one of the first Latin-American stars to sweep past the xenophobia of old Hollywood and pave the way for future icons from around the world. Her career began in the silent era, when her beauty was enough to make it onto the silver screen, but with the rise of talkies, Velez could no longer hope to hide her Mexican accent. Yet Velez proved to be a talented dramatic and comedic actress (and singer) and was much more versatile than Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn, Gloria Swanson, and other legends of the time. Velez starred in such films as Hot Pepper (1933), Strictly Dynamite (1934), and Hollywood Party (1934), and her popularity peaked in the 1940s after she appeared as Carmelita Fuentes in eight Mexican Spitfire films, a series created to capitalize on Velez's reputed fiery personality. The media emphasized the "Mexican Spitfire" persona, and by many accounts, Velez's private life was as colorful as the characters she portrayed on-screen. Fan magazines mythologized her mysterious childhood in Mexico, while mainstream publications obsessed over the drama of her romances with Gary Cooper, Erich Maria Remarque, and John Gilbert, along with her stormy marriage to Johnny Weissmuller. In 1944, a pregnant and unmarried Velez died of an intentional drug overdose. Her tumultuous life and the circumstances surrounding her early death have been the subject of speculation and controversy. In Strictly Dynamite: The Sensational Life of Lupe Velez (UP of Kentucky, 2023), author Eve Golden uses extensive research to separate fact from fiction and offer a thorough and riveting examination of the real woman beneath the gossip columns' caricature. Through astute analysis of the actress's filmography and interviews, Golden illuminates the path Velez blazed through Hollywood. Her success was unexpected and extraordinary at a time when a distinctive accent was an obstacle, and yet very few books have focused entirely on Velez's life and career. Written with evenhandedness, humor, and empathy, this biography finally gives the remarkable Mexican actress the unique and nuanced portrait she deserves. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/17/202435 minutes, 11 seconds
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Jerry Grillo, "Big Cat: The Life of Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Mize" (U Nebraska Press, 2024)

Johnny Mize was one of the greatest hitters in baseball’s golden age of great hitters. Born and raised in tiny Demorest, Georgia, in the northeast Georgia mountains, Mize emerged from the heart of Dixie as a Bunyonesque slugger, a quiet but sharp-witted man from a broken home who became a professional player at seventeen, embarking on an extended tour of the expansive St. Louis Cardinals Minor League system. Mize then spent fifteen seasons terrorizing Major League pitchers as a member of those Cardinals, the New York Giants of Mel Ott and Leo Durocher, and finally with the New York Yankees, who won a record five straight World Series with Mize as their ace in the hole—the best pinch hitter in the American League. Few hitters have combined such meticulous bat control with brute power the way Mize did. Mize was a line-drive hitter who rarely struck out and also hit for distance, to all fields, and usually for a high average. Nicknamed the Big Cat, “nobody had a better, smoother, easier swing than John,” said Cardinals teammate Don Gutteridge. “It was picture perfect.” Tabbed as a can’t-miss Hall of Famer, then all but forgotten, Mize spent twenty-eight years waiting for the call from Cooperstown before he was finally inducted in 1981, delighting fans with his straightforward commentary and sly sense of humor during a memorable induction speech. From the backroads of the Minor Leagues to the sunny Caribbean, where he played alongside the best Black and Latin players as a twenty-one-year-old, and to the Major Leagues, where he became a ten-time All-Star, home run champion, and World Series hero, Mize forged a memorable trail along baseball’s landscape. Big Cat: The Life of Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Mize (U Nebraska Press, 2024) is the first complete biography of the Big Cat. Paul Knepper covered the New York Knicks for Bleacher Report. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers That Almost Won It All was published in 2020. You can reach Paul at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/17/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 21 seconds
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Jorell Meléndez-Badillo, "Puerto Rico: A National History" (Princeton UP, 2024)

Puerto Rico is a Spanish-speaking territory of the United States with a history shaped by conquest and resistance. For centuries, Puerto Ricans have crafted and negotiated complex ideas about nationhood. Jorell Meléndez-Badillo provides a new history of Puerto Rico that gives voice to the archipelago's people while offering a lens through which to understand the political, economic, and social challenges confronting them today. In this masterful work of scholarship, Meléndez-Badillo sheds light on the vibrant cultures of the archipelago in the centuries before the arrival of Columbus and captures the full sweep of Puerto Rico's turbulent history in the centuries that followed, from the first indigenous insurrection against colonial rule in 1511--led by the powerful chieftain Agüeybaná II--to the establishment of the Commonwealth in 1952. He deftly portrays the contemporary period and the intertwined though unequal histories of the archipelago and the continental United States. Puerto Rico: A National History (Princeton UP, 2024) is an engaging, sometimes personal, and consistently surprising history of colonialism, revolt, and the creation of a national identity, offering new perspectives not only on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean but on the United States and the Atlantic world more broadly. Available in Spanish from our partners at Grupo Planeta. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/16/202444 minutes, 44 seconds
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Steven Ujifusa, "The Last Ships from Hamburg: Business, Rivalry, and the Race to Save Russia's Jews on the Eve of World War I" (HarperCollins, 2023)

Over thirty years, from 1890 to 1921, 2.5 million Jews, fleeing discrimination and violence in their homelands of Eastern Europe, arrived in the United States. Many sailed on steamships from Hamburg. This mass exodus was facilitated by three businessmen whose involvement in the Jewish-American narrative has been largely forgotten: Jacob Schiff, the managing partner of the investment bank Kuhn, Loeb & Company, who used his immense wealth to help Jews to leave Europe; Albert Ballin, managing director of the Hamburg-American Line, who created a transportation network of trains and steamships to carry them across continents and an ocean; and J. P. Morgan, mastermind of the International Mercantile Marine (I.M.M.) trust, who tried to monopolize the lucrative steamship business. Though their goals were often contradictory, together they made possible a migration that spared millions from persecution. Descendants of these immigrants included Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Estée Lauder, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Fanny Brice, Lauren Bacall, the Marx Brothers, David Sarnoff, Al Jolson, Sam Goldwyn, Ben Shahn, Hank Greenberg, Moses Annenberg, and many more--including Ujifusa's great grandparents. That is their legacy. Moving from the shtetls of Russia and the ports of Hamburg to the mansions of New York's Upper East Side and the picket lines outside of the notorious Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, The Last Ships from Hamburg: Business, Rivalry, and the Race to Save Russia's Jews on the Eve of World War I (HarperCollins, 2023) is a history that unfolds on both an intimate and epic scale. Meticulously researched, masterfully told, Ujifusa's story offers original insight into the American experience, connecting banking, shipping, politics, immigration, nativism, and war--and delivers crucial insight into the burgeoning refugee crisis of our own time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/15/20241 hour, 19 minutes, 40 seconds
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Melvin L. Rogers, "The Darkened Light of Faith: Race, Democracy, and Freedom in African American Political Thought" (Princeton UP, 2023)

Political Theorist Melvin L. Rogers has a deep and rich new book delving into the work of a host of different African American political thinkers. But this work is much more than an exploration of some of the writings by African American thinkers, it importantly tells the story of America. The Darkened Light of Faith: Race, Democracy, and Freedom in African American Political Thought (Princeton UP, 2023) takes the reader on a journey through distinct work and pieces by David Walker, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Billie Holiday, James Baldwin, and others not in an effort to be exhaustive or completist in examining their work, but in teasing out vital thematic approaches to consider race, democracy, and freedom in the American republic. Rogers starts from a foundation in considering the idea of democracy—what are the habits and sensibilities that are located in the people who compose a democracy, or, more precisely, “who are we?” in the understanding of “we the people” or in the we of “we hold these truths to be self-evident.” While there is attention to the institutions that structure our democracy, Rogers reads many of these authors to expand that focus, to think about what the culture, the societal concepts, and the community define as who we are and who we might hope to be. Thus, as Rogers weaves together chronological approaches to considering these ideas from the authors and artists included in the conversation, he is also toggling together components that are often considered separately: political standing and culture standing, and how individuals, particularly black individuals, are situated in each. The Darkened Light of Faith is deeply engaged with the conceptual duality of a place and an idea – the United States – that is at once mired in the tragic history of enslavement and, at the same time, moving (maybe?) towards the promise of a democracy that holds freedom among its most important qualities. This tension is also the darkened light of faith and hope that the thinkers, activists, and artists wrap themselves and their work in as they consider the opportunities and problematics that are America. Rogers does not confine his analysis to the written word. There is an exploration of anti-slavery pamphlets by abolitionist David Walker, who wrote and advocated against slavery in the 1820s and 1803s. The anti-republican nature of enslavement in the United States is another dimension of the book, examining the conflict inherent in a republican society that incorporates racial domination. Furthering this discussion, Rogers considers the idea of “the people” and how this concept is complicated by the exclusionary nature of slavery and categorization of individuals into groups of citizens who are included and others who are excluded based on race. The second part of the book pivots to the 20th century and expands the dimensions of thinking about these tensions and conflicts that are at the heart of the United States. The Darkened Light of Faith explores not just the extra-judicial nature of lynching, but how this is also a site of invisible laws that make lynching, by white Americans, possible without any threat or potential for penalties. This section weaves together work and advocacy by Ida B. Well, Billie Holiday’s song and performances of Strange Fruit, and the NAACP’s campaign using images of lynched bodies to focus on the horror of lynching and the undermining of democratic ethos in the U.S. The final sections of the book take up work by W.E.B. Du Bois and James Baldwin as they write about and comment on the complexity of American life, noting that charting a path forward towards the promise of the American experiment cannot leave untold or unknown the history in slavery and domination. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/15/202454 minutes, 39 seconds
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Ieva Jusionyte, "Exit Wounds: How America's Guns Fuel Violence Across the Border" (U California Press, 2024)

American guns have entangled the lives of people on both sides of the US-Mexico border in a vicious circle of violence. After treating wounded migrants and refugees seeking safety in the United States, anthropologist Ieva Jusionyte boldly embarked on a journey in the opposite direction—following the guns from dealers in Arizona and Texas to crime scenes in Mexico. An expert work of narrative nonfiction, Exit Wounds: How America's Guns Fuel Violence across the Border (University of California Press, 2024) provides a rare, intimate look into the world of firearms trafficking and urges us to understand the effects of lax US gun laws abroad. Jusionyte masterfully weaves together the gripping stories of people who live and work with guns north and south of the border: a Mexican businessman who smuggles guns for protection, a teenage girl turned trained assassin, two US federal agents trying to stop gun traffickers, and a journalist who risks his life to report on organized crime. Based on years of fieldwork, Exit Wounds expands current debates about guns in America, grappling with US complicity in violence on both sides of the border. Ieva Jusionyte is an anthropologist and associate professor at Brown University. A former paramedic and Harvard Radcliffe and Fulbright fellow, she is the author of the award-winning Threshold: Emergency Responders on the US-Mexico Border. Reighan Gillam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College. Her research examines the ways in which Afro-Brazilian media producers foment anti-racist visual politics through their image creation. She is the author of Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media (University of Illinois Press). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/15/202456 minutes, 40 seconds
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Joseph H. Holland, "Make Your Own History: Timeless Truths from Black American Trailblazers" (Dafina, 2023)

One hundred and twenty Black leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs share their wisdom and experience across the centuries in Make Your Own History: Timeless Truths from Black American Trailblazers (Dafina, 2023), an inspiring collection of exemplary Black voices--past and present, familiar and unsung--which have the power to guide us today. Celebrating the vast breadth and scope of Black excellence, Make Your Own History spotlights the principles of success exemplified by the lives of 120 Black role models - from unsung heroes to renowned leaders - who have blazed trails throughout American history. Make Your Own History gathers together motivational quotes, historical contexts, and enlightening precepts from Black trailblazers spanning the eighteenth century to the present. These insights encompass twelve central themes: courage, self-discipline, compassion, perseverance, teamwork, integrity, industriousness, self-reliance, optimism, purposefulness, civility, and faith. These vigorous virtues will: *Deepen your courage through journalist Ida B. Wells' strategic activism in the face of professional and personal peril . . . *Fuel your perseverance through tennis superstar Serena Williams' journey to 23 Grand Slam singles titles . . . *Spark optimism through poet Langston Hughes' work as an artistic and intellectual catalyst for the Harlem Renaissance . . . Through these perspectives and so many more, Make Your Own History serves not only as an uplifting historical resource, but also as a spiritual road map for the life-long journey of purposefully setting and meeting personal goals. These pioneers are more than historic examples of Black excellence; their unique lives highlight universal truths that will inspire all readers to achieve great success and make their own history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/14/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 21 seconds
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Seth D. Kaplan, "Fragile Neighborhoods: Repairing American Society, One Zip Code at a Time" (Little, Brown Spark, 2023)

The neighborhoods we live in impact our lives in so many ways: they determine who we know, what resources and opportunities we have access to, the quality of schools our kids go to, our sense of security and belonging, and even how long we live. Yet too many of us live in neighborhoods plagued by rising crime, school violence, family disintegration, addiction, alienation, and despair. Even the wealthiest neighborhoods are not immune; while poverty exacerbates these challenges, they exist in zip codes rich and poor, rural and urban, and everything in between. In Fragile Neighborhoods: Repairing American Society, One Zip Code at a Time (Little, Brown Spark, 2023), fragile states expert Seth D. Kaplan offers a bold new vision for addressing social decline in America, one zip code at a time. By revitalizing our local institutions—and the social ties that knit them together—we can all turn our neighborhoods into places where people and families can thrive. Readers will meet the innovative individuals and organizations pioneering new approaches to everything from youth mentoring to affordable housing: people like Dreama, a former lawyer whose organization works with local leaders and educators in rural Appalachia to equip young people with the social support they need to succeed in school; and Chris, whose Detroit-based non-profit turns vacant school buildings into community resource hubs. Along the way, Kaplan offers a set of practical lessons to inspire similar work, reminding us that when change is hyperlocal, everyone has the opportunity to contribute. Seth D. Kaplan, Ph.D. is a leading expert on fragile states. He is a Professorial Lecturer in the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, Senior Adviser for the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT), and consultant to multilateral organizations such as the World Bank, U.S. State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, and OECD as well as developing country governments and NGOs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/14/202430 minutes, 30 seconds
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Jeremy Black, "The Atlantic Slave Trade in World History" (Routledge, 2015)

In The Atlantic Slave Trade in World History (Routledge, 2015), Jeremy Black presents a compact yet comprehensive survey of slavery and its impact on the world, primarily centered on the Atlantic trade. Opening with a clear discussion of the problems of defining slavery, the book goes on to investigate the Atlantic slave trade from its origins to abolition, including comparisons to other systems of slavery outside the Atlantic region and the persistence of modern-day slavery. Crucially, the book does not ask readers to abandon their emotional ties to the subject, but puts events in context so that it becomes clear how such an institution not only arose, but flourished. Black shows that slavery and the slave trade were not merely add-ons to the development of Western civilization, but intimately linked to it. In a vital and accessible narrative, The Atlantic Slave Trade in World History enables students to understand this terrible element of human history and how it shaped the modern world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/14/202441 minutes, 54 seconds
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Stewart Lawrence Sinclair, "Space Rover" (Bloomsbury, 2024)

In 1971, the first lunar rover arrived on the moon. The design became an icon of American ingenuity and the adventurous spirit and vision many equated with the space race. Fifty years later, that vision feels like a nostalgic fantasy, but the lunar rover's legacy paved the way for Mars rovers like Sojourner, Curiosity, and Perseverance. Other rovers have made accessible the world's deepest caves and most remote tundra, extending our exploratory range without risking lives. Still others have been utilised for search and rescue missions or in clean up operations after disasters such as Chernobyl. Space Rover (Bloomsbury, 2024) by Stewart Lawrence Sinclair is the addition to the Object Lessons series that explores all of this and more. The book shows that for all these achievements, rovers embody not just our potential, but our limits. Examining rovers as they wander our terrestrial and celestial boundaries, we might better comprehend our place, and fate, in this universe. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/13/202444 minutes, 1 second
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R. J. Boutelle, "The Race for America: Black Internationalism in the Age of Manifest Destiny" (UNC Press, 2023)

As Manifest Destiny took hold in the national consciousness, what did it mean for African Americans who were excluded from its ambitions for an expanding American empire that would shepherd the Western Hemisphere into a new era of civilization and prosperity?  In The Race for America: Black Internationalism in the Age of Manifest Destiny (UNC Press, 2023), R. J. Boutelle explores how Black intellectuals like Daniel Peterson, James McCune Smith, Mary Ann Shadd, Henry Bibb, and Martin Delany engaged this cultural mythology to theorize and practice Black internationalism. He uncovers how their strategies for challenging Manifest Destiny's white nationalist ideology and expansionist political agenda constituted a form of disidentification—a deconstructing and reassembling of this discourse that marshals Black experiences as racialized subjects to imagine novel geopolitical mythologies and projects to compete with Manifest Destiny. Employing Black internationalist, hemispheric, and diasporic frameworks to examine the emigrationist and solidarity projects that African Americans proposed as alternatives to Manifest Destiny, Boutelle attends to sites integral to US aspirations of hemispheric dominion: Liberia, Nicaragua, Canada, and Cuba. In doing so, Boutelle offers a searing history of how internalized fantasies of American exceptionalism burdened the Black geopolitical imagination that encouraged settler-colonial and imperialist projects in the Americas and West Africa. Omari Averette-Phillips is a doctoral student in the Department of History at UC Davis. He can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/13/20241 hour, 7 minutes, 55 seconds
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Paul Williams, "The US Graphic Novel" (Edinburgh UP, 2022)

This book analyses the way that changes in the comics industry, book trade and webcomics distribution have shaped the publication of long-form comics. The US Graphic Novel (Edinburgh UP, 2022) pays particular attention to how the concept of the graphic novel developed through the twentieth century. Art historians, journalists, and reviewers debated whether it was possible for a comic to be a novel – debates that accelerated after the term ’graphic novel’ was coined by the comics fan Richard Kyle in 1964. This study underlines the proximity of the graphic novel to other media, showing that this cultural form is not only the meeting place between periodical comics and books, but that graphic novels are in dialogue with films, posters and computer screens. Dr. Paul Williams is an Associate Professor of Twentieth-Century literature and culture at the University of Exeter in the UK. His research is centrally concerned with comics and graphic novels. His monograph Dreaming the Graphic Novel broke new ground by explaining how graphic novels were published, circulated, and discussed in North America between the mid-1960s and 1980. Dr. Williams has also co-curated the exhibition The Great British Graphic Novel at the Cartoon Museum in London, which was visited by over 10,000 people. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/12/20241 hour, 37 seconds
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Tana Jean Welch, "Advancing Medical Posthumanism Through Twenty-First Century American Poetry" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2024)

Advancing Medical Posthumanism Through Twenty-First Century American Poetry (Palgrave MacMillan, 2024) places contemporary poetics in dialogue with posthumanism and biomedicine in order to create a framework for advancing a posthuman-affirmative ethics within the culture of medical practice. This book makes a case for a posthumanist understanding of the body—one that sees health and illness not as properties possessed by individual bodies, but as processes that connect bodies to their social and natural environment, shaping their capacity to act, think, and feel. Tana Jean Welch demonstrates how contemporary American poetry is specifically poised to develop a pathway toward a posthuman intervention in biomedicine, the field of medical humanities, medical discourse, and the value systems that guide U.S. healthcare in general. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/10/202457 minutes, 9 seconds
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Benoît Crucifix, "Drawing from the Archives: Comics Memory in the Contemporary Graphic Novel" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

Following Art Spiegelman's declaration that 'the future of comics is in the past,' Drawing from the Archives considers comics memory in the contemporary North American graphic novel. Cartoonists such as Chris Ware, Seth, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, and others have not only produced some of the most important graphic novels, they have also turned to the history of comics as a common visual heritage to pass on to new readers. This book is a full-length study of contemporary cartoonists when they are at work as historians: it offers a detailed description of how they draw from the archives of comics history, examining the different gestures of collecting, curating, reprinting, forging, swiping, and undrawing that give shape to their engagement with the past. In recognizing these different acts of transmission, this book argues for a material and vernacular history of how comics are remembered, shared, and recirculated over time. Dr. Benoît Crucifix is assistant professor of Cultural Studies at KU Leuven and researcher at the Royal Library of Belgium, working on the FED-tWIN “Pop Heritage” project. The aim of the project is to valorize collections of popular print culture. He is interested in the cultural practices that move and reframe existing comics in a variety of contexts and settings. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/9/20241 hour
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Shardé M. Davis, "Being Black in the Ivory: Truth-Telling about Racism in Higher Education" (UNC Press, 2024)

When Sharde M. Davis turned to social media during the summer of racial reckoning in 2020, she meant only to share how racism against Black people affects her personally. But her hashtag, BlackintheIvory, went viral, fostering a flood of Black scholars sharing similar stories. Soon the posts were being quoted during summer institutes and workshops on social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. And in fall 2020, faculty assigned the tweets as material for course curriculum. Being Black in the Ivory: Truth-Telling about Racism in Higher Education (UNC Press, 2024) is a curated collection of original personal narratives from Black scholars across the country seeks to continue the conversation that started with BlackintheIvory. Put together, the stories reveal how racism eats its way through higher education, how academia systemically ejects Black scholars in overt and covert ways, and how academic institutions--and their individual members--might make lasting change. While anti-Black racism in academia is a behemoth with many entry points to the conversation, this book marshals a diverse group of Black voices to bring to light what for too long has been hidden in the shadow of the ivory tower. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/9/202450 minutes, 44 seconds
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Steve Mentz, "Sailing without Ahab: Ecopoetic Travels" (Fordham UP, 2024)

When I decided to try my hand at interviewing authors for the New Books Network, one of my dream guests was Steve Mentz. Steve’s work in the environmental humanities marries a rigorous archival work, pathbreaking close readings, and a fluent and innovative approach to scholarly writing. I think he’s charted a course for early modern ecocriticism that has been both impressive and energizing. Steve Mentz is a Professor of English at St. John’s University. He has produced numerous books that have shaped the emerging field of the blue humanities, including Shipwreck Modernity; At the Bottom of Shakespeare’s Ocean; the Bloomsbury Objects entry Ocean; and the recent An Introduction to the Blue Humanities. He has published a chapbook of poetry, Swim Poems. His Bookfish blog is also a wonderful index for scholarly and creative work happening right now. Today, I am excited to discuss his most recent book of blue poetry, Sailing Without Ahab, just published by Fordham University Press in 2024. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/8/202455 minutes, 6 seconds
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Christopher Michael Blakley, "Empire of Brutality: Enslaved People and Animals in the British Atlantic World" (Louisiana State UP, 2023)

Historians of early America, slavery, early African American history, the history of science, and environmental history have interrogated the complex ways in which enslaved people were thought about and treated as human but also dehumanized to be understood as private property or chattel. The comparison of enslaved people to animals, particularly dogs, cattle, or horses, was a common device deployed by enslavers. The letters, memoirs, and philosophical treatises of the enslaved and formerly enslaved reveal the complex ways in which enslaved people analyzed and fought these comparisons. Dr. Chris Blakely focuses on human-animal relationships to unpack “how, where, and when did such decisions regarding the chattel nature of human captives take place?”  In Empire of Brutality: Enslaved People and Animals in the British Atlantic World (LSU Press, 2023), they argue that slaving and slavery relied on and generated complex human-animal networks and relations. Exploring these groupings leads to a deeper understanding of how enslavers worked out the process of turning people into chattel and laid the foundations of slavery by mingling enslaved people with nonhuman animals. Efforts to remake people into property akin to animals involved exchange and trade, scientific fieldwork that exploited curiosity, and forms of labor. Using the correspondence of the Royal African Company, specimen catalogs and scientific papers of the Royal Society, plantation inventories and manuals, and diaries kept by slaveholders, Dr. Blakley describes human-animal networks spanning from Britain's slave castles and outposts throughout western Africa to plantations in the Caribbean and the American Southeast. They combine approaches from environmental history, history of science, and philosophy to examine slavery from the ground up and from the perspectives of the enslaved. Dr. Chris Blakley is a visiting assistant professor in the Core Program at Occidental College and a historian interested in more-than-human relationships with a focus on racialization and empire-building. Empire of Brutality: Enslaved People and Animals in the British Atlantic World is their first book and they are just beginning a second project on science, race, and the senses in the nineteenth century.  Daniela Lavergne served as the editorial assistant for this podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/8/202458 minutes, 46 seconds
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Joseph M. Thompson, "Cold War Country: How Nashville's Music Row and the Pentagon Created the Sound of American Patriotism" (UNC Press, 2024)

Country music maintains a special, decades-long relationship to American military life, but these ties didn't just happen. This readable history reveals how country music's Nashville-based business leaders on Music Row created partnerships with the Pentagon to sell their audiences on military service while selling the music to service members. Beginning in the 1950s, the military flooded armed forces airwaves with the music, hosted tour dates at bases around the world, and drew on artists from Johnny Cash to Lee Greenwood to support recruitment programs.  Over the last half of the twentieth century, the close connections between the Defense Department and Music Row gave an economic boost to the white-dominated sounds of country while marginalizing Black artists and fueling divisions over the meaning of patriotism. This story is filled with familiar stars like Roy Acuff, Elvis Presley, and George Strait, as well as lesser-known figures: industry executives who worked the halls of Congress, country artists who dissented from the stereotypically patriotic trappings of the genre, and more.  In Cold War Country: How Nashville's Music Row and the Pentagon Created the Sound of American Patriotism (UNC Press, 2024), Joseph M. Thompson argues convincingly that the relationship between Music Row and the Pentagon helped shape not only the evolution of popular music but also race relations, partisanship, and images of the United States abroad. Joseph M. Thompson is assistant professor of history at Mississippi State University. Katie Coldiron is the Outreach Program Manager for the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) and PhD student in History at Florida International University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/6/20241 hour, 6 minutes, 57 seconds
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Sandra Fox, "The Jews of Summer: Summer Camp and Jewish Culture in Postwar America" (Stanford UP, 2023)

In the decades directly following the Holocaust, American Jewish leaders anxiously debated how to preserve and produce what they considered authentic Jewish culture, fearful that growing affluence and suburbanization threatened the future of Jewish life. Many communal educators and rabbis contended that without educational interventions, Judaism as they understood it would disappear altogether. They pinned their hopes on residential summer camps for Jewish youth: institutions that sprang up across the U.S. in the postwar decades as places for children and teenagers to socialise, recreate, and experience Jewish culture. Adults' fears, hopes, and dreams about the Jewish future inflected every element of camp life, from the languages they taught to what was encouraged romantically and permitted sexually. But adult plans did not constitute everything that occurred at camp: children and teenagers also shaped these sleepaway camps to mirror their own desires and interests and decided whether to accept or resist the ideas and ideologies their camp leaders promoted. Focusing on the lived experience of campers and camp counsellors, The Jews of Summer: Summer Camp and Jewish Culture in Postwar America (Stanford University Press, 2023) by Dr. Sandra Fox demonstrates how a cultural crisis birthed a rite of passage that remains a significant influence in American Jewish life.  This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/6/202448 minutes, 55 seconds
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Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, "The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market" (Bloomsbury. 2023)

In their bestselling book Merchants of Doubt, Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway revealed the origins of climate change denial. Now, in The Big Myth: How American Business Taught Us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market (Bloomsbury. 2023), they unfold the truth about another disastrous dogma: the “magic of the marketplace.” In the early 20th century, business elites, trade associations, wealthy powerbrokers, and media allies set out to build a new American orthodoxy: down with “big government” and up with unfettered markets. With startling archival evidence, Oreskes and Conway document campaigns to rewrite textbooks, combat unions, and defend child labor. They detail the ploys that turned hardline economists Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman into household names; recount the libertarian roots of the Little House on the Prairie books; and tune into the General Electric-sponsored TV show that beamed free-market doctrine to millions and launched Ronald Reagan's political career. By the 1970s, this propaganda was succeeding. Free market ideology would define the next half-century across Republican and Democratic administrations, giving us a housing crisis, the opioid scourge, climate destruction, and a baleful response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Only by understanding this history can we imagine a future where markets will serve, not stifle, democracy. Naomi Oreskes is Professor of the History of Science at Harvard University. Her opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and many other outlets. Oreskes is author or co-author of 9 books, and over 150 articles, essays and opinion pieces, including Merchants of Doubt (Bloomsbury, 2010), The Collapse of Western Civilization (Columbia University Press, 2014), Discerning Experts (University Chicago Press, 2019), Why Trust Science? (Princeton University Press, 2019), and Science on a Mission: American Oceanography from the Cold War to Climate Change, (University of Chicago Press, 2021). Merchants of Doubt, co-authored with Erik Conway, was the subject of a documentary film of the same name produced by participant Media and distributed by SONY Pictures Classics, and has been translated into nine languages. A new edition of Merchants of Doubt, with an introduction by Al Gore, was published in 2020. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/5/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 28 seconds
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Mauricio Fernando Castro, "Only a Few Blocks to Cuba: Cold War Refugee Policy, the Cuban Diaspora, and the Transformations of Miami" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2024)

In Only a Few Blocks to Cuba: Cold War Refugee Policy, the Cuban Diaspora, and the Transformations of Miami (U Pennsylvania Press, 2024), Mauricio Castro shows how the U.S. government came to view Cuban migration to Miami as a strategic asset during the Cold War, in the process investing heavily in the city's development and shaping its future as a global metropolis. When Cuban refugees fleeing Communist revolution began to arrive in Miami in 1959, the city was faced with a humanitarian crisis it was ill-equipped to handle and sought to have the federal government solve what local politicians clearly viewed as a Cold War geopolitical problem. In response, the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, and their successors, provided an unprecedented level of federal largesse and freedom of transit to these refugees.  The changes to the city this investment wrought were as impactful and permanent as they were unintended. What was meant to be a short-term geopolitical stratagem instead became a new reality in South Florida. A growing and increasingly powerful Cuban community contested their place in Miami and navigated challenges like bilingualism, internal political disputes, socioeconomic polarization, and ongoing struggles and negotiations with Washington and Havana in the decades that followed. This contested process, argues Mauricio Castro, not only transformed South Florida, but American foreign policy and the calculus of national politics. Castro uses extensive archival research in local and national sources to demonstrate that the Cuban diaspora and Cold War refugee policy made South Florida a key space to understanding the shifting landscape of the late twentieth century. In this way, Miami serves as an example of both the lived effects of defense spending in urban spaces and of how local communities can shape national politics and international relations. American politics, foreign relations, immigration policy, and urban development all intersected on the streets of Miami. Mauricio Castro is Assistant Professor of History at Centre College. Katie Coldiron is the Outreach Program Manager for the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) and PhD student in History at Florida International University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/5/20241 hour, 11 minutes, 19 seconds
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Daniel de Visé, "The Blues Brothers: An Epic Friendship, the Rise of Improv, and the Making of an American Film Classic" (Grove Atlantic, 2024)

The Blues Brothers: An Epic Friendship, the Rise of Improv, and the Making of an American Film Classic (Grove Atlantic, 2024) tells the story of the epic friendship between John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, the golden era of improv, and the making of a comedic film classic that helped shape our popular culture. “They’re not going to catch us,” Dan Aykroyd, as Elwood Blues, tells his brother Jake, played by John Belushi. “We’re on a mission from God.” So opens the musical action comedy The Blues Brothers, which hit theaters on June 20, 1980. Their scripted mission was to save a local Chicago orphanage. But Aykroyd, who conceived and wrote much of the film, had a greater mission: to honor the then-seemingly forgotten tradition of rhythm and blues, some of whose greatest artists—Aretha Franklin, James Brown, John Lee Hooker, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles—made the film as unforgettable as its wild car chases. Much delayed and vastly over budget, beset by mercurial and oft drugged-out stars, The Blues Brothers opened to outraged reviews. However, in the 44 years since, it has been acknowledged a classic: it has been inducted into the National Film Registry for its cultural significance, even declared a “Catholic classic” by the Church itself, and re-aired thousands of times on television to huge worldwide audiences. It is, undeniably, one of the most significant films of the twentieth century. The story behind any classic is rich; the saga behind The Blues Brothers, as Daniel de Visé reveals, is epic, encompassing the colorful childhoods of Belushi and Aykroyd; the comedic revolution sparked by Harvard’s Lampoon and Chicago’s Second City; the birth and anecdote-rich, drug-filled early years of Saturday Night Live, where the Blues Brothers were born as an act amidst turmoil and rivalry; and, of course, the indelible behind-the-scenes narrative of how the film was made, scene by memorable scene. Based on original research and dozens of interviews probing the memories of principals from director John Landis and producer Bob Weiss to Aykroyd himself, The Blues Brothers illuminates an American masterpiece while vividly portraying the creative geniuses behind modern comedy. Daniel de Visé is an author and journalist. A graduate of Wesleyan and Northwestern universities, he worked at the The Washington Post, the Miami Herald and three other newspapers in a 23-year career. He shared a 2001 team Pulitzer Prize and garnered more than two dozen other national and regional journalism awards. His investigative reporting twice led to the release of wrongly convicted men from life terms in prison. His first book, I Forgot To Remember (with Su Meck, Simon & Schuster, 2014), began as a front-page article de Visé wrote for the Washington Post in 2011. His second book, Andy & Don (Simon & Schuster, 2015), began as a journalistic exploration into the storied career of his late brother-in-law, famed actor Don Knotts. His third book, The Comeback (Grove Atlantic, 2018), rekindles a childhood obsession with professional cycling. Daniel is married to Sophie Yarborough, a senior editor at The Washington Post​. They and their children live outside Washington D.C. Daniel Moran earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in History from Drew University. The author of Creating Flannery O’Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers and articles on G. K. Chesterton and John Ford, he teaches research and writing at Rutgers and co-hosts the podcast Fifteen-Minute Film Fanatics, found here on the New Books Network and on X. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/5/202458 minutes, 35 seconds
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Stefan Aune, "Indian Wars Everywhere: Colonial Violence and the Shadow Doctrines of Empire" (U California Press, 2023)

From Black Hawk helicopters to the exclamation "Geronimo" used by paratroopers jumping from airplanes, words and images referring to Indians have been indelibly linked with US warfare.  In Indian Wars Everywhere: Colonial Violence and the Shadow Doctrines of Empire (U California Press, 2023), Stefan Aune shows how these and other recurrent references to the Indian wars signal a deeper history. Indian Wars function as a shadow doctrine that influences US military violence.  The United States' formative acts of colonial violence persist in the actions, imaginations, and stories that have facilitated the spread of American empire, from the "savage wars" of the nineteenth century to the counterinsurgencies of the Global War on Terror.  Ranging across centuries and continents, Indian Wars Everywhere considers what it means for the conquest of Native peoples to be deemed a success that can be used as a blueprint for modern warfare. Stefan B. Aune is a Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies at Williams College.  Eleonora Mattiacci is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Amherst College. She is the author of Volatile States in International Politics (Oxford University Press, 2023). She is on X (formerly known as Twitter) @ProfEMattiacci. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/4/202429 minutes, 50 seconds
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Greg Jarrell, "Our Trespasses: White Churches and the Taking of American Neighborhoods" (Fortress Press, 2024)

Greg Jarrell's book Our Trespasses: White Churches and the Taking of American Neighborhoods (Fortress Press, 2024) uncovers how race, geography, policy, and religion have created haunted landscapes in Charlotte, North Carolina, and throughout the United States. How do we value our lands, livelihoods, and communities? How does our theology inform our capacity--or lack thereof--for memory? What responsibilities do we bear toward those who have been harmed, not just by individuals but by our structures and collective ways of being in the world? Abram and Annie North, both born enslaved, purchased a home in the historically Black neighborhood of Brooklyn in the years following the Civil War. Today, the site of that home stands tucked beneath a corner of the First Baptist Church property on a site purchased under the favorable terms of Urban Renewal campaigns in the mid-1960s. How did FBC wind up in what used to be Brooklyn--a neighborhood that no longer exists? What happened to the Norths? How might we heal these hauntings? This is an American story with implications far beyond Brooklyn, Charlotte, or even the South. By carefully tracing the intertwined fortunes of First Baptist Church and the formerly enslaved North family, Jarrell opens our eyes to uncomfortable truths with which we all must reckon. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/3/202449 minutes, 8 seconds
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Loren D. Lybarger, "Palestinian Chicago: Identity in Exile" (U California Press, 2020)

Chicago is home to one of the largest, most politically active Palestinian immigrant communities in the United States. For decades, secular nationalism held sway as the dominant political ideology, but since the 1990s its structures have weakened and Islamic institutions have gained strength.  Drawing on extensive fieldwork and interview data, Loren D. Lybarger's book Palestinian Chicago: Identity in Exile (U California Press, 2020) charts the origins of these changes and the multiple effects they have had on identity across religious, political, class, gender, and generational lines. The perspectives that emerge through this rich ethnography challenge prevailing understandings of secularity and religion, offering critical insight into current debates about immigration and national belonging. Roberto Mazza is currently a visiting lecturer at Northwestern University. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at [email protected]. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Website: www.robertomazza.org Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/3/20241 hour, 21 minutes, 52 seconds
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Naomi Cahn, et al., "Fair Shake: Women and the Fight to Build a Just Economy" (Simon & Schuster, 2023)

A stirring, comprehensive look at the state of women in the workforce--why women's progress has stalled, how our economy fosters unproductive competition, and how we can fix the system that holds women back. In an era of supposed great equality, women are still falling behind in the workplace. Even with more women in the workforce than in decades past, wage gaps continue to increase. It is the most educated women who have fallen the furthest behind. Blue-collar women hold the most insecure and badly paid jobs in our economy. And even as we celebrate high-profile representation--women on the board of Fortune 500 companies and our first female vice president--women have limited recourse when they experience harassment and discrimination. Fair Shake: Women and the Fight to Build a Just Economy (Simon & Schuster, 2023) explains that the system that governs our economy--a winner-take-all economy--is the root cause of these myriad problems. The WTA economy self-selects for aggressive, cutthroat business tactics, which creates a feedback loop that sidelines women. The authors, three legal scholars, call this feedback loop "the triple bind" if women don't compete on the same terms as men, they lose; if women do compete on the same terms as men, they're punished more harshly for their sharp elbows or actual misdeeds; and when women see that they can't win on the same terms as men, they take themselves out of the game (if they haven't been pushed out already). With odds like these stacked against them, it's no wonder women feel like, no matter how hard they work, they can't get ahead. Fair Shake is not a "fix the woman" book; it's a "fix the system" book. It not only diagnoses the problem of what's wrong with the modern economy, but shows how, with awareness and collective action, we can build a truly just economy for all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/3/20241 hour, 7 minutes, 45 seconds
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Diane Winston, "Righting the American Dream: How the Media Mainstreamed Reagan's Evangelical Vision" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

After two years in the White House, an aging and increasingly unpopular Ronald Reagan looked like a one-term president, but in 1983 something changed. Reagan spoke of his embattled agenda as a spiritual rather than a political project and cast his vision for limited government and market economics as the natural outworking of religious conviction. The news media broadcast this message with enthusiasm, and white evangelicals rallied to the president’s cause. With their support, Reagan won reelection and continued to dismantle the welfare state, unravelling a political consensus that stood for half a century. In Righting the American Dream: How the Media Mainstreamed Reagan’s Evangelical Vision (University of Chicago Press, 2023), Dr. Diane Winston reveals how support for Reagan emerged from a new religious vision of American identity circulating in the popular press. Through four key events—the “evil empire” speech, AIDS outbreak, invasion of Grenada, and rise in American poverty rates—Dr. Winston shows that many journalists uncritically adopted Reagan’s religious rhetoric and ultimately mainstreamed otherwise unpopular evangelical ideas about individual responsibility. The result is a provocative new account of how Reagan together with the press turned America to the right and initiated a social revolution that continues today. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
4/1/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 49 seconds
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Dave Mac Marquis and Moira Marquis, "Books Through Bars: Stories from the Prison Books Movement" (U Georgia Press, 2024)

Co-edited by Dave Mac Marquis and Moira Marquis, two activists with deep experience in organizing prison books programs (PBPs), Books Through Bars: Stories from the Prison Books Movement (University of Georgia Press, 2024) introduces readers to PBPs and their decentralized organization. PBPs are a grassroots-level and nationwide activist movement challenging the largest prison industry in the world by refusing to let incarcerated people remain isolated and forgotten. Operating on shoestring budgets, will all-volunteer workforces and donated libraries, books to prisoner programs are examples of ordinary people acting to undermine the isolation and judgment of incarceration. Although there are currently fifty-three books to prisoners groups serving in all fifty states, these programs remain relatively unknown. The goal of this book is to bring awareness to this diffuse and long-standing social movement and offer readers a way to get involved. In addition to highlighting voices from PBPs throughout the United States, the volume also includes essays, images, and artwork from independent bookstore owners, formerly and currently incarcerated folks, activists, artists, journalists, volunteers, organizers, and scholars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/31/202457 minutes, 26 seconds
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Elizabeth S. D. Engelhardt, "Boardinghouse Women: How Southern Keepers, Cooks, Nurses, Widows, and Runaways Shaped Modern America" (UNC Press, 2023)

In Boardinghouse Women: How Southern Keepers, Cooks, Nurses, Widows, and Runaways Shaped Modern America (UNC Press, 2023), Elizabeth Engelhardt argues that modern American food, business, caretaking, politics, sex, travel, writing, and restaurants all owe a debt to boardinghouse women in the South. From the eighteenth century well into the twentieth, entrepreneurial women ran boardinghouses throughout the South; some also carried the institution to far-flung places like California, New York, and London. Owned and operated by Black, Jewish, Native American, and white women, rich and poor, immigrant and native-born, these lodgings were often hubs of business innovation and engines of financial independence for their owners. Within their walls, boardinghouse residents and owners developed the region's earliest printed cookbooks, created space for making music and writing literary works, formed ad hoc communities of support, tested boundaries of race and sexuality, and more. Engelhardt draws on a vast archive to recover boardinghouse women's stories, revealing what happened in the kitchens, bedrooms, hallways, back stairs, and front porches as well as behind closed doors—legacies still with us today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/31/20241 hour, 21 minutes, 27 seconds
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Teresa Ghilarducci, "Work, Retire, Repeat: The Uncertainty of Retirement in the New Economy" (U Chicago Press, 2024)

The issue of the future of Social Security, on which millions of Americans depend, produced great political theater at the State of the Union address. That highlighted a bigger problem of financing retirement as baby boomers seek to retire, often with limited resources. Many argue that the solution to the problem is for people to work longer.  In Work, Retire, Repeat: The Uncertainty of Retirement in the New Economy (U Chicago Press, 2024), Teresa Ghilarducci, a noted expert on retirement, argues that the "working longer" idea is wrong, unnecessary, and discriminates against people who work in lower wage occupations. Ghilarducci pushes for a national plan to finance retirement that would draw on contributions by both employers and employees to replace our privatized and ramshackle personal retirement system and make changes in the tax system that supports Social Security to give people a real choice whether to retire or continue to work in their later years.  This book tells the stories of people locked into jobs later in life not because they love to work but because they must work. She demonstrates how relatively low-cost changes in the way we manage, and finance retirement will enable people in their so-called "golden years" to choose how to spend their time. Ghilarducci has a good public platform, writes for Bloomberg and other outlets, and is passionate about her ideas and reaching as broad a public as possible. The book is for the growing number of people in the public and policy community who are worried about their retirement and engaged in the renewed debate about Social Security and Medicare. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/30/202429 minutes, 15 seconds
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David J. Dennis Jr. and David J. Dennis Sr., "The Movement Made Us: A Father, a Son, and the Legacy of a Freedom Ride" (Harper, 2022)

"The Movement Made Us takes literature to a momentous Southern Black space to which I honestly never thought a book could take us. This is literally the Movement that made us and both Davids love us whole here with a creation that is as ingenious as it is soulfully sincere. Stunning."--Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy. A dynamic family exchange that pivots between the voices of a father and son, The Movement Made Us: A Father, a Son, and the Legacy of a Freedom Ride (Harper, 2022) is a unique work of oral history and memoir, chronicling the extraordinary story of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and its living legacy embodied in Black Lives Matter. David Dennis Sr, a core architect of the movement, speaks out for the first time, swapping recollections both harrowing and joyful with David Jr, a journalist working on the front lines of change today. Taken together, their stories paint a critical portrait of America, casting one nation's image through the lens of two individual Black men and their unique relationship. Playful and searching, anxious and restorative, fearless and driving, this intimate memoir features scenes from across David Sr's life, as he becomes involved in the movement, tries to move beyond it, and ultimately returns to it to find final solace and new sense of self--revealing a survivor who travels eternally with a cabal of ghosts. A crucial addition to Civil Rights history, The Movement Made Us is the story of a nation reckoning with change and the hopes, struggles, setbacks, and triumphs of modern Black life. This is it: the extant chronicle of why we live, why we move, and for what we are made. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/30/202420 minutes, 41 seconds
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Matthew H. Hersch, "Dark Star: A New History of the Space Shuttle" (MIT Press, 2023)

In Dark Star: A New History of the Space Shuttle (MIT Press, 2023), Dr. Matthew Hersch challenges the existing narrative of the most significant human space program of the last 50 years, NASA's space shuttle. He begins with the origins of the space shuttle: a century-long effort to develop a low-cost, reusable, rocket-powered airplane to militarize and commercialize space travel, which Hersch explains was built the wrong way, at the wrong time, and for all the wrong reasons. Describing the unique circumstances that led to the space shuttle's creation by President Richard Nixon's administration in 1972 and its subsequent flights from 1981 through 2011, Dr. Hersch illustrates how the space shuttle was doomed from the start. While most historians have accepted the view that the space shuttle's fatal accidents—including the 1986 Challenger explosion—resulted from deficiencies in NASA's management culture that lulled engineers into a false confidence in the craft, Dark Star reveals the widespread understanding that the shuttle was predestined for failure as a technology demonstrator. The vehicle was intended only to give the United States the appearance of a viable human spaceflight program until funds became available to eliminate its obvious flaws. Hersch's work seeks to answer the perilous questions of technological choice that confront every generation, and it is a critical read for anyone interested in how we can create a better world through the things we build.  This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/30/202436 minutes, 30 seconds
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Jeanelle K. Hope and Bill V. Mullen, "The Black Antifascist Tradition: Fighting Back from Anti-Lynching to Abolition" (Haymarket Books, 2024)

The story of the fight against fascism across the African diaspora, revealing that Black antifascism has always been vital to global freedom struggles. At once a history for understanding fascism and a handbook for organizing against, The Black Antifascist Tradition: Fighting Back from Anti-Lynching to Abolition (Haymarket Books, 2024) is an essential book for understanding our present moment and the challenges ahead. From London to the Caribbean, from Ethiopia to Harlem, from Black Lives Matter to abolition, Black radicals and writers have long understood fascism as a threat to the survival of Black people around the world—and to everyone.  In The Black Antifascist Tradition, scholar-activists Jeanelle K. Hope and Bill Mullen show how generations of Black activists and intellectuals—from Ida B. Wells in the fight against lynching, to Angela Y. Davis in the fight against the prison-industrial complex—have stood within a tradition of Black Antifascism. As Davis once observed, pointing to the importance of anti-Black racism in the development of facism as an ideology, Black people have been “the first and most deeply injured victims of fascism.” Indeed, the experience of living under and resisting racial capitalism has often made Black radicals aware of the potential for fascism to take hold long before others understood this danger. The book explores the powerful ideas and activism of Paul Robeson, Mary McLeod Bethune, Claudia Jones, W. E. B. Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, Aime Cesaire, and Walter Rodney, as well as that of the Civil Rights Congress, the Black Liberation Army, and the We Charge Genocide movement, among others. In shining a light on fascism and anti-Blackness, Hope and Mullen argue, the writers and organizers featured in this book have also developed urgent tools and strategies for overcoming it. Jeanelle Hope is Director & Associate Professor of African American Studies Bill V. Mullen is Professor of English and American Studies at Purdue University. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/29/20241 hour, 10 minutes, 59 seconds
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Françoise N. Hamlin and Charles W. McKinney, "From Rights to Lives: The Evolution of the Black Freedom Struggle" (Vanderbilt UP, 2024)

Broadly speaking, the traditionally conceptualized mid-twentieth-century Civil Rights Movement and the newer #BlackLivesMatter Movement possess some similar qualities. They both represent dynamic, complex moments of possibility and progress. They also share mass-based movement activities, policy/legislative advocacy, grassroots organizing, and targeted media campaigns. Innovation, growth, and dissension—core aspects of movement work—mark them both. Crucially, these moments also engender aggressive, repressive, multilevel responses to these assertions of Black humanity. From Rights to Lives: The Evolution of the Black Freedom Struggle (Vanderbilt UP, 2024) critically engages the dynamic relationship between these two moments of liberatory possibility on the Black Freedom Struggle timeline. The book’s contributors explore what we can learn when we place these moments of struggle in dialogue with each other. They grapple with how our understanding of the postwar moment shapes our analysis of #BLM and wherein lie the discontinuities, in order to glean lessons for future moments of insurgency. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/29/202438 minutes, 47 seconds
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Paul Carter, "Richard Nixon: California's Native Son" (U Nebraska Press, 2023)

Born in Yorba Linda and raised in Whittier, California, Nixon succeeded early in life, excelling in academics while enjoying athletics through high school. At Whittier College he graduated at the top of his class and was voted Best Man on Campus. During his career at Whittier's oldest law firm, he was respected professionally and became a chief trial attorney. As a military man in the South Pacific during World War II, he was admired by his fellow servicemen. Returning to his Quaker roots after the war, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate, and the vice presidency, all within six short years. After losing to John Kennedy in the 1960 presidential campaign, Nixon returned to Southern California to practice law. After losing his gubernatorial race he reinvented himself: he moved to New York and was elected president of the United States in 1968. He returned to Southern California after Watergate and his resignation to heal before once again taking a place on the world stage. Richard Nixon: California's Native Son (University of Nebraska Press, 2023) is the story of Nixon's Southern California journey from his birth in Yorba Linda to his final resting place just a few yards from the home in which he was born. Paul Carter is an attorney with more than twenty years of experience in investigation and trial work. Caleb Zakarin is an Editor at New Books Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/29/20241 hour, 59 minutes, 32 seconds
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Jamie Goodall, "Daring Exploits of Pirate Black Sam Bellamy: From Cape Cod to the Caribbean" (History Press, 2023)

In 1717, the Council of Trade and Plantations received "agreeable news" from New England. "Bellamy with his ship and Company" had perished on the shoals of Cape Cod. Who was this Bellamy and why did his demise please the government? Born Samuel Bellamy circa 1689, he was a pirate who operated off the coast of New England and throughout the Caribbean. Later known as "Black Sam," or the "Prince of Pirates," Bellamy became one of the wealthiest pirates in the Atlantic world before his untimely death. For the next two centuries, Bellamy faded into obscurity until, in 1984, he became newsworthy again with the discovery of his wrecked pirate ship. In Daring Exploits of Pirate Black Sam Bellamy: From Cape Cod to the Caribbean (The History Press, 2023), historian Dr. Jamie L.H. Goodall unveils the tragic life of Bellamy and the complex relationship between piracy and the colonial New England coast. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/28/202442 minutes, 39 seconds
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Sam McPheeters, "Mutations: Twenty Years Embedded in Hardcore Punk" (Barnacle Book, 2020)

How can so many people pledge allegiance to punk, something with no fixed identity? Depending on who and where you are, punk can be an outlet, excuse, lifestyle, escapism, conversation, community, ideology, sales category, social movement, punishable offense, badge of authenticity, reason to drink beer forever, or an aesthetic of belligerent incompetence. And if someone has a strong belief about what punk is, odds are they have even stronger feelings about what punk is not. Sam McPheeters championed many different versions. Over the course of two decades, he fronted Born Against, released dozens of records and fanzines, and toured seventeen times across the northern hemisphere. In Mutations: Twenty Years Embedded in Hardcore Punk (Barnacle Book, 2020), he examines the diverse realms he intersected—New York hardcore, Riot Grrrl, Gilman street, the hidden enclaves of Olympia, and New England, and downtown Los Angeles—and the forces of mental illness and creative inspiration that drove him, and others, in the first place. Sam McPheeters was born in Ohio and raised in upstate New York. In 1981, at age twelve, he co-authored Travelers Tales: Rumors and Legends of the Albany-Saratoga Region. Starting in 1989, he sang for Born Against, Men's Recovery Project, and Wrangler Brutes, touring seventeen times across North America, Europe, and Japan. Since 2009, he has written for Criterion, Vice, and The Village Voice, among others. He currently lives in Pomona, CA, with his wife. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/28/202449 minutes, 26 seconds
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Neil Gong, "Sons, Daughters, and Sidewalk Psychotics: Mental Illness and Homelessness in Los Angeles" (U Chicago Press, 2024)

Sociologist Neil M. Gong explains why mental health treatment in Los Angeles rarely succeeds, for the rich, the poor, and everyone in between. In 2022, Los Angeles became the US county with the largest population of unhoused people, drawing a stark contrast with the wealth on display in its opulent neighborhoods. In Sons, Daughters, and Sidewalk Psychotics: Mental Illness and Homelessness in Los Angeles (U Chicago Press, 2024), sociologist Neil M. Gong traces the divide between the haves and have-nots in the psychiatric treatment systems that shape the life trajectories of people living with serious mental illness. In the decades since the United States closed its mental hospitals in favor of non-institutional treatment, two drastically different forms of community psychiatric services have developed: public safety-net clinics focused on keeping patients housed and out of jail, and elite private care trying to push clients toward respectable futures. In Downtown Los Angeles, many people in psychiatric crisis only receive help after experiencing homelessness or arrests. Public providers engage in guerrilla social work to secure them housing and safety, but these programs are rarely able to deliver true rehabilitation for psychological distress and addiction. Patients are free to refuse treatment or use illegal drugs—so long as they do so away from public view. Across town in West LA or Malibu, wealthy people diagnosed with serious mental illness attend luxurious treatment centers. Programs may offer yoga and organic meals alongside personalized therapeutic treatments, but patients can feel trapped, as their families pay exorbitantly to surveil and “fix” them. Meanwhile, middle-class families—stymied by private insurers, unable to afford elite providers, and yet not poor enough to qualify for social services—struggle to find care at all. Gong’s findings raise uncomfortable questions about urban policy, family dynamics, and what it means to respect individual freedom. His comparative approach reminds us that every “sidewalk psychotic” is also a beloved relative and that the kinds of policies we support likely depend on whether we see those with mental illness as a public social problem or as somebody’s kin. At a time when many voters merely want streets cleared of “problem people,” Gong’s book helps us imagine a fundamentally different psychiatric system—one that will meet the needs of patients, families, and society at large. Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is a Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He is the author of The Social Construction of a Cultural Spectacle: Floatzilla (Lexington Books, 2023) and Community Media Representations of Place and Identity at Tug Fest: Reconstructing the Mississippi River (Lexington Books, 2022). His general area of study is in the areas of social construction of experience, identity, and place. He is currently conducting research for his next project that looks at nightlife and the emotional labor that is performed by employees of bars and nightclubs. To learn more about Michael O. Johnston you can go to his website, Google Scholar, Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or by email at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/27/202441 minutes, 42 seconds
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SunAh M. Laybourn, "Out of Place: The Lives of Korean Adoptee Immigrants" (NYU Press, 2024)

Dr. SunAh M. Laybourn’s Out of Place: The Lives of Korean Adoptee Immigrants (NYU Press, 2024) explores the experiences of Korean adoptees, the largest population of adult transnational adoptees in the United States. Over 125,000 Korean children have been adopted into primarily white US families since the 1950s, and despite being raised as US citizens, still experience both legal and social barriers to national belonging. Drawing on in-depth interviews with Korean adoptee adults, online surveys, and participant observation at Korean adoptee events across the US and in Korea, Out of Place illustrates how Korean adoptees come to understand their racial positions, reconcile competing expectations of citizenship and racial and ethnic group membership, and actively work to redefine belonging both individually and collectively. In considering when and how Korean adoptees have been remade, rejected, and celebrated as exceptional citizens, Out of Place brings to the fore the features of the race-making process. Dr. SunAh M. Laybourn is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Memphis. She received her PhD from the University of Maryland in 2018. Her areas of interest include race and ethnicity, identity development, and Asian America/ns. Leslie Hickman is a translator and writer. She has an MA in Korean Studies from Yonsei University. You can follow her activities at https://twitter.com/AJuseyo. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/27/202440 minutes, 36 seconds
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Adam Lazarus, "The Wingmen: The Unlikely, Unusual, Unbreakable Friendship Between John Glenn and Ted Williams" (Citadel Press, 2023)

It was 1953, the Korean War in full throttle, when two men—already experts in their fields—crossed the fabled 38th Parallel into Communist airspace aboard matching Panther jets. John Glenn was an ambitious operations officer with fifty-nine World War II combat missions under his belt. His wingman was Ted Williams, the two-time American League Triple Crown winner who, at the pinnacle of his career, had been inexplicably recalled to active service in the United States Marine Corps. Together, the affable flier and the notoriously tempestuous left fielder soared into North Korea, creating a death-defying bond. Although, over the next half century, their contrasting lives were challenged by exhilarating highs and devastating lows, that bond would endure. Through unpublished letters, unit diaries, declassified military records, manuscripts, and new and illuminating interviews, The Wingmen: The Unlikely, Unusual, Unbreakable Friendship Between John Glenn and Ted Williams (Citadel Press, 2023) reveals an epic and intimate portrait of two heroes—larger-than-life and yet ineffably human, ordinary men who accomplished the extraordinary. At its heart, this was a conflicted friendship that found commonality in mutual respect—throughout the perils of war, sports dominance, scientific innovation, cutthroat national politics, the burden of celebrity, and the meaning of bravery. Now, author Adam Lazarus sheds light on a largely forgotten chapter in these legends’ lives—as singular individuals, inspiring patriots, and eventually, however improbable, profoundly close friends. Paul Knepper covered the New York Knicks for Bleacher Report. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers That Almost Won It All was published in 2020. You can reach Paul at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/27/202453 minutes, 47 seconds
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William W. Parsons and Regina M. Matheson, "The Pink Wave: Women Running for Office After Trump" (NYU Press, 2023)

How and why the election of Donald Trump inspired more women to enter politics. Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election shocked and dismayed many women, and motivated many to run for office at all levels of government. In The Pink Wave: Women Running for Office After Trump (NYU Press, 2023), Regina M. Matheson and William W. Parsons explore this inspiring phenomenon and its impact on women's representation. Drawing on national surveys and in-depth interviews of over 900 women, across almost every state, Matheson and Parsons show us why more women decided to run for state legislature during the Trump administration, the obstacles they faced on the campaign trail, and whether they ultimately succeeded or failed in their bid for office. Candidates share valuable lessons they learned from their recent campaign experiences, providing future insight for women--on both sides of the aisle--who may be inspired to follow in their footsteps. Matheson and Parsons examine the impact Donald Trump had on women candidates--both positive and negative--and women's ambitions to pursue political office. The Pink Wave celebrates the hundreds of trailblazing women creating new political opportunities for representation, now and in the future. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/26/202443 minutes, 7 seconds
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Rachel S. Gross, "Shopping All the Way to the Woods: How the Outdoor Industry Sold Nature to America" (Yale UP, 2024)

Rachel S. Gross's Shopping All the Ways to the Woods (Yale University Press, 2024) tells the fascinating history of the profitable paradox of the American outdoor experience: visiting nature first requires shopping No escape to nature is complete without a trip to an outdoor recreational store or a browse through online offerings. This is the irony of the American outdoor experience: visiting wild spaces supposedly untouched by capitalism first requires shopping. With consumers spending billions of dollars on clothing and equipment each year as they seek out nature, the American outdoor sector grew over the past 150 years from a small collection of outfitters to an industry contributing more than 2 percent of the nation’s economic output. Gross argues that this success was predicated not just on creating functional equipment but also on selling an authentic, anticommercial outdoor identity. In other words, shopping for the woods was also about being—or becoming—the right kind of person. Demonstrating that outdoor culture is commercial culture, Gross examines Americans’ journey toward outdoor expertise by tracing the development of the nascent outdoor goods industry, the influence of World War II on its growth, and the boom years of outdoor businesses. Rachel S. Gross is a historian of the outdoor gear and apparel industry and an outdoor enthusiast. She is assistant professor at the University of Colorado Denver, a history tour guide, and a curator of museum exhibits. She lives in Denver, CO. Twitter. Website.  Brian Hamilton is chair of the Department of History and Social Science at Deerfield Academy. Twitter. Website. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/26/202436 minutes, 39 seconds
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Why, How, and Who to Marry: A Conversation with Brad Wilcox *01

University of Virginia sociologist Brad Wilcox *01 delves into some of the popular wisdom surrounding marriage and tells us what the data has to say: is it better to marry young or wait? To move in with your partner before or after marriage? Does marriage hurt your career prospects or your ability to set aside time for your own happiness? What groups in America are doing well with regards to marriage, and what groups aren't doing as well? Along the way, he also addresses some of the political implications of marriage, including how and why marriage trends differ by class and how our tax code often penalizes marriage. Brad Wilcox is studies marriage, fatherhood, and the impact of strong families. He is a professor of Sociology at the University of Virignia where he also directs the National Marriage Project. He is also a Future of Freedom Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, and a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the recent author of Get Married: Why Americans Should Defy the Elites, Forge Strong Families and Save Civilization (Broadside Books, 2024). He received his PhD in Sociology from Princeton in 2001, and is the author of six books. His writing has also been featured in publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Atlantic, National Review, First Things, and The Free Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/26/202448 minutes, 20 seconds
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Maggie Hennefeld, "Death by Laughter: Female Hysteria and Early Cinema" (Columbia UP, 2024)

Can you really die from laughing too hard? Between 1870 and 1920, hundreds of women suffered such a fate—or so a slew of sensationalist obituaries would have us believe. How could laughter be fatal, and what do these reports of women’s risible deaths tell us about the politics of female joy? In Death by Laughter: Female Hysteria and Early Cinema (Columbia University Press, 2024), Dr. Maggie Hennefeld reveals the forgotten histories of “hysterical laughter,” exploring how women’s amusement has been theorised and demonised, suppressed and exploited. In nineteenth-century medicine and culture, hysteria was an ailment that afflicted unruly women on the cusp of emotional or nervous breakdown. Cinema, Hennefeld argues, made it possible for women to laugh outrageously as never before, with irreversible social and political consequences. As female enjoyment became a surefire promise of profitability, alarmist tales of women laughing themselves to death epitomised the tension between subversive pleasure and its violent repression. Dr. Hennefeld traces the social politics of women’s laughter from the heyday of nineteenth-century sentimentalism to the collective euphoria of early film spectatorship, traversing contagious dancing outbreaks, hysteria photography, madwomen’s cackling, cinematic close-ups, and screenings of slapstick movies in mental asylums. Placing little-known silent films and an archive of remarkable, often unusual texts in conversation with affect theory, comedy studies, and feminist film theory, this book makes a timely case for the power of hysterical laughter to change the world. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/25/202459 minutes, 52 seconds
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Tim Lanzendörfer, "Utopian Pasts and Futures in the Contemporary American Novel" (Edinburgh UP, 2023)

Tim Lanzendörfer's Utopian Pasts and Futures in the Contemporary American Novel (Edinburgh UP, 2023) highlights the emergence of a literary mode, speculative historism, over the past two decades in U.S. literature. Discussing in depth novels by writers such as Ken Kalfus, Joyce Carol Oates, and Colson Whitehead, among others, it integrates questions of critical method, genre, form, and literary theory, all of which have some urgency today. Addressing itself to the question of how to read this mode through a form of utopian hermeneutics, this study explores the formal constitution, narrative choices, and place in the wider literary market of a mode that it believes to be constitutively important for understanding American literature's struggle with the possibility of imagining hopeful futures. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/24/202441 minutes, 16 seconds
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George S. Takach, "Cold War 2.0: Artificial Intelligence in the New Battle between China, Russia, and America" (Pegasus Book, 2024)

A vivid, thoughtful examination of how technological innovation—especially AI—is shaping the tensions between democracy and autocracy during the new Cold War.  So much of what we hear about China and Russia today likens the relationship between these two autocracies and the West to a “rivalry” or a “great-power competition.” Some might consider it alarmist to say we are in the midst of a second Cold War, but that may be the only responsible way to describe today’s state of affairs. What’s more, we have come a long way from Mao Zedong’s infamous observation that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Now we live in an age more aptly described by Vladimir Putin’s cryptic prophecy that “artificial intelligence is the future not only of Russia, but of all mankind, and whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become ruler of the world.”  George S. Takach’s incisive and meticulously researched new volume, Cold War 2.0: Artificial Intelligence in the New Battle between China, Russia, and America (Pegasus Book, 2024), is the book we need to thoroughly understand these frightening and perilous times. In the geopolitical sphere, there are no more pressing issues than the appalling mechanizations of a surveillance state in China, Russia’s brazen attempt to assert its autocratic model in Ukraine, and China’s increasingly likely plans to do the same in Taiwan. But the key here, Takach argues, is that our new Cold War is not only ideological but technological: the side that prevails in Cold War 2.0 will be the one that bests the other in mastering the greatest innovations of our time. Artificial intelligence sits in our pockets every day—but what about AI that coordinates military operations and missile defense systems? Or the highly sophisticated semiconductor chips and quantum computers that power those missiles and a host of other weapons? And, where recently we have seen remarkable feats of bio-engineering to produce vaccines at record speed, shouldn’t we be concerned how catastrophic it would be if bio-engineering were co-opted for nefarious purposes? Takach thoroughly examines how each of these innovations will shape the tension between democracy and autocracy, and how each will play a central role in this second Cold War. Finally, he crafts a precise blueprint for how Western democracies should handle these innovations to respond to the looming threat of autocracy—and ultimately prevail over it. AJ Woodhams hosts the "War Books" podcast. You can subscribe on Apple here and on Spotify here. War Books is on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/24/20241 hour, 8 minutes
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Emily Conroy-Krutz, "Missionary Diplomacy: Religion and Nineteenth-Century American Foreign Relations" (Cornell UP, 2024)

Missionary Diplomacy: Religion and Nineteenth-Century American Foreign Relations (Cornell University Press, 2024) illuminates the crucial place of religion in nineteenth-century American diplomacy. From the 1810s through the 1920s, Protestant missionaries positioned themselves as key experts in the development of American relations in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, and the Middle East. Missionaries served as consuls, translators, and occasional trouble-makers who forced the State Department to take actions it otherwise would have avoided. Yet as decades passed, more Americans began to question the propriety of missionaries' power. Were missionaries serving the interests of American diplomacy? Or were they creating unnecessary problems? As Dr. Emily Conroy-Krutz demonstrates, they were doing both. Across the century, missionaries forced the government to articulate new conceptions of the rights of US citizens abroad and of the role of the US as an engine of humanitarianism and religious freedom. By the time the US entered the first world war, missionary diplomacy had for nearly a century created the conditions for some Americans to embrace a vision of their country as an internationally engaged world power. Missionary Diplomacy exposes the longstanding influence of evangelical missions on the shape of American foreign relations. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/24/202449 minutes, 48 seconds
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John William Nelson, "Muddy Ground: Native Peoples, Chicago's Portage, and the Transformation of a Continent" (UNC Press, 2023)

The birchbark canoe is among the most remarkable Indigenous technologies in North America, facilitating mobility throughout the watery world of the Great Lakes region and its borderlands. In Muddy Ground: Native Peoples, Chicago's Portage, and the Transformation of a Continent (UNC Press, 2023), Texas Tech University historian John William Nelson argues that canoes, and a deep understanding of portages sites where canoes could be carried between waterways, helped secure the region around Chicago as decidedly Native space until well into the nineteenth century. By using the methodologies of borderlands history, ecotone and environmental history, and Indigenous Studies, Nelson demonstrates how the story of Chicago's array of portages runs counter to traditional narratives of the inexorable growth of European and American power in North America from the seventeenth century onwards. Indeed, the more colonizers tried to maintain a grip on this slipper landscape, the more it seemed to slide through their grasp. In Muddy Ground, Nelson takes one of the most written-about American spaces - Chicago - and turns the usual narrative on its head, showing how until settlers could actively change Chicago's landscape, it would remain a place of Indigenous power and historical possibility. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/23/20241 hour, 22 minutes, 56 seconds
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John William Nelson, "Muddy Ground: Native Peoples, Chicago's Portage, and the Transformation of a Continent" (UNC Press, 2023)

The birchbark canoe is among the most remarkable Indigenous technologies in North America, facilitating mobility throughout the watery world of the Great Lakes region and its borderlands. In Muddy Ground: Native Peoples, Chicago's Portage, and the Transformation of a Continent (UNC Press, 2023), Texas Tech University historian John William Nelson argues that canoes, and a deep understanding of portages sites where canoes could be carried between waterways, helped secure the region around Chicago as decidedly Native space until well into the nineteenth century. By using the methodologies of borderlands history, ecotone and environmental history, and Indigenous Studies, Nelson demonstrates how the story of Chicago's array of portages runs counter to traditional narratives of the inexorable growth of European and American power in North America from the seventeenth century onwards. Indeed, the more colonizers tried to maintain a grip on this slipper landscape, the more it seemed to slide through their grasp. In Muddy Ground, Nelson takes one of the most written-about American spaces - Chicago - and turns the usual narrative on its head, showing how until settlers could actively change Chicago's landscape, it would remain a place of Indigenous power and historical possibility. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/23/20241 hour, 22 minutes, 56 seconds
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David Ostrowsky, "Roberto Alomar: The Complicated Life and Legacy of a Baseball Hall of Famer" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2024)

Roberto Alomar was not just a five-tool Hall of Famer; he was a magician on the diamond, a generational talent whose defensive wizardry left teammates and opponents breathless. Yet, despite his twelve All-Star selections and ten Gold Glove awards, he has remained one of the most contentious and enigmatic characters in baseball’s history. Roberto Alomar: The Complicated Life and Legacy of a Baseball Hall of Famer (Roman & Littlefield, 2024) is the first complete, balanced biography of arguably the greatest second baseman in the history of Major League Baseball. It covers Alomar’s impressive career, his altercation with umpire John Hirschbeck and their eventual friendship, the allegations stemming from Alomar’s personal life, never-before-heard stories about his conflicts with both minor and major league teammates, and his global influence. When Roberto Alomar retired in 2005, his place as one of baseball’s all-time greats was unquestioned. But the controversies that always seem to follow him make Alomar’s legacy far from clear. Drawing on dozens of personal interviews with Alomar’s former teammates and opponents, Roberto Alomar pulls back the curtain on one of the most significant, divisive, and perplexing figures in baseball history. Paul Knepper covered the New York Knicks for Bleacher Report. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers That Almost Won It All was published in 2020. You can reach Paul at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/22/202443 minutes, 23 seconds
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Tonia Sutherland, "Resurrecting the Black Body: Race and the Digital Afterlife" (U California Press, 2023)

The first critical examination of death and remembrance in the digital age—and an invitation to imagine Black digital sovereignty in life and death. In Resurrecting the Black Body: Race and the Digital Afterlife (U California Press, 2023), Tonia Sutherland considers the consequences of digitally raising the dead. Attending to the violent deaths of Black Americans—and the records that document them—from slavery through the social media age, Sutherland explores media evidence, digital acts of remembering, and the right and desire to be forgotten. From the popular image of Gordon (also known as "Whipped Peter") to photographs of the lynching of Jesse Washington to the video of George Floyd's murder, from DNA to holograms to posthumous communication, this book traces the commodification of Black bodies and lives across time. Through the lens of (anti-)Blackness in the United States, Sutherland interrogates the intersections of life, death, personal data, and human autonomy in the era of Google, Twitter, and Facebook, and presents a critique of digital resurrection technologies. If the Black digital afterlife is rooted in bigotry and inspires new forms of racialized aggression, Resurrecting the Black Body asks what other visions of life and remembrance are possible, illuminating the unique ways that Black cultures have fought against erasure and oblivion. Peter C. Kunze is an assistant professor of communication at Tulane University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/22/202458 minutes, 58 seconds
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Anelise Hanson Shrout, "Aiding Ireland: The Great Famine and the Rise of Transnational Philanthropy" (NYU Press, 2024)

Famine brought ruin to the Irish countryside in the nineteenth century. In response, people around the world and from myriad social, ethnic, and religious backgrounds became involved in Irish famine relief. They included enslaved Black people in Virginia, poor tenant farmers in rural New York, and members of the Cherokee and Choctaw nations, as well as plantation owners in the US south, abolitionists in Pennsylvania, and, politicians in England and Ireland. Most of these people had no personal connection to Ireland. For many, the famine was their first time participating in distant philanthropy. Aiding Ireland: The Great Famine and the Rise of Transnational Philanthropy (NYU Press, 2024) investigates the Irish famine as a foundational moment for normalising international giving. Dr. Anelise Hanson Shrout argues that these diverse men and women found famine relief to be politically useful. Shrout takes readers from Ireland to Britain, across the Atlantic to the United States, and across the Mississippi to Indian Territory, uncovering what was to be gained for each group by participating in global famine relief. Aiding Ireland demonstrates that international philanthropy and aid are never simple, and are always intertwined with politics both at home and abroad. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/22/202455 minutes, 4 seconds
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Amy Absher, "Fritzie: The Invented Life and Violent Murder of a Flapper" (U Oklahoma Press, 2023)

One January day in 1923, a young boy came across the dead body of a twenty-year-old woman on a San Diego beach. When the police arrived on the scene, they found the woman’s calling card, which read simply, “I am Fritzie Mann.” Yet Fritzie’s identity, as revealed in this compelling history, was anything but simple, and her death—eventually ruled a homicide—captured public attention for months. In Fritzie: The Invented Life and Violent Murder of a Flapper (U Oklahoma Press, 2023), historian Amy Absher reveals how broader cultural forces, including gendered violence, sexual liberation, and evolving urban conditions in the American West, shaped the course of Mann’s life and contributed to her tragic death. Frieda “Fritizie” Mann had several identities during her brief life, and the mysterious circumstances of her death raise as many questions as they do answers. She was born in 1903 near the present border between Poland and Ukraine. She and her family were Jewish immigrants who traveled to San Diego to find security and prosperity. In the last year of her life, Mann became locally famous. She had reinvented herself as a flapper and “Oriental” dancer. She claimed to have friends in Hollywood and a movie contract. On the night of her murder, she said she was going to a party to meet her Hollywood friends; instead she traveled to an isolated roadside hotel where she met her death. An autopsy revealed that she was four and a half months pregnant. Absher guides the reader through the intricacies of this true crime story as it unfolded, from the initial flawed investigation to the sensationalized press coverage and the ultimate failure of the legal system to ensure justice on Mann’s behalf. Like other “new women” of her era, Fritzie Mann adopted roles that promised liberation from the control of men. In the end, her life and early death suggest the opposite: she became the victim of a culture that consumed women even as it purported to celebrate them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/21/202431 minutes, 34 seconds
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Beth Linker, "Slouch: Posture Panic in Modern America" (Princeton UP, 2024)

In 1995, a scandal erupted when the New York Times revealed that the Smithsonian possessed a century's worth of nude "posture" photos of college students. In this riveting history, Beth Linker tells why these photos were only a small part of the incredible story of twentieth-century America's largely forgotten posture panic--a decades-long episode in which it was widely accepted as scientific fact that Americans were suffering from an epidemic of bad posture, with potentially catastrophic health consequences. Tracing the rise and fall of this socially manufactured epidemic, Slouch: Posture Panic in Modern America (Princeton UP, 2024) also tells how this period continues to feed today's widespread anxieties about posture. In the early twentieth century, the eugenics movement and fears of disability gave slouching a new scientific relevance. Bad posture came to be seen as an individual health threat, an affront to conventional race hierarchies, and a sign of American decline. What followed were massive efforts to measure, track, and prevent slouching and, later, back pain--campaigns that reached schools, workplaces, and beyond, from the creation of the American Posture League to posture pageants. The popularity of posture-enhancing products, such as girdles and lumbar supports, exploded, as did new fitness programs focused on postural muscles, such as Pilates and modern yoga. By 1970, student protests largely brought an end to school posture exams and photos, but many efforts to fight bad posture continued, despite a lack of scientific evidence. A compelling history that mixes seriousness and humor, Slouch is a unique and provocative account of the unexpected origins of our largely unquestioned ideas about bad posture. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/21/202430 minutes, 5 seconds
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Looking into the Heart of Arizona: A Discussion with Author Tom Zoellner

In Rim to River: Looking into the Heart of Arizona (University of Arizona Press, 2023), Tom Zoellner, a fifth-generation Arizonan, takes the reader on a walk across the length of the state, his narrative interspersed with essays on Arizona’s history, culture and politics. Our conversation focuses on such topics as how Arizona anticipated the Trump Era in America—how “the scent of oncoming Trumpism,” as he writes in Rim to River, became such a pronounced feature of his native state’s political and cultural landscape. Yet the story of Arizona remains in flux, as migrants pour in not just from across the border with Mexico but from fellow U.S. states. Zoellner’s Arizona may yet end up foreshadowing America’s post-Trump future. Veteran journalist Paul Starobin is a former Moscow bureau chief for Business Week and a former contributing editor of The Atlantic. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications. His most recent book is Putin’s Exiles: Their Fight for a Better Russia (Columbia Global Reports, 2024). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/21/202452 minutes, 46 seconds
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Heather Akou, "On the Job: A History of American Work Uniforms" (Bloomsbury, 2024)

Through a variety of archival documents, artefacts, illustrations, and references to primary and secondary literature, On the Job: A History of American Work Uniforms (Bloomsbury, 2024) by Dr. Heather Akou explores the changing styles, business practices, and lived experiences of the people who make, sell, and wear service-industry uniforms in the United States. It highlights how the uniform business is distinct from the fashion business, including how manufacturing developed outside of the typical fashion hubs such as New York City; and gives attention to the ways that various types of employers (small business, corporate, government and others) differ in their ambitions and regulations surrounding uniforms. On the Job sheds new light on an understudied yet important field of dress and clothing within everyday life, and is an essential addition to any fashion historian's library, appealing to all those interested in material culture, the service industry, heritage and history. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/21/20241 hour, 1 minute, 17 seconds
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Stephen Lee Naish, "Music and Sound in the Films of Dennis Hopper" (Routledge, 2024)

In Music and Sound in the Films of Dennis Hopper (Routledge,2024), Stephen Lee Naish explores how as a director Dennis Hopper used music and sound to propel the narrative of his work and to signpost the era in which the films were made and the characters' place within American culture. Naish examines five of Hopper's films to show how this deep engagement with music to build character and setting continued throughout his career, as Hopper used folk, punk, hip-hop, and jazz to shape the worlds of his films in ways that influenced other filmmakers and foreshadowed the advent of the music video format. As Naish demonstrates, throughout his career Hopper relied on music to propel his films and tell his stories.  In Easy Rider, Hopper was one of the first filmmakers to include popular rock, pop, and folk music on a soundtrack. In his sophomore film The Last Movie, Hopper blended diegetic performances of folk and traditional Peruvian indigenous music to create a textured piece of sound art. In Out of the Blue, Hopper used punk rock as a vibrant shock, but also as a reaction to the failed ethos of the past. In 1988's Colors he incorporated hip-hop and rap music to soundtrack the lives of the gang members who rule the streets of Los Angeles. Finally, in his 1990 film The Hot Spot, Hopper commissioned a hybrid soundtrack of jazz/blues by Miles Davis and John Lee Hooker to accompany his steamy neo-noir. Using case studies of five of Hopper's directorial films, Naish aims to uncover the film soundtrack as a vital piece of the narrative, not only in Dennis Hopper's films but in film as a whole.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/21/202448 minutes, 18 seconds
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Max Fraser, "Hillbilly Highway: The Transappalachian Migration and the Making of a White Working Class" (Princeton UP, 2023)

Over the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, as many as eight million whites left the economically depressed southern countryside and migrated to the booming factory towns and cities of the industrial Midwest in search of work. The “hillbilly highway” was one of the largest internal relocations of poor and working people in American history, yet it has largely escaped close study by historians. In Hillbilly Highway: The Transappalachian Migration and the Making of a White Working Class (Princeton University Press, 2023), Dr. Max Fraser recovers the long-overlooked story of this massive demographic event and reveals how it has profoundly influenced American history and culture—from the modern industrial labour movement and the postwar urban crisis to the rise of today’s white working-class conservatives. The book draws on a diverse range of sources—from government reports, industry archives, and union records to novels, memoirs, oral histories, and country music—to narrate the distinctive class experience that unfolded across the Transappalachian migration during these critical decades. As the migration became a terrain of both social advancement and marginalisation, it knit together white working-class communities across the Upper South and the Midwest—bringing into being a new cultural region that remains a contested battleground in American politics to the present. The compelling story of an important and neglected chapter in American history, Hillbilly Highway upends conventional wisdom about the enduring political and cultural consequences of the great migration of white southerners in the twentieth century. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/20/20241 hour, 14 minutes, 14 seconds
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Stephanie Li, "Ugly White People: Writing Whiteness in Contemporary America" (U Minnesota Press, 2023)

White Americans are confronting their whiteness more than ever before, with political and social shifts ushering in a newfound racial awareness. And with white people increasingly seeing themselves as distinctly racialized (not simply as American or human), white writers are exposing a self-awareness of white racialized behavior-from staunch antiracism to virulent forms of xenophobic nationalism. Ugly White People: Writing Whiteness in Contemporary America (U Minnesota Press, 2023) explores representations of whiteness from twenty-first-century white American authors, revealing white recognition of the ugly forms whiteness can take. Stephanie Li argues that much of the twenty-first century has been defined by this rising consciousness of whiteness because of the imminent shift to a "majority minority" population and the growing diversification of America's political, social, and cultural institutions. The result is literature that more directly grapples with whiteness as its own construct rather than a wrongly assumed norm. Li contextualizes a series of literary novels as collectively influenced by changes in racial and political attitudes. Turning to works by Dave Eggers, Sarah Smarsh, J. D. Vance, Claire Messud, Ben Lerner, and others, she traces the responses to white consciousness that breed shared manifestations of ugliness. The tension between acknowledging whiteness as an identity built on domination and the failure to remedy inequalities that have proliferated from this founding injustice is often the source of the ugly whiteness portrayed through these narratives. The questions posed in Ugly White People about the nature and future of whiteness are vital to understanding contemporary race relations in America. From the election of Trump and the rise of white nationalism to Karen memes and the war against critical race theory to the pervasive pattern of behavior among largely liberal-leaning whites, Li elucidates truths about whiteness that challenge any hope of national unity and, most devastatingly, the basic humanity of others. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/20/202441 minutes, 37 seconds
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Christina Gish Hill et al., "National Parks, Native Sovereignty: Experiments in Collaboration" (U Oklahoma Press, 2024)

The history of Native people and the National Park Service in the United States is fraught. Dispossession, cultural insensitivity, and outright erasure characterize the long relationship that the NPS has with Indigenous groups. But change is possible, as Drs. Christina Hill, Matthew Hill, and Brooke Neely adeptly demonstrate in National Parks, National Sovereignty: Experiments in Collaboration (U of Oklahoma Press, 2024). This edited collection contains several case studies that focus not just on critique, but practical tools and outcomes for use by public historians interested in forging partnerships between scholars and Native communities. The book also contains full-text interviews with people who have on-the-ground experience in forging these kinds of partnerships, including Gerard Baker, the first Native person to act as superintendent of Mount Rushmore and several other NPS sites. This book serves as a guide to forging new relationships between history institutions and Native communities, and shows that collaboration can be a bridge to telling truer, more democratic, stories. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/20/20241 hour, 20 minutes, 11 seconds
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Coretta M. Pittman, "Literacy in a Long Blues Note: Black Women’s Literature and Music in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries" (UP of Mississippi, 2022)

Literacy in a Long Blues Note: Black Women’s Literature and Music in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries by Coretta M. Pittman (University Press of Mississippi, 2022) traces the evolution of Black women’s literacy practices from 1892 to 1934.  Pittman explores two distinct but related eras of Black women’s writing—the Women’s Era of the 1890s and early 1900s, and the New Negro Movement of the 1920s and 1930s. Casting a wide net, Pittman analyzes fiction, nonfiction, and dramatic writing by Black women along with songs performed and written by classic blues singers like Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and Victoria Spivey. This innovative approach allows Pittman to show how women from these two generations approached issues of class, respectability, uplift, and empowerment. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/19/202450 minutes, 19 seconds
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Xaq Frohlich on the History of Food Labeling

Peoples & Things host Lee Vinsel talks with Xaq Frolich, Associate Professor of History at Auburn University, about his new book, From Label to Table: Regulating Food in America in the Information Age (University of California Press, 2023). From Label to Table tells the fascinating history of the US Food and Drug Administration’s spreading authority of food regulation over the 20th century, which, after many twists and turns, culminated in the mandatory standardized food label featured on all packaged foods sold in the United States. The pair also talk about more recent controversies, such as labeling around genetically modified organisms, organic farming, and trans fats. Finally, they discuss Frolich’s plans for future work, including fascinating potential projects on the history of the Mediterranean Diet and the history of food packaging. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/18/20241 hour, 30 minutes, 56 seconds
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Rachel Gordan, "Postwar Stories: How Books Made Judaism American" (Oxford UP, 2024)

The period immediately following World War II was an era of dramatic transformation for Jews in America. At the start of the 1940s, President Roosevelt had to all but promise that if Americans entered the war, it would not be to save the Jews. By the end of the decade, antisemitism was in decline and Jews were moving toward general acceptance in American society. Drawing on several archives, magazine articles, and nearly-forgotten bestsellers, Postwar Stories: How Books Made Judaism American (Oxford University Press, 2024) by Dr. Rachel Gordan examines how Jewish middlebrow literature helped to shape post-Holocaust American Jewish identity. For both Jews and non-Jews accustomed to antisemitic tropes and images, positive depictions of Jews had a normalising effect. Maybe Jews were just like other Americans, after all. At the same time, anti-antisemitism novels and “Introduction to Judaism” literature helped to popularise the idea of Judaism as an American religion. In the process, these two genres contributed to a new form of Judaism—one that fit within the emerging myth of America as a Judeo-Christian nation, and yet displayed new confidence in revealing Judaism's divergences from Christianity. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/18/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 47 seconds
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John O’Connor, "The Secret History of Bigfoot: Field Notes on a North American Monster" (Sourcebooks, 2024)

Bigfoot is an instantly recognizable figure. Through the decades, this elusive primate has been featured in movies and books, on coffee mugs, beer koozies, car polish, and CBD oil. Which begs the question: what is it about Bigfoot that's caught hold of our imaginations? Journalist and self-diagnosed skeptic John O'Connor is fascinated by Sasquatch. In The Secret History of Bigfoot: Field Notes on a North American Monster (Sourcebooks, 2024), he embarks on a quest through the North American wilds in search of Bigfoot, its myth and meaning. Alongside an eccentric cast of characters, he explores the zany and secretive world of "cryptozoology," tracking Bigfoot through ancient folklore to Harry and the Hendersons, while examining the forces behind our ever-widening belief in the supernatural. As O'Connor treks through the shrouded forests of the Pacific Northwest, listens to firsthand accounts, and attends Bigfoot conventions, he's left wondering―what happens when the lines between myth and reality blur? Perfect for fans of Bill Bryson and Douglas Preston, and with sharp wit and an adventurous spirit, this heartfelt exploration of a cornerstone of American folklore unpacks why we believe in the things that we do, what that says about us, and how it shapes our world. John O’Connor was born and raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and attended the creative writing program at Columbia University, where he wrote his thesis on competitive eating. His writing has appeared in The Believer, Quarterly West and Gastronomica, among other publications. Daniel Moran earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in History from Drew University. The author of Creating Flannery O’Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers and articles on G. K. Chesterton and John Ford, he teaches research and writing at Rutgers and co-hosts the podcast Fifteen-Minute Film Fanatics, found here on the New Books Network and on X. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/16/202452 minutes, 28 seconds
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Ellen E. Jones, "Screen Deep: How Film and TV Can Solve Racism and Save the World" (Faber and Faber, 2024)

Why does race matter in film and TV? In Screen Deep: How Film and TV Can Solve Racism and Save the World (Faber and Faber, 2024), Ellen E. Jones, a journalist, broadcaster and the co-host of the BBC’s Screenshot, shows how the storytelling potential offered by screen media shape how we understand ourselves and our societies. The book covers a huge range of genres in film and TV, from superheroes and horror, through romance and crime, to costume drama, comedy and westerns. It tells the history of race in Hollywood, the struggles over British history on screen, and how filmmakers are challenging genre stereotypes across screen industries. Offering a powerful call to reimagine the power, potential, and possibilities offered by film and TV, the book is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary culture as well as a more just and equal world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/16/202448 minutes, 27 seconds
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Andrew J. Kirkendall, "Hemispheric Alliances: Liberal Democrats and Cold War Latin America" (UNC Press, 2022)

Hemispheric foreign policy has waxed and waned since the Mexican War, and the Cold War presented both extraordinary promises and dangerous threats to U.S.-Latin American cooperation.  In Hemispheric Alliances: Liberal Democrats and Cold War Latin America (UNC Press, 2022), Andrew J. Kirkendall examines the strengths and weaknesses of new models for U.S.-Latin American relations created by liberal Democrats who came to the fore during the Kennedy Administration and retained significant influence until the Reagan era. Rather than exerting ironfisted power in Latin America, liberal Democrats urged Washington to be a moral rather than a militaristic leader in hemispheric affairs. Decolonization, President Eisenhower's missteps in Latin America, and the Cuban Revolution all played key roles in the Kennedy administration's Alliance for Progress, which liberal Democrats hailed as a new cornerstone for U.S.-Latin American foreign policy. During the Vietnam War era, liberal Democrats began to incorporate human rights more centrally into their agendas, using Latin America as the primary arena for these policies. During the long period of military dictatorship in much of Latin America and the Caribbean, liberal Democrats would see their policies dissolved by the Nixon, Reagan, and Bush administrations who favored militant containment of both communism and absolutism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/16/20241 hour, 44 minutes, 4 seconds
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Lisa Messeri, "In the Land of the Unreal: Virtual and Other Realities in Los Angeles" (Duke UP, 2024)

In the mid-2010s, a passionate community of Los Angeles-based storytellers, media artists, and tech innovators formed around virtual reality (VR), believing that it could remedy society’s ills. Lisa Messeri offers an ethnographic exploration of this community, which conceptualized VR as an “empathy machine” that could provide glimpses into diverse social realities. She outlines how, in the aftermath of #MeToo, the backlash against Silicon Valley, and the turmoil of the Trump administration, it was imagined that VR—if led by women and other marginalized voices—could bring about a better world. Messeri delves into the fantasies that allowed this vision to flourish, exposing the paradox of attempting to use a singular VR experience to mend a fractured reality full of multiple, conflicting social truths. She theorizes this dynamic as unreal, noting how dreams of empathy collide with reality’s irreducibility to a “common” good. With In the Land of the Unreal: Virtual and Other Realities in Los Angeles (Duke UP, 2024), Messeri navigates the intersection of place, technology, and social change to show that technology alone cannot upend systemic forces attached to gender and race. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/16/20241 hour, 9 minutes, 44 seconds
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Myisha Cherry, "Failures of Forgiveness: What We Get Wrong and How to Do Better" (Princeton UP, 2023)

From religion to popular culture, institutions and people have shaped how we conceive forgiveness. Myisha Cherry, associate professor of philosophy, argues that these understandings have been limiting or even narrow. Those ideas, in turn, have been harmful to society. In Failures of Forgiveness: What We Get Wrong and How to Do Better (Princeton University Press 2023), Cherry offers a new conceptualization of forgiveness rooted in a holistic approach. Dr. N'Kosi Oates is a curator and assistant professor. He earned his Ph.D. in Africana Studies from Brown University. Find him on Twitter at DrNKosiOates. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/15/202442 minutes, 52 seconds
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Jonathan W. White, "Shipwrecked: A True Civil War Story of Mutinies, Jailbreaks, Blockade-Running, and the Slave Trade" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2023)

In Shipwrecked: A True Civil War Story of Mutinies, Jailbreaks, Blockade-Running, and the Slave Trade (Rowman & Littlefield, 2023), historian Jonathan W. White tells the riveting story of Appleton Oaksmith, a swashbuckling sea captain whose life intersected with some of the most important moments, movements, and individuals of the mid-19th century, from the California Gold Rush, filibustering schemes in Nicaragua, Cuban liberation, and the Civil War and Reconstruction. Most importantly, the book depicts the extraordinary lengths the Lincoln Administration went to destroy the illegal trans-Atlantic slave trade.  Using Oaksmith’s case as a lens, White takes readers into the murky underworld of New York City, where federal marshals plied the docks in lower Manhattan in search of evidence of slave trading. Once they suspected Oaksmith, federal authorities had him arrested and convicted, but in 1862 he escaped from jail and became a Confederate blockade-runner in Havana. The Lincoln Administration tried to have him kidnapped in violation of international law, but the attempt was foiled. Always claiming innocence, Oaksmith spent the next decade in exile until he received a presidential pardon from U.S. Grant, at which point he moved to North Carolina and became an anti-Klan politician. Through a remarkable, fast-paced story, this book will give readers a new perspective on slavery and shifting political alliances during the turbulent Civil War Era. Omari Averette-Phillips is a doctoral student in the Department of History at UC Davis. He can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/15/202439 minutes, 49 seconds
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Whitney Nell Stewart, "This Is Our Home: Slavery and Struggle on Southern Plantations" (UNC Press, 2023)

The cultural memory of plantations in the Old South has long been clouded by myth. A recent reckoning with the centrality of slavery to the US national story, however, has shifted the meaning of these sites. Plantations are no longer simply seen as places of beauty and grandiose hospitality; their reality as spaces of enslavement, exploitation, and violence is increasingly at the forefront of our scholarly and public narratives. Yet even this reckoning obscures what these sites meant to so many forced to live and labor on them: plantations were Black homes as much as white. Insightfully reading the built environment of plantations, considering artifact fragments found in excavations of slave dwellings, and drawing on legal records and plantation owners' papers, Whitney Nell Stewart illuminates how enslaved people struggled to make home amid innumerable constraints and obstacles imposed by white southerners.  In This Is Our Home: Slavery and Struggle on Southern Plantations (UNC Press, 2023), Stewart demonstrates how homemaking was a crucial part of the battle over slavery and freedom, a fight that continues today in consequential confrontations over who has the right to call this nation home. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/15/20241 hour, 30 minutes, 50 seconds
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Secret Harvests: A Hidden Story of Separation and the Resilience of a Family Farm

Today’s book is: Secret Harvests: A Hidden Story of Separation and the Resilience of a Family Farm (Red Hen Press, 2023), by David Mas Masumoto. In his new memoir, Mas discovers his “lost” aunt. She had been taken away in 1942 when all Japanese Americans were considered the enemy and imprisoned. Due to a disability, she became a “ward” of the state; and his family believed she had died. Then came a surprising phone call—she was alive and living a few miles from their family farm. As Mas discovers, every family has secrets, silences, and lives among their unanswered questions. As Mas learns about his aunt, he asks, How did she survive? Why was she kept hidden? The book interrogates how both shame and resilience empowered his family to forge forward in a land that did not want them. Mas shares how he is driven to explore his identity and the meaning of family—especially as farmers tied to the land. In doing so, he uncovers family secrets that bind his family to a sense of history buried in the earth they work and a sense of place that defines them. Secret Harvests is a story of a family separated by racism against Japanese Americans and the discrimination of people with developmental disabilities—reunited seventy years later, returning to their roots on a farm, and bound by family secrets. Our guest is: David Mas Masumoto is an organic farmer, author, and activist. His book Epitaph for a Peach won the Julia Child Cookbook award and was a finalist for a James Beard award. His writing has been awarded a Commonwealth Club of California silver medal and the Independent Publisher Books bronze medal. He has been honored by Rodale Institute as an "Organic Pioneer." He has served on the boards of the James Irvine Foundation, Public Policy Institute of California, Cal Humanities, and the National Council on the Arts with nomination by President Obama. He farms with his wife Marcy and two adult children, Nikiko and Koro. They reside in a hundred-year-old farmhouse surrounded by their eighty-acre organic peach, nectarine, apricot, and raisin farm outside of Fresno, California. Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, who is the creator of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in history, which she uses to explore what stories we tell and what happens to those we never tell. Listeners may also be interested in: The Ungrateful Refugee Who Gets Believed? Welcome to Academic Life, the podcast for your academic journey—and beyond! Join us to learn from experts inside and outside the academy, and around the world. Missed any of the 200+ Academic Life episodes? You’ll find them all archived here. You can support the show by downloading episodes and by telling a friend about them, because knowledge should be shared. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/14/20241 hour, 4 minutes, 1 second
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Foster Care, Family, and Social Class: A Conversation with Rob Henderson

Robert Kim Henderson, a recently-minted psychology PhD from Cambridge and prominent essayist, had a troubled childhood. A victim of child abuse, he was shuffled through the foster care system, then finally settled in a family in a working-class California town, only to become a child of divorce. At 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Airforce, and went on to earn his BA from Yale and become a Gates Scholar at Cambridge.  His debut book, Troubled: A Memoir of Foster Care, Family, and Social Class (Gallery Books, 2024), delves into his unstable childhood and the ways in which elite Americans misunderstand the nature and challenges of class differences. In this conversation, Rob digs into his book and its implications, discussing the nature and history of American poverty, the prominence of "luxury beliefs," a term he coined to describe counter-productive beliefs on sex and politics meant to showcase affluence, and why his message has been so poorly received in elite circles, including a discussion of why and how it was excluded from the New York Times best-seller list. Along the way, he delves into pop culture, gives reading recommendations, and more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/14/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 25 seconds
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Thomas Mareite, "Conditional Freedom: Free Soil and Fugitive Slaves from the U.S. South to Mexico's Northeast, 1803-1861" (Brill, 2024)

While the literature on slave flight in nineteenth-century North America has commonly focused on fugitive slaves escaping to the U.S. North and Canada, Conditional Freedom: Free Soil and Fugitive Slaves from the U.S. South to Mexico's Northeast, 1803-1861 (Brill, 2024) provides new insights on the social and political geography of freedom and slavery in nineteenth-century North America by exploring the development of southern routes of escape from slavery in the U.S. South and the experiences of self-emancipated slaves in the U.S.–Mexico borderlands. In Conditional Freedom, Thomas Mareite offers a social history of U.S. refugees from slavery, and provides a political history of the clash between Mexican free soil and the spread of slavery west of the Mississippi valley during the nineteenth-century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/13/202459 minutes, 51 seconds
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Janine Giordano Drake, "The Gospel of Church: How Mainline Protestants Vilified Christian Socialism and Fractured the Labor Movement" (Oxford UP, 2023)

In 1908, Unitarian pastor Bertrand Thompson observed the momentous growth of the labor movement with alarm. "Socialism," he wrote, "has become a distinct substitute" for the church. He was not wrong. In the generation after the Civil War, few of the migrants who moved North and West to take jobs in factories and mines had any association with traditional Protestant denominations. In the place of church, workers built a labor movement around a shared commitment to a Christian commonwealth. They demanded an expanded local, state and federal infrastructure which supported collective bargaining for better pay, shorter work-days, and an array of municipal services. Protestant clergy worried that if the labor movement kept growing in momentum and cultural influence, socialist policies would displace the need for churches and their many ministries to the poor. Even worse, they feared that the labor movement would render the largest Protestant denominations a relic of the nineteenth century. In The Gospel of Church: How Mainline Protestants Vilified Christian Socialism and Fractured the Labor Movement (Oxford UP, 2023), Janine Giordano Drake carefully traces the relationships which Protestant ministers built with labor unions and working class communities. She finds that Protestant ministers worked hard to assert their cultural authority over Catholic, Jewish, and religiously-unaffiliated working-class communities. Moreover, they rarely supported the most important demands of labor, including freedom of speech and the right to collective bargaining. Despite their heroic narratives of Christian social reform, Protestant reformers' efforts to assert their authority over industrial affairs directly undermined workers' efforts to bring about social democracy in the United States. Matt Simmons is an Assistant Professor of History at Emmanuel University where he teaches courses in U.S. and public history. His research interests focus on the intersection of labor and race in the twentieth-century American South. You can follow him on X @matthewfsimmons. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/13/202442 minutes, 42 seconds
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Korey Garibaldi, "Impermanent Blackness: The Making and Unmaking of Interracial Literary Culture in Modern America" (Princeton UP, 2023)

In Impermanent Blackness: The Making and Unmaking of Interracial Literary Culture in Modern America (Princeton UP, 2023), Korey Garibaldi explores interracial collaborations in American commercial publishing—authors, agents, and publishers who forged partnerships across racial lines—from the 1910s to the 1960s. Garibaldi shows how aspiring and established Black authors and editors worked closely with white interlocutors to achieve publishing success, often challenging stereotypes and advancing racial pluralism in the process. Impermanent Blackness explores the complex nature of this almost-forgotten period of interracial publishing by examining key developments, including the mainstream success of African American authors in the 1930s and 1940s, the emergence of multiracial children’s literature, postwar tensions between supporters of racial cosmopolitanism and of “Negro literature,” and the impact of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements on the legacy of interracial literary culture. By the end of the 1960s, some literary figures once celebrated for pushing the boundaries of what Black writing could be, including the anthologist W. S. Braithwaite, the bestselling novelist Frank Yerby, the memoirist Juanita Harrison, and others, were forgotten or criticized as too white. And yet, Garibaldi argues, these figures—at once dreamers and pragmatists—have much to teach us about building an inclusive society. Revisiting their work from a contemporary perspective, Garibaldi breaks new ground in the cultural history of race in the United States. Korey Garibaldi is Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/13/20241 hour, 14 minutes, 23 seconds
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Judith Tick, "Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song" (Norton, 2023)

Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996) was one of America’s greatest musicians. In this major biography, Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer who Transformed American Song (Norton 2023), Judith Tick documents Ella’s importance as a music maker, the ups and downs of her career, and her place in the music industry. Singers are often sidelined in histories of jazz, and jazz critics often celebrated instrumentalists over vocalists in their commentary. Consequently, many authors have not taken Ella seriously as a musical innovator, composer, arranger, or creative performer. Judith Tick shows that Ella was all these things and more. She provides new information about Ella’s family and early career, and analyzes how Ella negotiated the ever-shifting lines between jazz and pop. Tick shows that Ella was an ambitious risk-taker whose musical curiosity and skill led her to make some of the twentieth-century’s most important recordings, and helped establish the great American songbook. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/12/202455 minutes, 55 seconds
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Rachel Jamison Webster, "Benjamin Banneker and Us: Eleven Generations of an American Family" (Henry Holt, 2023)

In 1791, Thomas Jefferson hired a Black man to help survey Washington, DC. That man was Benjamin Banneker, an African American mathematician, a writer of almanacs, and one of the greatest astronomers of his generation. Banneker then wrote what would become a famous letter to Jefferson, imploring the new president to examine his hypocrisy, as someone who claimed to love liberty yet was an enslaver. More than two centuries later, Rachel Jamison Webster, an ostensibly white woman, learns that this groundbreaking Black forefather is also her distant relative. In Benjamin Banneker and Us: Eleven Generations of an American Family (Henry Holt, 2023), Webster draws on oral history and conversations with her DNA cousins to imagine the lives of their shared ancestors across eleven generations, among them Banneker’s grandparents, an interracial couple who broke the law to marry when America was still a conglomerate of colonies under British rule. These stories shed light on the legal construction of race and display the brilliance and resistance of early African Americans in the face of increasingly unjust laws, some of which are still in effect in the present day. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/11/202433 minutes
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David Savran, "Tell It to the World: The Broadway Musical Abroad" (Oxford UP, 2024)

Tell It to the World: The Broadway Musical Abroad (Oxford UP, 2024) offers a look at how the Broadway musical travels the world, influencing and even transforming local practices and traditions. It traces especially how the musical has been indigenized in South Korea and Germany, the commercial centers for Broadway musicals in East Asia and continental Europe. Both countries were occupied after World War II by the United States, which disseminated U.S. American popular music, jazz, movies, and musical theatre in the belief that these nations needed to rebuild their cultures in accordance with U.S. guidelines. By the 1990s, Broadway imports had become phenomenally popular in Seoul and Hamburg while home-grown musicals proliferated that adapted and transformed the prototypes that had been disseminated by the U.S. Although this book focuses on recent musicals, it also looks back through the twentieth century to plot the evolution of musical theatre in South Korea and Germany. Part One considers the key questions: What is a musical? Why is it the great success story of U.S. theatre? How has it been assimilated to musical theatre traditions around the world? Part Two focuses on musical theatre in South Korea, studying the import/export business in large-scale musicals about Korean history and innovative hybrid experiments that mix local performance traditions with the Broadway vernacular. Part Three moves to Europe to analyze the conflicted attitudes toward musicals in the German-speaking world. Its three chapters survey the history of musicals in Germany from 1945 until the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reconfiguration of musical theatre conventions by experimental directors, and finally the ground-breaking German-language productions of Broadway classics by Barrie Kosky and other innovative directors. In the twenty-first century, Broadway-style musical theatre has succeeded in becoming a lingua franca, the template for musical theatre around the world. This book shows how some of the most innovative, beautiful, and exciting musical theatre is being made outside the United States. Peter C. Kunze is a visiting assistant professor of communication at Tulane University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/11/202458 minutes, 53 seconds
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Reading Taylor Swift as a Cultural and Political Text

It’s the UConn Popcast, and Taylor Swift is by some measures the most popular person on the planet. Her periodic reinventions set the mass cultural terms of debate, and her political interventions – through exhorting her fans on social media – lead to huge spikes in voter registration. It is hoped by Democrats, and feared by Republicans, that a Taylor endorsement of Joe Biden in 2024 might meaningfully tip the scales in favor of reelection. In this episode, we consider Taylor Swift as a popular and political text, over which she exercises substantial, but not total, authorial control. What role in the culture does she play? How should we interpret her recent association with the NFL? How do the parasocial relationships of her fans – “Swifties” – to the artist herself contribute to authorship of the Taylor text. And how should we read the counter-subversive conspiratorial responses to her halting forays into electoral politics? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/11/20241 hour, 4 minutes, 56 seconds
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Flora Lu and Emily Murai, "Critical Campus Sustainabilities: Bridging Social Justice and the Environment in Higher Education" (Springer, 2023)

In response to student demands reflecting the urgency of societal and ecological problems, universities are making a burgeoning effort to infuse environmental sustainability efforts with social justice. In this edited volume, we extend calls for higher education leaders to revamp programming, pedagogy, and research that problematically reproduce dominant techno-scientific and managerial conceptualizations of sustainability. Students, staff and community partners, especially those from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups, are at the forefront of calls for critical sustainabilities programming, education and collaborations. Their work centers themes of power relations, (in)equity, accessibility, and social (in)justice to study the interrelationships between humans, non-humans, and the environment. Their voices, perspectives and lived experiences are provocations for institutions to think and act more expansively.  Critical Campus Sustainabilities: Bridging Social Justice and the Environment in Higher Education (Springer, 2023) amplifies some of these voices and bottom up efforts toward a more critical approach to sustainability on campus. We ground our recommendations on findings from campus-wide surveys that were taken by over 8,000 undergraduates in 2016, 2019, and 2022. Furthermore, we share the design principles and lessons learned from several innovative, award-winning initiatives designed to foster critical sustainabilities at UC Santa Cruz. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/11/202452 minutes, 48 seconds
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Amy Paeth, "The American Poet Laureate" A History of U.S. Poetry and the State" (Columbia UP, 2023)

The American Poet Laureate: A History of U.S. Poetry and the State (Columbia University Press, 2023) by Dr. Amy Paeth shows how the state has been the silent centre of poetic production in the United States since World War II. It is the first history of the national poetry office, the U.S. poet laureate, highlighting the careers of Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Pinsky, Tracy K. Smith, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Joy Harjo at the nation’s Capitol. It is also a history of how these state poets participated in national arts programming during the Cold War. Drawing on previously unexplored archival materials at the Library of Congress and materials at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Dr. Paeth describes the interactions of federal bodies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the State Department, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with literary organisations and with private patrons, including “Prozac heiress” Ruth Lilly. The consolidation of public and private interests is crucial to the development of state verse culture, recognizable at the first National Poetry Festival in 1962, which followed Robert Frost’s “Mission to Moscow,” and which became dominant in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The American Poet Laureate contributes to a growing body of institutional and sociological approaches to U.S. literary production in the postwar era and demonstrates how poetry has played a uniquely important, and largely underacknowledged, role in the cultural front of the Cold War. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/11/202453 minutes, 21 seconds
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Sharon D. Wright Austin, "Political Black Girl Magic: The Elections and Governance of Black Female Mayors" (Temple UP, 2023)

Political Black Girl Magic: The Elections and Governance of Black Female Mayors (Temple UP, 2023) explores black women's experiences as mayors in American cities. The editor and contributors to this comprehensive volume examine black female mayoral campaigns and elections where race and gender are a factor--and where deracialized campaigns have garnered candidate support from white as well as Hispanic and Asian American voters. Chapters also consider how Black female mayors govern, from discussions of their pursuit of economic growth and how they use their power to enact positive reforms to the challenges they face that inhibit their abilities to cater to neglected communities. Case studies in this interdisciplinary volume include female mayors in Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Chicago, Compton, and Washington, DC, among other cities, along with discussion of each official's political context. Covering mayors from the 1960s to the present, Political Black Girl Magic identifies the most significant obstacles black women have faced as mayors and mayoral candidates, and seeks to understand how race, gender, or the combination of both affected them. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/11/202446 minutes, 17 seconds
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Sean M. Kelley, "American Slavers: Merchants, Mariners, and the Transatlantic Commerce in Captives, 1644-1865" (Yale UP, 2023)

A total of 305,000 enslaved Africans arrived in the New World aboard American vessels over a span of two hundred years as American merchants and mariners sailed to Africa and to the Caribbean to acquire and sell captives. Using exhaustive archival research, including many collections that have never been used before, historian Sean M. Kelley argues that slave trading needs to be seen as integral to the larger story of American slavery. In American Slavers: Merchants, Mariners, and the Transatlantic Commerce in Captives, 1644-1865 (Yale UP, 2023), Kelley examines the experience of captivity, drawing on more than a hundred African narratives to offer a portrait of enslavement in the regions of Africa frequented by American ships. Kelley also provides a social history of the two American ports where slave trading was most intensive, Newport and Bristol, Rhode Island. In telling this tragic, brutal, and largely unknown story, Kelley corrects many misconceptions while leaving no doubt that Americans were a nation of slave traders. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/10/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 29 seconds
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Benjamin J. Pauli, "Flint Fights Back: Environmental Justice and Democracy in the Flint Water Crisis" (MIT Press, 2019)

Originally published in 2019, Benjamin Pauli’s book, Flint Fights Back offers lasting insights into one of the most important drinking water-caused public health crises of American history. In this 2024 interview Pauli shares some explanations from the book but also offers his insights, in this year of the 10th anniversary of the Flint Water Crisis, on what is happening in Flint today and what, after all, we have learned from the fight for clean water in Flint, Michigan. -Patricia Houser, New Books in Environmental Studies Host. An account of the Flint water crisis shows that Flint's struggle for safe and affordable water is part of a broader struggle for democracy. When Flint, Michigan, changed its source of municipal water from Lake Huron to the Flint River, Flint residents were repeatedly assured that the water was of the highest quality. At the switchover ceremony, the mayor and other officials performed a celebratory toast, declaring “Here's to Flint!” and downing glasses of freshly treated water. But as we now know, the water coming out of residents' taps harbored a variety of contaminants, including high levels of lead. In Flint Fights Back: Environmental Justice and Democracy in the Flint Water Crisis (MIT Press, 2019), Benjamin Pauli examines the water crisis and the political activism that it inspired, arguing that Flint's struggle for safe and affordable water was part of a broader struggle for democracy. Pauli connects Flint's water activism with the ongoing movement protesting the state of Michigan's policy of replacing elected officials in financially troubled cities like Flint and Detroit with appointed “emergency managers.” Currently available for free online: “The open access edition of this book was made possible by generous funding from the MIT Libraries.” Patricia Houser, Ph.D., AICP, is former professor of geography and urban planning, now focused on writing and environmental research. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/9/202438 minutes, 59 seconds
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Ilyon Woo, "Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom" (Simon and Schuster, 2023)

Ilyon Woo's Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom (Simon and Schuster, 2023) tells the remarkable true story of Ellen and William Craft, who escaped slavery through daring, determination, and disguise, with Ellen passing as a wealthy, disabled White man and William posing as “his” slave. In 1848, a year of international democratic revolt, a young, enslaved couple, Ellen and William Craft, achieved one of the boldest feats of self-emancipation in American history. Posing as master and slave, while sustained by their love as husband and wife, they made their escape together across more than 1,000 miles, riding out in the open on steamboats, carriages, and trains that took them from bondage in Georgia to the free states of the North. Along the way, they dodged slave traders, military officers, and even friends of their enslavers, who might have revealed their true identities. The tale of their adventure soon made them celebrities, and generated headlines around the country. Americans could not get enough of this charismatic young couple, who traveled another 1,000 miles criss-crossing New England, drawing thunderous applause as they spoke alongside some of the greatest abolitionist luminaries of the day—among them Frederick Douglass and William Wells Brown. But even then, they were not out of danger. With the passage of an infamous new Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, all Americans became accountable for returning refugees like the Crafts to slavery. Then yet another adventure began, as slave hunters came up from Georgia, forcing the Crafts to flee once again—this time from the United States, their lives and thousands more on the line and the stakes never higher. With three epic journeys compressed into one monumental bid for freedom, Master Slave Husband Wife is an American love story—one that would challenge the nation’s core precepts of life, liberty, and justice for all—one that challenges us even now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/9/202452 minutes, 43 seconds
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Dariusz Tołczyk, "Blissful Blindness: Soviet Crimes under Western Eyes" (Indiana UP, 2023)

The most heinous Soviet crimes - the Red Terror, brutal collectivization, the Great Famine, the Gulag, Stalin's Great Terror, mass deportations, and other atrocities - were treated in the West as a controversial topic. With the Cold War dichotomy of Western democracy versus Soviet communism deeply imprinted in our minds, we are not always aware that these crimes were very often questioned, dismissed, denied, sometimes rationalized, and even outright glorified in the Western world. Facing a choice of whom to believe -the survivors or Soviet propaganda- many Western opinion leaders chose in favor of Soviet propaganda. Even those who did not believe it behaved sometimes as if they did. Blissful Blindness: Soviet Crimes under Western Eyes (Indiana UP, 2023) explores Western reactions (and lack thereof) to Soviet crimes from the Bolshevik revolution to the collapse of Soviet communism in order to understand ideological, political, economic, cultural, personal, and other motivations behind this puzzling phenomenon of willful ignorance. But the significance of Dariusz Tolczyk's book reaches beyond its direct historical focus. Written for audiences not limited to scholars and specialists, this book not only opens one's eyes to rarely examined aspects of the twentieth century but also helps one see how astonishingly relevant this topic is in our contemporary world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/8/20241 hour, 32 minutes, 39 seconds
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Edda Fields-Black, "Combee: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid, and Black Freedom During the Civil War" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Most Americans know of Harriet Tubman's legendary life: escaping enslavement in 1849, she led more than 60 others out of bondage via the Underground Railroad, gave instructions on getting to freedom to scores more, and went on to live a lifetime fighting for change. Yet the many biographies, children's books, and films about Tubman omit a crucial chapter: during the Civil War, hired by the Union Army, she ventured into the heart of slave territory--Beaufort, South Carolina--to live, work, and gather intelligence for a daring raid up the Combahee River to attack the major plantations of Rice Country, the breadbasket of the Confederacy. In Combee: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid, and Black Freedom During the Civil War (Oxford UP, 2023), Edda L. Fields-Black--herself a descendent of one of the participants in the raid--shows how Tubman commanded a ring of spies, scouts, and pilots and participated in military expeditions behind Confederate lines. On June 2, 1863, Tubman and her crew piloted two regiments of Black US Army soldiers, the Second South Carolina Volunteers, and their white commanders up coastal South Carolina's Combahee River in three gunboats. In a matter of hours, they torched eight rice plantations and liberated 730 people, people whose Lowcountry Creole language and culture Tubman could not even understand. Black men who had liberated themselves from bondage on South Carolina's Sea Island cotton plantations after the Battle of Port Royal in November 1861 enlisted in the Second South Carolina Volunteers and risked their lives in the effort. Using previous unexamined documents, including Tubman's US Civil War Pension File, bills of sale, wills, marriage settlements, and estate papers from planters' families, Fields-Black brings to life intergenerational, extended enslaved families, neighbors, praise-house members, and sweethearts forced to work in South Carolina's deadly tidal rice swamps, sold, and separated during the antebellum period. When Tubman and the gunboats arrived and blew their steam whistles, many of those people clambered aboard, sailed to freedom, and were eventually reunited with their families. The able-bodied Black men freed in the Combahee River Raid enlisted in the Second South Carolina Volunteers and fought behind Confederate lines for the freedom of others still enslaved not just in South Carolina but Georgia and Florida. After the war, many returned to the same rice plantations from which they had escaped, purchased land, married, and buried each other. These formerly enslaved peoples on the Sea Island indigo and cotton plantations, together with those in the semi-urban port cities of Charleston, Beaufort, and Savannah, and on rice plantations in the coastal plains, created the distinctly American Gullah Geechee dialect, culture, and identity--perhaps the most significant legacy of Harriet Tubman's Combahee River Raid. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/7/20241 hour, 35 minutes, 41 seconds
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Alicia Kennedy, "No Meat Required: The Cultural History and Culinary Future of Plant-Based Eating" (Beacon Press, 2023)

A culinary and cultural history of plant-based eating in the United States that delves into the subcultures and politics that have defined alternative food.  The vegan diet used to be associated only with eccentric hippies and tofu-loving activists who shop at co-ops and live on compounds. We’ve come a long way since then. Now, fine-dining restaurants like Eleven Madison Park cater to chic upscale clientele with a plant-based menu, and Impossible Whoppers are available at Burger King. But can plant-based food keep its historical anti-capitalist energies if it goes mainstream? And does it need to?  In No Meat Required: The Cultural History and Culinary Future of Plant-Based Eating (Beacon Press, 2023), author Alicia Kennedy chronicles the fascinating history of plant-based eating in the United States, from the early experiments in tempeh production undertaken by the Farm commune in the 70s to the vegan punk cafes and anarchist zines of the 90s to the chefs and food writers seeking to decolonize vegetarian food today. Many people become vegans because they are concerned about the role capitalist food systems play in climate change, inequality, white supremacy, and environmental and cultural degradation. But a world where Walmart sells frozen vegan pizzas and non-dairy pints of ice cream are available at gas stations – raises distinct questions about the meanings and goals of plant-based eating. Kennedy—a vegetarian, former vegan, and once-proprietor of a vegan bakery—understands how to present this history with sympathy, knowledge, and humor. No Meat Required brings much-needed depth and context to our understanding of vegan and vegetarian cuisine, and makes a passionate argument for retaining its radical heart. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/6/20241 hour, 1 minute, 17 seconds
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Amy Coddington, "How Hip Hop Became Hit Pop: Radio, Rap, and Race" (U California Press, 2023)

How Hip Hop Became Hit Pop: Radio, Rap, and Race (U California Press, 2023) examines the programming practices at commercial radio stations in the 1980s and early 1990s to uncover how the radio industry facilitated hip hop's introduction into the musical mainstream. Constructed primarily by the Top 40 radio format, the musical mainstream featured mostly white artists for mostly white audiences. With the introduction of hip hop to these programs, the radio industry was fundamentally altered, as stations struggled to incorporate the genre's diverse audience. At the same time, as artists negotiated expanding audiences and industry pressure to make songs fit within the confines of radio formats, the sound of hip hop changed. Drawing from archival research, Amy Coddington shows how the racial structuring of the radio industry influenced the way hip hop was sold to the American public, and how the genre's growing popularity transformed ideas about who constitutes the mainstream. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/6/202451 minutes, 43 seconds
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Jessica Hooten Wilson, "Flannery O'Connor's 'Why Do the Heathen Rage?' A Behind-the-Scenes Look at a Work in Progress" (Brazos Press, 2024)

When celebrated American novelist and short story writer Flannery O’Connor died at the age of thirty-nine in 1964, she left behind an unfinished third novel titled Why Do the Heathen Rage? Scholarly experts uncovered and studied the material, deeming it unpublishable. It stayed that way for more than fifty years. Until now. For the past ten-plus years, award-winning author Jessica Hooten Wilson has explored the 378 pages of typed and handwritten material of the novel—transcribing pages, organizing them into scenes, and compiling everything to provide a glimpse into what O’Connor might have planned to publish. Flannery O'Connor's 'Why Do the Heathen Rage?' A Behind-the-Scenes Look at a Work in Progress (Brazos Press, 2024) is the result of Hooten Wilson's work. In it, she introduces O’Connor’s novel to the public for the first time and imagines themes and directions O’Connor’s work might have taken. Including illustrations and an afterword from noted artist Steve Prince (One Fish Studio), the book unveils scenes that are both funny and thought-provoking, ultimately revealing that we have much to learn from what O’Connor left behind. Jessica Hooten Wilson is the Fletcher Jones Endowed Chair of Great Books at Pepperdine University. She is the author of several books, including Giving the Devil his Due: Flannery O’Connor and The Brothers Karamazov, which received a 2018 Christianity Today book of the year in arts and culture award. In 2019 she received the Hiett Prize for Humanities from the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. Daniel Moran earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in History from Drew University. The author of Creating Flannery O’Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers and articles on G. K. Chesterton and John Ford, he teaches research and writing at Rutgers and co-hosts the podcast Fifteen-Minute Film Fanatics, found here on the New Books Network and on X. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/5/202435 minutes, 25 seconds
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Joanna Crosby, "Apples and Orchards Since the Eighteenth Century: Material Innovation and Cultural Tradition" (Bloomsbury, 2023)

Showing how the history of the apple goes far beyond the orchard and into the social, cultural and technological developments of Britain and the USA, Apples and Orchards since the Eighteenth Century: Material Innovation and Cultural Tradition (Bloomsbury, 2023) by Dr. Joanna Crosby takes an interdisciplinary approach to reveal the importance of the apple as a symbol of both tradition and innovation. From the 18th century in Britain, technological innovation in fruit production and orchard management resulted in new varieties of apples being cultivated and consumed, while the orchard became a representation of stability. In America orchards were contested spaces, as planting seedling apple trees allowed settlers to lay a claim to land. In this book, Dr. Crosby explores how apples and orchards have reflected the social, economic and cultural landscape of their times. From the association between English apples and 'English' virtues of plain speaking, hard work and resultant high-quality produce, to practices of wassailing highlighting the effects of urbanisation and the decline of country ways and customs, Apples and Orchards from the Eighteenth Century shows how this everyday fruit provides rich insights into a time of significant social change. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/5/202446 minutes, 25 seconds
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Zhongping Chen, "Transpacific Reform and Revolution: The Chinese in North America, 1898-1918" (Stanford UP, 2023)

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw the turbulent end of China’s imperial system, violent revolutionary movements, and the fraught establishment of a republican government. During these decades of reform and revolution, millions of far-flung “overseas Chinese” remained connected to Chinese domestic movements. Transpacific Reform and Revolution: The Chinese in North America, 1898-1918 (Stanford UP, 2023) uses rich archival sources and a new network approach to examine how reform and revolution in North American Chinatowns influenced political change in ChinaPo and the transpacific Chinese diaspora from 1898 to 1918. Historian Zhongping Chen focuses on the transnational activities of Kang Youwei, Sun Yat-sen, and other politicians, especially their mobilization of the Chinese in North America to join reformist or revolutionary parties in patriotic fights for a Western-style constitutional monarchy or republic in China. These new reformist and revolutionary parties, including the first Chinese women’s political organization, led transpacific movements against American anti-Chinese racism in 1905 and supported constitutional reform and the Republican Revolution in China around 1911, achieving transpacific expansion through innovative use of cross-cultural political ideologies and intertwined institutional and interpersonal networks. Through network analysis of the origins, interrelations, and influences of Chinese reform and revolution in North America, this book makes a significant contribution to modern Chinese history, Asian American and Asian Canadian history, and Chinese diasporic scholarship. Zhongping Chen is Professor of History at the University of Victoria. He is also the author of Modern China’s Network Revolution: Chambers of Commerce and Sociopolitical Change in the Early Twentieth Century (Stanford University Press, 2011). He has been working on several digital projects such as “Victoria’s Chinatown: A Gateway to the Past and Present of Chinese Canadians” and “Chinese Canadian Artifacts Project." Li-Ping Chen is a teaching fellow in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California. Her research interests include literary translingualism, diaspora, and nativism in Sinophone, inter-Asian, and transpacific contexts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/4/202454 minutes, 19 seconds
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Cristina Brito, "Humans and Aquatic Animals in Early Modern America and Africa" (Amsterdam UP, 2023)

Cristina Brito's book Humans and Aquatic Animals in Early Modern America and Africa (Amsterdam University Press, 2024) deals with peoples' practices, perceptions, emotions and feelings towards aquatic animals, their ecosystems and nature on the early modern Atlantic coasts by addressing exploitation, use, fear, empathy, otherness, and indifference in the relationships established with aquatic environments and resources by Indigenous Peoples and Europeans. It focuses on large aquatic fauna, especially manatees (but also sharks, sea turtles, seals, and others) as they were hunted, consumed, venerated, conceptualised, and recorded by different societies across the early colonial Americas and West Africa. Through a cross-cultural approach drawing on concepts and analytical methods from marine environmental history, the blue humanities and animal studies, this book addresses more-than-human systems where ecologies, geographies, cosmogonies, and cultures are an entangled web of interdependencies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/4/202436 minutes, 55 seconds
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Mimi Khúc, "dear elia: Letters from the Asian American Abyss" (Duke UP, 2023)

Mimi Khúc is a PhD, writer, scholar, and teacher of things unwell. She is currently the Co-Editor of The Asian American Literary Review and an adjunct lecturer in Disability Studies at Georgetown University. Her work includes Open in Emergency, a hybrid book-arts project decolonizing Asian American mental health; the Asian American Tarot, a reimagined deck of tarot cards; and the Open in Emergency Initiative, an ongoing national project developing mental health arts programming with universities and community spaces.  Her new creative-critical, genre-bending book on mental health and a pedagogy of unwellness, dear elia: Letters from the Asian American Abyss (Duke University Press, 2024), is a journey into the depths of Asian American unwellness at the intersections of ableism, model minoritization, and the university, and an exploration of new approaches to building collective care. Julia H. Lee is professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of three books: Interracial Encounters: Reciprocal Representations in African and Asian American Literatures, 1896-1937 (New York University Press, 2011), Understanding Maxine Hong Kingston (University of South Carolina Press, 2018), and The Racial Railroad (New York University Press, 2022). With Professor Josephine Lee, she is co-editor of Asian American Literature in Transition, 1850-1930 (Cambridge University Press, 2021), a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2022. You can find her on Instagram @julia.x.lee. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/3/20241 hour, 1 minute, 5 seconds
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Alvita Akiboh, "Imperial Material: National Symbols in the US Colonial Empire" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

This is an ambitious history of flags, stamps, and currency—and the role they played in US imperialism over the 20th century. In Imperial Material: National Symbols in the US Colonial Empire (U Chicago Press, 2023), Alvita Akiboh, Assistant Professor of History at Yale University, reveals how US national identity has been created, challenged, and transformed through embodiments of empire found in US territories, from the US dollar bill to the fifty-star flag. Akiboh argues that these symbolic objects encode the relationships between territories—including the Philippines, the Hawaiian Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam—and the American empire with which they have been entangled. Akiboh shows how such items became objects of power, and how their original intent was changed. For even if imperial territories were not always front and center for federal lawmakers and administrators, their inhabitants remained continuously aware of the United States, whose presence announced itself through localized fights over the predominant currency, stamps, and flags. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/3/202447 minutes, 32 seconds
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Justin Owen Rawlins, "Imagining the Method: Reception, Identity, and American Screen Performance" (U Texas Press, 2024)

Only one performance style has dominated the lexicon of the casual moviegoer: “Method acting.” The first reception-based analysis of film acting, Imagining the Method: Reception, Identity, and American Screen Performance (U Texas Press, 2024) investigates how popular understandings of the so-called Method—what its author Justin Rawlins calls "methodness"—created an exclusive brand for white, male actors while associating such actors with rebellion and marginalization. Drawing on extensive archival research, the book maps the forces giving shape to methodness and policing its boundaries. Imagining the Method traces the primordial conditions under which the Method was conceived. It explores John Garfield's tenuous relationship with methodness due to his identity. It considers the links between John Wayne's reliance on "anti-Method" stardom and Marlon Brando and James Dean's ascribed embodiment of Method features. It dissects contemporary emphases on transformation and considers the implications of methodness in the encoding of AI performers. Altogether, Justin Rawlins offers a revisionist history of the Method that shines a light on the cultural politics of methodness and the still-dominant assumptions about race, gender, and screen actors and acting that inform how we talk about performance and performers. Peter C. Kunze is an assistant professor of communication at Tulane University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/3/202456 minutes, 34 seconds
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Kristine M. McCusker, "Just Enough to Put Him Away Decent: Death Care, Life Extension, and the Making of a Healthier South, 1900-1955" (U Illinois Press, 2023)

Kristine M. McCusker's book Just Enough to Put Him Away Decent: Death Care, Life Extension, and the Making of a Healthier South, 1900-1955 (U Illinois Press, 2023) takes, as its focus, the combined history of death and health in the American South between 1900 and 1955. The text is ambitious in scope, and weaves together multiple oral histories to create a nuanced and engaging narrative. McCusker charts the ways in which low life expectancy in the South was regarded as problematic by commercial life insurance firms, concerned that their customers were paying insufficient dues before mortality provoked funeral expenditures, and the various Churches seeking to save souls before an untimely demise robbed them of the opportunity. Both agencies were heavily invested in health care. McCusker expertly weaves further threads into this complex narrative: Southern funeral practices, the theological basis for strong belief in family re-union at death, and racial divides that created exclusions and opportunities for the Black Americans to express their own deathways, increasingly supported through commercial enterprise. Two World Wars test and refine common frameworks for organizing the dead, and McCusker underlines the importance, amongst other things, of etiquette guidance on the correct ways to grieve and to express condolence. This is a remarkably rich text that will intrigue a more general readership and prove essential to death scholars in the US and further afield. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/2/202455 minutes, 55 seconds
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David P. Gushee, "Defending Democracy from Its Christian Enemies" (William B. Eerdmans, 2023)

Why do some devout Christians support authoritarian leaders who threaten the very democracies that protect religious freedoms? The resounding support from evangelical and conservative Christians for strident culture hawks like Donald Trump and other far right leaders may appear surprising, but exist within a long and broad history that spans continents and centuries. Surveying global politics and modern history, David P. Gushee calls on Christians to preserve democratic norms, including constitutional government, the rule of law, and equal rights for all. He analyzes how Christians have repeatedly put aside their commitment to the teachings of Jesus from the Gospels when they are tempted by authoritarian and reactionary leaders who promise a return to mythical greatness defined by family values, natural order, and cultural superiority. In Defending Democracy from Its Christian Enemies (William B. Eerdmans, 2023), He urges Christians to resist this urge by reviving the hard-won traditions of congregational democracy as fought for by American Baptist and Black Christian leaders. Rev. Prof. Dr. David P. Gushee (PhD, Union Theological Seminary, New York) is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University, and Chair of Christian Social Ethics at Vrije Universiteit (“Free University”) Amsterdam, and Senior Research Fellow, International Baptist Theological Study Centre. Recommended reading: Hidden Roots of White Supremacy by Robert Jones Coming soon from David Gushee: The Moral Teachings of Jesus (Cascade 2024) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/2/202451 minutes, 41 seconds
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Terry Williams, "Life Underground: Encounters with People Below the Streets of New York" (Columbia UP, 2024)

Aboveground, Manhattan’s Riverside Park provides open space for the densely populated Upper West Side. Beneath its surface run railroad tunnels, disused for decades, where over the years unhoused people have taken shelter. The sociologist Terry Williams ventured into the tunnel residents’ world, seeking to understand life on the margins and out of sight. He visited the tunnels between West Seventy-Second and West Ninety-Sixth Streets hundreds of times from 1991 to 1996, when authorities cleared them out to make way for Amtrak passenger service, and again between 2000 and 2020.  Life Underground: Encounters with People Below the Streets of New York (Columbia UP, 2024) explores this society below the surface and the varieties of experience among unhoused people. Bringing together anecdotal material, field observations, photographs, transcribed conversations with residents, and excerpts from personal journals, Williams provides a vivid ethnographic portrait of individual people, day-to-day activities, and the social world of the underground and their engagement with the world above, which they call “topside.” He shows how marginalized people strive to make a place for themselves amid neglect and isolation as they struggle for dignity. Featuring Williams’s distinctive ethnographic eye and deep empathy for those on the margins, Life Underground shines a unique light on a vanished subterranean community. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
3/1/202427 minutes, 9 seconds
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Carly Goodman, "Dreamland: America's Immigration Lottery in an Age of Restriction" (UNC Press, 2023)

In a world of border walls and obstacles to migration, a lottery where winners can gain permanent residency in the United States sounds too good to be true. Just as unlikely is the idea that the United States would make such visas available to foster diversity within a country where systemic racism endures. But in 1990, the United States Diversity Visa Lottery was created to do just that. Dreamland: America's Immigration Lottery in an Age of Restriction (UNC Press, 2023) tells the surprising story of this unlikely government program and its role in American life as well as the global story of migration. Historian Carly Goodman takes readers from Washington, D.C., where proponents deployed a colorblind narrative about our "nation of immigrants" to secure visas for white immigrants, to the African countries where it flourished and fostered dreams of going to America. From the post office to the internet, aspiring emigrants, visa agents, and others embraced the lottery and tried their luck in a time of austerity and limits. Rising African immigration to the United States has enriched American life, created opportunities for mobility, and nourished imagined possibilities. But the promise of the American dream has been threatened by the United States' embrace of anti-immigrant policies and persistent anti-Black racism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/29/20241 hour, 10 minutes, 10 seconds
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Sara J. Grossman, "Immeasurable Weather: Meteorological Data and Settler Colonialism from 1820 to Hurricane Sandy" (Duke UP, 2023)

In Immeasurable Weather: Meteorological Data and Settler Colonialism from 1820 to Hurricane Sandy (Duke UP, 2023), Sara J. Grossman explores how environmental data collection has been central to the larger project of settler colonialism in the United States. She draws on an extensive archive of historical and meteorological data spanning two centuries to show how American scientific institutions used information about the weather to establish and reinforce the foundations of a white patriarchal settler society. Grossman outlines the relationship between climate data and state power in key moments in the history of American weather science, from the nineteenth-century public data-gathering practices of settler farmers and teachers and the automation of weather data during the Dust Bowl to the role of meteorological satellites in data science’s integration into the militarized state. Throughout, Grossman shows that weather science reproduced the natural world as something to be measured, owned, and exploited. This data gathering, she contends, gave coherence to a national weather project and to a notion of the nation itself, demonstrating that weather science’s impact cannot be reduced to a set of quantifiable phenomena. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/28/202441 minutes, 29 seconds
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Alissa Quart and David Wallis, "Going for Broke: Living on the Edge in the World's Richest Country" (Haymarket, 2023)

Going for Broke, edited by Alissa Quart, Executive Director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, and David Wallis, former Managing Director of EHRP, gives voice to a range of gifted writers for whom "economic precarity" is more than just another assignment. All illustrate what the late Barbara Ehrenreich, who conceived of EHRP, once described as "the real face of journalism today: not million dollar-a-year anchorpersons, but low-wage workers and downwardly spiraling professionals."One essayist and grocery store worker describes what it is like to be an "essential worker" during the pandemic; another reporter and military veteran details his experience with homelessness and what would have actually helped him at the time. These dozens of fierce and sometimes darkly funny pieces reflect the larger systems that have made writers' bodily experiences, family and home lives, and work far harder than they ought to be.Featuring introductions by luminaries including Michelle Tea, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, and Astra Taylor, Going for Broke is revelatory. It shows us the costs of income inequality to our bodies and our minds--and demonstrates real ways to change our conditions. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/28/202454 minutes, 48 seconds
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Leadership in Business, Leadership Abroad: A Conversation with Dave McCormick *96

Dave McCormick *96 has enjoyed incredible success in a wide variety of arenas: after graduating from West Point, where he competed as a varsity wrestler, he served in the Gulf War before going on to earn his PhD here at Princeton in International Relations in 1996. He went on to prominent positions in both the private and public sectors, most notable as CEO of Bridgewater, the world's largest hedge fund, and as Under Secretary of Treasury and as Deputy National Security Advisor under President George W. Bush. Now, he's running for Senate in Pennsylvania. Here, he discusses his recent book: Superpower in Peril: A Battle Plan to Renew America (Center Street, 2023) and his Keystone Plan. Along the way, he goes into not only leadership lessons learned from his career across government, business, and athletics, but also America's role in world affairs, her global competition with China, and the importance of American innovation. Annika Nordquist is the Communications Coordinator of Princeton University’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions and host of the Program’s podcast, Madison’s Notes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/28/202445 minutes, 17 seconds
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Gerald Epstein, "Busting the Bankers' Club: Finance for the Rest of Us" (U California Press, 2024)

Bankers brought the global economic system to its knees in 2007 and nearly did the same in 2020. Both times, the US government bailed out the banks and left them in control. How can we end this cycle of trillion-dollar bailouts and make finance work for the rest of us? Busting the Bankers' Club confronts the powerful people and institutions that benefit from our broken financial system—and the struggle to create an alternative. Drawing from decades of research on the history, economics, and politics of banking, economist Gerald Epstein shows that any meaningful reform will require breaking up this club of politicians, economists, lawyers, and CEOs who sustain the status quo. Thankfully, there are thousands of activists, experts, and public officials who are working to do just that. Clear-eyed and hopeful, Busting the Bankers' Club: Finance for the Rest of Us (U California Press, 2024) centers the individuals and groups fighting for a financial system that will better serve the needs of the marginalized and support important transitions to a greener, fairer economy. Busting the Bankers’ Club is an eye-opening account of the failures of our financial system, the sources of its staying power, and the path to meaningful economic reform from Professor Gerald Epstein, Founding Codirector of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/28/20241 hour, 1 minute, 18 seconds
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Judith Pearson, "Crusade to Heal America: The Remarkable Life of Mary Lasker" (Mayo Clinic Press, 2023)

Mary Woodard Lasker had a singular goal: saving lives by increasing medical research. Together with her husband, advertising genius Albert, they created the Lasker Foundation, bestowing the Lasker Awards. Known as the "American Nobels," these became the most prestigious research awards in America. The Laskers' next step was transforming the sleepy and ineffectual American Society for the Control of Cancer, reinventing it as the American Cancer Society in 1944. But the real increase in medical research funding occurred when Mary discovered a revolutionary source: the federal government. "I'm just a catalytic agent," she would insist, while she tirelessly lobbied Congress and presidents alike. She played a major role in expanding the National Institutes of Health from a single entity to the largest research facility in the world. A feminist who used her femininity wisely, Mary's ultimate victory was bringing together two political adversaries to help launch the original cancer moonshot: the 1971 National Cancer Act. Judith Pearson's biography Crusade to Heal America: The Remarkable Life of Mary Lasker (Mayo Clinic Press, 2023) paints the portrait of a woman who was savvy, steely, and deliberate. Mary Lasker courageously positioned herself at the crossroads of politics, science, and medicine. At a time when women in research laboratories and the halls of Congress were anomalies, she smashed stereotypes in the fashion of Jeannette Rankin, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Shirley Chisholm. As eloquently described in this absorbing history, the country's march to conquer humanity's most feared maladies was well-fueled by its fearless and feisty crusader, Mary Lasker. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/27/202458 minutes, 32 seconds
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Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu, "Experiments in Skin: Race and Beauty in the Shadows of Vietnam" (Duke UP, 2021)

Through a creative focus on skin, in Experiments in Skin: Race and Beauty in the Shadows of Vietnam (Duke UP, 2021), Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu examines the ongoing influence of the Vietnam War on contemporary ideas about race and beauty. Framing skin as the site around which these ideas have been formed, Tu foregrounds the histories of militarism in the production of US biomedical knowledge and commercial cosmetics. She uncovers the efforts of wartime scientists in the US Military Dermatology Research Program to alleviate the environmental and chemical risks to soldiers' skin. These dermatologists sought relief for white soldiers while denying that African American soldiers and Vietnamese civilians were also vulnerable to harm. Their experiments led to the development of pharmaceutical cosmetics, now used by women in Ho Chi Minh City to tend to their skin, and to grapple with the damage caused by the war's lingering toxicity.  In showing how the US military laid the foundations for contemporary Vietnamese consumption of cosmetics and practices of beauty, Tu shows how the intersecting histories of militarism, biomedicine, race, and aesthetics become materially and metaphorically visible on skin. Yadong Li is a PhD student in socio-cultural anthropology at Tulane University. He is interested in the anthropology of time, hope studies, and post-structuralist philosophy. If you are interested in any of these topics, feel free to contact him by email: [email protected] / [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/26/20241 hour, 1 minute, 42 seconds
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Sarah Keyes, "American Burial Ground: A New History of the Overland Trail" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2023)

The Overland Trail into the American West is one of the most culturally recognizable symbols of the American past: white covered wagons traversing the plains, filled with heroic pioneers embodying the nation's manifest destiny. In American Burial Ground: A New History of the Overland Trail (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023), University of Nevada assistant professor of history Sarah Keyes rewrites that well-worn story. Keyes book focuses on a topic that was at the forefront of the minds of those who traveled the train - death. 6,000 (or perhaps more) people died traveling West during the middle decades of the nineteenth century, and in a nation where death rituals held strong symbolic meaning, the realities of dying on the trail were troubling to westward settlers. By looking at the trail through the lens of death, Keyes also includes other forms of, and institutions central to, western migration, namely Indian Removal and the US Army. American Burial Ground is a fresh look at a topic that many people think they know something about - historians will never look at westward migration the same way again. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/25/20241 hour, 10 minutes, 20 seconds
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Angela Wanhalla, "Of Love and War: Pacific Brides of World War II" (U Nebraska Press, 2023)

Between 1942 and 1945 more than two million servicemen occupied the southern Pacific theater, the majority of whom were Americans in service with the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. During the occupation, American servicemen married approximately 1,800 women from New Zealand and the island Pacific, creating legal bonds through marriage and through children. Additionally, American servicemen fathered an estimated four thousand nonmarital children with Indigenous women in the South Pacific Command Area. In Of Love and War: Pacific Brides of World War II (University of Nebraska Press, 2023) Dr. Angela Wanhalla details the intimate relationships forged during wartime between women and U.S. servicemen stationed in the South Pacific, traces the fate of wartime marriages, and addresses consequences for the women and children left behind. Paying particular attention to the experiences of women in New Zealand and in the island Pacific—including Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, and the Cook Islands—Of Love and War aims to illuminate the impact of global war on these women, their families, and Pacific societies. Dr. Wanhalla argues that Pacific war brides are an important though largely neglected cohort whose experiences of U.S. military occupation expand our understanding of global war. By examining the effects of American law on the marital opportunities of couples, their ability to reunite in the immediate postwar years, and the citizenship status of any children born of wartime relationships, Dr. Wanhalla makes a significant contribution to a flourishing scholarship concerned with the intersections between race, gender, sexuality, and militarization in the World War II era. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/25/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 59 seconds
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Marcia Bricker Halperin, "Kibbitz and Nosh: When We All Met at Dubrow's Cafeteria" (Cornell UP, 2023)

In the middle decades of the twentieth century in New York City, Dubrow’s cafeterias in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn and the garment district of Manhattan were places to get out of your apartment, have coffee with friends, or enjoy a hearty but affordable meal. They were grounded in the world of Jewish immigrants and their children, and they thrived in years when Flatbush and the Garment District each had a distinctly Jewish character. The cafeterias were also places where working class and modestly middle class New Yorkers of European ancestry, with few great luxuries in their lives, could enjoy a taste of culinary abundance. Under demographic changes, economic decay and high crime in the 1970s and 1980s, the world that produced Dubrow’s came apart. The Brooklyn branch of Dubrow’s closed in 1978, the Manhattan branch in 1985. But before Dubrow’s cafeterias were shuttered, Marcia Bricker Halperin captured their mood and their patrons in black and white photographs. These pictures, along with essays by the playwright Donald Margulies and the historian Deborah Dash Moore, constitute Marcia’s book Kibitz and Nosh: When We All Met at Dubrow’s Cafeteria, published by Cornell University Press (2023) and winner of a National Jewish Book Council prize for Food Writing and Cookbooks. Robert W. Snyder, Manhattan Borough Historian and professor emeritus at Rutgers University, is editing an anthology of New Yorkers’ memories of the COVID-19 pandemic for Cornell University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/25/202433 minutes, 17 seconds
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Neema Avashia, "Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place" (West Virginia UP, 2022)

Neema Avashia is the daughter of Indian immigrants and was born and raised in southern West Virginia. She has been an educator and activist in the Boston Public Schools since 2003 and was named a City of Boston Educator of the Year in 2013. Her first book, Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place, was published by West Virginia University Press in March 2022. It has been called “A timely collection that begins to fill the gap in literature focused mainly on the white male experience” by Ms. Magazine, and “A graceful exploration of identity, community, and contradictions,” by Scalawag. The book was named Best LGBTQ Memoir of 2022 by BookRiot, was one of the New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2022, and was a finalist for the New England Book Award, the Weatherford Award, and a Lambda Literary Award. Neema lives in Boston with her partner, Laura, and her daughter, Kahani. Julia H. Lee is professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of three books: Interracial Encounters: Reciprocal Representations in African and Asian American Literatures, 1896-1937 (New York University Press, 2011), Understanding Maxine Hong Kingston (University of South Carolina Press, 2018), and The Racial Railroad (New York University Press, 2022). With Professor Josephine Lee, she is co-editor of Asian American Literature in Transition, 1850-1930 (Cambridge University Press, 2021), a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2022. You can find her on Instagram @julia.x.lee. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/25/202448 minutes, 44 seconds
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Matthew Fox-Amato, "Exposing Slavery: Photography, Human Bondage, and the Birth of Modern Visual Politics in America" (Oxford UP, 2019)

Shortly after its introduction, photography transformed the ways Americans made political arguments using visual images. In the mid-19th century, photographs became key tools in debates surrounding slavery. Yet, photographs were used in interesting and sometimes surprising ways by a range of actors. Matthew Fox-Amato, an Assistant Professor at the University of Idaho, examines the role of photography in the politics of slavery during the 19th century and the important legacies of those uses on later visual politics in his new book, Exposing Slavery: Photography, Human Bondage, and the Birth of Modern Visual Politics in America (Oxford University Press, 2019). The book examines the use of photographs by slaves, abolitionists, slaveholders, and Union soldiers to explore the rich complexities of the visual politics of the moment. He also considers the legacies of this use of the new medium. In this episode of the podcast, Fox-Amato discusses the ways these various groups used photography for individual purposes and to shape the debates surrounding slavery in the antebellum period. He explains how photographs also highlight how union soldiers were beginning to think about a post-slavery racial hierarchy during the war. The book demonstrates the importance of thinking about photographs as both visual images and material objects. In the interview, Fox-Amato discusses the research necessary to analyze the photographs in both these ways and the broader importance of studying visual and material culture in all their historical complexity. Christine Lamberson is an Associate Professor of History at Angelo State University. Her research and teaching focuses on 20th century U.S. political and cultural history. She’s currently working on a book manuscript about the role of violence in shaping U.S. political culture in the 1960s and 1970s. She can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/24/202453 minutes, 12 seconds
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Daniel Dain, "A History of Boston" (Peter E. Randall, 2023)

Boston is today one of the world's greatest cities, first in higher education, hospitals, life science companies, and sports teams. It was the home of the Great Puritan Migration, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the first civil rights movement, the abolition movement, and the women's rights movement. But the city that gave us the first use of ether as anesthesia, the telephone, technicolor film, and the mutual fund--the city where Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott founded their world-changing partnership--was also the hub of the anti-immigration movement, the divisive busing era, and decades of self-inflicted decay. Boston has the most important history of any American city. Yet its history has never been given a comprehensive treatment until now.  Join Dan Dain in A History of Boston (Peter E. Randall, 2023) as he acts as your tour guide from the arrival of First Peoples up to the election of Boston's first woman and person of color as mayor. Dain's masterful work explores the policies and practices that took Boston from its highest heights to its lowest lows and back again, and examines the central role that density, diversity, and good urban design play in the success of cities like Boston. Daniel Dain is the founder and president of the law firm Dain Torpy, where he chairs the firm's real estate litigation practice. He writes and lectures widely on land-use law and urban planning. Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/24/20241 hour, 16 minutes, 16 seconds
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Christopher J. Devine, "I’m Here to Ask for Your Vote: How Presidential Campaign Visits Influence Voters" (Columbia UP, 2023)

During presidential campaigns, candidates crisscross the country nonstop—visiting swing states, their home turf, and enemy territory. But do all those campaign visits make a difference when Election Day comes? If so, how and under what conditions? Do they mobilise the partisan faithful or persuade undecided voters? What do campaigns try to achieve through campaign visits—and when do they succeed? I’m Here to Ask for Your Vote: How Presidential Campaign Visits Influence Voters (Columbia University Press, 2023) by Dr. Christopher J. Devine is a comprehensive and compelling examination of the strategy and effectiveness of presidential campaign visits. Dr. Devine uses an original database of presidential and vice-presidential campaign visits from 2008 through 2020 to estimate the effects of visits on vote choice and turnout, both among individual voters and within counties. He finds that campaign visits do not usually influence voting behaviour, but when they do, most often it is by persuading undecided voters—as was the case for John McCain in 2008 and even Donald Trump in 2020. Challenging the recent emphasis on candidates playing to their base, this book suggests that persuasion is still a viable campaign strategy, in which candidate visits may play a major role. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/24/20241 hour, 6 minutes, 24 seconds
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Gregory D. Smithers, "Native Southerners: Indigenous History from Origins to Removal" (U Oklahoma Press, 2019)

In his book, Native Southerners: Indigenous History from Origins to Removal(University of Oklahoma Press, 2019), Dr. Gregory D. Smithers effectively articulates the complex history of Native Southerners. Smithers conveys the history of Native Southerners through numerous historical eras while properly reinterpreting popular misconceptions about the past in a way that is compelling and easy to understand. Smithers expresses the rich and complex history of Native Southerners as it was while exposing the reality of settler colonialism and U.S. removal policies. As shown throughout the book, Native Southerners were constantly adapting to a changing world. But ultimately Native Southerners flourished, leading Smither to state, “My, how the architects of removal and assimilation failed.” Gregory D. Smithers is an American historian with a particular interest in the rich history of the Cherokee people, Indigenous history in the Southeast, and environmental history. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Davis. He has taught in California, Hawaii, Scotland, and Ohio. He currently lives in Richmond, Virginia, where he is a professor of American history and Eminent Scholar in the College of Humanities and Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University. Colin Mustful has an M.A. in history from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and is currently a candidate for an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Augsburg University. You can learn more about his work at his website: www.colinmustful.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/23/20241 hour, 7 minutes, 28 seconds
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Imani D. Owens, "Turn the World Upside Down: Empire and Unruly Forms of Black Folk Culture in the U.S. and Caribbean" (Columbia UP, 2023)

In the first half of the twentieth century, Black hemispheric culture grappled with the legacies of colonialism, U.S. empire, and Jim Crow. As writers and performers sought to convey the terror and the beauty of Black life under oppressive conditions, they increasingly turned to the labor, movement, speech, sound, and ritual of everyday “folk.” Many critics have perceived these representations of folk culture as efforts to reclaim an authentic past. Imani D. Owens recasts Black creators’ relationship to folk culture, emphasizing their formal and stylistic innovations and experiments in self-invention that reach beyond the local to the world. Turn the World Upside Down: Empire and Unruly Forms of Black Folk Culture in the U.S. and Caribbean (Columbia UP, 2023) explores how Black writers and performers reimagined folk forms through the lens of the unruly―that which cannot be easily governed, disciplined, or managed. Drawing on a transnational and multilingual archive―from Harlem to Havana, from the Panama Canal Zone to Port-au-Prince―Owens considers the short stories of Eric Walrond and Jean Toomer; the ethnographies of Zora Neale Hurston and Jean Price-Mars; the recited poetry of Langston Hughes, Nicolás Guillén, and Eusebia Cosme; and the essays, dance work, and radio plays of Sylvia Wynter. Owens shows how these figures depict folk culture―and Blackness itself―as a site of disruption, ambiguity, and flux. Their works reveal how Black people contribute to the stirrings of modernity while being excluded from its promises. Ultimately, these works do not seek to render folk culture more knowable or worthy of assimilation, but instead provide new forms of radical world-making. Omari Averette-Phillips is a doctoral student in the Department of History at UC Davis. He can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/23/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 20 seconds
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Laurence Ralph, "Sito: An American Teenager and the City That Failed Him" (Grand Central Publishing, 2023)

In September of 2019, Luis Alberto Quiñonez—known as Sito— was shot to death as he sat in his car in the Mission District of San Francisco. He was nineteen. His killer, Julius Williams, was seventeen. It was the second time the teens had encountered one another. The first, five years before, also ended in tragedy, when Julius watched as his brother was stabbed to death by an acquaintance of Sito’s. The two murders merited a few local news stories, and then the rest of the world moved on. But for the families of the slain teenagers, it was impossible to move on. And for Laurence Ralph, the stepfather of Sito’s half-brother who had dedicated much of his academic career to studying gang-affiliated youth, Sito’s murder forced him to revisit a subject of scholarly inquiry in a profoundly different, deeply personal way. Written from Ralph's perspective as both a person enmeshed in Sito's family and as an Ivy League professor and expert on the entanglement of class and violence, SITO: An American Teenager and the City that Failed Him (Grand Central Publishing, 2024) is an intimate story with an message about the lived experience of urban danger, and about anger, fear, grief, vengeance, and ultimately grace. Laurence Ralph is a Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University, where he is the Director for the Center on Transnational Policing. Before that, he was a tenured professor at Harvard University for eight years. He is the author of Renegade Dreams: Living Through Injury in Gangland Chicago (2014) and The Torture Letters: Reckoning With Police Violence (2020), both published by University of Chicago Press. He is currently a Guggenheim Fellow, a fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton; he has also been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Ford Foundation. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey with his wife and daughter. Reighan Gillam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College. Her research examines the ways in which Afro-Brazilian media producers foment anti-racist visual politics through their image creation. She is the author of Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media (University of Illinois Press). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/21/202448 minutes, 50 seconds
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T. Corey Brennan, "The Fasces: A History of Ancient Rome's Most Dangerous Political Symbol" (Oxford UP, 2022)

"Fascism" is a word ubiquitous in our contemporary political discourse, but few know about its roots in the ancient past or its long, strange evolution to the present. In ancient Rome, the fasces were a bundle of wooden rods bound with a leather cord, in which an axe was placed—in essence, a mobile kit for corporal or capital punishment. Attendants typically carried fasces before Rome's higher officials, to induce feelings of respect and fear for the relevant authority. This highly performative Roman institution had a lifespan of almost two millennia, and made a deep impression on subsequent eras, from the Byzantine period to the present. Starting in the Renaissance, we find revivals and reinterpretations of the ancient fasces, accelerating especially after 1789, the first year of the United States' Constitution and the opening volley of the French Revolution. But it was Benito Mussolini, who, beginning in 1919, propagated the fasces on an unprecedented scale. Oddly, today the emblem has grown largely unfamiliar, which in turn has offered an opening to contemporary extremist groups. In The Fasces: A History of Ancient Rome's Most Dangerous Political Symbol (Oxford University Press, 2022), Dr. T. Corey Brennan offers the first global history of the nature, development, and competing meanings of this stark symbol, from antiquity to the twenty-first century. The word "fascism" has universal awareness in contemporary political discourse, which thus makes this, the first book to trace the full arc of the fasces' almost 3,000-year history, essential reading for all who wish to understand how the past informs the present. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/21/202449 minutes, 57 seconds
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Daniel Skinner et al., "The City and the Hospital: The Paradox of Medically Overserved Communities" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

An enduring paradox of urban public health is that many communities around hospitals are economically distressed and, counterintuitively, medically underserved. In The City and the Hospital two sociologists, Jonathan R. Wynn and Berkeley Franz, and a political scientist, Daniel Skinner, track the multiple causes of this problem and offer policy solutions. Focusing on three urban hospitals—Connecticut’s Hartford Hospital, the flagship of the Hartford Healthcare system; the Cleveland Clinic, which coordinates with other providers for routine care while its main campus provides specialty care; and the University of Colorado Hospital, a rare example of an urban institution that relocated to a new community—the authors analyze the complicated relationship between a hospital and its neighborhoods. On the one hand, hospitals anchor the communities that surround them, often staying in a neighborhood for decades. Hospitals also craft strategies to engage with the surrounding community, many of those focused on buying locally and hiring staff from their surrounding area. On the other hand, hospitals will often only provide care to the neighboring community through emergency departments, reserving advanced medical care and long-term treatment for those who can pay a premium for it. In addition, the authors show, hospitals frequently buy neighborhood real estate and advocate for development programs that drive gentrification and displacement. To understand how urban healthcare institutions work with their communities, the authors address power, history, race, and urbanity as much as the workings of the medical industry. These varied initiatives and effects mean that understanding urban hospitals requires seeing them in a new light—not only as medical centers but as complicated urban forces. Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is a Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He is the author of The Social Construction of a Cultural Spectacle: Floatzilla (Lexington Books, 2023) and Community Media Representations of Place and Identity at Tug Fest: Reconstructing the Mississippi River (Lexington Books, 2022). His general area of study is about the construction of identity and place. He is currently conducting research for his next project that looks at nightlife and the emotional labor that is performed by bouncers at bars and nightclubs. To learn more about Michael O. Johnston you can go to his website, Google Scholar, Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or by email at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/21/202440 minutes
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Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson, "American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15" (FSG, 2023)

In the 1950s, an obsessive firearms designer named Eugene Stoner invented the AR-15 rifle in a California garage. High-minded and patriotic, Stoner sought to devise a lightweight, easy-to-use weapon that could replace the M1s touted by soldiers in World War II. What he did create was a lethal handheld icon of the American century. In American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15 (FSG, 2023), the veteran Wall Street Journal reporters Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson track the AR-15 from inception to ubiquity. How did the same gun represent the essence of freedom to millions of Americans and the essence of evil to millions more? To answer this question, McWhirter and Elinson follow Stoner--the American Kalashnikov--as he struggled mightily to win support for his invention, which under the name M16 would become standard equipment in Vietnam. Shunned by gun owners at first, the rifle's popularity would take off thanks to a renegade band of small-time gun makers. And in the 2000s, it would become the weapon of choice for mass shooters, prompting widespread calls for proscription even as the gun industry embraced it as a financial savior. Writing with fairness and compassion, McWhirter and Elinson explore America's gun culture, revealing the deep appeal of the AR-15, the awful havoc it wreaks, and the politics of reducing its toll. The result is a moral history of contemporary America's love affair with technology, freedom, and weaponry. Cameron McWhirter is a national reporter for The Wall Street Journal, based in Atlanta. He has covered mass shootings, violent protests and natural disasters across the South. He is also the author of Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America. Previously, he reported for other publications in the U.S., as well as Bosnia, Iraq, and Ethiopia. Zusha Elinson is a national reporter, writing about guns and violence for the Wall Street Journal. Based in California, he has also written for the Center for Investigative Reporting and the New York Times Bay Area section. Recommended Books: Robert Caro, The Path to Power William Shawcross, Sideshow Dexter Filkins, The Forever War Adam Winkler, Gun Fight Tim Mak, Misfire Doug Stanton, Horse Solidiers  Chris Holmes is Chair of Literatures in English and Associate Professor at Ithaca College. He writes criticism on contemporary global literatures. His book, Kazuo Ishiguro Against World Literature, is under contract with Bloomsbury Publishing. He is the co-director of The New Voices Festival, a celebration of work in poetry, prose, and playwriting by up-and-coming young writers. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/20/20241 hour, 8 minutes, 32 seconds
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Emily Legg, "Stories of Our Living Ephemera: Storytelling Methodologies in the Archives of the Cherokee National Seminaries, 1846-1907" (Utah State UP, 2023)

Stories of Our Living Ephemera: Storytelling Methodologies in the Archives of the Cherokee National Seminaries, 1846-1907 (Utah State University Press, 2023) recovers the history of the Cherokee National Seminaries from scattered archives and colonized research practices by critically weaving together pedagogy and archival artifacts with Cherokee traditional stories and Indigenous worldviews. This unique text adds these voices to writing studies history and presents these stories as models of active rhetorical practices of assimilation resistance in colonized spaces. Emily Legg turns to the Cherokee medicine wheel and cardinal directions as a Cherokee rhetorical discipline of knowledge making in the archives, an embodied and material practice that steers knowledge through the four cardinal directions around all relations. Going beyond historiography, Legg delineates educational practices that are intertwined with multiple strands of traditional Cherokee stories that privilege Indigenous and matriarchal theoretical lenses. Stories of Our Living Ephemera synthesizes the connections between contemporary and nineteenth-century academic experiences to articulate the ways that colonial institutions and research can be Indigenized by centering Native American sovereignty. By undoing the erasure of Cherokee literacy and educational practices, Stories of Our Living Ephemera celebrates the importance of storytelling, especially to those who are learning about Indigenous histories and rhetorics. This book is of cultural importance and value to academics interested in composition and pedagogy, the Cherokee Nation, and a general audience seeking to learn about Indigenous rhetorical devices and Cherokee history. Jen Hoyer is Technical Services and Electronic Resources Librarian at CUNY New York City College of Technology. Jen edits for Partnership Journal and organizes with the TPS Collective. She is co-author of What Primary Sources Teach: Lessons for Every Classroom and The Social Movement Archive. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/20/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 8 seconds
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John Howland, "Hearing Luxe Pop: Glorification, Glamour, and the Middlebrow in American Popular Music" (U California Press, 2021)

Hearing Luxe Pop: Glorification, Glamour, and the Middlebrow in American Popular Music (U California Press, 2021) explores a deluxe-production aesthetic that has long thrived in American popular music, in which popular-music idioms are merged with lush string orchestrations and big-band instrumentation. John Howland presents an alternative music history that centers on shifts in timbre and sound through innovative uses of orchestration and arranging, traveling from symphonic jazz to the Great American Songbook, the teenage symphonies of Motown to the “countrypolitan” sound of Nashville, the sunshine pop of the Beach Boys to the blending of soul and funk into 1970s disco, and Jay-Z’s hip-hop-orchestra events to indie rock bands performing with the Brooklyn Philharmonic. This book attunes readers to hear the discourses gathered around the music and its associated images as it examines pop’s relations to aspirational consumer culture, theatricality, sophistication, cosmopolitanism, and glamorous lifestyles. Nathan Smith is a PhD Student in Music Theory at Yale University ([email protected]). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/18/20241 hour, 35 minutes, 49 seconds
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Matthew C. Ward, "Making the Frontier Man: Violence, White Manhood, and Authority in the Early Western Backcountry" (U Pittsburgh Press, 2023)

For western colonists in the early American backcountry, disputes often ended in bloodshed and death. Making the Frontier Man: Violence, White Manhood, and Authority in the Early Western Backcountry (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2023) by Dr. Matthew C. Ward examines early life and the origins of lawless behaviour in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio from 1750 to 1815. It provides a key to understanding why the trans-Appalachian West was prone to violent struggles, especially between white men. Traumatic experiences of the Revolution and the Forty Years War legitimised killing as a means of self-defence—of property, reputation, and rights—transferring power from the county courts to the ordinary citizen. Backcountry men waged war against American Indians in state-sponsored militias as they worked to establish farms and seize property in the West. And white neighbours declared war on each other, often taking extreme measures to resolve petty disputes that ended with infamous family feuds. Making the Frontier Man focuses on these experiences of western expansion and how they influenced American culture and society, specifically the nature of western manhood, which radically transformed in the North American environment. In search of independence and improvement, the new American man was also destitute, frustrated by the economic and political power of his elite counterparts, and undermined by failure. He was aggressive, misogynistic, racist, and violent, and looked to reclaim his dominance and masculinity by any means necessary. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/18/20241 hour, 18 minutes, 23 seconds
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Lawrence Glickman, "Free Enterprise: An American History" (Yale UP, 2019)

“Free enterprise” is an everyday phrase that connotes an American common sense. It appears everywhere from political speeches to pop culture. And it is so central to the idea of the United States that some even labeled Christopher Columbus and the Pilgrims free enterprisers. In his new book, Free Enterprise: An American History (Yale University Press, 2019), Lawrence Glickman analyses that phrase’s historical meaning and shows how it became common sense. Glickman, a historian and the Stephen and Evalyn Milman Professor in American Studies at Cornell University, traces the phrase from its many 19th-century meanings, of which abolitionists wielded a dominant one (consider the word free), to its conservative reformulation in the 1920s and 30s. He shows how “free enterprise” became the rallying cry of the business community from the 1930s to the Powell Memo in the early 70s. This book is a whirlwind tour of a keyword that has had immense rhetorical power in modern American history and that scholars have yet to critically examine. Glickman’s book provides a compelling example of how historians can study the historical construction of common sense and is a welcome contribution to intellectual history, political history, and the history of capitalism. Dexter Fergie is a PhD student of US and global history at Northwestern University. He is currently researching the 20th-century geopolitical history of information and communications networks. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @DexterFergie. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/18/20241 hour, 1 minute, 33 seconds
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Mirelsie Velazquez, "Puerto Rican Chicago: Schooling the City, 1940-1977" (U Illinois Press, 2022)

The postwar migration of Puerto Rican men and women to Chicago brought thousands of their children into city schools. These children's classroom experience continued the colonial project begun in their homeland, where American ideologies had dominated Puerto Rican education since the island became a US territory. Mirelsie Velázquez tells how Chicago's Puerto Ricans pursued their educational needs in a society that constantly reminded them of their status as second-class citizens. Communities organized a media culture that addressed their concerns while creating and affirming Puerto Rican identities. Education also offered women the only venue to exercise power, and they parlayed their positions to take lead roles in activist and political circles. In time, a politicized Puerto Rican community gave voice to a previously silenced group--and highlighted that colonialism does not end when immigrants live among their colonizers. A perceptive look at big-city community building, Puerto Rican Chicago: Schooling the City, 1940-1977 (U Illinois Press, 2022) reveals the links between justice in education and a people's claim to space in their new home. Mirelsie Velázquez, PhD, is an associate professor of Latina/o Studies. As an interdisciplinary scholar, her work centers history of education, women's history, Puerto Rican studies, gender and sexuality, and teacher education. Max Jacobs is a PhD student in education at Rutgers University. He currently sits on the Graduate Student Council for the History of Education Society. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/17/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 55 seconds
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Max Felker-Kantor, "DARE to Say No: Policing and the War on Drugs in Schools" (UNC Press, 2023)

With its signature "DARE to keep kids off drugs" slogan and iconic t-shirts, DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) was the most popular drug education program of the 1980s and 1990s. But behind the cultural phenomenon is the story of how DARE and other antidrug education programs brought the War on Drugs into schools and ensured that the velvet glove of antidrug education would be backed by the iron fist of rigorous policing and harsh sentencing. Max Felker-Kantor has assembled the first history of DARE, which began in Los Angeles in 1983 as a joint venture between the police department and the unified school district. By the mid-90s, it was taught in 75 percent of school districts across the United States. DARE received near-universal praise from parents, educators, police officers, and politicians and left an indelible stamp on many millennial memories. But the program had more nefarious ends, and Felker-Kantor complicates simplistic narratives of the War on Drugs.  In DARE to Say No: Policing and the War on Drugs in Schools (UNC Press, 2023), he shows how policing entered US schools and framed drug use as the result of personal responsibility, moral failure, and poor behavior deserving of punishment rather than something deeply rooted in state retrenchment, the abandonment of social service provisions, and structures of social and economic inequality. Jeffrey Lamson is a PhD student in world history at Northeastern University. His research focuses on the history of police technology, its relationship to the history of police reform, and its place at the intersection of U.S. domestic policing and global counterinsurgency. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/17/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 15 seconds
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Norman Hill and Velma Murphy Hill, "Climbing the Rough Side of the Mountain: The Extraordinary Story of Love, Civil Rights, and Labor Activism" (Regalo Press, 2023)

The remarkable story of a couple who came together during the civil rights movement and made fighting for equality and civil and workers' rights their purpose for more than sixty years, overcoming adversity--with the strength of their love and commitment--to bring about meaningful change, When Velma Murphy was knocked unconscious by a brick thrown by a man from an angry white mob and was carried away by Norman Hill, it was the beginning of a six-decade-long love story and the turmoil, excitement, and struggle for civil rights and labor movements. In Climbing the Rough Side of the Mountain: The Extraordinary Story of Love, Civil Rights, and Labor Activism (Regalo Press, 2023), the Hills reflect upon their more than half a century of fighting to make America realize the best of itself. Through profound conversations between the two, Velma and Norman Hill share their earliest memories of facing racial segregation in the 1960s, working with Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, and A. Philip Randolph, crossing paths with Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael. They also reveal how they kept white supremacists like David Duke from taking office, organized workers into unions, met with Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and continued to work tirelessly, fighting the good fight and successfully challenging power with truth. Norman Hill was the national program director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), staff coordinator for the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, staff representative of the Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO, and president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute from 1980 to 2004, the longest tenure in the organization’s history. He remains its president emeritus. Velma Murphy Hill, a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, was a leader of the Chicago Wade-In to integrate Rainbow Beach, East Coast field secretary for CORE, and assistant to the president of the United Federation of Teachers, where she unionized 10,000 paraprofessionals, mostly Black and Hispanic, working in New York public schools. She was vice president of the American Federation of Teachers and International Affairs and civil rights director of the Service Employees International Union. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/17/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 54 seconds
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Sarah Parry Myers, "Earning Their Wings: The WASPs of World War II and the Fight for Veteran Recognition" (UNC Press, 2023)

Established by the Army Air Force in 1943, the Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program opened to civilian women with a pilot's licence who could afford to pay for their own transportation, training, and uniforms. Despite their highly developed skill set, rigorous training, and often dangerous work, the women of WASP were not granted military status until 1977, denied over three decades of Army Air Force benefits as well as the honour and respect given to male and female World War II veterans of other branches. In Earning Their Wings: The WASPS of World War II and the Fight for Veteran Recognition (UNC Press, 2023), Dr. Sarah Parry Myers not only offers a history of this short-lived program but considers its long-term consequences for the women who participated and subsequent generations of servicewomen and activists. Dr. Myers shows us how those in the WASP program bonded through their training, living together in barracks, sharing the dangers of risky flights, and struggling to be recognized as military personnel, and the friendships they forged lasted well after the Army Air Force dissolved the program. Despite the WASP program's short duration, its fliers formed activist networks and spent the next thirty years lobbying for recognition as veterans. Their efforts were finally recognized when President Jimmy Carter signed a bill into law granting WASP participants retroactive veteran status, entitling them to military benefits and burials. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/16/202456 minutes, 44 seconds
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Ian Saxine, "Properties of Empire: Indians, Colonists, and Land Speculators on the New England Frontier" (NYU Press, 2019)

In Properties of Empire: Indians, Colonists, and Land Speculators on the New England Frontier (NYU Press, 2019), Ian Saxine, Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Bridgewater State University, shows the dynamic relationship between Native and English systems of property on the turbulent edge of Britain’s empire, and how so many colonists came to believe their prosperity depended on acknowledging Indigenous land rights. As absentee land speculators and hardscrabble colonists squabbled over conflicting visions for the frontier, Wabanaki Indians’ unity allowed them to forcefully project their own interpretations of often poorly remembered old land deeds and treaties. The result was the creation of a system of property in Maine that defied English law, and preserved Native power and territory. Eventually, ordinary colonists, dissident speculators, and grasping officials succeeded in undermining and finally destroying this arrangement, a process that took place in councils and courtrooms, in taverns and treaties, and on battlefields. Properties of Empire challenges assumptions about the relationship between Indigenous and imperial property creation in early America, as well as the fixed nature of Indian “sales” of land, revealing the existence of a prolonged struggle to re-interpret seventeenth-century land transactions and treaties well into the eighteenth century. The ongoing struggle to construct a commonly agreed-upon culture of landownership shaped diplomacy, imperial administration, and matters of colonial law in powerful ways, and its legacy remains with us today. Ryan Tripp is adjunct history faculty for the College of Online and Continuing Education at Southern New Hampshire University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/16/20241 hour, 26 minutes, 44 seconds
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Richard L. Hasen, "A Real Right to Vote: How a Constitutional Amendment Can Safeguard American Democracy" (Princeton UP, 2024)

Throughout history, too many Americans have been disenfranchised or faced needless barriers to voting. Part of the blame falls on the Constitution, which does not contain an affirmative right to vote. The Supreme Court has made matters worse by failing to protect voting rights and limiting Congress's ability to do so. The time has come for voters to take action and push for an amendment to the Constitution that would guarantee this right for all. Drawing on troubling stories of state attempts to disenfranchise military voters, women, African Americans, students, former felons, Native Americans, and others, Richard Hasen argues that American democracy can and should do better in assuring that all eligible voters can cast a meaningful vote that will be fairly counted. He shows how a constitutional right to vote can deescalate voting wars between political parties that lead to endless rounds of litigation and undermine voter confidence in elections, and can safeguard democracy against dangerous attempts at election subversion like the one we witnessed in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. The path to a constitutional amendment is undoubtedly hard, especially in these polarized times. A Real Right to Vote: How a Constitutional Amendment Can Safeguard American Democracy (Princeton UP, 2024) explains what's in it for conservatives who have resisted voting reform and reveals how the pursuit of an amendment can yield tangible dividends for democracy long before ratification. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/15/202428 minutes, 7 seconds
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Steven Harvey, "The Beloved Republic" (Wandering Aengus Press, 2023)

Steven Harvey is the author of numerous books, including his latest collection of essays The Beloved Republic (Wandering Aengus Press). Besides being a founding faculty member of the Ashland University MFA program, Steven is also a Contributing Editor at River Teeth literary magazine and the creator of The Humble Essayist website. How to write political essays that don’t falter and becoming boring and obvious is a question that has long bedeviled writers. For instance, Philip Lopate’s introduction to The Art of the Personal Essay states that the “enemy of the personal essay is self-righteousness.” Today’s guest, Steven Harvey, finds an adept way around the dilemma by finding moments where there’s an “inwardness in the presence of a social wrong” that the writer can build on, an intimacy that allows for vulnerability, for doubt, for reflection, for one’s humanity to shine through nicely. Another issue for writers is how to navigate a world in which branding has become so prevalent. The solution is really (as Harvey says in this podcast) a matter of finding one’s own distinct voice that can’t be packaged or replicated. Finally, this podcast ends on a very poignant note as Harvey reads from his essay “The Book of Knowledge” about his mother’s suicide when he was an 11-year-old boy. Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of ten books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/15/202428 minutes, 53 seconds
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Kimberly Meltzer, “From News to Talk: The Expansion of Opinion and Commentary in U.S. Journalism” (SUNY Press, 2019)

From talking heads on cable news to hot takes online, there seems to be more opinion than ever in journalism these days. There’s an entire body of research about how this shift toward opinionated news impacts the people who consume news, but far less on how these changes impact the people who create it. Kimberly Meltzer tackles some of these questions in her book From News to Talk: The Expansion of Opinion and Commentary in U.S. Journalism (SUNY Press, 2019). The book features interviews with journalists like Maria Bartiromo and Brian Stelter about why the media landscape is changing, what role (if any) journalists play in the decline of civility in public discourse, and how they work together as communities of practice in an ever-changing profession. As Meltzer says, today’s news landscape is complex. It recalls a past era of partisan newspapers, with the added wrinkle of 21st-century technology and a desire by some outlets to hold true to the standard of objectivity that became ubiquitous after World War II. In this interview, she offers some advice for journalists, news consumers, and journalism educators about how to think about the relationship between news, opinion, and civility today. Meltzer is Associate Professor of Communication and Chair of the Department of Communication at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. She is also the author of “TV News Anchors and Journalistic Tradition: How Journalists Adapt to Technology” and worked as a broadcast journalist herself before transitioning to academia. Jenna Spinelle is a journalism instructor at Penn State, host of the Democracy Works podcast, produced by Penn State’s McCourtney Institute for Democracy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/14/202458 minutes, 9 seconds
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Marisol LeBrón, "Policing Life and Death: Race, Violence, and Resistance in Puerto Rico" (U California Press, 2019)

Marisol LeBrón’s new book, Policing Life and Death: Race, Violence, and Resistance in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2019), examines the rise of and resistance to punitive governance (tough on crime policing policies) in Puerto Rico from the 1990s to the present. As in the United States, LeBrón shows how increased investment in policing did not respond to a spike in crime. It actually emerged as a strategy to shore up the local political and economic establishment mired in the crisis of the archipelago’s postwar colonial development policy “Operation Bootstrap,” spiking unemployment, lack of U.S. investment, and a growing informal economy which included the drug trade. Puerto Rican elites hoped to reinvent themselves as models for tough on crime policing and gatekeepers for the United States to Latin America. Beginning with the mano dura contra el crimen (iron fist against crime) policy of commonwealth Governor Pedro Rosselló in 1993, police increasingly targeted lower income, predominantly Black public housing complexes (caseríos) as sources of criminality and lawlessness. Using Justice Department reports, social media research, newspapers, and oral interviews to create a “police archive,” LeBrón demonstrates that while police killings, brutality, surveillance, and harassment were hallmarks of mano dura, the policy also reinvented popular understandings of the “who” and “where” of crime that endure to the present. In doing so, she shows how presumptions about race, class, gender, and sexuality linked to certain places (public housing, sex work neighborhoods, schools, and universities) created notions of victims and criminals who “deserved” life or death. The book’s second half explores critiques of and resistance to punitive governance by looking at underground rap, university student activism, social media debates, and non-punitive anti-violence activism. These case studies show the growing resistance to policing as policy instead of social investment, but also the tenacity of the discourses of criminality activists must wrestle with today. LeBrón is also the author of the forthcoming Aftershocks of Disaster: Puerto Rico Before and After the Storm (Haymarket Books) and the co-creator of the Puerto Rico Syllabus. Jesse Zarley will be an assistant professor of history at Saint Joseph’s College on Long Island, where in Fall 2019 he will be teaching Latin American, Caribbean, and World History. His research interests include borderlands, ethnohistory, race, and transnationalism during Latin America’s Age of Revolution, particularly in Chile and Argentina. He is the author of a recent article on Mapuche leaders and Chile’s independence wars. You can follow him on Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/14/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 41 seconds
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Josh Fernandez, "The Hands That Crafted the Bomb: The Making of a Lifelong Antifascist" (PM Press, 2024)

Today I talked to Josh Fernandez about his new memoir The Hands That Crafted the Bomb: The Making of a Lifelong Antifascist (PM Press, 2024). Josh Fernandez is a community college professor in Northern California who finds himself under investigation for “soliciting students for potentially dangerous activities” after starting an antifascist club on campus. As Fernandez spends the year defending his job, he reflects on a life lived in protest of the status quo, swept up in chaos and rage, from his childhood in Boston dealing with a mentally ill father and a new family to a move to Davis, California, where, in the basement shows of the early ’90s, Nazi boneheads proliferated the music scene, looking for heads to crack. His crew’s first attempts at an antifascist group fall short when a member dies in a knife fight. A born antiauthoritarian, filled with an untamable rage, Fernandez rails against the system and aggressively chooses the path of most resistance. This leads to long spates of living in his car, strung out on drugs, and robbing the whiteboys coming home from the clubs at night. He eventually realizes that his rage needs an outlet and finds relief for his existential dread in the form of running. And fighting Nazis. Fernandez cobbles together a life for himself as a writing professor, a facilitator of a self-defense collective, a boots-on-the-ground participant in Antifa work, and a proud father of two children he unapologetically raises to question authority. Josh Fernandez is an antiracist organizer, a father, a runner, a fighter, an English professor, and a writer whose stories have appeared in Spin, the Sacramento Bee, the Hard Times, and several alternative news weeklies. He lives in Sacramento, CA. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/13/202447 minutes, 49 seconds
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Andrius Gališanka, "John Rawls: The Path to a Theory of Justice" (Harvard UP, 2019)

It is hard to overestimate the influence of John Rawls on political philosophy and theory over the last half-century. His books have sold millions of copies worldwide, and he is one of the few philosophers whose work is known in the corridors of power as well as in the halls of academe. Rawls is most famous for the development of his view of “justice as fairness,” articulated most forcefully in his best-known work, A Theory of Justice. In it he develops a liberalism focused on improving the fate of the least advantaged, and attempts to demonstrate that, despite our differences, agreement on basic political institutions is both possible and achievable. Critics have maintained that Rawls’s view is unrealistic and ultimately undemocratic. In John Rawls: The Path to a Theory of Justice(Harvard University Press, 2019), Andrius Gališanka, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest University, argues that in misunderstanding the origins and development of Rawls’s central argument, previous intellectual biographies fail to explain the novelty of his philosophical approach and so misunderstand the political vision he made prevalent. Gališanka draws on newly available archives of Rawls’s unpublished essays and personal papers to clarify the justifications Rawls offered for his assumption of basic moral agreement. Gališanka’s intellectual-historical approach reveals a philosopher struggling toward humbler claims than critics allege. To engage with Rawls’s search for agreement is particularly valuable at this political juncture. By providing insight into the origins, aims, and arguments of A Theory of Justice, Gališanka’s John Rawls will allow us to consider the philosopher’s most important and influential work with fresh eyes. Ryan Tripp is part-time and full-time adjunct history faculty for Los Medanos Community College as well as the College of Online and Continuing Education at Southern New Hampshire University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/12/20241 hour, 14 minutes, 41 seconds
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James L. Gibson and Michael J. Nelson, "Judging Inequality: State Supreme Courts and the Inequality Crisis" (Russell Sage, 2021)

Soaring levels of political, legal, economic, and social inequality have been documented by social scientists – but the public conversation and scholarship on inequality has not examined the role of state law and state courts in establishing policies that significantly affect inequality. Political scientists James L. Gibson and Michael J. Nelson analyze their original database of nearly 6,000 decisions made by over 900 judges on 50 state supreme courts over a quarter century to demonstrate how state high courts craft policy. The fifty state supreme courts shape American inequality in two ways: through substantive policy decisions that fail to advance equality and by rulings favoring more privileged litigants (typically known as "upperdogs").  The book focuses on court-made public policy on issues including educational equity and adequacy, LGBTQ+ rights, and worker's rights. The conventional wisdom assumes that courts protect underdogs from majorities but Gibson and Nelson demonstrate that judges most often favor dominant political elites and coalitions. As such, courts are unlikely to serve as an independent force against the rise of inequality in the United States. James Gibson is the Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government at Washington University in Saint Louis. His research interests are in Law and Politics, Comparative Politics, and American Politics. Michael Nelson is a Professor of Political Science at Penn State University. He studies judicial politics and U.S. state politics, especially public attitudes toward law and courts, judicial behavior, and the politics of court reform. Michael was a guest on the New Books Network for the The Elevator Effect, a book he co-wrote with Morgan Hazelton and Rachael K. Hinkle in 2023. In the podcast, we mention Dr. Gibson’s brand new article regarding the Dobbs abortion case: “Losing legitimacy: The challenges of the Dobbs ruling to conventional legitimacy theory” from the American Journal of Political Science. Daniela Lavergne served as the editorial assistant for this podcast. Susan Liebell is a Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/12/202458 minutes, 58 seconds
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William Gale, "Fiscal Therapy: Curing America's Debt Addiction and Investing in the Future" (Oxford UP, 2019)

The US government is laboring under an enormous debt burden, one that will impact the living standards of future generations of Americans by limiting investment in people and infrastructure. In his new book, Fiscal Therapy: Curing America's Debt Addiction and Investing in the Future (Oxford University Press, 2019), Brookings Institution senior scholar William Gale tackles the challenge head on, addressing what needs to happen to healthcare spending, Social Security, individual taxes, and corporate taxes, in order to make the numbers add up. It makes for sober reading, and the longer we wait, the worse the situation becomes. And the key challenge may not even be fiscal, but political, as the disagreements in Washington over the debt are as deep as the debt is large. Gale ends by making a few simple, inside-Washington suggestions as to how he thinks the political impasse can be broken. Daniel Peris is Senior Vice President at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh. Trained as a historian of modern Russia, he is the author most recently of Getting Back to Business: Why Modern Portfolio Theory Fails Investors. You can follow him on Twitter @Back2BizBook or at http://www.strategicdividendinvestor.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/12/202446 minutes, 43 seconds
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Jeanne Theoharis, "The Strange Careers of the Jim Crow North: Segregation and Struggle outside of the South" (NYU Press, 2019)

In this New Books Network/Gotham Center for NYC History podcast, guest host Beth Harpaz, editor of the City University of New York website SUM, interviews Jeanne Theoharis, distinguished professor of political science at Brooklyn College. Their topic is a new book just out from NYU Press, co-edited by Theoharis, called The Strange Careers of the Jim Crow North: Segregation and Struggle outside of the South (NYU Press, 2019). The book looks at the history of institutionalized racism around the U.S., showing that laws, policies, and entitlements in every region of the country not only created segregated communities, but also promoted affluence and opportunities for white Americans while keeping African Americans out of the middle class. “There did not need to be a ‘no coloreds’ sign for hotels, restaurants, pools, parks, housing complexes, schools, and jobs to be segregated across the North as well,” wrote Theoharis and her co-editor Professor Brian Purnell of Bowdoin College. In the podcast, Theoharis shows how African-Americans have faced discrimination in everything from pre-Civil War legal codes in New York, to 20th-century government programs like Social Security and the G.I. bill. She and Harpaz also discuss the ways in which the legacy of these racist policies persist today in public education, the criminal justice system, and other aspects of American society. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/12/202444 minutes, 1 second
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Richard A. Detweiler, "The Evidence Liberal Arts Needs: Lives of Consequence, Inquiry, and Accomplishment" (MIT Press, 2021)

We speak with Richard Detweiler about his new book The Evidence Liberal Arts Needs: Lives of Consequence, Inquiry and Accomplishment (MIT Press, 2021). This multi-year project, which entailed interviews with a national sample of over 1,000 college graduates aged 25-64, provides convincing evidence of the benefits the liberal arts in enabling individuals to lead more fulfilling lives and successful careers. He uses an innovative definition of the liberal arts which focuses on the distinctive: 1) purpose, 2) context, and 3) content of a liberal arts education, measuring the frequency and intensity of these elements across different higher education institutions. He also shares insights from his tenure as President of Hartwick College and the head of the Great Lakes College Association. David Finegold is the president of Chatham University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/11/20241 hour, 7 minutes, 43 seconds
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Timothy A. Sayle, "Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order" (Cornell UP, 2019)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization regularly appears in newspapers and political science scholarship. Surprisingly, historians have yet to devote the attention that the organization’s history merits. Timothy A. Sayle, an Assistant Professor of history at the University of Toronto, attempts to correct this. His fascinating new book, Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order (Cornell University Press, 2019), examines the history of NATO from its founding in the late 1940s through to its expansion in the post-Cold War era. Sayle shows how NATO wasn’t just any organization; it was, he writes, “an instrument of great-power politics and the basis for a Pax Atlantica.” Taking his readers deep into the decision-making of NATO and its member states from the 1940s to the 1990s, Sayle provides a new, innovative international history of the second half of the twentieth century. Enduring Alliance should interest historians and scholars from across subfields—military history, U.S. foreign policy history, Cold War history, and global governance studies. Dexter Fergie is a PhD student of US and global history at Northwestern University. He is currently researching the 20th century geopolitical history of information and communications networks. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @DexterFergie. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/11/202453 minutes, 48 seconds
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Daniel Immerwahr, "How to Hide an Empire: The History of the Greater United States" (FSG, 2019)

“Is America an Empire?” is a popular question for pundits and historians, likely because it sets off such a provocative debate. All too often, however, people use empire simply because the United States is a hegemon, ignoring the country’s imperial traits to focus simply on its power. Dr. Daniel Immerwahr’s book How to Hide an Empire: The History of the Greater United States (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019) corrects this by explicitly focusing on the country’s territories and territories overseas possessions. Dr. Immerwahr begins at the country’s founding as apprehension over aggressive westward settlement gave way to enthusiastic land grabs by pioneers such as Daniel Boone. Propelled by an astonishingly high birth rate and immigration, Euroamericans displaced indigenous peoples. In addition to this more familiar narrative, other factors drove territorial expansion. A desperate need for fertilizers led to the annexation of nearly one hundred “guano islands” in the Pacific and Caribbean, followed by the annexation of even more territory following the Spanish-American War in 1898. These new territories, including Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Guam, and others enjoyed an uneasy relationship with the United States: they did not enjoy constitutional protections but nevertheless had a close relationship with what they called the mainland. While the United States backed away from traditional colonialism after 1945, what emerged instead was a “pointillist empire” that depended on bases and new uses of older territory to function. Zeb Larson is a PhD Candidate in History at The Ohio State University. His research is about the anti-apartheid movement in the United States. To suggest a recent title or to contact him, please send an e-mail to [email protected].   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/11/20241 hour, 19 minutes, 28 seconds
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Tim Keogh, "In Levittown’s Shadow: Poverty in America’s Wealthiest Postwar Suburb" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

There is a familiar narrative about American suburbs: after 1945, white residents left cities for leafy, affluent subdivisions and the prosperity they seemed to embody. In Levittown’s Shadow: Poverty in America’s Wealthiest Postwar Suburb (U Chicago Press, 2023) tells us there's more to this story, offering an eye-opening account of diverse, poor residents living and working in those same neighborhoods. Tim Keogh shows how public policies produced both suburban plenty and deprivation--and why ignoring suburban poverty doomed efforts to reduce inequality. Keogh focuses on the suburbs of Long Island, home to Levittown, often considered the archetypal suburb. Here military contracts subsidized well-paid employment welding airplanes or filing paperwork, while weak labor laws impoverished suburbanites who mowed lawns, built houses, scrubbed kitchen floors, and stocked supermarket shelves. Federal mortgage programs helped some families buy orderly single-family homes and enter the middle class but also underwrote landlord efforts to cram poor families into suburban attics, basements, and sheds. Keogh explores how policymakers ignored suburban inequality, addressing housing segregation between cities and suburbs rather than suburbanites' demands for decent jobs, housing, and schools. By turning our attention to the suburban poor, Keogh reveals poverty wasn't just an urban problem but a suburban one, too. In Levittown's Shadow deepens our understanding of suburbia's history--and points us toward more effective ways to combat poverty today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/11/20241 hour, 31 seconds
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Brian H. Williams, "The Bodies Keep Coming: Dispatches from a Black Trauma Surgeon on Racism, Violence, and How We Heal" (Broadleaf Books, 2023)

Trauma surgeon and professor Dr. Brian H. Williams has seen it all: gunshot wounds, stabbings, and traumatic brain injuries. In The Bodies Keep Coming: Dispatches from a Black Trauma Surgeon on Racism, Violence, and How We Heal (Broadleaf Books, 2023), Williams ushers us into the trauma bay, where the wounds of a national emergency amass. As a Harvard-trained physician, Williams learned to keep his head down and his scalpel ready. As a Black man, he learned to swallow the rage when patients told him to take out the trash. Just days after the tragic police shootings of two Black men, Williams tried to save the lives of police officers shot in Dallas in the deadliest incident for US law enforcement since 9/11. Thrust into the spotlight in a nation that loves feel-good stories about heroism more than hard truths about racism, Williams came to rethink everything he thought he knew about medicine, injustice, and what true healing looks like. Now, in raw and intimate detail, Williams narrates not only the events of that night in 2016, but the grief and anger of a Black doctor on the front lines of trauma care. Working in the physician-writer tradition of Atul Gawande and Damon Tweedy, Williams diagnoses the roots of the violence that plagues us. He draws a through line between white supremacy, gun violence, and the bodies he tries to revive, and he trains his surgeon's gaze on the structural ills that manifest themselves in the bodies of his patients. What if racism is a feature of our healthcare system, not a bug? What if profiting from racial inequality is exactly what it was designed to do? Black and brown bodies will continue to be wracked by all types of violence, Williams argues, until something changes. Until we transform policy and law with compassion and care, the bodies will keep coming. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/10/202437 minutes, 41 seconds
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Nicholas B. Dirks, "City of Intellect: The Uses and Abuses of the University" (Cambridge UP, 2024)

Drawing from his experiences of having belonged to the faculty, administrative, and presidential circles of the university, author Nicholas B. Dirks offers his nuanced and comprehensive reflections on the solutions for the most pressing issues facing universities today. These range from issues with free speech, interdisciplinary work, budgeting costs, internal politics, and the devaluing of the liberal arts. In a time where universities face fierce attacks from the political right and left and a distrust from the general public, Dirks defends their role in society, as key institutions that guard and create new knowledge to understand the world at large and drive meaningful change. In City of Intellect: The Uses and Abuses of the University (Cambridge UP, 2024), Dirks argues for a reimagination of the university to ensure its survival and relevance in the years to come, positioning him as a visionary leader in a time where higher education needs it the most. Nicholas B. Dirks is the current president and CEO of the renowned New York Academy of Sciences, one of the oldest scientific organizations in the United States. His notable past appointments include serving as the 10th Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley from 2013 to 2017, and as the Executive Vice President and Dean of the Faculty for Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. Ariadna Obregon is a PhD student at the School of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds. On Twitter/X: @AriadnaObregn1  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/9/20241 hour, 10 minutes, 12 seconds
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Richard T. Rodríguez, "A Kiss Across the Ocean: Transatlantic Intimacies of British Post-Punk and US Latinidad" (Duke UP, 2022)

In A Kiss Across the Ocean: Transatlantic Intimacies of British Post-Punk and US Latinidad (Duke UP, 2022), Richard T. Rodríguez examines the relationship between British post-punk musicians and their Latinx audiences in the United States since the 1980s. Melding memoir with cultural criticism, Rodríguez spotlights a host of influential bands and performers including Siouxsie and the Banshees, Adam Ant, Bauhaus, Soft Cell, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and Pet Shop Boys. He recounts these bands’ importance for him and other Latinx kids and discusses their frequent identification with these bands’ glamorous performance of difference. Whether it was Siouxsie Sioux drawing inspiration from Latinx contemporaries and cultural practices or how Soft Cell singer Marc Almond’s lyrics were attuned to the vibrancy of queer Latinidad, Rodríguez shows how Latinx culture helped shape British post-punk. He traces the fandom networks that link these groups across space and time to illuminate how popular music establishes and facilitates intimate relations across the Atlantic. In so doing, he demonstrates how the music and styles that have come to define the 1980s hold significant sway over younger generations equally enthused by their matchlessly pleasurable and political reverberations. Rebekah Buchanan is a Professor of English and Director of English Education at Western Illinois University. Her research focuses on feminism, activism, and literacy practices in youth culture, specifically through zines and music. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/9/20241 hour, 7 minutes, 8 seconds
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Jennifer Sdunzik, "The Geography of Hate: The Great Migration through Small-Town America" (U Illinois Press, 2023)

During the Great Migration, Black Americans sought new lives in midwestern small towns only to confront the pervasive efforts of white residents determined to maintain their area’s preferred cultural and racial identity. Jennifer Sdunzik explores this widespread phenomenon by examining how it played out in one midwestern community. Sdunzik merges state and communal histories, interviews and analyses of population data, and spatial and ethnographic materials to create a rich public history that reclaims Black contributions and history. She also explores the conscious and unconscious white actions that all but erased Black Americans--and the terror and exclusion used against them--from the history of many midwestern communities. An innovative challenge to myth and perceived wisdom, The Geography of Hate: The Great Migration through Small-Town America (U Illinois Press, 2023) reveals the socioeconomic, political, and cultural forces that prevailed in midwestern towns and helps explain the systemic racism and endemic nativism that remain entrenched in American life. Omari Averette-Phillips is a doctoral student in the Department of History at UC Davis. He can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/9/202442 minutes, 5 seconds
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Gregory Wallance, "Into Siberia: George Kennan's Epic Journey Through the Brutal, Frozen Heart of Russia" (St. Martin's Press, 2023)

It’s perhaps one of history’s funny accidents that relations between the U.S. and Russia were changed not by one, but two, George Kennans. Decades before George F. Kennan wrote his famous Long Telegram that set the tone for the Cold War, his predecessor was exploring Russia’s Far East on a quest to investigate the then-Russian Empire’s practice of exiling political prisoners to Siberia. What Kennan saw on his journey shook him to his very core, forcing him to question his respect for the Russian Empire. And as writer Gregory Wallance explains in his book Into Siberia: George Kennan’s Epic Journey Through the Brutal, Frozen Heart of Russia (St. Martin's Press, 2023), Kennan’s advocacy upon his return turned U.S. views from Russia away from being a faraway friend to something far more skeptical. Gregory Wallance is a lawyer and writer in New York City. He is the author of Papa's Game (Ballantine Books: 1982) which received a nonfiction nomination for an Edgar Allan Poe Award; America's Soul In the Balance: The Holocaust, FDR's State Department, And The Moral Disgrace Of An American Aristocracy (Greenleaf Book Group: 2012), The Woman Who Fought an Empire: Sarah Aaronsohn and Her Nili Spy Ring (Potomac Books: 2018), and the historical novel Two Men Before the Storm: Arba Crane's Recollection of Dred Scott And the Supreme Court Case That Started the Civil War (Greenleaf Book Group: 2015). He is currently an opinion contributor for The Hill. Today, Gregory and I talk about Kennan, his many trips to Siberia, and the effect his journalism had on American views of Russia. You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Into Siberia. Follow on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at@nickrigordon Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/8/202454 minutes, 28 seconds
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Gregory Wallance, "Into Siberia: George Kennan's Epic Journey Through the Brutal, Frozen Heart of Russia" (St. Martin's Press, 2023)

It’s perhaps one of history’s funny accidents that relations between the U.S. and Russia were changed not by one, but two, George Kennans. Decades before George F. Kennan wrote his famous Long Telegram that set the tone for the Cold War, his predecessor was exploring Russia’s Far East on a quest to investigate the then-Russian Empire’s practice of exiling political prisoners to Siberia. What Kennan saw on his journey shook him to his very core, forcing him to question his respect for the Russian Empire. And as writer Gregory Wallance explains in his book Into Siberia: George Kennan’s Epic Journey Through the Brutal, Frozen Heart of Russia (St. Martin's Press, 2023), Kennan’s advocacy upon his return turned U.S. views from Russia away from being a faraway friend to something far more skeptical. Gregory Wallance is a lawyer and writer in New York City. He is the author of Papa's Game (Ballantine Books: 1982) which received a nonfiction nomination for an Edgar Allan Poe Award; America's Soul In the Balance: The Holocaust, FDR's State Department, And The Moral Disgrace Of An American Aristocracy (Greenleaf Book Group: 2012), The Woman Who Fought an Empire: Sarah Aaronsohn and Her Nili Spy Ring (Potomac Books: 2018), and the historical novel Two Men Before the Storm: Arba Crane's Recollection of Dred Scott And the Supreme Court Case That Started the Civil War (Greenleaf Book Group: 2015). He is currently an opinion contributor for The Hill. Today, Gregory and I talk about Kennan, his many trips to Siberia, and the effect his journalism had on American views of Russia. You can find more reviews, excerpts, interviews, and essays at The Asian Review of Books, including its review of Into Siberia. Follow on Twitter at @BookReviewsAsia. Nicholas Gordon is an editor for a global magazine, and a reviewer for the Asian Review of Books. He can be found on Twitter at@nickrigordon Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/8/202454 minutes, 28 seconds
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Wendy Cheng, "Island X: Taiwanese Student Migrants, Campus Spies, and Cold War Activism" (U Washington Press, 2023)

This episode, which is co-hosted with Tandee Wang, features a conversation with Dr. Wendy Cheng, author of Island X: Taiwanese Student Migrants, Campus Spies, and Cold War Activism. Published in November 2023 by the University of Washington Press, Island X delves into the compelling political lives of Taiwanese migrants who came to the United States as students from the 1960s through the 1980s. Often depicted as compliant model minorities, Island X reveals that many Taiwanese students were deeply political, shaped by Taiwan's colonial history, and influenced by the global social movements of their times. As activists, they fought to make Taiwanese people visible as subjects of injustice and deserving of self-determination. Under the distorting shadows of Cold War geopolitics, the Kuomintang regime and collaborators across US campuses attempted to control Taiwanese in the diaspora through extralegal surveillance and violence, including harassment, blacklisting, imprisonment, and even murder. Drawing on interviews with student activists and extensive archival research, Cheng documents how Taiwanese Americans developed tight-knit social networks as infrastructures for identity formation, consciousness development, and anticolonial activism. They fought for Taiwanese independence, opposed state persecution and oppression, and participated in global political movements. Raising questions about historical memory and Cold War circuits of power, Island X is a testament to the lives and advocacy of a generation of Taiwanese American activists. Our conversation today focuses on contextualizing Taiwanese student activism during the Cold War to provide greater nuance to existing frameworks of Asian American activism within Asian American studies. Donna Doan Anderson (she/her) is a PhD candidate in History and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Tandee Wang (he/him) is a PhD student in History and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/8/202454 minutes, 22 seconds
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Matthew Kruer, "Time of Anarchy: Indigenous Power and the Crisis of Colonialism in Early America" (Harvard UP, 2021)

A gripping account of the violence and turmoil that engulfed England’s fledgling colonies and the crucial role played by Native Americans in determining the future of North America. In 1675, eastern North America descended into chaos. Virginia exploded into civil war, as rebel colonists decried the corruption of planter oligarchs and massacred allied Indians. Maryland colonists, gripped by fears that Catholics were conspiring with enemy Indians, rose up against their rulers. Separatist movements and ethnic riots swept through New York and New Jersey. Dissidents in northern Carolina launched a revolution, proclaiming themselves independent of any authority but their own. English America teetered on the edge of anarchy. Though seemingly distinct, these conflicts were in fact connected through the Susquehannock Indians, a once-mighty nation reduced to a small remnant. Forced to scatter by colonial militia, Susquehannock bands called upon connections with Indigenous nations from the Great Lakes to the Deep South, mobilizing sources of power that colonists could barely perceive, much less understand. Although the Susquehannock nation seemed weak and divided, it exercised influence wildly disproportionate to its size, often tipping settler societies into chaos. Colonial anarchy was intertwined with Indigenous power. Piecing together Susquehannock strategies from a wide range of archival documents and material evidence, Matthew Kruer shows how one people’s struggle for survival and renewal changed the shape of eastern North America. Susquehannock actions rocked the foundations of the fledging English territories, forcing colonial societies and governments to respond. Time of Anarchy recasts our understanding of the late seventeenth century and places Indigenous power at the heart of the story. Matthew Kruer is assistant professor of history at the University of Chicago where he teaches early American history. John Cable is assistant professor of history at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia. He is the author of Southern Enclosure: Settler Colonialism and the Postwar Transformation of Mississippi (Univ. Press of Kansas, 2023). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/7/20241 hour, 39 minutes, 35 seconds
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Calvin John Smiley, "Purgatory Citizenship: Reentry, Race, and Abolition" (U California Press, 2023)

In Purgatory Citizenship: Reentry, Race, and Abolition (University of California Press, 2023), Calvin John Smiley explores the lives of people who were formerly incarcerated and the many daunting challenges they face. Those being released from prison must navigate the reentry process with diminished legal rights and amplified social stigmas, in a journey that is often confusing, complex, and precarious. Calvin John Smiley is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Hunter College, City University of New York. Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Jewish Studies at Hunter College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press). Visit him online at ZalmanNewfield.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/7/20241 hour, 4 minutes, 57 seconds
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Jake Berman, "The Lost Subways of North America: A Cartographic Guide to the Past, Present, and What Might Have Been" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

Every driver in North America shares one miserable, soul-sucking universal experience—being stuck in traffic. But things weren’t always like this. Why is it that the mass transit systems of most cities in the United States and Canada are now utterly inadequate? The Lost Subways of North America: A Cartographic Guide to the Past, Present, and What Might Have Been (University of Chicago Press, 2023) by Jake Berman offers a new way to consider this eternal question, with a strikingly visual—and fun—journey through past, present, and unbuilt urban transit. Using meticulous archival research, cartographer and artist Jake Berman has successfully plotted maps of old train networks covering twenty-three North American metropolises, ranging from New York City’s Civil War–era plan for a steam-powered subway under Fifth Avenue to the ultramodern automated Vancouver SkyTrain and the thousand-mile electric railway system of pre–World War II Los Angeles. He takes us through colourful maps of old, often forgotten streetcar lines, lost ideas for never-built transit, and modern rail systems—drawing us into the captivating transit histories of US and Canadian cities. Berman combines vintage styling with modern printing technology to create a sweeping visual history of North American public transit and urban development. With more than one hundred original maps, accompanied by essays on each city’s urban development, this book presents a fascinating look at North American rapid transit systems. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/7/202432 minutes, 41 seconds
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Robert Alpert et al., "Diseased Cinema: Plagues, Pandemics and Zombies in American Movies" (Edinburgh UP, 2023)

As I may be the target audience for Diseased Cinema: Plagues, Pandemics and Zombies in American Movies (Edinburgh UP, 2023), I really enjoyed interviewing Robert Alpert, Merle Eisenberg, and Lee Mordechai. Their co-authored book explores the politics of American films about disease and zombies. We had a wide-ranging, thoughtful, and funny conversation about pandemics, capitalism, academic collaboration, apocalyptic fiction, and the importance of family. Robert Alpert is an Adjunct Instructor at Fordham University where he has taught courses on computers and robots in film, movies and the American experience, and media law. He has written extensively on movies, including on directors, such as Chaplin, Meyers, and Bigelow, as well as on other topics, such as gender, the Hollywood idiom, and the politics of science fiction. His publications can be found in Jump Cut, Senses of Cinema, and CineAction. Alpert received his M.F.A. in Film from Columbia University. He also received a J.D. from New York University and practiced intellectual property law for over 30 years. Merle Eisenberg is an Assistant Professor of History at Oklahoma State University and a founding faculty member of the Oklahoma State Pandemic Center. He has published articles in journals including The American Historical Review and Past & Present. His work has also appeared in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which received press coverage in CNN, Fox News, USA Today, and the NY Post. He has also appeared on CNN to discuss historical pandemics and regularly teaches courses on plagues and pandemics in history. Along with Lee Mordechai, he is the co-founder and co-host of the Infectious Historians podcast. Lee Mordechai is a Senior Lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Associate Director of Princeton University’s Climate Change and History Research Initiative. He has published over twenty academic articles, including two in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and in The American Historical Review and Past & Present. He has taught several courses on epidemics, including a seminar that used a draft of Diseased Cinema: Plagues, Pandemics and Zombies in American Movies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/6/20241 hour, 34 minutes, 28 seconds
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Mark Guarino, "Country and Midwestern: Chicago in the History of Country Music and the Folk Revival" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

The untold story of Chicago's pivotal role as a country and folk music capital. Chicago is revered as a musical breeding ground, having launched major figures like blues legend Muddy Waters, gospel soul icon Mavis Staples, hip-hop firebrand Kanye West, and the jazz-rock band that shares its name with the city. Far less known, however, is the vital role Chicago played in the rise of prewar country music, the folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s, and the contemporary offspring of those scenes. In Country and Midwestern: Chicago in the History of Country Music and the Folk Revival (U Chicago Press, 2023), veteran journalist Mark Guarino tells the epic century-long story of Chicago's influence on sounds typically associated with regions further south. Drawing on hundreds of interviews and deep archival research, Guarino tells a forgotten story of music, migration, and the ways that rural culture infiltrated urban communities through the radio, the automobile, and the railroad. The Midwest's biggest city was the place where rural transplants could reinvent themselves and shape their music for the new commercial possibilities the city offered. Years before Nashville emerged as the commercial and spiritual center of country music, major record labels made Chicago their home and recorded legendary figures like Bill Monroe, The Carter Family, and Gene Autry. The National Barn Dance--broadcast from the city's South Loop starting in 1924--flourished for two decades as the premier country radio show before the Grand Ole Opry. Guarino chronicles the makeshift niche scenes like "Hillbilly Heaven" in Uptown, where thousands of relocated Southerners created their own hardscrabble honky-tonk subculture, as well as the 1960s rise of the Old Town School of Folk Music, which eventually brought national attention to local luminaries like John Prine and Steve Goodman. The story continues through the end of the twentieth century and into the present day, where artists like Jon Langford, The Handsome Family, and Wilco meld contemporary experimentation with country traditions. Featuring a foreword from Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Robbie Fulks and casting a cross-genre net that stretches from Bob Dylan to punk rock, Country and Midwestern rediscovers a history as sprawling as the Windy City--celebrating the creative spirit that modernized American folk idioms, the colorful characters who took them into new terrain, and the music itself, which is still kicking down doors even today. Mark Guarino covers national news and culture from Chicago for the Washington Post, ABC News, the New York Times, and other outlets. He was the Midwest bureau chief for the Christian Science Monitor for seven years. Mark on Twitter. Bradley Morgan is a media arts professional in Chicago and author of U2's The Joshua Tree: Planting Roots in Mythic America. He manages partnerships on behalf of CHIRP Radio 107.1 FM, serves as a co-chair of the associate board at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and volunteers in the music archive at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Bradley Morgan on Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/5/20241 hour, 11 minutes, 6 seconds
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Todd Mildfelt and David D. Schafer, "Abolitionist of the Most Dangerous Kind: James Montgomery and His War on Slavery" (U Oklahoma Press, 2023)

A controversial character largely known (as depicted in the movie Glory) as a Union colonel who led Black soldiers in the Civil War, James Montgomery (1814-71) waged a far more personal and radical war against slavery than popular history suggests. It is the true story of this militant abolitionist that Todd Mildfelt and David D. Schafer tell in Abolitionist of the Most Dangerous Kind: James Montgomery and His War on Slavery (U Oklahoma Press, 2023), summoning a life fiercely lived in struggle against the expansion of slavery into the West and during the Civil War. This book follows a harrowing path through the turbulent world of the 1850s and 1860s as Montgomery, with the fervor of an Old Testament prophet, inflicts destructive retribution on Southern slaveholders wherever he finds them, crossing paths with notable abolitionists John Brown and Harriet Tubman along the way. During the tumultuous years of "Bleeding Kansas," he became a guerilla chieftain of the antislavery vigilantes known as Jayhawkers. When the war broke out in 1861, Montgomery led a regiment of white troops who helped hundreds of enslaved people in Missouri reach freedom in Kansas. Drawing on regimental records in the National Archives, the authors provide new insights into the experiences of African American men who served in Montgomery's next regiment, the Thirty-Fourth United States Colored Troops (formerly Second South Carolina Infantry). Montgomery helped enslaved men and women escape via one of the least-explored underground railways in the nation, from Arkansas and Missouri through Kansas and Nebraska. With support of abolitionists in Massachusetts, he spearheaded resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act in Kansas. And, when war came, he led Black soldiers in striking at the very heart of the Confederacy. His full story thus illuminates the actions of both militant abolitionists and the enslaved people fighting to destroy the peculiar institution. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/5/20241 hour, 14 minutes, 34 seconds
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Alex Squadron, "Life in the G: Minor League Basketball and the Relentless Pursuit of the NBA" (U Nebraska Press, 2023)

Welcome to the G League--the official minor league of the National Basketball Association. Life in the G: Minor League Basketball and the Relentless Pursuit of the NBA (University of Nebraska Press, 2023) is about the arduous quest to achieve an improbable goal: making it to the NBA. Zeroing in on the Birmingham Squadron and four of its players--Jared Harper, Joe Young, Zylan Cheatham, and Malcolm Hill--Alex Squadron details the pursuit of a dream in what turned out to be the most remarkable season in the history of minor league sports. Life in the G League is far from glamorous. Players make enormous sacrifices and work unimaginable hours in the hope that someone in the NBA will give them a chance. To this day, very few fans--even the most passionate followers of the NBA--know much about the G League. In the fall of 2021, the Birmingham Squadron granted author Alex Squadron complete access to the team to capture the experience of playing in the league. That year, with hundreds of NBA players sidelined by the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19, the G League saw a record number of call-ups. Sports Illustrated labeled it "the year of the NBA replacement player." Many of those players stayed in the NBA, earning life-changing contracts and taking on significant roles for their new teams. In addition to recounting the organization's inaugural season, Squadron's access to the Birmingham Squadron enabled him to document the incredible journeys of G League players and to tell the larger story of life in the G. This is the inspiring tale of an unforgettable season and the emotional roller coaster for everyone involved in the chase for an NBA dream. Alex Squadron is a sports journalist who has worked as an associate editor for SLAM, producing cover stories on NBA stars and reporting on numerous marquee events, including the NBA Finals, NBA All-Star Weekend, and FIBA World Cup in China. Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/5/202441 minutes, 36 seconds
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Dustin Kiskaddon, "Blood and Lightening: On Becoming a Tattooer" (Stanford UP, 2023)

Any tattoo is the outcome of an intimate, often hidden process. The people, bodies, and money that make tattooing what it is blend together and form a heady cocktail, something described by Matt, the owner of Oakland's Premium Tattoo, as "blood and lightning." Faced with the client's anticipation of pain and excitement, the tattooer must carefully perform calm authority to obscure a world of preparation and vigilance. "Blood and lightning, my dude"—the mysterious and intoxicating effect of tattooing done right. In Blood and Lightening: On Becoming a Tattooer (Stanford UP, 2023), Dustin Kiskaddon draws on his own apprenticeship with Matt and takes us behind the scenes into the complex world of professional tattooers. We join people who must routinely manage a messy and carnal type of work. Blood and Lightning brings us through the tattoo shop, where the smell of sterilizing agents, the hum of machines, and the sound of music spill out onto the back patio. It is here that Matt, along with his comrades, reviews the day's wins, bemoans its losses, and prepares for the future. Having tattooed more than five hundred people, Kiskaddon is able to freshly articulate the physical, mental, emotional, and moral life of tattooers. His captivating account explores the challenges they face on the job, including the crushing fear of making mistakes on someone else's body, the role of masculinity in evolving tattoo worlds, appropriate and inappropriate intimacy, and the task of navigating conversations about color and race. Ultimately, the stories in this book teach us about the roles our bodies play in the social world. Both mediums and objects of art, our bodies are purveyors of sociocultural significance, sites of capitalist negotiation, and vivid encapsulations of the human condition. Kiskaddon guides us through a strangely familiar world, inviting each of us to become a tattooer along the way. Dustin Kiskaddon is a cultural sociologist whose work can be seen on Instagram, @Dustin.Kiskaddon. After nearly a decade of teaching and a few years of professional tattooing, he now uses his expertise in culture, the economy, and technology to conduct applied research. Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is a Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. He is the author of The Social Construction of a Cultural Spectacle: Floatzilla (Lexington Books, 2023) and Community Media Representations of Place and Identity at Tug Fest: Reconstructing the Mississippi River (Lexington Books, 2022). His general area of study is about the construction of identity and place. He is currently conducting research for his next project that looks at nightlife and the emotional labor that is performed by bouncers at bars and nightclubs. To learn more about Michael O. Johnston you can go to his website, Google Scholar, Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or by email at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/4/202453 minutes, 35 seconds
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Murray Forman and Mark V. Campbell, "Hip Hop Archives: The Politics and Poetics of Knowledge Production" (Intellect, 2023)

Despite the vast popularity and cultural influence of hip-hop, efforts to archive its history are still in fairly early stages. Hip-Hop Archives: The Politics and Poetics of Knowledge Production (Intellect, 2023), edited by Mark V. Campbell and Murray Forman, focuses on the cultural and political aspects of those undertakings. It addresses practical aspects, including methods of collection, curation, preservation, and digitization, and critically analyzes institutional power, community engagement, urban economics, public access, and the ideological implications of hip-hop culture’s enduring tensions with dominant social values. A wide swath of hip-hop culture is covered by the contributors, including dance, graffiti, clothing, and battle rap. Links Mentioned in the Episode 83 'til Infinity: 40 Years of Hip-Hop in the Ottawa–Gatineau Region exhibit at Ottawa Art Gallery Institute of Popular Music, University of Liverpool Sarah Baker (Google Scholar profile) Marion Leonard (university profile) Les Roberts (university profile) Sara Cohen (university profile) Hallel Yadin is an archivist and special projects manager at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/4/20241 hour, 1 minute, 15 seconds
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Elizabeth Varon, "Longstreet: The Confederate General Who Defied the South" (Simon & Schuster, 2023)

An authoritative biography of the controversial Confederate general, who later embraced Reconstruction and became an outcast in the South. It was the most remarkable political about-face in American history. During the Civil War, General James Longstreet fought tenaciously for the Confederacy. He was alongside Lee at Gettysburg (and counseled him not to order the ill-fated attacks on entrenched Union forces there). He won a major Confederate victory at Chickamauga and was seriously wounded during a later battle. After the war Longstreet moved to New Orleans, where he dramatically changed course. He supported Black voting and joined the newly elected, integrated postwar government in Louisiana. When white supremacists took up arms to oust that government, Longstreet, leading the interracial state militia, did battle against former Confederates. His defiance ignited a firestorm of controversy, as white Southerners branded him a race traitor and blamed him retroactively for the South's defeat in the Civil War. Although he was one of the highest-ranking Confederate generals, Longstreet has never been commemorated with statues or other memorials in the South because of his postwar actions in rejecting the Lost Cause mythology and urging racial reconciliation. He is being rediscovered in the new age of racial reckoning. Elizabeth Varon's Longstreet: The Confederate General Who Defied the South (Simon & Schuster, 2023) is the first biography in decades and the first to give proper attention to Longstreet's long post-Civil War career. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/4/202428 minutes, 43 seconds
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Courtney Brannon Donoghue, "The Value Gap: Female-Driven Films from Pitch to Premiere" (U Texas Press, 2023)

Conversations about gender equity in the workplace accelerated in the 2010s, with debates inside Hollywood specifically pointing to broader systemic problems of employment disparities and exploitative labor practices. Compounded by the devastating #MeToo revelations, these problems led to a wide-scale call for change.  Courtney Brannon Donoghue's book The Value Gap: Female-Driven Films from Pitch to Premiere (U Texas Press, 2023) traces female-driven filmmaking across development, financing, production, film festivals, marketing, and distribution, examining the realities facing women working in the industry during this transformative moment. Drawing from five years of extensive interviews with female producers, writers, and directors at different stages of their careers, Courtney Brannon Donoghue examines how Hollywood business cultures “value" female-driven projects as risky or not bankable. Industry claims that “movies targeting female audiences don’t make money" or “women can't direct big-budget blockbusters" have long circulated to rationalize systemic gender inequities and have served to normalize studios prioritizing the white male–driven status quo. Through a critical media industry studies lens, The Value Gap challenges this pervasive logic with firsthand accounts of women actively navigating the male-dominated and conglomerate-owned industrial landscape. Peter C. Kunze is a visiting assistant professor of communication at Tulane University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/4/202456 minutes, 5 seconds
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Michael O'Malley, "The Beat Cop: Chicago's Chief O'Neill and the Creation of Irish Music" (U Chicago Press, 2022)

Francis O’Neill (1848–1936) was a Chicago police officer and a folk music collector. Michael O’Malley connects these two seemingly unrelated activities in his biography of O’Neill, The Beat Cop: Chicago’s Chief O’Neill and the Creation of Irish Music (University of Chicago Press, 2022). Born in Ireland in 1848, O’Neill emigrated to the United States soon after the Civil War was over and eventually joined the Chicago Police Department. He rose through the ranks and became Chief of Police in 1901. But in his spare time and after his retirement in 1905, O’Neill devoted himself to collecting Irish traditional music, ultimately publishing several important large collections of the repertory as well as a book that documents Ireland’s musical landscape at the turn of the twentieth century. O’Malley tells O’Neill’s story within multiple, interwoven contexts including British colonialism, Irish nationalism in the United States, American race relations, the standardization in American institutions, and the internal politics of the Chicago Police Department and the city it protected. O’Malley also reveals fascinating connections between O’Neill’s policework and his approach to Irish music. Kristen M. Turner is a lecturer in the music and honors departments at North Carolina State University. Her research centers on race and class in American popular entertainment at the turn of the twentieth century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/3/202459 minutes
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William L. Bird, "In the Arms of Saguaros: Iconography of the Giant Cactus" (U Arizona Press, 2023)

An essential—and monumental—member of the Sonoran Desert ecosystem, the saguaro cactus has become the quintessential icon of the American West. In the Arms of Saguaros: Iconography of the Giant Cactus (U Arizona Press, 2023) shows how, from the botanical explorers of the nineteenth century to the tourism boosters in our own time, saguaros and their images have fulfilled attention-getting needs and expectations. Through text and lavish images, this work explores the saguaro’s growth into a western icon from the early days of the American railroad to the years bracketing World War II, when Sun Belt boosterism hit its zenith and proponents of tourism succeed in moving the saguaro to the center of the promotional frame. This book explores how the growth of tourism brought the saguaro to ever-larger audiences through the proliferation of western-themed imagery on the American roadside. The history of the saguaro’s popular and highly imaginative range points to the current moment in which the saguaro touches us as a global icon in art, fashion, and entertainment. William L. Bird, Jr. is Curator Emeritus of the National Museum of American History–Smithsonian Institution. He is the author of several books and curator of exhibits, including American Television from the Fair to the Family, 1939-1989; Vote: The Machinery of Democracy; Paint by Number: Accounting for Taste in the 1950s; Holidays on Display; America's Doll House: The Miniature World of Faith Bradford; and Souvenir Nation: Relics, Keepsakes and Curios from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Daniel Moran earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in History from Drew University. The author of Creating Flannery O’Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers and articles on G. K. Chesterton and John Ford, he teaches research and writing at Rutgers and co-hosts the podcast Fifteen-Minute Film Fanatics, found here on the New Books Network and on X. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/3/202448 minutes, 7 seconds
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George Fisher, "Beware Euphoria: The Moral Roots and Racial Myths of America's War on Drugs" (Oxford UP, 2024)

George Fisher, the Judge John Crown Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, just released his new book Beware Euphoria: The Moral Roots and Racial Myths of America’s Drug War, with Oxford University Press. George has been teaching and writing in the realms of evidence, prosecution practice, and criminal legal history since 1995. He began practice as a prosecutor in Massachusetts and later taught at the law schools of Boston College, Harvard, and Yale. Beware Euphoria is the most recent among a slew of other books, articles, and essays that he’s published over the years, and perhaps the most contrarian. In this interview, George discusses his research methods and how he came to the conclusion that the history of America’s drug war, while racially motivated, was not meant to target minorities, but protect the morals and health of America’s white youth. Emily Dufton is the author of Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America (Basic Books, 2017). A drug historian and writer, her second book, on the development of the opioid addiction medication industry, is under contract with the University of Chicago Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/3/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 11 seconds
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Julia Ornelas-Higdon, "The Grapes of Conquest: Race, Labor, and the Industrialization of California Wine, 1769–1920" (U Nebraska Press, 2023)

California’s wine country conjures images of pastoral vineyards and cellars lined with oak barrels. As a mainstay of the state’s economy, California wines occupy the popular imagination like never before and drive tourism in famous viticultural regions across the state. Scholars know remarkably little, however, about the history of the wine industry and the diverse groups who built it. In fact, contemporary stereotypes belie how the state’s commercial wine industry was born amid social turmoil and racialized violence in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century California. In The Grapes of Conquest: Race, Labor, and the Industrialization of California Wine, 1769–1920 (University of Nebraska Press, 2023) Dr. Julia Ornelas-Higdon addresses these gaps in the historical narrative and popular imagination. Beginning with the industry’s inception at the California missions, Dr. Ornelas-Higdon examines the evolution of wine growing across three distinct political regimes—Spanish, Mexican, and American—through the industry’s demise after Prohibition. This interethnic study of race and labour in California examines how California Natives, Mexican Californios, Chinese immigrants, and Euro-Americans came together to build the industry. Dr. Ornelas-Higdon identifies the birth of the wine industry as a significant missing piece of California history—one that reshapes scholars’ understandings of how conquest played out, how race and citizenship were constructed, and how agribusiness emerged across the region. The Grapes of Conquest unearths the working-class, multiracial roots of the California wine industry, challenging its contemporary identity as the purview of elite populations. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/3/202456 minutes, 29 seconds
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Marc Arsell Robinson, "Washington State Rising: Black Power on Campus in the Pacific Northwest" (NYU Press, 2023)

In the late 1960s, as the United States was wracked by protests, assassinations, and political unrest, students in Washington State seized the moment.  In Washington State Rising: Black Power on Campus in the Pacific Northwest (NYU Press, 2023), California State University, Bernardino, history professor Marc Robinson tells the story of African American students at Washington State University and the University of Washington, and how their activism transformed their campuses in from 1967 thru the early 1970s. By founding Black Student Unions and engaging in various forms of direct action, student Black Power activists at these two campuses confronted racism and inequality both on campus and in the surrounding cities of Seattle and Pullman. Robinson also describes how the very different contexts of the two campuses - one in a city with a politically active Black community, the other in an overwhelmingly white, rural, small town - shaped activist strategies and outcomes. While many histories of student activism in the 1960s focus on Berkeley and Columbia, Washington State Rising makes a strong case for looking at less well studied college protests to understand both Black history in the West and as a window into a tumultuous era in American history. Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and is the Assistant Director of the American Society for Environmental History. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/2/20241 hour, 26 minutes, 32 seconds
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Georgina Hickey, "Breaking the Gender Code: Women and Urban Public Space in the Twentieth-Century United States" (U Texas Press, 2023)

From the closing years of the nineteenth century, women received subtle--and not so subtle--messages that they shouldn't be in public. Or, if they were, that they were not safe. Breaking the Gender Code: Women and Urban Public Space in the Twentieth-Century United States (U Texas Press, 2023) tells the story of both this danger narrative and the resistance to it. Historian Georgina Hickey investigates challenges to the code of urban gender segregation in the twentieth century, focusing on organized advocacy to make the public spaces of American cities accessible to women. She traces waves of activism from the Progressive Era, with its calls for public restrooms, safe and accessible transportation, and public accommodations, through and beyond second-wave feminism, and its focus on the creation of alternative, women-only spaces and extensive anti-violence efforts. In doing so, Hickey explores how gender segregation intertwined with other systems of social control, as well as how class, race, and sexuality shaped activists' agendas and women's experiences of urban space.  Drawing connections between the vulnerability of women in public spaces, real and presumed, and contemporary debates surrounding rape culture, bathroom bills, and domestic violence, Hickey unveils both the strikingly successful and the incomplete initiatives of activists who worked to open up public space to women. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/2/20241 hour, 8 minutes, 30 seconds
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Sheila Marie Bock, "Claiming Space: Performing the Personal Through Decorated Mortarboards" (Utah State UP, 2023)

Claiming Space: Performing the Personal through Decorated Mortarboards (Utah State University Press, 2023) by Dr. Sheila Bock examines the growing tradition of decorating mortarboards at college graduations, offering a performance-centred approach to these material sites of display. Taking mortarboard displays seriously as public performances of the personal, this book highlights the creative, playful, and powerful ways graduates use their caps to fashion their personal engagement with notions of self, community, education, and the unknown future. The forms and meanings of these material displays take shape in relation to broader, ongoing conversations about higher education in the United States, conversations grounded in discourses of belonging, citizenship, and the promises of the American Dream. Integrating observational fieldwork with extensive interviews and surveys, Dr. Bock highlights the interpretations of individuals participating in this tradition. She also attends to the public framings of this tradition, including how images of mortarboards have grounded online enactments of community through hashtags such as #LatinxGradCaps and #LetTheFeathersFly, as well as what rhetorical framings are employed in news coverage and legal documents in cases where the value of the practice is both called into question and justified. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/2/202447 minutes, 31 seconds
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Matthew D. Lassiter, "The Suburban Crisis: White America and the War on Drugs" (Princeton UP, 2023)

Most accounts of post-1950s political history tell the story of of the war on drugs as part of a racial system of social control of urban minority populations, an extension of the federal war on black street crime and the foundation for the "new Jim Crow" of mass incarceration as key characteristics of the U.S. in this period. But as the Nixon White House understood, and as the Carter and Reagan administrations also learned, there were not nearly enough urban heroin addicts in America to sustain a national war on drugs.  The Suburban Crisis: White America and the War on Drugs (Princeton University Press, 2023) argues that the long war on drugs has reflected both the bipartisan mandate for urban crime control and the balancing act required to resolve an impossible public policy: the criminalization of the social practices and consumer choices of tens of millions of white middle-class Americans constantly categorized as "otherwise law-abiding citizens."" That is, the white middle class was just as much a target as minority populations. The criminalization of marijuana - the white middle-class drug problem - moved to the epicenter of the national war on drugs during the Nixon era. White middle-class youth by the millions were both the primary victims of the organized drug trade and excessive drug war enforcement, but policymakers also remained committed to deterring their illegal drug use, controlling their subculture, and coercing them into rehabilitation through criminal law. Only with the emergence of crack cocaine epidemic of the mid-1980s did this use of state power move out of suburbs and reemerge more dramatically in urban and minority areas.  This book tells a history of how state institutions, mass media, and grassroots political movements long constructed the wars on drugs, crime, and delinquency through the lens of suburban crisis while repeatedly launching bipartisan/nonpartisan crusades to protect white middle-class victims from perceived and actual threats, both internal and external. The book works on a national, regional, and local level, with deep case studies of major areas like San Francisco, LA, Washington, and New York. This history uses the lens of the suburban drug war to examine the consequences when affluent white suburban families serve as the nation's heroes and victims all at the same time, in politics, policy, and popular culture. Matthew D. Lassiter is professor of history and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan, where he is co-director of the Carceral State Project. Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/1/202459 minutes, 36 seconds
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The Culture Trap, with Sociologist Derron Wallace (EF, JP)

In this episode, Elizabeth and John talk with Derron Wallace, sociologist of education and Brandeis colleague, about his new book The Culture Trap, which explores "ethnic expectations" for Caribbean schoolchildren in New York and London. His work starts with the basic puzzle that while black Caribbean schoolchildren in New York are often considered as "high-achieving," in London, they have been, conversely thought to be "chronically underachieving." Yet in each case the main cause -- of high achievement in New York and low achievement in London -- is said to be cultural. We discuss the concept of "ethnic expectations" and the ways it can have negative effects even when the expectations themselves are positive, and the dense intertwining of race, class, nation, colonial status, and gender, and the travels of the concept of culture in the 20th and 21st centuries. Mentioned in the episode: The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities Report [the Sewell Report] (2021) The Moynihan Report (1965) Georg Lukacs, "Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat" (1923) Diane Reay, "What Would a Socially Just Educational System Look Like?" (2012) Bernard Coard, How the Caribbean Child is made Educationally Subnormal in the British School System Steve McQueen, Small Axe, "Education," (2020) Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other (2019) B. Brian Forster, I Don't Like the Blues: Race, Place, and the Backbeat of Black Life (2020) Michel-Rolph Trouillot, "Adieu Culture: A New Duty Arises" (2003) David Simon's TV show The Wire (and also Lean on Me, and To Sir, with Love and with major props from Derron, Top Boy) Stuart Hall, The Fateful Triangle (1994) Listen and Read Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/1/202447 minutes, 30 seconds
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Ismar Volić, "Making Democracy Count: How Mathematics Improves Voting, Electoral Maps, and Representation" (Princeton UP, 2024)

What's the best way to determine what most voters want when multiple candidates are running? What's the fairest way to allocate legislative seats to different constituencies? What's the least distorted way to draw voting districts? Not the way we do things now. Democracy is mathematical to its very foundations. Yet most of the methods in use are a historical grab bag of the shortsighted, the cynical, the innumerate, and the outright discriminatory. Making Democracy Count: How Mathematics Improves Voting, Electoral Maps, and Representation (Princeton UP, 2024) sheds new light on our electoral systems, revealing how a deeper understanding of their mathematics is the key to creating civic infrastructure that works for everyone. In this timely guide, Ismar Volic empowers us to use mathematical thinking as an objective, nonpartisan framework that rises above the noise and rancor of today's divided public square. Examining our representative democracy using powerful clarifying concepts, Volic shows why our current voting system stifles political diversity, why the size of the House of Representatives contributes to its paralysis, why gerrymandering is a sinister instrument that entrenches partisanship and disenfranchisement, why the Electoral College must be rethought, and what can work better and why. Volic also discusses the legal and constitutional practicalities involved and proposes a road map for repairing the mathematical structures that undergird representative government. Making Democracy Count gives us the concrete knowledge and the confidence to advocate for a more just, equitable, and inclusive democracy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
2/1/202439 minutes, 40 seconds
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Maryam Kashani, "Medina by the Bay: Scenes of Muslim Study and Survival" (Duke UP, 2023)

From the Black Power movement and state surveillance to Silicon Valley and gentrification, Medina by the Bay: Scenes of Muslim Study and Survival (Duke UP, 2023) examines how multiracial Muslim communities in the San Francisco Bay Area survive and flourish within and against racial capitalist, carceral, and imperial logics. Weaving expansive histories, peoples, and geographies together in an ethnographic screenplay of cinematic scenes, Maryam Kashani demonstrates how sociopolitical forces and geopolitical agendas shape Muslim ways of knowing and being. Throughout, Kashani argues that contemporary Islam emerges from the specificities of the Bay Area, from its landscapes and infrastructures to its Muslim liberal arts college, mosques, and prison courtyards. Theorizing the Medina by the Bay as a microcosm of socioeconomic, demographic, and political transformations in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries, Kashani resituates Islam as liberatory and abolitionist theory, theology, and praxis for all those engaged in struggle. Maryam Kashani is a filmmaker and associate professor in Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is an affiliate with Anthropology, Media and Cinema Studies, the Center for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Her films and video installations have been shown at film festivals, universities, and museums internationally and include things lovely and dangerous still (2003), Best in the West (2006), las callecitas y la cañada (2009), and Signs of Remarkable History (2016); she is currently working on two film duets with composer/musician Wadada Leo Smith that examine the ongoing relationships between the struggles for Black freedom, creative music, and spirituality. Kashani is also in the leadership collective of Believers Bail Out, a community-led effort to bailout Muslims in pretrial and immigration incarceration towards abolition. Najwa Mayer is an interdisciplinary cultural scholar of race, gender, sexuality, and Islam in/and the United States, working at the intersections of politics, aesthetics, and critical theory. She is currently a Society of Fellows Postdoctoral Scholar at Boston University. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/31/20241 hour, 10 minutes, 8 seconds
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Eviane Leidig, "The Women of the Far Right: Social Media Influencers and Online Radicalization" (Columbia UP, 2023)

On mainstream social media platforms, far-right women make extremism relatable. They share Instagram stories about organic foods that help pregnant women propagate the “pure” white race and post behind-the-scenes selfies at antivaccination rallies. These social media personalities model a feminine lifestyle, at once promoting their personal brands and radicalizing their followers. Amid discussions of issues like dating, marriage, and family life, they call on women to become housewives to counteract the corrosive effects of feminism and champion the Great Replacement conspiracy theory, which motivated massacres in Christchurch, El Paso, and Buffalo. Eviane Leidig offers an in-depth look into the world of far-right women influencers, exploring the digital lives they cultivate as they seek new recruits for white nationalism. Going beyond stereotypes of the typical male white supremacist, she uncovers how young, attractive women are playing key roles as propagandists, organizers, fundraisers, and entrepreneurs. Leidig argues that far-right women are marketing themselves as authentic and accessible in order to reach new followers and spread a hateful ideology. This insidious—and highly gendered—strategy takes advantage of the structure of social media platforms, where far-right women influencers’ content is shared with and promoted to mainstream audiences. Providing much-needed expertise on gender and the far right, this timely and accessible book also details online and offline approaches to countering extremism. Rameen Mohammed is a community organizer based in Texas, a fellow for Muslim Counterpublics Lab and a soon-to-be law student. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/31/202442 minutes, 24 seconds
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Colorblindness and the Classics: A Conversation with Andre Archie

Why has Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of a color-blind society suffered so many recent setbacks? Classical philosopher Andre Archie argues that we need to bring back King's vision, and points to the ways the Classical ideas of virtues can inform our modern understanding of virtue as separate from race. Along the way, the conversation covers recent events such as Claudine Gay's dismissal from Harvard, diversity training and DEI, and the ways in which the Black tradition is an integral part of the Western Tradition. Dr. Andre Archie is an associate Professor of Ancient Greek Philosophy at Colorado State University, who specializes in the History of Ancient Greek Philosophy and Ancient Greek Political Philosophy. He is the author of The Virtue of Color-Blindness (Regnery Publishing, 2024). His op-eds include "We should fight for a color-blind society — not one separated by race" and "What Makes the Classics Worth Studying," referenced at the end of the episode as responding to concerns about ridding the Classics of 'white-ness.' Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/30/202449 minutes, 50 seconds
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Holly A. Baggett, "Making No Compromise: Margaret Anderson, Jane Heap, and the Little Review" (Northern Illinois UP, 2023)

Holly A. Baggett's Making No Compromise: Margaret Anderson, Jane Heap, and the Little Review (Northern Illinois UP, 2023) is the first book-length account of the lives and editorial careers of Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, the women who founded the avant-garde journal the Little Review in Chicago in 1914. Born in the nineteenth-century Midwest, Anderson and Heap grew up to be iconoclastic rebels, living openly as lesbians, and advocating causes from anarchy to feminism and free love. Their lives and work shattered cultural, social, and sexual norms. As their paths crisscrossed Chicago, New York, Paris, and Europe; two World Wars; and a parade of the most celebrated artists of their time, they transformed themselves and their journal into major forces for shifting perspectives on literature and art. Imagism, Dada, surrealism, and Machine Age aesthetics were among the radical trends the Little Review promoted and introduced to US audiences. Anderson and Heap published the early work of the "men of 1914"―Ezra Pound, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, and T. S. Eliot―and promoted women writers such as Djuna Barnes, May Sinclair, Dorothy Richardson, Mina Loy, Mary Butts, and the inimitable Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. In the mid-1920s Anderson and Heap became adherents of George I. Gurdjieff, a Russian mystic, and in 1929 ceased publication of the Little Review. Holly A. Baggett examines the roles of radical politics, sexuality, modernism, and spirituality and suggests that Anderson and Heap's interest in esoteric questions was evident from the early days of the Little Review. Making No Compromise tells the story of two women who played an important role in shaping modernism. Jane Scimeca is Professor of History at Brookdale Community College. @JaneScimeca1 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/30/202439 minutes, 53 seconds
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Hajar Yazdiha, "The Struggle for the People’s King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement" (Princeton UP, 2023)

In the post-civil rights era, wide-ranging groups have made civil rights claims that echo those made by Black civil rights activists of the 1960s, from people with disabilities to women's rights activists and LGBTQ coalitions. Increasingly since the 1980s, white, right-wing social movements, from family values coalitions to the alt-right, now claim the collective memory of civil rights to portray themselves as the newly oppressed minorities. The Struggle for the People’s King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement (Princeton UP, 2023) reveals how, as these powerful groups remake collective memory toward competing political ends, they generate offshoots of remembrance that distort history and threaten the very foundations of multicultural democracy. In the revisionist memories of white conservatives, gun rights activists are the new Rosa Parks, antiabortion activists are freedom riders, and antigay groups are the defenders of Martin Luther King's Christian vision. Drawing on a wealth of evidence ranging from newspaper articles and organizational documents to television transcripts, press releases, and focus groups, Hajar Yazdiha documents the consequential reimagining of the civil rights movement in American political culture from 1980 to today. She shows how the public memory of King and civil rights has transformed into a vacated, sanitized collective memory that evades social reality and perpetuates racial inequality. Powerful and persuasive, The Struggle for the People's King demonstrates that these oppositional uses of memory fracture our collective understanding of who we are, how we got here, and where we go next. Hajar Yazdiha is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and faculty affiliate of the Equity Research Institute at the University of Southern California. She is also a faculty affiliate of the Center for Security, Race, and Rights at Rutgers University. Her research examines the mechanisms underlying the politics of inclusion and exclusion as they shape intergroup boundaries, ethno-racial identities, and intergroup relations. This work crosses subfields of race and ethnicity, migration, social movements, culture, and law using mixed methods including interview, survey, historical, and computational text analysis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/30/202444 minutes, 2 seconds
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Charlotte Coté, "A Drum in One Hand, a Sockeye in the Other: Stories of Indigenous Food Sovereignty from the Northwest Coast" (U Washington Press, 2022)

Food is at the center of everything, writes University of Washington professor of American Indian Studies Charlotte Coté. In A Drum in One Hand, A Sockeye in the Other: Stories of Indigenous Food Sovereignty from the Northwest Coast (U Washington Press, 2022), Coté shares stories from her own experience growing up and living in the Pacific Northwest. From salmon, to wild berries, to community gardens, the food abundance of this region is central to Indigenous decolonization and sovereignty. Coté connects protecting the free movement and ecological health of salmon runs to issues as global as climate change, arguing that in order to understand the big picture, you need to start with what people put on their dinner tables. A Drum in One Hand, a Sockeye in the Other is a book about resilience, healing, and sustenance in the face of challenges, and about the real, material, work people are doing to decolonize their diets and in doing so, healing the land and their communities. Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and is the Assistant Director of the American Society for Environmental History. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/30/20241 hour, 12 minutes, 15 seconds
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Sarah Diefendorf, "The Holy Vote: Inequality and Anxiety Among White Evangelicals" (U California Press, 2023)

Through two years of ethnographic fieldwork at a megachurch, sociologist Dr. Sarah Diefendorf investigates the ways in which the evangelical church is working to grow during a time in which cultural shifts are leading young people to leave religion behind. In order to expand, the church has revisited topics long understood as external threats to the organization, such as feminism, gender equality, racial inclusivity, and queer life—topics Diefendorf classifies as the “imagined secular” in the minds of evangelicals. The Holy Vote: Inequality and Anxiety among White Evangelicals (University of California Press, 2023) shows, however, that the church continues to uphold already privileged identities even as it reworks its messages to appear more welcoming, offering insight into how White evangelical understandings about sex and families have shaped a political movement that has helped remake the Republican Party and transform American politics. In this enlightening work, Diefendorf highlights the complex origins of these understandings and considers their intersections with contemporary culture and enduring social inequalities. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/29/202453 minutes, 30 seconds
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On Authoritarianism: A Discussion with Author and Political Scientist Matthew C. MacWilliams

Nearly half of Americans “are inconsistent supporters of democracy and democratic institutions,” Matthew C. MacWilliams writes at the start of his book, On Fascism: 12 Lessons from American History (St. Martin’s Griffen, 2020). In the podcast, we explore MacWilliams’ thesis that “authoritarian attitudes,” typically formed in childhood, explain the ascendance of illiberal politics in the United States as well as Europe. Such attitudes, he posits, are formed prior to political dispositions that favor nativist and populist policies. We discuss his new survey research on this topic, which finds that “younger Americans are much less likely to support democracy consistently than older Americans.”  The conversation then turns to Donald J. Trump, as a figure who has proved adept in the tapping into of authoritarian sentiments. Yet as MacWilliams reminds in his timely book, the authoritarian urge is a recurrent strain in American history, as seen in episodes like the fervent embrace of Father Coughlin’s “hate radio” show during the Great Depression. The civic challenge, as ever, is to abate the “violent passions” that James Madison, at the start of the American experiment, identified as a primal threat to a republic. Veteran journalist Paul Starobin is a former Moscow bureau chief for Business Week and a former contributing editor of The Atlantic. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications. His latest book, Putin’s Exiles: Their Fight for a Better Russia (Columbia Global Reports) will be published in January. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/29/202455 minutes, 19 seconds
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David M. Henkin, "The Week: A History of the Unnatural Rhythms that Made Us who We are" (Yale UP, 2021)

The Week: A History of the Unnatural Rhythms that Made Us who We are (Yale UP, 2021) is an investigation into the evolution of the seven-day week and how our attachment to its rhythms influences how we live. We take the seven-day week for granted, rarely asking what anchors it or what it does to us. Yet weeks are not dictated by the natural order. They are, in fact, an artificial construction of the modern world. With meticulous archival research that draws on a wide array of sources―including newspapers, restaurant menus, theater schedules, marriage records, school curricula, folklore, housekeeping guides, courtroom testimony, and diaries―David Henkin reveals how our current devotion to weekly rhythms emerged in the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century. Reconstructing how weekly patterns insinuated themselves into the social practices and mental habits of Americans, Henkin argues that the week is more than just a regimen of rest days or breaks from work, but a dominant organizational principle of modern society. Ultimately, the seven-day week shapes our understanding and experience of time. David M. Henkin is Margaret Byrne Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. His previous books include The Postal Age, City Reading, and (with Rebecca McLennan) Becoming America: A History for the 21st Century. He lives in San Francisco, CA, and Bozeman, MT. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/29/202458 minutes, 13 seconds
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Caitlin Killian, "Failing Moms: Social Condemnation and Criminalization of Mothers" (Polity Press, 2023)

The role of mother is often celebrated in the United States as the most important job in the world but Dr. Caitlin Killian argues that American motherhood is increasingly monitored and perilous. From preconception, through pregnancy, and while parenting, she argues that women are held to ever-higher standards and punished – both socially and criminally – for failing to live up to these norms. Using historical accounts, public health pronouncements, social psychological research, and course cases, Failing Moms: Social Condemnation and Criminalization of Mothers (Polity Press, 2023) documents how women of all ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses have been interrogated, held against their will, and jailed for a rapidly expanding list of offenses such as falling down the stairs while pregnant or letting a child spend time alone in a park, actions that were not considered criminal a generation ago. While poor mothers and moms of color are targeted the most, Dr. Killian argues that all moms are in jeopardy, whether they realize it or not. Women and mothers are disproportionately held accountable compared to men and fathers who do not see their reproduction policed and almost never incur charges for “failure to protect.” The gendered inequality of prosecutions reveals them to be more about controlling women than protecting children. Other books have examined the specific risks to either pregnant or parenting women – but few connect the issues – and that is Dr. Killian’s goal. Using a reproductive justice lens, she analyzes the extent of the crisis and what must change to prevent mass penalization and provide resources to allow people to mother well. Dr. Caitlin Killian is a professor of sociology at Drew University specializing in gender, families, reproduction, and immigration. She has worked as a consultant for the United Nations, developing the module on sexual and reproductive health and rights for UN staff training and co-authoring a UNDP report on Syrian refugee women. Her articles have appeared in Contexts magazine and The Conversation, and she has published in numerous academic journals about adoption, overblown warnings about women’s alcohol consumption during pregnancy, sexual and reproductive health and justice, and immigrant and refugee women. Dr. Killian mentions: Michele Goodwin, Policing the Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood Renee Almeling, GUYnecology: The Missing Science of Men’s Reproductive Health Jeanne Flavin, Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women's Reproduction Miranda R. Waggoner, The Zero Trimester: Pre-Pregnancy Care and the Politics of Reproductive Risk Cynthia Daniels, Exposing Men: The Science and Politics of Male Reproduction Kim Brooks, Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear  George Lobis served as the editorial assistant for this podcast. Susan Liebell is a Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/29/202459 minutes, 20 seconds
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Paul Franke, "Feeling Lucky: The Production of Gambling Experiences in Monte Carlo and Las Vegas" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023)

Monte Carlo and Las Vegas have become synonymous with casino gambling. Both destinations featured it as part of a broad variety of leisure and consumption opportunities that normalized games of chance and created emotional atmospheres that supported the hedonistic aspects of gambling. Urban spaces and architecture were carefully designed to enable a rapid growth of the casino industry and produce experiences on previous unimaginable scale.  Feeling Lucky: The Production of Gambling Experiences in Monte Carlo and Las Vegas (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023) is a "making of" story about cities which acquired a strange and captivating allure of mystery around them. It is more than a mere descriptive account, however. Combining urban history, the history of consumption, and sociological approaches it presents a compelling comparative history of Monte Carlo and the Las Vegas Strip between the 1860s and 1970s. Paul Franke takes the reader on a journey from arriving at the cities, through the carefully planned urban environments and into the famous casinos. The analysis follows the paths contemporary gamblers would have taken, right to the gambling tables and to the shifting gambling practices across a century. Franke shows that casino entrepreneurs succeeded in producing and selling gambling experiences by controlling spaces, adapt leisure practices and appeal to specific markets. Gamblers on the other hand regarded Monte Carlo and Las Vegas as places to engage in games of chance that would allow them to preserve their political, cultural, and moral identities. Shu Wan is currently matriculated as a doctoral student in history at the University at Buffalo. As a digital and disability historian, he serves in the editorial team of Digital Humanities Quarterly and Nursing Clio. On Twitter: @slissw. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/29/202452 minutes
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Sandro Galea, "Within Reason: A Liberal Public Health for an Illiberal Time" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

A provocative chronicle of how US public health has strayed from its liberal roots. The Covid-19 response was a crucible of politics and public health—a volatile combination that produced predictably bad results. As scientific expertise became entangled with political motivations, the public-health establishment found itself mired in political encampment. It was, as Sandro Galea argues, a crisis of liberalism: a retreat from the principles of free speech, open debate, and the pursuit of knowledge through reasoned inquiry that should inform the work of public health. Across fifty essays, Within Reason: A Liberal Public Health for an Illiberal Time (U Chicago Press, 2023) chronicles how public health became enmeshed in the insidious social trends that accelerated under Covid-19. Galea challenges this intellectual drift towards intolerance and absolutism while showing how similar regressions from reason undermined social progress during earlier eras. Within Reason builds an incisive case for a return to critical, open inquiry as a guiding principle for the future public health we want—and a future we must work to protect. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/28/202428 minutes, 51 seconds
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Calder Walton, "Spies: The Epic Intelligence War Between East and West" (Simon & Schuster, 2024)

Spies: The Epic Intelligence War Between East and West (Simon & Schuster, 2024) is the history of the secret war that Russia and the West have been waging for a century. Espionage, sabotage, and subversion were the Kremlin's means to equalize the imbalance of resources between the East and West before, during, and after the Cold War. There was nothing "unprecedented" about Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. It was simply business as usual, new means used for old ends. The Cold War started long before 1945. But the West fought back after World War II, mounting its own shadow war, using disinformation, vast intelligence networks, and new technologies against the Soviet Union. Spies is a "deeply researched and artfully crafted" (Fiona Hill, deputy assistant to the US President) story of the best and worst of mankind: bravery and honor, treachery and betrayal. The narrative shifts across continents and decades, from the freezing streets of St. Petersburg in 1917 to the bloody beaches of Normandy; from coups in faraway lands to present-day Moscow where troll farms, synthetic bots, and weaponized cyber-attacks being launched woefully unprepared West. It is about the rise and fall of Eastern superpowers: Russia's past and present and the global ascendance of China. Mining hitherto secret archives in multiple languages, Calder Walton shows that the Cold War started earlier than commonly assumed, that it continued even after the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, and that Britain and America's clandestine struggle with the Soviet government provided key lessons for countering China today. This "authoritative, sweeping" (Fredrik Logevall, Pulitzer Prize--winning author of Embers of War) history, combined with practical takeaways for our current great power struggles, make Spies a unique and essential addition to the history of the Cold War and the unrolling conflict between the United States and China that will dominate the 21st century. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/28/202444 minutes, 39 seconds
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Damien Sojoyner, "Against the Carceral Archive: The Art of Black Liberatory Practice" (Fordham UP, 2023)

Against the Carceral Archive: The Art of Black Liberatory Practice (Fordham UP, 2023) is a meditation upon what author Damien M. Sojoyner calls the “carceral archival project,” offering a distillation of critical, theoretical, and activist work of prison abolitionists over the past three decades. Working from collections at the Southern California Library (Black Panthers, LA Chapter; the Coalition Against Police Abuse; Urban Policy Research Institute; Mothers Reclaiming Our Children; and the collection of geographer Clyde Woods), it builds upon theories of the archive to examine carcerality as the dominant mode of state governance over Black populations in the United States since the 1960s. Each chapter takes up an element of the carceral archive and its destabilization, destruction, and containment of Black life: its notion of the human and the production of “pejorative blackness,” the intimate connection between police and military in the protection of racial capitalism and its fossil fuel–based economy, the role of technology in counterintelligence, and counterinsurgency logics. Importantly, each chapter also emphasizes the carceral archive’s fundamental failure to destroy “Black communal logics” and radical Black forms of knowledge production, both of which contest the carceral archive and create other forms of life in its midst. Concluding with a statement on the reckoning with the radical traditions of thought and being which liberation requires, Sojoyner offers a compelling argument for how the centering of Black­ness enables a structuring of the mind that refuses the violent exploitative tendencies of Western epistemological traditions as viable life-affirming practices. Jen Hoyer is Technical Services and Electronic Resources Librarian at CUNY New York City College of Technology. Jen edits for Partnership Journal and organizes with the TPS Collective. She is co-author of What Primary Sources Teach: Lessons for Every Classroom and The Social Movement Archive. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/28/202443 minutes, 37 seconds
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Alka Vaid Menon, "Refashioning Race: How Global Cosmetic Surgery Crafts New Beauty Standards" (U California Press, 2023)

Cosmetic surgery was once associated with a one-size-fits-all approach, modifying patients to conform to a single standard of beauty. As this surgery has become more accessible worldwide, changing beauty trends have led to a proliferation of beauty standards for members of different racial groups. In Refashioning Race: How Global Cosmetic Surgery Crafts New Beauty Standards (University of California Press, 2023) Dr. Alka V. Menon enters the world of cosmetic surgeons, journeying from a sprawling convention centre in Kyoto to boutique clinics in the multicultural countries of the United States and Malaysia. She shows how surgeons generate and apply knowledge using racial categories and how this process is affected by transnational clinical and economic exchanges. Surgeons not only measure and organise but also elaborate upon racial differences in a globalised field of medicine. Focusing on the role of cosmetic surgeons as gatekeepers and producers of desired appearances, Refashioning Race argues that cosmetic surgeons literally reshape race—both on patients' bodies and at the broader level of culture. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/28/202450 minutes, 46 seconds
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Caleb Wellum, "Energizing Neoliberalism: The 1970s Energy Crisis and the Making of Modern America" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2023)

How the 1970s energy crisis facilitated a neoliberal shift in US political culture. In Energizing Neoliberalism: The 1970s Energy Crisis and the Making of Modern America (Johns Hopkins UP, 2023), Caleb Wellum offers a provocative account of how the 1970s energy crisis helped to recreate postwar America. Rather than think of the crisis as the obvious outcome of the decade's "oil shocks," Wellum unpacks the cultural construction of a crisis of energy across different sectors of society, from presidents, policy experts, and environmentalists to filmmakers, economists, and oil futures traders. He shows how the dominant meanings ascribed to the 1970s energy crisis helped to energize neoliberal visions of renewed abundance and power through free market values and approaches to energy. Deeply researched in federal archives, expert discourse, and popular culture, Energizing Neoliberalism demonstrates the central role that energy crisis narratives played in America's neoliberal turn. Wellum traces the roots of the crisis to the consumption practices and cultural narratives spawned by the petrocultural politics of Cold War capitalism. In a series of illuminating case studies—including 1970s energy conservation debates, popular car films, and the creation of oil futures trading—Wellum chronicles the consolidation of a neoliberal capitalist order in the United States through an energy politics marked by anxious futurity, petro-populist sentiment, and financialized energy markets. He shows how experiences of energy shortages and fears of future energy crises unsettled American national identity and power yet also informed Reagan-era confidence in free markets and US global leadership. In taking a cultural approach to the 1970s energy crisis, Wellum offers a challenging meditation on the status of "crisis" in modern history, contemporary life, and critical thought and how we rely on crises to make sense of the world. Caleb Wellum is an assistant professor of US history at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube channel. Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/26/202457 minutes, 3 seconds
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Ethel Morgan Smith, "Path to Grace: Reimagining the Civil Rights Movement" (UP of Mississippi, 2023)

The civil rights movement is often defined narrowly, relegated to the 1950s and 1960s, and populated by such colossal figures as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. Many forget that the movement was bigger than the figures on the frontline and that it grew from intellectual and historical efforts that continue today. In Path to Grace: Reimagining the Civil Rights Movement (UP of Mississippi, 2023), Ethel Morgan Smith shines a light on unsung heroes of the civil rights movement, the ordinary citizens working behind the scenes to make an impact in their communities. Through eleven original interviews with teachers, parents hosting fundraisers for civil rights workers, volunteers helping with voter registration, and more, Smith highlights the contributions these figures made to the civil rights movement. Some of these brave warriors worked at the elbows of icons while others were clearing new paths, all passing through history without wide recognition. Path to Grace introduces readers to new witnesses and largely neglected voices. Also included are interviews with such esteemed but less studied figures as writer Gloria Naylor, poet Nikki Giovanni, fashion designer Ann Lowe, and educator Constance Curry. This work of social change situates these narratives in both the past and present. Indeed, many of Smith’s subjects, such as Emma Bruce, John Canty, Andrea Lee, Ann Lowe, and Blanche Virginia Franklin Moore, can trace their ancestry back to enslavement, which provides a direct chain of narrators and firmly plants the roots of the civil rights movement in the country’s foundation. Through historical contextualization and an analysis of contemporary sociopolitical events, Path to Grace celebrates the contributions of some of the nameless individuals, generation after generation, who worked to make the United States better for all its citizens. Omari Averette-Phillips is a Doctoral student in the Department of History at UC Davis. He can be reached at [email protected]. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/26/202431 minutes, 35 seconds
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Richard L. Bushman, "Joseph Smith's Gold Plates: A Cultural History" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Renowned historian of Mormonism Richard Lyman Bushman's latest book presents a vibrant history of a sacred object that gave birth to a new religion: the gold plates Joseph Smith said he discovered in upstate New York in the 1820s. Believers hailed Smith as a revered prophet and translator of lost languages while critics warned the public he was a dangerous charlatan. Two hundred years later the mystery of the gold plates remains.  In Joseph Smith's Gold Plates: A Cultural History (Oxford UP, 2023), Bushman offers a cultural history of the gold plates down through the years. How have they been imagined by believers, critics, and skeptics, by treasure-seekers, novelists, artists, scholars, and others?  In this interview, Bushman talks about his personal relationship to the project and whether he thinks the plates can help re-enchant a largely disenchanted modern world.  Hosted by Blair Hodges, host of the new podcast Family Proclamations, Fireside with Blair Hodges, and formerly the Maxwell Institute Podcast at Brigham Young University.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/25/20241 hour, 13 minutes, 57 seconds
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Mark Zachary Taylor, "Presidential Leadership in Feeble Times: Explaining Executive Power in the Gilded Age" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Mark “Zak” Taylor, a political scientist at Georgia Tech University, has a new book that explores the presidents of the Gilded Age, from Ulysses Grant through William McKinley. This period of presidencies is often a forgotten era, since the presidents were somewhat constrained by congressional action taken in the wake of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and then Andrew Johnson’s impeachment. But Taylor has another complex, fascinating, and lively story to tell about the presidencies of Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison, and McKinley. And tell it he does, in great detail, with extensive qualitative and quantitative data, sources, and information, with a specific focus on the American economy during this time and the roles that presidents played in relation to the changing and diversifying economy. Presidential Leadership in Feeble Times: Explaining Executive Power in the Gilded Age (Oxford UP, 2023) traces the turbulent postbellum American economy, with questions about the gold and silver standard and the “greenback”, with the drive for foreign and domestic investments, western expansion, and the quest to stabilize the country and pay off the debts incurred during the Civil War. The United States, during the Gilded Age, was considered a developing country and a developing economy. And this grouping of presidents had to contend with that as industrialization, immigration, and expansion all transpired during this period. Taylor came to the project because he was interested in getting at the idea of presidential success and the connection to economic wellbeing or health of the country. But the project evolved over time and the research indicated—particularly within this grouping of presidents—that the individual president’s vision for the country and the direction he wanted to take it, along with political skills, coalition building capacity, and the ability to instill trust in American institutions were the key components for success, both political and economic. This is a very accessible book, weaving together archival research, historical details, presidential scholarship, and data analysis in clear and lively discussions of the presidents, the economy, party politics, and foreign and domestic policy. Presidential Leadership in Feeble Times: Explaining Executive Power in the Gilded Age will appeal to scholars and students of American political development, political economy, and presidential studies. For anyone who has any interest at all in American history, this is a truly captivating book. Lilly J. Goren is a professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-host of the New Books in Political Science channel at the New Books Network. She is co-editor of The Politics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (University Press of Kansas, 2022), as well as co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012). She can be reached @gorenlj.bsky.social Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/25/202453 minutes, 50 seconds
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Damon Scott, "The City Aroused: Queer Places and Urban Redevelopment in Postwar San Francisco" (U Texas Press, 2024)

The City Aroused: Queer Places and Urban Redevelopment in Postwar San Francisco (University of Texas Press, 2024) by Dr. Damon Scott is a lively history of urban development and its influence on queer political identity in postwar San Francisco. By reconstructing the planning and queer history of waterfront drinking establishments, Dr. Scott shows that urban renewal was a catalyst for community organising among racially diverse operators and patrons with far-reaching implications for the national gay rights movement. Following the exclusion of suspected homosexuals from the maritime trades in West Coast ports in the early 1950s, seamen's hangouts in the city came to resemble gay bars. Local officials responded by containing the influx of gay men to a strip of bars on the central waterfront while also making plans to raze and rebuild the area. This practice ended when city redevelopment officials began acquiring land in the early 1960s. Aided by law enforcement, they put these queer social clubs out of business, replacing them with heteronormative, desexualized land uses that served larger postwar urban development goals. Dr. Scott argues that this shift from queer containment to displacement aroused a collective response among gay and transgender drinking publics who united in solidarity to secure a place in the rapidly changing urban landscape. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/25/20241 hour, 9 minutes, 59 seconds
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Nicholas Radburn, "Traders in Men: Merchants and the Transformation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade" (Yale UP, 2023)

During the eighteenth century, Britain’s slave trade exploded in size. Formerly a small and geographically constricted business, the trade had, by the eve of the American Revolution, grown into an Atlantic-wide system through which fifty thousand men, women, and children were enslaved every year. In Traders in Men: Merchants and the Transformation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (Yale UP, 2023), Nicholas Radburn explains how thousands of slaving merchants in Africa, Britain, and the British Americas collectively created this cancerous system by devising highly efficient, but also violent, new business methods. African brokers developed commercial techniques that facilitated the enslavement and sale of millions of people. Britons invented shipping methods that quelled enslaved people’s constant resistance on the Middle Passage. And American slave traders formulated brutal techniques through which shiploads of people could be quickly sold to a variety of colonial buyers. Truly Atlantic-wide in its vision, this study shows how the slave trade became one of the most important phenomena in world history and dragged millions of people into the trade’s terrible vortex. Katrina Anderson is a doctoral candidate at the University of Delaware. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/24/20241 hour, 15 minutes, 18 seconds
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James R. Fichter, "Tea: Consumption, Politics, and Revolution, 1773–1776" (Cornell UP, 2023)

In Tea: Consumption, Politics, and Revolution, 1773–1776 (Cornell University Press, 2023), Dr. James R. Fichter reveals that despite the so-called Boston Tea Party in 1773, two large shipments of tea from the East India Company survived and were ultimately drunk in North America. Their survival shaped the politics of the years ahead, impeded efforts to reimburse the company for the tea lost in Boston Harbor, and hinted at the enduring potency of consumerism in revolutionary politics. Tea protests were widespread in 1774, but so were tea advertisements and tea sales, Fichter argues. The protests were noisy and sometimes misleading performances, not clear signs that tea consumption was unpopular. Revolutionaries vilified tea in their propaganda and prohibited the importation and consumption of tea and British goods. Yet merchant ledgers reveal these goods were still widely sold and consumed in 1775. Colonists supported Patriots more than they abided by non-consumption. When Congress ended its prohibition against tea in 1776, it reasoned that the ban was too widely violated to enforce. War was a more effective means than boycott for resisting Parliament, after all, and as rebel arms advanced, Patriots seized tea and other goods Britons left behind. By 1776, protesters sought tea and, objecting to its high price, redistributed rather than destroyed it. Yet as Dr. Fichter demonstrates in Tea, by then the commodity was not a symbol of the British state, but of American consumerism. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/24/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 5 seconds
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Loka Ashwood et al., "Empty Fields, Empty Promises: A State-By-State Guide to Understanding and Transforming the Right to Farm" (UNC Press, 2023)

Since the late 1970s, Right to Farm Laws have been adopted by states across the US to limit nuisance lawsuits against farmers engaged in standard agricultural practices. But who really benefits from Right to Farm Laws? And what can be done to promote real agricultural, rural, and environmental justice? Empty Fields, Empty Promises: A State-By-State Guide to Understanding and Transforming the Right to Farm (UNC Press, 2023) offers valuable history and incisive commentary on these questions. Since their adoption, there has yet to be a comprehensive analysis of what Right to Farm laws do and who they benefit. This book offers the first national analysis and guide to these laws. It reveals that they generally benefit the largest operators, like processing plants, while traditional farmers benefit the least. Disfavored most of all are those seeking to defend their homes and environment against multinational corporations that use right-to-farm laws to strip neighboring owners of their property rights. Through what the book calls the "midburden," right-to-farm laws dispossess the many in favor of the few, paving the path to rural poverty. Empty Fields, Empty Promises summarizes every state's right-to-farm laws to help readers track and navigate their local and regional legal landscape. The book concludes by offering paths forward for a more distributed and democratic agrifood system that achieves agricultural, rural, and environmental justice. The book is available for purchase or for FREE as an Open Access eBook from the University of North Carolina Press. Loka Ashwood is associate professor of sociology at the University of Kentucky. Her work develops action-centered methodologies that help frontline communities overcome environmental injustices and strengthen democracy. She is the author of For-Profit Democracy: Why the Government Is Losing the Trust of Rural America (2018) and co-author of An Invitation to Environmental Sociology (6th Edition, 2020). Aimee Imlay is assistant professor of sociology at Mississippi State University. Lindsay Kuehn is a public defender in Ramsey County, Minnesota, and a staff attorney with the Farmers' Legal Action Group. Allen Franco is an assistant federal public defender for the districts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Danielle Diamond is a visiting fellow at the Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law and Policy Program at Harvard Law School. Garrett Broad is Associate Professor of Communication Studies in Rowan University’s Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts, where he also serves as Provost’s Fellow in the Catalysts for Sustainability Initiative. His research and teaching explore the connections between contemporary social movements, food systems, and digital media technology. He is the author of More Than Just Food: Food Justice and Community Change, as well as a variety of articles on food's relationship to environmental sustainability, economic equity, and the health of humans and nonhuman animals. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/24/202450 minutes, 22 seconds
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Ofer Sharone, "The Stigma Trap: College-Educated, Experienced, and Long-Term Unemployed" (Oxford UP, 2024)

An eye-opening look at how all American workers, even the highly educated and experienced, are vulnerable to the stigma of unemployment. After receiving a PhD in mathematics from MIT, Larry spent three decades working at prestigious companies in the tech industry. Initially he was not worried when he lost his job as part of a large layoff, but the prolonged unemployment that followed decimated his finances and nearly ended his marriage. Larry's story is not an anomaly. The majority of American workers experience unemployment, and millions get trapped in devastating long-term unemployment, including experienced workers with advanced degrees from top universities. How is it possible for even highly successful careers to suddenly go off the rails? In The Stigma Trap: College-Educated, Experienced, and Long-Term Unemployed (Oxford UP, 2024), Ofer Sharone explains how the stigma of unemployment can render past educational and professional achievements irrelevant, and how it leaves all American workers vulnerable to becoming trapped in unemployment. Drawing on interviews with unemployed workers, job recruiters, and career coaches, Sharone brings to light the subtle ways that stigmatization prevents even the most educated and experienced workers from gaining middle-class jobs. Stigma also means that an American worker risks more than financial calamity from a protracted period of unemployment. One's closest relationships and sense of self are also on the line. Eye-opening and clearly written, The Stigma Trap is essential reading for anyone who has experienced unemployment, has a family member or friend who is unemployed, or who wants to understand the forces that underlie the anxiety-filled lives of contemporary American workers. The book offers a unique approach to supporting unemployed jobseekers. At a broader level it exposes the precarious condition of American workers and sparks a conversation about much-needed policies to assure that we are not all one layoff away from being trapped by stigma. Stephen Pimpare is a Senior Fellow at the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/22/202434 minutes
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Ian MacAllen, "Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022)

In Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022), Ian MacAllen traces the evolution of traditional Italian-American cuisine, often referred to as “red sauce Italian,” from its origins in Italy to its transformation in America into a new, distinct cuisine. It is a fascinating social and culinary history exploring the integration of red sauce food into mainstream America alongside the blending of Italian immigrant otherness into a national American identity. The story follows the small parlor restaurants immigrants launched from their homes to large, popular destinations, and eventually to commodified fast food and casual dining restaurants. Some dishes like fettuccine Alfredo and spaghetti alla Caruso owe their success to celebrities, and Italian-American cuisine generally has benefited from a rich history in popular culture. Drawing on inspiration from Southern Italian cuisine, early Italian immigrants to America developed new recipes and modified old ones. Ethnic Italians invented dishes like lobster fra Diavolo, spaghetti and meatballs, and veal parmigiana, and popularized foods like pizza and baked lasagna that had once been seen as overly foreign. Eventually, the classic red-checkered-table-cloth Italian restaurant would be replaced by a new idea of what it means for food to be Italian, even as ‘red sauce’ became entrenched in American culture. This booklooks at how and why these foods became part of the national American diet, and focuses on the stories, myths, and facts behind classic (and some not so classic) dishes within Italian-American cuisine. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/22/202452 minutes, 49 seconds
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On Zionism and the Left: A Discussion with Author and Cultural Critic Susie Linfield

“How has it come to this? How has ‘Zionist’…become the dirtiest word to the international Left?” Susie Linfield poses that ripe question at the outset of her book, The Lions’ Den: Zionism and the Left from Hannah Arendt to Noam Chomsky (Yale University Press, 2019). In the podcast, our discussion focuses on three prominent figures examined in The Lions’ Den: Isaac Deutscher, I.F. Stone, and Fred Halliday. And we explore present-day sentiments about Zionism among the Left amid the Gaza-Israel conflict. What’s needed in thinking about Zionism and about Israel, Linfield asserts in the conclusion to her provocative and timely book, is “realism,” not “pathology.” Veteran journalist Paul Starobin is a former Moscow bureau chief for Business Week and a former contributing editor of The Atlantic. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications. His latest book, Putin’s Exiles: Their Fight for a Better Russia (Columbia Global Reports) will be published in January. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/22/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 33 seconds
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Kareem R. Muhammad, "The Fight for Black Empowerment in the USA: America’s Last Hope" (Routledge, 2023)

Dr. Kareem Muhammad has a new book that focuses on the role of Black voters in the United States – specifically in their power as participants in democracy. In many ways, this is a “love story to the Black community” in the U.S. The book traces the sustained electoral power of Black voters, and teases at the fissures within this significant bloc of voters. Muhammad pays particular attention to what it looks like when policies that are important to Black voters are passed and implemented, and how this process reflects the coalition strength of this particular voting bloc. The research also notes that, historically, the Black vote has not really been taken into consideration as an important and vital bloc of voters, and thus less attention is paid to these voters by either party. But the research also notes that the Black vote is, in fact, decisive in supporting a political coalition that then puts into place policies and legislation that this community of voters wants to see established—like Reconstruction, like the Civil Rights agenda in the 1960s, like the efforts to protect democracy now. The Fight for Black Empowerment in the USA: America’s Last Hope (Routledge, 2023) focuses on just that—the power that individuals have, especially when grouped together, to impact elections, political agendas, and elected officials in office. But this pursuit, of political power and strength within the African American community, is also set in the historical and contemporary context of white supremacy in the United States. This is important to understand since it also highlights what Muhammad refers to as “the bounds of power” within the U.S. It is vitally important to understand the contours of power and what that means and how it is constituted in order to explore empowerment, especially black empowerment. The impetus behind the research and the book was to see if there was collaboration between the black voting bloc and the elected officials they have supported in the contemporary period, specifically the Democratic party and Democratic presidents. But one of the key findings in the research is that there are also gendered differences within the African American community and among African American voters in regard to support and engagement. Diving into popular culture, Muhammad traces these divides, highlighting the sexism, homophobia, and patriarchy that often comes through these cultural artifacts. The research also exposes the discomfort and resentment that some men have with the increased power and influence of black women.  The Fight for Black Empowerment in the USA: America’s Last Hope is a complex analysis, including an assessment of political power in the United States, understandings of how culture interacts with positions within communities, tensions around gender and power, and the collaborations between different political entities, voting blocs, and elected officials. The concluding ideas highlight the particularly vital role that Black Americans, especially Black women, have in protecting democracy in the United States, especially as part of the Democratic Party coalition. Lilly J. Goren is a professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-host of the New Books in Political Science channel at the New Books Network. She is co-editor of The Politics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (University Press of Kansas, 2022), as well as co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012). She can be reached @gorenlj.bsky.social Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/22/202458 minutes, 22 seconds
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Cassander L. Smith, "Race and Respectability in an Early Black Atlantic" (LSU Press, 2023)

Race and Respectability in an Early Black Atlantic (LSU Press, 2023) by Dr. Cassander L. Smith examines the means through which people of African descent embodied tenets of respectability as a coping strategy to navigate enslavement and racial oppression in the early Black Atlantic world. The term “respectability politics” refers to the way members of a minoritized population adopt the customs and manners of a dominant culture in order to gain visibility and combat negative stereotypes about their subject group. Today respectability politics can be seen in how those within and outside Black communities police the behaviour of Black celebrities, critique protest movements, and celebrate accomplishments by people of African descent who break racial barriers. To study the origins of the complicated relationship between race and respectability, Dr. Smith shows that early American literatures reveal Black communities engaging with issues of respectability from the very beginning of the transatlantic slave trade. Concerns about character and comportment influenced the literary production of Black Atlantic communities, particularly in the long eighteenth century. Uncovering the central importance of respectability as a theme shaping the literary development of cultures throughout the early Black Atlantic, Smith illuminates the mechanics of respectability politics in a range of texts, including poetry, letters, and life writing by Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, and expatriates on the west coast of Africa in Sierra Leone. Through these early Black texts, Race and Respectability in an Early Black Atlantic considers respectability politics as a malleable strategy that has both energized and suppressed Black cultures for centuries. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/21/202440 minutes, 20 seconds
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Aaron Carnes, "In Defense of Ska: The Ska Now More Than Ever Edition" (Clash Books, 2023)

The era of ska shame is officially over, and ska fans no longer need to hide in the basement, skanking alone. The creator of the popular podcast In Defense of Ska has doubled down on defending the checkered flag genre with his new edition of In Defense of Ska: Ska Now More Than Ever Edition (Clash Books, 2024). The original version was chosen by Pitchfork as one of the best music books of 2021, and was an official recommended read in Rolling Stone’s June 2021 issue. In this expanded version, author Aaron Carnes weaves in tons of new interviews and stories, continuing his crusade to rebuff pop culture’s dismissal of American ska as nothing more than porkpie hats and silly lyrics. Updated journalistic essays, personal stories, historical investigations, and a brand-new epilogue exploring ska’s “lost years” serve as a much-needed crash course on the hundreds of bands, big or small, that formed the passionate community that continues to love and evolve America’s much-maligned and infamously underrated ska scene. Join the movement today and discover why ska is a cultural force that can’t be ignored! Aaron Carnes is a music journalist based out of Northern California. His work has appeared in Playboy, Salon, Noisey, Bandcamp Daily, Sun Magazine, Sierra Club Magazine, and Ozy. He’s also the music editor at Good Times weekly newspaper in Santa Cruz, CA. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/21/20241 hour, 9 minutes, 30 seconds
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Joseph C. Russo, "Hard Luck and Heavy Rain: The Ecology of Stories in Southeast Texas" (Duke UP, 2022)

In Hard Luck and Heavy Rain: The Ecology of Stories in Southeast Texas (Duke UP, 2022) (Duke UP, 2023), Joseph C. Russo takes readers into the everyday lives of the rural residents of Southeast Texas. He encounters the region as a kind of world enveloped in on itself, existing under a pall of poverty, illness, and oil refinery smoke. His informants’ stories cover a wide swath of experiences, from histories of LGBTQ+ life and the local petrochemical industries to religiosity among health food store employees and the suffering of cancer patients living in the Refinery Belt. Russo frames their hard-luck stories as forms of verbal art and poetic narrative that render the region a mythopoetic landscape that epitomizes the impasse of American late capitalism. He shows that in this severe world, questions of politics and history are not cut and dry, and its denizens are not simply backward victims of circumstances. Russo demonstrates that by challenging classist stereotypes of rural Americans as passive, ignorant, and uneducated, his interlocutors offer significant insight into the contemporary United States. Joseph C. Russo is Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Wesleyan University. Armanc Yildiz is a postdoctoral researcher at Humboldt University. He received his Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at Harvard University, with a secondary degree in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. He is also the founder of Academics Write, where he supports scholars in their writing projects as a writing coach and developmental editor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/21/202434 minutes, 14 seconds
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Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, "Fit Nation: The Gains and Pains of America's Exercise Obsession" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

Today we are joined by Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, Professor of History at The New School, and author of Fit Nation: The Gains and Pains of America’s Exercise Obsession (University of Chicago Press, 2023). In our conversation, we discussed the beginnings of fitness in the United States, how fitness both offered the state a way to shape bodies and liberatory possibilities for counter-cultural communities, and the future of exercise in a post-covid world. In Fit Nation, Petrzela investigates the long history of fitness in the United States to better understand how fitness became such an important part of American life. She notes that the number of people who think fitness is essential for a full life has expanded dramatically since the 1890s and fitness shape our understandings of national community, industry, security, wealth, and wellness. Her comprehensive and readable account begins with the immigration of European fitness fanatics to the United States in the 19th century and illustrates how fitness became one of the most proto-typically American pursuits. The book is divided into seven sections; the first, “When Sweating Was Strange,” shows how American entrepreneurs translated European practices to a sceptical audience. Muscle Beach in Venice, California played a special role in promoting bodybuilding but it also alarmed ordinary Americans who worried about the time participants spent on what many thought were narcissistic and vain habits. One of the major themes of Petrzela’s work is the role of the government in promoting physical fitness and in the Cold War world the state opened the door to mass fitness. In the second section, “Slimming the Soft American,” she demonstrates how presidents starting with Eisenhower put fitness at the centre of their Cold War educational programs. The most notable example of government interventions into fitness was the President’s Council on Youth Fitness (now the President’s Council on Sport, Fitness, and Nutrition.) The third and fourth sections – “From the Margins to the Mainstream” and Movement Culture, Redefined” illustrate how fitness became a central part of the American experience and the limits to that experience in the 1960s and 1970s. Television brought fitness into American houses but gyms remained largely male spaces (although often associated with latent homosexuality.) Yoga and jogging made fitness accessible and linked fitness culture with counter-culture. Women were both the targets of most fitness programs – although not necessarily for liberatory reasons - and excluded from large sections of it. In the 1980s and 1990s, fitness changed further, moving away from the state-led efforts and counter-cultural currents of the 1950s and 1960s. Fitness became big business. In her fifth part, “Feel the Burn,” Petrzela shows how a new gospel of fitness emerged that made gyms, workout classes, and sweating accessible and desirable to growing numbers of Americans. In her sixth section, “Hard Bodies and Soulful Selves”, Petrzela shows how fitness shifted from an obligation imposed by the state for geo-political reasons to a more intrinsic requirement of people living in the neo-liberal era, but not everyone always fulfilled those obligations and many people resisted them. In the final section, “It’s Not Working Out,” Petrzela looks at the present and the future of the Fit Nation. Americans are by some measures less fit than ever before, but Petrzela raises real questions about the potential of any narrow definition of fitness to fix persistent health problems. 9/11, the Global Financial Crisis, and Covid-19 changed the way people worked out – cross-fit, home gyms, and Peloton became more popular than ever but fitness was also politicized into the left/right dynamic that dominates American cultural life. Keith Rathbone is a Senior Lecturer at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He researches twentieth-century French social and cultural history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/20/202448 minutes, 16 seconds
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Robert C. Post, "The Taft Court (10): Making Law for a Divided Nation, 1921–1930" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

Robert C. Post's book The Taft Court (10): Making Law for a Divided Nation, 1921–1930 (Cambridge UP, 2023) offers the definitive history of the Supreme Court from 1921 to 1930 when William Howard Taft was Chief Justice. Using untapped archival material, Robert C. Post engagingly recounts the ambivalent effort to create a modern American administrative state out of the institutional innovations of World War I. He shows how the Court sought to establish authoritative forms of constitutional interpretation despite the culture wars that enveloped prohibition and pervasive labor unrest. He explores in great detail how constitutional law responds to altered circumstances. The work provides comprehensive portraits of seminal figures such as Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Louis Dembitz Brandeis. It describes William Howard Taft's many judicial reforms and his profound alteration of the role of Chief Justice. A critical and timely contribution, The Taft Court sheds light on jurisprudential debates that are just as relevant today as they were a century ago. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/19/20241 hour, 7 minutes
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Leanne Trapedo Sims, "Reckoning with Restorative Justice: Hawai'i Women's Prison Writing" (Duke UP, 2023)

In Reckoning with Restorative Justice Hawaii Women's Prison Writing (Duke University Press, 2023), Dr. Leanne Trapedo Sims explores the experiences of women incarcerated at the Women’s Community Correctional Center, the only women’s prison in Hawaii. Adopting a decolonial and pro-abolitionist lens, she focuses mainly on women’s participation in the Kailua Prison Writing Project and its accompanying Prison Monologues program. Trapedo Sims argues that while the writing project was a vital resource for the inside women, it also remained deeply embedded within carceral logics at the institutional, state, and federal levels. She foregrounds different aspects of these programs, such as the classroom spaces and the dynamics that emerged between performers and audiences in the Prison Monologues. Blending ethnography, literary studies, psychological analysis, and criminal justice critique, Trapedo Sims centers the often-overlooked stories of incarcerated Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women in Hawai‘i in ways that resound with the broader American narrative: the disproportionate incarceration of people of color in the prison-industrial complex. Rameen Mohammed is a community organizer based in Texas, a fellow for Muslim Counterpublics Lab, and a soon-to-be law student.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/19/202429 minutes, 56 seconds
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Neall W. Pogue, "The Nature of the Religious Right: The Struggle between Conservative Evangelicals and the Environmental Movement" (Cornell UP, 2022)

How does the Bible instruct humans to interact with the Earth? Over the last few decades, white conservative evangelical Christians have increasingly taken positions against environmental protections. To understand why, Meghan Cochran talks with Neall W. Pogue about his book The Nature of the Religious Right: The Struggle between Conservative Evangelicals and the Environmental Movement (Cornell University Press, 2022) in which he examines how the religious right became a political force known for hostility toward environmental legislation.  Until the 1990s, theologically based, eco-friendly philosophies of Christian environmental stewardship were uncontroversial. However, when some in the evangelical community began to lean towards environmental activism in response to human caused climate change, their effort was overwhelmed by some conservative leaders who stressed a position against environmentalism. They ridiculed conservation efforts, embraced conspiracy theories, and refuted the expanding scientific literature. Pogue explains how different ideas of nature helped to construct a conservative evangelical political movement that rejected long-standing beliefs regarding Christian environmental stewardship. Suggested readings:  The Gospel of Climate Skepticism: Why Evangelical Christians Oppose Action on Climate Change by Robin Globus Veldman (University of California Press, 2019) Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild (The New Press, 2016) Meghan Cochran studies belief and action as a technologist working in customer experience and as a student of religion, business, and literature. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/18/202456 minutes, 36 seconds
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Bradley R. Clampitt, "Lost Causes: Confederate Demobilization and the Making of Veteran Identity" (LSU Press, 2022)

Lost Causes: Confederate Demobilization and the Making of Veteran Identity (LSU Press, 2022) by Dr. Bradley R. Clampitt is a groundbreaking analysis of Confederate demobilisation. The book examines the state of mind of Confederate soldiers in the immediate aftermath of war. Having survived severe psychological as well as physical trauma, they now faced the unknown as they headed back home in defeat. Lost Causes analyses the interlude between soldier and veteran, suggesting that defeat and demobilisation actually reinforced Confederate identity as well as public memory of the war and southern resistance to African American civil rights. Intense material shortages and images of the war’s devastation confronted the defeated soldiers-turned-veterans as they returned home to a revolutionised society. Their thoughts upon homecoming turned to immediate economic survival, a radically altered relationship with freedpeople, and life under Yankee rule—all against the backdrop of fearful uncertainty. Dr. Clampitt argues that the experiences of returning soldiers helped establish the ideological underpinnings of the Lost Cause and create an identity based upon shared suffering and sacrifice, a pervasive commitment to white supremacy, and an aversion to Federal rule and all things northern. As Lost Causes reveals, most Confederate veterans remained diehard Rebels despite demobilization and the demise of the Confederate States of America. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/18/20241 hour, 6 minutes, 11 seconds
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Black and Queer on Campus

Today’s book is: Black and Queer on Campus (NYU Press, 2023) by Michael P. Jeffries, which offers an inside look at what life is like for LGBTQ college students on campuses across the United States. Dr. Jeffries shows that Black and queer college students often struggle to find safe spaces and a sense of belonging when they arrive on campus. Drawing on his interviews with students from over a dozen colleges, Dr. Jeffries provides a much-needed perspective on the specific challenges Black LGBTQ students face and the ways they overcome them. We learn through these intimate portraits that many of the most harmful stereotypes and threats to black queer safety continue to haunt this generation of students. We also learn how students build queer identities. Black and Queer on Campus sheds light on the oft-hidden lives of Black LGBTQ students, and how educational institutions can better serve them. It highlights the quiet beauty and joy of Black queer social life, and the bonds of friendship that sustain the students. Our guest is: Dr. Michael P. Jeffries, who is Dean of Academic Affairs, Class of 1949 Professor in Ethics, and Professor of American Studies at Wellesley College. He is the author of Behind the Laughs: Community and Inequality in Comedy; Paint the White House Black: Barack Obama and the Meaning of Race in America; Thug Life: Race, Gender, and the Meaning of Hip-Hop; and Black and Queer on Campus. He has published dozens of essays and works of criticism in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and The Boston Globe, and has been interviewed by The Washington Post, The New York Times, and NPR. Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, who is the creator and show host of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in history, which she uses to explore what stories we tell and what happens to those we never tell. Listeners may also be interested in: This discussion of the book Gay on God's Campus This discussion of the book Black Boy Out of Time This conversation about writing the book Brown and Gay in LA Welcome to Academic Life, the podcast for your academic journey—and beyond! Please join us again to learn from more experts inside and outside the academy, and around the world. The Academic Life podcast is currently listened to in more than 150 countries. You can help support the show’s mission of democratizing education and sharing the hidden curriculum by downloading episodes, and by telling a friend—because knowledge is for everybody. You’ll find all 190+ Academic Life episodes archived here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/18/202451 minutes, 40 seconds
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Scott Gac, "Born in Blood: Violence and the Making of America" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

Scott Gac's Born in Blood: Violence and the Making of America (Cambridge UP, 2023) investigates one of history's most violent undertakings: The United States of America. People the world over consider violence in the United States as measurably different than that which troubles the rest of the globe, citing reasons including gun culture, the American West, Hollywood, the death penalty, economic inequality, rampant individualism, and more. This compelling examination of American violence explains a political culture of violence from the American Revolution to the Gilded Age, illustrating how physical force, often centered on racial hierarchy, sustained the central tenets of American liberal government. It offers an important story of nationhood, told through the experiences and choices of civilians, Indians, politicians, soldiers, and the enslaved, providing historical context for understanding how violence has shaped the United States from its inception. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/18/202439 minutes, 1 second
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Patricia Strach and Kathleen S. Sullivan, "The Politics of Trash: How Governments Used Corruption to Clean Cities, 1890–1929" (Cornell UP, 2023)

Political Scientists Patricia Strach (The University at Albany, State University of New York) and Kathleen S. Sullivan (Ohio University) have written a fascinating and important exploration of trash. More precisely, this is a complex examination and analysis of the development of our municipal sanitation processes and structures, highlighting intersecting policy areas, urban and local politics, and racial, gender, and class politics. The Politics of Trash: How Governments Used Corruption to Clean Cities, 1890–1929 (Cornell UP, 2023) has it all: corruption, gender and racial hierarchies, blame defection, rejection of expertise, case studies across a host of different cities around the country, and the collection of, the disposal of, and the innovations of garbage. Strach and Sullivan examine this multidimensional policy issue from an American political development perspective when the issue really took root in the United States in the latter part of the 19th century. At this point, urban areas saw demographic growth from migration from rural areas as well as the waves of immigrants who came to the U.S. Most U.S. cities found themselves facing the same problem: unsanitary living situations. The initial research found that there were three different forms of trash collection, and they highlighted the processes in San Francisco, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh. San Francisco had no formal municipal collection process; instead, the citizens of San Francisco contracted directly with scavengers themselves to remove the garbage. Pittsburgh, as a municipality, contracted out the responsibility—but the process there was one that fed fees back to the municipal leadership. New Orleans, awash in local government corruption, ultimately had a municipal collection program, which was generally far from effective. While these three cities were the basis for the initial research, St. Louis and Charleston were also added to the case studies, with Birmingham and Louisville as secondary examples within the study. The Politics of Trash also explores the way in which citizens need to engage with and comply with the sanitation programs. In order to urge compliance, cities often called on women’s civic organizations to model and advocate for participation in the garbage process. Obviously, these were white women’s civic organizations and while they had been advocates for sanitation processes, they were generally cut out of the development process since women were not to be too close to politics itself. Strach and Sullivan spent time with the Good Housekeeping magazine archives in order to flesh out this dimension of the analysis. The research also highlights how blame was put on immigrants and people of color when the sanitation programs failed—often because of corruption and lack of sufficient resources. The authors note throughout the text that the form that we remove and dispose of waste/garbage/trash now is the same as it was 100 years ago. And while we often separate compostables from recyclables from trash, this is not all that different than the ways that people disposed of their garbage in Pittsburgh, and Charleston, and San Francisco a century ago. And many of the same forms of removal remain in place. The Politics of Trash is a lively and fascinating analysis of a part of our lives that we often don’t consider to be political, but it is political, and has been for quite some time. Lilly J. Goren is a professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-host of the New Books in Political Science channel at the New Books Network. She is co-editor of The Politics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (University Press of Kansas, 2022), as well as co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012). She can be reached @gorenlj.bsky.social Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/18/202445 minutes, 53 seconds
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Aimee Loiselle, "Beyond Norma Rae: How Puerto Rican and Southern White Women Fought for a Place in the American Working Class" (UNC Press, 2023)

In the late 1970s, Hollywood producers took the published biography of Crystal Lee Sutton, a white southern textile worker, and transformed it into a blockbuster 1979 film, Norma Rae, featuring Sally Field in the title role. This fascinating book reveals how the film and the popular icon it created each worked to efface the labor history that formed the foundation of the film's story. Drawing on an impressive range of sources--union records, industry reports, film scripts, and oral histories--Aimee Loiselle's cutting-edge scholarship shows how gender, race, culture, film, and mythology have reconfigured and often undermined the history of the American working class and their labor activism.  While Norma Rae constructed a powerful image of individual defiance by a white working-class woman, Loiselle's Beyond Norma Rae: How Puerto Rican and Southern White Women Fought for a Place in the American Working Class (University of North Carolina Press, 2023) demonstrates that female industrial workers across the country and from diverse racial backgrounds understood the significance of cultural representation and fought to tell their own stories. Loiselle painstakingly reconstructs the underlying histories of working women in this era and makes clear that cultural depictions must be understood as the complicated creations they are. Aimee Loiselle is assistant professor of history at Central Connecticut State University. Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/17/202455 minutes, 45 seconds
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On Henry Einspruch's 1941 Yiddish Translation of the Christian Bible

Today we are going to explore a peculiar volume in the history of Yiddish literature, the Yiddish translation of the Christian bible written by Khaim Yekhiel, “Henry,” Einspruch, titled Der Bris Ḥadoshe, first published in Baltimore in 1941. The saga of Einspruch’s translation of the Christian bible is the subject of a new Yiddish drama, “The Gospel According to Chaim,” written by Mikhl Yashinsky, and recently produced by the New Yiddish Rep theater company in New York. Interviewee: Professor Naomi Seidman is the Jackman Humanities Professor at the University of Toronto, in the Department for the Study of Religion and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, and the author of Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020). Visit him online at ZalmanNewfield.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/17/202459 minutes, 4 seconds
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Geoffrey Levin, "Our Palestine Question: Israel and American Jewish Dissent, 1948-1978" (Yale UP, 2023)

American Jews began debating Palestinian rights issues even before Israel’s founding in 1948. Geoffrey Levin recovers the voices of American Jews who, in the early decades of Israel’s existence, called for an honest reckoning with the moral and political plight of Palestinians. These now‑forgotten voices, which include an aid‑worker‑turned‑academic with Palestinian Sephardic roots, a former Yiddish journalist, anti‑Zionist Reform rabbis, and young left‑wing Zionist activists, felt drawn to support Palestinian rights by their understanding of Jewish history, identity, and ethics. They sometimes worked with mainstream American Jewish leaders who feared that ignoring Palestinian rights could foster antisemitism, leading them to press Israeli officials for reform. But Israeli diplomats viewed any American Jewish interest in Palestinian affairs with deep suspicion, provoking a series of quiet confrontations that ultimately kept Palestinian rights off the American Jewish agenda up to the present era. In Our Palestine Question: Israel and American Jewish Dissent, 1948-1978 (Yale UP, 2023), Levin lays the groundwork for more forthright debates over Palestinian rights issues, American Jewish identity, and the U.S.‑Israel relationship more broadly. Roberto Mazza is currently an independent scholar. He is the host of the Jerusalem Unplugged Podcast and to discuss and propose a book for interview can be reached at [email protected]. Twitter and IG: @robbyref Website: www.robertomazza.org Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/16/20241 hour, 8 minutes, 39 seconds
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James C. Goodall, "Nautilus to Columbia: 70 Years of the US Navy's Nuclear Submarines" (Osprey, 2023)

In Nautilus to Columbia: 70 Years of the US Navy's Nuclear Submarines (Osprey, 2023), James C. Goodall covers the origins, design and development of the US Navy's fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. This program was developed under the command of Hiram G. Rickover, the "Father of the Nuclear Navy" who oversaw the commissioning of the very first nuclear-powered attack submarine, the USS Nautilus (SSN 571) in 1952. This was a truly revolutionary design. Until the advent of nuclear power, the world's submarine fleets traveled on the surface at night to charge their batteries, and only dove below the surface when enemy ships or planes were spotted. With the development of the USS Nautilus, the US Navy now had the ability to stay submerged for not just hours or days, but to hide out of harm's way for weeks or months at a time This highly illustrated book covers all of the 220+ submarine hulls built and delivered to the US Navy from the USS Nautilus through to the Navy's newest class of submarine, the Columbia class SSBNs. The story of the Nuclear Navy from its origins up to the present day is told through more than 1,300 images from official and archive sources, as well as the author's own personal collection, some of which have never been published before. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/15/202454 minutes, 48 seconds
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Alexandra Filindra, "Race, Rights, and Rifles: The Origins of the NRA and Contemporary Gun Culture" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

The United States has more guns than people and more gun violence than any Western democracy. Scholars in diverse fields interrogate why 21st century Americans support gun ownership and valorize vigilantism even as they fear gun violence. Many question how the NRA – National Rifle Association – has successfully lobbied for radical gun laws that most Americans don’t support.  In Race, Rights, and Rifles: The Origins of the NRA and Contemporary Gun Culture (U Chicago Press, 2023), Dr. Alexandra Filindra highlights political culture. She argues that the NRA depends upon political narratives that can be traced back to the American Revolution. Rather than focus on the constitution, Lockean liberalism, rule of law, or individual rights, she argues that the American Revolution depended upon classical republican ideals – especially the martial virtue of the citizen-soldier – that became foundational to American democracy. American gun culture fuses the republican citizen-soldier with White male supremacy to create what Filindra calls ascriptive martial republicanism. Her book demonstrates how the militarized understandings of political membership prominent in NRA narratives and embraced by many White Americans fit within this broader revolutionary ideology. Even as contemporary NRA narratives embrace 18th and 19th century versions of ascriptive martial republicanism, the NRA radically decouples political virtue and military service by associating virtue with the consumer act of purchasing a firearm. Rather than emphasizing military service or preparedness, consumer choice defines the politically virtuous citizen. White Amerians embrace this combination of civic republicanism and White male supremacy but Filindra’s research shows that they also hold a competing form of republicanism (inclusive republicanism) that includes a commitment to peaceful political engagement, civic forms of voluntarism and participation, and a strong belief in multiculturalism. In the podcast, Susan mentions previous podcasts on Katherine Franke’s Repair: Redeeming the Promise of Abolition and Drew McKevitt’s Gun Country: Gun Capitalism, Culture, and Control in Cold War America. Dr. Alexandra Filindra is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Psychology at the University of Illinois Chicago. She specializes in American gun politics, immigration policy, race and ethnic politics, public opinion, and political psychology. George Lobis served as the editorial assistant for this podcast. Susan Liebell is a Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/15/202453 minutes, 52 seconds
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James W. Cortada, "Inside IBM: Lessons of a Corporate Culture in Action" (Columbia Business School, 2023)

IBM was the world's leading provider of information technologies for much of the twentieth century. What made it so successful for such a long time, and what lessons can this iconic corporation teach present-day enterprises? James W. Cortada--a business historian who worked at IBM for many years--pinpoints the crucial role of IBM's corporate culture. He provides an inside look at how this culture emerged and evolved over the course of nearly a century, bringing together the perspectives of employees, executives, and customers around the world. Through a series of case studies, Inside IBM: Lessons of a Corporate Culture in Action (Columbia Business School, 2023) explores the practices that built and reinforced organizational culture, including training of managers, employee benefits, company rituals, and the role of humor. It also considers the importance of material culture, such as coffee mugs and lapel pins. Cortada argues that IBM's corporate culture aligned with its business imperatives for most of its history, allowing it to operate with a variety of stakeholders in mind and not simply prioritize stockholders. He identifies key lessons that managers can learn from IBM's experience and apply in their own organizations today. This engaging and deeply researched book holds many insights for business historians, executives and managers concerned with stakeholder relations, professionals interested in corporate culture, and IBMers. James W. Cortada is a senior research fellow at the Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He spent nearly forty years at IBM in various sales, consulting, management, and executive positions. Other NBN interviews with the same author include "The Birth of Modern Facts" and "IBM: The Rise, Fall and Reinvention of a Global Icon". Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/14/20241 hour, 8 minutes, 36 seconds
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Jeffrey A. Friedman, "The Commander-in-Chief Test: Public Opinion and the Politics of Image-Making in US Foreign Policy" (Cornell UP, 2023)

Americans frequently criticize US foreign policy for being overly costly and excessively militaristic. With its rising defense budgets and open-ended "forever wars," US foreign policy often appears disconnected from public opinion, reflecting the views of elites and special interests rather than the attitudes of ordinary citizens. The Commander-in-Chief Test: Public Opinion and the Politics of Image-Making in US Foreign Policy (Cornell UP, 2023) argues that this conventional wisdom underestimates the role public opinion plays in shaping foreign policy. Voters may prefer to elect leaders who share their policy views, but they prioritize selecting presidents who seem to have the right personal attributes to be an effective commander in chief. Leaders then use hawkish foreign policies as tools for showing that they are tough enough to defend America's interests on the international stage. This link between leaders' policy positions and their personal images steers US foreign policy in directions that are more hawkish than what voters actually want. Combining polling data with survey experiments and original archival research on cases from the Vietnam War through the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, Friedman demonstrates that public opinion plays a surprisingly extensive—and often problematic—role in shaping US international behavior. With the commander-in-chief test, a perennial point of debate in national elections, Friedman's insights offer important lessons on how the politics of image-making impacts foreign policy and how the public should choose its president. Jeffrey A. Friedman is Associate Professor of Government at Dartmouth College. Sam Canter is a policy and strategy analyst, PhD candidate in Politics and International Relations, and Army Reserve intelligence officer. His views are his own and do not reflect any institution, organization, or entity with which he is affiliated. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/14/202440 minutes, 22 seconds
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Kathryn Mathers, "White Saviorism and Popular Culture: Imagined Africa as a Space for American Salvation" (Routledge, 2022)

In White Saviorism and Popular Culture: Imagined Africa as a Space for American Salvation (Routledge, 2022), Kathryn Mathers interrogates the white savior industrial complex by exploring how America continues to present an imagined Africa as a space for its salvation in the 21st century. Through close readings of multiple mediated sites where Americans imagine Africa, White Saviorism and Popular Culture examines how an era of new media technologies is reshaping encounters between Africans and westerners in the 21st century, especially as Africans living and experiencing the consequences of western imaginings are also mobilizing the same mediated spaces. Kathryn Mathers emphasizes that the articulation of different forms of humanitarian engagement between America and Africa marks the necessity to interrogate the white savior industrial complex and the ways Africa is being asked to fulfill American needs as life in the United States becomes increasingly intolerable for Black Americans. Drawing on case studies from Savior Barbie (@barbiesavior) to Black Panther and Black is King, Mathers posits that global imperialism not only still reigns, but that it also disguises white supremacy by outsourcing Black American emancipation onto an imagined Africa. This is crucial reading for courses on the cultural politics of representation, particularly in relation to race, social media and popular culture, as well as anyone interested in issues of representation in the global humanitarianism industry. Bryant Scott is a professor in the Liberal Arts Department at Texas A&M University at Qatar. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/14/20241 hour, 20 minutes, 9 seconds
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Aviva Ben-Ur and Wim Klooster eds., "Jewish Entanglements in the Atlantic World" (Cornell UP, 2024)

Aviva Ben-Ur and Wim Klooster's edited volume Jewish Entanglements in the Atlantic World (Cornell UP, 2024)  represents the first collective attempt to reframe the study of colonial and early American Jewry within the context of Atlantic History.  From roughly 1500 to 1830, the Atlantic World was a tightly intertwined swathe of global powers that included Europe, Africa, North and South America, and the Caribbean. How, when, and where do Jews figure in this important chapter of history? This book explores these questions and many others. The essays of this volume foreground the connectivity between Jews and other population groups in the realms of empire, trade, and slavery, taking readers from the shores of Caribbean islands to various outposts of the Dutch, English, Spanish, and Portuguese empires. Jewish Entanglements in the Atlantic World revolutionizes the study of Jews in early American history, forging connections and breaking down artificial academic divisions so as to start writing the history of an Atlantic world influenced strongly by the culture, economy, politics, religion, society, and sexual relations of Jewish people. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/13/202445 minutes, 29 seconds
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Rich Cohen, "When the Game Was War: The NBA's Greatest Season" (Random House, 2023)

Four historic teams. Four legendary players. One unforgettable season. The 1980s were a transformative decade for the NBA. Since its founding in 1946, the league had evolved from a bruising, earthbound game of mostly nameless, underpaid players to one in which athletes became household names for their thrilling, physics-defying play. The 1987–88 season was the peak of that golden era, a year of incredible drama that featured a pantheon of superstars in their prime—the most future Hall of Famers competing at one time in any given season—battling for the title, and for their respective legacies. In When the Game Was War: The NBA's Greatest Season (Random House, 2023), bestselling author Rich Cohen tells the story of this incredible season through the four teams, and the four players, who dominated it: Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics, Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers, Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons, and a young Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls. From rural Indiana to the South Side of Chicago, suburban North Carolina to rust-belt Michigan, Cohen explores the diverse journeys each of these iconic players took before arriving on the big stage. Drawing from dozens of interviews with NBA insiders, Cohen brings to vivid life some of the most colorful characters of the era—like Bill Laimbeer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Danny Ainge, and Charles Oakley—who fought like hell to help these stars succeed. For anyone who longs to understand how the NBA came to be the cultural juggernaut it is today—and to relive the magic and turmoil of those pivotal years—When the Game Was War brilliantly recasts one unforgettable season and the four transcendent players who were at the center of it all. Paul Knepper covered the New York Knicks for Bleacher Report. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers That Almost Won It All was published in 2020. You can reach Paul at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/13/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 12 seconds
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Matt Singer, "Opposable Thumbs: How Siskel & Ebert Changed Movies Forever" (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2023)

Once upon a time, if you wanted to know if a movie was worth seeing, you didn’t check out Rotten Tomatoes or IMDB. You asked whether Siskel & Ebert had given it “two thumbs up.” On a cold Saturday afternoon in 1975, two men (who had known each other for eight years before they’d ever exchanged a word) met for lunch in a Chicago pub. Gene Siskel was the film critic for the Chicago Tribune. Roger Ebert had recently won the Pulitzer Prize—the first ever awarded to a film critic—for his work at the Chicago Sun-Times. To say they despised each other was an understatement. When they reluctantly agreed to collaborate on a new movie review show with PBS, there was at least as much sparring off-camera as on. No decision—from which films to cover to who would read the lead review to how to pronounce foreign titles—was made without conflict, but their often-antagonistic partnership (which later transformed into genuine friendship) made for great television. In the years that followed, their signature “Two thumbs up!” would become the most trusted critical brand in Hollywood. In Opposable Thumbs: How Siskel & Ebert Changed Movies Forever (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2023), award-winning editor and film critic Matt Singer eavesdrops on their iconic balcony set, detailing their rise from making a few hundred dollars a week on local Chicago PBS to securing multimillion-dollar contracts for a syndicated series (a move that convinced a young local host named Oprah Winfrey to do the same). Their partnership was cut short when Gene Siskel passed away in February of 1999 after a battle with brain cancer that he’d kept secret from everyone outside his immediate family—including Roger Ebert, who never got to say goodbye to his longtime partner. But their influence on in the way we talk about (and think about) movies continues to this day. Matt Singer is the editor and film critic of ScreenCrush and a member of the New York Film Critics Circle. He won a Webby Award for his work on the Independent Film Channel’s website. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters. Daniel Moran earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in History from Drew University. The author of Creating Flannery O’Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers and articles on G. K. Chesterton and John Ford, he teaches research and writing at Rutgers and co-hosts the podcast Fifteen-Minute Film Fanatics, found here on the New Books Network and on X. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/13/202459 minutes, 1 second
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Emily Brooks, "Gotham’s War Within a War: Policing and the Birth of Law-and-Order Liberalism in World War II-Era New York City" (UNC Press, 2023)

Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, members of the NYPD had worked to enforce partisan political power rather than focus on crime. That changed when La Guardia took office in 1934 and shifted the city's priorities toward liberal reform. La Guardia's approach to low-level policing anticipated later trends in law enforcement, including "broken windows" theory and "stop and frisk" policy. Police officers worked to preserve urban order by controlling vice, including juvenile delinquency, prostitution, gambling, and the "disorderly" establishments that officials believed housed these activities. This mode of policing was central to La Guardia's influential vision of urban governance, but it was met with resistance from the Black New Yorkers, youth, and working-class women it primarily targeted. The mobilization for World War II introduced new opportunities for the NYPD to intensify policing and criminalize these groups with federal support. In the 1930s these communities were framed as perils to urban order; during the militarized war years, they became a supposed threat to national security itself.  In Gotham’s War Within a War: Policing and the Birth of Law-and-Order Liberalism in World War II-Era New York City (UNC Press, 2023), Emily M. Brooks recasts the evolution of urban policing by revealing that the rise of law-and-order liberalism was inseparable from the surveillance, militarism, and nationalism of war. Jeffrey Lamson is a PhD student in world history at Northeastern University. His research focuses on the history of police technology, its relationship to the history of police reform, and its place at the intersection of U.S. domestic policing and global counterinsurgency. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/13/20241 hour, 8 minutes, 14 seconds
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Matthew Batt, "The Last Supper Club: A Waiter's Requiem" (U of Minnesota Press, 2023)

During a year on sabbatical from his university position, Matthew Batt realized he needed money—fast—and it just so happened that a craft brewery in Minneapolis was launching a restaurant and looking to hire. So it was that the forty-something tenured professor found himself waiting tables. And loving it.  The Last Supper Club: A Waiter's Requiem (University of Minnesota Press, 2023) tells the story of Batt’s experience at the fine dining restaurant, an adventure that continued well past his sabbatical—right up to the restaurant’s sudden and unceremonious closing, shortly after it was named one of the best restaurants in the country by Food & Wine. Batt’s memoir conveys the challenge—and the satisfaction—of meeting the demands of a frenzied kitchen and an equally expectant crowd. The Last Supper Club reveals the ups and downs of a waiter’s workday and offers an insightful perspective on what makes a job good, bad, or great. James Kates is a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He has worked as an editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other publications. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/12/202453 minutes, 40 seconds
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Hajar Yazdiha, "The Struggle for the People’s King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement" (Princeton UP, 2023)

In the post-civil rights era, wide-ranging groups have made civil rights claims that echo those made by Black civil rights activists of the 1960s, from people with disabilities to women's rights activists and LGBTQ coalitions. Increasingly since the 1980s, white, right-wing social movements, from family values coalitions to the alt-right, now claim the collective memory of civil rights to portray themselves as the newly oppressed minorities. The Struggle for the People’s King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement (Princeton UP, 2023) reveals how, as these powerful groups remake collective memory toward competing political ends, they generate offshoots of remembrance that distort history and threaten the very foundations of multicultural democracy. In the revisionist memories of white conservatives, gun rights activists are the new Rosa Parks, antiabortion activists are freedom riders, and antigay groups are the defenders of Martin Luther King's Christian vision. Drawing on a wealth of evidence ranging from newspaper articles and organizational documents to television transcripts, press releases, and focus groups, Hajar Yazdiha documents the consequential reimagining of the civil rights movement in American political culture from 1980 to today. She shows how the public memory of King and civil rights has transformed into a vacated, sanitized collective memory that evades social reality and perpetuates racial inequality. Powerful and persuasive, The Struggle for the People's King demonstrates that these oppositional uses of memory fracture our collective understanding of who we are, how we got here, and where we go next. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/12/202430 minutes, 32 seconds
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Sam Lebovic, "State of Silence: The Espionage Act and the Rise of America's Secrecy Regime" (Basic Book, 2023)

In State of Silence: The Espionage Act and the Rise of America's Secrecy Regime (Basic Books, 2023), political historian Dr. Sam Lebovic uncovers the troubling history of the Espionage Act. First passed in 1917, it was initially used to punish critics of World War I. Yet as Americans began to baulk at the act’s restrictions on political dissidents and the press, the government turned its focus toward keeping its secrets under wraps. The resulting system for classifying information is absurdly cautious, staggeringly costly, and shrouded in secrecy, preventing ordinary Americans from learning what their country is doing in their name, both at home and abroad. Shedding new light on the bloated governmental security apparatus that’s weighing our democracy down, State of Silence offers the definitive history of America’s turn toward secrecy—and its staggering human costs.  This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/12/202458 minutes, 5 seconds
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Darnise C. Martin, "Beyond Christianity: African Americans in a New Thought Church" (NYU Press, 2005)

Darnise C. Martin's Beyond Christianity: African Americans in a New Thought Church (NYU Press, 2005) draws on rich ethnographic work in a Religious Science church in Oakland, California, to illuminate the ways a group of African Americans has adapted a religion typically thought of as white to fit their needs and circumstances. This predominantly African American congregation is an anomalous phenomenon for both Religious Science and African American religious studies. It stands at the intersection of New Thought doctrine, characterized by personal empowerment teachings,and a culturally familiar liturgical style reminiscent of Black Pentecostals and Black Spiritualists. This group challenges oversimplified concepts of the Black church experience and broadens the concept of Black religion outside the boundaries of Christianity—raising questions about what it means to be an African American congregation, and about the nature of blackness itself. Beyond Christianity adds a new dimension to the scholarship on Black religion. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/11/202448 minutes, 4 seconds
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Kami Fletcher and Ashley Towle, "Grave History: Death, Race, and Gender in Southern Cemeteries" (U Georgia Press, 2023)

Kami Fletcher and Ashley Towle’s edited collection Grave History: Death, Race and Gender in Southern Cemeteries (University of Georgia Press, 2023), demonstrates how Jim Crow laws extended into the realms of the dead. Cemeteries throughout the Southern states either relegated Black funerals to the margins in existing cemeteries or excluded the community altogether, often citing the excuse that inclusion would create unrest amongst white lot-holders, and disturb the peace of the cemetery. Burial spaces become demonstrative of oppression, but could also signal resistance to oppression. This impressive text provides an essential primer in African American cemetery history and illustrates how the Black community created frameworks of community support to ensure that homegoing services were dignified and affordable. Chapters also explore the historic importance of African American burial grounds, where grave markers are uniquely important to the recreation of otherwise poorly documented communities. The chapters also lean into the problems intrinsic to interpreting the material culture of oppression, where historic Black identities risk becoming fixed within narratives of victimhood. The book includes workshop guidance for teachers, for use with students at all stages in the education process. Dr Julie Rugg is Director of the Cemetery Research Group, University of York, UK. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/11/202446 minutes, 23 seconds
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Patrick R. O'Malley, "The Irish and the Imagination of Race: White Supremacy Across the Atlantic in the Nineteenth Century" (U Virginia Press, 2023)

Patrick R. O'Malley's book The Irish and the Imagination of Race: White Supremacy Across the Atlantic in the Nineteenth Century (U Virginia Press, 2023) analyzes the role of Irishness in nineteenth-century constructions of race and racialization, both in the British Isles and in the United States. Focusing on the years immediately preceding the American Civil War, Patrick O’Malley interrogates the bardic verse epic, the gothic tale, the realist novel, the stage melodrama, and the political polemic to ask how many mid-nineteenth-century Irish nationalist writers with liberationist politics declined to oppose race-based chattel enslavement in the United States and the structures of white supremacy that underpinned and ultimately outlived it. Many of the writers whose work O’Malley examines drew specifically upon the image of Black suffering to generate support for their arguments for Irish political enfranchisement; yet in doing so, they frequently misrepresented the fundamental differences between Irish and Black experience under the regimes of white supremacy, which has had profound consequences. Patrick R. O'Malley is Professor of English at Georgetown University, where he teaches Irish and British literature of the long nineteenth century and critical theory. He is the author of two previous books: Catholicism, Sexual Deviance, and Victorian Gothic Culture, which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2006, and Liffey and Lethe: Paramnesiac History in Nineteenth-Century Anglo-Ireland, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2017 and won the Robert Rhodes Prize for books on literature from the American Conference for Irish Studies. Aidan Beatty is a lecturer in the history department at Carnegie Mellon University Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/11/202457 minutes, 48 seconds
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Selby Wynn Schwartz, "The Bodies of Others: Drag Dances and Their Afterlives" (U Michigan Press, 2019)

Selby Wynn Schwartz writes about gender, performance, and the politics of embodiment. Her articles have been published in Women & Performance, PAJ, Dance Research Journal, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, Critical Correspondence, Ballet-Dance Magazine, In Dance, The Oxford Handbook of Screendance Studies, and the forthcoming anthology (Re)Claiming Ballet. She holds a PhD from UC Berkeley in Comparative Literature and currently teaches writing at Stanford University. The Bodies of Others: Drag Dances and Their Afterlives (University of Michigan Press, 2019) covers four decades of drag dances, exploring the politics of gender in motion. From drag ballerinas to faux queens, and from butoh divas to the club mothers of modern dance, the book delves into four decades of drag dances. It takes us beyond glittery one-liners and into the spaces between gender norms. In these backstage histories, dancers give their bodies over to other selves, opening up the category of realness. The book maps out a drag politics of embodiment, connecting drag dances to queer hope, memory, and mourning. Drawing on queer theory, dance history, and the embodied practices of dancers themselves, The Bodies of Others examines the ways in which drag dances undertake the work of a shared queer and trans politics. Isabel Machado is a cultural historian whose work often crosses national and disciplinary boundaries. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/11/202456 minutes, 42 seconds
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Matthew Kennedy, "On Elizabeth Taylor: An Opinionated Guide" (Oxford UP, 2024)

In the oceans of ink devoted to the monumental movie star/businesswoman/political activist Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor (1932-2011), her beauty and not-so-private life frequently overshadowed her movies. While she knew how to generate publicity like no other, her personal life is set aside in this volume in favor of her professional oeuvre and unique screen dynamism. In On Elizabeth Taylor: An Opinionated Guide (Oxford UP, 2024), her marriages, illnesses, media firestorms, perfume empire, violet eyes, and AIDS advocacy take a back seat to Elizabeth Taylor, the actress. Taylor's big screen credits span over fifty years, from her pre-adolescent debut in There's One Born Every Minute (1942) to her cameo in The Flintstones (1994). She worked steadily in everything from the biggest production in film history (Cleopatra in 1963) to a humble daytime TV soap opera (General Hospital in 1981). Each of her sixty-seven film appearances is recapped here with background on their inception, production, release, and critical and financial outcome. On Elizabeth Taylor: An Opinionated Guide is a cradle-to-grave chronology of Taylor's life, noting key events, achievements, and milestones. This book offers a work-by-work analysis of her entire career told in chronological order, each film headlined with year of release, distributing studio, and director. This in-depth overview provides an invaluable new way of understanding Taylor's full life and work, as well as the history and nuances of the film industry as it existed in the twentieth century. Kennedy engagingly reassesses Taylor's acting and the nuances she brought to the screen - this includes a consideration of her specific art, the development of her voice, her relationship to the camera, and her canny understanding of the effect she had on audiences worldwide. Kennedy also provides an elucidating guide to her entire filmography, one that speaks to the quality of her performances, their contours and shading, and their context within her extraordinary life and career. On Elizabeth Taylor is a beautifully comprehensive overview of a singular actress of the twentieth century, offering new ways to see and appreciate her skill and peerless charisma, in turn placing her among the greatest film stars of all time. Matthew Kennedy is a film historian based in Oakland, California. He is the author of Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s, biographies of actresses Marie Dressler and Joan Blondell, and of director-screenwriter Edmund Goulding. He has introduced film series at the Museum of Modern Art, UCLA Film & Television Archive, and Pacific Film Archive, and written for the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Turner Classic Movies, and the National Film Registry. He is currently host and curator of the CinemaLit series at the Mechanics' Institute Library in San Francisco. Daniel Moran earned his B.A. and M.A. in English from Rutgers University and his Ph.D. in History from Drew University. The author of Creating Flannery O’Connor: Her Critics, Her Publishers, Her Readers and articles on G. K. Chesterton and John Ford, he teaches research and Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/10/20241 hour, 7 minutes, 28 seconds
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Robert Michael Morrissey, "People of the Ecotone: Environment and Indigenous Power at the Center of Early America" (U Washington Press, 2022)

By putting the Midwest at the center of Vast Early America, University of Illinois historian Robert Morrissey reconfigures the power dynamics in the story of North America during the era of colonialism. In his award-winning People of the Ecotone: Environment and Indigenous Power at the Center of Early America (U Washington Press, 2022), Morrissey tells a story that centers the edge - the places where the vast American prairies meet the forests of the Great Lakes. This "ecotone" region is a zone of environmental wealth and dynamism, where successive Native societies were able to build powerful societies based on an understanding of the region's ecologies. Rather than European empires of eastern Native people like the Iroquois acting upon people at the center of the continent, Morrissey centers the Meskwaki, the Illiniwek, and other groups usually kept at the margins of the story. By combining ethnohistory, environmental history, and colonial history, People of the Ecotone tells a genuinely new story that shifts our perspective of who and what matters in early American history in unexpected ways. Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota and is the Assistant Director of the American Society for Environmental History. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/10/20241 hour, 8 minutes, 53 seconds
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Jennifer Thomson, "The Wild and the Toxic: American Environmentalism and the Politics of Health" (UNC Press, 2019)

The first wealth is health, according to Emerson. Among health’s riches is its political potential. Few know this better than environmentalists. In her debut book, The Wild and the Toxic: American Environmentalism and the Politics of Health (UNC Press, 2019), historian Jennifer Thomson revisits canonical figures and events from the environmental movement in the United States and finds everywhere talk of health. At its best, viewing the environment through the lens of health encouraged decentralized organizing and a sense of collective responsibility. At its worst it supported technocracy and uninspired paeans to green consumerism. With shrewd analysis, Thomson gives the movement its own check-up as she reassess the careers and political imaginations of many of the its luminaries, including David Brower, Wendell Berry, Dave Foreman, and Bill McKibben. Dispensing with the habit of thinking of environmentalism as responding only and ever to itself, Thomson sets its history within the larger context of American political development. So the book is full of unexpected historical crossovers, such as Love Canal residents responding to the Mariel boatlife or the OPEC embargo-era U.S. oil industry championing the Gaia hypothesis. Few books on environmentalism’s past are a better guide for envisioning its future. Jennifer Thomson is Assistant Professor of History at Bucknell History. She also hosts the radio program Bucknell: Occupied, which airs Thursday at 6:00 pm on WVBU. Brian Hamilton is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he is researching African American environmental history. A Maine native, he lives in Western Massachusetts and chairs the History and Social Science Department at Deerfield Academy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/10/202447 minutes, 11 seconds
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Ayelet Brinn, "A Revolution in Type: Gender and the Making of the American Yiddish Press" (NYU Press, 2023)

A Revolution in Type: Gender and the Making of the American Yiddish Press (NYU Press, 2023) by Dr. Ayelet Brinn offers a fascinating glimpse into the complex and often unexpected ways that women and ideas about women shaped widely read Jewish newspapers. Between the 1880s and 1920s, Yiddish-language newspapers rose from obscurity to become successful institutions integral to American Jewish life. During this period, Yiddish-speaking immigrants came to view newspapers as indispensable parts of their daily lives. For many Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, acclimating to America became inextricably intertwined with becoming a devoted reader of the Yiddish periodical press, as the newspapers and their staffs became a fusion of friends, religious and political authorities, tour guides, matchmakers, and social welfare agencies. In A Revolution in Type, Dr. Brinn argues that women were central to the emergence of the Yiddish press as a powerful, influential force in American Jewish culture. Through rhetorical debates about women readers and writers, the producers of the Yiddish press explored how to transform their newspapers to reach a large, diverse audience. The seemingly peripheral status of women’s columns and other newspaper features supposedly aimed at a female audience—but in reality, read with great interest by male and female readers alike—meant that editors and publishers often used these articles as testing grounds for the types of content their newspapers should encompass. The book explores the discovery of previously unknown work by female writers in the Yiddish press, whose contributions most often appeared without attribution; it also examines the work of men who wrote under women’s names in order to break into the press. Brinn shows that instead of framing issues of gender as marginal, we must view them as central to understanding how the American Yiddish press developed into the influential, complex, and diverse publication field it eventually became. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/9/202433 minutes, 15 seconds
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Katherine Rye Jewell, "Live from the Underground: A History of College Radio" (UNC Press, 2023)

Bands like R.E.M., U2, Public Enemy, and Nirvana found success as darlings of college radio, but the extraordinary influence of these stations and their DJs on musical culture since the 1970s was anything but inevitable. As media deregulation and political conflict over obscenity and censorship transformed the business and politics of culture, students and community DJs turned to college radio to defy the mainstream—and they ended up disrupting popular music and commercial radio in the process. In Live from the Underground: A History of College Radio (UNC Press, 2023), Katherine Rye Jewell reveals that these eclectic stations in major cities and college towns across the United States owed their collective cultural power to the politics of higher education as much as they did to upstart bohemian music scenes coast to coast. Jewell uncovers how battles to control college radio were about more than music—they were an influential, if unexpected, front in the nation’s culture wars. These battles created unintended consequences and overlooked contributions to popular culture that students, DJs, and listeners never anticipated. More than an ode to beloved stations, this book will resonate with both music fans and observers of the politics of culture. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/9/202441 minutes, 35 seconds
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Steven Rogers, "Accountability in State Legislatures" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

Political Scientist Steven Rogers’ new book focuses on the deceptively complex question of how it is that voters do or don’t/can and can’t hold their elected state representatives accountable. Rogers takes his jumping off point from the basic understanding of the relationship between the voter and their elected representatives: namely that the election process will, in some way, act as a means of making the elected official in state government accountable to the voters, who cast their ballots for or in opposition to that elected representative. State house elected officials across the United States are, indeed, closer in proximity to the people they are elected to represent and govern; and the legislation and regulations passed by state legislators generally impact us more directly and more frequently than do national-level laws, regulations, or decisions. And while there is a of literature focusing on state and local politics, the unique approach of Rogers’ research focuses specifically on the state legislatures, how the elites and voters act in elections, and if we can actually see accountability demonstrated in these interactions and connections. Accountability in State Legislatures (U Chicago Press, 2023) is guided by the foundational question of representative democracy—and the connection between voters and their immediate representatives, as opposed to those in Washington, D.C. Rogers has compiled an extensive data set that pulls in general election results across the states, as well as primary election results. The data also includes legislative performance by elected state house representatives and integrates partisanship as well as the roll call votes by elected officials. Rogers also tries to evaluate the effectiveness of elected officials, examining how successful each individual is in getting something through the legislative process. Accountability in State Legislatures ultimately finds that accountability is more absent than it is present, given that state legislators often lack challengers in either the primary or the general elections, their seats tend to be fairly safe, and the decline in media reporting at state houses across the country has made it more difficult for voters to keep an eye on their elected representatives. Federalism has always been a complex and multi-layered form of government, and Rogers work reflects the difficulty that voters have in being able to pay close attention to the action in state houses. But this is not a story about the voters lack of engagement—though there is some of that—it is more that the modes for accountability in state legislatures or the “threats of accountability can create a false sense of security and be dangerous both to everyday life and representative government” (264). Lilly J. Goren is a professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-host of the New Books in Political Science channel at the New Books Network. She is co-editor of The Politics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (University Press of Kansas, 2022), as well as co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012). She can be reached @gorenlj.bsky.social Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/8/202449 minutes, 18 seconds
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Alex Pappademas and Joan LeMay, "Quantum Criminals: Ramblers, Wild Gamblers, and Other Sole Survivors from the Songs of Steely Dan" (U Texas Press, 2023)

A literary and visual exploration of the songs of Steely Dan. Steely Dan's songs are exercises in fictional world-building. No one else in the classic-rock canon has conjured a more vivid cast of rogues and heroes, creeps and schmucks, lovers and dreamers and cold-blooded operators--or imbued their characters with so much humanity. Pulling from history, lived experience, pulp fiction, the lore of the counterculture, and their own darkly comic imaginations, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker summoned protagonists who seemed like fully formed people with complicated pasts, scars they don't talk about, delusions and desires and memories they can't shake. From Rikki to Dr. Wu, Hoops McCann to Kid Charlemagne, Franny from NYU to the Woolly Man without a Face, every name is a locked-room mystery, beguiling listeners and earning the band an exceptionally passionate and ever-growing cult fandom. Quantum Criminals: Ramblers, Wild Gamblers, and Other Sole Survivors from the Songs of Steely Dan (U Texas Press, 2023) presents the world of Steely Dan as it has never been seen, much less heard. Artist Joan LeMay has crafted lively, color-saturated images of her favorite characters from the Daniverse to accompany writer Alex Pappademas's explorations of the famous and obscure songs that inspired each painting, in short essays full of cultural context, wild speculation, inspired dot-connecting, and the occasional conspiracy theory. All of it is refracted through the perspectives of the characters themselves, making for a musical companion unlike any other. Funny, discerning, and visually stunning, Quantum Criminals is a singular celebration of Steely Dan's musical cosmos. Alex Pappademas is the author of Keanu Reeves: Most Triumphant--The Movies & Meaning of an Irrepressible Icon and the writer and host of the acclaimed podcast The Big Hit Show. His work has also appeared in GQ, the New York Times, and Grantland. Alex on Twitter. Joan LeMay is an artist based in London and New York City (although the paintings for this book were created in Portland). Her work appears in multiple publications and books and has been shown in museums, galleries, and public spaces internationally. Joan on Twitter. Bradley Morgan is a media arts professional in Chicago and author of U2's The Joshua Tree: Planting Roots in Mythic America. He manages partnerships on behalf of CHIRP Radio 107.1 FM, serves as a co-chair of the associate board at the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and volunteers in the music archive at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Bradley Morgan on Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/7/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 36 seconds
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Christopher R. Martin, "No Longer Newsworthy: How the Mainstream Media Abandoned the Working Class" (Cornell UP, 2019)

Until the recent political shift pushed workers back into the media spotlight, the mainstream media had largely ignored this significant part of American society in favor of the moneyed upscale consumer for more than four decades. Christopher R. Martin now reveals why and how the media lost sight of the American working class and the effects of it doing so. The damning indictment of the mainstream media that flows through No Longer Newsworthy: How the Mainstream Media Abandoned the Working Class (Cornell UP, 2019) is a wakeup call about the critical role of the media in telling news stories about labor unions, workers, and working-class readers. As Martin charts the decline of labor reporting from the late 1960s onwards, he reveals the shift in news coverage as the mainstream media abandoned labor in favor of consumer and business interests. When newspapers, especially, wrote off working-class readers as useless for their business model, the American worker became invisible. In No Longer Newsworthy, Martin covers this shift in focus, the loss of political voice for the working class, and the emergence of a more conservative media in the form of Christian television, talk radio, Fox News, and conservative websites. Now, with our fractured society and news media, Martin offers the mainstream media recommendations for how to push back against right-wing media and once again embrace the working class as critical to its audience and its democratic function. Tom Discenna is Professor of Communication at Oakland University whose work examines issues of academic labor and communicative labor more broadly. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/7/202451 minutes, 9 seconds
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Amy Von Lintel, "Georgia O'Keeffe's Wartime Texas Letters" (Texas A&M UP, 2020)

In 1912, at age 24, Georgia O’Keeffe boarded a train in Virginia and headed west, to the prairies of the Texas Panhandle, to take a position as art teacher for the newly organized Amarillo Public Schools. Subsequently she would join the faculty at what was then West Texas State Normal College (now West Texas A&M University). Already a thoroughly independent-minded woman, she maintained an active correspondence with her future husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and other friends back east during the years she lived in Texas. In Georgia O'Keeffe's Wartime Texas Letters (Texas A&M UP, 2020), Amy Von Lintel brings to readers the collected O’Keeffe correspondence and added commentary and analysis, shining fresh light on a period of the artist’s life she characterizes as “some of the least appreciated in the vast O’Keeffe scholarship,” but also as “a time when she discovered her own voice as a young, successful, and independent woman . . . a dedicated faculty member at a brand-new college . . . a vibrant social butterfly . . . a progressive woman who spoke her mind and fought for her beliefs to be heard.” Although selected paintings by O’Keeffe that support the narrative are featured, this work focuses on O’Keeffe’s words. By doing so, Von Lintel aims to allow the artist’s voice to “emerge as a powerful witness of her own life, but also of western America in a pivotal moment of its development.” The result is an important new examination of one of our most beloved artists during a time when she was in the process of discovering her future identity. Amy Von Lintel is the Doris Alexander Endowed Professor of Fine Arts at West Texas A&M University. She is the author of Georgia O’Keeffe: Watercolors and coauthor of Robert Smithson in Texas. She resides in Amarillo, Texas. Kirstin L. Ellsworth is an Associate Professor of Art History at California State University Dominguez Hills. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/6/202442 minutes, 18 seconds
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Martyn Whittock, "American Vikings: How the Norse Sailed into the Lands and Imaginations of America" (Pegasus Books, 2023)

A vivid and illuminating new history--separate fact from fiction, myth from legend--exploring the early Vikings settlements in North America. Vikings are an enduring subject of fascination. The combination of adventure, mythology, violence, and exploration continues to grip our attention. As a result, for more than a millennium the Vikings have traveled far and wide, not least across the turbulent seas of our minds and imaginations. The geographical reach of the Norse was extraordinary. For centuries medieval sagas, first recorded in Iceland, claimed that Vikings reached North America around the year 1000. This book explores that claim, separating fact from fiction and myth from mischief, to assess the enduring legacy of this claim in America. The search for "American Vikings" connects a vast range of different areas; from the latest archaeological evidence for their actual settlement in North America to the myth-making of nineteenth-century Scandinavian pioneers in the Midwest; and from ancient adventurers to the political ideologies in the twenty-first century. It is a journey from the high seas of a millennium ago to the swirling waters and dark undercurrents of the online world of today. No doubt, the warlike Vikings would have understood how their image could be "weaponized." In the same way, they would probably have grasped how their dramatic, violent, passionate, and discordant mythologies could appeal to our era and cultural setting. They might, though, have been more surprised at how their image has been commercialized and commodified. A vivid new history by a master of the form, American Vikings (Pegasus Books, 2023) explores how the Norse first sailed into the lands, and then into the imaginations, of America. Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/5/202431 minutes, 40 seconds
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Claire Myers Owens and the Banned Book

Why did the New York Public Library ban a novel about women’s independence? What was the Human Potential Movement? And who was Claire Myers Owens? Today’s book is: Rivers of Light: The Life of Claire Myers Owens (Syracuse University Press,, 2019) by Miriam Kalman Friedman, which is a biography of Owens, who grew up in a conservative, middle-class family in Texas, but sought adventure and freedom. At twenty years old, she left home and quickly found a community of like-minded free spirits and intellectuals in New York’s Greenwich Village. There Owens wrote novels and short stories, including the controversial novel The Unpredictable Adventure: A Comedy of Woman’s Independence, which was banned by the New York Public Library for its “risqué” content. Drawn to ideals of self-actualization and creative freedom, Owens became a key figure in the Human Potential Movement along with founder Abraham Maslow and Aldous Huxley. In her later years, Owens devoted her life to the practice of Zen Buddhism, and published her final book, Zen and the Lady, at the age of eighty-three. Dr. Friedman’s rediscovery of Owens brings attention to her little known yet extraordinary life and passionate spirit. Drawing upon autobiographies, letters, journals, and novels, Dr. Friedman chronicles Owens’s robust intellect and her tumultuous private life. Our guest is: Dr. Miriam Kalman Friedman, who is a writing coach, editor, and lecturer. She has published multiple books on feminism, women, and women's studies. She is the author of Rivers of Light: The Life of Claire Myers Owens. Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, who is the host and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in history, which she uses to explore what stories we tell and what happens to those we never tell. Listeners may also be interested in: Exploring the Emotional Arc of Turning a Dissertation into A Book Becoming the Writer You Already Are, by Michelle R. Boyd This discussion of the book Becoming the Writer You Already Are Welcome to Academic Life, the podcast for your academic journey—and beyond! Join us here to learn from experts inside and outside the academy, and around the world. Missed any of the 200+ Academic Life episodes? You’ll find them all archived here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/4/20241 hour, 53 seconds
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Susanna Phillips Newbury, "The Speculative City: Art, Real Estate, and the Making of Global Los Angeles" (U Minnesota Press, 2021)

Underlying every great city is a rich and vibrant culture that shapes the texture of life within. In The Speculative City: Art, Real Estate, and the Making of Global Los Angeles (U Minnesota Press, 2021), Susanna Phillips Newbury teases out how art and Los Angeles shaped one another’s evolution. She compellingly articulates how together they transformed the Southland, establishing the foundation for its contemporary art infrastructure, and explains how artists came to influence Los Angeles’s burgeoning definition as the global city of the twenty-first century. Pairing particular works of art with specific innovations in real estate development, The Speculative City reveals the connections between real estate and contemporary art as they constructed Los Angeles’s present-day cityscape. From banal parking lots to Frank Gehry’s designs for artists’ studios and museums, Newbury examines pivotal interventions by artists and architects, city officials and cultural philanthropists, concluding with an examination of how, in the wake of the 2008 global credit crisis, contemporary art emerged as a financial asset to fuel private wealth and urban gentrification. Bryan Toepfer, AIA, NCARB, CAPM is the Principal Architect for TOEPFER Architecture, PLLC, an Architecture firm specializing in Residential Architecture and Virtual Reality. He has authored two books, “Contractors CANNOT Build Your House,” and “Six Months Now, ARCHITECT for Life.” He is an Assistant Professor at Alfred State College and the Director of Education for the AIA Rochester Board of Directors. Always eager to help anyone understand the world of Architecture, he can be reached by sending an email to btoepfer@toepferarchitecture. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/4/202438 minutes, 6 seconds
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Jack Glazier, "Anthropology and Radical Humanism: Native and African American Narratives and the Myth of Race" (MSU Press, 2020)

Paul Radin was one of the founding generation of American cultural anthropologists: A student of Franz Boas,  and famed ethnographer of the Winnebago. Yet little is known about Radin's life. A leftist who was persecuted by the FBI and who lived for several years outside of the United States, and a bohemian who couldn't keep an academic job, there are many chapters in Radin's life which have not been told.  In Anthropology and Radical Humanism: Native and African American Narratives and the Myth of Race (Michigan State University Press, 2020), Jack Glazier tells the story of Radin's work at Fisk University in the late 1920s. During his three-year appointment, he and graduate student Andrew Polk Watson collected autobiographies and religious conversion narratives from elderly African Americans. That innovative, subject-centered research complemented like-minded scholarship by African American historians reacting against the disparaging portrayals of black people by white historians. In this book, Glazier describes Radin's commitment to documenting people's own stories as they told them and his respect for them as people as a form of 'radical humanism' and sets Paul Radin's findings within the broader context of Boasian anti-racism, African American culture, and his career-defining work among the Winnebago. In this episode of the podcast Jack Glazier talks to host Alex Golub about Radin and the Boasians, the influence of Charles S. Johnson at Fisk, and how contemporary activists might view the strengths and limitations of Radin's radical humanism.  Alex Golub is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/4/20241 hour, 4 minutes, 27 seconds
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Margaret M. McGuinness, "Katharine Drexel and the Sisters Who Shared Her Vision" (Paulist Press, 2023)

Although Katharine Drexel has been the subject of several biographies, they have tended to treat her as a perfect human being whom the Church later transformed into a saint. Katharine Drexel and the Sisters Who Shared Her Vision (Paulist Press, 2023) moves beyond the story of the heiress’s individual life devoted to God and shines a light on the work she did, assisted by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. Drexel could have lived comfortably, wealthy and privileged, as a Philadelphia philanthropist but chose to found a religious congregation of women dedicated to working within Black and Indigenous communities―without receiving the bulk of the money left by Drexel's father. Katharine Drexel and the Sisters Who Shared Her Vision is a critical biography of this American saint written within the context of the religious order she founded. It ties her sainthood to the Sisters’ ministries to Black and Indigenous communities; Margaret McGuinness's careful examination of the work Katharine Drexel and her Sisters accomplished brings a critical perspective to this important ministry in the Church. It deepens our understanding of these communities and renews our commitment to the difficult, ongoing conversation about race in America. Allison Isidore is a Religious Studies Ph.D. student at the University of Iowa and is the Assistant Director for the American Catholic Historical Association. Her research interest is focused on the twentieth-century American Civil Rights Movement and the Catholic Church’s response to racism and the participation of Catholic clergy, nuns, and laypeople in marches, sit-ins, and kneel-ins during the 1950s and 1960s. She tweets from @AllisonIsidore1. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/3/20241 hour, 7 minutes, 56 seconds
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W. K. Stratton, "The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film" (Bloomsbury, 2019)

On June 18, 1969, "The Wild Bunch" premiered to critical success. Over the past 50 years it has been rightly recognized as one of the landmark films from the end of the Hollywood studio system. Yet it was developed out of chaos, with a controversial director who had already largely burned his bridges with Hollywood studios. Sam Peckinpah worked for years to film a story that both illustrated the end of the “Old West” and also showed how newer filmmakers wanted to proceed with their newfound independence. W. K. Stratton’s book The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Legendary Film (Bloomsbury, 2019) describes all of these activities as it wonderfully tells the story of the film.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/3/202458 minutes, 16 seconds
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Stephen M. Engel and Timothy S. Lyle, "Disrupting Dignity: Rethinking Power and Progress in LGBTQ Lives" (NYU Press, 2021)

Scholars Stephen Engel and Timothy Lyle have a new book that dives into the thinking around power, political and cultural progress, and the LGBTQ+ communities in the United States. This book is fascinating and important in examining not only policy developments around rights and full citizenship for members of the LGBTQ+ communities, but also how these discussions and dialogues shape thinking about access to rights and dimensions of full citizenship. The overarching title of the book, Disrupting Dignity: Rethinking Power and Progress in LGBTQ Lives (NYU Press, 2021), gets to the heart of the rhetoric in the debate, specifically this concept of “dignity” and how dignity has become a particularly thorny component of defining out political, legal, and civil rights for the LGBTQ+ community.  Both Engel and Lyle note that they found the term dignity very clearly associated with the legal reasoning in judicial opinions around LGBTQ+ rights, that it was a celebrated status, and that while it was more commonly used in international political rhetoric or in the legal dialogue in other countries, it is far less common in the United States and the U.S. legal tradition. And yet, it kept getting connected to the expansion of LGBTQ+ rights. Often, we think of dignity as an unalloyed good, but Engel and Lyle, as they start to unpack the way in which this term and concept are used, begin to reconsider exactly how and why this term, dignity, is also so often connected with LGBTQ+ communities, and not as connected to other communities and their legal, political, and civil rights. Engel and Lyle consider the way in which dignity is bestowed by the state, and in this way, how it becomes a tool of power. There is also the question of whether the way in which dignity is integrated into legal decisions helps to widen out equality, or does it instead redefine boundaries of otherness and inequality. In exploring the concept of dignity, especially as it has been connected to the expansion of LGBTQ+ rights, Engel and Lyle take the reader through three different case studies that examine the evolving rights status and rhetorical presentations of these kinds of dialogues and representations. These three case studies are kind of dialectics, in that they present two sides, often in tension with each other, wrestling with the power of the state, the individual’s rights, the social and cultural understandings of these situations, and the evolving outcomes. The first case study focuses in on the Politics of Public Health from AIDS to PREP. The second section of the book takes up popular culture representations of dignity—wrestling with the concept of sameness (in Love, Simon) in contrast with queer excess (in Pose). The final section of the book, and the part that might be of most interest to legal scholars, is the role of the courts in defining dignity in judicial opinions. This section also leads into the conclusion, as the authors take up the ongoing tension around the concept, implications, and use of dignity in regard to full citizenship, rights, and LGBTQ+ communities. Disrupting Dignity: Rethinking Power and Progress in LGBTQ Lives is a compelling exploration of the rights regimes in the United States and how the Constitution, the current cultural milieu, and the historical role of the state and state power have all contributed to this evolving question of full citizenship. Lilly J. Goren is a professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-host of the New Books in Political Science channel at the New Books Network. She is co-editor of The Politics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (University Press of Kansas, 2022), as well as co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/2/202458 minutes, 56 seconds
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Benjamin Lorr, "The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket" (Penguin, 2020)

This episode of the New Books in Economic and Business History is an interview with New York writer Benjamin Lorr. Benjamin Lorr is the author of Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain, and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga, a book that explores the Bikram Yoga community and movement. His second book, The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket is "an extraordinary investigation into the human lives at the heart of the American grocery store. The miracle of the supermarket has never been more apparent. Like the doctors and nurses who care for the sick, suddenly the men and women who stock our shelves and operate our warehouses are understood as ‘essential’ workers, providing a quality of life we all too easily take for granted. But the sad truth is that the grocery industry has been failing these workers for decades. In this page-turning expose, author Benjamin Lorr pulls back the curtain on the highly secretive grocery industry. Combining deep sourcing, immersive reporting, and sharp, often laugh-out-loud prose, Lorr leads a wild investigation, asking what does it take to run a supermarket? How does our food get on the shelves? And who suffers for our increasing demands for convenience and efficiency? In this journey: We learn the secrets of Trader Joe's success from Trader Joe himself Drive with truckers caught in a job they call "sharecropping on wheels" Break into industrial farms with activists to learn what it takes for a product to earn certification labels like "fair trade" and "free range" Follow entrepreneurs as they fight for shelf space, learning essential tips, tricks, and traps for any new food business Journey with migrants to examine shocking forced labor practices through their eyes The product of five years of research and hundreds of interviews across every level of the business, The Secret Life of Groceries is essential reading for those who want to understand our food system--delivering powerful social commentary on the inherently American quest for more and compassionate insight into the lives that provide it. Paula De La Cruz-Fernandez is a consultant, historian, and digital editor. New Books Network en español editor. Edita CEO. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
1/1/202454 minutes, 20 seconds
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Jonathan Scott, "How the Old World Ended: The Anglo-Dutch-American Revolution, 1500-1800" (Yale UP, 2019)

Jonathan Scott is one of the most original interpreters of the early modern world. How the Old World Ended: The Anglo-Dutch-American Revolution, 1500-1800 (Yale University Press, 2019) is a deft and cogent synthesis in which Scott returns to the turbulent seventeenth century in Britain, and examines how a period of political upheaval in its middle decade laid the foundations for a process of state-formation across the Anglo-Dutch-American world. While it tracks across the familiar ground of revolution, empire, commerce, and republicanism, this is a book with broad horizons. It is about movement, water, the interchange of ideas, peoples, and cultures. At its centre is the Anglo-Dutch relationship and, at its many peripheries, Scott reveals the transformative effects of this unique republican pulse. Jonathan Scott is Professor of History at the University of Auckland, and the author of seminal studies of the early modern British world, Commonwealth Principles: Republican Writing of the English Revolution (2004), and When the Waves Ruled Britannia: Geography and Political Identities, 1500-1800 (2011). Charles Prior is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Hull (UK), who has written on the politics of religion in early modern Britain, and whose work has recently expanded to the intersection of colonial, indigenous, and imperial politics in early America. He co-leads the Treatied Spaces Research Cluster. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
12/31/202327 minutes, 46 seconds
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Gregg L. Frazer, "God against the Revolution: The Loyalist Clergy’s Case Against the American Revolution" (UP of Kansas, 2018)

Not everyone was convinced by the arguments of patriots during the American revolution. Among those who retained some degree of loyalty to the British crown were the majority of the clergy of the Episcopalian Church, as well as a smaller number of clergy from Congregational, Presbyterian and other protestant bodies. In this important new work, Gregg L. Frazer, professor of history and political science at The Master’s University, Santa Clarita, CA, surveys the arguments that loyalist clergy proposed. God Against the Revolution: The Loyalist Clergy’s Case Against the American Revolution (University Press of Kansas, 2018) is the first detailed account of this defeated intellectual tradition – a book that challenges many of our assumptions about the character and intention of the American revolution by putting debates about biblical interpretation at its heart. Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast. His research interests focus on the history of puritanism and evangelicalism, and he is the author most recently of John Owen and English Puritanism (Oxford University Press, 2016). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies
12/31/202336 minutes, 57 seconds
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Timothy K. August, "The Refugee Aesthetic: Reimagining Southeast Asian America" (Temple UP, 2020)

In The Refugee Aesthetic: Reimagining Southeast Asian America (Temple University Press, 2021), Timothy K. August centers Southeast Asian American writers and artists to develop a theory of refugee aesthetics as a way of considering how aesthetic forms are created and contested by refugees, nonrefugees, and institutions alike. On this episode of New Books in Asian American Studies, Timothy K. August discusses the contradictions in how refugee stories are read as arising from exceptional circumstances even as the ever-increasing number of refugees renders refugeeness a remarkably everyday experience; the importance of aesthetics as a means by which refugees are able to contest—and reimagine—the refugee narratives that have been created through institutional and bureaucratic definitions of refugees; how refugee writers reconcile demands that they explain their experiences or perform their humanity within their own art and writing; and more. The Refugee Aesthetic examines a range of literary and artistic works by refugees, including poems, novels, graphic novels, and visual art, by writers and artists including Bao Phi, Monique Truong, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Mohsin Hamid, Gia-Bao Tran, and more, to argue for the agency of refugees as cultural producers who are redefining a politically, bureaucratically produced refugee image and instead imagining a plural form of refugee aesthetics. Please note that this episode was recorded prior to the events of October 7, 2023. Timothy August is an Associate Professor of English at Stony Brook University. Jennifer Gayoung Lee is a writer and researcher based in New York City. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/american-studies