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New Books in American Studies Profile

New Books in American Studies

English, Cultural, 2 seasons, 5522 episodes, 9 hours 55 minutes
Interviews with Scholars of America about their New Books Support our show by becoming a premium member!
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On “Henry Kissinger and His World” with author Barry Gewen

In my talk with Barry Gewen on his 2020 book, The Inevitability of Tragedy: Henry Kissinger and His World (W. W. Norton, 2020), we explore the disparate influences that shaped Kissinger as both an intellectual and as a practitioner of power.  Our conversation touches on Kissinger’s upbringing in a German-Jewish community in Bavaria at the time of Hitler’s rise to power and pivots to an understanding of Kissinger’s Realism as his pessimistic yet unwavering approach to foreign affairs and exigencies like the balance of power. In his committed opposition to the Wilsonian creed—the missionary idea of America’s role in the world—Kissinger was decidedly in the camp of the political scientist Hans Morgenthau, a fellow German-Jewish immigrant and mentor of sorts. Barry Gewen, a former editor at The New York Times Book Review, deserves to be heard, and his book deserves to be read, for his judicious, textured appraisal of Kissinger. His Kissinger is neither a war criminal nor a diplomatic magic
30/11/20231 hour 2 minutes 29 seconds
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Russ Castronovo, "American Insecurity and the Origins of Vulnerability" (Princeton UP, 2023)

An incisive critique that examines the origins of contemporary American ideas about surveillance, terrorism, and white supremacy. For more than three centuries, Americans have pursued strategies of security that routinely make them feel vulnerable, unsafe, and insecure. American Insecurity and the Origins of Vulnerability (Princeton UP, 2023) probes this paradox by examining American attachments to the terror of the sublime, the fear of uncertainty, and the anxieties produced by unending racial threat.  Challenging conventional approaches that leave questions of security to policy experts, Russ Castronovo turns to literature, philosophy, and political theory to show how security provides an organizing principle for collective life in ways that both enhance freedom and limit it. His incisive critique ranges from frontier violence and white racial anxiety to insurgent Black print culture and other forms of early American terror, uncovering the hidden logic of insecurity that structures m
30/11/20231 hour 16 minutes 2 seconds
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Kevin F. Adler and Donald W. Burnes, "When We Walk By: Forgotten Humanity, Broken Systems, and the Role We Can Each Play in Ending Homelessness in America" (North Atlantic Books, 2023)

Think about the last time that you saw or interacted with an unhoused person. What did you do? What did you say? Did you offer money or a smile, or did you avert your gaze? Kevin F. Adler and Donald W. Burnes's book When We Walk By: Forgotten Humanity, Broken Systems, and the Role We Can Each Play in Ending Homelessness in America (North Atlantic Books, 2023) takes an urgent look at homelessness in America, showing us what we lose--in ourselves and as a society--when we choose to walk past and ignore our neighbors in shelters, insecure housing, or on the streets. And it brilliantly shows what we stand to gain when we embrace our humanity and move toward evidence-based people-first, community-driven solutions, offering social analysis, economic and political histories, and the real stories of unhoused people. Authors Kevin F. Adler and Donald W. Burnes, with Amanda Banh and Andrijana Bilbija, recast chronic homelessness in the U.S. as a byproduct of twin crises: our social services syst
28/11/20231 hour 27 minutes 35 seconds
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Salim Yaqub, "Winds of Hope, Storms of Discord: The United States since 1945" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

Salim Yaqub's Winds of Hope, Storms of Discord: The United States since 1945 (Cambridge UP, 2022) explores how Americans from all walks of life – political leaders, businesspeople, public intellectuals, workers, students, activists, migrants, and others – struggled to define the nation's political, economic, geopolitical, demographic, and social character. It chronicles the nation's ceaseless ferment, from the rocky conversion to peacetime in the early aftermath of World War II; to the frightening emergence of the Cold War and repeated US military adventures abroad; to the struggles of African Americans and other minorities to claim a share of the American Dream; to the striking transformations in social attitudes catalyzed by the women's movement and struggles for gay and lesbian liberation; to the dynamic force of political, economic, and social conservatism. Carrying the story to the spring of 2022, Winds of Hope also shows how dizzying technological changes at times threatened to u
28/11/20231 hour 4 minutes 56 seconds
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Brian D. Blankenship, "The Burden-Sharing Dilemma: Coercive Diplomacy in US Alliance Politics" (Cornell UP, 2023)

The Burden-Sharing Dilemma: Coercive Diplomacy in US Alliance Politics (Cornell UP, 2023) examines the conditions under which the United States is willing and able to pressure its allies to assume more responsibility for their own defense.  The United States has a mixed track record of encouraging allied burden-sharing—while it has succeeded or failed in some cases, it has declined to do so at all in others. This variation, Brian D. Blankenship argues, is because the United States tailors its burden-sharing pressure in accordance with two competing priorities: conserving its own resources and preserving influence in its alliances. Although burden-sharing enables great power patrons like the United States to lower alliance costs, it also empowers allies to resist patron influence. Blankenship identifies three factors that determine the severity of this burden-sharing dilemma and how it is managed: the latent military power of allies, the shared external threat environment, and the level
26/11/20231 hour 8 minutes 16 seconds
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J. Daniel, "Suds Series: Baseball, Beer Wars, and the Summer of '82" (U Missouri Press, 2023)

On this episode, J. Daniel takes readers back more than forty years, telling a story that is part baseball history, part urban history, and part U.S. cultural history, with a narrative weaving together the develop­ment of the Midwestern cities of St. Louis and Milwaukee through their engagement with beer and baseball.  In Suds Series: Baseball, Beer Wars, and the Summer of ’82 (University of Missouri Press, 2023), Daniel provides much more than a simple play-by-play of the season that was, highlighting the impact of the 1981 strike on free agency and player movement, offering an engaging snapshot of early ’80s pop culture and “hop culture,” and covering both the famous players and personalities—Rickey Henderson’s stolen bases, Reggie Jackson’s home run brigade, and the birth of Cal Ripken Jr.’s iron man streak—and tragic teams alike. Although the small-ball Cardinals would prevail over the “Wallbanging” Brewers in October of 1982 after seven thrilling games and a season of attrition, t
26/11/20231 hour 12 minutes 37 seconds
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Diane Carol Fujino, "Nisei Radicals: The Feminist Poetics and Transformative Ministry of Mitsuye Yamada and Michael Yasutake" (U Washington Press, 2020)

This episode, which is co-hosted with Michael Nishimura, features a conversation with Dr. Diane C. Fujino, the author of Nisei Radicals: The Feminist Poetics and Transformative Ministry of Mitsuye Yamada and Reverend Michael Yasutake (University of Washington Press, 2020).  The book traces the activism of two siblings who charted their own paths for what it meant to be Nisei. Reverend Mike was an Episcopal minister whose politics changed with the historical contexts and circumstances surrounding his life, whereas Mitsuye is one of the most widely known Nisei feminists and writers and was among the first writers to discuss the experience of incarceration. Through detailing their half-century of dedication to global movements, including multicultural feminism, Puerto Rican independence, Japanese American redress, and Indigenous sovereignty, Reverend Mike and Mitsuye’s lives complicate the dominant narrative that depicts Japanese Americans moving toward conservatism in the later part of t
25/11/202359 minutes 9 seconds
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Edward L. Ayers, "American Visions: The United States, 1800-1860" (Norton, 2023)

American Visions: The United States, 1800-1860 (Norton, 2023) is a revealing history of the formative period when voices of dissent and innovation defied power and created visions of America still resonant today.  With so many of our histories falling into dour critique or blatant celebration, here is a welcome departure: a book that offers hope as well as honesty about the American past. The early decades of the nineteenth century saw the expansion of slavery, Native dispossession, and wars with Canada and Mexico. Mass immigration and powerful religious movements sent tremors through American society. But even as the powerful defended the status quo, others defied it: voices from the margins moved the center; eccentric visions altered the accepted wisdom, and acts of empathy questioned self-interest.  Edward L. Ayers’s rich history examines the visions that moved Frederick Douglass, Margaret Fuller, the Native American activist William Apess, and others to challenge entrenched practic
25/11/20231 hour 7 minutes 23 seconds
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Daniel Shea and Nicholas F. Jacobs, "The Rural Voter: The Politics of Place and the Disuniting of America" (Columbia UP, 2023)

The widening gulf between rural and urban America is becoming the most serious political divide of our day. Support for Democrats, up and down the ballot, has plummeted throughout the countryside, and the entire governing system is threatened by one-party dominance. After Donald Trump's surprising victories throughout rural America, pundits and journalists went searching for answers, popping into roadside diners and opining from afar. Rural Americans are supposedly bigots, culturally backwards, lazy, scared of the future, and radical. But is it that simple? Is the country splintering between two very different Americas--one rural, one urban?  This pathbreaking book pinpoints forces behind the rise of the "rural voter"--a new political identity that combines a deeply felt sense of place with an increasingly nationalized set of concerns. Combining a historical perspective with the largest-ever national survey of rural voters, Nicholas F. Jacobs and Daniel M. Shea uncover how this overwhe
24/11/202353 minutes 29 seconds
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Leontina Hormel, "Trailer Park America: Reimagining Working-Class Communities" (Rutgers UP, 2023)

In rural northern Idaho in the winter of 2013-2014, Syringa Mobile Home Park’s water system was contaminated by sewage, resulting in residents’ water being shut off for 93 days. By summer 2018 Syringa had closed, forcing residents to relocate or face homelessness.  In Trailer Park America: Reimagining Working-Class Communities (Rutgers UP, 2023), Dr. Leontina Hormel chronicles how residents dealt with regulatory agencies, frequent boil order notices, threats of closure, and class-based social stigma over this period. Despite all this, what was seen as a dysfunctional, ‘disorderly’ community by outsiders was instead a refuge where veterans, women heads of households, and people with disabilities or substance use disorders were supported and understood. The embattled Syringa community also organized to defend the rights and dignity of residents and served as a site for negotiating with local government, culminating in a class-action lawsuit that reached the federal level. The experiences
24/11/202355 minutes 39 seconds
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Mia Mask, "Black Rodeo: A History of the African American Western" (U Illinois Press, 2023)

Did you know Sidney Poitier was a western icon? In a genre best known for John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, African American actors and directors have played an important role in both shaping, and subverting, Hollywood westerns. In Black Rodeo: A History of the African American Western (U Illinois Press, 2023), Vassar College film professor Mia Mask unravels the history of Black westerns dating back to 1910s and 1920s rodeo films, all the way through modern iterations such as Django Unchained (2012). Mask explains the eras in film history that changed the genre, including the infusion of pro athletes into Hollywood in the 1940s, New Hollywood in the 1960s, and the rise of Blaxploitation in the 1970s. Through this history, Mask explains how African Americans were central to the development and lasting appeal of westerns as a global film genre, and how genre conventions from westerns are in the very DNA of American popular culture today. Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of
24/11/202356 minutes
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Jessi Streib, "The Accidental Equalizer: How Luck Determines Pay After College" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

Are jobs fair? In The Accidental Equalizer: How Luck Determines Pay after College (U Chicago Press, 2023), Jessi Streib, an associate Professor of Sociology at Duke University, uncovers the remarkable story of the way luck shapes the hiring process for a key strata of business jobs in America. Offering a thesis that is initially counterintuitive but clearly argued, empirically grounded, and ultimately compelling, the book introduces the idea of ‘luckocracy’. ‘Luckocracy’ underpins the functioning of important parts of the graduate labour market, and equalises what would otherwise be significant class differences between college graduates. Rich with details, as well as offering a broad new perspective on education and the labour market, the book is essential reading across the social sciences, as well as for anyone interested in understanding work, fairness, and the importance of luck. Dave O'Brien is Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Manchester. Learn
23/11/202334 minutes 53 seconds
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Robin Phylisia Chapdelaine et al., "When Will the Joy Come?: Black Women in the Ivory Tower" (U Massachusetts Press, 2023)

How do Black women in higher education create, experience, and understand joy? What sustains them? While scholars have long documented sexism, racism, and classism in the academy, one topic has been conspicuously absent from the literature--how Black women academics have found joy in the midst of adversity. Moving beyond questions of resilience, labor for others, and coping, Robin Phylisia Chapdelaine, Abena Ampofoa Asare, and Michelle Dionne Thompson's book When Will the Joy Come?: Black Women in the Ivory Tower (U Massachusetts Press, 2023) focuses on the journeys of over thirty Black women at various stages of their careers. Joy is a mixture of well-being, pleasure, alignment, and purpose that can be elusive for Black women scholars. With racial reckoning and a global pandemic as context, this volume brings together honest and vital essays that ponder how Black women balance fatigue and frustrations in the halls of the ivory tower, and explore where, when, and if joy enters their li
23/11/202344 minutes 2 seconds
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William S. Kiser, "Illusions of Empire: The Civil War and Reconstruction in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2021)

The 19th-century Mexican-American borderlands were a complicated place. By the 1860s, Confederates, Americans, Mexicans, French, and various Native societies were all scheming and vying for control of the region bifurcated by the Rio Grande. In Illusions of Empire: The Civil War and Reconstruction in the U.S.- Mexico Borderlands (U Pennsylvania Press, 2021), Texas A&M-San Antonio history professor William Kiser untangles the knotty history of this place at this time. For the United States, the Mexican borderlands were a problem - porous, difficult to control, and threatening to American sovereignty. For the Confederacy, the borderlands were a screen onto which they could project their dreams of a southern empire of slavery. For Mexicans, the borderlands represented their lack of control and political instability, while for Native people, they were homelands, to be defended at all costs. The borderlands were thus a contested space, where that same contestation shaped policy and outcomes
23/11/202354 minutes 26 seconds
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Boris Heersink, "National Party Organizations and Party Brands in American Politics" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Political Scientist Boris Heersink’s new book guides the reader through over a century of politics and national parties in the United States. Heersink’s work is both qualitative and quantitative and approaches the national party organizations—the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee—from the perspective of American political development. This is a fascinating study of the way that the national parties operate when their party is in the White House or when their party is out of power in terms of the presidency. Heersink has mapped out the activities and approaches of the national parties through a host of different resources, from the available archival papers of party chairmen and women, to newspaper coverage of national party activities and events, to other media mechanisms that the parties individually, or mirroring each other, pursued to shape and promote their “brand.” National Party Organizations and Party Brands in American Politics (Oxford UP, 2023
23/11/202350 minutes 24 seconds
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Biko Mandela Gray and Ryan J. Johnson, "Phenomenology of Black Spirit" (Edinburgh UP, 2023)

In Phenomenology of Black Spirit (Edinburgh UP, 2023), Ryan Johnson and Biko Mandela Gray study the relationship between Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit and Black Thought from Frederick Douglass to Angela Davis. This staging of an elongated dialectical parallelism between Hegel's classic text and major 19th-20th-century Black thinkers explodes the western canon of philosophy. Johnson and Mandela Gray show that Hegel's abstract dialectic is transformed and critiqued when put into conversation with the lived dialectics of Black Thought: from Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs through to Malcolm X and Angela Davis. While Hegel articulates the dynamic logics that we see in these Black thinkers, when they are placed in parallel and considered together, the whiteness, both explicit and implicit, of Hegelianism itself is revealed. Forcing Hegelianism into the embodied history of Black Thought reveals a phenomenology of America whose spirit is Black. Adam McNeil is a Ph.D. Candidate in His
22/11/202352 minutes 32 seconds
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Israel, Hamas, and American Jews in a Time of War

On today’s episode of International Horizons, RBI director John Torpey speaks with Jodi Rudoren, editor-in-chief of the Forward magazine, about the situation in Israel and Gaza. She notes that Hamas’s incursion into Israel on October 7, 2023, shattered the paradigm of how Israel and even the Arab world understood what Hamas was all about. The result has been a deep sense of shock and mourning among Israelis for those who have lost loved ones or had them taken hostage. At the same time, some Jews reject the massive Israeli response and are protesting against it. Meanwhile, many progressive Jews in the United States have found that their allies in social justice efforts have proven not to be on the same team when Israelis are the targets of violence. Despite all the violence and heartache, it nonetheless appears that the conflict might lead to a political solution – the only one that will allow Israel and the Palestinians to live together on the small strip of the Middle East that they i
22/11/202337 minutes 28 seconds
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The US State Department and Ever-Changing Global Politics

In this episode of International Horizons, RBI director John Torpey interviews Assistant Secretary of State for Global Public Affairs Bill Russo. Assistant Secretary Russo commented on the role of the United States in the ever-changing dynamics of global politics and how it is perceived as a leader in conflict resolution and often called to act as an arbitrator in wars.  Moreover, Assistant Secretary Russo explains how the “dissent channels” in the State Department, which originated during the Vietnam War as a way to offer opportunities for State Department personnel to criticize Department policy, continue to do so in the context of the Israel-Hamas war.  Finally, the Assistant Secretary highlighted the importance of the recruiting process into the Foreign Service to ensure that the ranks reflect the demographic composition of the United States and explained how the democratization of the foreign service has been carried out in the past two decades since Colin Powell was Secretary of
21/11/202332 minutes 44 seconds
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Kawika Guillermo, "Nimrods: A Fake-Punk Self-Hurt Anti-Memoir" (Duke UP, 2023)

Today I talked to Christopher Patterson about two books: the late Y-Dang Troeung's Landbridge [life in fragments] (Knopf Canada, 2023) and Christopher's own Nimrods: A Fake-Punk Self-Hurt Anti-Memoir (Duke UP, 2023), which was published under the name Kawika Guillermo. In Landbridge, Y-Dang Troeung meditates on her family’s refugee history and the genocide that has marked the lives of millions of Cambodians like herself. She writes scathingly about how she and her family became the “faces” of Cambodian refugees in Canada, officially welcomed by then prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, her 11-month old face plastered on newspapers as a sign of Canadian benevolence; her return trips to Phnom Penh with her mother and then with her partner Chris are filled with anguish and guilt but also love and friendship. Interspersed with memories of her childhood growing up in Canada – going out in the middle of the night to collect worms for money, enduring the racist attack of neighbors and school
21/11/20231 hour 14 minutes 26 seconds
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Cody D. Ewert, "Making Schools American: Nationalism and the Origin of Modern Educational Politics" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2022)

In recent years, public schools have become one of the central battlegrounds of American politics. Making Schools American: Nationalism and the Origin of Modern Educational Politics (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022) lucidly explores how schools acquired such a critical role in the United States and its nation-building projects. Its author, Cody Dodge Ewert, illustrates how school reformers in the Progressive Era celebrated public education’s unique capacity to unite a diverse and diffuse citizenry while curing a broad swath of social and political ills. Pitching the school as a quintessentially American institution, these reformers’ lofty visions and nation-building projects inspired a historic expansion in public schooling, laying the groundwork for contemporary struggles over the structure and curriculum of public schools. Making Schools American carefully historicizes this varied progressive movement, examining case studies in New York, Utah, and Texas which all shed a unique l
21/11/202356 minutes 42 seconds
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Greil Marcus, "Folk Music: A Bob Dylan Biography in Seven Songs" (Yale UP, 2022)

Greil Marcus is perhaps the world’s foremost interpreter of Bob Dylan. This podcast focuses on Marcus’ latest Dylan book, Folk Music: A Bob Dylan Biography in Seven Songs (Yale University Press, 2022). Marcus begins his book with a 2001 quote from Dylan: “I can see myself in others.” In this sense, Marcus writes, “the engine of his songs is empathy.” We begin our conversation with “Murder Most Foul,” from 2020, on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, with Dylan “putting on Kennedy’s bloody suit.” We discuss, too, “Desolation Row,” from 1965. The opening line— “They’re selling postcards of the hanging…”— could be a reference, Marcus suggests, to a lynching of three black circus workers in Duluth, Minnesota in 1920, just over twenty years before Dylan was born there. And Marcus offers insights on the five other songs covered in this volume: “Blowin’ in the Wind”/1962; “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Caroll”/1964; “The Times They Are A-Changin’”/1964; “Jim Jones”/1992; and “Ain’t Talkin’”/
20/11/202354 minutes 20 seconds
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Seán Creagh, "The Wolfhounds of Irish-American Nationalism: A History of Clan Na Gael, 1867-Present" (Peter Lang, 2023)

As Ireland's oldest revolutionary movement and America's oldest transatlantic nationalist organization this is the first book covering the entire history of Clan na Gael. Formed in 1867 and existing up to the present Clan na Gael has been involved directly and indirectly in every violent revolutionary attempt for Irish independence and unification since its formation 155 years ago. Despite this long history it is the least studied and most underappreciated of Ireland's revolutionary movements. A large part of this is due to academic bias and major under appreciation as to the role of Irish America within the broader struggle for Irish independence. Clan na Gael's influence also went well beyond the borders of Ireland. Within the U.S Clan na Gael proved a major model of influence and inspiration for movements such as Zionism, Indian nationalists, African American nationalists and even the Suffragette movement among others. Seán Creagh's book The Wolfhounds of Irish-American Nationalism:
20/11/202330 minutes 43 seconds
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The Future of the Rural-Urban Divide: A Discussion with Nicholas F. Jacobs and Daniel M. Shea

The town/countryside split has always been a feature of democratic Western politics and has impacted party choice. The advent of rust belts may have added a layer of complexity and may help explain why the differences between rural and urban voters seem to be deepening in the US. Nicholas F. Jacobs and Daniel M. Shea are the authors of The Rural Voter: The Politics of Place and the Disuniting of America (Columbia UP, 2023). Listen to them discuss the rural-urban divide with Owen Bennett-Jones.  Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
20/11/202343 minutes 19 seconds
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Thomas Blake Earle, "The Liberty to Take Fish: Atlantic Fisheries and Federal Power in Nineteenth-Century America" (Cornell UP, 2023)

In The Liberty to Take Fish: Atlantic Fisheries and Federal Power in Nineteenth-Century America (Cornell University Press, 2023), Dr. Thomas Blake Earle offers an incisive and nuanced history of the long American Revolution, describing how aspirations to political freedom coupled with the economic imperatives of commercial fishing roiled relations between the young United States and powerful Great Britain. The American Revolution left the United States with the "liberty to take fish" from the waters of the North Atlantic. Indispensable to the economic health of the new nation, the cod fisheries of the Grand Banks, the Bay of Fundy, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence quickly became symbols of American independence in an Atlantic world dominated by Great Britain. The fisheries issue was a near-constant concern in American statecraft that impinged upon everything, from Anglo-American relations, to the operation of American federalism, and even to the nature of the marine environment. Dr. Earle
19/11/202353 minutes 27 seconds
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Robert P. George's 'Making Men Moral': A 30th Anniversary Conference

The first book in the storied career of one of the most influential conservative legal scholars and philosophers of our day is the focus of an upcoming conference in Washington, DC. Making Men Moral (1993) is the book and Robert P. George is the man behind it—Princeton professor of jurisprudence, bioethicist and pro-life and civil liberties champion. Scheduled speakers include some of the most important thinkers on social conservatism and legal thought of the generations he has molded, plus many of his peers and George himself. This conference is our focus for today. As the founder and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University since 2000, George has provided a model for a slew of similar programs, centers and institutes throughout American academia and abroad. He is also a noted public speaker, often in partnership with his good friend the African-American scholar, Cornel West. Because of George’s outsized role in public discussio
18/11/20231 hour 1 minute 16 seconds
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Earl Lewis and Nancy Cantor, "Our Compelling Interests: The Value of Diversity for Democracy and a Prosperous Society" (Princeton UP, 2016)

Princeton University Press’ Our Compelling Interests series focuses on diversity, in racial, gender, socioeconomic, religious, and other forms. Some of the titles in this series so far include The Walls around Opportunity: The Failure of Colorblind Policy for Higher Education by Gary Orfield, Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise By Eboo Patel, and The Diversity Bonus: How Great Teams Pay Off in the Knowledge Economy, by Scott E. Page. Earl Lewis is the Thomas C. Holt Distinguished University Professor of history, Afroamerican and African Studies, and Public Policy and director of the Center for Social Solutions at the University of Michigan. From March 2013-2018, he served as President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Nancy Cantor is Chancellor of Rutgers University – Newark. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and member of the National Academy of Medicine, she previously led Syracuse University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-
18/11/202343 minutes 5 seconds
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Matthew F. Jordan, "Danger Sound Klaxon!: The Horn That Changed History" (U Virginia Press, 2023)

Danger Sound Klaxon!:The Horn That Changed History (University of Virginia Press, 2023) reveals the untold story of the Klaxon automobile horn, one of the first great electrical consumer technologies of the twentieth century. Although its metallic shriek at first shocked pedestrians, savvy advertising strategies convinced consumers across the United States and western Europe to adopt the shrill Klaxon horn as the safest signaling technology available in the 1910s. The widespread use of Klaxons in the trenches of World War I, however, transformed how veterans heard this car horn, and its traumatic association with gas attacks ultimately doomed this once ubiquitous consumer technology. By charting the meteoric rise and eventual fall of the Klaxon, Dr. Matthew Jordan highlights how perceptions of sound-producing technologies are guided by, manipulated, and transformed through advertising strategies, public debate, consumer reactions, and governmental regulations. Jordan demonstrates in th
17/11/202354 minutes 37 seconds
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Terah J. Stewart, "Sex Work on Campus" (Routledge, 2022)

Terah J. Stewart's book Sex Work on Campus (Routledge, 2022) examines the experiences of college students engaged in sex work and sparks dialogue about the ways educators might develop a deeper appreciation for-and praxis of-equity and justice on campus. Analyzing a study conducted with seven college student sex workers, the book focuses on sex work histories, student motivations, and how power (or lack thereof) associated with social identity shape experiences of student sex work. It examines what these students learn because of sex work, and what college and university leaders can do to support them. These findings are combined in tandem with analysis of current research, popular culture, sex work rights movements, and exploration of legal contexts. This fresh and important writing is suitable for students and scholars in sexuality studies, gender studies, sociology, and education. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium m
17/11/20231 hour 17 minutes 50 seconds
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Charisse Burden-Stelly, "Black Scare/Red Scare: Theorizing Capitalist Racism in the United States" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

In the early twentieth century, two panics emerged in the United States. The Black Scare was rooted in white Americans’ fear of Black Nationalism and dread at what social, economic, and political equality of Black people might entail. The Red Scare, sparked by communist uprisings abroad and subversion at home, established anticapitalism as a force capable of infiltrating and disrupting the American order. In Black Scare / Red Scare: Theorizing Capitalist Racism in the United States (U Chicago Press, 2023), Charisse Burden-Stelly meticulously outlines the conjoined nature of these state-sanctioned panics, revealing how they unfolded together as the United States pursued capitalist domination. Antiradical repression, she shows, is inseparable from anti-Black oppression, and vice versa. Beginning her account in 1917—the year of the Bolshevik Revolution, the East St. Louis Race Riot, and the Espionage Act—Burden-Stelly traces the long duration of these intertwined and mutually reinforcing
17/11/202348 minutes 58 seconds
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Warren Zanes, "Deliver Me from Nowhere: The Making of Bruce Springsteen's 'Nebraska' (Crown, 2023)

Without Nebraska, Bruce Springsteen might not be who he is today. The natural follow-up to Springsteen's hugely successful album The River should have been the hit-packed Born in the U.S.A. But instead, in 1982, he came out with an album consisting of a series of dark songs he had recorded by himself, for himself. But more than forty years later, Nebraska is arguably Springsteen's most important record--the lasting clue to understanding not just his career as an artist and the vision behind it, but also the man himself. Nebraska is rough and unfinished, recorded on cassette tape with a simple four-track recorder by Springsteen, alone in his bedroom, just as the digital future was announcing itself. And yet Springsteen now considers it his best album. Nebraska expressed a turmoil that was reflective of the mood of the country, but it was also a symptom of trouble in the artist's life, the beginnings of a mental breakdown that Springsteen would only talk about openly decades after the al
17/11/202358 minutes 45 seconds
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Huping Ling, "Chinese Americans in the Heartland: Migration, Work, and Community" (Rutgers UP, 2022)

This episode features a conversation with Dr. Huping Ling on her two latest books, Chinese Americans in the Heartland: Migration, Work, and Community and Asian American History, both published by Rutgers University Press in 2022 and 2023, respectively. We begin our conversation with Asian American History, a comprehensive survey text that places Asian immigration to America in international and domestic contexts. In this text, Ling uses the histories of ethnic groups spanning from East, Southeast, South, and West Asia to explore the significant elements that define Asian America, such as imperialism, global capitalist expansion, transnationalism, labor, immigration, exclusion, family, community, and gender roles. The second part of the conversation is dedicated to Chinese Americans in the Heartland. The book draws upon rich evidence from various government records, personal stories, interviews, and media reports to shed light on the commonalities and uniqueness of the region, as compar
16/11/202352 minutes 43 seconds
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Laurence Ralph Reckons With Police Violence (EF, JP)

In the third episode of our Global Policing series, Elizabeth and John spoke back in 2020 with anthropologist Laurence Ralph about The Torture Letters: Reckoning with Police Violence (U Chicago Press, 2020). The book relates the decades-long history in which hundreds of people (mostly Black men) were tortured by the Chicago Police. Fascinatingly, it is framed as a series of open letters that explore the layers of silence and complicity that enabled torture and the activist movements that have helped to uncover this history and implement forms of collective redress and repair. Elizabeth and John ask Laurence about that genre choice, and he unpacks his thinking about responsibility, witnessing, trauma and channels of activism. Arendt’s “banality of evil” briefly surfaces. Mentioned in this episode: Laurence Ralph, Renegade Dreams: Living through Injury in Gangland Chicago (U Chicago Press, 2014) James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me Mahomedou
16/11/202342 minutes 2 seconds
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Where Have All the Democrats Gone?

In 2002, John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira published The Emerging Democratic Majority (Scribner). Now the pair are back with Where Have All the Democrats Gone?: The Soul of the Party in the Age of Extremes (Henry Holt, 2023). In their new book, an essential guide to the trends that roil the Democratic Party and threaten its national standing, the authors forthrightly acknowledge that they had underestimated “the defection of the white working class” from party ranks. Our conversation focuses on a core reason for this defection: the rise of a “shadow party” of elite donors, activist groups and media voices that is alienating the white working-class vote with an unbending, culturally-left posture on hot-button matters like race, immigration, climate change and sex and gender. This self-appointed “vanguard” possesses a quasi-religious mindset of a neo-Puritan stamp—an outlook that many Democratic voters, and not only in the white working class, reject. The battle is on, Judis and Teixeira ap
16/11/20231 hour 26 seconds
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'For All Mankind,’ An Alternate History About the Possibility of Utopia

It’s the UConn PopCast, and in this episode we tackle ‘For All Mankind,’ Apple TV’s alternate history about a space race that never ended. We first react to episode one of season four, which portrays a well-established human base on Mars. What does this first episode portend for the rest of the season, and the overall trajectory of the show? We then dive deep into the political, social, and technological themes of the show over the past three seasons. What does this text say about the malleability of the structures of contemporary societies? Can technological advances ‘overleap’ political problems? Is the show’s portrayal of gender as progressive as it seems at first blush? Most fundamentally, what type of politics is ‘For All Mankind’ trying to sell us, and is it convincing? The UConn PopCast is proud to be sponsored by the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute. Check out the Popular Culture Initiative. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support ou
15/11/20231 hour 22 minutes 2 seconds
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Brigid Cohen, "Musical Migration and Imperial New York: Early Cold War Scenes" (U Chicago Press, 2022)

The heart of Brigid Cohen’s Musical Migration and Imperial New York: Early Cold War Scenes (University of Chicago Press, 2022) are the connections forged and broken amid the dislocations caused by war and imperialist ambitions. Rather than telling a simple chronological narrative, Cohen circles loosely around a single year, 1960, and crosses time and place to examine how a group of artists mediated ideas of displacement, race, gender, imperialism, and Cold War Orientalism in their work. Cohen begins with an examination of the complex musical and personal interactions during the 1957 Greenwich House sessions organized by Edgard Varèse, and then turns to the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, the early work of Yoko Ono, and finally the early years of Fluxus. She considers a disparate collection of crossed paths in New York City, a place she calls a “capital of Empire.” While she focuses on figures, institutions, and groups that are well known among scholars who work on music and
15/11/20231 hour 3 minutes 14 seconds
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Jennifer Burns on the Life and Lasting Influence of Milton Friedman

Jennifer Burns (Hoover Reserch Fellow and Stanford Associate Professor of History) joins the podcast to discuss her career as well as her new biography Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023). We discuss the life of Milton Friedman including his very brief time in Chile, his intellectual development before and after joining the University of Chicago economics faculty, the role of various people who contributed to the development of his ideas behind the scenes, along with the extent of his influence nearly 20 years after his death. Jon Hartley is an economics researcher with interests in international macroeconomics, finance, and labor economics and is currently an economics PhD student at Stanford University. He is also currently a Research Fellow at the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, a Senior Fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, and a research associate at the Hoover Institution. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.f
14/11/202343 minutes 7 seconds
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Jeffrey Scholes, "Christianity, Race, and Sport" (Routledge, 2021)

This book provides a rigorously researched introduction to the relationship between Christianity, race, and sport in the United States. Christianity, Race, and Sport (Routledge, 2021) examines how Protestant Christianity and race have interacted, often to the detriment of Black bodies, throughout the sporting world over the last century. Important sporting figures and case studies discussed include: the sanctification of baseball player Jackie Robinson; the domestication of Muhammad Ali and George Foreman; religious expressions of athletes in the NFL; treatment of African American tennis player Serena Williams; Colin Kaepernick and his prophetic voice. This accessible and conversational book is essential reading for undergraduate students approaching religion and race or religion and sport for the first time, as well as those working within the sociology of sport, sport studies, history of sport, or philosophy of sport. Jeffrey Scholes is associate professor of religious studies in the
14/11/202332 minutes 31 seconds
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Kristofer Ray and Brady DeSanti, "Understanding and Teaching Native American History" (U Wisconsin Press, 2023)

Understanding and Teaching Native American History (University of Wisconsin Press, 2023), co-edited by Kristofer Ray and Brady DeSanti, is a timely and urgently needed remedy to a long-standing gap in history instruction. While the past three decades have seen burgeoning scholarship in Indigenous studies, comparatively little of that has trickled into classrooms. This volume is designed to help teachers effectively integrate Indigenous history and culture into their lessons, providing richly researched content and resources across the chronological and geographical landscape of what is now known as North America.  Despite the availability of new scholarship, many teachers struggle with contextualizing Indigenous history and experience. Native peoples frequently find themselves relegated to historical descriptions, merely a foil to the European settlers who are the protagonists in the dominant North American narrative. This collection offers a way forward, an alternative framing of the
14/11/20231 hour 8 minutes 50 seconds
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Elizabeth Anderson, "Hijacked: How Neoliberalism Turned the Work Ethic against Workers and How Workers Can Take It Back" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

What is the work ethic? Does it justify policies that promote the wealth and power of the One Percent at workers' expense? Or does it advance policies that promote workers' dignity and standing? Hijacked: How Neoliberalism Turned the Work Ethic against Workers and How Workers Can Take It Back (Cambridge UP, 2023) explores how the history of political economy has been a contest between these two ideas about whom the work ethic is supposed to serve. Today's neoliberal ideology deploys the work ethic on behalf of the One Percent. However, workers and their advocates have long used the work ethic on behalf of ordinary people. By exposing the ideological roots of contemporary neoliberalism as a perversion of the seventeenth-century Protestant work ethic, Elizabeth Anderson shows how we can reclaim the original goals of the work ethic, and uplift ourselves again. Hijacked persuasively and powerfully demonstrates how ideas inspired by the work ethic informed debates among leading political ec
13/11/202356 minutes 34 seconds
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Juliet Hooker, "Black Grief/White Grievance: The Politics of Loss" (Princeton UP, 2023)

In democracies, citizens must accept loss; we can't always be on the winning side. But in the United States, the fundamental civic capacity of being able to lose is not distributed equally. Propped up by white supremacy, whites (as a group) are accustomed to winning; they have generally been able to exercise political rule without having to accept sharing it. Black citizens, on the other hand, are expected to be political heroes whose civic suffering enables progress toward racial justice.  In Black Grief/White Grievance: The Politics of Loss (Princeton UP, 2023), Juliet Hooker, a leading thinker on democracy and race, argues that the two most important forces driving racial politics in the United States today are Black grief and white grievance. Black grief is exemplified by current protests against police violence--the latest in a tradition of violent death and subsequent public mourning spurring Black political mobilization. The potent politics of white grievance, meanwhile, which i
13/11/202357 minutes 26 seconds
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David Myer Temin, "Remapping Sovereignty: Decolonization and Self-Determination in North American Indigenous Political Thought" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

Accounts of decolonization routinely neglect Indigenous societies in North America and Australasia, yet Native communities have made unique contributions to anticolonial thought and activism. David Myer Temin's book Remapping Sovereignty: Decolonization and Self-Determination in North American Indigenous Political Thought (U Chicago Press, 2023) examines how twentieth-century Indigenous activists in North America debated questions of decolonization and self-determination, developing distinctive conceptual approaches that both resonate with and reformulate key strands in other civil rights and global decolonization movements. In contrast to decolonization projects that envisioned liberation through national independence, Indigenous theorists emphasized the self-determination of peoples against sovereign states and articulated a visionary politics of decolonization as care for the earth. Temin traces the interplay between anticolonial thought and practice across key indigenous thinkers.
13/11/20231 hour 22 minutes 8 seconds
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Brendan J. Doherty, "Fundraiser in Chief: Presidents and the Politics of Campaign Cash" (UP of Kansas, 2023)

Political Scientist Brendan Doherty has a new book that dives into the ways that presidents have raised money for themselves, their parties, and other elected officials over the past six decades. Doherty is an expert on campaign fundraising, especially by presidents, and Fundraiser in Chief: Presidents and the Politics of Campaign Cash (UP of Kansas, 2023) continues the research he has been doing in this area within political science. The overarching thesis of Doherty’s work in Fundraiser in Chief is examining the intersection between campaigning and governing, especially when it comes to the president him(her)self. Doherty’s chief claim in the book is that presidential fundraising, which is usually studied and explored in direct connection with presidential campaigns, should be more fully integrated into the other dynamics and components of how a president governs and uses his/her time. In an effort to examine the time spent fundraising, not just at public events, but also in private
13/11/202350 minutes 34 seconds
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Eric M. Patashnik, "Countermobilization: Policy Feedback and Backlash in a Polarized Age" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

The most successful policies not only solve problems. They also build supportive coalitions. Yet, sometimes, policies trigger backlash and mobilize opposition. Although backlash is not a new phenomenon, today's political landscape is distinguished by the frequency and pervasiveness of backlash in nearly every area of US policymaking, from abortion rights to the Affordable Care Act. Eric M. Patashnik develops a policy-centered theory of backlash that illuminates how policies stimulate backlashes by imposing losses, overreaching, or challenging existing arrangements to which people are strongly attached.  Drawing on case studies of issues from immigration and trade to healthcare and gun control, Countermobilization: Policy Feedback and Backlash in a Polarized Age (U Chicago Press, 2023) shows that backlash politics is fueled by polarization, cultural shifts, and negative feedback from the activist government itself. It also offers crucial insights to help identify and navigate backlash r
12/11/202337 minutes 2 seconds
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Stephanie K. Kim, "Constructing Student Mobility: How Universities Recruit Students and Shape Pathways between Berkeley and Seoul" (MIT Press, 2023)

Constructing Student Mobility: How Universities Recruit Students and Shape Pathways between Berkeley and Seoul (MIT Press, 2023) challenges the popular image of the international student in the American imagination, an image of affluence, access, and privilege. In this provocative book, higher education scholar Stephanie Kim argues that universities -- not the students -- create the paths that allow students their international mobility. Focusing on universities in the United States and South Korea that aggressively grew their student pools in the aftermath of the Great Recession, Kim shows the lengths to which universities will go to expand enrollments as they draw from the same pool of top South Korean students. Using ethnographic research gathered over a ten-year period in which international admissions were impacted by the Great Recession, changes in US presidential administrations, and the COVID-19 pandemic, Constructing Student Mobility provides crucial insights into the purpose,
12/11/202353 minutes 7 seconds
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Cecilia Márquez, "Making the Latino South: A History of Racial Formation" (UNC Press, 2023)

The presence of Latinx people in the American South has long confounded the region's persistent racial binaries. In Making the Latino South: A History of Racial Formation (UNC Press, 2023), Cecilia Márquez uses social and cultural history methods to assess the racial logics that have shaped the Latinx experience in the region since the middle of the twentieth century. Structuring her argument around several major themes that frequently signpost the history of the South and of race relations in the United States--the rise of an increasingly mobile middle class, the civil rights movement and fight over school integration, the growth global connection of the region's economy, and political conflict over immigration--Márquez reveals how Latinx people in the South have confronted both whiteness and antiblackness, and how cultural boundaries to exclude Black people from full participation in the life of the region and nation have been essential to the construction of Latinx as a category. A
12/11/202348 minutes 27 seconds
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Jennifer E. Brooks, "Resident Strangers: Immigrant Laborers in New South Alabama" (LSU Press, 2022)

Immigrant laborers who came to the New South in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries found themselves poised uncomfortably between white employers and the Black working class, a liminal and often precarious position. Campaigns to recruit immigrants primarily aimed to suppress Black agency and mobility. If that failed, both planters and industrialists imagined that immigrants might replace Blacks entirely. Thus, white officials, citizens, and employers embraced immigrants when they acted in ways that sustained Jim Crow. However, when they directly challenged established political and economic power structures, immigrant laborers found themselves ostracized, jailed, or worse, by the New South order. Both industrial employers and union officials lauded immigrants' hardworking and noble character when it suited their purposes, and both denigrated and racialized them when immigrant laborers acted independently. Jennifer E. Brooks's Resident Strangers: Immigrant Laborers in New
12/11/20231 hour 12 seconds
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Adrien Sebro, "Scratchin' and Survivin': Hustle Economics and the Black Sitcoms of Tandem Productions" (Rutgers UP, 2023)

The 1970s was a golden age for representations of African American life on TV sitcoms: Sanford & Son, Good Times, The Jeffersons. Surprisingly, nearly all the decade’s notable Black sitcoms were made by a single company, Tandem Productions. Founded by two white men, the successful team behind All in the Family, writer Norman Lear and director Bud Yorkin, Tandem gave unprecedented opportunities to Black actors, writers, and producers to break into the television industry. However, these Black auteurs also struggled to get the economic privileges and creative autonomy regularly granted to their white counterparts. Scratchin' and Survivin': Hustle Economics and the Black Sitcoms of Tandem Productions (Rutgers UP, 2023) discovers surprising parallels between the behind-the-scenes drama at Tandem and the plotlines that aired on their sitcoms, as both real and fictional African Americans devised various strategies for getting their fair share out of systems prone to exploiting their labor. T
12/11/20231 hour 21 minutes 31 seconds
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Daniel Macfarlane, "Natural Allies: Environment, Energy, and the History of US-Canada Relations" (McGill-Queen's UP, 2023)

No two nations have exchanged natural resources, produced transborder environmental agreements, or cooperatively altered ecosystems on the same scale as Canada and the United States. Environmental and energy diplomacy have profoundly shaped both countries’ economies, politics, and landscapes for over 150 years. Natural Allies: Environment, Energy, and the History of US-Canada Relations (McGill-Queen's UP, 2023) looks at the history of US-Canada relations through an environmental lens. From fisheries in the late nineteenth century to oil pipelines in the twenty-first century, Daniel Macfarlane recounts the scores of transborder environmental and energy arrangements made between the two nations. Many became global precedents that influenced international environmental law, governance, and politics, including the Boundary Waters Treaty, the Trail Smelter case, hydroelectric megaprojects, and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreements. In addition to water, fish, wood, minerals, and myriad o
11/11/202348 minutes 26 seconds
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Steven Simon, "Grand Delusion: The Rise and Fall of American Ambition in the Middle East" (Penguin, 2023)

A longtime American foreign policy insider’s penetrating and definitive reckoning with this country’s involvement in the Middle East The culmination of almost forty years at the highest levels of policymaking and scholarship, Grand Delusion: The Rise and Fall of American Ambition in the Middle East (Penguin, 2023) is Steven Simon’s tour de force, offering a comprehensive and deeply informed account of U.S. engagement in the Middle East. Simon begins with the Reagan administration, when American perception of the region shifted from a cluster of faraway and frequently skirmishing nations to a shining, urgent opportunity for America to (in Reagan’s words) “serve the cause of world peace and the future of mankind.” Reagan fired the starting gun on decades of deepening American involvement, but as the global economy grew, bringing an increasing reliance on oil, U.S. diplomatic and military energies were ever more fatefully absorbed by the Middle East. Grand Delusion explores the motivation
11/11/20231 hour 42 seconds
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Shelley Fraser Mickle, "White House Wild Child: How Alice Roosevelt Broke All the Rules and Won the Heart of America" (Imagine, 2023)

“I can do one of two things, I can be President of the United States or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both.”—Theodore Roosevelt During Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency—from 1901 to 1909, when Mark Twain called him the most popular man in America—his daughter Alice Roosevelt mesmerized the world with her antics and beauty. Alice was known for carrying a gun, a copy of the Constitution, and a green snake in her purse. When her father told her she couldn’t smoke under his roof, she climbed to the top of the White House and smoked on the roof. She became the most famous woman in America—and even the world—predating Princess Diana and Jackie Kennedy as an object of public obsession. As her celebrity grew, she continued to buck tradition, push against social norms, and pull political sway behind the curtain of privilege and access. She was known for her acerbic wit and outspoken tendencies which hypnotized both the social and political world. In White House Wild Child: How Alice R
11/11/202333 minutes 34 seconds
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Barry Reay and Nina Attwood, "Dirty Books: Erotic Fiction and the Avant-garde in Mid-century Paris and New York" (Manchester UP, 2023)

From the 1930s to the 1970s, in New York and in Paris, daring publishers and writers were producing banned pornographic literature. The books were written by young, impecunious writers, poets, and artists, many anonymously. Most of these pornographers wrote to survive, but some also relished the freedom to experiment that anonymity provided - men writing as women, and women writing as men - and some (Anaïs Nin, Henry Miller) went on to become influential figures in modernist literature. Barry Reay and Nina Attwood's Dirty Books: Erotic Fiction and the Avant-garde in Mid-century Paris and New York (Manchester UP, 2023) tells the stories of these authors and their remarkable publishers: Jack Kahane of Obelisk Press and his son Maurice Girodias of Olympia Press, whose catalogue and repertoire anticipated that of the more famous US publisher Grove Press. It offers a humorous and vivid snapshot of a fascinating moment in pornographic and literary history, uncovering a hidden, earlier histor
10/11/202345 minutes 31 seconds
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Xaq Frohlich, "From Label to Table: Regulating Food in America in the Information Age" (U California Press, 2023)

Xaq Frohlich’s From Label to Table: Regulating Food in America in the Information Age (U California Press, 2023) is a biography of the Nutrition Facts label that adorns millions of food products and has become an integral part of the food and information landscape in the United States. Frohlich’s story unfolds in part as an institutional history of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency responsible for the label, using the agency as a way to understand the ideological and policy debates about responsibility for communicating scientific information to the public, from regulation and gatekeeping to information brokering and nudging. From Label to Table is the story of how the contemporary American food information environment emerged out of this history of transformation from paternalism to “informationism.” Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese language and history in the University of Bergen's Department of Foreign Languages. Learn more about your ad cho
10/11/202347 minutes 21 seconds
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Ralph H. Craig III, "Dancing in My Dreams: A Spiritual Biography of Tina Turner" (Eerdmans, 2023)

If you don’t know Tina Turner’s spirituality, you don’t know Tina. When Tina Turner reclaimed her throne as the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll in the 1980s, she attributed her comeback to one thing: the wisdom and power she found in Buddhism. Her spiritual transformation is often overshadowed by the rags-to-riches arc of her life story. But in this groundbreaking biography, Ralph H. Craig III traces Tina’s journey from the Black Baptist church to Buddhism and situates her at the vanguard of large-scale movements in religion and pop culture. Paying special attention to the diverse metaphysical beliefs that shaped her spiritual life, Craig untangles Tina’s Soka Gakkai Buddhist foundation; her incorporation of New Age ideas popularized in ’60s counterculture; and her upbringing in a Black Baptist congregation, alongside the influences of her grandmothers’ disciplinary and mystical sensibilities. Through critical engagement with Tina’s personal life and public brand, Craig sheds light on how popul
10/11/20231 hour 22 minutes 52 seconds
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Randy Laist, ed.. "The '80s Resurrected: Essays on the Decade in Popular Culture Then and Now" (McFarland, 2023)

Randy Laist, professor of English at Goodwin University and the University of Bridgeport, has a new edited volume focusing specifically on popular culture and the 1980s. The essays in The '80s Resurrected: Essays on the Decade in Popular Culture Then and Now (McFarland, 2023) approach this theme from a number of disciplinary perspectives, global positions, as well as a wide variety of pop cultural artifacts. Laist’s effort in bringing together these essays was not just about reflecting on the 1980s, and particularly how the 1980s seems to be quite present in contemporary popular culture, but also because of the way that the 1980s has shaped our current political environment. The ‘80s Resurrected includes chapters on different media engagement and different issues that are fleshed out from different artifacts—including video games, film, television, dolls, and music. The ideas that these chapters dive into include questions of race, gender, class, sexuality, LGBTQ+, neoliberalism, misog
09/11/202341 minutes 11 seconds
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Chad Randl and D. Medina Lasansky, "Playing Place: Board Games, Popular Culture, Space" (MIT Press, 2023)

An essay collection exploring the board game's relationship to the built environment, revealing the unexpected ways that play reflects perceptions of space. Board games harness the creation of entirely new worlds. From the medieval warlord to the modern urban planner, players are permitted to inhabit a staggering variety of roles and are prompted to incorporate preexisting notions of placemaking into their decisions. To what extent do board games represent the social context of their production? How might they reinforce or subvert normative ideas of community and fulfillment? In Playing Place: Board Games, Popular Culture, Space (MIT Press, 2023), Chad Randl and D. Medina Lasansky have curated a collection of thirty-seven fascinating essays, supplemented by a rich trove of photo illustrations, that unpack these questions with breadth and care. Although board games are often recreational objects, their mythologies and infrastructure do not exist in a vacuum—rather, they echo and reprodu
09/11/202337 minutes 34 seconds
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Curtis Smith, "Homelessness and Housing Advocacy: The Role of Red-Tape Warriors" (Routledge, 2022)

Through compelling ethnography, Homelessness and Housing Advocacy: The Role of Red-Tape Warriors (Routledge, 2022) reveals the creative and ambitious methods that social service providers use to house their clients despite the conflictual conditions posed by the policies and institutions that govern the housing process. Combining in-depth interviews, extensive fieldwork, and the author's own professional experience, this book considers the perspective of social service providers who work with people experiencing homelessness and chronicles the steps they take to navigate the housing process. With assertive methods of worker-client advocacy at the center of its focus, this book beckons attention to the many variables that affect professional attempts to house homeless populations. It conveys the challenges that social service providers encounter while fitting their clients into the criteria for housing eligibility, the opposition they receive, and the innovative approaches they ultimate
09/11/20231 hour 23 minutes 56 seconds
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Michael Newton, "It's a Wonderful Life" (British Film Institute, 2023)

Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life is one of the best-loved films of Classical Hollywood cinema, a story of despair and redemption in the aftermath of war that is one of the central movies of the 1940s, and a key text in America's understanding of itself. This is a film that remains relevant to our own anxieties and yearnings, to all the contradictions of ordinary life, while also enacting for us the quintessence of the classic Hollywood aesthetic. Nostalgia, humour, and a tough resilience weave themselves through this movie, intertwining it with the fraught cultural moment of the end of World War II that saw its birth. It offers a still compelling merging of fantasy and realism that was utterly unique when it was first released, and has rarely been matched since. Michael Newton's study of the film, It's a Wonderful Life (British Film Institute, 2023), investigates the source of its extraordinary power and its long-lasting impact. He begins by introducing the key figures in the movie'
08/11/20231 hour 5 minutes 21 seconds
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Speak Freely: The Princeton Principles

Kicking off our new monthly series on freedom of speech, Keith Whittington and Donald Downs discuss the Princeton Principles for a Campus of Free Inquiry. These principles, outlined by a group of scholars convened by Professor Robert P. George here at the James Madison Program in March 2023, expand on the well-known Chicago Principles in ensuring campus free speech and institutional neutrality. Professors Whittington and Downs are both among the original fifteen participants and endorsers of the Princeton Principles, and played significant roles in drafting the document. Keith Whittington is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics in the Department of Politics at Princeton University, and the author of Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech (Princeton UP, 2019). He specializes in public law and American Politics, and will soon join the faculty of Yale Law School. Donald Downs is the Alexander Meiklejohn Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the University
07/11/202359 minutes 50 seconds
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Vicki Howard, ed., "A Cultural History of Shopping in the Modern Age" (Bloomsbury, 2022)

In this episode, I talk to Vicki Howard and Sarah Elvins, both contributors to Volume 6 of the anthology A Cultural History of Shopping. Jon Stobart is the series editor, and Vicki Howard is the editor of Volume 6: A Cultural History of Shopping in the Modern Age. The chapters of this volume include: Practices and Processes, by Sarah Elvins, Spaces and Places, by Alison Hulme, Shoppers and Identities, by Joshua L. Carreiro, Luxury and Everyday, by Vicki Howard, Home and Family, by Helen Sheumaker, Visual and Literary Representations, by Angelica Michelis, Reputation, Trust and Credit, by Franck Cochoy, by Johan Hagberg and Hans Kjellberg, Governance, Regulation and the State, by Jan Logemann. Paula De La Cruz-Fernandez is a consultant, historian, and digital editor. Editor New Books Network en español. Edita CEO. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
07/11/202342 minutes 27 seconds
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Matthew J. Clavin, "Symbols of Freedom: Slavery and Resistance Before the Civil War" (NYU Press, 2023)

In the early United States, anthems, flags, holidays, monuments, and memorials were powerful symbols of an American identity that helped unify a divided people. A language of freedom played a similar role in shaping the new nation. The Declaration of Independence’s assertion “that all men are created equal,” Patrick Henry’s cry of “Give me liberty, or give me death!,” and Francis Scott Key’s “star-spangled banner” waving over “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” were anthemic celebrations of a newly free people. Resonating across the country, they encouraged the creation of a republic where the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” was universal, natural, and inalienable. For enslaved people and their allies, the language and symbols that served as national touchstones made a mockery of freedom. Deriding the ideas that infused the republic’s founding, they encouraged an empty American culture that accepted the abstract notion of equality rather than the co
07/11/202336 minutes 59 seconds
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Shannon McKenna Schmidt, "The First Lady of World War II: Eleanor Roosevelt's Daring Journey to the Frontlines and Back" (Sourcebooks, 2023)

Shannon McKenna Schmidt's The First Lady of World War II: Eleanor Roosevelt's Daring Journey to the Frontlines and Back (Sourcebooks, 2023) is the first book to tell the full story of Eleanor Roosevelt's unprecedented and courageous trip to the Pacific Theater during World War II. On August 27, 1943, news broke in the United States that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was on the other side of the world. A closely guarded secret, she had left San Francisco aboard a military transport plane headed for the South Pacific to support and report the troops on WW2's front lines. Americans had believed she was secluded at home. As Allied forces battled the Japanese for control of the region, Eleanor was there on the frontlines, spending five weeks traveling, on a mission as First Lady of the United States to experience what our servicemen were experiencing... and report back home. Jane Scimeca is Professor of History at Brookdale Community College. @JaneScimeca1 Learn more about your ad choices. V
06/11/202334 minutes 27 seconds
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Dannagal Goldthwaite Young, "Wrong: How Media, Politics, and Identity Drive Our Appetite for Misinformation" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2023)

Over the past 40 years, lawmakers in America's two major political parties have taken increasingly extreme positions on ideological issues. Voters from the two parties have become increasingly distinct and hostile to one another along the lines of race, religion, geography, and culture. In Wrong: How Media, Politics, and Identity Drive Our Appetite for Misinformation (Johns Hopkins UP, 2023), Dr. Dannagal Goldthwaite Young illustrates how political leaders and media organizations capitalize on social and cultural identities to separate, enrage, and mobilize people. Because humans are motivated to comprehend, to feel in control, and to be part of a community, they seek information that satisfies these needs – including misinformation that favors their political team. They don’t want to be wrong. Bringing together tools from political science, communications, and social psychology, Dr. Goldthwaite Young creates a model to explain how public officials, journalists, and social media platfo
06/11/20231 hour 4 minutes 7 seconds
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Tamson Pietsch, "The Floating University: Experience, Empire, and the Politics of Knowledge" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

A globe-trotting and scandal-ridden story of American empire and higher education, The Floating University: Experience, Empire, and the Politics of Knowledge (University of Chicago Press, 2023) tells the story of one of the first ‘semesters at sea’. Led by the New York University Professor of Experimental Psychology James E. Lough, the SS Ryndam departed from Hoboken, New Jersey in 1926, bringing over 500 American students to nearly fifty global ports and meetings with Benito Mussolini, Mahatma Gandhi, and Pope Pius XI. Along the way, the students came to terms with the contours of American empire and, through direct experience, learned subjects ranging from botany to painting and journalism, all the while leaving a vital imprint on the communities and people they intersected with. Looking behind the ribald headlines of jazz, drugs, and alcohol, The Floating University mines a diverse historical archive to reveal how the Ryndam’s voyage—for all its eventual failure—sheds a unique light
05/11/20231 hour 1 minute 40 seconds
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Greg Beets and Richard Whymark, "A Curious Mix of People: The Underground Scene of '90s Austin" (U Texas Press, 2023)

Ask anyone outside of Austin what they know about the city and chances are the first thing they'll mention is the music. While the Armadillo Era has been well-chronicled, there is no book about Austin music in the 90s. In their new book, A Curious Mix of People: The Underground Scene of '90s Austin (University of Texas Press, 2023), veterans of the sccene Greg Beets and Richard Whymark have put together an oral history of the decade. Beets and Whymark are not trying to cover all of the music made in Austin during the 1990s; they're most interested in the underground/punk community in which they participated. While a few of those bands got big (e.g., Spoon), the music remained mostly local, DIY. It was driven by live shows, though local media (radio, TV, print), record stores, and a few labels were also important to the story. Beets and Whymark devote chapters to those elements, but almost half of the chapters are based around a particular club. Organizing the book around physical space
05/11/20231 hour 10 minutes 51 seconds
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Drew A. Swanson, "A Man of Bad Reputation: The Murder of John Stephens and the Contested Landscape of North Carolina Reconstruction" (UNC Press, 2023)

Five years after the Civil War, North Carolina Republican state senator John W. Stephens was found murdered inside the Caswell County Courthouse. Stephens fought for the rights of freedpeople, and his killing by the Ku Klux Klan ultimately led to insurrection, Governor William W. Holden's impeachment, and the early unwinding of Reconstruction in North Carolina. In A Man of Bad Reputation: The Murder of John Stephens and the Contested Landscape of North Carolina Reconstruction (UNC Press, 2023), Drew A. Swanson tells a story of race, politics, and social power shaped by violence and profit. The struggle for dominance in Reconstruction-era rural North Carolina, Swanson argues, was an economic and ecological transformation. Arson, beating, and murder became tools to control people and landscapes, and the ramifications of this violence continued long afterward. The failure to prosecute anyone for decades after John Stephens's assassination left behind a vacuum, as each side shaped its own
04/11/20231 hour 1 minute
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David Alan Richards, "I Give These Books: The History of the Yale University Library, 1656-2016" (Oak Knoll, 2022)

The disparate stories of the libraries of the fledgling colleges in the colonies of the Eastern Seaboard, beginning more than one hundred fifty years before the Declaration of Independence, has been recorded occasionally in scattered scholarly journals, but never has there appeared a fully-fledged history of the library of one of America's oldest universities from its founding through the present day. In I Give These Books: The History of the Yale University Library, 1656-2022 (Oak Knoll, 2022), David Allen Richards presents this story. In its pages, the founding, growth, organisation, and expansion of a major American university library is revealed over three and a half centuries of its 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 choi
04/11/20231 hour 5 minutes 33 seconds
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Jacqueline R. Braitman, "She Damn Near Ran the Studio: The Extraordinary Lives of Ida R. Koverman" (UP of Mississippi, 2020)

In this episode, I am happy to be interviewing historian and author Dr. Jacqueline R. Braitman about her very engaging biography, She Damn Near Ran the Studio: The Extraordinary Lives of Ida R. Koverman (University Press of Mississippi, 2020). This very detailed and comprehensively researched book tells the story of Ida Koverman, whose life was almost accidentally remarkable. She was not only Louis B. Mayer’s gatekeeper at MGM for over two decades but also a major mover and shaker in the conservative wing of the California Republican party throughout the first half of the twentieth century. Coming from humble beginnings in Ohio, when Ulysses S. Grant was president, Koverman worked tirelessly to elect Herbert Hoover to the White House. In addition, she made a remarkable contribution to American culture, scouting and nurturing the iconic stars of the future at MGM, while also acting as a spokesperson for the studio and its relationship to the politicians of the day. In this interview, Dr
02/11/20231 hour 7 minutes 57 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)

Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” is notoriously fiery. No doubt part of what’s gripping about it is its internal tension. Douglass begins by sincerely praising the founders and their philosophical principles, and then turns to a devastating critique of the hypocrisy of the United States. Underlying Douglass’s argument is a commitment to the democratic project in the United States that one imagines could be sustained only with extraordinary effort. What prevented Douglass from embracing the understandable, warranted pessimism that the democratic experiment in the United States had failed – or perhaps had never really been taken up? In The Darkened Light of Faith: Race, Democracy, and Freedom in African American Political Thought (Princeton University Press, 2023), Melvin Rogers takes his reader on a journey through the efforts of African American philosophers, social critics, and artists to make sense of the United States. Robert Talisse is the
01/11/20231 hour 8 minutes 35 seconds
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The Future of Cancelling: A Conversation with Greg Lukianoff

Cancel culture is something all academics are aware of and some are concerned about.  Certainly that’s true of Greg Lukianoff who was the co-author (with Jonathan Haidt) of The Coddling of the American Mind (Penguin, 2018) and who has now co-authored (with Rikki Schlott) of The Canceling of the American Mind (Simon and Schuster, 2023). Listen to him in conversation with Owen Bennett Jones. Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
01/11/202339 minutes 1 second
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Scott Eyman, "Charlie Chaplin vs. America: When Art, Sex, and Politics Collided" (Simon & Schuster, 2023)

The remarkable, must-read story of Charlie Chaplin’s years of exile from the United States during the postwar Red Scare, and how it ruined his film career, from bestselling biographer Scott Eyman. Bestselling Hollywood biographer and film historian Scott Eyman tells the story of Charlie Chaplin’s fall from grace. In the aftermath of World War Two, Chaplin was criticized for being politically liberal and internationalist in outlook. He had never become a US citizen, something that would be held against him as xenophobia set in when the postwar Red Scare took hold. Politics aside, Chaplin had another problem: his sexual interest in young women. He had been married three times and had had numerous affairs. In the 1940s, he was the subject of a paternity suit, which he lost, despite blood tests that proved he was not the father. His sexuality became a convenient way for those who opposed his politics to condemn him. Refused permission to return to the US from a trip abroad, he settled in S
31/10/202355 minutes 10 seconds
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Dara Z. Strolovitch, "When Bad Things Happen to Privileged People: Race, Gender, and What Makes a Crisis in America" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

A deep and thought-provoking examination of crisis politics and their implications for power and marginalization in the United States.  From the climate crisis to the opioid crisis to the Coronavirus crisis, the language of crisis is everywhere around us and ubiquitous in contemporary American politics and policymaking. But for every problem that political actors describe as a crisis, there are myriad other equally serious ones that are not described in this way. Why has the term crisis been associated with some problems but not others? What has crisis come to mean, and what work does it do?  In When Bad Things Happen to Privileged People: Race, Gender, and What Makes a Crisis in America (U Chicago Press, 2023), Dara Z. Strolovitch brings a critical eye to the taken-for-granted political vernacular of crisis. Using systematic analyses to trace the evolution of the use of the term crisis by both political elites and outsiders, Strolovitch unpacks the idea of “crisis” in contemporary pol
31/10/20231 hour 3 minutes 44 seconds
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Claire Jean Kim, "Asian Americans in an Anti-Black World" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

Where do Asian Americans fit into the U.S. racial order? How do we understand anti-Asian racism in relation to structural anti-Blackness? Are Asian Americans subordinated comparably to Black people or permitted adjacency to whiteness? For Dr. Claire Jean Kim, the police murder of George Floyd and the surge in anti-Asian hate during the COVID-19 pandemic make these questions urgent – and the answers may alter the US racial order. In Asian Americans in an Anti-Black World (Cambridge UP, 2023), Dr. Kim argues that understanding US racial dynamics requires careful analysis of two forces: anti-Blackness and white supremacy. Dr. Kim’s meticulously researched book treats White supremacy and anti-Blackness as “kinetic forces or energy flows that have shaped and been shaped by the structural regimes of slavery, colonialism, capitalism, settler colonialism, and empire across the globe.” White supremacy lifts up one group as it pushes down all others. Anti-Blackness “abjects Blackness and elevate
30/10/20231 hour 5 minutes 29 seconds
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Frederick V. Engram, "Black Liberation Through Action and Resistance: MOVE" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2023)

Black Liberation through Action and Resistance: MOVE (Rowman & Littlefield, 2023) serves as a call to action for Black millennials and co-conspirators who are immersed in the work of Black liberation or want to begin their own journey toward anti-racism. Its central mission is to provide additional context to an ongoing discussion regarding Black liberation and proper allyship. The theory behind MOVE challenges anti-Blackness, patriarchy, white supremacy, and misogynoir ideologies aimed at the continued oppression of the descendants of the American enslaved. Dr. Frederick V. Engram Jr. is an assistant professor of higher education at Fairleigh Dickinson University. His research focuses on understanding how African Americans comprehend anti-Black racism in higher education and the criminal justice system. Latoya Johnson is an editor, writer, and bibliophile with a master's in Humanities. Her research and writing interests include books and reading in popular culture, the public history
30/10/202338 minutes 35 seconds
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Sarah Mayorga, "Urban Specters: The Everyday Harms of Racial Capitalism" (UNC Press, 2023)

Racial capitalism, invisible but threaded throughout the world, shapes our lives. Focusing on the experiences of white, Black, and Latinx residents of Cincinnati, Sarah Mayorga argues that residents' interpretations of their circumstances, what she calls urban specters, are often partial recognitions of the exploitation and dehumanization produced by racial capitalism.  In Urban Specters: The Everyday Harms of Racial Capitalism (UNC Press, 2023), much scholarly work on racial capitalism has necessarily focused on historical, theoretical, and macro-level accounts. Mayorga takes these vital insights and applies them to two contemporary working-class neighborhoods, centering the lives of working-class and poor people. Using data from interviews with 117 residents, Mayorga maps how racial capitalism creates the everyday harms people know all too well. Chronic underdevelopment, private property, and policing, she shows, have produced these harms. In this enlightening book, Mayorga identifie
29/10/202344 minutes 31 seconds
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Chris Bishop, "Medievalist Comics and the American Century" (UP of Mississippi, 2016)

In Medievalist Comics and the American Century (UP of Mississippi, 2016), Chris Bishop surveys the medievalist comic, its stories, characters, settings, and themes drawn from the European Middle Ages. Hal Foster's Prince Valiant emerged from an America at odds with monarchy, but still in love with King Arthur. Green Arrow remains the continuation of a long fascination with Robin Hood that has become as central to the American identity as it was to the British. The Mighty Thor reflects the legacy of Germanic migration into the United States. The rugged individualism of Conan the Barbarian owes more to the western cowboy than it does to the continental knight-errant. In the narrative of Red Sonja, we can trace a parallel history of feminism. Bishop regards these comics as not merely happenchance, but each success (Prince Valiant and The Mighty Thor) or failure (Beowulf: Dragon Slayer) as a result and an indicator of certain American preoccupations amid a larger cultural context. Intrinsi
29/10/202353 minutes 2 seconds
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Nikki M. Taylor, "Brooding over Bloody Revenge: Enslaved Women's Lethal Resistance" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

From the colonial through the antebellum era, enslaved women in the US used lethal force as the ultimate form of resistance. By amplifying their voices and experiences, Brooding over Bloody Revenge: Enslaved Women's Lethal Resistance (Cambridge UP, 2023) strongly challenges assumptions that enslaved women only participated in covert, non-violent forms of resistance, when in fact they consistently seized justice for themselves and organized toward revolt. Nikki M. Taylor expertly reveals how women killed for deeply personal instances of injustice committed by their owners. The stories presented, which span centuries and legal contexts, demonstrate that these acts of lethal force were carefully pre-meditated. Enslaved women planned how and when their enslavers would die, what weapons and accomplices were necessary, and how to evade capture in the aftermath. Original and compelling, Brooding Over Bloody Revenge presents a window into the lives and philosophies of enslaved women who had th
28/10/20231 hour 5 minutes 19 seconds
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Norman Solomon, "War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine" (New Press, 2023)

More than twenty years ago, 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan set into motion a hugely consequential shift in America’s foreign policy: a perpetual state of war that is almost entirely invisible to the American public. War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine (New Press, 2023), by the journalist and political analyst Norman Solomon, exposes how this happened, and what its consequences are, from military and civilian casualties to drained resources at home. From Iraq through Afghanistan and Syria and on to little-known deployments in a range of countries around the globe, the United States has been at perpetual war for at least the past two decades. Yet many of these forays remain off the radar of average Americans. Compliant journalists add to the smokescreen by providing narrow coverage of military engagements and by repeating the military’s talking points. Meanwhile, the increased use of high technology, air power, and remote drones has put distance
28/10/20231 hour 5 minutes 46 seconds
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James V. Fenelon, "Indian, Black and Irish: Indigenous Nations, African Peoples, European Invasions, 1492-1790" (Routledge, 2023)

In this interview James Fenelon discusses his new book entitled Indian, Black and Irish: Indigenous Nations, African Peoples, European Invasions, 1492-1790, recently published with Routledge (2023). The book traces 500 years of European-American colonization and racialized dominance, expanding our common assumptions about the ways racialization was used to build capitalism and the modern world-system. Professor Fenelon draws on personal experience and the agency of understudied Native (and African) resistance leaders, to weave a story too often hidden or distorted in the annals of the academy, that remains invisible at many universities and historical societies.  Fenelon identifies three epochs of racial constructions, colonialism, and capitalism that created the USA. Indigenous nations, the first to be racialized on a global scale, African peoples, enslaved and brought to the Americas, and European immigrants. It offers a sweeping analysis of the forces driving the invasion, occupatio
28/10/202340 minutes 54 seconds
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Stephen B. Armstrong, "I Want You Around: The Ramones and the Making of Rock 'n' Roll High School" (Backbeat Books, 2023)

Stephen Armstrong's new book I Want You Around: The Ramones and the Making of Rock-n-Roll High School (Backbeat Books, 2023), provides a detailed production history of this beloved film that draws upon extensive interviews the author has conducted with many of the people who contributed to its creation, including director Allan Arkush, uncredited co-director Joe Dante, screenwriter Joseph McBride, producer Michael Finnell, the Ramones' tour manager, Monte A. Melnick, and Roger Corman. Armstrong not only engages in the production of this classic film, but also examines the life of director Allan Arkush and the events that brought him to directing with film for New World Pictures. Armstrong also tells the story of the Ramones, giving insight into their experiences becoming the band that help Riff Randell and the students of Vince Lombardi High as they rebel against the tyrannical Principal Togar and blow up their school.  Rebekah Buchanan is a Professor of English and Director of English
27/10/20231 hour 11 minutes 23 seconds
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Nicole Nguyen, "Terrorism on Trial: Political Violence and Abolitionist Futures" (U Minnesota Press, 2023)

Rather than functioning as a final arbiter of justice, U.S. domestic courts are increasingly seen as counterterrorism tools that can incapacitate terrorists, maintain national security operations domestically, and produce certain narratives of conflict. Terrorism on Trial: Political Violence and Abolitionist Futures (University of Minnesota Press, 2023) by Dr. Nicole Nguyen examines the contemporary role that these courts play in the global war on terror and their use as a weapon of war: hunting, criminalising, and punishing entire communities in the name of national security. Dr. Nguyen advocates for a rethinking of popular understandings of political violence and its root causes, encouraging readers to consider anti-imperial abolitionist alternatives to the criminalization, prosecution, and incarceration of individuals marked as real or perceived terrorists. She exposes how dominant academic discourses, geographical imaginations, and social processes have shaped terrorism prosecution
27/10/202355 minutes 48 seconds
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Denise D. Meringolo, "Radical Roots: Public History and a Tradition of Social Justice Activism" (Amherst College Press, 2021)

Uncovering a radical tradition at the heart of public history within the United States, Radical Roots: Public History and a Tradition of Social Justice Activism (Amherst College Press, 2021) redefines our sense of the past and future of public historical practice. Its editor, Denise D. Meringolo proposes an alternative and more radical understanding of public history’s beginnings that has been marginalized in prior studies of the past of the historian profession. Reflecting on this radical past, Radical Roots’ contributors discuss the history, ethics, and power of public history, theorizing a model of public history that is future focused, committed to advancing social justice, and deeply committed to creating a more inclusive public record. Sections on museum practices, oral history, grassroots preservation, and community-based learning offer an array of local case studies and examples, from the early-twentieth-century to the present day. Throughout, the contributors to Radical Roots 
26/10/20231 hour 2 minutes 14 seconds
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Scott Kamen, "From Union Halls to the Suburbs: Americans for Democratic Action and the Transformation of Postwar Liberalism" (U Massachusetts Press, 2023)

For decades, Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) was perhaps the most influential multi-issue organization in American liberalism. The first book-length study of the ADA since 1986, Scott Kamen’s From Union Halls to the Suburbs: Americans for Democratic Action and the Transformation of Postwar Liberalism (University of Massachusetts Press, 2023) details how the ADA and its key figures, including the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and the economist John Kenneth Galbraith, exerted their influence on critical debates in post-war liberal politics, helping to define the very essence of liberalism. Taking the ADA’s story into the 1970s and 1980s, Kamen also illustrates how the ADA profoundly shaped the New Politics movement, which upended Democratic Party politics with its challenge to the Vietnam War, demands for redistributive economic policies, and development of a far-reaching politics of race, gender, and sexuality. By bringing the ADA and its influential public intellectuals int
25/10/20231 hour 5 minutes 38 seconds
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Greg Glasgow and Kathryn Mayer, "Disneyland on the Mountain: Walt, the Environmentalists, and the Ski Resort That Never Was" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2023)

A fascinating look at Walt Disney's last, unfinished project and the controversy that surrounded it. It was going to be Disneyland at the top of a mountain. A vacation destination where guests could ski, go ice skating, or be entertained by a Disney Imagineer-created band of Audio-Animatronic bears. In the summer, visitors could fish, camp, hike, or take a scenic chairlift ride to the top of a mountain. It was the Mineral King resort in Southern California, and it was Walt Disney's final passion project. But there was one major obstacle to Walt's dream: the growing environmentalist movement of the 1960s.  In Disneyland on the Mountain: Walt, the Environmentalists, and the Ski Resort That Never Was (Rowman & Littlefield, 2023), Greg Glasgow and Kathryn Mayer provide an unprecedented look inside the Mineral King saga, from its origins at the 1960 Winter Olympics to the years-long environmental fight that eventually shut the development down. The fight, which went all the way to the Supre
25/10/202345 minutes 1 second
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Christopher P. Barton, "The Archaeology of Race and Class at Timbuctoo: A Black Community in New Jersey" (UP of Florida, 2023)

The Archaeology of Race and Class at Timbuctoo: A Black Community in New Jersey (UP of Florida, 2023) is the first book to examine the historic Black community of Timbuctoo, New Jersey, which was founded in 1826 by formerly enslaved migrants from Maryland and served as a stop on the Underground Railroad. In collaboration with descendants and community members, Christopher Barton explores the intersectionality of life at Timbuctoo and the ways Black residents resisted the marginalizing structures of race and class. Despite some support from local Quaker abolitionists, the people of Timbuctoo endured strained relationships with neighboring white communities, clashes with slave catchers, and hostilities from the Ku Klux Klan. Through a multiscalar approach that ranges from landscape archaeology and settlement patterns to analysis of consumer artifacts, this book demonstrates how residents persevered to construct their own identities and navigate poverty. Barton incorporates oral histories
25/10/202342 minutes 3 seconds
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Margaret K. Nelson, "Keeping Family Secrets: Shame and Silence in Memoirs from the 1950s" (NYU Press, 2022)

All families have secrets but the facts requiring secrecy change with time. Nowadays A lesbian partnership, a “bastard” son, an aunt who is a prostitute, or a criminal grandfather might be of little or no consequence but could have unravelled a family at an earlier moment in history. In Keeping Family Secrets: Shame and Silence in Memoirs from the 1950s (NYU Press, 2023), Dr. Margaret K. Nelson is interested in how families keep secrets from each other and from outsiders when to do otherwise would risk eliciting not only embarrassment or discomfort, but profound shame and, in some cases, danger. Drawing on over 150 memoirs describing childhoods in the period between the aftermath of World War II and the 1960s, Dr. Nelson highlights the importance of history in creating family secrets and demonstrates the use of personal stories to understand how people make sense of themselves and their social worlds. Keeping Family Secrets uncovers hidden stories of same-sex attraction among boys, unw
24/10/202336 minutes 14 seconds
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Eric G. Wilson, "Point Blank" (British Film Institute, 2023)

John Boorman's Point Blank (1967) has long been recognized as one of the seminal films of the sixties, with its revisionary mix of genres including neo-noir, New Wave, and spaghetti western. Its lasting influence can be traced throughout the decades in films like Mean Streets (1973), Reservoir Dogs (1992), Heat (1995), The Limey (1999) and Memento (2000). Eric Wilson's compelling study Point Blank (British Film Institute, 2023) examines its significance to New Hollywood cinema. He argues that Boorman revises traditional Hollywood crime films by probing a second connotation of “point blank.” On the one hand, it is a neo-noir that aptly depicts close range violence, but, it also points toward blankness, a nothingness that is the consequence of corporate America unchecked, where humans are reduced to commodities and stripped of agency and playfulness. He goes on to reimagine the film's experimental style as a representation of and possible remedy for trauma. Examining Boorman's formal inn
24/10/202346 minutes 43 seconds
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Jeff Kosseff, "Liar in a Crowded Theater: Freedom of Speech in a World of Misinformation" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2023)

Thanks to the First Amendment, Americans enjoy a rare privilege: the constitutional right to lie. And although controversial, they should continue to enjoy this right. When commentators and politicians discuss misinformation, they often repeat five words: "fire in a crowded theater." Though governments can, if they choose, attempt to ban harmful lies, propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation, how effective will their efforts really be? Can they punish someone for yelling "fire" in a crowded theater―and would those lies then have any less impact? How do governments around the world respond to the spread of misinformation, and when should the US government protect the free speech of liars? In Liar in a Crowded Theater: Freedom of Speech in a World of Misinformation (Johns Hopkins UP, 2023), law professor Jeff Kosseff addresses the pervasiveness of lies, the legal protections they enjoy, the harm they cause, and how to combat them. From the COVID-19 pandemic to the 2016 and 2020 pre
24/10/20231 hour 4 minutes 19 seconds
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Aaron Tang, "Supreme Hubris: How Overconfidence Is Destroying the Court--And How We Can Fix It" (Yale UP, 2023)

The American public’s confidence in the United States Supreme Court is a historic low – in part based on a belief that the Supreme Court is increasingly behaving as a partisan, political body.  In Supreme Hubris: How Overconfidence Is Destroying the Court--And How We Can Fix It (Yale UP, 2023), legal scholar Aaron Tang argues that partisanship is not the best lens for understanding the Supreme Court. He focuses on overconfidence. According to Professor Tang, the legal arguments of both conservative and liberal justices have a tone of uncompromising certainty. As the Court “lurches stridently from one case to the next,” it delegitimizes opposing views and undermines public confidence in the Court itself. Restoring the Court’s public legitimacy requires the justices to adopt what Professor Tang calls a “least harm rule.” Examining a range of cases – from LGBTQ rights to immigration to juvenile justice – Tang demonstrates how the least harm principle can provide a promising and legally gr
23/10/202358 minutes 52 seconds
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Decolonizing Praxis

In this episode of High Theory, Erin Pineda talks about decolonizing praxis. Black American activists in the 1950s and 1960s used strategies of civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action as part of a broader anticolonial movement, and reading their story in an international context can help us rethink the narrative of the US civil rights movement enshrined in American political theory. In the episode Erin references Jack Halberstam’s concept of “low theory” which derives from the work of Stuart Hall, and appears in the book, The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP 2011). She also references several mainstream liberal political philosophers who set the terms of the debate about “civil disobedience” in the US academy in the 1970s, John Rawls Theory of Justice (Harvard UP, 1971), Hugo Bedau, “On Civil Disobedience” (Journal of Philosophy 58, no. 21 (1961): 653-665) and Carl Cohen, Civil Disobedience: Conscience, Tactics, and the Law (Columbia University Press, 1971). Pineda writes against
23/10/202323 minutes 19 seconds
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Campbell F. Scribner, "A Is for Arson: A History of Vandalism in American Education" (Cornell UP, 2023)

In A Is for Arson: A History of Vandalism in American Education (Cornell UP, 2023), Campbell F. Scribner sifts through two centuries of debris to uncover the conditions that have prompted school vandalism and to explain why attempts at prevention have inevitably failed. Vandalism costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars every year, as students, parents, and even teachers wreak havoc on school buildings. Why do they do it? Can anything stop them? Who should pay for the damage? Underlying these questions are long-standing tensions between freedom and authority, and between wantonness and reason. Property destruction is not simply a moral failing, to be addressed with harsher punishments, nor can the problem be solved through more restrictive architecture or policing.  Scribner argues that education itself is a source of intractable struggle, and that vandalism is often the result of an unruly humanity. To understand schooling in the United States, one must first confront the all-t
22/10/20231 hour 44 seconds
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Michael Welsh, "Big Bend National Park: Mexico, the United States, and a Borderland Ecosystem" (U Nevada Press, 2021)

National Parks are sites where politics, cultures, and ecology converge. University of Northern Colorado historian Michael Welsh argues that, at Big Bend National Park in West Texas, a fourth dynamic is at play: diplomacy. In Big Bend National Park: Mexico, the United States, and a Borderland Ecosystem (U Nevada Press, 2021), Welsh tells the story of how this place - isolated even in its Indigenous history - came to be a site of diplomatic wrangling between the United States and Mexico. Situated along the border of the two nations, Big Bend has been a prism through which both Americans and Mexicans have seen the relationship between their two nations. Big Bend's story thus is one of colonization, conservation and changing American ideas about wilderness, but also about international diplomacy, war, and peace. Big Bend has been many things to many people, and as Welsh argues, few National Park sites have the same dramatic and complex history as this arid range of Texas mountains along t
22/10/20231 hour 29 minutes 18 seconds
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Matthew Guariglia, "Police and the Empire City: Race and the Origins of Modern Policing in New York" (Duke UP, 2023)

During the years between the Civil War and World War II, police in New York City struggled with how to control a diverse metropolis. In Police and the Empire City: Race and the Origins of Modern Policing in New York (Duke UP, 2023), Matthew Guariglia tells the history of the New York Police Department to show how its origins were built upon and inseparably entwined with the history of race, ethnicity, and whiteness in the United States.  Guariglia explores the New York City Police Department through its periods of experimentation and violence as police experts imported tactics from the US occupation of the Philippines and Cuba, devised modern bureaucratic techniques to better suppress Black communities, and infiltrated supposedly unknowable immigrant neighborhoods. Innovations ranging from recruiting Chinese, Italian, and German police to form “ethnic squads” to the use of deportation and federal immigration restrictions to control local crime—even the introduction of fingerprinting—we
21/10/20231 hour 1 minute 15 seconds
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Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, "American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer" (Vintage, 2006)

The inspiration for Christopher Nolan’s major motion picture, Oppenheimer, this Pulitzer Prize-winning biography explores the life and times of J. Robert Oppenheimer – the “Father of the Atomic Bomb” – who, like the mythological Prometheus, brought atomic fire to mankind. In deep detail, Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin's American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Vintage, 2006) explores Oppenheimer’s early career at the forefront of quantum physics, his associations with left-wing politics and the Communist Party, his leadership of the Manhattan Project, and his confrontations with the moral and political consequences of scientific progress during the Cold War. Twenty-five years in the making, this definitive biography charts the rise and fall of one of the twentieth century’s most iconic and paradoxical characters and restores Oppenheimer’s legacy and his humanity. Andrew O. Pace is a historian of moral dilemmas of US foreign relations and an adjunct profes
21/10/20231 hour 10 minutes 35 seconds
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Jason C. Bivins, "Embattled America: The Rise of Anti-Politics and America's Obsession with Religion" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Histories of political religion since the 1960s often center on the rise of the powerful conservative evangelical voting bloc since the 1970s. One of the beliefs that has united these citizens is the idea that they are treated unfairly or are marginalized, despite their significant influence on public life. From the ascent of Reagan to the "Contract with America," from 9/11 to Obama to Trump--these claims have moved steadily to the center of conservative activism. Scholars of religion have approached these phenomena with great caution, generally focusing on institutional history, or relying on journalistic conveniences like "populism," or embracing the self-understandings of evangelicals themselves. None of these approaches is sufficiently calibrated to decoding the fierce convergence of online conspiracy theory, public violence, white supremacy, and religious authoritarianism. Accepting the narrative of Embattlement on its own terms, or examining it as mere turbulence on the path of A
21/10/202335 minutes 34 seconds
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Danielle N. Boaz, "Voodoo: The History of a Racial Slur" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Coined in the middle of the nineteenth century, the term "voodoo" has been deployed largely by people in the U.S. to refer to spiritual practices--real or imagined--among people of African descent. "Voodoo" is one way that white people have invoked their anxieties and stereotypes about Black people--to call them uncivilised, superstitious, hypersexual, violent, and cannibalistic. In Voodoo: The History of a Racial Slur (Oxford University Press, 2023), Dr. Danielle N. Boaz explores public perceptions of "voodoo" as they have varied over time, with an emphasis on the intricate connection between stereotypes of "voodoo" and debates about race and human rights. The term has its roots in the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s, especially following the Union takeover of New Orleans, when it was used to propagate the idea that Black Americans held certain "superstitions" that allegedly proved that they were unprepared for freedom, the right to vote, and the ability to hold public office. Similar ste
21/10/20231 hour 2 minutes 27 seconds
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Katherine Mason, "The Reproduction of Inequality: How Class Shapes the Pregnant Body and Infant Health" (NYU Press, 2023)

Can you run a marathon, drink coffee, eat fish, or fly on a plane while pregnant? Such questions are just the tip of the iceberg for how most pregnant women's bodies are managed, surveilled, and scrutinized during pregnancy. The Reproduction of Inequality: How Class Shapes the Pregnant Body and Infant Health (NYU Press, 2023) examines the intense social pressure that expectant and new mothers face when it comes to their health and body-care choices. Drawing on interviews with dozens of pregnant women and new mothers from poor, middle-class, and mixed-class backgrounds, Katherine Mason paints a vivid picture of the immense weight of expectation that comes with the early stages of motherhood. The women in Mason's study universally sought to give their children a healthy start in life; however, their chosen approaches varied based on their socio-economic class. Whereas middle-class mothers attempted a complete lifestyle change and absolute devotion to the achievement and maintenance of "t
20/10/202348 minutes 9 seconds
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Philip Dray, "A Lynching at Port Jervis: Race and Reckoning in the Gilded Age" (FSG, 2022)

On June 2, 1892, in the small, idyllic village of Port Jervis, New York, a young Black man named Robert Lewis was lynched by a violent mob. The twenty-eight-year-old victim had been accused of sexually assaulting Lena McMahon, the daughter of one of the town's well-liked Irish American families. The incident was infamous at once, for it was seen as a portent that lynching, a Southern scourge, surging uncontrollably below the Mason-Dixon Line, was about to extend its tendrils northward. What factors prompted such a spasm of racial violence in a relatively prosperous, industrious upstate New York town, attracting the scrutiny of the Black journalist Ida B. Wells, just then beginning her courageous anti-lynching crusade? What meaning did the country assign to it? And what did the incident portend? Today, it’s a terrible truth that the assault on the lives of Black Americans is neither a regional nor a temporary feature, but a national crisis. There are regular reports of a Black person ki
19/10/20231 hour 7 minutes 9 seconds
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Allison M. Prasch, "The World Is Our Stage: The Global Rhetorical Presidency and the Cold War" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

Allison M. Prasch, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has a new book that focuses on the way that presidents used words, speeches, and international visits to communicate more than simple policy prescriptions during the Cold War period. This is a fascinating analysis and takes the reader through particular presidential visits to a variety of places—where the president’s symbolic quality as well as the words spoken communicate not only to the country or place visited, but also are communicating to American citizens back home as well as our antagonists in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. The World Is Our Stage: The Global Rhetorical Presidency and the Cold War (U Chicago Press, 2023) examines the ways in which the office of the American president—along with the individual inhabiting it—combines with the presentation of policy and rhetorical engagement to impact thinking about U.S. power abroad as well as at home. This is an impor
19/10/202346 minutes 38 seconds
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The Unquiet Legacy of Jewish Radical Meir Kahane

In the wake of the massacre of Israeli civilians by Hamas in October, 2023 I spoke with Shaul Magid, author of Meir Kahane: The Public Life and Political Thought of an American Jewish Radical (Princeton University Press, 2021). A visiting professor of modern Jewish studies at Harvard Divinity School, Magid also is rabbi of the Fire Island Synagogue in Sea View, N.Y. Kahane, the founder of the Jewish Defense League in the late 1960s, was assassinated in New York in 1990 yet, as Magid told me, and as his perceptive book demonstrates, his legacy lives on. Kahane was an exponent of a “militant post-Zionist apocalytpticism,” in Magid’s term, and he lived by an ethos of revenge—in Hebrew, Nekama. Nowadays, a kind of neo-Kahanism serves as an agitating ideology for a faction of Israelis who revere Kahane and keep his memory and uncompromising pronouncements alive. And as Magid explains, the neo-Kahane vision presents a stark challenge to a liberal, democratic Zionism that Kahane himself detes
19/10/202345 minutes 38 seconds
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Jeremy Land, "Colonial Ports, Global Trade, and the Roots of the American Revolution (1700-1776)" (Brill, 2023)

Jeremy Land's book Colonial Ports, Global Trade, and the Roots of the American Revolution (1700-1776) (Brill, 2023) takes a long-run view of the global maritime trade of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia from 1700 to American Independence in 1776. Land argues that the three cities developed large, global networks of maritime commerce and exchange that created tension between merchants and the British Empire which sought to enforce mercantilist policies to constrain American trade to within the British Empire. Colonial merchants created and then expanded their mercantile networks well beyond the confines of the British Empire. This trans-imperial trade (often considered smuggling by British authorities) formed the roots of what became known as the American Revolution. Bernardo Batiz-Lazo is currently straddling between Newcastle and Mexico City. You can find him on twitter on issues related to business history of banking, fintech, payments and other musings. Not always in that order. @
18/10/202343 minutes 48 seconds
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The Future of Incarceration: A Discussion with Colleen P. Eren

The United States has long been associated with a very harsh criminal justice system with, in some cases, people serving long sentence for minor crimes. But attempts to reform the system have proven very difficult. In her new book Reform Nation: The First Step Act and the Movement to End Mass Incarceration (Stanford UP, 2023), Colleen P. Eren explains why. Listen to her in conversation with Owen Bennett Jones. Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
18/10/202343 minutes 18 seconds
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Michael A. Robinson, "Dangerous Instrument: Political Polarization and US Civil-Military Relations" (Oxford UP, 2022)

As increasingly contentious politics in the United States raise concerns over the "politicization" of traditionally non-partisan institutions, many have turned their attention to how the American military has been--and will be--affected by this trend. Since a low point following the end of the Vietnam War, the U.S. military has experienced a dramatic reversal of public opinion, becoming one of the most trusted institutions in American society. However, this trend is more complicated than it appears: just as individuals have become fonder of their military, they have also become increasingly polarized from one another along partisan lines. The result is a new political environment rife with challenges to traditional civil-military norms. In a data-driven analysis of contemporary American attitudes, Dangerous Instrument: Political Polarization and US Civil-Military Relations (Oxford UP, 2022) examines the current state of U.S. civil-military affairs, probing how the public views their mi
17/10/202328 minutes 4 seconds
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Orisanmi Burton, "Tip of the Spear: Black Radicalism, Prison Repression, and the Long Attica Revolt" (U California Press, 2023)

Tip of the Spear: Black Radicalism, Prison Repression, and the Long Attica Revolt (University of California Press, 2023) boldly and compellingly argues that prisons are a domain of hidden warfare within US borders. With this book, Orisanmi Burton explores what he terms the Long Attica Revolt, a criminalized tradition of Black radicalism that propelled rebellions in New York prisons during the 1970s. The reaction to this revolt illuminates what Burton calls prison pacification: the coordinated tactics of violence, isolation, sexual terror, propaganda, reform, and white supremacist science and technology that state actors use to eliminate Black resistance within and beyond prison walls. Burton goes beyond the state records that other histories have relied on for the story of Attica and expands that archive, drawing on oral history and applying Black radical theory in ways that center the intellectual and political goals of the incarcerated people who led the struggle. Packed with little-
17/10/202352 minutes 53 seconds
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Colin Dickey, "Under the Eye of Power: How Fear of Secret Societies Shapes American Democracy" (Viking, 2023)

The United States was born in paranoia. From the American Revolution (thought by some to be a conspiracy organized by the French) to the Salem witch trials to the Satanic Panic, the Illuminati, and QAnon, one of the most enduring narratives that defines the United States is simply this: secret groups are conspiring to pervert the will of the people and the rule of law. We’d like to assume these panics exist only at the fringes of society, or are unique features of the internet age. But history tells us, in fact, that they are woven into the fabric of American democracy. Cultural historian Dr. Colin Dickey has built a career studying how our most irrational beliefs reach the mainstream, why, and what they tell us about ourselves. In Under the Eye of Power: How Fear of Secret Societies Shape American Democracy (Viking, 2023), Dickey charts the history of America through its paranoias and fears of secret societies, while seeking to explain why so many people—including some of the most pow
17/10/202332 minutes 45 seconds
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Nick Tabor, "Africatown: America's Last Slave Ship and the Community It Created" (St. Martin's Press, 2023)

An evocative and epic story, Nick Tabor's Africatown: America's Last Slave Ship and the Community It Created (St. Martin's Press, 2023) charts the fraught history of America from those who were brought here as slaves but nevertheless established a home for themselves and their descendants, a community which often thrived despite persistent racism and environmental pollution. In 1860, a ship called the Clotilda was smuggled through the Alabama Gulf Coast, carrying the last group of enslaved people ever brought to the U.S. from West Africa. Five years later, the shipmates were emancipated, but they had no way of getting back home. Instead they created their own community outside the city of Mobile, where they spoke Yoruba and appointed their own leaders, a story chronicled in Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon. That community, Africatown, has endured to the present day, and many of the community residents are the shipmates’ direct descendants. After many decades of neglect and a Jim Crow leg
16/10/20231 hour 1 minute 18 seconds
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Victoria Houseman, "American Classicist: The Life and Loves of Edith Hamilton" (Princeton UP, 2023)

Edith Hamilton (1867-1963) didn't publish her first book until she was sixty-two. But over the next three decades, this former headmistress would become the twentieth century's most famous interpreter of the classical world. Today, Hamilton's Mythology (1942) remains the standard version of ancient tales and sells tens of thousands of copies a year. During the Cold War, her influence even extended to politics, as she argued that postwar America could learn from the fate of Athens after its victory in the Persian Wars. In American Classicist: The Life and Loves of Edith Hamilton (Princeton UP, 2023), Victoria Houseman tells the fascinating life story of a remarkable classicist whose ideas were shaped by--and aspired to shape--her times. Hamilton studied Latin and Greek from an early age, earned a BA and MA at Bryn Mawr College, and ran a girls' prep school for twenty-six years. After retiring, she turned to writing and began a relationship with the pianist and stockbroker Doris Fielding
15/10/202330 minutes 50 seconds
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Peter Stark, "Gallop Toward the Sun: Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison's Struggle for the Destiny of a Nation" (Random House, 2023)

The conquest of Indigenous land in the eastern United States through corrupt treaties and genocidal violence laid the groundwork for the conquest of the American West. In Gallop Toward the Sun: Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison's Struggle for the Destiny of a Nation (Random House, 2023), acclaimed author Peter Stark exposes the fundamental conflicts at play through the little-known but consequential struggle between two extraordinary leaders. William Henry Harrison was born to a prominent Virginia family, the son of a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He journeyed west, became governor of the vast Indiana Territory, and sought statehood by attracting settlers and imposing one-sided treaties. Tecumseh, by all accounts one of the nineteenth century's greatest leaders, belonged to an honored line of Shawnee warriors and chiefs. His father, killed while fighting the Virginians flooding into Kentucky, extracted a promise from his sons to "never give in" to the land-hungry America
14/10/20231 hour 20 minutes 20 seconds
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Christopher John Bosso, "Why SNAP Works: A Political History--And Defense--of the Food Stamp Program" (U California Press, 2023)

How did the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program evolve from a Depression-era effort to use up surplus goods into America's foundational food assistance program? And how does SNAP survive?  Incisive and original, Why SNAP Works: A Political History--And Defense--of the Food Stamp Program (U California Press, 2023) is the first book to provide a comprehensive history and evaluation of the nation's most important food insecurity and poverty alleviation effort. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps, is the nation's largest government effort for helping low-income Americans obtain an adequate diet. Everyone has an opinion about SNAP, not all of them positive, but its benefits are felt broadly and across party lines. Christopher Bosso makes a clear, nuanced, and impassioned case for protecting this unique food voucher program, exploring its history and breaking down the facts for readers across the political spectrum. Why SNAP Works is an essential resourc
14/10/202341 minutes 1 second
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Kristen Green, "The Devil's Half Acre: The Untold Story of How One Woman Liberated the South's Most Notorious Slave Jail" (Seal Press, 2022)

The inspiring true story of an enslaved woman who liberated an infamous slave jail and transformed it into one of the nation’s first HBCUs. In The Devil's Half Acre: The Untold Story of How One Woman Liberated the South's Most Notorious Slave Jail (Seal Press, 2022), New York Times bestselling author Kristen Green draws on years of research to tell the extraordinary and little-known story of young Mary Lumpkin, an enslaved woman who blazed a path of liberation for thousands. She was forced to have the children of a brutal slave trader and live on the premises of his slave jail, known as the “Devil’s Half Acre.” When she inherited the jail after the death of her slaveholder, she transformed it into “God’s Half Acre,” a school where Black men could fulfill their dreams. It still exists today as Virginia Union University, one of America’s first Historically Black Colleges and Universities. A sweeping narrative of a life in the margins of the American slave trade, The Devil’s Half Acre bri
14/10/20231 hour 4 minutes 21 seconds
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Lisandro Pérez, "The House on G Street: A Cuban Family Saga" (NYU Press, 2023)

In The House on G Street: A Cuban Family Saga (NYU Press, 2023), award-winning author Lisandro Pérez tells Cuba’s story through the lens of a single family: his own. His book relays the tales of two officers who fought against the Spanish for Cuban independence; a plantation owner who smuggles himself onto a ship; families divided by political loyalties; an orphaned boy from central Cuba who would go on to amass a fortune; a fatal love triangle; violence; and the ever-growing presence of the United States. It all culminates with an unforgettable portrait of a childhood spent in a world that was giving way to another one. The House on G Street is a unique depiction of one of the most consequential events of the twentieth century, told through generations of ancestors whose lives were shaped by dramatic historical forces. Pérez disentangles the complex history by following his family’s thread, imbuing political events with personal meaning. Their story begins with emigration to Cuba and
13/10/202359 minutes 49 seconds
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Jeffrey S. Debies-Carl, "If You Should Go at Midnight: Legends and Legend Tripping in America" (UP of Mississippi, 2023)

Across today’s America, countless people will embark on an adventure. They will prowl among overgrown headstones in forgotten graveyards, stalk through darkened woods and wildlands, and creep down the crumbling corridors of abandoned buildings. They have set forth in search of a profound paranormal experience and may seem to achieve just that. They are part of the growing cultural phenomenon, which is called legend tripping. In If You Should Go at Midnight: Legends and Legend Tripping in America (UP of Mississippi, 2023), Jeffrey S. Debies-Carl guides readers through an exploration of legend tripping, drawing on years of scholarship, documentary accounts, and his own extensive fieldwork. Poring over old reports and legends, sleeping in haunted inns, and trekking through wilderness full of cannibal mutants and strange beasts, Debies-Carl provides an in-depth analysis of this practice that has long fascinated scholars yet remains a mystery to many observers. From multiple perspectives, D
13/10/202348 minutes 48 seconds
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Kristen M. Budd and David C. Lane, "Beyond Bars: A Path Forward from 50 Years of Mass Incarceration in the United States" (Policy Press, 2023)

The year 2023 marks 50 years of mass incarceration in the United States. This timely volume highlights and addresses pressing social problems associated with the US’s heavy reliance on mass imprisonment. In an atmosphere of charged political debate, including "tough on crime" rhetoric, the editors bring together scholars and experts in the criminal justice field to provide the most up-to-date science on mass incarceration and its ramifications on justice-impacted people and our communities. Kristen M. Budd and David C. Lane edited volume Beyond Bars: A Path Forward from 50 Years of Mass Incarceration in the United States (Policy Press, 2023) offers practical solutions for advocates, policy and lawmakers, and the wider public for addressing mass incarceration and its effects to create a more just, fair and safer society. This book is available open access here.  This episode of New Books in Sociology features Maria Valdovinos Olson to discuss her chapter "Reentry and Public Policy Solut
13/10/202343 minutes 41 seconds
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Robert Greene and Tyler D. Parry, "Invisible No More: The African American Experience at the University of South Carolina" (U South Carolina Press, 2021)

Since its founding in 1801, African Americans have played an integral, if too often overlooked, role in the history of the University of South Carolina. Robert Greene and Tyler D. Parry's edited volume Invisible No More: The African American Experience at the University of South Carolina (U South Carolina Press, 2021) seeks to recover that historical legacy and reveal the many ways that African Americans have shaped the development of the university. The essays in this volume span the full sweep of the university's history, from the era of slavery to Reconstruction, Civil Rights to Black Power and Black Lives Matter. This collection represents the most comprehensive examination of the long history and complex relationship between African Americans and the university. Like the broader history of South Carolina, the history of African Americans at the University of South Carolina is about more than their mere existence at the institution. It is about how they molded the university into s
13/10/202350 minutes 14 seconds
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Alejandra Dubcovsky, "Talking Back: Native Women and the Making of the Early South" (Yale UP, 2023)

Historian Alejandra Dubcovsky tells a story of war, slavery, loss, remembrance, and the women whose resilience and resistance transformed the colonial South. In exploring their lives she rewrites early American history, challenging the established male-centered narrative. In Talking Back: Native Women and the Making of the Early South (Yale UP, 2023), Dubcovsky reconstructs the lives of Native women—Timucua, Apalachee, Chacato, and Guale—to show how they made claims to protect their livelihoods, bodies, and families. Through the stories of the Native cacica who demanded her authority be recognized; the elite Spanish woman who turned her dowry and household into a source of independent power; the Floridiana who slapped a leading Native man in the town square; and the Black woman who ran a successful business at the heart of a Spanish town, Dubcovsky reveals the formidable women who claimed and used their power, shaping the history of the early South. Brandon T. Jett, professor of histor
13/10/20231 hour 2 minutes 45 seconds
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Indigenous DC: A Conversation with Elizabeth Rule

Today’s book is Indigenous DC: Native Peoples and the Nation’s First Capital (Georgetown UP, 2023), by Dr. Elizabeth Rule, which is the first and fullest account of the suppressed history and continuing presence of Native Americans in Washington, DC. Washington, DC, is Indian land, but Indigenous peoples are often left out of the national narrative of the United States and erased in the capital city. To redress this myth of invisibility, Indigenous DC shines a light upon the oft-overlooked contributions of tribal leaders and politicians, artists and activists to the rich history of the District of Columbia, and their imprint—at times memorialized in physical representations, and at other times living on only through oral history—upon this place. Inspired by Dr. Elizabeth Rule’s award-winning public history mobile app and decolonial mapping project Guide to Indigenous DC, this book brings together the original inhabitants who call the District their traditional territory, the diverse In
12/10/202353 minutes 27 seconds
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Dennis C. Rasmussen, "The Constitution's Penman: Gouverneur Morris and the Creation of America's Basic Charter" (UP of Kansas, 2023)

Dennis Rasmussen’s new book, The Constitution's Penman: Gouverneur Morris and the Creation of America's Basic Charter (UP of Kansas, 2023), is a propulsive analysis of one of the key members of the Founding generation, Gouverneur Morris of New York and Pennsylvania. Morris is quite a character—from his reputation as a lady’s man to his brilliant speeches at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. Rasmussen has pulled together archival research on Morris along with historical and political context to understand the Constitution’s penman, since Morris was responsible for writing the draft of the document that would become the U.S. Constitution. Gouverneur Morris was a fascinating fellow—and his exploits were well known among his peers and colleagues. Morris, who had been educated at King’s College (now Columbia), and had become a lawyer, made much of his fortune in land speculation. He was active during the Revolutionary War, especially in helping to manage payment and sup
12/10/202351 minutes 58 seconds
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Lainey Newman and Theda Skocpol, "Rust Belt Union Blues: Why Working-Class Voters Are Turning Away from the Democratic Party" (Columbia UP, 2023)

In the heyday of American labor, the influence of local unions extended far beyond the workplace. Unions fostered tight-knit communities, touching nearly every aspect of the lives of members--mostly men--and their families and neighbors. They conveyed fundamental worldviews, making blue-collar unionists into loyal Democrats who saw the party as on the side of the working man. Today, unions play a much less significant role in American life. In industrial and formerly industrial Rust Belt towns, Republican-leaning groups and outlooks have burgeoned among the kinds of voters who once would have been part of union communities.  In Rust Belt Union Blues: Why Working-Class Voters Are Turning Away from the Democratic Party (Columbia UP, 2023), Lainey Newman and Theda Skocpol provide timely insight into the relationship between the decline of unions and the shift of working-class voters away from Democrats. Drawing on interviews, union newsletters, and ethnographic analysis, they pinpoint th
12/10/202340 minutes 56 seconds
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Paul Crenshaw, "Melt with Me: Coming of Age and Other '80s Perils" (Ohio State UP, 2023)

In his new collection of essays, Melt With Me (Mad Creek Press, 2023), Paul Crenshaw examines the intersection of 1980s pop culture, the Cold War, and the trials of coming of age. Crenshaw takes up a range of topics from Star Wars to video games, Choose Your Own Adventure books to the Satanic Panic. Blending the personal with the historical, levity with gravity, Crenshaw shows how pop culture shaped those who grew up in 1980s America: how Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative drove fears of nuclear war, how professional wrestling taught us everyone was either a good guy or a bad guy, how Bugs Bunny cartoons reflected the absurdity of war and mutually assured destruction, and how video games taught young boys, in particular, that no matter how hard they tried to save it, the world would end itself. Reflecting on the decade and its dark influence on fear-based notions of nation and manhood, Crenshaw writes, "All this reminds me I'm still afraid of the same things I was afraid of as a chi
12/10/20231 hour 12 minutes 39 seconds
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Sheila McManus, "Both Sides Now: Writing the Edges of the North American West" (Texas A&M UP, 2022)

How do borderlands work? How do they maintain their distinctive features in the face of concerted efforts on the part of nation-states to make each of their borderlines into a harsh demarcation? According to most contemporary political discourse and popular perceptions, the two borders of the United States West have little in common but understanding their borderlands’ similarities can help us understand some of the most powerful forces shaping human history and the world around us; understanding their historiographies gives us insight into borderlands historians’ unique methodology. Both Sides Now: Writing the Edges of the North American West (Texas A&M UP, 2022) brings together leading scholarship in a focused, synthetic survey of five themes in the history of the northern and southern borderlands: the borderlands as aboriginal homelands and the persistence of Indigenous territories and ways of being; imperial and national efforts to create binary notions of territory and identity; r
11/10/20231 hour 8 minutes 15 seconds
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Evan C. Rothera, "Civil Wars and Reconstructions in the Americas: The United States, Mexico, and Argentina, 1860–1880" (LSU Press, 2022)

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, three violent national conflicts rocked the Americas: the Wars of Unification in Argentina, the War of the Reform and French Intervention in Mexico, and the Civil War in the United States. The recovery efforts that followed reshaped the Western Hemisphere. In Civil Wars and Reconstructions in the Americas, Evan C. Rothera uses both transnational and comparative methodologies to highlight similarities and differences among the wars and reconstructions in the US, Mexico, and Argentina. In doing so, he uncovers a new history that stresses the degree to which cooperation and collaboration, rather than antagonism and discord, characterized the relationships among the three countries.  Civil Wars and Reconstructions in the Americas: The United States, Mexico, and Argentina, 1860-1880 (Louisiana State University Press, 2022) serves as a unique assessment of a crucial period in the history of the Americas and speaks to the perpetual battle between
10/10/20231 hour 24 minutes 27 seconds
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Rhoda Kanaaneh, "The Right Kind of Suffering: Gender, Sexuality, and Arab Asylum Seekers in America" (U Texas Press, 2023)

From the overloaded courts with their constantly changing dates and appointments to the need to prove oneself the “right" kind of asylum seeker, the asylum system in the United States is an exacting and drawn-out immigration process that itself results in suffering. When anthropologist Rhoda Kanaaneh became a volunteer interpreter for Arab asylum seekers, she discovered how applicants learned to craft a specific narrative to satisfy the system's requirements. Kanaaneh tells the stories of four Arab asylum seekers who sought protection in the United States on the basis of their gender or sexuality: Saud, who relived painful memories of her circumcision and police harassment in Sudan and then learned to number and sequence these recollections; Fatima, who visited doctors and therapists in order to document years of spousal abuse without over-emphasizing her resulting mental illness; Fadi, who highlighted the homophobic motivations that provoked his arrest and torture in Jordan, all the w
10/10/202344 minutes 37 seconds
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Marlena Williams, "Night Mother: A Personal and Cultural History of the Exorcist" (Mad Creek Books, 2023)

Never watch The Exorcist, Marlena Williams's mother told her, just as she'd been told by her own mother as a Catholic teen in rural Oregon when the horror classic premiered. And like her mother, Mary, Williams watched it anyway. An inheritance passed from mother to daughter, The Exorcist looms large--in popular culture and in Williams's own life, years after Mary's illness and death. In Night Mother: A Personal and Cultural History of the Exorcist (Mad Creek Books, 2023), Williams investigates the film not only as a projection of Americans' worst fears in the tumultuous 1970s and a source of enduring tropes around girlhood, faith, and transgression but also as a key to understanding her mother and the world she came from. The essays in Night Mother delve beneath the surface of The Exorcist to reveal the deeper stories the film tells about faith, family, illness, anger, guilt, desire, and death. Whether tracing the career of its young star, Linda Blair, unpacking its most infamous scene
10/10/202359 minutes 52 seconds
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Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, "The Vice President's Black Wife: The Untold Life of Julia Chinn" (UNC Press, 2023)

In The Vice President's Black Wife: The Untold Life of Julia Chinn (UNC Press, 2023), award-winning historian Amrita Chakrabarti Myers has recovered the riveting, troubling, and complicated story of Julia Ann Chinn (ca. 1796–1833), the enslaved wife of Richard Mentor Johnson, owner of Blue Spring Farm, veteran of the War of 1812, and US vice president under Martin Van Buren. Johnson never freed Chinn, but during his frequent absences from his estate, he delegated to her the management of his property, including Choctaw Academy, a boarding school for Indigenous men and boys on the grounds of the estate. This meant that Chinn, although enslaved herself, oversaw Blue Spring's slave labor force and had substantial control over economic, social, financial, and personal affairs within the couple's world. Chinn's relationship with Johnson was unlikely to have been consensual since she was never manumitted. What makes Chinn's life exceptional is the power that Johnson invested in her, the oppo
10/10/20231 hour 6 minutes 25 seconds
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Oil Beach - How Toxic Infrastructure Threatens Life: A Conversation with Christina Dunbar-Hester

Christina Dunbar-Hester, professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, talks about her recent book, Oil Beach: How Toxic Infrastructure Threatens Life in the Port of Los Angeles and Beyond (U Chicago Press, 2023) with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. The pair discuss the trajectory of Dunbar-Hester’s career from her dissertation on low powered FM pirates and activists to her examination of gender in open technology communities and how she came to write a multispecies, place-focused examination of how petroleum and port infrastructure harms life. Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press
09/10/202358 minutes 29 seconds
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Tariq D. Khan, "The Republic Shall be Kept Clean: How Settler Colonial Violence Shaped Antileft Repression" (U Illinois Press, 2023)

The Republic Will Be Kept Clean: How Settler Colonial Violence Shaped Antileft Repression (University of Illinois Press, 2023) by Dr. Tariq D. Khan examines the long relationship between America’s colonising wars and virulent anticommunism. The colonising wars against Native Americans created the template for anticommunist repression in the United States. Dr. Khan’s analysis reveals bloodshed and class war as foundational aspects of capitalist domination and vital elements of the nation’s long history of internal repression and social control. Dr. Khan shows how the state wielded the tactics, weapons, myths, and ideology refined in America’s colonising wars to repress anarchists, labour unions, and a host of others labelled as alien, multi-racial, multi-ethnic urban rabble. The ruling classes considered radicals of all stripes to be anticolonial insurgents. As Dr. Khan charts the decades of red scares that began in the 1840s, he reveals how capitalists and government used much-practise
09/10/202351 minutes 25 seconds
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The Future of Superstates: A Discussion with Alasdair Roberts

Empires​ are supposed to be a thing of the past but very big countries with global reach are becoming more entrenched. By 2050, almost 40 per cent of the world’s population will live in just four polities: India, China, the US and the EU. So, in what respects are these entities imperial and is there a future for small states? Listen to Owen Bennett-Jones in conversation with Alasdair Roberts, author of Superstates: Empires of the 21st Century (Polity Press, 2023).  Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
09/10/202342 minutes 2 seconds
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John Arena, "Expelling Public Schools: How Antiracist Politics Enable School Privatization in Newark" (U Minnesota Press, 2023)

Exploring the role of identitarian politics in the privatization of Newark’s public school system In Expelling Public Schools, John Arena explores the more than two-decade struggle to privatize public schools in Newark, New Jersey—a conflict that is raging in cities across the country—from the vantage point of elites advancing the pro-privatization agenda and their grassroots challengers. Analyzing the unsuccessful effort of Cory Booker—Newark’s leading pro-privatization activist and mayor—to generate popular support for the agenda, and Booker’s rival and ultimate successor Ras Baraka’s eventual galvanization of the charter movement, Arena argues that Baraka’s black radical politics cloaked a revanchist agenda of privatization.  John Arena's book Expelling Public Schools: How Antiracist Politics Enable School Privatization in Newark (U Minnesota Press, 2023) reveals the political rise of Booker and Baraka, their one-time rivalry and subsequent alliance, and what this particular case st
09/10/202347 minutes 20 seconds
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Stephanie Southworth and Sara Brallier, "Homelessness in the 21st Century: Living the Impossible American Dream" (Routledge, 2023)

An accessible and engaging introductory text on homelessness and housing policy, this timely book uses a sociopolitical framework for understanding issues of homelessness in the United States. The authors, leading sociologists in their field, use data from over 250 interviews and field notes to demonstrate that homelessness is rooted in the structure of our society. They identify and describe the structural barriers faced by people who become homeless including the lack of affordable housing, the stigmatization and criminalization of homelessness, inadequate access to healthcare, employment that does not pay a living wage, and difficulty accessing social services. Despite seemingly insurmountable odds, most of the people included in this book believe strongly in the American Dream.  Stephanie Southworth and Sara Brallier's book Homelessness in the 21st Century: Living the Impossible American Dream (Routledge, 2023) examines how the belief in the American Dream affects people experienci
08/10/20231 hour 6 minutes 50 seconds
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Andrew Monteith, "Christian Nationalism and the Birth of the War on Drugs" (NYU Press, 2023)

Many people view the War on Drugs as a contemporary phenomenon invented by the Nixon administration. But as Dr. Andrew Monteith shows in Christian Nationalism and the Birth of the War on Drugs (NYU Press, 2023), the conflict actually began more than a century before, when American Protestants began the temperance movement and linked drug use with immorality. Dr. Monteith argues that this early drug war was deeply rooted in Christian impulses. While many scholars understand Prohibition to have been a Protestant undertaking, it is considerably less common to consider the War on Drugs this way, in part because racism has understandably been the focal point of discussions of the drug war. Antidrug activists expressed—and still do express--blatant white supremacist and nativist motives. Yet this book argues that racism was intertwined with religious impulses. Reformers pursued the “civilising mission,” a wide-ranging project that sought to protect “child races” from harmful influences while
08/10/20231 hour 14 minutes 36 seconds
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Scott Creney and Brigette Adair Herron, "The Story of the B-52s: Neon Side of Town" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023)

The Story of the B-52s: Neon Side of Town (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023) is the first critical history of one of the most legendary and influential bands in American popular music. Locating The B-52s in the intellectual climate of their hometown of Athens, GA and following the band from New York's downtown scene in the early 1980s to their upcoming farewell tour, the book argues that The B-52s are much more significant political and musical influences on American society than their reputation as a silly party band suggests, and that their ongoing commitment to values including cooperation, mutual support, and using disruptive fun as a form of social change are an antidote to the neoliberalization sweeping both Athens and the rest of the Western world.  For example, the book shows how the band synthesized influences from the modern artists displayed at the University of Georgia art museum, early queer activism on campus in the 1970s, and their experiences as queer people living through the
07/10/20231 hour 4 minutes 52 seconds
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Charlotte Gray, "Passionate Mothers, Powerful Sons: The Lives of Jennie Jerome Churchill and Sara Delano Roosevelt" (Simon & Schuster, 2023)

Born into upper-class America in the same year, 1854, Sara Delano (later to become the mother of Franklin Delano Roosevelt) and Jennie Jerome (later to become the mother of Winston Churchill) refused to settle into predictable, sheltered lives as little-known wives to prominent men. Instead, both women concentrated much of their energies on enabling their sons to reach the epicentre of political power on two continents. Set against one hundred years of history, Passionate Mothers, Powerful Sons: The Lives of Jennie Jerome Churchill and Sara Delano Roosevelt (Simon & Schuster, 2023) by Dr. Charlotte Gray is a study in loyalty and resilience. Gray argues that Jennie and Sara are too often presented as lesser figures in the backdrop of history rather than as two remarkable individuals who were key in shaping the characters of the sons who adored them and in preparing them for leadership on the world stage. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on
07/10/202350 minutes 1 second
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Sharon Patricia Holland, "an other: a black feminist consideration of animal life" (Duke UP, 2023)

In an other: a black feminist examination of animal life (Duke UP, 2023), Sharon Patricia Holland offers a new theorization of the human animal/divide by shifting focus from distinction toward relation in ways that acknowledge that humans are also animals. Holland centers ethical commitments over ontological concerns to spotlight those moments when Black people ethically relate with animals. Drawing on writers and thinkers ranging from Hortense Spillers, Sara Ahmed, Toni Morrison, and C. E. Morgan to Jane Bennett, Jacques Derrida, and Donna Haraway, Holland decenters the human in Black feminist thought to interrogate blackness, insurgence, flesh, and femaleness. She examines MOVE's incarnation as an animal liberation group; uses sovereignty in Morrison's A Mercy to understand blackness, indigeneity, and the animal; analyzes Charles Burnett's films as commentaries on the place of animals in Black life; and shows how equestrian novels address Black and animal life in ways that rehearse t
07/10/20231 hour 9 minutes 37 seconds
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Nick Baumgardner and Mark Snyder, "Mountaintop: The Inside Story of Michigan's 1997 National Title Climb" (Printopya, 2023)

When the 1997 college football season began, the once-mighty Michigan Wolverines were dismissed nationally as a relic of a bygone era. Michigan had posted four straight four-loss seasons and started out No. 14 in the polls for the third straight year, its worst preseason rankings since 1985. Michigan was led by an accidental third-year coach, Lloyd Carr, who had suffered through back-to-back four-loss seasons after taking the job in the middle of a proverbial tornado. The starting quarterback was a fifth-year, former walk-on who nearly quit the sport. The offensive and defensive coordinators were brand new, the schedule was the toughest in the country, and Michigan’s status as a football powerhouse teetered on a razor’s edge.  Right before the opener, Carr’s team heard a survivor from a Mount Everest tragedy describe what it took to do the impossible, when everything around you was falling apart. Climb the mountain became the team’s mantra. Four months later, the Wolverines stood on co
06/10/202345 minutes 6 seconds
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Melissa Estes Blair, "Bringing Home the White House: The Hidden History of Women Who Shaped the Presidency in the Twentieth Century" (U Georgia Press, 2023)

In Bringing Home the White House: The Hidden History of Women Who Shaped the Presidency in the Twentieth Century (U Georgia Press, 2023), Melissa Estes Blair introduces us to five fascinating yet largely unheralded women who were at the heart of campaigns to elect and reelect some of our most beloved presidents. By examining the roles of these political strategists in affecting the outcome of presidential elections, Blair sheds light on their historical importance and the relevance of their individual influence. In the middle decades of the twentieth century both major political parties had Women's Divisions. The leaders of these divisions--five women who held the job from 1932 until 1958--organized tens of thousands of women all over the country, turning them into the "saleswomen for the party" by providing them with talking points, fliers, and other material they needed to strike up political conversations with their friends and neighbors. The leaders of the Women's Divisions also pr
06/10/202339 minutes 41 seconds
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James N. Druckman and Elizabeth A. Sharrow, "Equality Unfulfilled: How Title IX's Policy Design Undermines Change to College Sports" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

The year 1972 is often hailed as an inflection point in the evolution of women's rights. Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a law that outlawed sex-based discrimination in education. Many Americans celebrate Title IX for having ushered in an era of expanded opportunity for women's athletics; yet fifty years after its passage, sex-based inequalities in college athletics remain the reality. James N. Druckman and Elizabeth A. Sharrow's book Equality Unfulfilled: How Title IX's Policy Design Undermines Change to College Sports (Cambridge UP, 2023) explains why.  The book identifies institutional roadblocks - including sex-based segregation, androcentric organizational cultures, and overbearing market incentives - that undermine efforts to achieve systemic change. Drawing on surveys with student-athletes, athletic administrators, college coaches, members of the public, and fans of college sports, it highlights how institutions shape attitudes toward gender equity
05/10/20231 hour 28 minutes 1 second
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Robert P. Watson, "When Washington Burned: The British Invasion of the Capital and a Nation's Rise from the Ashes" (Georgetown UP, 2023)

Perhaps no other single day in US history was as threatening to the survival of the nation as August 24, 1814, when British forces captured Washington, DC. This unique moment might have significantly altered the nation’s path forward, but the event and the reasons why it happened are little remembered by most Americans.  Robert P. Watson's book When Washington Burned: The British Invasion of the Capital and a Nation's Rise from the Ashes (Georgetown UP, 2023) narrates and examines the British campaign and American missteps that led to the fall of Washington during the War of 1812. Watson analyzes the actions of key figures on both sides, such as President James Madison and General William Winder on the US side and Rear Admiral George Cockburn and Major General Robert Ross on the British side. He pinpoints the reasons the campaign was such a disaster for the United States but also tells the redeeming stories of the courageous young clerks and the bold first lady, Dolley Madison, who ris
05/10/202358 minutes 14 seconds
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Janet Somerville, "Yours, for Probably Always: Martha Gellhorn's Letters of Love and War 1930-1949" (Firefly Books, 2022)

Before email, when long distance telephone calls were difficult and expensive, people wrote letters, often several each day. Today, those letters provide an intimate and revealing look at the lives and loves of the people who wrote them. When the author is a brilliant writer who lived an exciting, eventful life, the letters are especially interesting. Martha Gellhorn was a strong-willed, self-made, modern woman whose journalism, and life, were widely influential at the time and cleared a path for women who came after her. An ardent anti-fascist, she abhorred "objectivity shit" and wrote about real people doing real things with intelligence and passion. She is most famous, to her enduring exasperation, as Ernest Hemingway's third wife. Long after their divorce, her short tenure as "Mrs. Hemingway" from 1940 to 1945 invariably eclipsed her writing and, consequently, she never received her full due. Gellhorn's work and personal life attracted a disparate cadre of political and celebrity f
03/10/202351 minutes 26 seconds
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Viet Thanh Nguyen, "A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, a History, a Memorial" (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2023)

With insight, humor, formal invention, and lyricism, in A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, A History, A Memorial (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2023), Viet Thanh Nguyen rewinds the film of his own life. He expands the genre of personal memoir by acknowledging larger stories of refugeehood, colonization, and ideas about Vietnam and America, writing with his trademark sardonic wit and incisive analysis, as well as a deep emotional openness about his life as a father and a son. At the age of four, Nguyen and his family fled his hometown of Ban Mê Thuột to become refugees in the USA. After being removed from his brother and parents and homed with a family on his own, Nguyen is later allowed to resettle into his own family in suburban San José. But there is violence hidden behind the sunny façade of what he calls AMERICA™. One Christmas Eve, when Nguyen is nine, while watching cartoons at home, he learns that his parents have been shot while working at their grocery store, the Sài Gòn Mới. As a teenag
03/10/202355 minutes 9 seconds
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Adrian Chastain Weimer, "A Constitutional Culture: New England and the Struggle Against Arbitrary Rule in the Restoration Empire" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2023)

In A Constitutional Culture: New England and the Struggle Against Arbitrary Rule in the Restoration Empire (U Pennsylvania Press, 2023), Adrian Chastain Weimer uncovers the story of how, more than a hundred years before the American Revolution, colonists pledged their lives and livelihoods to the defense of local political institutions against arbitrary rule. With the return of Charles II to the English throne in 1660, the puritan-led colonies faced enormous pressure to conform to the crown's priorities. Charles demanded that puritans change voting practices, baptismal policies, and laws, and he also cast an eye on local resources such as forests, a valuable source of masts for the English navy. Moreover, to enforce these demands, the king sent four royal commissioners on warships, ostensibly headed for New Netherland but easily redirected toward Boston. In the face of this threat to local rule, colonists had to decide whether they would submit to the commissioners' authority, which th
03/10/202337 minutes 5 seconds
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Twenty Years After “The New Economy”: A Conversation with Doug Henwood

Economic journalist and broadcaster Doug Henwood revisits his 2003 book, After the New Economy (New Press), with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. “The New Economy” was a catchphrase that became extremely popular with economists, politicians, pundits, and many others during Bill Clinton’s presidency. The phrase was thought to describe a new economic reality rooted in information and computing technologies that would give rise to an extended period of abundance and prosperity that Clinton compared to the industrial revolution. But the phrase became unpopular after the dot com bust of 2000-2002, which also marked the end of the 1990s economic expansion. Henwood and Vinsel discuss Henwood’s long career as an economic journalist and how he came to write the book as well as how studying “the New Economy” makes the technology bubbles of the 2010s feel like deja vu. Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human li
02/10/20231 hour 8 minutes 31 seconds
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Eric Bennett, "Workshops of Empire: Stegner, Engle, and American Creative Writing During the Cold War" (U Iowa Press, 2015)

During and just after World War II, an influential group of American writers and intellectuals projected a vision for literature that would save the free world. Novels, stories, plays, and poems, they believed, could inoculate weak minds against simplistic totalitarian ideologies, heal the spiritual wounds of global catastrophe, and just maybe prevent the like from happening again. As the Cold War began, high-minded and well-intentioned scholars, critics, and writers from across the political spectrum argued that human values remained crucial to civilization and that such values stood in dire need of formulation and affirmation. They believed that the complexity of literature—of ideas bound to concrete images, of ideologies leavened with experiences—enshrined such values as no other medium could. Creative writing emerged as a graduate discipline in the United States amid this astonishing swirl of grand conceptions. The early workshops were formed not only at the time of, but in the ima
01/10/202344 minutes 45 seconds
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Rebecca J. Fraser, "Black Female Intellectuals in 19th Century America: Born to Bloom Unseen?" (Routledge, 2022)

Drawing on letters, personal testimony, works of art, novels, and historic Black newspapers, this book is an interdisciplinary exploration of Black women’s contributions to the intellectual life of nineteenth-century America. Rebecca J Fraser's book Black Female Intellectuals in 19th Century America: Born to Bloom Unseen? (Routledge, 2022) reconceptualizes the idea of what the term "intellectual" means through its discussions of both familiar and often forgotten Black women, including Edmonia Lewis, Harriet Powers, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman, amongst others. This re-envisioning brings those who have previously been excluded from the scholarship of Black intellectualism more generally, and Black female intellectuals specifically, into the center of the debate. Importantly, it also situates the histories of Black women participating in the intellectual cultures of the United States much earlier than most previous scholarship. This book will be of interest to both undergraduate a
01/10/20231 hour 28 minutes 49 seconds
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Kevin F. Adler and Donald W. Burnes, "When We Walk By: Forgotten Humanity, Broken Systems, and the Role We Can Each Play in Ending Homelessness in America" (North Atlantic Books, 2023)

Think about the last time that you saw or interacted with an unhoused person. What did you do? What did you say? Did you offer money or a smile, or did you avert your gaze?  When We Walk By: Forgotten Humanity, Broken Systems, and the Role We Can Each Play in Ending Homelessness in America (North Atlantic Books, 2023) takes an urgent look at homelessness in America, showing us what we lose—in ourselves and as a society—when we choose to walk past and ignore our neighbors in shelters, insecure housing, or on the streets. And it brilliantly shows what we stand to gain when we embrace our humanity and move toward evidence-based people-first, community-driven solutions, offering social analysis, economic and political histories, and the real stories of unhoused people. Authors Kevin F. Adler and Donald W. Burnes, with Amanda Banh and Andrijana Bilbija, recast chronic homelessness in the U.S. as a byproduct of twin crises: our social services systems are failing, and so is our humanity. A n
01/10/202332 minutes 51 seconds
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Christina Ward, "Holy Food: How Cults, Communes and Religious Movements Influenced What We Eat" (Process, 2023)

Independent food historian and author Christina Ward joins New Books Network to discuss her highly anticipated book Holy Food: How Cults, Communes and Religious Movements Influenced What We Eat (Process, 2023) – exploring the influence of mainstream to fringe religious beliefs on modern American food culture. In the book and over the course of the interview, Ward unravels the numerous ways religious beliefs intersect with politics and economics and, of course, food to tell a different story of America. She tells the story of true believers and charlatans, of idealists and visionaries, and of the everyday people who followed them—often at their peril. Holy Food explains how faith pioneers used societal woes and cultural trends to create new pathways of belief and reveals the interconnectivity between sects and their leaders. Religious beliefs have been the source of food "rules" since Pythagoras told his followers not to eat beans (they contain souls), Kosher and Halal rules forbade the
30/09/202349 minutes 42 seconds
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Aaron Tang, "Supreme Hubris: How Overconfidence Is Destroying the Court--And How We Can Fix It" (Yale UP, 2023)

Today I talked to Aaron Tang about his new book Supreme Hubris: How Overconfidence Is Destroying the Court--And How We Can Fix It (Yale UP, 2023). The Supreme Court, once the most respected institution in American government, is now routinely criticized for rendering decisions based on the individual justices' partisan leanings rather than on a faithful reading of the law. For legal scholar Aaron Tang, however, partisanship is not the Court's root problem. Overconfidence is. Conservative and liberal justices alike have adopted a tone of uncompromising certainty in their ability to solve society's problems with just the right lawyerly arguments. The result is a Court that lurches stridently from one case to the next, delegitimizing opposing views and undermining public confidence in itself. To restore the Court's legitimacy, Tang proposes a different approach to hard cases: one in which the Court acknowledges the arguments and interests on both sides and rules in the way that will do th
30/09/202352 minutes 15 seconds
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Sara Marcus, "Political Disappointment: A Cultural History from Reconstruction to the AIDS Crisis" (Harvard UP, 2023)

Moving from the aftermath of Reconstruction through the AIDS crisis, a new cultural history of the United States shows how artists, intellectuals, and activists turned political disappointment--the unfulfilled desire for change--into a basis for solidarity. Sara Marcus argues that the defining texts in twentieth-century American cultural history are records of political disappointment. Through insightful and often surprising readings of literature and sound, Marcus offers a new cultural history of the last century, in which creative minds observed the passing of moments of possibility, took stock of the losses sustained, and fostered intellectual revolutions and unexpected solidarities. Political Disappointment: A Cultural History from Reconstruction to the AIDS Crisis (Harvard UP, 2023) shows how, by confronting disappointment directly, writers and artists helped to produce new political meanings and possibilities. Marcus first analyzes works by W. E. B. Du Bois, Charles Chesnutt, Pau
30/09/202344 minutes 32 seconds
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Kiana Fitzgerald, "Ode to Hip-Hop: 50 Albums That Define 50 Years of Trailblazing Music" (Running Press Adult, 2023)

From underground roots to mainstream popularity, hip-hop's influence on music and entertainment around the world has been nothing short of extraordinary. Ode to Hip-Hop chronicles the journey with profiles of fifty albums that have defined, expanded, and ultimately transformed the genre into what it is today. From 2 Live Crew's groundbreaking As Nasty As They Wanna Be in 1989 to Cardi B's similarly provocative Invasion of Privacy almost thirty years later, and more, Kiana Fitzgerald's book Ode to Hip-Hop: 50 Albums That Define 50 Years of Trailblazing Music (Running Press Adult, 2023) covers hip-hop from coast to coast. Organized by decade and with sidebars on fashion, mixtapes, and key players throughout, the result is a comprehensive homage to hip-hop, published just in time for the fiftieth anniversary. Enjoyed in the club, at a party, through speakers or headphones–the albums in this book deserve to be listened to again and again, for the next fifty years and beyond. Katrina Ander
30/09/202347 minutes 34 seconds
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Peter Reed, "Staging Haiti in Nineteenth-Century America: Revolution, Race and Popular Performance" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

American culture maintained a complicated relationship with Haiti from its revolutionary beginnings onward. In Staging Haiti in Nineteenth-Century America: Revolution, Race and Popular Performance (Cambridge UP, 2022), Peter P. Reed reveals how Americans embodied and re-enacted their connections to Haiti through a wide array of performance forms. In the wake of Haiti's slave revolts in the 1790s, generations of actors, theatre professionals, spectators, and commentators looked to Haiti as a source of both inspiring freedom and vexing disorder. French colonial refugees, university students, Black theatre stars, blackface minstrels, abolitionists, and even writers such as Herman Melville all reinvented and restaged Haiti in distinctive ways. Reed demonstrates how Haiti's example of Black freedom and national independence helped redefine American popular culture, as actors and audiences repeatedly invoked and suppressed Haiti's revolutionary narratives, characters, and themes. Ultimately,
28/09/20231 hour 14 minutes 30 seconds
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Sirpa Salenius, "An Abolitionist Abroad: Sarah Parker Remond in Cosmopolitan Europe" (U Massachusetts Press, 2016)

Sarah Parker Remond (1826–1894) left the free black community of Salem, Massachusetts, where she was born, to become one of the first women to travel on extensive lecture tours across the United Kingdom. Remond eventually moved to Florence, Italy, where she earned a degree at one of Europe's most prestigious medical schools. Her language skills enabled her to join elite salons in Florence and Rome, where she entertained high society with musical soirees even while maintaining connections to European emancipation movements. Remond's extensive travels and diverse acquaintances demonstrate that the nineteenth-century grand tour of Europe was not exclusively the privilege of white intellectuals but included African American travelers, among them women. Sirpa Salenius' book An Abolitionist Abroad: Sarah Parker Remond in Cosmopolitan Europe (U Massachusetts Press, 2016), based on international archival research, tells the fascinating story of how Remond forged a radical path, establishing re
27/09/202352 minutes 39 seconds
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Dylan C. Penningroth, "Before the Movement: The Hidden History of Black Civil Rights" (Liveright, 2023)

A prize-winning scholar draws on astonishing new research to demonstrate how Black people used the law to their advantage long before the Civil Rights Movement. The familiar story of civil rights goes like this: once, America’s legal system shut Black people out and refused to recognize their rights, their basic human dignity, or even their very lives. When lynch mobs gathered, police and judges often closed their eyes, if they didn’t join in. For Black people, law was a hostile, fearsome power to be avoided whenever possible. Then, starting in the 1940s, a few brave lawyers ventured south, bent on changing the law. Soon, ordinary African Americans, awakened by Supreme Court victories and galvanized by racial justice activists, launched the civil rights movement. In Before the Movement: The Hidden History of Black Civil Rights (Liveright, 2023), acclaimed historian Dylan C. Penningroth brilliantly revises the conventional story. Drawing on long-forgotten sources found in the basements
26/09/20231 hour 47 minutes 31 seconds
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Michelle K. Berry, "Cow Talk: Work, Ecology, and Range Cattle Ranchers in the Postwar Mountain West" (U Oklahoma Press, 2023)

How did ranching become an identity? University of Arizona historian Michelle Berry explains in Cow Talk: Work, Ecology, and Western Ranchers in the Postwar Mountain West (U Oklahoma Press, 2023). During the middle decades of the twentieth century, small-scale ranchers weathered a series of crisis, rolled with increasing changes to their labor and lives, and communicated with one another through professional organizations. By engaging in "Cow Talk" - shop talk, about cows - ranchers learned each about one another's shared struggles, and gained a sense of common experience. Through professional rancher's groups, they were able to thus present a strong, united, front in politics, despite the very real disagreements and schisms behind the scenes.  Cow Talk examines an understudied era in Western ranching history, after the rise and fall of the massive ranches of the nineteenth century West, and before the news media first learned the name Ammon Bundy. Berry provides a nuanced and empathet
26/09/202358 minutes 11 seconds
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Jonathan Mael, "Harlem World: How Hip Hop's Super Showdown Changed Music Forever" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2023)

July 3, 1981, was a pivotal night for the future of America's newest art form: hip hop. In New York's Harlem World Club, the Fantastic Romantic Five and the Cold Crush Brothers competed, with an unprecedented $1,000--and their reputations--on the line in a highly anticipated rap battle. The show drew hundreds of fans to settle a question that still dominates hip hop circles: Who's the best? In Harlem World: How Hip Hop's Super Showdown Changed Music Forever (Johns Hopkins UP, 2023), journalist Jonathan Mael chronicles this fateful night of hip hop rivalry and shares a new look at how Harlem helped ignite a musical revolution. Since hip hop first emerged in New York in the early 1970s, artists like Theodore Livingston (DJ Grand Wizzard Theodore) and Curtis Brown (Grandmaster Caz) sought to elevate this uniquely American musical genre by pushing the limits of record-playing techniques and lyricism. The two crews they assembled put on the best shows in a world where hip hop was still a st
26/09/20231 hour 4 minutes 34 seconds
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Jamie L. Jones, "Rendered Obsolete: Energy Culture and the Afterlife of US Whaling" (UNC Press, 2023)

Through the mid-nineteenth century, the US whaling industry helped drive industrialization and urbanization, providing whale oil to lubricate and illuminate the country. The Pennsylvania petroleum boom of the 1860s brought cheap and plentiful petroleum into the market, decimating whale oil's popularity. Here, from our modern age of fossil fuels, Jamie L. Jones uses literary and cultural history to show how the whaling industry held firm in US popular culture even as it slid into obsolescence. Jones shows just how instrumental whaling was to the very idea of "energy" in American culture and how it came to mean a fusion of labor, production, and the circulation of power.  In Rendered Obsolete: Energy Culture and the Afterlife of US Whaling (UNC Press, 2023), she argues that dying industries exert real force on environmental perceptions and cultural imaginations. Analyzing a vast archive that includes novels, periodicals, artifacts from whaling ships, tourist attractions, and even whale c
26/09/202348 minutes 22 seconds
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Mark Thomas Edwards, "Walter Lippmann: American Skeptic, American Pastor" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Walter Lippmann was arguably the most recognized and respected political journalist of the twentieth century. His "Today and Tomorrow" columns attracted a global readership of well over ten million. Lippmann was the author of numerous books, including the best-selling A Preface to Morals (1929) and U.S. Foreign Policy (1943). His Public Opinion (1922) remains a classic text within American political philosophy and media studies. Lippmann coined or popularized several keywords of the twentieth century, including "stereotype," the "Cold War," and the "Great Society." Sought out by U.S. Presidents and by America's allies and rivals around the world, Lippmann remained one of liberalism's most faithful proponents and harshest critics. Yet few people then or since encountered the "real" Walter Lippmann. That was because he kept crucial parts of himself hiding in plain sight. His extensive commentary on politics and diplomacy was bounded by his sense that America had to adjust to the loss of
25/09/202353 minutes 27 seconds
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Nigel Biggar, "Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning" (William Collins, 2023)

In the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet empire in 1989, many believed that we had arrived at the 'End of History' - that the global dominance of liberal democracy had been secured forever. Now however, with Russia rattling its sabre on the borders of Europe and China rising to challenge the post-1945 world order, the liberal West faces major threats. These threats are not only external. Especially in the Anglosphere, the 'decolonisation' movement corrodes the West's self-confidence by retelling the history of European and American colonial dominance as a litany of racism, exploitation, and massively murderous violence. In Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning (William Collins, 2023), Nigel Biggar tests this indictment, addressing the crucial questions in eight chapters: Was the British Empire driven primarily by greed and the lust to dominate? Should we speak of 'colonialism and slavery' in the same breath, as if they were identical? Was the Empire essentially racist? How far was it base
25/09/20231 hour 18 minutes 21 seconds
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Nigel Biggar, "Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning" (William Collins, 2023)

In the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet empire in 1989, many believed that we had arrived at the 'End of History' - that the global dominance of liberal democracy had been secured forever. Now however, with Russia rattling its sabre on the borders of Europe and China rising to challenge the post-1945 world order, the liberal West faces major threats. These threats are not only external. Especially in the Anglosphere, the 'decolonisation' movement corrodes the West's self-confidence by retelling the history of European and American colonial dominance as a litany of racism, exploitation, and massively murderous violence. In Colonialism: A Moral Reckoning (William Collins, 2023), Nigel Biggar tests this indictment, addressing the crucial questions in eight chapters: Was the British Empire driven primarily by greed and the lust to dominate? Should we speak of 'colonialism and slavery' in the same breath, as if they were identical? Was the Empire essentially racist? How far was it base
25/09/20231 hour 18 minutes 21 seconds
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Laura F. Edwards, "The People and Their Peace: Legal Culture and the Transformation of Inequality in the Post-Revolutionary South" (UNC Press, 2009)

Do individuals have the right to “keep and bear” arms? Do “the people” have any collective rights to public safety? Now that the United States Supreme Court requires each side to argue based on the “history” and “tradition” of 1791 and 1868, what do scholars tell us about legal practices and public understanding in those times? Dr. Laura F. Edwards argues that Americans in the South transformed their understanding of inequality during the half century following the Revolutionary War. Drawing on extensive archival research in North and South Caroline, she outlines the changes in the legal system, highlighting the importance of localized legal practices that favored maintaining the "peace”: a concept intended to protect the social order and its patriarchal hierarchies. Ordinary people, rather than legal professionals and political leaders, were central to its workings. People without rights – even those enslaved – “had influence within the system because of their positions of subordinati
25/09/20231 hour 3 minutes 58 seconds
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Alda Balthrop-Lewis, "Thoreau's Religion: Walden Woods, Social Justice, and the Politics of Asceticism" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

Balthrop-Lewis's Thoreau's Religion: Walden Woods, Social Justice, and the Politics of Asceticism (Cambridge UP, 2021) presents a ground-breaking interpretation of Henry David Thoreau's most famous book, Walden. Rather than treating Walden Woods as a lonely wilderness, Balthrop-Lewis demonstrates that Thoreau's ascetic life was a form of religious practice dedicated to cultivating a just, multispecies community. The book makes an important contribution to scholarship in religious studies, political theory, English, environmental studies, and critical theory by offering the first sustained reading of Thoreau's religiously motivated politics. In Balthrop-Lewis's vision, practices of renunciation like Thoreau's can contribute to reforming social and political life. This book transforms Thoreau's image, making him a vital source for a world beset by inequality and climate change. Balthrop-Lewis argues for an environmental politics in which ecological flourishing is impossible without econo
25/09/202341 minutes 16 seconds
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Megan MacKenzie, "Good Soldiers Don't Rape: The Stories We Tell About Military Sexual Violence" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

Sexual violence is a significant problem within many Western militaries. Despite international attention to the issue and global #MeToo and #TimesUp movements highlighting the impact of sexual violence, rates of sexual violence are going up in many militaries. Good Soldiers Don't Rape: The Stories We Tell About Military Sexual Violence (Cambridge University Press, 2023) by Dr. Megan MacKenzie uses feminist theories of 'rape culture' and institutional gaslighting to identify the key stories, myths, and misconceptions about military sexual violence that have obstructed addressing and preventing it. The book is a landmark study that considers nearly thirty years of media coverage of military sexual violence in three case countries – the US, Canada and Australia. Dr. MacKenzie’s findings have implications not only for those seeking to address, reduce, and prevent sexual violence in militaries, but also for those hoping to understanding rape culture and how patriarchy operates more broadly.
24/09/202344 minutes 5 seconds
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Diana Rickard, "The New True Crime: How the Rise of Serialized Storytelling Is Transforming Innocence" (NYU Press, 2023)

The New True Crime: How the Rise of Serialized Storytelling Is Transforming Innocence (NYU Press, 2023) by Dr. Diana Rickard examines how serialized crime shows became an American obsession. TV shows and podcasts like Making a Murderer, Serial, and Atlanta Monster have taken the cultural zeitgeist by storm, and contributed to the release of wrongly imprisoned people—such as Adnan Syed. The popularity of these long-form true crime docuseries has sparked greater attention to issues of inequality, power, social class, and structural racism. More and more, the American public is asking, Who is and is not deserving of punishment, and who is and is not protected by the law? In The New True Crime, Dr. Rickard argues that these new true crime series deserve our attention for what they reveal about our societal understanding of crime and punishment, and for the new light they shine on the inequalities of the criminal justice system. Questioning the finality of verdicts, framing facts as in the
23/09/202348 minutes 23 seconds
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Steven P. Gietschier, "Baseball: The Turbulent Midcentury Years" (U Nebraska Press, 2023)

Baseball: The Turbulent Midcentury Years (University of Nebraska Press, 2023) explores the history of organized baseball during the middle of the twentieth century, examining the sport on and off the field and contextualizing its development as both sport and business within the broader contours of American history. Steven P. Gietschier begins with the Great Depression, looking at how those years of economic turmoil shaped the sport and how baseball responded. Gietschier covers a then-burgeoning group of owners, players, and key figures--among them Branch Rickey, Larry MacPhail, Hank Greenberg, Ford Frick, and several others--whose stories figure prominently in baseball's past and some of whom are still prominent in its collective consciousness. Combining narrative and analysis, Gietschier tells the game's history across more than three decades while simultaneously exploring its politics and economics, including, for example, how the game confronted and barely survived the United State
23/09/202354 minutes 28 seconds
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Zebulon Vance Miletsky, "Before Busing: A History of Boston's Long Black Freedom Struggle" (UNC Press, 2022)

In many histories of Boston, African Americans have remained almost invisible. Partly as a result, when the 1972 crisis over school desegregation and busing erupted, many observers professed shock at the overt racism on display in the "cradle of liberty." Yet the city has long been divided over matters of race, and it was also home to a far older Black organizing tradition than many realize. A community of Black activists had fought segregated education since the origins of public schooling and racial inequality since the end of northern slavery.  Before Busing: A History of Boston's Long Black Freedom Struggle (UNC Press, 2022) tells the story of the men and women who struggled and demonstrated to make school desegregation a reality in Boston. It reveals the legal efforts and battles over tactics that played out locally and influenced the national Black freedom struggle. And the book gives credit to the Black organizers, parents, and children who fought long and hard battles for justi
22/09/20231 hour 2 minutes 5 seconds
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Todd E. Vachon, "Clean Air and Good Jobs: U.S. Labor and the Struggle for Climate Justice" (Temple UP, 2023)

The labor–climate movement in the U.S. laid the groundwork for the Green New Deal by building a base within labor for supporting climate protection as a vehicle for good jobs. But as we confront the climate crisis and seek environmental justice, a “jobs vs. environment” discourse often pits workers against climate activists. How can we make a “just transition” moving away from fossil fuels, while also compensating for the human cost when jobs are lost or displaced? In his book, Clean Air and Good Jobs: U.S. Labor and the Struggle for Climate Justice (Temple University Press, 2023), Todd Vachon examines the labor–climate movement and demonstrates what can be envisioned and accomplished when climate justice is on labor’s agenda and unions work together with other social movements to formulate bold solutions to the climate crisis. Todd Vachon is Assistant Professor of Labor Studies and Employment Relations and Director of the Labor Education Action Research Network at Rutgers University S
22/09/202336 minutes 48 seconds
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Jack Schneider and Ethan L. Hutt, "Off the Mark: How Grades, Ratings, and Rankings Undermine Learning (but Don't Have To)" (Harvard UP, 2023)

Amid widespread concern that our approach to testing and grading undermines education, two experts explain how schools can use assessment to support, rather than compromise, learning. Anyone who has ever crammed for a test, capitulated to a grade-grubbing student, or fretted over a child’s report card knows that the way we assess student learning in American schools is freighted with unintended consequences. But that’s not all. As experts agree, our primary assessment technologies—grading, rating, and ranking—don’t actually provide an accurate picture of how students are doing in school. Worse, they distort student and educator behavior in ways that undermine learning and exacerbate inequality. Yet despite widespread dissatisfaction, grades, test scores, and transcripts remain the currency of the realm. In Off the Mark: How Grades, Ratings, and Rankings Undermine Learning (but Don't Have To) (Harvard University Press, 2023), Jack Schneider and Ethan Hutt explain how we got into this pr
22/09/202338 minutes 8 seconds
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David Cunningham, January 6th and Asymmetrical Policing (JP, EF)

Recall This Book first heard from the sociologist of American racism David Cunningham in Episode 36 Policing and White Power. Less than a week after the horrors of January 6th, 2021, he came back for this conversation about “asymmetrical policing” of the political right and left–and of White and Black Americans. His very first book (There’s Something Happening Here, 2004) studied the contrast between the FBI’s work in the 1960’s to wipe out left-wing and Black protests and its efforts to control and tame right-wing and white supremacist movements. That gives him a valuable perspective on the run-up to January 6th–and what may happen next. Mentioned in the Episode David Cunningham collaborated on this article about the “common pattern of underestimating the threat from right-wing extremists.” Ulster Defence Association Kathleen Belew, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America Ulster Defence Association Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing: FBI
21/09/202331 minutes 46 seconds
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C. J. Pascoe, "Nice Is Not Enough: Inequality and the Limits of Kindness at American High" (U California Press, 2023)

Nice is not enough: Inequality and the Limits of Kindness at American High (University of California Press, 2023) by Dr. C. J. Pascoe is a provocative story of contemporary high school that argues that a shallow culture of kindness can do more lasting harm than good. Based on two years of research, Nice Is Not Enough shares striking dispatches from one high school's "regime of kindness" to underline how the culture operates as a band-aid on persistent inequalities. Through incisive storytelling and thoughtful engagement with students, this brilliant study by Dr. Pascoe exposes uncomfortable truths about American politics and our reliance on individual solutions instead of profound systemic change. Nice Is Not Enough brings readers into American High, a middle- and working-class high school characterized by acceptance, connection, and kindness—a place where, a prominent sign states, "there is no room for hate." Here, inequality is narrowly understood as a problem of individual merit, me
21/09/202356 minutes 21 seconds
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Diane Flynt, "Wild, Tamed, Lost, Revived: The Surprising Story of Apples in the South" (UNC Press, 2023)

For anyone who's ever picked an apple fresh from the tree or enjoyed a glass of cider, writer and orchardist Diane Flynt offers a new history of the apple and how it changed the South and the nation. Showing how southerners cultivated over 2,000 apple varieties from Virginia to Mississippi, Flynt shares surprising stories of a fruit that was central to the region for over 200 years. Colorful characters abound in this history, including aristocratic Belgian immigrants, South Carolina plantation owners, and multiple presidents, each group changing the course of southern orchards.  In Wild, Tamed, Lost, Revived: The Surprising Story of Apples in the South (UNC Press, 2023), she shows how southern apples, ranging from northern varieties that found fame on southern soil to hyper-local apples grown by a single family, have a history beyond the region, from Queen Victoria's court to the Oregon Trail. Flynt also tells us the darker side of the story, detailing how apples were entwined with sla
20/09/202342 minutes 24 seconds
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Molly Ladd-Taylor, "Fixing the Poor: Eugenic Sterilization and Child Welfare in the Twentieth Century" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2020)

Between 1907 and 1937, thirty-two states legalized the sterilization of more than 63,000 Americans. In Fixing the Poor: Eugenic Sterilization and Child Welfare in the Twentieth Century (Johns Hopkins UP, 2020), Molly Ladd-Taylor tells the story of these state-run eugenic sterilization programs. She focuses on one such program in Minnesota, where surgical sterilization was legally voluntary and administered within a progressive child welfare system. Tracing Minnesota's eugenics program from its conceptual origins in the 1880s to its official end in the 1970s, Ladd-Taylor argues that state sterilization policies reflected a wider variety of worldviews and political agendas than previously understood. She describes how, after 1920, people endorsed sterilization and its alternative, institutionalization, as the best way to aid dependent children without helping the "undeserving" poor. She also sheds new light on how the policy gained acceptance and why coerced sterilizations persisted long
20/09/202337 minutes 56 seconds
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Lipika Pelham, "Passing: An Alternative History of Identity" (Oxford UP, 2021)

A slave woman in 1840s America dresses as a white, disabled man to escape to freedom, while a twenty-first-century black rights activist is 'cancelled' for denying her whiteness. A Victorian explorer disguises himself as a Muslim in Arabia's forbidden holy city. A trans man claiming to have been assigned male at birth is exposed and murdered by bigots in 1993. Today, Japanese untouchables leave home and change their name. All of them have "passed," performing or claiming an identity that society hasn't assigned or recognized as theirs. For as long as we've drawn lines describing ourselves and each other, people have naturally fallen or deliberately stepped between them. What do their stories--in life and in art--tell us about the changing meanings of identity? About our need for labels, despite their obvious limitations? In Passing: An Alternative History of Identity (Oxford UP, 2021), Lipika Pelham reflects on tales of fluidity and transformation, including her own. From Pope Joan to
20/09/20233 hours 14 minutes 7 seconds
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Maria Smilios, "The Black Angels: The Untold Story of the Nurses Who Helped Cure Tuberculosis" (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2023)

New York City, 1929. A sanatorium, a deadly disease, and a dire nursing shortage. In the pre-antibiotic days when tuber­culosis stirred people’s darkest fears, killing one in seven, white nurses at Sea View, New York’s largest municipal hospital, began quitting en masse. Desperate to avert a public health crisis, city officials summoned Black southern nurses, luring them with promises of good pay, a career, and an escape from the stric­tures of Jim Crow. But after arriving, they found themselves on an isolated hilltop in the remote borough of Staten Island, yet again confronting racism and consigned to a woefully understaffed sanatorium, dubbed “the pest house,” where it was said that “no one left alive.” Spanning the Great Depression and moving through World War II and beyond, this remarkable true story follows the intrepid young women known by their patients as the “Black Angels.” For twenty years, they risked their lives work­ing under appalling conditions while caring for New York’
19/09/202341 minutes 43 seconds
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Takeo Rivera, "Model Minority Masochism: Performing the Cultural Politics of Asian American Masculinity" (Oxford UP, 2022)

There are few grand narratives that loom over Asian Americans more than the “model minority.” While many Asian Americanist scholars and activists aim to disprove the model minority as “myth,” author Takeo Rivera instead rethinks the model minority as cultural politics. Rather than disproving the model minority, Rivera instead argues that Asian Americans have formulated their racial and gendered subjectivities in relation to what Rivera terms “model minority masochism.” Examining hegemonic masculine Asian American cultural performance across multiple media, from literature and theater to videogames and activist archives, Rivera details two complementary forms of contemporary racial masochism: a self-subjugating masochism which embraces the model minority, and its opposite, a self-flagellating masochism that punishes oneself for having been associated with the model minority at all. Listen in as we discuss his book Model Minority Masochism: Performing the Cultural Politics of Asian Ameri
19/09/20231 hour 2 minutes 5 seconds
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Kimberly Mack, "Living Colour's Time's Up" (Bloomsbury, 2023)

The iconic Black rock band Living Colour's Time's Up, released in 1990, was recorded in the aftermath of the spectacular critical and commercial success of their debut record Vivid. Time's Up is a musical and lyrical triumph, incorporating distinct forms and styles of music and featuring inspired collaborations with artists as varied as Little Richard, Queen Latifah, Maceo Parker, and Mick Jagger. The clash of sounds and styles don't immediately fit. The confrontational hardcore-thrash metal - complete with Glover's apocalyptic wail - in the title track is not a natural companion with Doug E. Fresh's human beat box on "Tag Team Partners," but it's precisely this bold and brilliant collision that creates the barely-controlled chaos. And isn't rock & roll about chaos? Living Colour's sophomore effort holds great relevance in light of its forward-thinking politics and lyrical engagement with racism, classism, police brutality, and other social and political issues of great importance. In 
19/09/202359 minutes 11 seconds
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Tanya Maria Golash-Boza, "Before Gentrification: The Creation of DC's Racial Wealth Gap" (U California Press, 2023)

This book shows how a century of redlining, disinvestment, and the War on Drugs wreaked devastation on Black people and paved the way for gentrification in Washington, DC. In Before Gentrification: The Creation of DC's Racial Wealth Gap (U California Press, 2023), Tanya Maria Golash-Boza tracks the cycles of state abandonment and punishment that have shaped the city, revealing how policies and policing work to displace and decimate the Black middle class. Through the stories of those who have lost their homes and livelihoods, Golash-Boza explores how DC came to be the nation's "murder capital" and incarceration capital, and why it is now a haven for wealthy White people. This troubling history makes clear that the choice to use prisons and policing to solve problems faced by Black communities in the twentieth century--instead of investing in schools, community centers, social services, health care, and violence prevention--is what made gentrification possible in the twenty-first. Befor
19/09/202348 minutes 21 seconds
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Christian Kiefer, "The Heart of It All" (Melville House, 2023)

In The Heart of It All (Melville House, 2023), Christian Kiefer imagines a group of factory workers and their families living in a once vibrant Ohio town during the Trump era. The factory is the only place to work outside of Walmart, the grocery store, or a fast-food chain, and it’s owned by Mr. Marwat, a Pakistani man whose wife helps in the office, while their teenagers embrace American life. The family is upended when Mr. Marwat’s parents move in. The factory foreman, Tom Bailey, and his family’s lives are upended when their sick baby dies. Their daughter Janey’s life is upended when she befriends the only Black young man in the town. Mr. Marwat’s secretary Mary Lou’s life is upended when her mother moves into a nursing home and dies. All of their struggles are exacerbated by small injustices but eased by small kindnesses in this sweet and thoughtful glimpse into the lives of people just trying to get by. CHRISTIAN KIEFER’s novels have appeared on best of the year lists from Kirkus,
19/09/202329 minutes 5 seconds
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Lincoln A. Mitchell, "The One Hundred Most Important Players in Baseball History" (Artemesia Publishing, 2023)

Baseball lore and history is filled with many valuable players, and not all of them are the Hall of Famers you know. In The One Hundred Most Important Players in Baseball History (Artemesia Publishing, 2023) Lincoln A. Mitchell highlights the one hundred players who have had the biggest impact on baseball, popular culture, and history through their careers inside or outside of baseball. You'll find stories about famous players like Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, but also lesser known but deeply impactful baseball players like Curt Flood, Hal Chase, and Felipe Alou. For over 120 years baseball has been a deep part of American life as folk culture and big business, but for just as long it has also been central to race relations, labor issues, global conflicts, and the songs of Bob Dylan. These one hundred players have influenced not only America's pastime but the country as well. Paul Knepper covered the New York Knicks for Bleacher Report. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewi
18/09/202354 minutes 38 seconds
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Luke Messac, "Your Money Or Your Life: Debt Collection in American Medicine" (Oxford UP, 2023)

A riveting exposé of medical debt collection in America -- and the profound financial and physical costs eroding patient trust in medicine For the crime of falling sick without wealth, Americans today face lawsuits, wage garnishment, home foreclosure, and even jail time. Yet who really profits from aggressive medical debt collection? And how does this predatory system affect patients and doctors responsible for their care?  Your Money Or Your Life: Debt Collection in American Medicine (Oxford UP, 2023) reveals how medical debt collection became a multibillion-dollar industry and how everyday Americans are made to pay the price. Emergency physician and historian Luke Messac weaves patient stories into a history of law, finance, and medicine to show how debt and debt collection are destroying the foundational trust between doctors and patients at the heart of American healthcare. The fight to stop aggressive collection tactics has brought together people from all corners of the political
17/09/202334 minutes 59 seconds
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Avery Dame-Griff, "The Two Revolutions: A History of the Transgender Internet" (NYU Press, 2023)

Avery Dame-Griff's The Two Revolutions: A History of the Transgender Internet (NYU Press, 2023) explores how the rise of the internet shaped transgender identity and activism from the 1980s to the present. Through extensive archival research and media archeology, Avery Dame-Griff reconstructs the manifold digital networks of transgender activists, cross-dressing computer hobbyists, and others interested in gender nonconformity who incited the second revolution of the title: the ascendance of “transgender” as an umbrella identity in the mid-1990s. Dame-Griff argues that digital communications sparked significant momentum within what would become the transgender movement, but also further cemented existing power structures. Covering both a historical period that is largely neglected within the history of computing, and the poorly understood role of technology in queer and trans social movements, The Two Revolutions offers a new understanding of both revolutions—the internet’s early devel
17/09/202355 minutes 3 seconds
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Christopher F. Zurn, "Splitsville USA: A Democratic Argument for Breaking Up the United States" (Routledge, 2023)

At the end of the day, I have faith in the wisdom of democracy: the idea that good political solutions only arise from widely dispersed discussion, debate and decision among the broadest group of those affected. This book is intended, then, not as a finalized blueprint or technical report delivered from on high but as a conversation opener for democratic debate among my fellow citizens. – Christopher F. Zurn, Splitsville USA (2023) Splitsville USA: A Democratic Argument for Breaking Up the United States (Routledge, 2023) argues that it’s time for us to break up to save representative democracy, proposing a mutually negotiated, peaceful dissolution of the current United States into several new nations. Zurn begins by examining the United States’ democratic predicament, a road most likely headed for electoral authoritarianism, with distinct possibilities of ungovernability and violent civil strife. Unlike others who share this diagnosis, Zurn presents a realistic picture of how we can ge
16/09/20231 hour 20 minutes 4 seconds
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Katie J. Wells et al., "Disrupting D.C.: The Rise of Uber and the Fall of the City" (Princeton UP, 2023)

The first city to fight back against Uber, Washington, D.C., was also the first city where such resistance was defeated. It was here that the company created a playbook for how to deal with intransigent regulators and to win in the realm of local politics. The city already serves as the nation’s capital. Now, D.C. is also the blueprint for how Uber conquered cities around the world—and explains why so many embraced the company with open arms. Drawing on interviews with gig workers, policymakers, Uber lobbyists, and community organizers, Disrupting D.C.: The Rise of Uber and the Fall of a City (Princeton University Press, 2023) demonstrates that many share the blame for lowering the nation’s hopes and dreams for what its cities could be. In a sea of broken transit, underemployment, and racial polarization, Uber offered a lifeline. But at what cost? This is not the story of one company and one city. Instead, Disrupting D.C. offers a 360-degree view of an urban America in crisis. Uber arr
16/09/202355 minutes 23 seconds
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Christopher Paul Harris, "To Build a Black Future: The Radical Politics of Joy, Pain, and Care" (Princeton UP, 2023)

When #BlackLivesMatter emerged in 2013, it animated the most consequential Black-led mobilization since the civil rights and Black power era. Today, the hashtag turned rallying cry is but one expression of a radical reorientation toward Black politics, protest, and political thought. To Build a Black Future: The Radical Politics of Joy, Pain, and Care (Princeton UP, 2023) examines the spirit and significance of this insurgency, offering a revelatory account of a new political culture--responsive to pain, suffused with joy, and premised on care--emerging from the centuries-long arc of Black rebellion, a tradition that traces back to the Black slave. Drawing on his own experiences as an activist and organizer, Christopher Paul Harris takes readers inside the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) to chart the propulsive trajectory of Black politics and thought from the Middle Passage to the present historical moment. Carefully attending to the social forces that produce Black struggle and the c
15/09/202333 minutes 3 seconds
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Zachary Parolin, "Poverty in the Pandemic: Policy Lessons from COVID-19" (Russell Sage Foundation, 2023)

Zachary Parolin's book Poverty in the Pandemic: Policy Lessons from COVID-19 (Russell Sage Foundation, 2023) is interested in poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., as well as what the pandemic teaches us about how to think about poverty, and policies designed to reduce it, well after the pandemic subsides. Four main questions guide the book's focus. First, how did poverty influence the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic? Second, what was the role of government income support in reducing poverty during the pandemic? Third, what lessons does the COVID-19 pandemic offer for the way we measure and conceptualize poverty in the U.S.? And fourth, what policy lessons should we take from the pandemic for efforts to improve the economic well-being of households in the future? In answering these four questions, this book not only provides a comprehensive, descriptive portrait of policy and poverty outcomes during the pandemic but also identifies policy takeaways for improving econo
15/09/202331 minutes 57 seconds
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Chris Molanphy, "Old Town Road" (Duke UP, 2023)

In Old Town Road (Duke University Press, 2023), Chris Molanphy considers Lil Nas X’s debut single as pop artifact, chart phenomenon, and cultural watershed. “Old Town Road” was more than a massive hit, with the most weeks at No. 1 in Billboard Hot 100 history. It is also a prism through which to track the evolution of popular music consumption and the ways race influences how the music industry categorizes songs and artists. By both lionizing and satirizing genre tropes—it’s a country song built from an alternative rock sample, a hip-hop song in which nobody raps, a comical song that transcends novelty, and a queer anthem—Lil Nas X troubles the very idea of genre. Ultimately, Molanphy shows how “Old Town Road” channeled decades of Americana to point the way toward our cultural future.  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, specific
15/09/202348 minutes 6 seconds
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Jonathan Leal, "Dreams in Double Time: On Race, Freedom, and Bebop" (Duke UP, 2023)

In Dreams in Double Time: On Race, Freedom, and Bebop (Duke UP, 2023), Jonathan Leal examines how the musical revolution of bebop opened up new futures for racialized and minoritized communities. Blending lyrical nonfiction with transdisciplinary critique and moving beyond standard Black/white binary narratives of jazz history, Leal focuses on the stories and experiences of three musicians and writers of color: James Araki, a Nisei multi-instrumentalist, soldier-translator, and literature and folklore scholar; Raúl Salinas, a Chicano poet, jazz critic, and longtime activist who endured the US carceral system for over a decade; and Harold Wing, an Afro-Chinese American drummer, pianist, and songwriter who performed with bebop pioneers before working as a public servant. Leal foregrounds that for these men and their collaborators, bebop was an affectively and intellectually powerful force that helped them build community and dream new social possibilities. Bebop’s complexity and radicali
14/09/20231 hour 19 minutes 4 seconds
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Jonathan Daniel Wells, "The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War" (Bold Type Press, 2020)

In a rapidly changing New York, two forces battled for the city's soul: the pro-slavery New Yorkers who kept the illegal slave trade alive and well, and the abolitionists fighting for freedom. We often think of slavery as a southern phenomenon, far removed from the booming cities of the North. But even though slavery had been outlawed in Gotham by the 1830s, Black New Yorkers were not safe. Not only was the city built on the backs of slaves; it was essential in keeping slavery and the slave trade alive. In The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War (Bold Type Press, 2020), historian Jonathan Daniel Wells tells the story of the powerful network of judges, lawyers, and police officers who circumvented anti-slavery laws by sanctioning the kidnapping of free and fugitive African Americans. Nicknamed "The New York Kidnapping Club," the group had the tacit support of institutions from Wall Street to Tammany Hall whose wealth depended on the Southern
14/09/20231 hour 2 minutes 2 seconds
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The Shadow War between America and Russia

Western analysts and media often assess the prospect that Moscow might use nuclear weapons as the war in Ukraine grinds on, possibly to a flailing Russia’s disadvantage. George Beebe, though, injects a less-familiar element into this grim dynamic: What are the chances that Washington might resort to nukes, should the direction in the war turn sharply against U.S.-backed Ukraine? Or enter the conflict directly with NATO air support for beleaguered Ukrainian foot soldiers? These are awkward questions but Beebe is well equipped to parse them. He is the Director of Grand Strategy for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft in Washington and in an earlier career in government he served as director of the CIA’s Russia analysis.  The springboard for our discussion is his 2019 book, The Russia Trap: How Our Shadow War with Russia Could Spiral into Nuclear Catastrophe (St. Martins Press, 2019). It’s a sober and an incisive look at a vital topic—and as characterizes Beebe’s assessments g
13/09/20231 hour 4 minutes 47 seconds
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Anthony B. Sanders, "Baby Ninth Amendments: How Americans Embraced Unenumerated Rights and Why It Matters" (U Michigan Press, 2023)

Listing every right that a constitution should protect is hard. American constitution drafters often list a few famous rights such as freedom of speech, protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, and free exercise of religion, plus a handful of others. However, we do not need to enumerate every liberty because there is another way to protect them: an "etcetera clause." It states that there are other rights beyond those specifically listed: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Yet scholars are divided on whether the Ninth Amendment itself actually does protect unenumerated rights, and the Supreme Court has almost entirely ignored it. Regardless of what the Ninth Amendment means, two-thirds of state constitutions have equivalent provisions, or "Baby Ninth Amendments," worded similarly to the Ninth Amendment. Anthony B. Sanders' book Baby Ninth Amendments: How Americans Embraced Une
13/09/202349 minutes 37 seconds
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Michèle Lamont, "Seeing Others: How Recognition Works-And How It Can Heal a Divided World" (Atria, 2023)

How can we challenge and change inequalities? In Seeing Others: How Recognition Works— and How It Can Heal a Divided World (Atria, 2023), Michele Lamont, Professor of Sociology and African and African American Studies and the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies, at Harvard University, explores this question by empirically substantiating the concept of recognition. Using a huge range of case studies, interview data, as well as wealth of cross-disciplinary research, the book shows the problems of our unequal societies and the people, and ideas, that can contribute to solving them. It looks at art, politics, media and culture, as well as social policy and generational conflicts, all of which show how individuals and social groups need and can give recognition to each other. An accessible as well as detailed analysis, the book is essential reading across the humanities and social sciences, as well as for anyone who wants to make a better world. Dave O'Brien is Professor of Cult
13/09/202336 minutes 53 seconds
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Matthew McManus, "The Political Right and Equality: Turning Back the Tide of Egalitarian Modernity" (Routledge, 2023)

McManus presents an intellectual history of the conservative and reactionary tradition, stretching from Aristotle and Filmer to Alexander Dugin and Patrick Deneen. Providing a comprehensive critical genealogy of the intellectual political right, McManus traces its core to a nostalgia for the hierarchical cosmos of antiquarian and scholastic thinking. The yearning for a shared vision of the universe where each part of reality has its place maps onto the conservative admiration for orderly political and social stratification. It stamps even the more moderate forms of liberal conservatism which emerged in the aftermath of the revolutionary 18th century, as the political right struggled to accept and later master first the politics of liberal capitalism and later universal suffrage. In its most radical forms this nostalgia for an orderly and hierarchical existence can harden into a resentment at the perceived shallowness of liberal modernity. McManus argues for those who support the projec
13/09/202330 minutes 45 seconds
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Robert F. Moss, "The Lost Southern Chefs: A History of Commercial Dining in the Nineteenth-Century South" (U Georgia Press, 2022)

In recent years, food writers and historians have begun to retell the story of southern food. Heirloom ingredients and traditional recipes have been rediscovered, the foundational role that African Americans played in the evolution of southern cuisine is coming to be recognized, and writers are finally clearing away the cobwebs of romantic myth that have long distorted the picture. The story of southern dining, however, remains incomplete. The Lost Southern Chefs: A History of Commercial Dining in the Nineteenth-Century South (U Georgia Press, 2022) begins to fill that niche by charting the evolution of commercial dining in the nineteenth-century South. Robert F. Moss punctures long-accepted notions that dining outside the home was universally poor, arguing that what we would today call “fine dining” flourished throughout the region as its towns and cities grew. Moss describes the economic forces and technological advances that revolutionized public dining, reshaped commercial pantries
12/09/20231 hour 7 minutes 58 seconds
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William Darity et al., "The Black Reparations Project: A Handbook for Racial Justice" (U California Press, 2023)

A surge in interest in black reparations is taking place in America on a scale not seen since the Reconstruction Era. The Black Reparations Project: A Handbook for Racial Justice (U California Press, 2023) gathers an accomplished interdisciplinary team of scholars--members of the Reparations Planning Committee--who have considered the issues pertinent to making reparations happen. This book will be an essential resource in the national conversation going forward. The first section of The Black Reparations Project crystallizes the rationale for reparations, cataloguing centuries of racial repression, discrimination, violence, mass incarceration, and the immense black-white wealth gap. Drawing on the contributors' expertise in economics, history, law, public policy, public health, and education, the second section unfurls direct guidance for building and implementing a reparations program, including draft legislation that addresses how the program should be financed and how claimants can
12/09/202337 minutes 44 seconds
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Gilberto Rosas, "Unsettling: The El Paso Massacre, Resurgent White Nationalism, and the US-Mexico Border" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2023)

On August 3, 2019, a far-right extremist committed a deadly mass shooting at a major shopping center in El Paso, Texas, a city on the border of the United States and Mexico. In Unsettling, Gilberto Rosas situates this devastating shooting as the latest unsettling consequence of our border crisis and currents of deeply rooted white nationalism embedded in the United States. Tracing strict immigration policies and inhumane border treatment from the Clinton era through Democratic and Republican administrations alike, Rosas shows how the rhetoric around these policies helped lead to the Trump administration's brutal crackdown on migration—and the massacre in El Paso. Rosas draws on poignant stories and compelling testimonies from workers in immigrant justice organizations, federal public defenders, immigration attorneys, and human rights activists to document the cruelties and indignities inflicted on border crossers. Borders, as sites of crossings and spaces long inhabited by marginalized
12/09/202344 minutes 48 seconds
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A Better Way to Buy Books is an online book retailer that donates more than 80% of its profits to independent bookstores. Launched in 2020, has already raised more than $27,000,000. In this interview, Andy Hunter, founder and CEO discusses his journey to creating one of the most revolutionary new organizations in the book world. Bookshop has found a way to retain the convenience of online book shopping while also supporting independent bookstores that are the backbones of many local communities.  Andy Hunter is CEO and Founder of He also co-created Literary Hub. Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
12/09/202334 minutes 29 seconds
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Race and Electrical Infrastructure in the Jim Crow South

Conor Harrison, Associate Professor of Geography and the School of Earth, Ocean, and Environment at the University of South Carolina, talks about his research into the racist development of electrical systems in the Jim Crow South with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. The pair discuss how Harrison’s research fits within larger trends in the academic discipline of geography and the kinds of empirical research Harrison did to support his articles on the racial dimensions of electricity infrastructure. They also discuss how Harrison’s research has shifted in recent years to focus on the financial structures of the electricity industry. Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by
11/09/202353 minutes 11 seconds
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Robyn Muir, "The Disney Princess Phenomenon: A Feminist Analysis" (Bristol UP, 2023)

The Disney Princesses are a billion-dollar industry, known and loved by children across the globe. In The Disney Princess Phenomenon: A Feminist Analysis (Bristol University Press, 2023) Dr. Robyn Muir provides an exploratory and holistic examination of this worldwide commercial and cultural phenomenon in its key representations: films, merchandising and marketing, and park experiences. Muir highlights the messages and images of femininity found within the Disney Princess canon and provides a rigorous and innovative methodology for analysing gender in media. Including an in-depth examination of each princess film from the last 83 years, the book provides a lens through which to view and understand how Disney Princesses have contributed to the depiction of femininity within popular culture. This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with
11/09/20231 hour 10 minutes 8 seconds
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Josephine Lee, "Oriental, Black, and White: The Formation of Racial Habits in American Theater" (UNC Press, 2022)

The history of race in American theater is more complicated than you might think, writes Dr. Josephine Lee in Oriental, Black, and White: The Formation of Racial Habits in American Theater (UNC Press, 2022). Dr. Lee, a professor of English and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota, examines the linked histories of orientalism, Blackface and Yellowface, in nineteenth and early twentieth century American theater, showing how identity creation and racialization occurred among multiple groups simultaneously. Within the context of large scale East Asian immigration to the West coast, labor debates, and American empire building. Theaters, both on the East and West coasts, and touring Black and white theater companies, thus both reflected and shaped American ideas about race and belonging throughout this time period. A fascinating and complex look at how Americans tried to make sense of their world, Lee asks readers to look beyond easy answers and assumptions, and look at Amer
11/09/202347 minutes 15 seconds
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Postscript: How Firearms Fuel Domestic Violence in the US

In 2019, nearly two-thirds of domestic violence homicides in the United States were committed with a gun. On average, three women are killed by a current or former partner every day in the United States. Between 1980 and 2014, more than half of women killed by intimate partners were killed with guns. Domestic violence affects children, friends, neighbors, peace officers, the abusers themselves, and society as a whole. This fall, the United States Supreme Court will hear a Second Amendment case (United States v. Rahimi) that may affect whether Congress or state legislatures may pass laws to mitigate domestic violence. To unpack what we know about the effect of firearms on intimate partner violence, Postscript brings you two nationally recognized experts on public health and firearms and an attorney who helped assembled an amicus brief for the Supreme Court. Dr. Shannon Frattoroli, PhD, MPH, is Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is affiliated with the J
11/09/20231 hour 13 minutes 18 seconds
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Nicole Fabricant, "Fighting to Breathe: Race, Toxicity, and the Rise of Youth Activism in Baltimore" (U California Press, 2022)

Industrial toxic emissions on the South Baltimore Peninsula are among the highest in the nation. Because of the concentration of factories and other chemical industries in their neighborhoods, residents face elevated rates of lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses in addition to heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular disease, all of which can lead to premature death.  Fighting to Breathe: Race, Toxicity, and the Rise of Youth Activism in Baltimore (U California Press, 2022) follows a dynamic and creative group of high school students who decided to fight back against the race- and class-based health disparities and inequality in their city. For more than a decade, student organizers stood up to unequal land use practices and the proposed construction of an incinerator and instead initiated new waste management strategies. As a Baltimore resident and activist-scholar, Nicole Fabricant documents how these young organizers came to envision, design, and create a more just and sust
10/09/202336 minutes 56 seconds
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Isabel Machado, "Carnival in Alabama: Marked Bodies and Invented Traditions in Mobile" (UP of Mississippi, 2023)

Mobile is simultaneously a typical and unique city in the postwar United States. It was a quintessential boomtown during World War II. That prosperity was followed by a period of rapid urban decline and subsequent attempts at revitalizing (or gentrifying) its downtown area. As in many other US cities, urban renewal, integration, and other socioeconomic developments led to white flight, marginalized the African American population, and set the stage for the development of LGBTQ+ community building and subculture. Yet these usually segregated segments of society in Mobile converged once a year to create a common identity, that of a Carnival City. Carnival in Alabama: Marked Bodies and Invented Traditions in Mobile (UP of Mississippi, 2023) looks not only at the people who participated in Mardi Gras organizations divided by race, gender, and/or sexual orientation, but also investigates the experience of “marked bodies” outside of these organizations, or people involved in Carnival through
10/09/20231 hour 11 minutes 23 seconds
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Jeanne K. Firth, "Feeding New Orleans: Celebrity Chefs and Reimagining Food Justice" (UNC Press, 2023)

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, many high-profile chefs in New Orleans pledged to help their city rebound from the flooding. Several formed their own charitable organizations, including the John Besh Foundation, to help revitalize the region and its restaurant scene. A year and a half after the disaster when the total number of open restaurants eclipsed the pre-Katrina count, it was embraced as a sign that the city itself had survived, and these chefs arguably became the de facto heroes of the city's recovery. Meanwhile, food justice organizations tried to tap into the city's legendary food culture to fundraise, marketing high-end dining events that centered these celebrity chefs. In Feeding New Orleans: Celebrity Chefs and Reimagining Food Justice (UNC Press, 2023), Jeanne K. Firth documents the growth of celebrity humanitarianism, viewing the phenomenon through the lens of feminist ethnography to understand how elite philanthropy is raced, classed, and gendered. Firth finds that cul
09/09/20231 hour 20 minutes 58 seconds
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Christian O. Paiz, "The Strikers of Coachella: A Rank-And-File History of the UFW Movement" (UNC Press, 2023)

The past decades have borne witness to the United Farm Workers' (UFW) tenacious hold on the country's imagination. Since 2008, the UFW has lent its rallying cry to a presidential campaign and been the subject of no less than nine books, two documentaries, and one motion picture. Yet the full story of the women, men, and children who powered this social movement has not yet been told. Based on more than 200 hours of original oral history interviews conducted with Coachella Valley residents who participated in the UFW and Chicana/o movements, as well as previously unused oral history collections of Filipino farm workers, bracero workers, and UFW volunteers throughout the United States, The Strikers of Coachella: A Rank-And-File History of the UFW Movement (UNC Press, 2023) spans from the 1960s and 1970s through the union's decline in the early 1980s. Christian O. Paiz refocuses attention on the struggle inherent in organizing a particularly vulnerable labor force, especially during a per
08/09/20231 hour 10 minutes 31 seconds
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Chris Yogerst, "The Warner Brothers" (UP of Kentucky, 2023)

One of the oldest and most recognizable studios in Hollywood, Warner Bros. is considered a juggernaut of the entertainment industry. Since its formation in the early twentieth century, the studio has been a constant presence in cinema history, responsible for the creation of acclaimed films, blockbuster brands, and iconic superstars. In The Warner Brothers (UP of Kentucky, 2023), Chris Yogerst follows the siblings from their family's humble origins in Poland, through their young adulthood in the American Midwest, to the height of fame and fortune in Hollywood. With unwavering resolve, the brothers soldiered on against the backdrop of an America reeling from the aftereffects of domestic and global conflict. The Great Depression would not sink the brothers, who churned out competitive films that engaged audiences and kept their operations afloat―and even expanding. During World War II, they used their platform to push beyond the limits of the Production Code and create important films ab
08/09/20231 hour 7 minutes 36 seconds
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Erik Sherman, "Daybreak at Chavez Ravine: Fernandomania and the Remaking of the Los Angeles Dodgers" (U Nebraska Press, 2023)

Fernando Valenzuela was only twenty years old when Tom Lasorda chose him as the Dodgers' opening-day starting pitcher in 1981. Born in the remote Mexican town of Etchohuaquila, the left-hander had moved to the United States less than two years before. He became an instant icon, and his superlative rookie season produced Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards--and a World Series victory over the Yankees. Forty years later, there hasn't been a player since who created as many Dodgers fans. After the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles from Brooklyn in the late 1950s, relations were badly strained between the organization and the Latin world. Mexican Americans had been evicted from their homes in Chavez Ravine, Los Angeles--some forcibly--for well below market value so the city could sell the land to team owner Walter O'Malley for a new stadium. For a generation of working-class Mexican Americans, the Dodgers became a source of great anguish over the next two decades. However, that bitterness to
06/09/202346 minutes 34 seconds
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Andrew Chan, "Why Mariah Carey Matters" (U Texas Press, 2023)

Why Mariah Carey Matters (University of Texas Press, 2023) examines the creative and complicated evolution of the musical artist. In the 1990s, Carey perfected blending pop, hip-hop, and R&B and drew from her turbulent personal life to create introspective, sonically sound masterpieces like “Vision of Love,” “Make it Happen,” and “Butterfly.” There is no doubt about Carey’s star power, as she has sold over 220 million albums globally and has the most Billboard chart-topping singles of any solo artist. Although a pioneering songwriter and producer, Carey’s musicianship and influence are still insufficiently appreciated. Andrew Chan looks beyond Carey’s glamorous persona to explore her experience as a biracial Black woman in the music business, her adventurous forays into house music and gospel, and her appeal to multiple generations of queer audiences. He also reckons with the transcendent ideal of the voice that Carey represents, showing how this international icon taught artists world
05/09/20231 hour 33 seconds
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Kristal Brent Zook, "The Girl in the Yellow Poncho: A Memoir" (Duke UP, 2023)

At five years old, Kristal Brent Zook sat on the steps of a Venice Beach, California, motel trying to make sense of her white father’s abandonment, which left her feeling unworthy of a man’s love and of white protection. Raised by her working-class African American mother and grandmother, Zook was taught not to count on anyone, especially men. Men leave. Men disappoint. In adulthood she became a feminist, activist, and “race woman” journalist in New York City. Despite her professional success, something was missing. Coming to terms with her identity was a constant challenge. The Girl in the Yellow Poncho: A Memoir (Duke UP, 2023) is Zook’s coming-of-age tale about what it means to be biracial in America. Throughout, she grapples with in-betweenness while also facing childhood sexual assault, economic insecurity, and multigenerational alcoholism and substance abuse on both the Black and white sides of her family. Her story is one of strong Black women—herself, her cousin, her mother, an
05/09/202333 minutes 5 seconds
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Al Davidoff, "Unionizing the Ivory Tower: Cornell Workers' Fifteen-Year Fight for Justice and a Living Wage" (ILR Press, 2023)

Unionizing the Ivory Tower: Cornell Workers' Fifteen-Year Fight for Justice and a Living Wage (ILR Press, 2023) chronicles how a thousand low-paid custodians, cooks, and gardeners succeeded in organizing a union at Cornell University. Al Davidoff, the Cornell student leader who became a custodian and the union's first president, tells the extraordinary story of these ordinary workers with passion, sensitivity, and wit. His memoir reveals how they took on the dominant power in the community, built a strong organization, and waged multiple strikes and campaigns for livable wages and their dignity. Their strategies and tactics were creative and feisty, founded on worker participation and ownership. The union's commitment to fairness, equity, and economic justice also engaged these workers—mostly rural, white, and conservative—at the intersections of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia. Davidoff's story demonstrates how a fighting union can activate today's working class to oppose ant
04/09/20231 hour 46 seconds
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Alexander Stille, "The Sullivanians: Sex, Psychotherapy, and the Wild Life of an American Commune" (FSG, 2023)

In the middle of the Ozzie and Harriet 1950s, the birth control pill was introduced and a maverick psychoanalytic institute, the Sullivan Institute for Research in Psychoanalysis, opened its doors in New York City. Its founders, Saul Newton and Jane Pearce, wanted to start a revolution, one grounded in ideals of creative expression, sexual liberation, and freedom from the expectations of society, and the revolution, they felt, needed to begin at home. Dismantling the nuclear family—and monogamous marriage—would free people from the repressive forces of their parents. In its first two decades, the movement attracted many brilliant, creative people as patients: the painter Jackson Pollock and a swarm of other abstract expressionist artists, the famed art critic Clement Greenberg, the singer Judy Collins, and the dancer Lucinda Childs. In the 1960s, the group evolved into an urban commune of three or four hundred people, with patients living with other patients, leading creative, polyamor
04/09/202344 minutes 53 seconds
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Zachary Jacobson, "On Nixon's Madness: An Emotional History" (Johns Hopkins UP, 2023)

When Richard Nixon battled for the presidency in 1968, he did so with the knowledge that, should he win, he would face the looming question of how to extract the United States from its disastrous war in Vietnam. It was on a beach that summer that Nixon disclosed to his chief aide, H. R. Haldeman, one of his most notorious, risky gambits: the madman theory. In On Nixon's Madness: An Emotional History (Johns Hopkins UP, 2023), Zachary Jonathan Jacobson examines the enigmatic president through this theory of Nixon’s own invention. With strategic force and nuclear bluffing, Nixon attempted to coerce his foreign adversaries through sheer unpredictability. As his national security advisor Henry Kissinger noted, Nixon’s strategy resembled a poker game in which he “push[ed] so many chips into the pot” that the United States’ foes would think the president had gone “crazy.” From Vietnam, Pakistan, and India to the greater Middle East, Nixon applied this madman theory. Foreign relations were not
03/09/202337 minutes 18 seconds
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John Szwed, "Cosmic Scholar: The Life and Times of Harry Smith" (FSG, 2023)

Who was Harry Smith? Was he an anthropologist, a filmmaker, a painter? Was he a charlatan? A genius? Was he a moocher, a schmuck, a bum? As John Szwed's Cosmic Scholar: The Life and Times of Harry Smith (FSG, 2023) reveals, Smith was all of these and more. Best known for editing The Anthology of American Folk Music, Smith was also a pioneer in experimental film who Jonas Mekas considered one of the leading lights of the New American Cinema. He created paintings that attempted to transcribe bebop recordings. He acted as mysticism consultant on the 1967 effort to levitate the Pentagon. But he also spent years living in poverty, in SROs, at the Chelsea Hotel, or at the apartments of famous friends like Allen Ginsberg. The story of Harry Smith is thus also a story of a vanished New York Bohemia that mixed high and low, the street and the gallery, the Bowery and MOMA, to create one of the most remarkable outpourings of cultural production this country has even seen. And Smith was at the cen
03/09/20231 hour 1 minute 28 seconds
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Kidada E. Williams, "I Saw Death Coming: A History of Terror and Survival in the War Against Reconstruction" (Bloomsbury, 2023)

The story of Reconstruction is often told from the perspective of the politicians, generals, and journalists whose accounts claim an outsized place in collective memory. But this pivotal era looked very different to African Americans in the South transitioning from bondage to freedom after 1865. They were besieged by a campaign of white supremacist violence that persisted through the 1880s and beyond. For too long, their lived experiences have been sidelined, impoverishing our understanding of the obstacles post-Civil War Black families faced, their inspiring determination to survive, and the physical and emotional scars they bore because of it.  In I Saw Death Coming: A History of Terror and Survival in the War Against Reconstruction (Bloomsbury, 2023), Kidada E. Williams offers a breakthrough account of the much-debated Reconstruction period, transporting readers into the daily existence of formerly enslaved people building hope-filled new lives. Drawing on overlooked sources and bol
03/09/20231 hour 29 minutes 48 seconds
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Diana W. Anselmo, "A Queer Way of Feeling: Girl Fans and Personal Archives of Early Hollywood" (U California Press, 2023)

In A Queer Way of Feeling: Girl Fans and Personal Archives of Early Hollywood (University of California Press, 2023), Diana W. Anselmo queers the earliest development of the "fangirl." Gathering an unexplored archive of fan-made scrapbooks, letters, diaries, and photographs, A Queer Way of Feeling explores how, in the 1910s, girls coming of age in the United States used cinema to forge a foundational language of female nonconformity, intimacy, and kinship. Pasting cross-dressed photos on personal scrapbooks and making love to movie actresses in epistolary writing, adolescent girls from all walks of life stitched together established homoerotic conventions with an emergent syntax of film stardom to make sense of mental states, actions, and proclivities self-described as "queer" or "different from the norm." Material testimonies of a forgotten audience, these autobiographical artifacts show how early movie-loving girls engendered terminologies, communities, and creative practices that wo
02/09/20231 hour 4 minutes 39 seconds
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Kathryn J. Edin et al., "The Injustice of Place: Uncovering the Legacy of Poverty in America" (Mariner Books, 2023)

A sweeping and surprising new understanding of extreme poverty in America from the authors of the acclaimed $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America.  Three of the nation’s top scholars – known for tackling key mysteries about poverty in America – turn their attention from the country’s poorest people to its poorest places. Based on a fresh, data-driven approach, they discover that America’s most disadvantaged communities are not the big cities that get the most notice. Instead, nearly all are rural. Little if any attention has been paid to these places or to the people who make their lives there.  This revelation set in motion a five-year journey across Appalachia, the Cotton and Tobacco Belts of the Deep South, and South Texas. Immersing themselves in these communities, pouring over centuries of local history, attending parades and festivals, the authors trace the legacies of the deepest poverty in America—including inequalities shaping people’s health, livelihoods, and upwar
01/09/202333 minutes 58 seconds
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Sarah R. Coleman, "The Walls Within: The Politics of Immigration in Modern America" (Princeton UP, 2023)

Sarah Coleman, an historian at Texas State University, is the author of an important and topical book about immigration policy in the United States. The Walls Within: The Politics of Immigration in Modern America (Princeton UP, 2023) focuses much less on the often-discussed physical border between the United States and other countries, and more so on the internal touchpoints where immigration federalism takes place. Coleman does a number of things in this book, including providing a fascinating overview of immigration policies and prohibitions throughout U.S. history, but not in a linear mode—instead, she integrates the historical record into the discussion of the domestic policies that were developed over the past 70 years. These policies are the central focus of the book, since it is the structure, execution, and implementation of these policies that constrain and impact citizens and non-citizens in the United States. The Walls Within examines education policy and court decisions, la
31/08/202347 minutes 21 seconds
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Hava Rachel Gordon, "This Is Our School!: Race and Community Resistance to School Reform" (NYU Press, 2021)

Parents, educators, and activists are passionately fighting to improve public schools around the country. In This Is Our School!: Race and Community Resistance to School Reform (NYU Press, 2021), Hava Rachel Gordon takes us inside these fascinating school reform movements, exploring their origins, aims, and victories as they work to build a better future for our education system. Focusing on a school district in Denver, Colorado, Gordon takes a look at different coalitions within the school reform movement, as well as the surprising competition that arises between them. Drawing on over eighty interviews and ethnographic research, she explores how these groups vie for power, as well as the role that race, class, and gentrification play in shaping their successes and failures, strategies and structures. Gordon shows us what happens when people mobilize from the ground up and advocate for educational change. This Is Our School! gives us an inside look at the diverse voices within the scho
31/08/202347 minutes 7 seconds
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John Brackett, "Live Dead: The Grateful Dead, Live Recordings, and the Ideology of Liveness" (Duke UP, 2023)

The Grateful Dead were one of the most successful live acts of the rock era. Performing over 2300 shows between 1965 and 1995, the Grateful Dead’s reputation as a “live band” was—and continues to be—sustained by thousands of live concert recordings from every era of the group’s long and colorful career.  In Live Dead: The Grateful Dead, Live Recordings, and the Ideology of Liveness (Duke UP, 2023), musicologist John Brackett examines how live recordings—from the group’s official releases to fan-produced tapes, bootlegs to “Betty Boards,” and Dick’s Picks to From the Vault—have shaped the general history and popular mythology of the Grateful Dead for over fifty years. Drawing on a diverse array of materials and documents contained in the Grateful Dead Archive, Live Dead details how live recordings became meaningful among the band and their fans not only as sonic souvenirs of past musical performances but also as expressions of assorted ideals, including notions of “liveness,” authentici
30/08/20231 hour 6 minutes 41 seconds
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Tomiko Brown-Nagin, "Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality" (Knopf Doubleday, 2023)

With the US Supreme Court confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson, “it makes sense to revisit the life and work of another Black woman who profoundly shaped the law: Constance Baker Motley” (CNN). Born to an aspirational blue-collar family during the Great Depression, Constance Baker Motley was expected to find herself a good career as a hairdresser. Instead, she became the first black woman to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court, the first of ten she would eventually argue. The only black woman member in the legal team at the NAACP’s Inc. Fund at the time, she defended Martin Luther King in Birmingham, helped to argue in Brown vs. The Board of Education, and played a critical role in vanquishing Jim Crow laws throughout the South. She was the first black woman elected to the state Senate in New York, the first woman elected Manhattan Borough President, and the first black woman appointed to the federal judiciary. Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equ
30/08/20231 hour 1 minute 43 seconds
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Brooke L. Blower, "Americans in a World at War: Intimate Histories from the Crash of Pan Am's Yankee Clipper" (Oxford UP, 2023)

On February 21, 1943, Pan American Airways’ celebrated seaplane—the Yankee Clipper—took off from New York and island-hopped its way across the Atlantic Ocean. Arriving at Lisbon the following evening, it crashed in the Tagus River, killing twenty-four of its thirty-nine passengers and crew.  In her new book, Americans in a World at War: Intimate Histories from the Crash of Pan Am's Yankee Clipper (Oxford UP, 2023), author Brooke L. Blower traces the backstories of seven worldly Americans aboard that plane, their personal histories, their politics, and the paths that led them toward war. This vivid narrative captures the dramatic stories of these seven people and, through them, the impact of Americans’ global connections before and during World War II. Long before GIs began storming beaches and liberating towns, Americans had forged extensive political, economic, and personal ties to other parts of the world. These deep and sometimes contradictory engagements, which preceded the bombing
30/08/20231 hour 11 minutes 6 seconds
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Denise Gigante, "Book Madness: A Story of Book Collectors in America" (Yale UP, 2022)

In February 1848, a book auction took place in Astor House, No. 7, on the corner of Broadway and Vesey in lower Manhattan, New York. By all accounts, the books were shabby and books like them were discarded every day from private and public libraries: one observer described some of the books as “beyond a certain investure of raggedness and dilapidation, backs without covers, mutilated title pages, and missing colophons, on ordinary occasions.” Another observer writes, “They were so positively wretched that they really became fascinating in that very account—as your halfway beggars are despised by every body, while your thoroughgoing pestiferous, rag and filth accumulation sits to Murillo and the Masters.” Despite their ragged and pestiferous condition, these books drew the attention of booklovers throughout the United States. In some ways, the point was in the discontinuity between their deeper significance and their condition—and in the rare discernment of a true bibliomaniac which co
29/08/20231 hour 16 minutes 14 seconds
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Ana Lucia Araujo, "Museums and Atlantic Slavery" (Routledge, 2021)

Ana Lucia Araujo's book Museums and Atlantic Slavery (Routledge, 2021) explores how slavery, the Atlantic slave trade, and enslaved people are represented through words, visual images, artifacts, and audiovisual materials in museums in Europe and the Americas. Divided into four chapters, the book addresses four recurrent themes: wealth and luxury; victimhood and victimization; resistance and rebellion; and resilience and achievement. Considering the roles of various social actors who have contributed to the introduction of slavery in the museum in the last thirty years, the analysis draws on selected exhibitions, and institutions entirely dedicated to slavery, as well as national, community, plantation, and house museums in the United States, England, France, and Brazil. Engaging with literature from a range of disciplines, including history, anthropology, sociology, art history, tourism and museum studies, Araujo provides an overview of a topic that has not yet been adequately discuss
29/08/202358 minutes 38 seconds
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David Waldstreicher, "The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley: A Poet's Journeys Through American Slavery and Independence" (FSG, 2023)

Thy Power, O Liberty, make strong the weak, And (wond’rous instinct) Ethiopians speak. At the age of 19, Phillis Wheatley published the first book in English by a person of African descent and the third book of poetry by a North American Woman. She was a poet but also a political actor and celebrity – the most famous African in North America and Europe during the era of the American Revolution. George Washington wrote to her. Thomas Jefferson ridiculed her.  In The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley: A Poet's Journeys Through American Slavery and Independence (FSG, 2023) – a joint exercise in history and literary criticism, Dr. David Waldstreicher writes that Wheatley is “Homer and Odysseus and the slaves and the women they knew or imagined. She aimed for the universal without forgetting who was suffering most and why.” Reading Wheatley’s poetry in historical context reveals the extent to which the American Revolution both strengthened and limited black slavery – and also how Wheatley herself
28/08/20231 hour 9 minutes 43 seconds
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Asad L. Asad, "Engage and Evade: How Latino Immigrant Families Manage Surveillance in Everyday Life" (Princeton UP, 2023)

Because immigration is such a recurring-and divisive-topic in the United States, it is easy to assume that we understand what it means for an immigrant to live under the specter of surveillance and punishment. It is easy to assume, as many scholars and journalists do, that undocumented immigrants live on the run from the authorities, constantly fleeing to the margins of daily life, staying in the shadows beneath the eyes of the law. And yet, while it is certainly true that immigrants are constantly faced with mechanisms of surveillance that function as tools of societal exclusion, this only tells part of the story.  In Engage and Evade: How Latino Immigrant Families Manage Surveillance in Everyday Life (Princeton UP, 2023), Asad L. Asad show, many people with a sanctionable status cannot-and, in some cases, do not want to-evade surveilling institutions or the formal records they generate: evading the institutions that keep formal records is a luxury that most immigrants (especially tho
27/08/20231 hour 15 minutes 41 seconds
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Karima K. Jeffrey-Legette, "Speculative Film and Moving Images by or about Black Women and Girls" (Lexington Books, 2022)

Karima K. Jeffrey-Legette's book Speculative Film and Moving Images by or about Black Women and Girls (Lexington Books, 2022) examines depictions of African-descended women and girls in twentieth and twenty-first century filmmaking. Topics include a discursive analysis of stereotypes; roles garnered by Halle Berry, the only Black woman to receive an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role; the promise of characters, relationships, and scripts found in works ranging from Altered Carbon, Lovecraft Country, and HBO’s Watchmen series; and a closing chapter that considers the legacy of Black women in horror. Jeffrey-Legette illustrates the ways in which recent texts explore the trauma endured by people of African descent in the United States of America in evocative ways. In doing so, she provides a compelling interpretation of prevalent, well-received, and recurring images of Black women and girls in American popular culture. Katrina Anderson is a doctoral candidate at the University of De
27/08/20231 hour 48 minutes 12 seconds
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Beverly C. Tomek, "Slavery and Abolition in Pennsylvania" (Temple UP, 2021)

In her concise history Slavery and Abolition in Pennsylvania (Temple UP, 2021), Beverly Tomek corrects the long-held notion that slavery in the North was “not so bad” as, or somehow “more humane” than, in the South due to the presence of abolitionists. While the Quaker presence focused on moral and practical opposition to bondage, slavery was ubiquitous. Nevertheless, Pennsylvania was the first state to pass an abolition law in the United States. Slavery and Abolition in Pennsylvania traces this movement from its beginning to the years immediately following the American Civil War. Discussions of the complexities of the state’s antislavery movement illustrate how different groups of Pennsylvanians followed different paths in an effort to achieve their goal. Tomek also examines the backlash abolitionists and Black Americans faced. In addition, she considers the civil rights movement from the period of state reconstruction through the national reconstruction that occurred after the Civil
27/08/20231 hour 29 minutes 41 seconds
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Vanessa I. Corredera, "Reanimating Shakespeare's Othello in Post-Racial America" (Edinburgh UP, 2022)

Vanessa I. Corredera’s book Reanimating Shakespeare's Othello in Post-Racial America (Edinburgh Univeristy Press, 2022) looks at how that seventeenth-century play and its protagonist was imagined in theatre, television, and other media between 2008 and 2016. Corredera’s analysis ranges from the sketch comedy Key & Peele to Keith Hamilton Cobb’s play American Moor, from ever-persistent tradition of minstrel Othello to the reimagining of Shakespeare’s play by writers of color. Bringing together examples of cultural texts that perpetuate anti-black racism and other artifacts that offer anti-racist possibilities, Corredera’s book helps us to understand this recent moment in U.S. history. At times, to quote Reanimating Shakespeare’s Othello in Post-Racial America, creators like Serial’s Sarah Koenig “have operationalize[d] what this book demonstrates is in fact the common Othello narrative without truly thinking about its force, wielding Shakespearean authority without any regard as to the
27/08/20231 hour 50 minutes 37 seconds
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Peter Heather and John Rapley, "Why Empires Fall: Rome, America, and the Future of the West" (Yale UP, 2023)

Over the last three centuries, the West rose to dominate the planet. Then, around the start of the new millennium, history took a dramatic turn. Faced with economic stagnation and internal political division, the West has found itself in rapid decline compared to the global periphery it had previously colonized. This is not the first time we have seen such a rise and fall: the Roman Empire followed a similar arc, from dizzying power to disintegration. In Why Empires Fall: Rome, America, and the Future of the West (Yale UP, 2023) Historian Peter Heather and political economist John Rapley explore the uncanny parallels, and productive differences between ancient Rome and the modern West, moving beyond the tropes of invading barbarians and civilizational decay to unearth new lessons. From 399 to 1999, they argue, through the unfolding of parallel, underlying imperial life cycles, both empires sowed the seeds of their own destruction. Has the era of Western global domination indeed reached
27/08/202349 minutes 6 seconds
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Elly Fishman, "Refugee High: Coming of Age in America" (The New Press, 2021)

Lit Hub's Most Anticipated of 2021.  Winner of the Studs and Ida Terkel Award. A year in the life of a Chicago high school that has one of the highest proportions of refugees of any school in the nation. “A wondrous tapestry of stories, of young people looking for a home. With deep, immersive reporting, Elly Fishman pulls off a triumph of empathy. Their tales and their school speak to the best of who we are as a nation—and their struggles, their joys, their journeys will stay with you.” —Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here. For a century, Chicago’s Roger C. Sullivan High School has been a home to immigrant and refugee students. In 2017, during the worst global refugee crisis in history, its immigrant population numbered close to three hundred—or nearly half the school—and many were refugees new to the country. These young people came from thirty-five different countries, speaking among themselves more than thirty-eight different languages. For these refugee teens, life
26/08/202334 minutes 10 seconds
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Frederick W. Gooding Jr. and Eric S. Yellin, "Public Workers in Service of America: A Reader" (U Illinois Press, 2023)

From white-collar executives to mail carriers, public workers meet the needs of the entire nation. In Public Workers in Service of America: A Reader (U Illinois Press, 2023), Frederick W. Gooding Jr. and Eric S. Yellin provide an edited collection of new research on this understudied workforce:  Part One begins in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth century to explore how questions of race, class, and gender shaped public workers, their workplaces, and their place in American democracy. In Part Two, essayists examine race and gender discrimination while revealing the subtle contemporary forms of marginalization that keep Black men and Black and white women underpaid and overlooked for promotion. The historic labor actions detailed in Part Three illuminate how city employees organized not only for better pay and working conditions but to seek recognition from city officials, the public, and the national labor movement. Part Four focuses on nurses and teachers to address the thorny
26/08/202329 minutes 40 seconds
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Hollis Robbins, "Forms of Contention: Influence and the African American Sonnet Tradition" (U Georgia Press, 2020)

As I learned from Hollis Robbins’s monograph Forms of Contention: Influence and the African American Sonnet Tradition (U Georgia Press, 2020), there has been a long-standing skepticism of the sonnet form among Black writers and literary critics. Langston Hughes wrote that “the Shakespearean sonnet would be no mold to express the life of Beale Street or Lenox Avenue.” Ishmael Reed condemned sonneteering, alongside ode-writing, as “the feeble pluckings of musky gentlemen and slaves of the metronome.” And yet African American poets such as Terrance Hayes and Natasha Trethewey continue to contribute to a tradition of sonnet-writing that includes Robert Hayden, Phyllis Wheatley, Rita Dove, Amiri Baraka, and James Corrothers. Today’s guest is Hollis Robbins, the author of Forms of Contention, published with the University of Georgia Press in 2020. Hollis is the Dean of Humanities at the University of Utah. Previously, she served as Dean of Arts and Humanities at Sonoma State University, Prof
26/08/20231 hour 34 minutes 29 seconds
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Marisa Holmes, "Organizing Occupy Wall Street: This is Just Practice" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023)

Organizing Occupy Wall Street: This is Just Practice (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023) is the first study of the processes and structures of the Occupy Wall Street movement, written from the perspective of a core organizer who was involved from the inception to the end. While much has been written on OWS, few books have focused on how the movement was organized. Marisa Holmes, an organizer of OWS in New York City, aims to fill this gap by deriving the theory from the practice and analyzing a broad range of original primary sources, from collective statements, structure documents, meeting minutes, and live tweets, to hundreds of hours of footage from the OWS Media Working Group archive. In doing so, she reveals how the movement was organized in practice, which experiments were most successful, and what future generations can learn. Marisa Holmes is an organizer, filmmaker, writer, and educator based in Brooklyn, NY. She is the director of two non-fiction feature films, All Day All Week: An Occ
26/08/202347 minutes 4 seconds
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Frederick W. Gooding Jr. and Eric S. Yellin, "Public Workers in Service of America: A Reader" (U Illinois Press, 2023)

From white-collar executives to mail carriers, public workers meet the needs of the entire nation. In Public Workers in Service of America: A Reader (U Illinois Press, 2023), Frederick W. Gooding Jr. and Eric S. Yellin provide an edited collection of new research on this understudied workforce:  Part One begins in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth century to explore how questions of race, class, and gender shaped public workers, their workplaces, and their place in American democracy. In Part Two, essayists examine race and gender discrimination while revealing the subtle contemporary forms of marginalization that keep Black men and Black and white women underpaid and overlooked for promotion. The historic labor actions detailed in Part Three illuminate how city employees organized not only for better pay and working conditions but to seek recognition from city officials, the public, and the national labor movement. Part Four focuses on nurses and teachers to address the thorny
26/08/202329 minutes 40 seconds
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Juliana Hu Pegues, "Space-Time Colonialism: Alaska's Indigenous and Asian Entanglements" (UNC Press, 2021)

As the enduring "last frontier," Alaska proves an indispensable context for examining the form and function of American colonialism, particularly in the shift from western continental expansion to global empire. In this richly theorized work, Juliana Hu Pegues evaluates four key historical periods in U.S.-Alaskan history: the Alaskan purchase, the Gold Rush, the emergence of salmon canneries, and the World War II era. In each, Hu Pegues recognizes colonial and racial entanglements between Alaska Native peoples and Asian immigrants. In the midst of this complex interplay, the American colonial project advanced by differentially racializing and gendering Indigenous and Asian peoples, constructing Asian immigrants as "out of place" and Alaska Natives as "out of time." Counter to this space-time colonialism, Native and Asian peoples created alternate modes of meaning and belonging through their literature, photography, political organizing, and sociality. Offering an intersectional approac
25/08/202356 minutes 45 seconds
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Mbaye Lo and Carl W. Ernst, "I Cannot Write My Life: Islam, Arabic, and Slavery in Omar Ibn Said's America" (UNC Press, 2023)

Carl Ernst’s and Mbaye Lo’s new book I Cannot Write My Life: Islam, Arabic, and Slavery in Omar Ibn Said's America (UNC Press, 2023) is a fascinating and rivetting book that offers the most authoritative account to date of the life and Arabic writings of Omar Ibn Said, a scholar from what is today Senegal who was sold to slavery in the early 19th century and brought to Southern US. Moreover, this path paving book offers critical correctives to dominant perceptions of Said’s remarkable life narrative. Rather than understand Omar Ibn Said as a Muslim slave who had made peace with his new life in the US or had even converted to Christianity, Ernst and Lo demonstrate the deep imprints of Islam and Islamicate knowledge traditions in Omar Ibn Said’s varied writings such as his reflections on his life and his letters. This book, written in lyrical and engaging prose, makes available for the first time comprehensive translations of Omar Ibn Said’s Arabic writings into English. It also makes a
25/08/202348 minutes 38 seconds
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The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI

In this 2014 episode from the Institute’s Vault, we hear from Betty Medsger. Medsger was a Washington Post reporter in March 1971, and received a cache of stolen FBI files that detailed the elaborate surveillance activities the bureau was using against Vietnam war protesters and others whom J. Edgar Hoover deemed “subversive.“ All Medsger knew about the documents was that they had been stolen by a group of anonymous individuals who called themselves the Citizens Commission to Investigate the FBI. In 2014, she revisited the story in her book, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI (Vintage, 2014). In it, she tells the story of an unlikely group of academics and ordinary citizens who broke into a suburban FBI office and shed light on the way the intelligence community was spying on its own citizens. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
25/08/202354 minutes 56 seconds
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Chesya Burke, "Hero Me Not: The Containment of the Most Powerful Black, Female Superhero" (Rutgers UP, 2023)

First introduced in the pages of X-Men, Storm is probably the most recognized Black female superhero. She is also one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe, with abilities that allow her to control the weather itself. Yet that power is almost always deployed in the service of White characters, and Storm is rarely treated as an authority figure. Hero Me Not: The Containment of the Most Powerful Black, Female Superhero (Rutgers UP, 2023) offers an in-depth look at this fascinating yet often frustrating character through all her manifestations in comics, animation, and films. Chesya Burke examines the coding of Storm as racially “exotic,” an African woman who nonetheless has bright white hair and blue eyes and was portrayed onscreen by biracial actresses Halle Berry and Alexandra Shipp. She shows how Storm, created by White writers and artists, was an amalgam of various Black stereotypes, from the Mammy and the Jezebel to the Magical Negro, resulting in a new stereotype s
25/08/202357 minutes 56 seconds
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Erica O. Turner, "Suddenly Diverse: How School Districts Manage Race and Inequality" (U Chicago Press, 2020)

For the past five years, American public schools have enrolled more students identified as Black, Latinx, American Indian, and Asian than white. At the same time, more than half of US school children now qualify for federally subsidized meals, a marker of poverty. The makeup of schools is rapidly changing, and many districts and school boards are at a loss as to how they can effectively and equitably handle these shifts. Suddenly Diverse: How School Districts Manage Race and Inequality (U Chicago Press, 2020) is an ethnographic account of two school districts in the Midwest responding to rapidly changing demographics at their schools. It is based on observations and in-depth interviews with school board members and superintendents, as well as staff, community members, and other stakeholders in each district: one serving “Lakeside,” a predominately working class, conservative community and the other serving “Fairview,” a more affluent, liberal community. Erica O. Turner looks at distric
25/08/202345 minutes 25 seconds
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Cara Fitzpatrick, "The Death of Public School: How Conservatives Won the War Over Education in America" (Basic Books, 2023)

America has relied on public schools for 150 years, but the system is increasingly under attack. With declining enrollment and diminished trust in public education, policies that steer tax dollars into private schools have grown rapidly. To understand how we got here, The Death of Public School: How Conservatives Won the War Over Education in America (Basic Books, 2023) argues, we must look back at the turbulent history of school choice. Cara Fitzpatrick uncovers the long journey of school choice, a story full of fascinating people and strange political alliances. She shows how school choice evolved from a segregationist tool in the South in the 1950s, to a policy embraced by advocates for educational equity in the North, to a conservative strategy for securing government funds for private schools in the twenty-first century. As a result, education is poised to become a private commodity rather than a universal good. The Death of Public School presents the compelling history of the fie
23/08/202335 minutes 48 seconds
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Lyndsie Bourgon, "Tree Thieves: Crime and Survival in North America's Woods" (Little, Brown Spark, 2023)

In Tree Thieves: Crime and Survival in North America's Woods (Little, Brown Spark, 2022), Lyndsie Bourgon takes us deep into the underbelly of the illegal timber market. As she traces three timber poaching cases, she introduces us to tree poachers, law enforcement, forensic wood specialists, the enigmatic residents of former logging communities, environmental activists, international timber cartels, and indigenous communities along the way. Old-growth trees are invaluable and irreplaceable for both humans and wildlife, and are the oldest living things on earth. But the morality of tree poaching is not as simple as we might think: stealing trees is a form of deeply rooted protest, and a side effect of environmental preservation and protection that doesn't include communities that have been uprooted or marginalized when park boundaries are drawn. As Bourgon discovers, failing to include working class and rural communities in the preservation of these awe-inducing ecosystems can lead to c
22/08/202354 minutes 57 seconds
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Postscript: Guns, Violence, and the Law: How Federal Courts are Trying to Figure Out the Second Amendment

Two blockbuster cases came down in June of 2022. The Dobbs decision overturned Roe v. Wade and New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen substantially expanded Second Amendment rights and limited the power of states to regulate concealed carry of firearms. Bruen affected thousands of Americans who have had their laws overturned and radically changed the method by which federal judges evaluate firearms law. Two remarkable scholars of the Second Amendment and firearms law explain how law makers, law enforcers, and federal courts have responded. They discuss differences among the conservative justices that produced this fragile holding, the growing dependence on history but disdain for historians, how the Bruen approach hurts laws involving domestic violence or controlled substances, the problem of overreading historical silences, and the ways violence may be addressed through community violence intervention, free markets, etc. – in ways SCOTUS cannot control. Jacob Charles is an
22/08/202352 minutes 26 seconds
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Janiece Johnson, "Convicting the Mormons: The Mountain Meadows Massacre in American Culture" (UNC Press, 2023)

On September 11, 1857, a small band of Mormons led by John D. Lee massacred an emigrant train of men, women, and children heading west at Mountain Meadows, Utah. News of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, as it became known, sent shockwaves through the western frontier of the United States, reaching the nation's capital and eventually crossing the Atlantic. In the years prior to the massacre, Americans dubbed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the "Mormon problem" as it garnered national attention for its "unusual" theocracy and practice of polygamy. In the aftermath of the massacre, many Americans viewed Mormonism as a real religious and physical threat to white civilization. Putting the Mormon Church on trial for its crimes against American purity became more important than prosecuting those responsible for the slaughter. In Convicting the Mormons: The Mountain Meadows Massacre in American Culture (UNC Press, 2023), religious historian Janiece Johnson analyzes how sensationa
22/08/202327 minutes 13 seconds
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Erin Raffety, "From Inclusion to Justice: Disability, Ministry, and Congregational Leadership" (Baylor UP, 2022)

American Christianity tends to view disabled persons as problems to be solved rather than people with experiences and gifts that enrich the church. Churches have generated policies, programs, and curricula geared toward "including" disabled people while still maintaining "able-bodied" theologies, ministries, care, and leadership. Ableism―not a lack of ramps, finances, or accessible worship―is the biggest obstacle for disabled ministry in America.  In From Inclusion to Justice: Disability, Ministry, and Congregational Leadership (Baylor UP, 2022), Erin Raffety argues that what our churches need is not more programs for disabled people but rather the pastoral tools to repent of able-bodied theologies and practices, listen to people with disabilities, lament ableism and injustice, and be transformed by God’s ministry through disabled leadership. Without a paradigm shift from ministries of inclusion to ministries of justice, our practical theology falls short. Drawing on ethnographic resea
22/08/202341 minutes 51 seconds
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Morgan L. W. Hazelton et al., "The Elevator Effect: Contact and Collegiality in the American Judiciary" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Does it matter if judges are nice to each other? The Elevator Effect: Contact and Collegiality in the American Judiciary (Oxford UP, 2023)argues that how judges interact with each other has an important effect at every stage of their judicial process. Previously, scholars have explained judicial behavior in terms of the law, the ideological attitudes of the judges, external and internal constraints, and the background characteristics of the judges, such as gender, race, or prior professional experiences. The Elevator Effect builds on previous research in political science, political psychology, and linguistics to present the first comprehensive examination of the importance of interpersonal relationships among the judges for judicial decision-making and legal development. Hazelton, Hinkle, and Nelson argue that collegiality affects nearly every aspect of judicial behavior. More frequent interpersonal contact among judges diminishes the role of ideology to the point where it is both “su
21/08/202357 minutes 5 seconds
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Christopher C. Sellers, "Race and the Greening of Atlanta: Inequality, Democracy, and Environmental Politics in an Ascendant Metropolis" (U Georgia Press, 2023)

Race and the Greening of Atlanta: Inequality, Democracy, and Environmental Politics in an Ascendant Metropolis (U Georgia Press, 2023) turns an environmental lens on Atlanta’s ascent to thriving capital of the Sunbelt over the twentieth century. Uniquely wide ranging in scale, from the city’s variegated neighborhoods up to its place in regional and national political economies, this book reinterprets the fall of Jim Crow as a democratization born of two metropolitan movements: a well-known one for civil rights and a lesser known one on behalf of “the environment.” Arising out of Atlanta’s Black and white middle classes respectively, both movements owed much to New Deal capitalism’s undermining of concentrated wealth and power, if not racial segregation, in the Jim Crow South. Placing these two movements on the same historical page, Christopher C. Sellers spotlights those environmental inequities, ideals, and provocations that catalyzed their divergent political projects. He then follow
21/08/20231 hour 6 minutes 6 seconds
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Brooke Kroeger, "Undaunted: How Women Changed American Journalism" (Knopf, 2023)

Undaunted: How Women Changed American Journalism (Knopf, 2023) is a representative history of the American women who surmounted every impediment put in their way to do journalism's most valued work. From Margaret Fuller's improbable success to the highly paid reporters of the mid-nineteenth century to the breakthrough investigative triumphs of Nellie Bly, Ida Tarbell, and Ida B. Wells, Brooke Kroeger examines the lives of the best-remembered and long-forgotten woman journalists. She explores the careers of standout woman reporters who covered the major news stories and every conflict at home and abroad since before the Civil War, and she celebrates those exceptional careers up to the present, including those of Martha Gellhorn, Rachel Carson, Janet Malcolm, Joan Didion, Cokie Roberts, and Charlayne Hunter-Gault. As Kroeger chronicles the lives of journalists and newsroom leaders in every medium, a larger story develops: the nearly two-centuries-old struggle for women's rights. Here as
21/08/202345 minutes 12 seconds
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Liran Einav and Amy Finkelstein, "We've Got You Covered: Rebooting American Health Care" (Penguin, 2023)

Few of us need convincing that the American health insurance system needs reform. But many of the existing proposals focus on expanding one relatively successful piece of the system or building in piecemeal additions. These proposals miss the point. As the Stanford health economist Liran Einav and the MIT economist and MacArthur Genius Amy Finkelstein argue, our health care system was never deliberately designed, but rather pieced together to deal with issues as they became politically relevant. The result is a sprawling yet arbitrary and inadequate mess. It has left 30 million Americans without formal insurance. Many of the rest live in constant danger of losing their coverage if they lose their job, give birth, get older, get healthier, get richer, or move. It's time to tear it all down and rebuild, sensibly and deliberately. Marshaling original research, striking insights from American history, and comparative analysis of what works and what doesn’t from systems around the world, Ei
21/08/202356 minutes 6 seconds
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Jean M. Twenge, "Generations: The Real Differences Between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents—and What They Mean for America's Future" (Atria, 2023)

The United States is currently home to six generations of people: -the Silents, born 1925-1945 -Baby Boomers, born 1946-1964 -Gen X, born 1965-1979 -Millennials, born 1980-1994 -Gen Z, born 1995-2012 -and the still-to-be-named cohorts born after 2012. They have had vastly different life experiences and thus, one assumes, they must have vastly diverging beliefs and behaviors. But what are those differences, what causes them, and how deep do they actually run? Professor of psychology and "reigning expert on generational change" (Lisa Wade, PhD, author of American Hookup), Jean Twenge does a deep dive into a treasure trove of long-running, government-funded surveys and databases to answer these questions. Are we truly defined by major historical events, such as the Great Depression for the Silents and September 11 for Millennials? Or, as Twenge argues, is it the rapid evolution of technology that differentiates the generations? With her clear-eyed and insightful voice, Twenge expl
20/08/20231 hour 2 minutes 30 seconds
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Peter Moore, "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Britain and the American Dream (1740–1776)" ( FSG, 2023)

The most famous phrase in American history once looked quite different. "The preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness" was how Thomas Jefferson put it in the first draft of the Declaration, before the first ampersand was scratched out, along with "the preservation of." In a statement as pithy--and contested--as this, a small deletion matters. And indeed, that final, iconizing revision was the last in a long chain of revisions stretching across the Atlantic and back. The precise contours of these three rights have never been pinned down--and yet in making these words into rights, Jefferson reified the hopes (and debates) not only of a group of rebel-statesmen but also of an earlier generation of British thinkers who could barely imagine a country like the United States of America. Peter Moore's Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: Britain and the American Dream (1740–1776) (FSG, 2023) tells the true story of what may be the most successful import in US history:
20/08/20231 hour 10 minutes 26 seconds
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Becoming Justice Thomas

On today’s podcast, we are changing things up a bit. Instead of interviewing the author of a recent book, I am interviewing another podcaster about their recent narrative podcast season. So, today, I’m interviewing Joel Anderson, staff writer at Slate, co-host of Hang Up and Listen, and the host of Seasons 3, 6, and, most recently, 8 of Slow Burn. On this episode, I chop it up with Joel about Season 8 of Slow Burn, titled, Becoming Justice Thomas.  Adam McNeil is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
20/08/202356 minutes 55 seconds
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Samuel Moyn, "Liberalism Against Itself: Cold War Intellectuals and the Making of Our Times" (Yale UP, 2023)

By the middle of the twentieth century, many liberals looked glumly at the world modernity had brought about, with its devastating wars, rising totalitarianism, and permanent nuclear terror. They concluded that, far from offering a solution to these problems, the ideals of the Enlightenment, including emancipation and equality, had instead created them. The historian of political thought Samuel Moyn argues that the liberal intellectuals of the Cold War era--among them Isaiah Berlin, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Karl Popper, Hannah Arendt, Judith Shklar, and Lionel Trilling--transformed liberalism but left a disastrous legacy for our time. In Liberalism Against Itself: Cold War Intellectuals and the Making of Our Times (Yale University Press, 2023), Moyn outlines how Cold War liberals redefined the ideals of their movement and renounced the moral core of the Enlightenment for a more dangerous philosophy: preserving individual liberty at all costs. In denouncing this stance, as well as the recen
19/08/202349 minutes 55 seconds
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Kevin Landis, "One Public: New York’s Public Theater in the Era of Oskar Eustis" (Methuen Drama, 2022)

Kevin Landis's One Public: New York’s Public Theater in the Era of Oskar Eustis (Methuen Drama, 2022) tells the story of the remarkable first 17 years (2005-2022) of Oskar Eustis's tenure as the Artistic Director of The Public, the theatre sometimes called America's de facto national theatre. But it is not a book about Eustis. Instead, it is a book about the hundreds of artists and administrators who, guided by Eustis's leadership, create extraordinary theatre at The Public's Astor Place headquarters, at the Delacorte in Central Park, and in touring productions around the city and across the country.  A central organizing principle in the book is the contradiction (and Eustis is not afraid of contradiction) between the theatre's left-wing, Marxian ambitions and the reality that it exists in a hyper-capitalist country with little public support for the arts. Is it possible to keep tickets affordable, salaries liveable, and the work on stage exciting? If The Public hasn't figured out how
19/08/202357 minutes 32 seconds
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Michael R. Jin, "Citizens, Immigrants, and the Stateless: A Japanese American Diaspora in the Pacific" (Stanford UP, 2021)

This episode features a conversation with Dr. Michael R. Jin regarding his recently published book Citizens, Immigrants, and the Stateless: The Japanese American Diaspora in the Pacific. Published in November 2021 by Stanford University Press, the book weaves together Jin’s specializations in migration and diaspora studies, Asian American history, critical race and ethnic studies, and the history of the American West to examine the “highly mobile transpacific diaspora” of roughly 50,000 Nisei, or second-generation Japanese Americans, moving between the Japanese empire and the American West. The book traverses these deeply intertwined histories of Asian exclusion, colonialism in Asia, and volatile geopolitical changes regarding citizenship and migration in the Asia-Pacific during the twentieth century. Pulling from transnational and bilingual research in the United States and Japan, Jin’s contributions in Citizens, Immigrants, and the Stateless push the spatial boundaries of Asian Ameri
19/08/20231 hour 7 minutes 16 seconds
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Jennifer Keys Adair and Kiyomi Sánchez-Suzuki Colegrove, "Segregation by Experience: Agency, Racism, and Learning in the Early Grades" (U Chicago Press, 2021)

Early childhood can be a time of rich discovery, a period when educators have an opportunity to harness their students’ fascination to create unique learning opportunities. Some teachers engage with their students’ ideas in ways that make learning collaborative--but not all students have access to these kinds of learning environments. In Segregation by Experience: Agency, Racism, and Learning in the Early Grades (U Chicago Press, 2021), the authors filmed and studied a a first-grade classroom led by a Black immigrant teacher who encouraged her diverse group of students to exercise their agency. When the researchers showed the film to other schools, everyone struggled. Educators admired the teacher but didn’t think her practices would work with their own Black and brown students. Parents of color—many of them immigrants—liked many of the practices, but worried that they would compromise their children. And the young children who viewed the film thought that the kids in the film were ter
18/08/202335 minutes 6 seconds
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Stephen Aron, "Peace and Friendship: An Alternative History of the American West" (Oxford UP, 2022)

The history of the American West has typically been told in one of two ways: as triumph, or as tragedy. Stephen Aron, accomplished scholar of the West, Professor Emeritus at UCLA, and President of the Autry Museum of the American West, argues that both of these narratives flatten out what was actually a much more complicated story.  Peace and Friendship: An Alternative History of the American West (Oxford UP, 2022), Aron zooms in on several moments of contingency in the Western past, moments when people of often radically different backgrounds came together to build community, or at least lived peacefully, despite their differences. Although these moments eventually fell apart, Aron argues that they show that the past was unwritten until it came to pass, and that our own uncertain future is the same. Peace and Friendship offers important lessons about the power of history and contingency, and underscores the unsettled nature of human events and our capacity for overcoming even our deep
18/08/202354 minutes 47 seconds
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Carl Van Ness, "The Making of Florida's Universities: Public Higher Education at the Turn of the Twentieth Century" (UP of Florida, 2023)

In The Making of Florida's Universities: Public Higher Education at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (UP of Florida, 2023), Carl Van Ness describes the remarkable formative years of higher education in Florida, comparing the trajectory to that of other states and putting it in context within the broader history and culture of the South. Central to this story is the Buckman Act of 1905, a state law that consolidated government support to three institutions and prompted decades of conflicts over where Florida’s public colleges and universities would be located, who would head them, and who would manage their affairs. Van Ness traces the development of the schools that later became the University of Florida, Florida State University, and Florida A&M University. He describes little-known events such as the decision to move the University of Florida from its original location in Lake City, as well as a dramatic student rebellion at Florida A&M University in response to attempts to restrict
17/08/20231 hour 1 minute 51 seconds
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Ramzi Fawaz, "The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics" (NYU Press, 2016)

Today’s guest is Ramzi Fawaz, the Romnes Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Published by NYU Press in 2016, The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics is his first book. In 2022, Ramzi published Queer Forms, for which he was interviewed by Lilly Goren for the New Books in Political Science channel. He is also the co-editor of Keywords for Comics Studies, with Deborah Whaley and Shelley Streeby, both with NYU Press. Ramzi’s recently published articles include “Legions of Superheroes: Diversity, Multiplicity, and Collective Action Against Genocide in the Superhero Comic Book,” in Social Text; and wrote the introduction to “Queer About Comics,” a special issue of American Literature, with Darieck Scott. A bit about the book:  n 1964, noted literary critic Leslie Fiedler described American youth as "new mutants," social rebels severing their attachments to American culture to remake themselves in their own image. 1960s comic book c
17/08/20231 hour 26 minutes 43 seconds
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In Praise of Reason: Why Rationality Matters for Democracy

Why does reason matter, if (as many people seem to think) in the end everything comes down to blind faith or gut instinct? Why not just go with what you believe even if it contradicts the evidence? Why bother with rational explanation when name-calling, manipulation, and force are so much more effective in our current cultural and political landscape? Michael Lynch's In Praise of Reason offers a spirited defense of reason and rationality in an era of widespread skepticism—when, for example, people reject scientific evidence about such matters as evolution, climate change, and vaccines when it doesn't jibe with their beliefs and opinions. In recent years, skepticism about the practical value of reason has emerged even within the scientific academy. Many philosophers and psychologists claim that the reasons we give for our most deeply held views are often little more than rationalizations of our prior convictions. In Praise of Reason gives us a counterargument. Although skeptical questio
16/08/202314 minutes 41 seconds
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Jennifer Ritterhouse, "Discovering the South: One Man's Travels through a Changing America in the 1930s" (UNC Press, 2017)

During the Great Depression, the American South was not merely "the nation's number one economic problem," as President Franklin Roosevelt declared. It was also a battlefield on which forces for and against social change were starting to form. For a white southern liberal like Jonathan Daniels, editor of the Raleigh News and Observer, it was a fascinating moment to explore. Attuned to culture as well as politics, Daniels knew the true South lay somewhere between Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road and Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind.  On May 5, 1937, he set out to find it, driving thousands of miles in his trusty Plymouth and ultimately interviewing even Mitchell herself. In Discovering the South historian Jennifer Ritterhouse pieces together Daniels's unpublished notes from his tour along with his published writings and a wealth of archival evidence to put this one man's journey through a South in transition into a larger context. Daniels's well chosen itinerary brought him face to
16/08/20231 hour 3 minutes 42 seconds
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Lauren S. Foley, "On the Basis of Race: How Higher Education Navigates Affirmative Action Policies" (NYU Press, 2023)

Diversity in higher education is under attack as the Supreme Court limits the use of race-conscious admissions practices at American colleges and universities. In On the Basis of Race: How Higher Education Navigates Affirmative Action Policies (NYU Press, 2023), Lauren S. Foley sheds light on our current crisis, exploring the past, present, and future of this contentious policy. From Brown v. Board of Education in the mid-twentieth century to the current Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Foley explores how organizations have resisted and complied with public policies regarding race. She examines how admissions officers, who have played an important role in the long fight to protect racial diversity in higher education, work around the law to maintain diversity after affirmative action is banned.  Foley takes us behind the curtain of student admissions, shedding light on how multiple universities, including the University of Michigan,
16/08/202335 minutes 9 seconds
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Bobby J. Smith II, "Food Power Politics: The Food Story of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement" (UNC Press, 2023)

Bobby J. Smith II's book Food Power Politics: The Food Story of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (UNC Press, 2023 )unearths a food story buried deep within the soil of American civil rights history. Drawing on archival research, interviews, and oral histories, Smith re-examines the Mississippi civil rights movement as a period when activists expanded the meaning of civil rights to address food as integral to sociopolitical and economic conditions. For decades, white economic and political actors used food as a weapon against Black sharecropping communities in the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta, but members of these communities collaborated with activists to transform food into a tool of resistance. Today, Black youth are building a food justice movement in the Delta to continue this story, grappling with inequalities that continue to shape their lives.  Drawing on multiple disciplines including critical food studies, Black studies, history, sociology, and southern studies, Smith makes cr
16/08/20231 hour 18 minutes 27 seconds
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Earl Cureton and Jake Uitti, "Earl the Twirl: My Life in Basketball" (McFarland, 2023)

Today I talked to Earl Careton about his new book (co-authored with Jake Uitti), Earl the Twirl: My Life in Basketball (McFarland, 2023) Earl "The Twirl" Cureton was never a star player in the NBA, but then again, few people will ever be a celebrity athlete. Earl's story, instead, is about a life on the fringes of the league during its "Golden Era" of the '80s and '90s. A teammate of Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Michael Jordan, Charles Oakley, Muggsy Bogues, Hakeem Olajuwon, and more, Earl was a part of seven NBA teams in his twelve-season career. He won two championships during his career, first in 1983 with the Philadelphia 76ers, and then in 1994 with the Houston Rockets. And yet, as a professional basketball journeyman, every day was a struggle. Growing up in Detroit during race riots, Earl worked hard and became a standout player at the University of Detroit. A 6' 9" center in the pros, Earl battled with Karem Abdul-Jabbar in back-to-back NBA Finals. While many know the stories of
16/08/20231 hour 29 minutes 29 seconds
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Paratroopers in the Pacific: A Conversation with James Fenelon

In the final episode of Season 3, Annika sits down with James Fenelon, a veteran-turned-historian, who served in the Army for over a decade and is a graduate of the US Army’s Airborne, Jumpmaster and Pathfinder schools. They about his latest book, Angels Against the Sun: A WWII Saga of Grunts, Grit, and Brotherhood (Regnery, 2023), which chronicles the 11th Airborne Division, nicknamed "The Angels," and their campaign. A bit about the book:  The Pacific theater of World War II pitted American fighting men against two merciless enemies: the relentless Japanese army and the combined forces of monsoons, swamps, mud, privation, and disease. General Joseph Swing's rowdy paratroopers of the 11th Airborne Division-- nicknamed the "Angels"--fought in some of the war's most dramatic campaigns, from bloody skirmishes in Leyte's unforgiving rainforests to the ferocious battles on Luzon, including the hellish urban combat of Manila. The Angels were trained as elite shock troops, but high American
15/08/202345 minutes 17 seconds
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Benjamin Y. Fong, "Quick Fixes: Drugs in America from Prohibition to the 21st Century Binge" (Verso, 2023)

Benjamin Y. Fong is author of the new book Quick Fixes: Drugs in America from Prohibition to the 21st Century Binge, which was just released in July, 2023 by Verso Books. Ben is an honors faculty fellow and associate director of the Center for Work & Democracy at Arizona State University, and his work has appeared in Jacobin, Catalyst, and the New York Times. Previously, Ben’s work focused on the (usually negative) effects of neoliberal capitalism, writing about NGOs, labor leaders, and health care. Quick Fixes expands this examination into the world of drugs, examining nine different kinds of intoxicants, and five “orienting claims” that place their use within in larger capitalist histories. A bit about the book... Americans are in the midst of a world-historic drug binge. Opiates, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, marijuana, antidepressants, antipsychotics--across the board, consumption has shot up in the 21st century. At the same time, the United States is home to the largest prison sy
15/08/202345 minutes 8 seconds
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How Uber Disrupted Washington, D.C.: A Conversation with Katie Wells and Kafui Attoh

Katie Wells, a Postdoctoral Fritz Fellow with Georgetown University's Tech and Society Initiative, and Kafui Attoh, Associate Professor of Urban Studies in the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, talk about their new book, Disrupting D.C.: The Rise of Uber and the Fall of a City (co-authored with Declan Cullen) (Princeton UP, 2023), with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. Disrupting D.C. examines how various actors took on a "let Uber deal with it" mindset about social problems, not so much because they had great faith in Uber but because they have profound distrust in city government. Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in July 2019.
14/08/20231 hour 20 minutes 4 seconds
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Nicholas Tochka, "Rocking in the Free World: Popular Music and the Politics of Freedom in Postwar America" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Progressive and libertarian, anti-Communist and revolutionary, Democratic and Republican, quintessentially American but simultaneously universal. By the late 1980s, rock music had acquired a dizzying array of political labels. These claims about its political significance shared one common thread: that the music could set you free. Rocking in the Free World: Popular Music and the Politics of Freedom in Postwar America (Oxford UP, 2023) explains how Americans came to believe they had learned the truth about rock 'n' roll, a truth shaped by the Cold War anxieties of the Fifties, the countercultural revolutions (and counter-revolutions) of the Sixties and Seventies, and the end-of-history triumphalism of the Eighties. How did rock 'n' roll become enmeshed with so many different competing ideas about freedom? And what does that story reveal about the promise-and the limits-of rock music as a political force in postwar America? Nicholas Tochka writes about the politics of postwar music-maki
14/08/202352 minutes 51 seconds
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Marsha Gordon, "Becoming the Ex-Wife: The Unconventional Life and Forgotten Writings of Ursula Parrott" (U California Press, 2023)

Credited with popularizing the label "ex-wife" in 1929, Ursula Parrott wrote provocatively about divorcées, career women, single mothers, work-life balance, and a host of new challenges facing modern women. Her best sellers, Hollywood film deals, marriages and divorces, and run-ins with the law made her a household name. Part biography, part cultural history, Becoming the Ex-Wife: The Unconventional Life and Forgotten Writings of Ursula Parrott (U California Press, 2023) establishes Parrott's rightful place in twentieth-century American culture, uncovering her neglected work and keen insights into American women's lives during a period of immense social change. Although she was frequently dismissed as a "woman's writer," reading Parrott's writing today makes it clear that she was a trenchant philosopher of modernity--her work was prescient, anticipating issues not widely raised until decades after her decline into obscurity. With elegant wit and a deft command of the archive, Marsha Go
13/08/202353 minutes 50 seconds
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Keith A. Mayes, "The Unteachables: Disability Rights and the Invention of Black Special Education" (U Minnesota Press, 2023)

The Unteachables: Disability Rights and the Invention of Black Special Education (U Minnesota Press, 2023) examines the overrepresentation of Black students in special education over the course of the twentieth century. As African American children integrated predominantly white schools, many were disproportionately labeled educable mentally retarded (EMR), learning disabled (LD), and emotionally behavioral disordered (EBD). Keith A. Mayes charts the evolution of disability categories and how these labels kept Black learners segregated in American classrooms. The civil rights and the educational disability rights movements, Mayes shows, have both collaborated and worked at cross-purposes since the beginning of school desegregation. Disability rights advocates built upon the opportunity provided by the civil rights movement to make claims about student invisibility at the level of intellectual and cognitive disabilities. Although special education ostensibly included children from all r
13/08/202358 minutes 14 seconds
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Julia Wertz, "Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City" (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2017)

Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2017) is a comically illustrated chronicle of a young woman’s exploration of the metropolis, its streets, shops, subway, garbage dumps and apartments (inside and out). A flaneur par excellence, cartoonist Julia Wertz, strolls through her beloved Greenpoint and Carroll Gardens , then over the Bridge to the East Village, up to Harlem, and the Bronx calling attention in cartoons and precise drawings to what you might overlook––curbs, pavements, lamp posts. fire alarms and building facades. She pops into old drug stores, and movie theaters, ever on the lookout for material evidence of the vanishing city. In recalling Kim’s Video, Optima Cigars, and pinball, she risks lapsing into nostalgia. But in summoning up the lives of difficult, dangerous, and intrepid city women––abortionist Madam Restell, muckraking reporter, Nellie Bly, Typhoid Mary and the murderous Lizzie Halliday, she remind
13/08/202337 minutes 23 seconds
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Kris Marsh, "The Love Jones Cohort: Single and Living Alone in the Black Middle Class" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

Drawing from stratification economics, intersectionality, and respectability politics, Kris Marsh's The Love Jones Cohort: Single and Living Alone in the Black Middle Class (Cambridge UP, 2023) centers on the voices and lifestyles of members of the Black middle class who are single and living alone (SALA). While much has been written about both the Black middle class and the rise of singlehood, this book represents a first foray into bridging these two concepts. In studying these intersections, The Love Jones Cohort provides a more nuanced understanding of how race, gender, and class, coupled with social structures, shape five central lifestyle factors of Black middle-class adults who are SALA. The book explores how these Black adults define family and friends and decide on whether and how to pursue romantic relationships, articulate the ebbs and flows of being Black and middle class, select where to live and why, accumulate and disseminate wealth, and maintain overall health, well-bei
12/08/20231 hour 4 minutes 57 seconds
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Donovan X. Ramsey, "When Crack Was King: A People's History of a Misunderstood Era" (One World, 2023)

The crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s is arguably the least examined crisis in American history. Beginning with the myths inspired by Reagan's war on drugs, journalist Donovan X. Ramsey's exacting analysis traces the path from the last triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement to the devastating realities we live with today: a racist criminal justice system, continued mass incarceration and gentrification, and increased police brutality. When Crack Was King: A People's History of a Misunderstood Era (One World, 2023) follows four individuals to give us a startling portrait of crack's destruction and devastating legacy: Elgin Swift, an archetype of American industry and ambition and the son of a crack-addicted father who turned their home into a "crack house"; Lennie Woodley, a former crack addict and sex worker; Kurt Schmoke, the longtime mayor of Baltimore and an early advocate of decriminalization; and Shawn McCray, community activist, basketball prodigy, and a founding member of the
12/08/202324 minutes 2 seconds
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Sophie Bjork-James, "The Divine Institution: White Evangelicalism's Politics of the Family" (Rutgers UP, 2021)

The Divine Institution: White Evangelicalism's Politics of the Family (Rutgers University Press, 2021) provides an account of how a theology of the family came to dominate a white evangelical tradition in the post-civil rights movement United States, providing a theological corollary to Religious Right politics. This tradition inherently enforces racial inequality in that it draws moral, religious, and political attention away from problems of racial and economic structural oppression, explaining all social problems as a failure of the individual to achieve the strong gender and sexual identities that ground the nuclear family. The consequences of this theology are both personal suffering for individuals who cannot measure up to prescribed gender and sexual roles, and political support for conservative government policies. Exposure to experiences that undermine the idea that an emphasis on the family is the solution to all social problems is causing a younger generation of white evange
12/08/202355 minutes 28 seconds
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Ashley Robertson Preston, "Mary Mcleod Bethune the Pan-Africanist" (UP of Florida, 2023)

This book examines the Pan-Africanism of Mary McLeod Bethune through her work, which internationalized the scope of Black women's organizations to create solidarity among Africans throughout the diaspora. Broadening the familiar view of Bethune as an advocate for racial and gender equality within the United States, Ashley Preston argues that Bethune consistently sought to unify African descendants around the world with her writings, through travel, and as an advisor. Preston shows how Bethune's early involvement with Black women's organizations created personal connections across Cuba, Haiti, India, and Africa and shaped her global vision. Bethune founded and led the National Council of Negro Women, which strengthened coalitions with women across the diaspora to address issues in their local communities. Bethune served as director of the Division of Negro Affairs for the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration and later as associate consultant for the United Nations alongside W.E.B. DuBoi
12/08/202328 minutes 27 seconds
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The Future of Underground/Sea Cables: A Discussion with Henry Farrell

How much of US power is underground? We hear a lot about the US military assets used on land, on the sea, and in the air - but not much about what’s going on underground and on the sea bed. It turns out what goes on down there is a significant source of US power – which has been documented by Henry Farrell in his co-authored book (with Abraham Newman), Underground Empire: How America Weaponized the World Economy (Henry Holt, 2023). Listen to him describe it all with Owen Bennett-Jones. Owen Bennett-Jones is a freelance journalist and writer. A former BBC correspondent and presenter he has been a resident foreign correspondent in Bucharest, Geneva, Islamabad, Hanoi and Beirut. He is recently wrote a history of the Bhutto dynasty which was published by Yale University Press. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
12/08/202352 minutes 24 seconds
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Michael J. Diamond, "Ruptures in the American Psyche: Containing Destructive Populism in Perilous Times" (Phoenix Publishing, 2022)

Michael J. Diamond's book Ruptures in the American Psyche: Containing Destructive Populism in Perilous Times (Phoenix Publishing, 2022) describes Trumpism: the strong allegiance to former President Donald Trump that is in evidence among a sizable portion of the US population. How did Trump come to be elected in 2016, and who supported him during his presidential tenure - and why? How is it that he continues to hold cult-like status, exerting a strong influence not only on many individuals but also on numerous elected officials, despite his defeat in 2020? Why does his character continue to be an object of fascination even among anti-Trumpists, and why will Trumpism continue to play a major role in the American sociopolitical landscape even now he has left the presidential stage?  Diamond ponders these questions through the lenses of American history and culture, political theory, social phenomena, group dynamics, and psychoanalysis. In exploring the relationship between large-group reg
11/08/20231 hour 8 minutes 38 seconds
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Charlotte Karem Albrecht, "Possible Histories: Arab Americans and the Queer Ecology of Peddling" (U California Press, 2023)

Many of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians who immigrated to the US beginning in the 1870s worked as peddlers. Men were able to transgress Syrian norms related to marriage practices while they were traveling, while Syrian women accessed more economic autonomy though their participation in peddling networks.  In Possible Histories: Arab Americans and the Queer Ecology of Peddling (U California Press, 2023), Charlotte Karem Albrecht explores this peddling economy of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a site for revealing how dominant ideas about sexuality are imbricated in Arab American racial histories. Karem Albrecht marshals a queer affective approach to community and family history to show how Syrian immigrant peddlers and their interdependent networks of labor and care appeared in interconnected discourses of modernity, sexuality, gender, class, and race. Possible Histories conceptualizes this profession, and its place in narratives of Arab American history, as a
11/08/20231 hour 7 minutes 45 seconds
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Phillip Reid, "A Boston Schooner in the Royal Navy, 1768-1772: Commerce and Conflict in Maritime British America" (Boydell Press, 2023)

The small Boston-built schooner Sultana served as a customs-enforcement interceptor on the North American eastern seaboard in the period leading up to the American Declaration of Independence, when British taxation of American trade was a hugely contentious issue. As a typical workaday British American merchant ship taken into naval service, Sultana offers a rare opportunity to understand a technology of paramount importance to this world, where records for merchant ships are scarce, but where in this case a wealth of information, from plan drawings to the fully-intact logbooks, has survived.  Phillip Reid's book A Boston Schooner in the Royal Navy, 1768-1772: Commerce and Conflict in Maritime British America (Boydell Press, 2023) provides a detailed narrative of the ship's activities, and reveals the nature of life on board and the day to day business of operating a small sailing ship. It explores the technology of the ship and her sailing qualities as revealed by the ship's logs and
10/08/202336 minutes 53 seconds
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Wendy A. Woloson, "Crap: A History of Cheap Stuff in America" (U Chicago Press, 2020)

Why are our lives filled with so much stuff? In Crap: A History of Cheap Stuff in America (U Chicago Press, 2023), Wendy Woloson, Professor and Chair in the Department of History at Rutgers University, tells the history of these objects and things, from the early years of peddlers through to modern gadgets, and everything in between. In telling this story the book tells a history of America itself, looking at the rise of consumerism, advertising, television, and corporate life, as well as tracking changes in morals, sentiments, humour, and personal habits. Packed with brilliant details, and sweeping in scope, the book will be widely read across the humanities and social sciences, as well as by anyone seeking to understand the modern world. Dave O'Brien is Professor of Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Sheffield. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
09/08/202344 minutes 16 seconds
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Michell D. Jones and Elisabeth A. Nelson, "Besides, Who Would Believe a Prisoner?: Indiana Women's Carceral Institutions, 1848-1920" (New Press, 2023)

What if prisoners were to write the history of their own prison? What might that tell them--and all of us--about the roots of the system that incarcerates so many millions of Americans?  In Besides, Who Would Believe a Prisoner?: Indiana Women's Carceral Institutions, 1848-1920 (New Press, 2023), a group of incarcerated women at the Indiana Women's Prison have assembled a chronicle of what was originally known as the Indiana Reformatory Institute for Women and Girls, founded in 1873 as the first totally separate prison for women in the United States. In an effort that has already made the national news, and which was awarded the Indiana History Outstanding Project for 2016 by the Indiana Historical Society, the Indiana Women's Prison History Project worked under conditions of sometimes-extreme duress, excavating documents, navigating draconian limitations on what information incarcerated scholars could see or access, and grappling with the unprecedented challenges stemming from co-auth
09/08/20231 hour 4 minutes 24 seconds
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William J. Mann, "Bogie and Bacall: The Surprising True Story of Hollywood's Greatest Love Affair" (Harper, 2023)

From the noted Hollywood biographer comes this celebration of the great American love story—the romance between Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart—capturing its complexity, contradictions, and challenges as never before. In Bogie and Bacall: The Surprising True Story of Hollywood's Greatest Love Affair (Harper, 2023), William Mann offers a deep and comprehensive look at Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, and the unlikely love they shared. Mann details their early years—Bogart’s effete upbringing in New York City; Bacall’s rise as a model and actress. He paints a vivid portrait of their courtship and twelve-year marriage: the fights, the reconciliations, the children, the affairs, Bogie’s illness and Bacall’s steadfastness until his death. He offers a sympathetic yet clear-eyed portrait of Bacall’s life after Bogie, exploring her relationships with Frank Sinatra and Jason Robards, who would become her second husband, and the identity crisis she faced. Surpassing previous biographies, Mann d
09/08/202351 minutes 59 seconds
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Driving While Black: African Americans and the Automobile

Gretchen Sorin, Director and Distinguished Professor of the Cooperstown Graduate Program at the State University of New York - Oneonta, talks about her book, Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights (Liveright, 2020), with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. Driving While Black examines how cars fit into black lives and sheds light on how this technology fits into much larger patterns of history, including the Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter movements. Sorin and Vinsel also talk about the field of public history and communicating to non-academic audiences. Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in July 2019
07/08/202340 minutes 16 seconds
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Postscript: Protecting the Public? Guns, Intimate Partner Violence, and the US Supreme Court

Postscript invites scholars to react to contemporary political events and today’s podcast welcomes an expert on domestic violence and firearms law to analyze a controversial Second Amendment case that the United States Supreme Court will hear this Fall, United States v. Rahimi. Kelly Roskam, JD is the Director of Law and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy. She studies the constitutional implications of, advocates for, and works to improve the implementation of firearms laws. She has been writing about the practical implications of the Rahimi case since it came up through the 5th circuit (for example, “The Fifth Circuit’s Rahimi decision protects abusers’ access to guns. The Supreme Court must act to protect survivors of domestic violence” and “A Texas Judge Is Using Originalism to Justify Arming Domestic Abusers” (co-authored with Spencer Cantrell and Natalie Nanasi). In the podcast, we discuss the specifics of this strange case (a man who assault
07/08/202346 minutes 7 seconds
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Andreas Killen, "Nervous Systems: Brain Science in the Early Cold War" (Harper, 2023)

In this eye-opening chronicle of scientific research on the brain in the early Cold War era, the acclaimed historian Andreas Killen traces the complex circumstances surrounding the genesis of our present-day fascination with this organ. The 1950s were a transformative, even revolutionary decade in the history of brain science. Using new techniques for probing brain activity and function, researchers in neurosurgery, psychiatry, and psychology achieved dramatic breakthroughs in the treatment of illnesses like epilepsy and schizophrenia, as well as the understanding of such faculties as memory and perception. Memory was the site of particularly startling discoveries. As one researcher wrote to another in the middle of that decade, “Memory was the sleeping beauty of the brain—and now she is awake.” Collectively, these advances prefigured the emergence of the field of neuroscience at the end of the twentieth century. But the 1950s also marked the beginning of the Cold War and a period of t
06/08/202353 minutes 20 seconds
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Erika Marie Bsumek, "The Foundations of Glen Canyon Dam: Infrastructures of Dispossession on the Colorado Plateau" (U Texas Press, 2023)

The Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River provides electricity for some forty million people, and is one of the largest sources of water in the American West. It is also a testament to American settler colonialism, writes UT Austin history professor Erika Bsumek in The Foundations of Glen Canyon Dam: Infrastructures of Dispossession on the Colorado Plateau (U Texas Press, 2023). This region of the Southwest has been inhabited and irrigated by Indigenous societies since time immemorial, groups which were only recently (and partially) dispossessed by LDS Church settlers and by the US government. Bsumek argues that the structures, both physical and social, which form the foundation of Glen Canyon Dam - including science, law, and religion - make it a blueprint for structural dispossession, and a model which the United States would use to claim valuable Native lands. Yet, a mammoth undertaking such as this cannot be built without massive environmental change, and from the very beginning, b
06/08/202356 minutes 34 seconds
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Landon Mascareñaz and Doannie Tran, "The Open System: Redesigning Education and Reigniting Democracy" ((Harvard Education Press, 2023)

Landon Mascareñaz and Doannie Tran propose that, even as events of this decade have exposed stress points in existing top-down, closed systems within education and other public institutions, they have also created prime opportunities to rethink and redesign those systems in ways that encourage civic participation and invigorate local democracy. In The Open System: Redesigning Education and Reigniting Democracy (Harvard Education Press, 2023), Mascareñaz and Tran argue for a critical revitalization of public education centered in openness, an organization design concept in which an entity receives, considers, and acts on input from the community it serves. As they demonstrate, open education policy improves information flow, increasing opportunity, bolstering public trust, and making room for cocreation and coproduction driven by community partnerships and family engagement. Based on their groundbreaking work with educational coalitions such as the Kentucky Coalition for Advancing Educa
06/08/202335 minutes 6 seconds
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Christine Keiner, "Deep Cut: Science, Power, and the Unbuilt Interoceanic Canal" (U Georgia Press, 2020)

The Atlantic-Pacific Central American sea-level canal is generally regarded as a spectacular failure. However, Deep Cut: Science, Power, and the Unbuilt Interoceanic Canal (U Georgia Press, 2020) examines the canal in an alternative context, as an anticipated infrastructure project that captured attention from the nineteenth through the late twentieth centuries. Its advocates included naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, physicist Edward Teller, and U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Jimmy Carter. The waterway did not come to fruition, but as a proposal it served important political and scientific purposes during different eras, especially the years spanning the Cold War and the "environmental decade" of the 1970s. Historian Christine Keiner shows how the evolving plans for the sea-level ship canal performed distinct kinds of work for diverse historical actors in light of shifting scientific, environmental, and diplomatic values. Dismissing it as a failed scheme prevent
05/08/202331 minutes 6 seconds
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Daniel G Hummel, "The Rise and Fall of Dispensationalism: How the Evangelical Battle Over the End Times Shaped a Nation" (William B. Eerdmans, 2023)

In The Rise and Fall of Dispensationalism: How the Evangelical Battle Over the End Times Shaped a Nation (William B. Eerdmans, 2023), Daniel G. Hummel illuminates how dispensationalism, despite often being dismissed as a fringe end-times theory, shaped Anglo-American evangelicalism and the larger American cultural imagination. Hummel locates dispensationalism’s origin in the writings of the nineteenth-century Protestant John Nelson Darby, who established many of the hallmarks of the movement, such as premillennialism and belief in the rapture. Though it consistently faced criticism, dispensationalism held populist, and briefly scholarly, appeal—visible in everything from turn-of-the-century revivalism to apocalyptic bestsellers of the 1970s to current internet conspiracy theories. Measured and irenic, Hummel objectively evaluates evangelicalism’s most resilient and contentious popular theology. As the first comprehensive intellectual-cultural history of its kind, The Rise and Fall of D
05/08/20231 hour 24 minutes 13 seconds
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Elizabeth Carpenter-Song, "Families on the Edge: Experiences of Homelessness and Care in Rural New England" (MIT Press, 2023)

An intimate account of rural New England families living on the edge of homelessness, as well as the practices and policies of care that fail them. Families on the Edge: Experiences of Homelessness and Care in Rural New England (MIT Press, 2023) is an ethnographic portrait of families in rural and small-town New England who are often undercut by the very systems that are set up to help them.  In this book, author and medical anthropologist Elizabeth Carpenter-Song draws on a decade of ethnographic research to chart the struggles of a cohort of families she met in a Vermont family shelter in 2009, as they contend with housing insecurity, mental illness, and substance use. Few other works have attempted to take such a long-term view of how vulnerability to homelessness unfolds over time or to engage so fully with existing scholarship in the fields of anthropology and health services. Research on homelessness in the United States has been overwhelmingly conducted in urban settings, so muc
04/08/202336 minutes 39 seconds
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Tamara J. Walker, "Beyond the Shores: A History of African Americans Abroad" (Crown, 2023)

Part historical exploration, part travel memoir, Beyond the Shores: A History of African Americans Abroad (Crown, 2023) reveals poignant histories of a diverse group of African Americans who have left the United States over the course of the past century. Together, the interwoven stories highlight African Americans’ complicated relationship to the United States and the world at large. Beyond the Shores is not just about where African Americans stayed or where they ate when they traveled but also about why they left in the first place and how they were treated once they reached their destinations.  Drawing on years of research, Dr. Tamara J. Walker chronicles their experiences in atmospheric detail, taking readers from well-known capital cities to more unusual destinations like Yangiyul, Uzbekistan, and Kabondo, Kenya. She follows Florence Mills, the would-be Josephine Baker of her day, in Paris, and Richard Wright, the author turned actor and filmmaker, in Buenos Aires. She relays tend
04/08/20231 hour 18 minutes 9 seconds
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Andy Cowan, "B-Side: Pop History Via Its Greatest B-Sides, 1917-2017" (Headpress, 2023)

In his new book B-Sides: Pop History Via Its Greatest B-Sides, 1917-2017 (Headpress, 2023), Andy Cowan explores a century of music b-sides. Pop music would be a different beast without the B-Side. Music history is riven with songs deemed throwaway that revolted against their lowly status and refused to be denied. Be it rock'n'roll's national anthem ('Rock Around The Clock'), disco's enduring game-changer ('I Feel Love') or hip-hop's most notorious dis track ('Hit 'Em Up'), all three started life as the so-called 'lesser' track on releases primed for maximum chart impact. But the B-side has done much more than make stars of Bill Haley, Donna Summer and 2Pac. Whether it was the Beatles, the Kinks and the Yardbirds in the 60s, Elton John, the Who and Queen in the 70s, Depeche Mode, the Cure and Prince in the 80s, or Oasis, Pulp and Radiohead in the 90s, the B-side allowed many of the world's greatest artists freedom to experiment with no commercial constraints in an age where physical pro
04/08/202349 minutes 10 seconds
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Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey, "Cross-Border Cosmopolitans: The Making of a Pan-African North America" (UNC Press, 2023)

Twentieth-century African American history cannot be told without accounting for the significant influence of Pan-African thought, just as the story of U.S. policy from 1900 to 2000 cannot be told without accounting for fears of an African World. In the early 1900s, Marcus Garvey and his followers perceived the North American mainland, particularly Canada following U.S. authorities' deportation of Garvey to Jamaica, as a forward-operating base from which to liberate the Black masses. After World War II, Vietnam War resisters, Black Panthers, and Caribbean students joined the throngs of cross-border migrants. In time, as urban uprisings proliferated in northern U.S. cities, the prospect of coalitions among the Black Power, Red Power, and Quebecois Power movements inspired U.S. and Canadian intelligence services to collaborate, infiltrate, and sabotage Black organizations across North America. Assassinations of "Black messiahs" further radicalized revolutionaries, rekindling the dream fo
04/08/202357 minutes 11 seconds
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Breaking Out: An Indian Woman's American Journey

Padma Desai grew up in the 1930s in the provincial world of Surat, India, where she had a sheltered and strict upbringing in a traditional Gujarati Anavil Brahmin family. Her academic brilliance won her a scholarship to Bombay University, where the first heady taste of freedom in the big city led to tragic consequences—seduction by a fellow student whom she was then compelled to marry. In a failed attempt to end this disastrous first marriage, she converted to Christianity. A scholarship to America in 1955 launched her on her long journey to liberation from the burdens and constraints of her life in India. With a growing self-awareness and transformation at many levels, she made a new life for herself, met and married the celebrated economist Jagdish Bhagwati, became a mother, and rose to academic eminence at Harvard and Columbia. How did she navigate the tumultuous road to assimilation in American society and culture? And what did she retain of her Indian upbringing in the process? Th
04/08/202315 minutes 42 seconds
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Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program

In July 1969, ninety-four percent of American televisions were tuned to coverage of Apollo 11's mission to the moon. How did space exploration, once the purview of rocket scientists, reach a larger audience than My Three Sons? Why did a government program whose standard operating procedure had been secrecy turn its greatest achievement into a communal experience? In Marketing the Moon, David Meerman Scott and Richard Jurek tell the story of one of the most successful marketing and public relations campaigns in history: the selling of the Apollo program. Primed by science fiction, magazine articles, and appearances by Wernher von Braun on the “Tomorrowland” segments of the Disneyland prime time television show, Americans were a receptive audience for NASA's pioneering “brand journalism.” Scott and Jurek describe sophisticated efforts by NASA and its many contractors to market the facts about space travel—through press releases, bylined articles, lavishly detailed background materials, a
03/08/202319 minutes 20 seconds
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Joshua Cohen’s "The Netanyahus" (JP, Eugene Sheppard)

n this episode (originally aired by our partner Novel Dialogue) John and his Brandeis colleague Eugene Sheppard speak with Joshua Cohen about The Netanyahus. Is the 2021 novel a Pulitzer-winning bravura story of the world’s worst job interview? Or is it a searing indictment of ethno-nationalist Zionism–and the strange act of pretense whereby American Jewish writers and thinkers in postwar America pretended that Israel and its more extreme ethno-nationalist strains didn’t concern them? Cohen dramatizes the return of that repressed by imagining the family of the Benzion Netanyahu (actual medieval Spanish historian and father of Israel’s past and present Prime Minister Bibi) landing itself on a would-be assimilated American Jewish family ripped straight from the pages of a Philip Roth or Bernard Malamud novel. With John and Eugene, Joshua dissects the legacy of earlier American Jewish writers like Cynthia Ozick, and offers finer details of how Ze’ev Jabotinksy‘s bellicose views would ulti
03/08/202348 minutes 7 seconds
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Thurka Sangaramoorthy, "Landscapes of Care: Immigration and Health in Rural America" (UNC Press, 2023)

Landscapes of Care: Immigration and Health in Rural America (UNC Press, 2023) examines the ways immigrants, mainly from Latin America and the Caribbean, navigate the healthcare system in the United States. Since 1990, immigration to the United States has risen sharply, and rural areas have seen the highest increases. Thurka Sangaramoorthy reveals that the corporatization of healthcare delivery and immigration policies are deeply connected in rural America. Drawing from fieldwork that centers on Maryland's sparsely populated Eastern Shore, Sangaramoorthy shows how longstanding issues of precarity among rural health systems along with the exclusionary logics of immigration have mutually fashioned a "landscape of care" in which shared conditions of physical suffering and emotional anxiety among immigrants and rural residents generate powerful forms of regional vitality and social inclusion. Sangaramoorthy connects the Eastern Shore and its immigrant populations to many other places around
03/08/202357 minutes 28 seconds
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Olivier Burtin, "A Nation of Veterans: War, Citizenship, and the Welfare State in Modern America" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2022)

In examining how the veterans' movement inscribed martial citizenship onto American law, politics, and culture, A Nation of Veterans: War, Citizenship, and the Welfare State in Modern America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022) offers a new history of the U.S. welfare state that highlights its longstanding connection with warfare. It shows how a predominantly white and male group such as military veterans was at the center of social policy debates in the interwar and postwar period and how women and veterans of color were often discriminated against or denied access to their benefits. It moves beyond the traditional focus on the 1944 G.I. Bill to examine other important benefits like pensions, civil service preference, and hospitals. The book also examines multiple generations of veterans, by shedding light on how former service members from both World Wars as well as Korea and the Cold War interacted with each other. Olivier Burtin is Associate Professor of U.S. History and Civil
03/08/202343 minutes
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Jill L. Newmark, "Without Concealment, Without Compromise: The Courageous Lives of Black Civil War Surgeons" (Southern Illinois UP, 2023)

Of some twelve thousand Union Civil War surgeons, only fourteen were Black men. This book is the first-ever comprehensive exploration of their lives and service.  In Without Concealment, Without Compromise: The Courageous Lives of Black Civil War Surgeons (Southern Illinois UP, 2023), Jill L. Newmark's outstanding research uncovers stories hidden for more than 150 years, illuminating the unique experiences of proud, patriotic men who fought racism and discrimination to attend medical school and serve with the U.S. military. Their efforts and actions influenced societal change and forged new pathways for African Americans. Individual biographies bring to light Alexander T. Augusta, who challenged discriminatory laws; William P. Powell Jr., who pursued a military pension for twenty-five years; Anderson R. Abbott, a friend of Elizabeth Keckley's; John van Surly DeGrasse, the only Black surgeon to serve on the battlefield; John H. Rapier Jr., an international traveler; Richard H. Greene, t
03/08/202356 minutes 12 seconds
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Colleen M. Grogan, "Grow and Hide: The History of America's Health Care State" (Oxford UP, 2023)

A sweeping history of the American health care state that reveals the public has been intentionally misled about the true role of government. The US government has always invested federal, state and local dollars in public health protection and prevention. Despite this public funding, however, Americans typically believe the current system is predominantly comprised of private actors with little government interference.  In Grow and Hide: The History of America's Health Care State (Oxford UP, 2023), Colleen M. Grogan details the history of the American health care state and argues that the public has been intentionally misled about the true role of government. The US created a publicly financed system while framing it as the opposite in what Grogan terms the "grow-and-hide regime." Today, the state's role is larger than ever, yet it remains largely hidden because stakeholders-namely, private actors and their allies in government-have repeatedly, and successfully, presented the illusion
02/08/202340 minutes 14 seconds
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James B. Conroy, "The Devils Will Get No Rest: FDR, Churchill, and the Plan That Won the War" (Simon and Schuster, 2023)

The Devils Will Get No Rest: FDR, Churchill, and the Plan That Won the War (Simon and Schuster, 2023) is a character-driven account of the Casablanca Conference of January 1943, an Anglo-American clash over military strategy that produced a winning plan when World War II could have gone either way. Churchill called it the most important Allied conclave of the war. Until now, it has never been explored in a full-length book. In a secret, no-holds-barred, ten-day debate in a Moroccan warzone, protected by British marines and elite American troops, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George S. Patton Jr., Sir Alan Brooke, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Sir Harold Alexander, and their military peers questioned each other's competence, doubted each other's vision, and argued their way through choices that could win or lose the war. You will be treated to a master class in strategy by the legendary statesmen, generals, and admirals who
02/08/202338 minutes 38 seconds
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Nicholas Lemann, "Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream" (FSG, 2019)

Nicholas Lemann is a staff writer at the New Yorker and a professor of journalism at Columbia. He is the author of four books, the most recent of which is Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream (FSG, 2019). Lemann spoke at the Institute about Transaction Man in 2019. Over the last generation, the United States has undergone seismic changes. Stable institutions have given way to frictionless transactions, which are celebrated no matter what collateral damage they generate. The concentration of great wealth has coincided with the fraying of social ties and the rise of inequality. How did all this come about? In Transaction Man, Nicholas Lemann explains the United States'--and the world's--great transformation by examining three remarkable individuals who epitomized and helped create their eras. Adolf Berle, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's chief theorist of the economy, imagined a society dominated by large corporations, which a newly powerful federal gove
02/08/202350 minutes 9 seconds
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Talking Clarence Thomas: A Conversation with Amul Thapar

As the last few months of landmark Supreme Court decisions have showcased, Clarence Thomas is one of the most important men in America. To wrap up our Summer of Law series, Judge Amul Thapar discusses his recent book, The People's Justice: Clarence Thomas and the Constitutional Stories that Define Him (Regnery Publishing, 2023), digging into Justice Thomas's judicial legacy and some of his most interesting, influential, and surprising decisions. Amul Thapar is serves as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He became the first South Asian Article III judge in American history when President George W. Bush nominate him to serve on the Eastern District of Kentucky, where he then also served as the United States Attorney. In 2017, he became President Donald J. Trump’s first appellate court nominee. If you enjoyed this episode, you may also enjoy his most recent speech at the Madison Program. Annika Nordquist is the Communications Coordinator of Princeton U
01/08/202342 minutes 27 seconds
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Kathryn Cramer Brownell, "24/7 Politics: Cable Television and the Fragmenting of America from Watergate to Fox News" (Princeton UP, 2023)

As television began to overtake the political landscape in the 1960s, network broadcast companies, bolstered by powerful lobbying interests, dominated screens across the nation. Yet over the next three decades, the expansion of a different technology, cable, changed all of this. 24/7 Politics: Cable Television and the Fragmenting of America from Watergate to Fox News (Princeton UP, 2023) tells the story of how the cable industry worked with political leaders to create an entirely new approach to television, one that tethered politics to profits and divided and distracted Americans by feeding their appetite for entertainment--frequently at the expense of fostering responsible citizenship. In this timely and provocative book, Kathryn Cramer Brownell argues that cable television itself is not to blame for today's rampant polarization and scandal politics--the intentional restructuring of television as a political institution is. She describes how cable innovations--from C-SPAN coverage of
01/08/202331 minutes 58 seconds
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Blair Kelley, "Black Folk: The Roots of the Black Working Class" (LIveright, 2023)

In the United States, the stoicism and importance of the “working class” is part of the national myth. The term is often used to conjure the contributions and challenges of the white working class – and this obscures the ways in which Black workers built institutions like the railroads and universities – but also how they transformed unions, changed public policy, and established community.  In Black Folk: The Roots of the Black Working Class (LIveright, 2023), Dr. Blair LM Kelley restores the Black working class to the center of the American story by interrogating the lives of laundresses, Pullman porters, domestic maids, and postal workers. The book is both a personal journey and a history of Black labor in the United States from enslavement to the present day with a focus on a critical era: after Southern Emancipation to the early 20th century, when the first generations of Black working people carved out a world for themselves. Dr. Kelley captures the character of the lives of Blac
31/07/202345 minutes 1 second
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Powering American Farms: A Conversation with Richard Hirsh

Richard Hirsh, Professor of History at Virginia Tech, talks about his book, Powering American Farms: The Overlooked Origins of Rural Electrification (Johns Hopkins UP, 2022), with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. Powering American Farms is a revisionist history of rural electrification that calls into question a long standard story that rural electrification only began through the powers of the US federal government during the New Deal. Through extensive archival research, Hirsh finds a wide variety of activities around electrification on farms, through efforts of utilities, academic researchers, agricultural extension programs, and farmers themselves. Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United State
31/07/20231 hour 13 minutes 59 seconds
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Manfred B. Steger and Ravi K. Roy, "Neoliberalism: A Very Short Introduction" (Oxford UP, 2021)

Anchored in the principles of free-market economics, neoliberalism emerged in the 1990s as the world's most dominant economic paradigm. It has been associated with political leaders from Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Bill Clinton, to Tony Blair, Barack Obama, and Manmohan Singh. Neoliberalism even penetrated deeply into communist China's powerful economic system. However, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and the related European Sovereign Debt Crisis triggered a decade of economic volatility and insecurity that boosted the fortunes of the 1 per cent while saddling the 99 per cent with stagnant wages and precarious work. As a result of this Great Recession, neoliberalism fortunes have waned considerably. This downward trend further accelerated with the recent surge of national populism around the world that brought to power outspoken critics of neoliberalism like Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Jair Bolsonaro, and Narendra Modi. Is neoliberalism doomed or will it regain its former
30/07/20231 hour 6 minutes 49 seconds
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Matthew Bentley and John D. Bloom, "The Imperial Gridiron: Manhood, Civilization, and Football at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School" (U Nebraska Press, 2022)

The Imperial Gridiron: Manhood, Civilization, and Football at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (University of Nebraska Press, 2022) examines the competing versions of manhood at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School between 1879 and 1918. Students often arrived at Carlisle already engrained with Indigenous ideals of masculinity. On many occasions these ideals would come into conflict with the models of manhood created by the school’s original superintendent, Richard Henry Pratt. Pratt believed that Native Americans required the “embrace of civilization,” and he emphasized the qualities of self-control, Christian ethics, and retaliatory masculinity. He encouraged sportsmanship and fair play over victory. Pratt’s successors, however, adopted a different approach, and victory was enshrined as the main objective of Carlisle sports. As major stars like Jim Thorpe and Lewis Tewanima came to the fore, this change in approach created a conflict over manhood within the school: should the c
30/07/20231 hour 1 minute 41 seconds
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Phil Klay, "Uncertain Ground: Citizenship in an Age of Endless, Invisible War" (Penguin, 2022)

When Phil Klay left the Marines a decade ago after serving as an officer in Iraq, he found himself a part of the community of veterans who have no choice but to grapple with the meaning of their wartime experiences--for themselves and for the country. American identity has always been bound up in war--from the revolutionary war of our founding, to the civil war that ended slavery, to the two world wars that launched America as a superpower. What did the current wars say about who we are as a country, and how should we respond as citizens? Unlike in previous eras of war, relatively few Americans have had to do any real grappling with the endless, invisible conflicts of the post-9/11 world; in fact, increasingly few people are even aware they are still going on. It is as if these wars are a dark star with a strong gravitational force that draws a relatively small number of soldiers and their families into its orbit while remaining inconspicuous to most other Americans. In the meantime, t
30/07/20231 hour 8 minutes 24 seconds
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Adom Getachew and Jennifer Pitts eds. "W. E. B. Du Bois: International Thought" (Cambridge UP, 2022)

W. E. B. Du Bois was one of the most significant American political thinkers of the twentieth century. This volume collects 24 of his essays and speeches on international themes, spanning the years 1900-1956. These key texts reveal Du Bois's distinctive approach to the problem of empire and demonstrate his continued importance in our current global context. The volume charts the development of Du Bois's anti-imperial thought, drawing attention to his persistent concern with the relationship between democracy and empire and illustrating the divergent inflections of this theme in the context of a shifting geopolitical terrain; unprecedented political crises, especially during the two world wars; and new opportunities for transnational solidarity. With a critical introduction and extensive editorial notes, W.E.B. Du Bois: International Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2022) conveys both the coherence and continuity of Du Bois's international thought across his long life and the tremen
30/07/202339 minutes 21 seconds
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Rob Eschmann,, "When the Hood Comes Off: Racism and Resistance in the Digital Age" (U California Press, 2023)

From cell phone footage of police killing unarmed Black people to leaked racist messages and even comments from friends and family on social media, online communication exposes how racism operates in a world that pretends to be colorblind. In When the Hood Comes Off: Racism and Resistance in the Digital Age (U California Press, 2023), Rob Eschmann blends rigorous research and engaging personal narrative to examine the effects of online racism on communities of color and society, and the unexpected ways that digital technologies enable innovative everyday tools of antiracist resistance. Drawing on a wealth of data, including interviews with students of Color around the country and analyses of millions of social media posts over the past decade, Eschmann investigates the influence of online communication on face-to-face interactions. When the Hood Comes Off highlights the power of the internet as an organizing tool, and shows that online racism can be a profound wake-up call. How will we
29/07/20231 hour 15 minutes 2 seconds
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Stephen C. Taysom, "Like a Fiery Meteor: The Life of Joseph F. Smith" (U of Utah Press, 2023)

Joseph F. Smith was born in 1838 to Hyrum Smith and Mary Fielding Smith. Six years later both his father and his uncle, Joseph Smith Jr., the founding prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were murdered in Carthage, Illinois. The trauma of that event remained with Joseph F. for the rest of his life, affecting his personal behavior and public tenure in the highest tiers of the LDS Church, including the post of president from 1901 until his death in 1918. Joseph F. Smith laid the theological groundwork for modern Mormonism, especially the emphasis on temple work. This contribution was capped off by his "revelation on the redemption of the dead," a prophetic glimpse into the afterlife. Taysom's book traces the roots of this vision, which reach far more deeply into Joseph F. Smith's life than other scholars have previously identified. In Like a Fiery Meteor: The Life of Joseph F. Smith (U of Utah Press, 2023), Stephen C. Taysom uses previously unavailable primary sour
28/07/202345 minutes 29 seconds
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Benjamin Studebaker, "The Chronic Crisis of American Democracy: The Way Is Shut" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2023)

Today I talked to Benjamin Studebaker about his new book The Chronic Crisis of American Democracy: The Way Is Shut (Palgrave MacMillan, 2023) American democracy is in crisis. The economic system is slowly subjecting Americans of nearly all income levels and backgrounds to enormous amounts of stress. The United States lacks the state capacity required to alleviate this stress, and politicians increasingly find that if they promise to solve economic problems, they are likely to disappoint voters. Instead, they encourage voters to blame each other. The crisis cannot be solved, the economy cannot be set right, and democracy cannot be saved. But American democracy cannot be killed, either. Americans can’t imagine any compelling alternative political systems. And so, American democracy continues on, in a deeply unsatisfying way. Americans invent ever-more elaborate coping mechanisms in a desperate bid to go on. But it becomes increasingly clear that the way is shut. The American political sy
28/07/20231 hour 7 minutes 22 seconds
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Erica Abrams Locklear, "Appalachia on the Table: Representing Mountain Food and People" (U Georgia Press, 2023)

When her mother passed along a cookbook made and assembled by her grandmother, Erica Abrams Locklear thought she knew what to expect. But rather than finding a homemade cookbook full of apple stack cake, leather britches, pickled watermelon, or other “traditional” mountain recipes, Locklear discovered recipes for devil’s food cake with coconut icing, grape catsup, and fig pickles. Some recipes even relied on food products like Bisquick, Swans Down flour, and Calumet baking powder. Where, Locklear wondered, did her Appalachian food script come from? And what implicit judgments had she made about her grandmother based on the foods she imagined she would have been interested in cooking? Appalachia on the Table: Representing Mountain Food and People (U Georgia Press, 2023) argues, in part, that since the conception of Appalachia as a distinctly different region from the rest of the South and the United States, the foods associated with the region and its people have often been used to soci
28/07/202353 minutes 35 seconds
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When Did We See You a Stranger and Welcome You? (with Ben Metcalf)

The poor have always been with us, even in a rich country and a prosperous time. I ask Ben Metcalf, former Secretary of Housing and Community Development in California, about the challenges and successes of the government in providing shelter for its people. Our conversation recalls the question from Matthew 25:37-38, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?’ I was pleased to see that many of my assumptions about homelessness were mistaken and even more pleased to hear about the things that are working well in places like Houston, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City, that can be replicated around the nation. Ben Metcalf’s webpage at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley Ben Metcalf’s webpage at the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley The website for California’s Department of Housing and Community Development The website for the national Department o
27/07/202352 minutes 45 seconds
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Michael J. Seth, "Korea at War: Conflicts That Shaped the World" (Tuttle Publishing, 2023)

The Korean War “ended” exactly fifty years ago at Panmunjom. On July 27, 1953, United States and United Nations commanders on one side, and the North Koreans and Chinese commanders on the other, agreed to an immediate cessation of hostilities. Most histories of the Korean War stop there. Yet the war merely ended in a truce, not a proper peace agreement. The specter of conflict have loomed over the Korean Peninsula in the five decades since, changing development in both North and South Korea as each tries to secure their own future in a conflict that–in theory–could return at any point. We’re joined by Michael J. Seth, who joins the show to talk about this development and his latest book, Korea at War: Conflicts That Shaped the World (Tuttle, 2023). The book is about much more than just the war itself, as Seth looks at Korea’s pre- and post-war history, and how South Korea is unique in charting its own development while still, technically, in a state of war. Michael J. Seth is Professor
27/07/202344 minutes 1 second
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Richard N. Langlois, "The Corporation and the Twentieth Century: The History of American Business Enterprise" (Princeton UP, 2023)

The twentieth century was the managerial century in the United States. An organizational transformation, from entrepreneurial to managerial capitalism, brought forth what became a dominant narrative: that administrative coordination by trained professional managers is essential to the efficient running of organizations both public and private. And yet if managerialism was the apotheosis of administrative efficiency, why did both its practice and the accompanying narrative lie in ruins by the end of the century?  In The Corporation and the Twentieth Century: The History of American Business Enterprise (Princeton UP, 2023), Richard Langlois offers an alternative version: a comprehensive and nuanced reframing and reassessment of the economic, institutional, and intellectual history of the managerial era. Langlois argues that managerialism rose to prominence not because of its inherent superiority but because of its contingent value in a young and rapidly developing American economy. The s
27/07/202345 minutes 59 seconds
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Michelle Dowd, "Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult--A Memoir" (Algonquin, 2023)

Today’s book is: Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult, published by Algonquin Books, and written by Michelle Dowd. Forager is a memoir which showcases Michelle’s life growing up on an isolated mountain in California as part of an apocalyptic cult, and how she found her way out of poverty and illness by drawing on the gifts of the wilderness. Our guest is: Michelle Dowd, who is a journalism professor and contributor to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The LA Book Review, TIME Magazine, The Alpinist, ORION, LA Parent Mag, Catapult, and other publications. She was 2022 Faculty Lecturer of the Year at Chaffey College, where she founded the award-winning literary journal The Chaffey Review, advises Student Media, and teaches poetry and critical thinking in the California Institutions for Men and Women in Chino. She was a Longreads Top 5 for her article on the relationship between environmentalism and hope in The Alpinist, nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, and her
26/07/202353 minutes 7 seconds
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Syed Ali and Margaret M. Chin, "The Peer Effect: How Your Peers Shape Who You Are and Who You Will Become" (NYU Press, 2023)

For decades, parents across America have asked their kids, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” The answer is, “Duh, yes.” Peers, as parents well know, have a tremendous impact on who their kids are and what they will become. And even while they insist otherwise, parents know that they’re largely powerless to change this. But the effect of peers is not just a story about kids; peers can also affect adult behavior—they affect what we do and who we are well into old age. Noted sociologists Syed Ali and Margaret M. Chin call this “the peer effect.”  In their book, The Peer Effect: How Your Peers Shape Who You Are and Who You Will Become (NYU Press, 2023), they take readers on a tour of how our peers, and the peer cultures they create, shape our behavior in schools and the workplace. Ali and Chin begin their look at the peer effect at the high school from which they both graduated: New York City’s prestigious Stuyvesant High School, arguably the best public high school in the
26/07/202353 minutes 7 seconds
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Héctor Tobar, "Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of 'Latino'" (MCD, 2023)

Writing Latinos, from Public Books, features interviews with Latino (a/x/e) authors. We discuss their books and how their writing contributes to the ever-changing conversation about the meanings of latinidad. We recently caught up with Héctor Tobar to discuss his new book, Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of “Latino" (MCD, 2023). Our conversation included mention of the pathbreaking historian Vicki L. Ruiz, to whom Tobar dedicated Our Migrant Souls, as well as discussions on the literary influence of James Baldwin, the need for a revolution in how we talk about immigrants and immigration, Latino racial identity, and Tobar’s own life and travels. Tobar is a writer based in Los Angeles and is a professor of literary journalism and Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine. He is the winner of a Pulitzer Prize, a frequent contributor to the New York Times, and the author of many other books, including The Last Great Road Bum, Deep Dow
26/07/202347 minutes 8 seconds
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Penelope Ingram, "Imperiled Whiteness: How Hollywood and Media Make Race in 'Postracial' America" (UP of Mississippi, 2023)

In Imperiled Whiteness: How Hollywood and Media Make Race in "Postracial" America (University Press of Mississippi, 2023), Penelope Ingram examines the role played by media in the resurgence of white nationalism and neo-Nazi movements in the Obama-to-Trump era. As politicians on the right stoked anxieties about whites “losing ground” and “being left behind,” media platforms turned whiteness into a commodity that was packaged and disseminated to a white populace. Reading popular film and television franchises (Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, and The Walking Dead) through political flashpoints, such as debates over immigration reform, gun control, and Black Lives Matter protests, Ingram reveals how media cultivated feelings of white vulnerability and loss among white consumers. By exploring the convergence of entertainment, news, and social media in a digital networked environment, Ingram demonstrates how media’s renewed attention to “imperiled whiteness” enabled and sanctioned the return
26/07/202355 minutes 56 seconds
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Rebecca Sharpless, "Grain and Fire: A History of Baking in the American South" (UNC Press, 2022)

While a luscious layer cake may exemplify the towering glory of southern baking, like everything about the American South, baking is far more complicated than it seems. In Grain and Fire: A History of Baking in the American South (UNC Press, 2022), Rebecca Sharpless here weaves a brilliant chronicle, vast in perspective and entertaining in detail, revealing how three global food traditions—Indigenous American, European, and African—collided with and merged in the economies, cultures, and foodways of the South to create what we know as the southern baking tradition. Recognizing that sentiments around southern baking run deep, Sharpless takes delight in deflating stereotypes as she delves into the surprising realities underlying the creation and consumption of baked goods. People who controlled the food supply in the South used baking to reinforce their power and make social distinctions. Who used white cornmeal and who used yellow, who put sugar in their cornbread and who did not had tr
25/07/20231 hour 45 minutes 13 seconds
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Nicole Evelina, "America's Forgotten Suffragists: Virginia and Francis Minor" (Two Dot Books, 2023)

After being forgotten for nearly 130 years, the “Mother of Suffrage in Missouri” and her husband are finally taking their rightful place in history. St. Louisans Virginia and Francis Minor forever changed the direction of women’s rights by taking the issue to the Supreme Court for the first and only time in 1875, a feat never eclipsed even by their better-known peers Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Yet despite a myriad of accomplishments and gaining notoriety in their own time, the Minors’ names have largely faded from memory. In 1867, Virginia founded the nation’s first organization solely dedicated to women’s suffrage—two years before Anthony formed the National Woman’s Suffrage Association (NWSA). Virginia and Francis were also the brains behind the groundbreaking idea that women were given the right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment, a philosophy the NWSA adopted for nearly a decade. And their story doesn’t end there. After the court case, Francis went on to becom
25/07/202345 minutes 43 seconds
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John M. Findlay, "The Mobilized American West, 1940-2000" (U Nebraska Press, 2023)

At the end of the 1930s, the West was in peril. A cultural and economic backwater, the Great Depression had all-but wiped out the extractive industries which had fueled the region's economy for decades. What catapulted the West into the global twentieth century was mobilization for World War II.  In The Mobilized American West: 1940-2000 (U Nebraska Press, 2023), University of Washington emeritus professor John Findlay argues that once began, that mobilization never really ended, and continues to define the West to this day. As the latest entry in Nebraska's lauded History of the American West series, Findlay uses the latest scholarship to offer a synthetic look at the recent history of the West, a period that often gets short shrift in Western historiography. Findlay also takes new approaches, looking at the West through the lenses of family history and political culture, to make the case that the region is still distinct and worthy of study as a unique place. Findlay's West is a plac
24/07/20231 hour 11 minutes 14 seconds
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US History in 15 Foods: A Conversation with Anna Zeide

Anna Zeide, Associate Professor of History at Virginia Tech, talks about her book, US History in 15 Foods (Bloomsbury, 2023), with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. US History in 15 Foods is an approachable book that covers key moments and major themes in the history of the United States from before European colonization to the present, using food as the lens of examination. Zeide and Vinsel also talk about how Zeide became a food historian and briefly discuss her previous, award-winning book, Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry. Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in July 2019. Learn more about y
24/07/202352 minutes 46 seconds
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Andrew Quilty, "August in Kabul: America's Last Days in Afghanistan" (Bloomsbury, 2023)

Told through the eyes of witnesses to the fall of Kabul, Walkley award-winning journalist Andrew Quilty's debut publication offers a remarkable record of this historic moment. August in Kabul: America's Last Days in Afghanistan (Bloomsbury, 2023) is the story of how America's longest mission came to an abrupt and humiliating end, told through the eyes of Afghans whose lives have been turned upside down: a young woman who harbors dreams of a university education; a presidential staffer who works desperately to hold things together as the government collapses around him; a prisoner in the notorious Bagram Prison who suddenly finds himself free when prison guards abandon their post. Andrew Quilty was one of a handful of Western journalists who stayed in Kabul as the city fell. This is his first-hand account of those dramatic final days. Andrew Quilty’s photography career began in Sydney, in the year 2000, on the day his application to a university photo elective was rejected. He quit, and
24/07/202341 minutes 1 second
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Postscript: Is it Unconstitutional to Take Guns Away from Domestic Abusers?

The Supreme Court recently wrapped up their term – and announced that they will hear a very controversial case about domestic abuse, the power of Congress, and the right to keep and bear arms called United States v. Rahimi. The Court will decide whether a Texas man who assaulted his girlfriend in a parking lot and threatened to shoot her if she told anyone has been deprived of his Second Amendment rights. When the assaulted woman later obtained a restraining order against Mr. Zackey Rahimi, federal law made illegal for him to possess a firearm or ammunition while under that order. In 2019, Mr. Zackey Rahimi had an argument with his girlfriend in a parking lot. Mr. Rahimi knocked the woman to the ground. As he dragged her back to his car, she hit her head on the car’s dashboard. Later, in a telephone call. Mr. Rahimi threatened the woman that he would shoot her if she told anyone about the assault. Later, a Texas state court entered a domestic violence restraining order against Rahimi.
24/07/202354 minutes 34 seconds
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Howard Fishman, "To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse" (Dutton, 2023)

Howard Fishman's To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse (Dutton, 2023) is a fascinating hybrid biography that weaves together Fishman's own odyssey of research with the surprising life story he uncovers. Connie Converse was a gifted songwriter whose music came to public notice more than fifty years after it was recorded. Her album How Sad, How Lovely has taken its place alongside albums by rediscovered artists like Karen Dalton, Kath Bloom, and Sibylle Baier. In Converse's case, though, it was not only her music that disappeared. Following a series of personal and professional crises, Converse drove away from her home in Ann Arbor, never to be heard from again. When Fishman visited Ann Arbor to meet Converse's brother, he was shown an archive of several filing cabinets that revealed Converse as much more than a singer and guitarist. She composed art songs, song cycles, and operas. She was also managing editor at the Journal for Conflict Studies and aut
22/07/202354 minutes
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Scott A. Mitchell, "The Making of American Buddhism" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Scott A. Mitchell is the Dean of Students and Faculty Affairs and holds the Yoshitaka Tamai Professorial Chair at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley. He teaches and writes about Buddhism in the West, Pure Land Buddhism, and Buddhist modernism. As of 2010, there were approximately 3-4 million Buddhists in the United States, and that figure is expected to grow significantly. Beyond the numbers, the influence of Buddhism can be felt throughout the culture, with many more people practicing meditation, for example, than claiming Buddhist identity. A century ago, this would have been unthinkable. So how did Buddhism come to claim such a significant place in the American cultural landscape? The Making of American Buddhism (Oxford UP, 2023) offers an answer, showing how in the years on either side of World War II second-generation Japanese American Buddhists laid claim to an American identity inclusive of their religious identity. In the process they-and their allies-created a place
21/07/202358 minutes 52 seconds
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William Wei, "Becoming Colorado: The Centennial State in 100 Objects" (UP of Colorado, 2021)

In Becoming Colorado: The Centennial State in 100 Objects (UP of Colorado, 2021), historian William Wei paints a vivid portrait of Colorado history using 100 of the most compelling artifacts from Colorado’s history. These objects reveal how Colorado has evolved over time, allowing readers to draw multiple connections among periods, places, and people. Collectively, the essays offer a treasure trove of historical insight and unforgettable detail. Beginning with Indigenous people and ending in the early years of the twenty-first century, Wei traces Colorado’s story by taking a close look at unique artifacts that bring to life the cultures and experiences of its people. For each object, a short essay accompanies a full-color photograph. These accessible accounts tell the human stories behind the artifacts, illuminating each object’s importance to the people who used it and its role in forming Colorado’s culture. Together, they show how Colorado was shaped and how Coloradans became the peo
20/07/202346 minutes 52 seconds
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Miranda Corcoran, "Witchcraft and Adolescence in American Popular Culture: Teen Witches" (U Wales Press, 2022)

Witchcraft and Adolescence in American Popular Culture: Teen Witches (University of Wales Press, 2022) by Miranda Corcoran is a study in teenage witches in twentieth-century American popular culture. The teenage witch emerged in American fiction in the late twentieth century, quickly becoming a cultural touchstone. Witchcraft and Adolescence in American Popular Culture reveals how novels, films, television, and comics about witchy women register shifting attitudes toward adolescent femininity. Drawing on Deleuzian, Foucauldian, and new materialist theories, Miranda Corcoran charts a new feminist history from 1940s bobbysoxer to today, untangling strands of embodiments, agency, and violence. 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 Supp
19/07/20231 hour 19 seconds
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Nick Witham, "Popularizing the Past: Historians, Publishers, and Readers in Postwar America" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

In this lively and far-reaching text, Nick Witham (University College London) tells the stories of five postwar historians who changed the way ordinary Americans thought about their nation’s history. For decades, critics of the discipline have argued that the historical profession is dominated by scholars unable, or perhaps even unwilling, to write for the public. In Popularizing the Past: Historians, Publishers, and Readers in Postwar America (University of Chicago Press, 2023), Witham challenges this interpretation by telling the stories of Richard Hofstadter, Daniel Boorstin, John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, and Gerda Lerner - writers who, in the decades after World War II, published widely read books of national history. Witham compellingly argues that we should understand historians’ efforts to engage with the reading public as a vital part of their postwar identity and mission. Not just a matter of writing style, popular accessibility was also a product of an author's frame of mi
18/07/202353 minutes 18 seconds
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Ben Nadler, "The Jewish Deli: An Illustrated Guide to the Chosen Food" (Chronicle Books, 2023)

Beloved culinary and cultural institutions, Jewish delis are wonderlands of amazing flavors and great food—bright, buttery, briny, sweet, fatty, salty, smoky. . . . In The Jewish Deli: An Illustrated Guide to the Chosen Food (Chronicle Books, 2023), comics artist and deli aficionado Ben Nadler takes a deliciously entertaining deep dive into the history and culture of this food and the places that serve it up to us across the counter. Nadler guides readers through the details and delights of each major food category, all playfully illustrated and each more irresistibly noshable than the last. Ben talks to New Books Network about how today’s Jewish cuisine is not only guided by ancient Jewish religious rites, but is also rooted in stories of immigration. From pastrami to lox and black-and-white cookies to a bagel and schmear, he covers it with tales of the people making and baking, and his own personal hunger for culinary knowledge. Interview by Laura Goldberg, longtime food blogger at V
18/07/202353 minutes 51 seconds
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Ariane Chebel d'Appollonia, "Violent America: The Dynamics of Identity Politics in a Multiracial Society" (Cornell UP, 2023)

In Violent America: The Dynamics of Identity Politics in a Multiracial Society (Cornell University Press, 2023), Dr. Ariane Chebel d'Appollonia counterintuitively analyses why and how various ethnoracial groups proactively and instrumentally use different forms of violence to achieve their goals. Combining a historical analysis spanning the centuries with an examination of contemporary problems, she considers how and why ethnoracial groups can be both perpetrators and victims of violence, why some minority groups react differently to violence in comparable situations, and what the consequences are today for politics in both America and Europe. Violent America thus explores the effects of physical and discursive violence on the ways in which ethnoracial groups define themselves. Dr. Chebel d'Appollonia argues that the use of ethnoracial violence has been and remains an effective identity strategy by which all ethnoracial groups are able to integrate themselves into the mainstream of Ame
18/07/20231 hour 9 minutes 20 seconds
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Mere Natural Law: A Conversation with Hadley Arkes

What is natural law, and what does it have to do with originalism? Why does the Right defend religion yet so often struggle to define it? Next up in our "Summer of Law" series, Hadley Arkes, the Edward Ney Professor Emeritus of Jurisprudence Emeritus at Amherst College and the Founder and Director of the James Wilson Institute sits down to chat about his recent book, Mere Natural Law: Originalism and the Anchoring Truths of the Constitution (Regnery Publishing, 2023). More on Prof. Arkes is available here. About the The James Wilson Institute, here. The Stanford Review's "religion," referenced during the podcast is here. 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. She graduated from Stanford University in 2021, where she studied Classics and Linguistics. She was also Editor-in-Chief of the Stanford Review and a member of the varsity fencing
18/07/20231 hour 4 minutes 52 seconds
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Brendan O'Brien, "Homesick: Why Housing Is Unaffordable and How We Can Change It" (Chicago Review Press, 2023)

Nobody who sits in traffic on Sedona, Arizona's main stretch or stands shoulder-to-shoulder in its many souvenir shops would call it a ghost town. Neither would anyone renting a room for $2,000 a month or buying a house for a half-million dollars. And yet, the people who built the small town and made it a community are being pushed further and further out. Their home is being sold out from under their feet.  In studying the impact of short-term rentals, Brendan O'Brien saw something similar happening in places ranging from Bend, Oregon, to Bar Harbor, Maine. But it isn't just short-term rentals, and it's not just tourism towns. Neighborhoods in Austin and Atlanta have become rows of investment properties. Longtime residents in Spokane and Boston have been replaced by new, high-salaried remote workers. Across the country, a level of unaffordable housing which once seemed unique to global cities like New York and San Francisco has become the norm, with nearly a third of all US households
18/07/202337 minutes 16 seconds
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Jessica D. Klanderud, "Struggle for the Street: Social Networks and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Pittsburgh" (UNC Press, 2023)

Cities are nothing without the streets—the arteries through which goods, people, and ideas flow. Neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block, the city streets are where politics begins. In Struggle for the Street: Social Networks and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Pittsburgh (UNC Press, 2023), Jessica D. Klanderud documents the development of class-based visions of political, social, and economic equality in Pittsburgh's African American community between World War I and the early 1970s. Klanderud emphasizes how middle-class and working-class African Americans struggled over the appropriate uses and dominant meanings of street spaces in their neighborhoods as they collectively struggled to define equality. In chapters that move from one community to the next, Klanderud tracks the transformation of tactics over time with a streets-eye view that reveals the coalescing alliances between neighbors and through space. Drawing on oral histories of neighborhood residents, Black newspapers,
17/07/20231 hour 2 minutes 7 seconds
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Victor Luckerson, "Built from the Fire: The Epic Story of Tulsa's Greenwood District, America's Black Wall Street" (Random House, 2023)

When Ed Goodwin moved with his parents to Greenwood, Tulsa, in 1914, his family joined a growing community on the cusp of becoming a national center of black life. But, just seven years later, on May 31, 1921, the teenaged Ed hid in a bathtub as a white mob descended on his neighborhood, laying waste to thirty-five blocks and murdering as many as three hundred people. The Tulsa Race Massacre was one of the most brutal acts of racist violence in U.S. history, a ruthless attempt to smother a spark of black independence. But that was never the whole story of Greenwood. The Goodwins and their neighbors soon rebuilt it into “a Mecca,” in Ed’s words, where nightlife thrived, small businesses flourished, and an underworld economy lived comfortably alongside public storefronts. Prosperity and poverty intermixed, and icons from W.E.B. Du Bois to Muhammad Ali ambled down Greenwood Avenue, alongside maids, doctors, and every occupation in between. Ed grew into a prominent businessman and bought a
17/07/202358 minutes 4 seconds
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African American Women on the American Railroad: A Conversation with Miriam Thaggert

Miriam Thaggert, Professor of English at the University of Buffalo, talks about her book, Riding Jane Crow: African American Women on the American Railroad (University of Illinois Press, 2022), with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. Riding Jane Crow features creative uses of a wide variety of sources to reconstruct how African American women interacted with Jim Crow railroads as both riders and workers. Thaggert and Vinsel also discuss what kinds of research were necessary to reconstruct these stories and why so many previous histories of the railroad passed over the lives of black women, even when they were noticing black men. Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns
17/07/202356 minutes 56 seconds
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Michele Meek, "Consent Culture and Teen Films: Adolescent Sexuality in US Movies" (Indiana UP, 2023)

Teen films of the 1980s were notorious for treating consent as irrelevant, with scenes of boys spying in girls' locker rooms and tricking girls into sex. While contemporary movies now routinely prioritize consent, ensure date rape is no longer a joke, and celebrate girls' desires, sexual consent remains a problematic and often elusive ideal in teen films. In Consent Culture and Teen Films: Adolescent Sexuality in US Movies (Indiana UP, 2023), Michele Meek traces the history of adolescent sexuality in US cinema and examines how several films from the 2000s, including Blockers, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, The Kissing Booth, and Alex Strangelove, take consent into account. Yet, at the same time, Meek reveals that teen films expose how affirmative consent ("yes means yes") fails to protect youth from unwanted and unpleasant sexual encounters. By highlighting ambiguous sexual interactions in teen films—such as girls' failure to obtain consent from boys, queer teens subjected to conve
17/07/202347 minutes 39 seconds
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Jon Michaud, "Last Call at Coogan's: The Life and Death of a Neighborhood Bar" (St. Martin's Press, 2023)

The uniquely inspiring story of a beloved neighborhood bar that united the communities it served. Coogan’s Bar and Restaurant opened in New York City’s Washington Heights in 1985 and closed its doors for good in the pandemic spring of 2020. Sometimes called Uptown City Hall, it became a staple of neighborhood life during its 35 years in operation—a place of safety and a bulwark against prejudice in a multi-ethnic, majority-immigrant community undergoing rapid change.  Last Call at Coogan’s: The Life and Death of a Neighborhood Bar (St. Martin's Press, 2023) by Jon Michaud tells the story of this beloved saloon, from the challenging years of the late 80's and early 90's, when Washington Heights suffered from the highest crime rate in the city, to the 2010’s, when gentrification pushed out longtime residents and nearly closed Coogan's itself; only a massive community mobilization including local politicians and Lin-Manuel Miranda kept the doors open. This book touches on many serious iss
16/07/202334 minutes 32 seconds
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Vivian Nun Halloran, "Caribbean American Narratives of Belonging" (Ohio State UP, 2023)

In Caribbean American Narratives of Belonging (Ohio State University Press, 2023), Vivian Nun Halloran analyzes memoirs, picture books, comic books, young adult novels, musicals, and television shows through which Caribbean Americans recount and celebrate their contributions to contemporary politics, culture, and activism in the United States. The writers, civil servants, illustrators, performers, and entertainers whose work is discussed here show what it is like to fit in and be included within the body politic. From civic memoirs by Sonia Sotomayor and others, to West Side Story, Hamilton, and Into the Spider-Verse, these texts share a forward-looking perspective, distinct from the more nostalgic rhetoric of traditional diasporic texts that privilege connections to the islands of origin. There is no one way of being Caribbean. Diasporic communities exhibit a broad spectrum of ethnic, racial, religious, linguistic, and political qualities. Claiming a Caribbean American identity asks w
16/07/20231 hour 20 minutes 7 seconds
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Brianna Holt, "In Our Shoes: On Being a Young Black Woman in Not-So 'Post-Racial' America" (Plume Books, 2023)

Part memoir, part cultural critique, In Our Shoes: On Being a Young Black Woman in Not-So 'Post-Racial' America (Plume Books, 2023) uses pop culture and author Brianna Holt’s own lived experience to dissect the stereotypes and preconceived notions that young Black women must overcome in America today. In this fresh exploration of cultural appropriation, wokeness, tone policing, and more, Holt carefully dismantles myths about Black womanhood, allowing readers to assess their biases while examining the roles Black millennial women are forced to take on simply to survive. Through nine thoughtful chapters—such as “Leave the Box Braids for the Black Girls” and “Why Are You So Dark?”—laced with searing commentary, personal anecdotes from Brianna’s own life, and interviews conducted with “everyday” Black women, In Our Shoes reveals the complexities of existence for Black women and creates a thought-provoking book that helps readers to learn, empathize, reflect, and, most importantly, act. A h
16/07/202343 minutes 17 seconds
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Kelly Ross, "Slavery, Surveillance and Genre in Antebellum United States Literature" (Oxford UP, 2022)

Slavery, Surveillance and Genre in Antebellum United States Literature (Oxford UP, 2022) argues for the existence of deep, often unexamined, interconnections between genre and race by tracing how surveillance migrates from the literature of slavery to crime, gothic, and detective fiction. Attending to the long history of surveillance and policing of African Americans, the book challenges the traditional conception of surveillance as a top-down enterprise, equally addressing the tactics of sousveillance (watching from below) that enslaved people and their allies used to resist, escape, or merely survive racial subjugation. Examining the dialectic of racialized surveillance and sousveillance from fugitive slave narratives to fictional genres focused on crime and detection, the book shows how these genres share a thematic concern with the surveillance of racialized bodies and formal experimentation with ways of telling a story in which certain information is either rendered visible or kep
16/07/202344 minutes 27 seconds
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Samuel Issacharoff, "Democracy Unmoored: Populism and the Corruption of Popular Sovereignty" (Oxford UP, 2023)

The 2016 election of Donald Trump focused people's minds on populism, and most of the attention paid to the subject since has been on the threat it poses to wealthy democracies. In Democracy Unmoored, Samuel Issacharoff takes a far wider-angle view of the phenomenon, covering countries from across the globe: Brazil, Poland, Argentina, Turkey, India, Hungary, Venezuela, and more. Just as importantly, he focuses on populism's attack on the institutions of governance.  Democracy requires two critical features: first, a commitment to repeat play such that political actors understand that what goes around comes around; and, second, institutional constraints so that the majority can prevail, albeit not by too much. Democracies must avoid the doomsday scenario in which the contending parties see the next election as the final choice between salvation and perdition. Issacharoff shows how populist governance undermines each of these two critical underpinnings of stable democracy, first by compr
15/07/202355 minutes 48 seconds
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Stephen Bright and James Kwak, "The Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts" (The New Press, 2023)

Glenn Ford, a Black man, spent thirty years on Louisiana’s death row for a crime he did not commit. He was released in 2014—and given twenty dollars—when prosecutors admitted they did not have a case against him. Ford’s trial was a travesty. One of his court-appointed lawyers specialized in oil and gas law and had never tried a case. The other had been out of law school for only two years. They had no funds for investigation or experts. The prosecution struck all the Black prospective jurors to get the all-white jury that sentenced Ford to death. In The Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts (The New Press, 2023), legendary death penalty lawyer Stephen B. Bright and legal scholar James Kwak offer a heart-wrenching overview of how the criminal legal system fails to live up to the values of equality and justice. The book ranges from poor people squeezed for cash by private probation companies because of trivial violations to peop
15/07/202346 minutes 49 seconds
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Nikki M. Taylor, "Brooding over Bloody Revenge: Enslaved Women's Lethal Resistance" (Cambridge UP, 2023)

From the colonial through the antebellum era, enslaved women in the US used lethal force as the ultimate form of resistance. By amplifying their voices and experiences, Brooding over Bloody Revenge: Enslaved Women's Lethal Resistance (Cambridge UP, 2023) strongly challenges assumptions that enslaved women only participated in covert, non-violent forms of resistance, when in fact they consistently seized justice for themselves and organized toward revolt.  Nikki M. Taylor expertly reveals how women killed for deeply personal instances of injustice committed by their owners. The stories presented, which span centuries and legal contexts, demonstrate that these acts of lethal force were carefully pre-meditated. Enslaved women planned how and when their enslavers would die, what weapons and accomplices were necessary, and how to evade capture in the aftermath. Original and compelling, Brooding Over Bloody Revenge presents a window into the lives and philosophies of enslaved women who had t
15/07/202330 minutes 25 seconds
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Sara Moslener, "Virgin Nation: Sexual Purity and American Adolescence" (Oxford UP, 2015)

First taking hold of the American cultural imagination in the 1990s, the sexual purity movement of contemporary evangelicalism has since received considerable attention from a wide range of media outlets, religious leaders, and feminist critics. Virgin Nation: Sexual Purity and American Adolescence (Oxford UP, 2015) offers a history of this movement that goes beyond the Religious Right, demonstrating a link between sexual purity rhetoric and fears of national decline that has shaped American ideas about morality since the nineteenth century. Concentrating on two of today's best known purity organizations, True Loves Waits and Silver Ring Thing, Sara Moslener's investigation reveals that purity work over the last two centuries has developed in concert with widespread fears of changing traditional gender roles and sexual norms, national decline, and global apocalypse. Moslener highlights a number of points in U.S. history when evangelical beliefs and values have seemed to provide viable
15/07/202356 minutes 35 seconds
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Sofya Aptekar, "Green Card Soldier: Between Model Immigrant and Security Threat" (MIT Press, 2023)

While the popular image of the US military is one of citizen soldiers protecting their country, the reality is that nearly 5 percent of all first-time military recruits are noncitizens. Their reasons for enlisting are myriad, but many are motivated by the hope of gaining citizenship in return for their service. In Green Card Soldier: Between Model Immigrant and Security Threat (MIT Press, 2023), Sofya Aptekar talks to more than seventy noncitizen soldiers from twenty-three countries, including some who were displaced by conflict after the US military entered their homeland. She identifies a disturbing pattern: the US military's intervention in foreign countries drives migration, which in turn supplies the military with a cheap and desperate labor pool—thereby perpetuating the cycle. As Aptekar discovers, serving in the US military is no guarantee against deportation, and yet the promise of citizenship and the threat of deportation are the carrot and stick used to discipline noncitizen
14/07/20231 hour 4 minutes 11 seconds
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Julie Carr, "Mud, Blood, and Ghosts: Populism, Eugenics, and Spiritualism in the American West" (U Nebraska Press, 2023)

In Mud, Blood, and Ghosts: Populism, Eugenics, and Spiritualism in the American West (U Nebraska Press, 2023), University of Colorado poet and English professor Julie Carr uses family legend and lore to tell a history of the American West at the turn of the twentieth century. By tracking the story of her larger-than-life great-grandfather, the late nineteenth century People's Party politician and Nebraska settler Omer Kem, Carr explains her family's ties to systems and trends critical to understanding the American past, including race, colonialism, capitalism, and religion. Told from a unique voice all her own, Carr's narrative seamlessly ties together family, local, and national stories into a tale of American West and the region's politics which speaks clearly to the political divides in today's America. Mud, Blood, and Ghosts shows how the spirits of the past linger shockingly close at hand, even in the present day. Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the
14/07/20231 hour 10 minutes 39 seconds
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Nour Halabi, "Radical Hospitality: American Policy, Media, and Immigration" (Rutgers UP, 2022)

How should we understand contemporary migration policy? In Radical Hospitality: American Policy, Media, and Immigration (Rutgers UP, 2022), Nour Halabi, an Interdisciplinary Fellow at the University of Aberdeen, explores this question by blending history, media studies, and a range of critical theory to introduce the idea of radical hospitality. Using detailed historical and contemporary case studies- from the 1880s and the Chinese Exclusion Act, through the 1920s and the National Origins Act, up to the 2000s and the Muslim travel ban- the book offers both a rethink of the history of immigration as well as a radical call for a new approach. Rich in detail and broad in scope, the book is essential reading for anyone wishing to see a better world for migrants everywhere. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
13/07/202339 minutes 1 second
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Dana Rubin, "Speaking While Female: 75 Extraordinary Speeches by American Women" (RealClear, 2023)

From Dr. Painter restoring the words of Sojourner Truth’s original speech, to VP-candidate Kamala Harris enduring through repeated interruptions at her debate, to Katie Porter silently reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck at the Speaker of the House election—American women persist in speaking over their censors. While this takes courage, it is neither new or modern. American women have spoken in public spaces for hundreds of years, on myriad subjects, in venues of varying size, through a variety of methods. So why are their speeches consistently omitted from anthologies? Today’s book is: Speaking While Female: 75 Extraordinary Speeches by American Women, by Dana Rubin. This anthology reexamines the American story as it unfolded through the centuries, revealing that in every time and place and at every critical juncture, women were speaking. Women from all backgrounds—some whose names you already know and others who will be introduced to you here—spoke in every corner of the land
13/07/202349 minutes 3 seconds
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Methadone and Covid-19

Helen Redmond is a Harlem-based documentary filmmaker, journalist, licensed clinical social worker, and professor at NYU. As senior editor and a multimedia journalist at Filter, a website that covers drug news, she’s been documenting America’s addiction crisis and treatment system for years. Her new documentary, Swallow THIS: A Documentary About Methadone & COVID-19, is currently on tour across the United States. We discuss the impacts the pandemic has had on methadone access in America – as well as the changes it hasn’t made – and put addiction treatment into a larger historical perspective. 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 Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://n
12/07/202356 minutes 20 seconds
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Randall Patnode, "The Synchronized Society: Time and Control From Broadcasting to the Internet" (Rutgers UP, 2023)

The Synchronized Society: Time and Control From Broadcasting to the Internet (Rutgers University Press, 2023) by Dr. Randall Patnode traces the history of the synchronous broadcast experience of the twentieth century and the transition to the asynchronous media that dominate today. Broadcasting grew out of the latent desire by nineteenth-century industrialists, political thinkers, and social reformers to tame an unruly society by controlling how people used their time. The idea manifested itself in the form of the broadcast schedule, a managed flow of information and entertainment that required audiences to be in a particular place – usually the home – at a particular time and helped to create “water cooler” moments, as audiences reflected on their shared media texts. Audiences began disconnecting from the broadcast schedule at the end of the twentieth century, but promoters of social media and television services still kept audiences under control, replacing the schedule with surveill
12/07/202352 minutes 16 seconds
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Phoebe Ho et al., "Diversity and the Transition to Adulthood in America" (U California Press, 2022)

How do children and adolescents transition to adulthood in today’s America? How have American society’s entrenching economic inequality and increasing financial precarity profoundly shaped their coming-of-age experience? What does it mean to grow up in a diverse society interacting with peers and adults with very different racial and ethnic backgrounds? These are important questions to ask in order to understand young people’s life in the United States.  In Diversity and the Transition to Adulthood in America (U California Press, 2022), sociologists Phoebe Ho, Hyunjoon Park, and Grace Kao use large-scale and nationally representative data to address these important questions. The book offers a panoramic view of young people’s life in today’s increasingly diverse America. Through identifying the patterns and trends of when and how youths of different racial and ethnic backgrounds reach their life milestones, the book maps out the varying life paths of young Americans, who will play crit
12/07/20231 hour 3 minutes 33 seconds
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Eliot Borenstein, "Marvel Comics in The 1970s: The World Inside Your Head" (Cornell UP, 2023)

I am excited to welcome Eliot Borenstein to the podcast today to discuss his new monograph, Marvel Comics in the 1970s: The World Inside Your Head, published through Cornell University Press in 2023. Eliot is Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University. He has published a number of books: Soviet-Self-Hatred: The Secret Identities of Postsocialism (Cornell University Press, 2023); Plots against Russia: Conspiracy and Fantasy after Socialism (Cornell University Press, 2019); Men without Women: Masculinity and Revolution in Russian Fiction, 1917-1929 (Cornell University Press, 2000); and Overkill: Sex Violence, and Russian Popular Culture after 1991 (Cornell University Press, 2008). Marvel Comics in the 1970s focuses on five writers, all born between 1945 and 1948, and their iconic takes on characters and titles: Steve Engelhart’s Shang-Chi and Doctor Strange; Doug Moench’s Master of Kung Fu; Marv Wolfman’s Tomb of Dracula; Don McGregor’s Black Panther and Luke Cage; an
11/07/20231 hour 5 minutes 45 seconds
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Emily Flitter, "The White Wall: How Big Finance Bankrupts Black America" (Atria/One Signal Publishers, 2022)

In 2018, Emily Flitter received a tip that Morgan Stanley had fired a Black employee without cause. Flitter had been searching for a way to investigate the deep-rooted racism in the American financial industry, and that one tip lit the sparkplug for a three-year journey through the shocking yet normalized corruption in our financial institutions. Examining local insurance agencies and corporate titans like JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, and Wells Fargo and reveals the practices that have kept the racial wealth gap practically as wide as it was during the Jim Crow era. Flitter exposes hiring and layoff policies designed to keep Black employees from advancing to high levels; racial profiling of customers in internal emails between bank tellers; major insurers refusing to pay Black policyholders’ claims; and the systematic denial of funding to Black entrepreneurs. She also gives a voice to victims, from single mothers to professional athletes to employees themselves: people who were scammed,
11/07/202357 minutes 35 seconds
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Francis L. Sampson, "Look Out Below!: A Story of the Airborne by a Paratrooper Padre" (Catholic U of America Press, 2023)

A veteran of the Second World War and the Korean War, Francis L. Sampson was a real-life hero whose exploits inspired one of the most famous war films of all time, Saving Private Ryan. From rural beginnings in northwestern Iowa, Sampson’s life would take him from the University of Notre Dame to the battlefields of Normandy on D-Day, the ambitious failure of Operation Market Garden, the harshness of a winter as a POW of the Germans during the closing stages of the Second World War, to the fall of North Korean capital Pyongyang in the early stages of the Korean War. Part of the very rare breed of Parachute Chaplains, in his case with the 101 st Airborne Division, Sampson spent much of his career as an army chaplain in the center of maelstroms of the 20th century. Throughout it all, Sampson offered a valuable Christian witness in the darkest of times and the most difficult of circumstances. This second edition of his memoirs, Look Out Below!: A Story of the Airborne by a Paratrooper Padre
11/07/202348 minutes 21 seconds
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Katherine Giuffre, "Outrage: The Arts and the Creation of Modernity" (Stanford UP, 2023)

A cultural revolution in England, France, and the United States beginning during the time of the industrial and political revolutions helped usher in modernity. This cultural revolution worked alongside the better documented political and economic revolutions to usher in the modern era of continuous revolution. Focusing on the period between 1847 and 1937, Outrage: The Arts and the Creation of Modernity (Stanford University Press, 2023) by Dr. Katherine Giuffre examines in depth six of the cultural "battles" that were key parts of this revolution: the novels of the Brontë sisters, the paintings of the Impressionists, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, the Ballets Russes production of Le Sacre du printemps, James Joyce's Ulysses, and Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Using contemporaneous reviews in the press as well as other historical material, we can see that these now-canonical works provoked outrage at the time of their release because they addressed critical points of
10/07/202353 minutes 53 seconds
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Morgan L. W. Hazelton and Rachael K. Hinkle, "Persuading the Supreme Court: The Significance of Briefs in Judicial Decision-Making" (UP Kansas, 2022)

Each June in the United States, scholars, journalists, law makers, law enforcers, lawyers, and members of the public wait for the announcement of major decisions from the Supreme Court. Justices often read a summary of their decision from the bench dressed in their robes. Paper copies are available in a special office – and more recently on the Supreme Court website. This year, the Supreme Court opinions have shaped policy on affirmative action, public accommodation for LGBTQ+ people, voting rights, student loans, and the power of states to control election procedure. Before these cases are decided, the parties, outside individuals, and interest groups invest an estimated $25 to $50 million dollars a year to produce roughly one thousand amicus briefs. These briefs strategically provide information to the justices to convince them to vote in a particular way. How are these briefs produced? Who pays for their research and writing? What impact do they have on the ultimate decisions of the
10/07/202355 minutes 10 seconds
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Tina Shrestha, "Surviving the Sanctuary City: Asylum-Seeking Work in Nepali New York" (U Washington Press, 2023)

Over the past several decades, the vibrant, multiethnic borough of Queens has seen growth in the community of Nepali migrants, many of whom are navigating the challenging bureaucratic process of asylum legalization. Surviving the Sanctuary City: Asylum-Seeking Work in Nepali New York (U Washington Press, 2023) follows them through the institutional spaces of asylum offices, law firms, and human rights agencies to document the labor of seeking asylum.  As an interpreter and a volunteer at a grassroots community center, anthropologist Tina Shrestha has witnessed how migrants must perform a particular kind of suffering that is legible to immigration judges and asylum officers. She demonstrates the lived contradictions asylum seekers face while producing their "suffering testimonials" and traces their attempts to overcome these contradictions through the Nepali notions of kaagaz banaune (making paper) and dukkha (suffering). Surviving the Sanctuary City asks what everyday survival among mi
09/07/20231 hour 41 minutes
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Brent Cebul, "Illusions of Progress: Business, Poverty, and Liberalism in the American Century" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2023)

Today, the word "neoliberal" is used to describe an epochal shift toward market-oriented governance begun in the 1970s. Yet the roots of many of neoliberalism's policy tools can be traced to the ideas and practices of mid-twentieth-century liberalism. In Illusions of Progress, Brent Cebul chronicles the rise of what he terms "supply-side liberalism," a powerful and enduring orientation toward politics and the economy, race and poverty, that united local chambers of commerce, liberal policymakers and economists, and urban and rural economic planners. Beginning in the late 1930s, New Dealers tied expansive aspirations for social and, later, racial progress to a variety of economic development initiatives. In communities across the country, otherwise conservative business elites administered liberal public works, urban redevelopment, and housing programs. But by binding national visions of progress to the local interests of capital, liberals often entrenched the very inequalities of power
09/07/20231 hour 17 minutes 37 seconds
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Jason Chang et al., "The Cargo Rebellion: Those Who Chose Freedom" (PM Press, 2022)

The Cargo Rebellion: Those Who Chose Freedom (PM Press, 2022) tells a true story of mutiny on the high seas in which four hundred indentured Chinese men overthrew their captor, the Connecticut businessman and slave trader Leslie Bryson, taking a stand against an exploitative global enterprise. The laborers learned that Bryson’s claimed destination of San Francisco was a lie to trick them into deadly servitude in the dreaded guano islands of Peru. Reaching a dramatic tipping point, the mutineers rose up and killed Bryson and several of the ship's officers and then attempted to sail back to China. This book's centerpiece, a deft graphic account of the rebellion in the context of the “coolie trade” and the struggle to end traffic in human “cargo,” is supported by essays that spotlight the rebellion itself, how the subject of indentured Asian workers is being taught in classrooms, and how Chinese workers shaped the evolution of American music, particularly in the making of the first drum s
09/07/20231 hour 21 minutes 7 seconds
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Keisha Ray, "Black Health: The Social, Political, and Cultural Determinants of Black People's Health" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Why do American Black people generally have worse health than American White people? To answer this question, Keisha Ray's book Black Health: The Social, Political, and Cultural Determinants of Black People's Health (Oxford UP, 2023) dispels any notion that Black people have inferior bodies that are inherently susceptible to disease. This is simply false racial science used to justify White supremacy and Black inferiority. A genuine investigation into the status of Black people's health requires us to acknowledge that race has always been a powerful social category that gives access to the resources we need for health and wellbeing to some people, while withholding them from other people.  Systemic racism, oppression, and White supremacy in American institutions have largely been the perpetrators of differing social power and access to resources for Black people. It is these systemic inequities that create the social conditions needed for poor health outcomes for Black people to persis
08/07/202338 minutes 33 seconds
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Thomas A. Castillo, "Working in the Magic City: Moral Economy in Early Twentieth-Century Miami" (U Illinois Press, 2022)

In the early twentieth century, Miami cultivated an image of itself as a destination for leisure and sunshine free from labor strife. In Working in the Magic City: Moral Economy in Early Twentieth-Century Miami (U Illinois Press, 2022), Thomas A. Castillo unpacks this idea of class harmony and the language that articulated its presence by delving into the conflicts, repression, and progressive grassroots politics of the time. Castillo pays particular attention to how class and race relations reflected and reinforced the nature of power in Miami. Class harmony argued against the existence of labor conflict, but in reality obscured how workers struggled within the city's service-oriented seasonal economy. Castillo shows how and why such an ideal thrived in Miami's atmosphere of growth and boosterism and amidst the political economy of tourism. His analysis also presents class harmony as a theoretical framework that broadens our definitions of class conflict and class consciousness. This
06/07/20231 hour 15 seconds
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Studying the Pipeline to Politics for Women

When we teach about how women go into politics, how are we looking for the places and ways that women get involved? Are we giving enough consideration to small towns, and to grassroots work? Heather Lende joins us to share what it was like to run for office in her Alaskan town. This episode considers: How she ended up in Alaska. What led her to run for office. Why she was subjected to a recall. How she rebuilt relationships with neighbors who voted against her, and what happened when she couldn’t. A discussion of the book Of Bears and Ballots: An Alaskan Adventure in Small Town Politics. Today’s book is: Of Bears and Ballots: An Alaskan Adventure in Small Town Politics, by Heather Lende. Lende was one of the thousands of women inspired to take a more active role in politics during the past few years. But tiny, breathtakingly beautiful Haines—a place accessible from the nearest city, Juneau, only by boat or plane—isn’t the sleepy town that it appears to be. From a bitter debate a
06/07/20231 hour 5 minutes 2 seconds
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Kristina Horn Sheeler and Karrin Vasby Anderson, "Woman President: Confronting Postfeminist Political Culture" (Texas A&M Press, 2013)

Kristina Horn Sheeler and Karrin Vasby Anderson have each worked on and researched questions of gender, leadership, executive positions, and popular culture. In Woman President: Confronting Postfeminist Political Culture, Horn Sheeler and Vasby Anderson examine the experiences of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sarah Palin as both women ran for office in 2008, at the presidential and vice-presidential level respectively. Woman President digs into the question of gendered presidentiality, and how this contributes to voters’ expectations and to the double bind that most female candidates face, especially those running for executive positions. The requirement that women must demonstrate capacity and capability and ambition, but at the same time not appear to be threatening, overly ambitious, or unfeminine is particularly complicated for presidential or vice-presidential candidates in the United States. Horn Sheeler and Vasby Anderson dive into the issue of feminism as it has swirled around pol
06/07/20231 hour 1 minute 42 seconds
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Ben Terris, "The Big Break: The Gamblers, Party Animals, and True Believers Trying to Win in Washington While America Loses Its Mind" (Twelve, 2023)

The Big Break: The Gamblers, Party Animals, and True Believers Trying to Win in Washington While America Loses Its Mind (Twelve, 2023) investigates how Washington works, and how different kinds of people try to make it work for them. Ben Terris presents an inside history of this crucial moment in Washington, reporting from exclusive parties, poker nights, fundraisers, secluded farms outside town, and the halls of Congress; among the oddballs and opportunists and true believers. This book is about the people who see the current interlude as an opportunity to build something -- for their country, for themselves -- amid the wreckage. Ben Terris is a writer in The Washington Post's Style section with a focus on national politics. Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!
05/07/202332 minutes 29 seconds
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Greg Berman and Aubrey Fox, "Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age" (Oxford UP, 2023)

Many experts believe that we are at a fulcrum moment in history, a time that demands radical shifts in thinking and policymaking. Calls for bold change are everywhere these days, particularly on social media, but is this actually the best way to make the world a better place? In Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age (Oxford UP, 2023), Greg Berman and Aubrey Fox argue that, contrary to the aspirations of activists on both the right and the left, incremental reform is the best path forward. They begin by emphasizing that the very structure of American government explicitly and implicitly favors incrementalism. Particularly in a time of intense polarization, any effort to advance radical change will inevitably engender significant backlash. As Berman and Fox make clear, polling shows little public support for bold change. The public is, however, willing to endorse a broad range of incremental reforms that, if implemented, would reduce suffering and improve fairness. To
05/07/202354 minutes 11 seconds
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Jennifer Caplan, "Funny, You Don't Look Funny: Judaism and Humor from the Silent Generation to Millennials" (Wayne State UP, 2023)

In this comprehensive approach to Jewish humor focused on the relationship between humor and American Jewish practice, Jennifer Caplan calls us to adopt a more expansive view of what it means to “do Jewish,” revealing that American Jews have turned, and continue to turn, to humor as a cultural touchstone. Caplan frames Funny, You Don't Look Funny: Judaism and Humor from the Silent Generation to Millennials (Wayne State UP, 2023) around four generations of Jewish Americans from the Silent Generation to Millennials, highlighting a shift from the utilization of Jewish-specific markers to American-specific markers. Jewish humor operates as a system of meaning-making for many Jewish Americans. By mapping humor onto both the generational identity of those making it and the use of Judaism within it, new insights about the development of American Judaism emerge. Caplan’s explication is innovative and insightful, engaging with scholarly discourse across Jewish studies and Jewish American histor
04/07/20231 hour 31 seconds
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Glen W. Olson and Terry Lee Brussel-Rogers, "Fifty Years of Polyamory in America: A Guided Tour of a Growing Movement" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022)

Fifty Years of Polyamory in America: A Guided Tour of a Growing Movement (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022) is unique among the many books about polyamory because the scope of this book is the entire history of the polyamory movement. Instead of concentrating on the experiences of a few people exploring alternate lifestyles, it is an exploration of two generations of Americans, the people and the organizations they founded, what they have chosen to do, and how it has changed their lives and affected the culture as a whole. Written in an entertaining and easily accessible style, the authors cover the history of alternative sexual relationship styles starting with a quick peek at colonial times, the Mormon and Oneida movements of the 1840s-70s, and modern day influences starting in the 1950s. Polyamory, literally “many loves,” challenges the relationship norm: monogamy. As its name suggests, polyamory typically refers to emotional/sexual relationships that include multiple partners. Common app
04/07/202332 minutes 42 seconds
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Sarah L. Hall, "Sown in the Stars: Planting by the Signs" (UP of Kentucky, 2023)

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted."—Ecclesiastes 3:1–2 The Appalachian region is deeply rooted in customs that have been handed down for generations. "Planting by the signs," a practice predicated on the belief that moon phases and astrological signs exert a powerful influence on the growth and well-being of crops, is deemed superstitious by some but has been considered essential to gardeners and farmers for centuries and is still in use today. Sown in the Stars: Planting by the Signs (UP of Kentucky, 2023) brings together the collective knowledge of farmers in central and eastern Kentucky about the custom of planting by the signs. Sarah Hall interviews nearly two dozen contemporary Kentuckians who still follow the signs of the moon and stars to guide planting, harvesting, canning and food preservation, butchering, and general farmwork. Hall
03/07/202354 minutes 36 seconds
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Jack Metzgar, "Bridging the Divide: Working-Class Culture in a Middle-Class Society" (ILR Press, 2021)

In Bridging the Divide: Working-Class Culture in a Middle-Class Society (ILR Press, 2021), Jack Metzgar attempts to determine the differences between working-class and middle-class cultures in the United States. Drawing on a wide range of multidisciplinary sources, Metzgar writes as a now middle-class professional with a working-class upbringing, explaining the various ways the two cultures conflict and complement each other, illustrated by his own lived experiences. Set in a historical framework that reflects on how both class cultures developed, adapted, and survived through decades of historical circumstances, Metzgar challenges professional middle-class views of both the working-class and themselves. In the end, he argues for the creation of a cross-class coalition of what he calls "standard-issue professionals" with both hard-living and settled-living working people and outlines some policies that could help promote such a unification if the two groups had a better understanding o
03/07/202359 minutes 21 seconds
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The Supreme Court's Past, Present, and Future: A Conversation with John Yoo

It has been a momentous few weeks for the Supreme Court. What better time to discuss the Court's history and future? We are therefore launching our "Summer of Law" series to shed light on the legal world . Kicking the series off is John Yoo, the Heller Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. He is also a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has written 8 books and over 100 academic articles, and is a regular contributor at a wide variety of publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and National Review. This episode discusses his latest book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Supreme Court (Regnery Publishing, 2023). Along the way, it unpacks legal thought on issues such as affirmative action, abortion, court-packing, the administrative state, and the unique position of the Supreme Court as an unelected institution. We have
03/07/202353 minutes 19 seconds
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G. Edward White, "Law in American History, Volume III: 1930-2000" (Oxford UP, 2019)

For nearly two decades the renowned legal historian G. Edward White has been writing a multi-volume history of law in America. In his third and concluding volume, Law in American History, Volume III: 1930-2000 (Oxford University Press, 2019), he surveys the many developments in American law from the middle of the 20th century to the case of Bush v. Gore. One of the most important of these developments was the emergence of American jurisprudence, a philosophy of how judges should apply the law.  As White demonstrates, this new interpretation of judges as individual actors in the shaping of legal interpretation emerged while federal agencies moved toward agency governance, which was underpinned by the notion of a factual, scientific basis towards decision-making. At the same time, lawmakers pursued what White terms the “statutorification” of common law, while all branches wrestled with the need to establish the legal framework for the developments in mass communications that characterize
02/07/20231 hour 12 minutes 53 seconds
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Katherine C. Mooney, "Isaac Murphy: The Rise and Fall of a Black Jockey" (Yale UP, 2023)

Isaac Murphy, born enslaved in 1861, still reigns as one of the greatest jockeys in American history. Black jockeys like Murphy were at the top of the most popular sport in America at the end of the nineteenth century. They were internationally famous, the first African American superstar athletes—and with wins in three Kentucky Derbies and countless other prestigious races, Murphy was the greatest of them all. At the same time, he lived through the seismic events of Emancipation and Reconstruction and formative conflicts over freedom and equality in the United States. And inevitably he was drawn into those conflicts, with devastating consequences. In Isaac Murphy: The Rise and Fall of a Black Jockey (Yale UP, 2023), Katherine C. Mooney uncovers the history of Murphy’s troubled life, his death in 1896 at age thirty-five, and his afterlife. In recounting Murphy’s personal story, she also tells two of the great stories of change in nineteenth-century America: the debates over what a mult
02/07/20231 hour 23 minutes 55 seconds
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Michael O'Hanlon, "Military History for the Modern Strategist: America's Major Wars Since 1861" (Brookings, 2023)

The recent conclusion to the war in Afghanistan — America’s longest and one of its most frustrating — serves as a vivid reminder of the unpredictability and tragedy of war. In Military History for the Modern Strategist: America's Major Wars Since 1861 (Brookings, 2023), esteemed military expert Michael O’Hanlon examines America’s major conflicts since the mid-1800s: the Civil War, the two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. O’Hanlon addresses profound questions. How successful has the United States been when it waged these wars? Were the wars avoidable? Did America’s leaders know what they were getting into when they committed to war? And what lessons does history offer for future leaders contemplating war?—including the prospects for avoiding war in the first place. Certainly, Vladimir Putin should have thought harder about some of these questions before invading Ukraine. O’Hanlon looks for overarching trends and themes, along with the lessons for the military strategis
01/07/202338 minutes 14 seconds
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John Kaag and Jonathan van Belle, "Henry at Work: Thoreau on Making a Living" (Princeton UP, 2023)

Henry at Work: Thoreau on Making a Living (Princeton UP, 2023) invites readers to rethink how we work today by exploring an aspect of Henry David Thoreau that has often been overlooked: Thoreau the worker. John Kaag and Jonathan van Belle overturn the popular misconception of Thoreau as a navel-gazing recluse who was scornful of work and other mundanities. In fact, Thoreau worked hard--surveying land, running his family's pencil-making business, writing, lecturing, and building his cabin at Walden Pond--and thought intensely about work in its many dimensions. And his ideas about work have much to teach us in an age of remote work and automation, when many people are reconsidering what kind of working lives they want to have. Through Thoreau, readers will discover a philosophy of work in the office, factory, lumber mill, and grocery store, and reflect on the rhythms of the workday, the joys and risks of resigning oneself to work, the dubious promises of labor-saving technology, and that
01/07/202331 minutes 25 seconds
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Samuel Helfont, "Iraq Against the World: Saddam, America, and the Post-Cold War Order" (Oxford UP, 2023)

The move away from post-Cold War unipolarity and the rise of revisionist states like Russia and China pose a rapidly escalating and confounding threat for the liberal international order. In Iraq Against the World: Saddam, America, and the Post-Cold War Order (Oxford University Press, 2023), Dr. Samuel Helfont offers a new narrative of Iraqi foreign policy after the 1991 Gulf War to argue that Saddam Hussein executed a political warfare campaign that facilitated this disturbance to global norms. Following the Gulf War, the UN imposed sanctions and inspections on the Iraqi state—conditions that Saddam Hussein was in no position to challenge militarily or through traditional diplomacy. Hussein did, however, wage an influence campaign designed to break the unity of the UN Security Council. The Iraqis helped to impede emerging norms of international cooperation and prodded potentially revisionist states to act on latent inclinations to undermine a liberal post-Cold War order. Drawing on in
30/06/20231 hour 19 minutes 49 seconds
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Mary Beltrán, "Latino TV: A History" (NYU Press, 2022)

In this episode, our host Lucila Rozas discusses the book Latino TV: A History (2022) by Mary Beltrán. You’ll hear about: A brief trajectory of the book and the conversations on global studies of media and communication with which this book engages; The concept of cultural citizenship and its relevance to study Latino TV; How the author puts together the traces of the history of Latino TV, especially in the cases when it was difficult to find information about the series that were not preserved/archived; What has changed in the 2000s-2010s that led to the inclusion of more Latinx people in TV roles in front and behind the camera; How the diversification of latinidad identities in the TV shows is related to race, class, and gender through specific characters or forms of storytelling; The importance of Latino(a)(x) representation in the US TV industry and the potential limits of representation and visibility; The role of Latinx activism in the 1960s and 70s and the legacy of publi
29/06/202348 minutes 19 seconds
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Danielle Allen, "Justice by Means of Democracy" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

Danielle Allen, the James Bryant Conant University Professor and the Director of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, has a new book, Justice by Means of Democracy, that explores the foundational understanding of how humans best flourish, in particular in regard to the governmental system under which they live. Allen, author of many books that focus on questions of democracy and justice, also works on democratic reform and renovation at Partners in Democracy. Thus, Dr. Allen integrates both scholarship and democratic activism into her work as an academic and as an activist. Justice by Means of Democracy examines these different threads as well; what is justice, and how does democracy work towards achieving justice? And what is the role of the citizen in these pursuits? Allen opens up her discussion weaving together a number of threads, since politics, economics, civic engagement, and citizenship are all part of the whole when we consider both justice and d
29/06/202355 minutes 44 seconds
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Eileen V. Wallis, "California and the Politics of Disability, 1850–1970" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023)

Eileen V. Wallis' book California and the Politics of Disability, 1850–1970 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023) explores the political, legal, medical, and social battles that led to the widespread institutionalization of Californians with disabilities from the gold rush to the 1970s. By the early twentieth century, most American states had specialized facilities dedicated to both the care and the control of individuals with disabilities. Institutions reflect the lived historical experience of many Americans with disabilities in this era. Yet we know relatively little about how such state institutions fit into specific regional, state, or local contexts west of the Mississippi River; how those contexts shaped how institutions evolved over time; or how regional institutions fit into the USA's contentious history of care and control of Americans with mental and developmental disabilities.  This book examines how medical, social, and political arguments that individuals with disabilities needed to
28/06/202359 minutes 52 seconds
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Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire, "A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Education and the Future of School" (The New Press, 2023)

Across the U.S., state legislatures-often under the cover of darkness, and usually in spite of public opposition-are passing bills that channel public dollars to private schools. These voucher schemes promise to transfer billions from state treasuries to upper-income families. But that's just the start. Opponents of public schools want to dismantle the public education system entirely. Outrageous and unfounded attacks on the schools-about Critical Race Theory, "gender ideology," and "grooming"-are all part of a broader strategy to sow doubt and distrust. This is the end game. Education historian Jack Schneider and journalist Jennifer Berkshire trace the war on public education to its origins, offering the deep backstory necessary to understand the threat presently posed to America's schools. The book also looks forward to imagine how current policy efforts will reshape the educational landscape and remake America's future.  A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door: The Dismantling of Public Educ
28/06/202344 minutes 51 seconds
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David E. Kelly, "First Fights in Fallujah: Marines During Operation Vigilant Resolve, in Iraq, April 2004" (Casemate, 2023)

In March 2004, the unprovoked ambush killing and desecration of the bodies of American civilian security contractors in Fallujah, Iraq, caused the National Command Authorities in Washington, DC. to demand that the newly arrived Marine Expeditionary Force there take action against the perpetrators and other insurgent forces. Planned Stability and Support Operations were cast aside as insurgent fighters dared the Marines to enter Fallujah. Marine infantrymen, tankers, helicopter crews, and amphibious vehicle drivers all pitched into high-intensity battles and firefights during the first fights of Fallujah in April 2004. Across the board cooperation and innovation marked these fighting Marines in combined arms fights that no one expected. Marines fought in the streets, conducted house-to-house searches, cleared buildings of enemy, and used tank main guns in direct support of urban environment operations. Helicopter crews supported operations on the ground with rockets and machine-gun fire
28/06/202332 minutes 39 seconds
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Philip A. Wallach, "Why Congress" (Oxford UP, 2023)

To achieve legitimate self-government in America's extended Republic, the U.S. Constitution depends on Congress harmonizing the country's factions through a process of conflict and accommodation. Why Congress (Oxford University Press, 2023) demonstrates the value of this activity by showing the legislature's distinctive contributions in two crucial moments in the mid-twentieth century: during World War II, when congressional deliberation contributed to national cohesion by balancing interests and ensuring fairness, and during the push to end racial segregation, when a prolonged debate in Congress focused the nation's attention and delivered a decisive victory for the broad coalition united around civil rights.  The second part of the book traces the evolution of Congress, which first experimented with radical decentralization in the 1970s and then, beginning in the 1980s, embraced powerful leadership and ideological caucuses that prioritized partisan unity and electoral confrontation.
27/06/202349 minutes 37 seconds
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Sara Salman, "The Shaming State: How the U.S. Treats Citizens in Need" (NYU Press, 2023)

The Shaming State: How the U.S. Treats Citizens in Need (NYU Press, 2023) argues that Americans have been abandoned by a government that has relinquished its duties of care toward its citizens. Sara Salman describes a government that withholds care in times of need and instead shames the very citizens it claims to serve, both poor and middle class. She argues that the state does so by emphasizing personal responsibility, thus tacitly blaming the needy for relying on state programs. This blame is pervasive in the American cultural imagination, existing in political discourse and internalized by Americans. This book explores how shaming is exhibited by state and political institutions by showing the ways in which the state withholds care, and how people who need that care are humiliated for failing to be self-sufficient. The Shaming State investigates the vanishing horizon of social rights in the United States and the dwindling of government support to both lower- and middle-class people
27/06/202357 minutes 3 seconds
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Nicholas Dagen Bloom, "The Great American Transit Disaster: A Century of Austerity, Auto-Centric Planning, and White Flight" (U Chicago Press, 2023)

Many a scholar and policy analyst has lamented American dependence on cars and the corresponding lack of federal investment in public transportation throughout the latter decades of the twentieth century. But as Nicholas Dagen Bloom shows in The Great American Transit Disaster: A Century of Austerity, Auto-Centric Planning, and White Flight (U Chicago Press, 2023), our transit networks are so bad for a very simple reason: we wanted it this way. Focusing on Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, and San Francisco, Bloom provides overwhelming evidence that transit disinvestment was a choice rather than destiny. He pinpoints three major factors that led to the decline of public transit in the United States: municipal austerity policies that denied most transit agencies the funding to sustain high-quality service; the encouragement of auto-centric planning; and white flight from dense city centers to far-flung suburbs. As Bloom makes clear, these local public policy decisions were n
27/06/202336 minutes 40 seconds
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James Zarsadiaz, "Resisting Change in Suburbia: Asian Immigrants and Frontier Nostalgia in L.A." (U California Press, 2022)

In this episode, we discuss how myths of suburbia, the American West, and the American Dream informed regional planning, suburban design, and ideas about race and belonging in California’s East San Gabriel Valley as found in James Zarsadiaz’s debut monograph Resisting Change in Suburbia: Asian Immigrants and Frontier Nostalgia in L.A. Published by the University of California Press in October 2022, Resisting Change in Suburbia recently won the Organization of American Historians' Lawrence W. Levine Award, which is an honor acknowledging the year’s best book in American cultural history. Throughout the six chapters, Zarsadiaz illustrates the demographic transitions of the suburbs making up the East San Gabriel Valley from the 1960s through the 1990s and how these communities, despite racial and class differences, sought to protect their connections to a perceived ideal of country living away from LA’s ever-expanding metropolitan center. Zarsadiaz constructs the region’s history of settl
27/06/20231 hour 48 seconds
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Josh Shepperd, "Shadow of the New Deal: The Victory of Public Broadcasting" (U Illinois Press, 2023)

Despite uncertain beginnings, public broadcasting emerged as a noncommercial media industry that transformed American culture. In Shadow of the New Deal: The Victory of Public Broadcasting (U Illinois Press, 2023), Josh Shepperd looks at the people, institutions, and influences behind the media reform movement and clearinghouse the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) in the drive to create what became the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. Founded in 1934, the NAEB began as a disorganized collection of undersupported university broadcasters. Shepperd traces the setbacks, small victories, and trial-and-error experiments that took place as thousands of advocates built a media coalition premised on the belief that technology could ease social inequality through equal access to education and information. The bottom-up, decentralized network they created implemented a different economy of scale and a vision of a mass media divorced from commercial con
26/06/20231 hour 5 minutes 16 seconds
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Stephen Vladeck, "The Shadow Docket: How the Supreme Court Uses Stealth Rulings to Amass Power and Undermine the Republic" (Basic Books, 2023)

Many people are familiar with the United States Supreme Court’s merit docket. Each case follows detailed and professional proceedings that include formal written and oral arguments. The justices’ decisions provide lengthy arguments and citations. They are freely available to the public, press, policy-makers, law makers, judges, and scholars. When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, they ruled publicly – and the press covered it extensively.  But Professor Stephen Vladeck’s new book, The Shadow Docket: How the Supreme Court Uses Stealth Rulings to Amass Power and Undermine the Republic (Basic Books, 2023), highlights that 99% of the Court’s decisions are “unseen, unsigned, and almost always unexplained” on the “shadow docket.” State and federal policies – and constitutional rights – are affected by decisions that the Supreme Court makes behind closed doors. There are no opinions, no citations, and often observers have little idea which justices supported the action. The te
26/06/20231 hour 2 minutes 59 seconds
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Bradley C. S. Watson, "Progressivism: The Strange History of a Radical Idea" (U Notre Dame Press, 2020)

“Only recently have scholars outside the historical profession identified progressivism for what it was and continues to be: a fundamental rupture with the roots of American order.” So writes the political scientist and theorist Bradley C. S. Watson in his 2020 book Progressivism: The Strange History of a Radical Idea (U Notre Dame Press).  Watson provides an intellectual history of how historians such as Richard Hofstadter tended to underplay what a radical break the Progressive Movement was from American constitutionalism. The book shows that only in recent decades have political theorists entered the fray and rendered clear how dire the ramifications for American society and culture the views on the Constitution of such figures as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were and what a massive break they were from the legacy of the founders and such advocates of natural rights as Abraham Lincoln. Anyone interested in how American political history was written in the period of roughly
25/06/20231 hour 22 minutes 18 seconds
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Thomas W. Lippman, "Get the Damn Story: Homer Bigart and the Great Age of American Newspapers" (Georgetown UP, 2023)

In the decades between the Great Depression and the advent of cable television, when daily newspapers set the conversational agenda in the United States, the best reporter in the business was a rumpled, unassuming figure named Homer Bigart. Despite two Pulitzers and a host of other prizes, he quickly faded from public view after retirement. Few today know the extent to which he was esteemed by his peers.  Get the Damn Story: Homer Bigart and the Great Age of American Newspapers (Georgetown UP, 2023) is the first comprehensive biography to encompass all of Bigart’s journalism, including both his war reporting and coverage of domestic events. Writing for the New York Herald Tribune and the New York Times, Bigart brought to life many events that defined the era—the wars in Europe, the Pacific, Korea, and Vietnam; the civil rights movement; the creation of Israel; the end of colonialism in Africa; and the Cuban Revolution. Bigart’s career demonstrates the value to a democratic society of a
24/06/20231 hour 15 minutes 38 seconds
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Craig Nelson, "V Is For Victory: Franklin Roosevelt's American Revolution and the Triumph of World War II" (Scribner, 2023)

As Nazi Germany began to conquer Europe, America’s military was unprepared, too small, and poorly supplied. The Nazis were supported by robust German factories that created a seemingly endless flow of arms, trucks, tanks, airplanes, and submarines. The United States, emerging from the Great Depression, was skeptical of American involvement in Europe and not ready to wage war. Hardened isolationists predicted disaster if the country went to war. In V Is For Victory: Franklin Roosevelt's American Revolution and the Triumph of World War II (Scribner, 2023), Craig Nelson traces how Franklin D. Roosevelt steadily and sometimes secretively put America on a war footing by convincing America’s top industrialists such as Henry Ford Jr. to retool their factories, by diverting the country’s supplies of raw materials to the war effort, and above all by convincing the American people to endure shortages, to work in wartime factories, and to send their sons into harm’s way. Within a few years, the n
24/06/202358 minutes 57 seconds
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Erik Kojola, "Mining the Heartland: Nature, Place, and Populism on the Iron Range" (NYU Press, 2023)

On an unseasonably warm October afternoon in Saint Paul, hundreds of people gathered to protest the construction of a proposed copper-nickel mine in the rural northern part of their state. The crowd eagerly listened to speeches on how the project would bring long-term risks and potentially pollute the drinking water for current and future generations. A year later, another proposed mining project became the subject of a public hearing in a small town near the proposed site. But this time, local politicians and union leaders praised the mine proposal as an asset that would strengthen working-class communities in Minnesota. In many rural American communities, there is profound tension around the preservation and protection of wilderness and the need to promote and profit from natural resources. In Mining the Heartland: Nature, Place, and Populism on the Iron Range (NYU Press, 2023), Erik Kojola looks at both sides of these populist movements and presents a thoughtful account of how such