New Scholarly Books

Weekly Book List, March 19, 2012

March 18, 2012


Darkening Mirrors: Imperial Representation in Depression-Era African American Performance by Stephanie Leigh Batiste (Duke University Press; 352 pages; $94.95 hardcover, $25.95 paperback). Documents African-Americans' participation in U.S. cultural imperialism on stage and screen; productions discussed include the Federal Theater Project's "voodoo" Macbeth.

Sombreros and Motorcycles in a Newer South: The Politics of Aesthetics in South Carolina's Tourism Industry by P. Nicole King (University Press of Mississippi; 256 pages; $55). Develops a concept of the "Newer South" in a study of two South Carolina tourist attractions, the South of the Border theme park and the Atlantic Beach Bikefest.


Reclaiming Basque: Language, Nation, and Cultural Activism by Jacqueline Urla (University of Nevada Press; 292 pages; $45). Combines ethnographic and archival approaches in a study of the Basque language revitalization movement and its evolution alongside the region's nationalist struggle.

Winds From the North: Tewa Origins and Historical Anthropology by Scott G. Ortman (University of Utah Press; 488 pages; $70). A study of the genetic, linguistic, and cultural heritage of the Tewa Pueblo people of New Mexico as it relates to the "abandonment" of Mesa Verde.


El Miron Cave, Cantabrian Spain: The Site and Its Holocene Archaeological Record edited by Lawrence Guy Straus and Manuel G. Gonzalez Morales (University of New Mexico Press; 444 pages; $75). Reports on the excavation of a large, deeply stratified cave in northern Spain whose long history of human occupation began at the end of the Middle Paleolithic era.

Technology and Tradition in the Eastern Arctic, 2500 BC-AD 1200: Dynamic Technological Investigation of Lithic Assemblages from the Palaeo-Eskimo Traditions of Greenland by Mikkel Sørensen (Museum Tusculanum Press, distributed by University of Chicago Press; 418 pages; $89). Applies the chaines operatoires concept to an analysis of the range of tool types among five cultures in the region.

Violence, Ritual, and the Wari Empire: A Social Bioarchaeology of Imperialism in the Ancient Andes by Tiffiny A. Tung (University Press of Florida; 244 pages; $74.95). A study of an empire that flourished in Peru between AD 600 and 1000; documents the Wari's treatment of foreign captives, including the production of "trophy heads."


Darger's Resources by Michael Moon (Duke University Press; 176 pages; $79.95 hardcover, $22.95 paperback). A study of Henry Darger (1892-1973), a hospital janitor who wrote a 15,145-page work of fiction, then spent the rest of his life vividly illustrating in drawings and watercolors.

Letters to Miranda and Canova on the Abduction of Antiquities From Rome and Athens by Quatremere de Quincy, translated by Chris Miller and David Gilks (Getty Research Institute; 184 pages; $50). First English translation of two sets of letters about museums written by the prominent French art critic (1755-1849).

Looking for Bruce Conner by Kevin Hatch (MIT Press; 352 pages; $29.95). A study of the San Francisco-based avant-garde artist (1933-2008), whose works included the controversial assemblages BLACK DAHLIA and RATBASTARD.


Plant Physics by Karl J. Niklas and Hanns-Christof Spatz (University of Chicago Press; 426 pages; $55). A study of the biomechanics of plants, including water transport, seed dispersal, and structural stress.


Sophocles and the Language of Tragedy by Simon Goldhill (Oxford University Press; 309 pages; $35). A study of the Greek playwright's brilliance as a tragedian; also explores ideas of tragedy in Hegel, Nietzsche, and Wagner.


Equal Time: Television and the Civil Rights Movement by Aniko Bodroghkozy (University of Illinois Press; 265 pages; $50). Analyzes both news and entertainment programs in a study that documents a more ambivalent role for television in the civil-rights revolution than has been assumed.


The Assumptions Economists Make by Jonathan Schlefer (Harvard University Press; 296 pages; $28.95). Topics include the impact of fads, enthusiasms, and politics in economic theory.

Finance and the Good Society by Robert J. Schiller (Princeton University Press; 304 pages; $24.95). Examines ways in which the financial sector can be harnessed for the common good.

From Optimal Tax Theory to Tax Policy: Retrospective and Prospective Views by Robin Boadway (MIT Press; 288 pages; $35). Topics include the theory behind the adoption of the value added tax and refundable tax credits.


Cinema and Social Change in Germany and Austria edited by Gabriele Mueller and James M. Skidmore (Wilfrid Laurier University Press; 302 pages; US$85). Essays on such topics as Germans' fascination for Jews as reflected in Oliver Hirschbiegel's 2006 film Ein ganz gewohnlicher Jude (Just an Ordinary Jew).

The New Jew in Film: Exploring Jewishness and Judaism in Contemporary Cinema by Nathan Abrams (Rutgers University Press; 272 pages; $72 hardcover, $25.95 paperback). Documents the diversity of Jewish images in films since the 1990s.

Peter Lorre: Face Maker: Constructing Stardom and Performance in Hollywood and Europe by Sarah Thomas (Berghahn Books; 213 pages; $90). Argues that the understanding of Lorre as a performer has been obscured by stereotypes about his public persona.

Tashlinesque: The Hollywood Comedies of Frank Tashlin by Ethan de Seife (Wesleyan University Press, distributed by University Press of New England; 280 pages; $35). A study of the American filmmaker (1913-72), who began as an animator with Looney Tunes and went on to direct such live-action comedies as Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?


Battling Miss Bolsheviki: The Origins of Female Conservatism in the United States by Kirsten Marie Delegard (University of Pennsylvania Press; 313 pages; $65). Describes how after the passage of the 19th amendment granting women the vote, female conservatives worked to cast liberal female reformers as radical revolutionaries akin to the Bolsheviks.

Bonanzas and Borrascas: Gold Lust and Silver Sharks, 1848-1884 by Richard E. Lingenfelter (University of Oklahoma Press; 461 pages; $40). First book in a two-volume history of the heyday of western mining.

Decolonizing Native Histories: Collaboration, Knowledge, and Language in the Americas edited by Florencia E. Mallon (Duke University Press; 262 pages; $89.95 hardcover, $24.95 paperback). Interdisciplinary writings on such topics as the uneasy relationship between the Chilean state and the Rapa Nui.

The Enlightenment in Practice: Academic Prize Contests and Intellectual Culture in France, 1670-1794 by Jeremy L. Caradonna (Cornell University Press; 352 pages; $59.95). Documents the wide range of participants, from academics to peasants, competing in public contests that involved writing essays on such topics as slavery, poverty, and the education of women.

The Generalship of Muhammad: Battles and Campaigns of the Prophet of Allah by Russ Rodgers (University Press of Florida; 317 pages; $34.95). A military biography of Islam's prophet that explores his strengths and weaknesses in insurgent warfare.

The Jackson County War: Reconstruction and Resistance in Post-Civil War Florida by Daniel R. Weinfeld (University of Alabama Press; 224 pages; $29.95). Examines the extreme violence in the county from early 1869 to the end of 1871.

James Z. George: Mississippi's Great Commoner by Timothy B. Smith (University Press of Mississippi; 256 pages; $55). A biography of the politician and jurist (1826-97), who was the state's longest serving senator.

Keeping Faith With the Party: Communist Believers Return From the Gulag by Nanci Adler (Indiana University Press; 264 pages; $70 hardcover, $25 paperback). Draws on archives, oral histories, and unpublished memoirs in a study of returnees from the prison camps who stayed loyal to Communism.

Making the Chinese Mexican: Global Migration, Localism, and Exclusion in the U.S.-Mexican Borderlands by Grace Pena Delgado (Stanford University Press; 320 pages; $65). Discusses Chinese immigrants in the region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Militarism in a Global Age: Naval Ambitions in Germany and the United States Before World War I by Dirk Bonker (Cornell University Press; 432 pages; $49.95). Describes how naval officers in both countries advanced a form of militarism that stressed the central importance of sea power.

The Nicest Kids in Town: "American Bandstand," Rock 'n' Roll, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in 1950s Philadelphia by Matthew F. Delmont (University of California Press; 294 pages; $65 hardcover, $27.95 paperback). Disputes Dick Clark's claim that he integrated American Bandstand when he became host in 1957; documents the show's persistent discrimination against black youth, and describes their resistance.

Of Little Comfort: War Widows, Fallen Soldiers, and the Remaking of the Nation After the Great War by Erika Kuhlman (New York University Press; 225 pages; $49). Contrasts how war widows in victorious America and defeated Germany experienced their status after World War I.

The Politics of Fiscal Privilege in Provence, 1530s-1830s by Rafe Blaufarb (Catholic University of America Press; 299 pages; $69.95). Traces three centuries of disputes over tax exemption for the nobility in the French region.

Sexual Knowledge: Feeling, Fact, and Social Reform in Vienna, 1900-1934 by Britta McEwen (Berghahn Books; 232 pages; $90). Topics include the rise of notions of companionate marriage.

Syria and the USA: Washington's Relations With Damascus From Wilson to Eisenhower by Sami Moubayed (I.B. Tauris, distributed by Palgrave Macmillan; 207 pages; $96). Topics include America's involvement in coups and counter-coups in Syria from 1949 to 1958.

They Left Great Marks on Me: African American Testimonies of Racial Violence From Emancipation to World War I by Kidada E. Williams (New York University Press; 293 pages; $75 hardcover, $25 paperback). A study of oral and written testimonies by victims and witnesses of lynching, rape, beating, and other violence.

A Titanic Love Story: Ida and Isidor Straus by June Hall McCash (Mercer University Press; 268 pages; $29). A dual biography of an elderly couple who, refusing to separate, died in each other's arms on the doomed ship; documents German-born Isidor Straus's early life in Georgia before his family moved to New York, became owners of Macy's Department Store, and he married Ida Blun.

War Along the Border: The Mexican Revolution and Tejano Communities edited by Arnoldo De Leon (Texas A&M University Press; 345 pages; $24.95). Topics include the ways in which Mexican Americans north of the border influenced the course of the Revolution.

Writing Mexican History by Eric Van Young (Stanford University Press; 338 pages; $85 hardcover, $27.95 paperback). Includes some previously untranslated writings on Mexican history and historiography.


Codename Revolution: The Nintendo Wii Platform by Steven E. Jones and George K. Thiruvathukal (MIT Press; 212 pages; $24.95). Examines the technological, social, and cultural impact of the popular video-game console, including its enabling of games involving full-body movement.

To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure by Henry Petroski (Harvard University Press; 360 pages; $27.95). Uses case studies of the 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse, the 2010 Gulf oil spill, and other disasters to examine the wider context, beyond design, in which accidents happen.


Covering America: A Narrative History of a Nation's Journalism by Christopher B. Daly (University of Massachusetts Press; 544 pages; $49.95). Identifies five distinct periods of American journalism since the colonial era.

The Sweet Sixteen: The Journey That Inspired the Canadian Women's Press Club by Linda Kay (McGill-Queen's University Press; 240 pages; US$34.95). Describes a train journey taken by 16 women in 1904 to the St. Louis World's Fair that resulted in the creation of a professional club for Canadian newspaperwomen.


Immigration, Islam, and the Politics of Belonging in France: A Comparative Framework by Elaine R. Thomas (University of Pennsylvania Press; 314 pages; $65). Draws on "ordinary language" philosophy in a study of the discourse related to Muslim immigrants and their descendants in France; includes comparative discussion of Britain, Germany, and other settings.

Prosecution Complex: America's Race to Convict and Its Impact on the Innocent by Daniel S. Medwed (New York University Press; 256 pages; $39). Examines the consequences to defendants of a system in which prosecutors are told to be guardians of justice, but are measured by their rate of convictions; topics include instances in which the state suppresses evidence.


The Catherian Cathedral: Gothic Cathedral Iconography in Willa Cather's Fiction by Christine E. Kephart (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press; 152 pages; $60). Argues that Cather uses the image of cathedrals as a metaphor for the writing process and the novel.

Charlotte Lennox: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Documents edited by Norbert Schurer (Bucknell University Press; 422 pages; $100). Annotated edition of the complete correspondence of the English writer, best known for her 1752 novel The Female Quixote.

Fatal Revolutions: Natural History, West Indian Slavery, and the Routes of American Literature by Christopher P. Iannini (University of North Carolina Press; 296 pages; $45). Examines the influence of New World natural history and the Caribbean plantation system on American literary and intellectual culture.

Giacomo Leopardi's Search for a Common Life Through Poetry: A Different Nobility, a Different Love by Frank Rosengarten (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press; 264 pages; $70). Topics include the 19th-century Italian writer's blend of idealism and misogynism in his attitudes toward women; shows how the philosophy of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche illuminate his worldview.

Knowing One's Place in Contemporary Irish and Polish Poetry: Zagajewski, Mahon, Heaney, Hartwig by Magdalena Kay (Continuum; 262 pages; $110). Focuses on Adam Zagajewski, Derek Mahon, Seamus Heaney, and Julia Hartwig in a study that finds affinities between Ireland and Poland with their histories of colonization.

Lords' Rights and Peasant Stories: Writing and the Formation of Tradition in the Later Middle Ages by Simon Teuscher, translated by Philip Grace (University of Pennsylvania Press; 291 pages; $69.95). Describes how customary laws and rights were put into writing between the 13th and 15th centuries in what is now the Swiss midlands.

Mythologies by Roland Barthes, translated by Richard Howard and Annette Lavers (Hill & Wang; 274 pages; $27). First complete English translation of the French critic's 1957 collection of essays.

New Directions in Digital Poetry by C.T. Funkhouser (Continuum; 328 pages; $120 hardcover, $34.95 paperback). Discusses such poets as John Cayley, Deena Larsen, Jim Rosenberg, and Jody Zellen.

The Postcolonial and Imperial Experience in American Transcendentalism by Marek Paryz (Palgrave Macmillan; 240 pages; $85). Uses works by Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman to explore tensions in America as both a former colony and burgeoning power.

Refereeing Identity: The Cultural Work of Canadian Hockey Novels by Michael Buma (McGill-Queen's University Press; 336 pages; US$95 hardcover, US$29.95 paperback). Describes how the popular genre works to reassure readers in the face of perceived threats to both Canadian and masculine identity.

Romancing Theory, Riding Interpretation: (In)Fusion Approach, Salman Rushdie edited by Ranjan Ghosh (Peter Lang Publishing; 230 pages; $78.95). Topics include Rushdie's 2001 novel, Fury, as imperial fiction.

Srinatha: The Poet Who Made Gods and Kings by Velcheru Narayana Rao and David Shulman (Oxford University Press; 206 pages; $99 hardcover, $29.95 paperback). A cultural biography of a Telugu-language poet who lived in Andhra in South India in the 14th and early 15th centuries.

The Vitality of Allegory: Figural Narrative in Modern and Contemporary Fiction by Gary Johnson (Ohio State University Press; 241 pages; $49.95). Analyzes individual works by Shirley Jackson, George Orwell, Franz Kafka, Chinua Achebe, Philip Roth, Thomas Mann, J.M. Coetzee, as well as several by John Barth.


Mathematical Analysis of Deterministic and Stochastic Problems in Complex Media Electromagnetics by G.F. Roach, I.G. Stratis, and A.N. Yannacopoulos (Princeton University Press; 382 pages; $99.50). A work in applied mathematics that discusses electromagnetic wave propagation in complex media.

Who's #1? The Science of Rating and Ranking by Amy N. Langville and Carl D. Meyer (Princeton University Press; 266 pages; $29.95). A comparative study of the mathematical algorithms and methods used to rate and rank sports teams, political candidates, products, Web pages, and others.


Blackness in Opera edited by Naomi Andre, Karen M. Bryan, and Eric Saylor (University of Illinois Press; 289 pages; $35). Writings on the representation of blackness in such operas as Porgy and Bess, Aida, Treemonisha, Koanga, Blue Steel, and Ouanga!


Dignity: Its History and Meaning by Michael Rosen (Harvard University Press; 200 pages; $21.95). Traces the conceptual history of dignity, with a focus on Kant as a philosopher whose ethics is governed by notions of respect for a kernel of value within each individual.

Plato the Teacher: The Crisis of the "Republic" by William H.F. Altman (Lexington Books; 489 pages; $90). A study of the philosopher's pedagogical technique.

Reconstructing Individualism: A Pragmatic Tradition From Emerson to Ellison by James M. Albrecht (Fordham University Press; 368 pages; $55). Describes a genealogy of individualist ethics in Ralph Waldo Emerson, William James, John Dewey, and Ralph Ellison that departs from that of classical liberalism.

Rousseau and the Paradox of Alienation by Sally Howard Campbell (Lexington Books; 110 pages; $50). A study of Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Men; describes how the French philosopher lays the groundwork for Marx.

The Viennese Socrates: Karl Popper and the Reconstruction of Progressive Politics by Philip Benesch (Peter Lang Publishing; 278 pages; $84.95). Argues that the Austrian-born British philosopher employed a Socratic critique of Marxism as a means of improving the political theory of the left.


Beyond Great Powers and Hegemons: Why Secondary States Support, Follow, or Challenge edited by Kristen P. Williams, Steven E. Lobell, and Neal G. Jesse (Stanford University Press; 264 pages; $75 hardcover, $24.95 paperback). Writings on how secondary states relate to both global and regional hegemons.

China and Coexistence: Beijing's National Security Strategy for the Twenty-First Century by Liselotte Odgaard (Woodrow Wilson Center Press, distributed by Johns Hopkins University Press; 264 pages; $45). Traces the history and conceptual origins of peaceful coexistence as the driving strategy behind Chinese foreign policy; topics include its actions through the UN.

Chinese Perceptions of the U.S.: An Exploration of China's Foreign Policy Motivations by Biwu Zhang (Lexington Books; 266 pages; $70). Discusses Chinese views of America's power, politics, and economics, as well as the country as a source of threat or opportunity.

Civil Wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1960-2010 by Emizet Francois Kisangani (Lynne Rienner Publishers; 251 pages; $58.50). Focuses on the "politics of exclusion" in a study of persistent civil conflict since independence.

Displacing the State: Religion and Conflict in Neoliberal Africa edited by James Howard Smith and Rosalind I. (University of Notre Dame Press; 312 pages; $30). Topics include links between media liberalization and religious conflict.

Does Local Government Matter? How Urban Policies Shape Civic Engagement by Elaine B. Sharp (University of Minnesota Press; 248 pages; $67.50 hardcover, $22.50 paperback). Describes how programs intended to increase civic engagement often have the opposite effect; topics include community policing and urban development.

Rush to Judgment: George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and His Critics by Stephen F. Knott (University Press of Kansas; 248 pages; $29.95). Argues that the former president has been treated unfairly by scholars and media; contends, among other things, that his actions in the "war on terror" were faithful to the Constitution.

Salafism in Yemen: Transnationalism and Religious Identity by Laurent Bonnefoy (Columbia University Press; 313 pages; $60). Draws on fieldwork in the southern province of Yafi in a study of Salafi Islamist doctrine as promoted by Muqbil al-Wadi’i.

The Security-Development Nexus: Peace, Conflict, and Development edited by Ramses Amer, Ashok Swain, and Joakim Ojendal (Anthem Press; 228 pages; $99). Country case studies include China, South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Speculative Security: The Politics of Pursuing Terrorist Monies by Marieke de Goede (University of Minnesota Press; 328 pages; $75 hardcover, $25 paperback). A study of how donations, remittances, and other legal transactions have been affected by surveillance and regulation under the "war on terror."


Risk, Language, and Power: The Nanotechnology Environmental Policy Case by Jeffery T. Morris (Lexington Books; 193 pages; $60). Identifies an inadequate understanding of environmental risk in public-policy debates concerning emerging nanotechnology.


Christ Circumcised: A Study in Early Christian History and Difference by Andrew S. Jacobs (University of Pennsylvania Press; 320 pages; $75). Combines psychoanalytic, postcolonial, poststructuralist, and other theory in a study of early Christians' view of Jesus' mark of the Jewish covenant on his body.

Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth by Bart D. Ehrman (HarperOne; 361 pages; $26.99). Defends the historicity of Jesus against scholarly and popular "mythicist" arguments, and considers what can be known about the figure at the heart of Christianity.

Dogen: Textual and Historical Studies edited by Steven Heine (Oxford University Press; 299 pages; $99 hardcover, $29.95 paperback). Writings on the 13th-century founder of the Japanese Soto sect of Buddhism.

From Enemy to Brother: The Revolution in Catholic Teaching on the Jews, 1933-1965 by John Connelly (Harvard University Press; 384 pages; $35). Traces the history of the church's shift away from preaching that God condemned the Jews.

Limits and Life: Meaning and Metaphors in the Religious Language of Iceland by Sigurdur Arni Thordarson (Peter Lang Publishing; 201 pages; $76.95). Pays particular attention to Hallgrimur Petursson's Hymns of the Passion and Jon Vidalin's Vidalinspostilla in a study of post-Reformation Christianity in Iceland.

Moses, Jesus, and the Trickster in the Evangelical South by Paul Harvey (University of Georgia Press; 200 pages; $28.95). Draws on literary and other realms in a study of how Moses, Jesus, the Trickster, and Absalom figure in Southern religious and cultural expression.

Tradition, Veda, and Law: Studies on South Asian Classical Intellectual Traditions by Federico Squarcini (Anthem Press; 177 pages; $99). New and previously published writings on such topics as punishment as depicted in the Manavadharmasastra.

When the Sun Danced: Myth, Miracles, and Modernity in Early Twentieth-Century Portugal by Jeffrey S. Bennett (University of Virginia Press; 256 pages; $55 hardcover, $24.50 paperback). Links the rise of authoritarian politics in Portugal and claims, in 1917, of repeated sightings of the Virgin Mary by three child shepherds near the town of Fatima.


Confronting Postmaternal Thinking: Feminism, Memory, and Care by Julie Stephens (Columbia University Press; 208 pages; $89.50 hardcover, $27.50 paperback). Disputes the notion that second-wave feminism is hostile to motherhood.

Scream From the Shadows: The Women's Liberation Movement in Japan by Setsu Shigematsu (University of Minnesota Press; 271 pages; $75 hardcover, $25 paperback). A study of uman ribu, a radical feminist movement of the 1970s; pays particular attention to its most influential activist, Tanaka Mitsu.

South Asian Feminisms edited by Ania Loomba and Ritty A. Lukose (Duke University Press; 432 pages; $99.95 hardcover, $27.95 paperback). Essays by scholars and activists on feminism in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.