Featured Faculty Titles 2015
John McNeill and Kenneth Pomeranz, Eds., The Cambridge World History, Volume VII: Production, Destruction, and Connection, 1750-Present (Part I: Structures, Space, and Boundary Making; Part II: Shared Transformations?)(Cambridge University Press, 2015)
Since 1750, the world has become ever more connected, with processes of production and destruction no longer limited by land- or water-based modes of transport and communication. Volume 7 of the Cambridge World History series, divided into two volumes, offers a variety of angles of vision on the increasingly interconnected history of humankind. The first volume examines structures, spaces, and processes within which and through which the modern world was created, including the environment, energy, technology, population, disease, law, industrialization, imperialism, decolonization, nationalism, and socialism, along with key world regions. The second volume questions the extent to which the transformations of the modern world have been shared, focussing on social developments such as urbanization, migration, and changes in family and sexuality; cultural connections through religion, science, music, and sport; ligaments of globalization including rubber, drugs, and the automobile; and moments of particular importance from the Atlantic Revolutions to 1989.
Marcia Chatelain South Side Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration (Duke University Press, 2015)
In South Side Girls Marcia Chatelain recasts Chicago's Great Migration through the lens of black girls. Focusing on the years between 1910 and 1940, when Chicago's black population quintupled, Chatelain describes how Chicago's black social scientists, urban reformers, journalists and activists formulated a vulnerable image of urban black girlhood that needed protecting. She argues that the construction and meaning of black girlhood shifted in response to major economic, social, and cultural changes and crises, and that it reflected parents' and community leaders' anxieties about urbanization and its meaning for racial progress. Girls shouldered much of the burden of black aspiration, as adults often scrutinized their choices and behavior, and their well-being symbolized the community's moral health. Yet these adults were not alone in thinking about the Great Migration, as girls expressed their views as well. Referencing girls' letters and interviews, Chatelain uses their powerful stories of hope, anticipation and disappointment to highlight their feelings and thoughts, and in so doing, she helps restore the experiences of an understudied population to the Great Migration's complex narrative.
David J. Collins, S.J. (ed.) Cambridge History of Magic and Witchcraft in the West: From Antiquity to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015).
The twenty-chapter volume provides a thorough and interdisciplinary overview of the theory and practice of magic in the West in twenty chapters written by experts in their fields. Its chronological scope extends from the Ancient Near East to twenty-first-century North America; its objects of analysis range from Persian curse tablets to U.S. Neopaganism. For comparative purposes, the volume includes chapters on developments in the Jewish and Muslim worlds, which are evaluated not simply for what they contributed at various points to European notions of magic but also as models of alternate development in the Mediterranean world. Similarly, the volume highlights the transformative and challenging encounters of Europeans with non-Europeans regarding the practice of magic in both early modern colonization and more recent decolonization. For more information, see The Cambridge History of Magic and Witchcraft in the West.
Maurice Jackson and Susan Kozel (eds.) Quakers and Their Allies in the Abolitionist Cause, 1754-1808 (London: Pickering and Chatto Publishers, 2015).
The volume explores the significant connections between the Quaker community and the abolitionist cause in America. The case studies that make up the collection mainly focus on the greater Philadelphia area, a hotbed of the abolitionist movement and the location of the first American abolition society founded in 1775. Despite the importance of Quakers to the abolitionist movement, their significance has been largely overlooked in the existing historiography. These studies will be of interest to scholars of slavery and abolition, religious history, Atlantic studies and American social and political history.
Adam Rothman, Beyond Freedom's Reach: A Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery, Harvard University Press, 2015
In a gripping, meticulously researched account, Adam Rothman details the true story of Rose Herera and her quest to rescue her children from bondage during and after the American Civil War. Born into slavery in rural Louisiana, Rose Herera was bought and sold several times before being purchased by the De Hart family of New Orleans. Still a slave, she married and had children, who also became the property of the De Harts. But after Union forces captured New Orleans in 1862, Herera’s owners fled to Havana, taking three of her small children with them. Just how far the rights of freed slaves extended was unclear to black and white people alike, and so when Mary De Hart returned to New Orleans in 1865 to visit friends, she was surprised to find herself taken into custody as a kidnapper. The case of Rose Herera’s abducted children made its way through New Orleans’ courts, igniting a custody battle that revealed the prospects and limits of justice during Reconstruction. Beyond Freedom’s Reach is an unforgettable human drama and a poignant reflection on the tangled politics of slavery and the hazards faced by so many Americans on the hard road to freedom.
Michael David-Fox Crossing Borders: Modernity, Ideology, and Culture in Russia and the Soviet Union (University of Pittsburgh, 2015).
Crossing Borders deconstructs contemporary theories of Soviet history from the revolution through the Stalin period, and offers new interpretations based on a transnational perspective. To Michael David-Fox, Soviet history was shaped by interactions across its borders. By reexamining conceptions of modernity, ideology, and cultural transformation, he challenges the polarizing camps of Soviet exceptionalism and shared modernity and instead strives for a theoretical and empirical middle ground as the basis for a creative and richly textured analysis.
Lawrence S. Kaplan The Conversion of Senator Arthur H. Vandenburg: From Isolation to International Engagement (University of Kentucky Press, 2015).
The United States has looked inward throughout most of its history, preferring to avoid “foreign entanglements,” as George Washington famously advised. After World War II, however, Americans became more inclined to break with the past and take a prominent place on the world stage. Much has been written about the influential figures who stood at the center of this transformation, but remarkably little attention has been paid to Arthur H. Vandenberg (1884–1951), who played a crucial role in moving the nation from its isolationist past to an internationalist future. Vandenberg, a U.S. senator from Michigan (1928-1951) was a key player in the development of NATO. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during 1947 and 1948, Vandenberg helped rally support for President Truman’s foreign policy—including the Marshall Plan—and his leadership contributed to a short-lived era of congressional bipartisanship regarding international relations.
In The Conversion of Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg, Lawrence S. Kaplan offers the first critical biography of the distinguished statesman. He demonstrates how Vandenberg’s story provides a window on the political and cultural changes taking place in America as the country assumed a radically different role in the world, and makes a seminal contribution to the history of U.S. foreign policy during the initial years of the Cold War.
Featured Faculty Titles 2014
Gabor Agoston Európa és az Oszmán hódítás [Europe and the Ottoman Conquest], (Budapest: Institute of Military History, 2014).
This book is a collection of twenty-two of Professor Agoston’s articles (nineteen written originally in Hungarian, plus the revised and extended Hungarian versions of three recent articles in English). These pieces were all previously published in scholarly journals and edited volumes on the Ottoman conquest in Europe (15-16th centuries), Habsburg-Ottoman relations, Ottoman and Habsburg frontiers and frontier management, Ottoman information gathering and diplomacy, and so on.
Yvonne Y. Haddad and Jane L. Smith (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of American Islam (Oxford University Press, 2014).
With an up-to-the minute analysis by thirty-one of the top scholars in the field, this handbook covers the growth of Islam in America from the earliest Muslims to set foot on American soil to the current wave of Islamophobia. Topics covered include the development of African American Islam; pre- and post-WWII immigrants; Sunni, Shi'ite, sectarian, and Sufi Movements in America; the role and status of women, marriage, and family; and the Americanization of Islamic culture.
Throughout these chapters the contributors explore the meaning of religious identity in the context of race, ethnicity, gender, and politics, both within the American Islamic community and in relation to international Islam.
Tommaso Astarita and Antonio Latini, The Italian Baroque Table: Cooking and Entertaining from the Golden Age of Naples, (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2014).
The Italian Baroque Table offers lovers of food, cooking, history, culture, and Italy a rich introduction to Italian cuisine and hospitality in the 1600s. It translates portions of a cookbook and guidebook to entertaining written by an accomplished cook and steward, accompanied by context, relevant illustrations, and historical notes that allow readers to steep themselves in the culture and practices of the early modern elite Italian kitchen. The emphasis in the original text on local ingredients and customs and on the therapeutic qualities of food will appeal to readers interested in the context of cooking in our era of globalization.
Michael David-Fox, Peter Holquist, and Alexander M. Martin, eds. The Holocaust in the East: Local Perpetrators and Soviet Responses, (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014).
This volume combines revised articles from the journal Kritika and previously unpublished pieces to offer a probing examination of the complicity of local populations in the mass murder of Jews perpetrated in areas such as Poland, Ukraine, Bessarabia, and northern Bukovina and analyzes Soviet responses to the Holocaust.
Based on Soviet commission reports, news media, and other archives, the contributors examine the factors that led certain local residents to participate in the extermination of their Jewish neighbors; the interaction of Nazi occupation regimes with various sectors of the local population; the ambiguities of Soviet press coverage, which at times reported and at times suppressed information about persecution specifically directed at the Jews; the extraordinary Soviet efforts to document and prosecute Nazi crimes and the way in which the Soviet state's agenda informed that effort; and the lingering effects of silence about the true impact of the Holocaust on public memory and state responses.
Bryan McCann, Hard Times in the Marvelous City: From Dictatorship to Democracy in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Duke University Press, 2014.
Beginning in the late 1970s, activists from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro challenged the conditions—such as limited access to security, sanitation, public education, and formal employment—that separated favela residents from Rio's other citizens. The activists built a movement that helped to push the nation toward redemocratization. They joined with political allies in an effort to institute an ambitious slate of municipal reforms. Those measures ultimately fell short of aspirations, and soon the reformers were struggling to hold together a fraying coalition. Rio was bankrupted by natural disasters and hyperinflation and ravaged by drug wars. Well-armed drug traffickers had become the new lords of the favelas, protecting their turf through violence and patronage. By the early 1990s, the promise of the favela residents' mobilization of the late 1970s and early 1980s seemed out of reach. Yet the aspirations that fueled that mobilization have endured, and its legacy continues to shape favela politics in Rio de Janeiro.
Brodwyn Fischer, Bryan McCann, and Javier Auyero (eds.) Cities from Scratch: Poverty and Informality in Urban Latin America (Duke University Press, 2014).
This collection of essays challenges long-entrenched ideas about the history, nature, and significance of the informal neighborhoods that house the vast majority of Latin America's urban poor. Until recently, scholars have mainly viewed these settlements through the prisms of crime and drug-related violence, modernization and development theories, populist or revolutionary politics, or debates about the cultures of poverty. Yet shantytowns have proven both durable and more multifaceted than any of these perspectives foresaw. Far from being accidental offshoots of more dynamic economic and political developments, they are now a permanent and integral part of Latin America's urban societies, critical to struggles over democratization, economic transformation, identity politics, and the drug and arms trades. Integrating historical, cultural, and social scientific methodologies, this collection brings together recent research from across Latin America, from the informal neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City, Managua and Buenos Aires.
Richard Stites, The Four Horsemen: Riding to Liberty in Post-Napoleonic Europe (Oxford University Press, 2014). [Published posthumously, edited by Catherine Evtuhov and John McNeill].
In a series of revolts starting in 1820, four military officers rode forth on horseback from obscure European towns to bring political freedom and a constitution to Spain, Naples, and Russia; and national independence to the Greeks. The men who launched these exploits from Andalusia to the snowy fields of Ukraine--Colonel Rafael del Riego, General Guglielmo Pepe, General Alexandros Ypsilanti, and Colonel Sergei Muraviev-Apostol--all hoped to overturn the old order. Over the next six years, their revolutions ended in failure. The men who led them became martyrs.
The Four Horsemen , the late, eminent historian Richard Stites offers a compelling narrative history of these four revolutions. Stites sets the stories side by side, allowing him to compare events and movements and so illuminate such topics as the transfer of ideas and peoples across frontiers, the formation of an international community of revolutionaries, and the appropriation of Christian symbols and language for secular purposes. He shows how expressive behavior and artifacts of all kinds--art, popular festivities, propaganda, and religion--worked their way to various degrees into all the revolutionary movements and regimes. And he documents as well the corruption, abandonment of liberal values, and outright betrayal of the revolution that emerged in Spain and Naples; the clash of ambitions and ideas that wracked the unity of the Decembrists' cause; and civil war that erupted in the midst of the Greek struggle for independence.
Michael David-Fox, Showcasing the Great Experiment: Cultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union, 1921-1941 (paperwork edition) (Oxford University Press, 2014).
Originally published in 2011 but newly out in paperback, this book describes the1920s and 1930s pilgrimage of Western visitors and intelligentsia tot he Soviet Union, their reaction to what they encountered in the USSR, and Soviet attitudes towards the West as the Soviet Union sought to shape its image abroad and, in particular, to sell the Bolshevik experiment to this Western audience.
R. Emmett Curran, Papist Devils in British America, 1574-1783 (Catholic University of America Press, 2014).
The book is a brief, highly readable history of the Catholic experience in British America, which shaped the development of the colonies and the nascent republic in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Historian Robert Emmett Curran begins his account with the English reformation, which helps us to understand the Catholic exodus from England, Ireland and Scotland that took place over the nearly two centuries that constitute the colonial period. The deeply rooted English understanding of Catholics as enemies of the political and religious values at the heart of British tradition ironically acted as a catalyst for the emergence of a Catholic republican movement that was a critical factor in the decision of a strong majority of Catholics in 1775 to support the cause for independence.
Featured Faculty Titles 2013
Jordan Sand, Tokyo Vernacular: Common Spaces, Local Histories, Found Objects , University of California Press, 2013.
Tokyo Vernacular examines local places and objects that embodied vernacular forms of Tokyo’s everyday life following the failure of mass movements in 1960s Japan. In the 1970s, Tokyo began to conserve and celebrate its built environment as part of a global trend that increasingly viewed urban landscapes as essential elements of a nation’s cultural heritage. However, repeated destruction and rapid redevelopment had left the city with few buildings of recognized historical value. Moving from the politics of the public square to the invention of neighborhood community, to oddities found and appropriated in the streets, to the consecration of everyday scenes and artifacts as heritage in museums, this volume traces the rediscovery of the past--sometimes in unlikely forms--in a city with few traditional landmarks. Rather than conceiving the city as a national center and claiming public space as national citizens, the post-1960s generation came to value the local places and things that embodied the vernacular language of the city, and to seek what could be claimed as common property outside the spaces of corporate capitalism and the state.
Tommaso Astarita, ed., A Companion to Early Modern Naples , Brill, 2013.
Naples was one of the largest cities in early modern Europe, and for about two centuries the largest city in the global empire ruled by the kings of Spain. Its crowded and noisy streets, the height of its buildings, the number and wealth of its churches and palaces, the celebrated natural beauty of its location, the many antiquities scattered in its environs, the fiery volcano looming over it, the drama of its people’s devotions, the size and liveliness - to put it mildly - of its plebs, all made Naples renowned and at times notorious across Europe. The new essays in this volume aim to introduce this important, fascinating, and bewildering city to readers unfamiliar with its history.
Lawrence Kaplan, NATO Before the Korean War: April 1949 - June 1950, Kent State University Press, 2013.
A reexamination of the formative years of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization:
Conventional wisdom has the Korean War putting the “O” in NATO. Prior to that time, from the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on April 4, 1949, to the North Korean invasion of South Korea on June 25, 1950, the Treaty allies were just going through the motions of establishing an organization. Historian Lawrence Kaplan argues that this is a mistaken view, and he fills significant blanks in the record of 1949 and 1950, which NATO officials and analysts alike have largely ignored.
James Millward, The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction , Oxford University Press, 2013.
This highly informative volume illuminates the historical background against which the Silk Road flourished, shedding new light on the importance of old-world cultural exchanges to Eurasian and world history. The book treats the Silk Road broadly as a stand-in for cross-cultural communication between societies across the Eurasian continent since at least the Neolithic era. While including silks, spices, and travelers' tales of colorful locales, the book explains the dynamics of Central Eurasian history that promoted Silk Road interactions--especially the role of nomad empires--highlighting the importance of the biological, technological, artistic, intellectual, and religious interchanges across the continent. It demonstrates that these exchanges had a profound effect on the old world that was akin to, if not on the scale of, modern globalization.
Gábor Ágoston, Osmanlı’da Savaş ve Serhad (Warfare and Frontiers in the Ottoman Empire) Timaş Yayınevi, 2013.
This volume of nine collected essays examines Ottoman strategies of warfare and frontier management. Written originally in English and translated into Turkish by Dr. Kahraman Sakul, the essays, including new additional material, investigate the transformations that occurred in Ottoman military power and economic strength along the frontier from the fifteenth through the late-eighteenth centuries.
John McNeill, Global Environmental History: An Introductory Reader , co-edited with Alan Roe, Routledge, 2013.
This collection of eighteen essays provides an essential reference to current issues and controversies within the rapidly developing field of global environmental history. The volume begins with a series of chapters offering truly global visions, ranging from reflections on the role of animals in environmental history to a summary of environmental change over the past ten millennia. Other essays focus on the distinctive histories of key regions such as China, Russia, West Africa, South Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The final part of the book examines different forms of modern environmentalism, ranging from the U.S. and its fascination with wilderness, to Japanese concern with human health, and on to Peru and India, where the environmental debate centers on access to resources.
Featured Titles 2012
John McNeill, Wiley-Blackwell Companions to World History: A Companion to Global Environmental History , co-edited with Erin Steward Mauldin, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.
This volume brings together essays written by environmental historians from around the world, including scholars from South Africa, Brazil, Germany, and China. Expert contributions explore environmental processes, thought, and action from prehistory to the present, providing a historical, cultural, and political context for engagement with the environment in modern times. The book offers multiple points of entry into the history and historiography of global environmental history, providing an essential road map to past developments, current controversies, and future developments for specialists and newcomers alike.
Michael David-Fox, Fascination and Enmity: Russia and Germany as Entangled Histories, 1914-1945, co-edited with Peter Holquist and Alexander Martin , University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012.
Russia and Germany have had a long history of significant cultural, political, and economic exchange. Despite these beneficial interactions, stereotypes of the alien Other persisted. Germans perceived Russia as a vast frontier with unlimited potential, yet infused with an “Asianness” that explained its backwardness and despotic leadership. Russians admired German advances in science, government, and philosophy, but saw their people as lifeless and obsessed with order. Fascination and Enmity presents an original transnational history of the two nations during the critical era of the world wars. By examining the mutual perceptions and misperceptions within each country, the contributors reveal the psyche of the Russian-German dynamic and its use as a powerful political and cultural tool.
Ronald Johnson and Abby Arthur Johnson, In the Shadow of the United States Capitol: Congressional Cemetery and the Memory of the Nation , New Academia Publishing, 2012.
This book is a chronological history of Congressional Cemetery, the “nation’s first national burial ground,” established in 1807 long before the national military cemetery was founded at Arlington in 1864. 55,000 individuals are interred in this one-of-a-kind national public cemetery, including a long list of distinguished Americans—Civil War photographer Matthew Brady, Marine Band Director John Philip Sousa, and Belva Lockwood, the first female candidate for President of the U.S. (1884 and 1888). The book uses the long history of the Cemetery to explore the nature of historic memorials more broadly in the construction of national memory.
Roger Chickering, The Cambrige History of War, Vol. IV “War and the Modern World ,” co-edited with Dennis Showalter, and Hans van de Ven, Cambridge, 2012.
Volume IV of the Cambridge History of War offers a definitive new account of war in the twentieth century. In twenty-three chapters, leading historians trace the global evolution of warfare from about 1850 to 1990s. They explore how industrialization and nationalism fostered vast armies whilst the emergence of mobile warfare and improved communications systems made possible the “total warfare” of the two world wars. This volume is a comprehensive guide to every facet of modern war from strategy and operations to its social, cultural, technological, and political contexts and legacies.
Emmett Curran, ed., John Dooley's Civil War: An Irish American's Journey in the First Virginia Infantry Regiment , University of Tennessee Press, 2012.
Among the finer soldier-diarists of the Civil War, John Edward Dooley first came to the attention of readers when an edition of his wartime journal, edited by Joseph Durkin, was published in 1945. That book, John Dooley, Confederate Soldier, became a widely used resource for historians, who frequently tapped Dooley’s vivid accounts of Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg, where he was wounded during Pickett’s Charge and subsequently captured.
As it happens, the 1945 edition is actually a much-truncated version of Dooley’s original journal that fails to capture the full scope of his wartime experience—the oscillating rhythm of life on the campaign trail, in camp, in Union prisons, and on parole.
Emmett Curran, Shaping American Catholicism: Maryland and New York, 1805-1915 , The Catholic University of America Press, 2012.
A study of the American Catholic Church’s experience in its two most important regions of influence, the North East and the South East—specifically New York and Maryland—in the years from 1805 to 1915, and the rivalry that ensued between these two regions regarding the leadership of the church in American and in the Society of Jesus.
John Tutino, ed. Mexico and Mexicans in the Making of the United States , University of Texas Press, 2012.
This story of Mexico and Mexicans and their contributions to the political, social and economic foundations of the United States, from colonial to present times, has for a long time been obscured by headlines about illegal immigration and Mexico’s drug wars. This volume of essays, in totality, explores the cultural legacies of colonial New Spain that have profoundly shaped both Mexico and the United States.
Nancy Tucker, The China Threat: Memories, Myths, and Realities in the 1950s , Columbia University Press, 2012.
This book examines the Eisenhower administration’s policy toward China from 1953 to 1961. Tucker argues that while President Eisenhower saw strategic relations with China as integral to U.S. diplomacy, his anxiety about anti-communist domestic politics impeded his ability to engage Congress and the public effectively on China.
Gábor Ágoston, Osmanli'da Strateji ve Askerî Güc (Strategy and Military Power in the Ottoman Empire), Timas Yayinlari, Istanbul 2012.
This book is a collection of nine essays on Ottoman strategy and military power from the fifteenth through the late eighteenth centuries. Written originally in English and translated into Turkish (with some modifications for the Turkish readership), the essays examine Ottoman strategies of conquest and rule, information gathering and imperial ideology, military technology and weapons production, and military and fiscal transformations during this time period. The essays question some of the old views of the Eurocentric and Orientalist schools of thought regarding Ottoman “backwardness” and military decline and study the waning of Ottoman military power by comparing Ottoman military, bureaucratic and fiscal developments to those of the Habsburgs and Romanovs.
Richard Kuisel, The French Way: How France Embraced and Rejected American Values and Power , Princeton University Press, 2012.
There are over 1,000 McDonald's on French soil. Two Disney theme parks have opened near Paris in the last two decades. And American-inspired vocabulary such as "le weekend" has been absorbed into the French language. But as former French president Jacques Chirac put it: "The U.S. finds France unbearably pretentious. And we find the U.S. unbearably hegemonic." Are the French fascinated or threatened by America? They Americanize yet are notorious for expressions of anti-Americanism. From McDonald's and Coca-Cola to free markets and foreign policy, this book looks closely at the conflicts and contradictions of France's relationship to American politics and culture. Richard Kuisel shows that France has charted its own path even as the French have used America as a yardstick and foil to mark their own distinct identity. Exploring cultural trends, values, public opinion, and political reality, The French Way delves into the complex relationship between two modern nations. Kuisel examines France's role as an independent ally of the United States--in the reunification of Germany and in military involvement in the Persian Gulf and Bosnia--but he also considers the country's failures in influencing the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. Whether investigating France's successful information technology sector or its spurning of American expertise during the AIDS epidemic, Kuisel asks if this insistence on a French way represents a growing distance between Europe and the United States or a reaction to American globalization.
Featured Titles 2011
Carol Benedict, Golden-Silk Smoke: A History of Tobacco in China, 1550-2010 , University of California Press, 2011.
From the long-stemmed pipe to snuff, the water pipe, hand-rolled cigarettes, and finally, manufactured cigarettes, the history of tobacco in China is the fascinating story of a commodity that became a hallmark of modern mass consumerism. Carol Benedict follows the spread of Chinese tobacco use from the sixteenth century, when it was introduced to China from the New World, through the development of commercialized tobacco cultivation, and to the present day. Along the way, she analyzes the factors that have shaped China's highly gendered tobacco cultures, and shows how they have evolved within a broad, comparative world-historical framework. Golden-Silk Smoke not only uncovers the long and dynamic history of tobacco in China but also sheds new light on global histories of fashion and consumption.
Michael David-Fox, Showcasing the Great Experiment: Cultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union, 1921-1941 , New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
During the 1920s and 1930s thousands of European and American writers, professionals, scientists, artists, and intellectuals made a pilgrimage to experience the "Soviet experiment" personally. Showcasing the Great Experiment explores the reception of these intellectuals and fellow-travelers and their cross-cultural and trans-ideological encounters in order to analyze Soviet attitudes towards the West. Many of the twentieth century's greatest writers and thinkers, including Theodore Dreiser, André Gide, Paul Robeson, and George Bernard Shaw, notoriously defended Stalin's USSR despite the unprecedented violence of its prewar decade. While many visitors were profoundly affected by their Soviet tours, so too was the Soviet system. The early experiences of building showcases and teaching outsiders to perceive the future-in-the-making constitute a neglected international part of the emergence of Stalinism at home. Michael David-Fox contends that each side critically examined the other, negotiating feelings of inferiority and superiority, admiration and enmity, emulation and rejection. By the time of the Great Purges, these tensions gave way to the dramatic triumph of xenophobia and isolationism; whereas in the twenties the new regime assumed it had much to learn from Western modernity, by the Stalinist thirties the Soviet order was declared superior in all respects.
Catherine Evtuhov, Portrait of a Russian Province: Economy, Society, and Civilization in Nineteenth-Century Nizhnii Novgorod , University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011.
An in-depth history of the Russian province of Nizhnii Novgorod, this book undermines conventional interpretations of Russia’s history and preconceived notions of nineteenth-century Russian society. It is commonly assumed that Russia had always labored under a highly centralized and autocratic imperial state. The responsibility for this lamentable state of affairs was ultimately assigned to the profoundly agrarian character of Russian society. The countryside, home to the overwhelming majority of the nation’s population, was considered a harsh world of cruel landowners and ignorant peasants, and a strong hand was required for such a crude society. A number of significant conclusions flowed from this understanding. Deep and abiding social divisions obstructed the evolution of modernity, as experienced “naturally” in other parts of Europe, so there was no Renaissance or Reformation; merely a derivative Enlightenment; and only a distorted capitalism. And since only despotism could contain these volatile social forces, it followed that the 1917 Revolution was an inevitable explosion resulting from these intolerable contradictions—and so too were the blood-soaked realities of the Soviet regime that came after. In short, the sheer immensity of its provincial backwardness could explain almost everything negative about the course of Russian history. Through her close study of the province of Nizhnii Novgorod in the nineteenth century, Catherine Evtuhov demonstrates how nearly everything we thought we knew about the dynamics of Russian society was wrong. Instead of peasants ground down by poverty and ignorance, we find skilled farmers, talented artisans and craftsmen, and enterprising tradespeople. Instead of an exclusively centrally administered state, we discover effective and participatory local government. Instead of pervasive ignorance, we are shown a lively cultural scene and an active middle class. Rooted in, but going well beyond, provincial affairs, her book challenges us with an entirely new perspective on Russia’s historical trajectory: not one of Russian exceptionalism but rather one that is recognizable to any historian of nineteenth-century Europe.
Yvonne Haddad, Becoming American? The Forging of Arab and Muslim Identity in Pluralist America , Baylor University Press, 2011.
Countless generations of Arabs and Muslims have called the United States "home." Yet while diversity and pluralism continue to define contemporary America, many Muslims are viewed by their neighbors as painful reminders of conflict and violence. In this concise volume, renowned historian Yvonne Haddad argues that American Muslim identity is as uniquely American it is for as any other race, nationality, or religion. Becoming American? first traces the history of Arab and Muslim immigration into Western society during the 19th and 20th centuries, revealing a two-fold disconnect between the cultures—America's unwillingness to accept these new communities at home and the activities of radical Islam abroad. Urging America to reconsider its tenets of religious pluralism, Haddad reveals that the public square has more than enough room to accommodate those values and ideals inherent in the moderate Islam flourishing throughout the country. In all, in remarkable, succinct fashion, Haddad prods readers to ask what it means to be truly American and paves the way forward for not only increased understanding but for forming a Muslim message that is capable of uplifting American society.
Michael Kazin, American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation , Knopf, 2011.
A panoramic yet intimate history of the American left—of the reformers, radicals, and idealists who have fought for a more just and humane society, from the abolitionists to Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky—that gives us a revelatory new way of looking at two centuries of American politics and culture. Michael Kazin—one of the most respected historians of the American left working today—takes us from abolitionism and early feminism to the labor struggles of the industrial age, through the emergence of anarchists, socialists, and communists, right up to the New Left in the 1960s and ’70s. While the history of the left is a long story of idealism and determination, it has also been, in the traditional view, a story of movements that failed to gain support from mainstream America. In American Dreamers, Kazin tells a new history: one in which many of these movements, although they did not fully succeed on their own terms, nonetheless made lasting contributions to American society that led to equal opportunity for women, racial minorities, and homosexuals; the celebration of sexual pleasure; multiculturalism in the media and the schools; and the popularity of books and films with altruistic and antiauthoritarian messages.
Deeply informed, at once judicious and impassioned, and superbly written, American Dreamers is an essential book for our times and for anyone seeking to understand our political history and the people who made it.
Joseph McCartin, Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America, Oxford University Press, 2011
In August 1981, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) called an illegal strike. The new president, Ronald Reagan, fired the strikers, establishing a reputation for both decisiveness and hostility to organized labor. As Joseph A. McCartin writes, the strike was the culmination of two decades of escalating conflict between controllers and the government that stemmed from the high-pressure nature of the job and the controllers' inability to negotiate with their employer over vital issues. PATCO's fall not only ushered in a long period of labor decline; it also served as a harbinger of the campaign against public sector unions that now roils American politics.Collision Course sets the strike within a vivid panorama of the rise of the world's busiest air-traffic control system. It begins with an arresting account of the 1960 midair collision over New York that cost 134 lives and exposed the weaknesses of an overburdened system. Through the stories of controllers like Mike Rock and Jack Maher, who were galvanized into action by that disaster and went on to found PATCO, it describes the efforts of those who sought to make the airways safer and fought to win a secure place in the American middle class. It climaxes with the story of Reagan and the controllers, who surprisingly endorsed the Republican on the promise that he would address their grievances. That brief, fateful alliance triggered devastating miscalculations that changed America.
John Tutino, Making a New World: Founding Capitalism in the Bajio and Spanish North America , Duke University Press, 2011.
Making a New World is a major rethinking of the role of the Americas in early world trade, the rise of capitalism, and the conflicts that reconfigured global power around 1800. At its center is the Bajío, a fertile basin extending across the modern-day Mexican states of Guanajuato and Querétaro, northwest of Mexico City. The Bajío became part of a new world in the 1530s, when Mesoamerican Otomís and Franciscan friars built Querétaro, a town that quickly thrived on agriculture and trade. Settlement accelerated as regional silver mines began to flourish in the 1550s. Silver tied the Bajío to Europe and China; it stimulated the development of an unprecedented commercial, patriarchal, Catholic society. A frontier extended north across vast expanses settled by people of European, Amerindian, and African ancestry. As mining, cloth making, and irrigated cultivation increased, inequities deepened and religious debates escalated. Analyzing the political economy, social relations, and cultural conflicts that animated the Bajío and Spanish North America from 1500 to 1800, John Tutino depicts an engine of global capitalism and the tensions that would lead to its collapse into revolution in 1810.
Featured Titles 2010
John McNeill, Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1620-1914 , Cambridge University Press, 2010.
McNeill explores the links among ecology, disease, and international politics in the context of the Greater Caribbean - landscapes lying between Surinam and the Chesapeake - in the seventeenth through early twentieth centuries. Ecological changes made these landscapes especially suitable for the vector mosquitoes of yellow fever and malaria, and these diseases wrought systematic havoc among armies and would-be settlers. Because yellow fever confers immunity on survivors of the disease, and because malaria confers resistance, these diseases played partisan roles in the struggles for empire and revolution, attacking some populations more severely than others. In particular, yellow fever and malaria attacked newcomers to the region, which helped keep the Spanish Empire Spanish in the face of predatory rivals in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. In late eighteenth and through nineteenth century, these diseases helped revolutions to succeed by decimating forces sent out from Europe to prevent them.
Osama Abi-Mershed, Apostles of Modernity: Saint-Simonians and the Civilizing Mission in Algeria , Stanford University Press, 2010
Between 1830 and 1870, French army officers serving in the colonial Offices of Arab Affairs profoundly altered the course of political decision-making in Algeria. Guided by the modernizing ideologies of the Saint-Simonian school in their development and implementation of colonial policy, the officers articulated a new doctrine and framework for governing the Muslim and European populations of Algeria. Apostles of Modernity shows the evolution of this civilizing mission in Algeria, and illustrates how these 40 years were decisive in shaping the principal ideological tenets in French colonization of the region.
This book offers a rethinking of 19th-century French colonial history. It reveals not only what the rise of Europe implied for the cultural identities of non-elite Middle Easterners and North Africans, but also what dynamics were involved in the imposition or local adoptions of European cultural norms and how the colonial encounter impacted cultural identities of the colonizers themselves.
revised June 2015