Is publication in CSSH its own reward? Yes. Is it honor enough? Not always. The essays that grace our pages win awards, are reprinted in readers and edited volumes, and evolve into books. Here we single out proud moments in the afterlife of recent essays. We encourage CSSH authors to keep us informed of where their work is going and the accolades it gathers along the way. If you don’t toot your own horn, we might have to toot it for you! We are delighted to report:
Congratulations to Michael Christopher Low for winning the American Society for Environmental History’s Alice Hamilton Prize for Best Article outside Environmental History, for his CSSH article “Ottoman Infrastructures of the Saudi Hydro-State: The Technopolitics of Pilgrimage and Potable Water in the Hijaz” (CSSH 57-4, 2015). Here is the award statement from the Prize Committee (Edward Melillo [chair], Benny Andres, and Sandra Swart):
In the groundbreaking article, “Ottoman Infrastructures of the Saudi Hydro-State: The Technopolitics of Pilgrimage and Potable Water in the Hijaz,” in Comparative Studies in Society and History (2015), Michael Christopher Low meticulously assembles the story of the hydraulic management of the Hijaz, the western region of present-day Saudi Arabia that contains the cities of Medina and Mecca. Low uses an impressive array of sources from Turkish, British, and U.S. archives, along with numerous printed materials in Arabic, to show how the Ottoman state began developing water-purifying technologies in the 1890s, long before wider regional applications of such methods took hold in the 1970s. The nineteenth-century quest for clean water was a prerequisite for the later discovery of Saudi Arabia’s extensive petroleum deposits. Oil and water may not mix, but they are deeply entwined in this arid region of the world. As Low points out, nearly fifteen percent of Saudi Arabia’s daily oil production goes directly to the nation’s desalination facilities. “Ottoman Infrastructures of the Saudi Hydro-State” is a “must-read article” for anyone interested in the related histories of statecraft, water management, and modernization campaigns.
Congratulations also to Alan Mikhail (CSSH 54-4, 2012, “The Ottoman Empire and the Imperial Turn” [with Christine M. Philliou]) for winning the Leopold-Hidy Prize for Best Article in Environmental History. Here is the award statement from Lisa Brady, editor for the journal:
Each year, members of the Editorial Board read and select among the articles published in Environmental History the one that best exemplifies the research and writing in our field. Every year, I hear how difficult it is to choose. Nevertheless, one always rises to the top and this year it is Alan Mikhail’s “Ottoman Iceland: A Climate History.” As editor, I ask the board members to provide their assessments of the top article. One responded, “Mikhail’s essay convincingly links a volcanic eruption in the North Atlantic to the riverine flows of the Nile; the immediate effects of volcanic ash and cloud in Iceland on animals and people and the more distant consequences in Egypt…. More broadly, the essay suggests the promise of a global imagination in the writing of environmental history and the utility of linking different scales of environmental process and social experience.” According to another, “In raising questions about how to approach climate history in places like the Middle East and across the globe, Mikhail’s piece goes a long way toward encouraging future scholarship.” A third praised Mikhail for offering “a perspective that is strikingly original and visionary.” Finally, one remarked, “Alan Mikhail’s essay connecting a volcano in Iceland with Ottoman tribulations demonstrates a first-class historical imagination, clarity of thought, and self-reflective practice.” This particular board member was “enchanted by the deft use of illustration and the ability to orchestrate multiple factors at multiple scales without losing the thread of the argument. In combining both physical and political sources across a large region, it is evidence of how environmental history, well done, reshapes our categories.”
Ho-Chunk Powwowrs and the Politics of Tradition (University of Nebraska Press, 2016) is new book by Grant Arndt (CSSH 57-3, 2015, “Voices and Votes in the Fields of Settler Society: American Indian Media and Electoral Politics in 1930s Wisconsin“). Nebraska gives the following overview:
Ho-Chunk powwows are the oldest powwows in the Midwest and among the oldest in the nation, beginning in 1902 outside Black River Falls in west-central Wisconsin. Grant Arndt examines Wisconsin Ho-Chunk powwow traditions and the meanings of cultural performances and rituals in the wake of North American settler colonialism. As early as 1908 the Ho-Chunk people began to experiment with the commercial potential of the powwows by charging white spectators an admission fee. During the 1940s the Ho-Chunk people decided to de-commercialize their powwows and rededicate dancing culture to honor their soldiers and veterans. Powwows today exist within, on the one hand, a wider commercialization of and conflict between intertribal “dance contests” and, on the other, efforts to emphasize traditional powwow culture through a focus on community values such as veteran recognition, warrior songs, and gift exchange. In Ho-Chunk Powwows and the Politics of Tradition Arndt shows that over the past two centuries the dynamism of powwows within Ho-Chunk life has changed greatly, as has the balance of tradition and modernity within community life. His book is a groundbreaking study of powwow culture that investigates how the Ho-Chunk people create cultural value through their public ceremonial performances, the significance that dance culture provides for the acquisition of power and recognition inside and outside their communities, and how the Ho-Chunk people generate concepts of the self and their society through dancing.
Daniel Lord Smail (CSSH 38-4, 1996, “Factions and Vengeance in Renaissance Italy. A Review Article“; and 54-1, 2012, “Violence and Predation in Late Medieval Mediterranean Europe“) is the author of Legal Plunder: Households and Debt Collection in Late Medieval Europe (Harvard University Press, June 2016). Harvard UP describes the book as follows:
As Europe began to grow rich during the Middle Ages, its wealth materialized in the well-made clothes, linens, and wares of ordinary households. Such items were indicators of one’s station in life in a society accustomed to reading visible signs of rank. In a world without banking, household goods became valuable commodities that often substituted for hard currency. Pawnbrokers and resellers sprang up, helping to push these goods into circulation. Simultaneously, a harshly coercive legal system developed to ensure that debtors paid their due. Focusing on the Mediterranean cities of Marseille and Lucca, Legal Plunder explores how the newfound wealth embodied in household goods shaped the beginnings of a modern consumer economy in late medieval Europe. The vigorous trade in goods that grew up in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries entangled households in complex relationships of credit and debt, and one of the most common activities of law courts during the period was debt recovery. Sergeants of the law were empowered to march into debtors’ homes and seize belongings equal in value to the debt owed. These officials were agents of a predatory economy, cogs in a political machinery of state-sponsored plunder. As Daniel Smail shows, the records of medieval European law courts offer some of the most vivid descriptions of material culture in this period, providing insights into the lives of men and women on the cusp of modern capitalism. Then as now, money and value were implicated in questions of power and patterns of violence.
Steffen Hertog (CSSH 52-2, 2010, “The Sociology of the Gulf Rentier Systems: Societies of Intermediaries“) is co-author (with Diego Gambetta) of Engineers of Jihad: The Curious Connection between Violent Extremism and Education (Princeton University Press, 2016). Here is Princeton UP’s summary:
The violent actions of a few extremists can alter the course of history, yet there persists a yawning gap between the potential impact of these individuals and what we understand about them. In Engineers of Jihad, Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog uncover two unexpected facts, which they imaginatively leverage to narrow that gap: they find that a disproportionate share of Islamist radicals come from an engineering background, and that Islamist and right-wing extremism have more in common than either does with left-wing extremism, in which engineers are absent while social scientists and humanities students are prominent. Searching for an explanation, they tackle four general questions about extremism: Under which socioeconomic conditions do people join extremist groups? Does the profile of extremists reflect how they self-select into extremism or how groups recruit them? Does ideology matter in sorting who joins which group? Lastly, is there a mindset susceptible to certain types of extremism? Using rigorous methods and several new datasets, they explain the link between educational discipline and type of radicalism by looking at two key factors: the social mobility (or lack thereof) for engineers in the Muslim world, and a particular mindset seeking order and hierarchy that is found more frequently among engineers. Engineers’ presence in some extremist groups and not others, the authors argue, is a proxy for individual traits that may account for the much larger question of selective recruitment to radical activism. Opening up markedly new perspectives on the motivations of political violence, Engineers of Jihad yields unexpected answers about the nature and emergence of extremism.
Motherless Tongues: The Insurgency of Language amid Wars of Translation (Duke University Press, 2016) is a new book by Vicente L. Rafael (CSSH 29-2, 1987, “Confession, Conversion, and Reciprocity in Early Tagalog Colonial Society“; 32-2, 1990, “Patronage and Pornography: Ideology and Spectatorship in the Early Marcos Years“; and 52-1, 2010, “Welcoming What Comes: Sovereignty and Revolution in the Colonial Philippines“). Duke provides the following overview:
In Motherless Tongues, Vicente L. Rafael examines the vexed relationship between language and history gleaned from the workings of translation in the Philippines, the United States, and beyond. Moving across a range of colonial and postcolonial settings, he demonstrates translation’s agency in the making and understanding of events. These include nationalist efforts to vernacularize politics, U.S. projects to weaponize languages in wartime, and autobiographical attempts by area studies scholars to translate the otherness of their lives amid the Cold War. In all cases, translation is at war with itself, generating divergent effects. It deploys as well as distorts American English in counterinsurgency and colonial education, for example, just as it re-articulates European notions of sovereignty among Filipino revolutionaries in the nineteenth century and spurs the circulation of text messages in a civilian-driven coup in the twenty-first. Along the way, Rafael delineates the untranslatable that inheres in every act of translation, asking about the politics and ethics of uneven linguistic and semiotic exchanges. Mapping those moments where translation and historical imagination give rise to one another,Motherless Tongues shows how translation, in unleashing the insurgency of language, simultaneously sustains and subverts regimes of knowledge and relations of power.
Steven Pierce (CSSH 48-4, 2006, “Looking Like a State: Colonialism and the Discourse of Corruption in Northern Nigeria“) has a new book: Moral Economies of Corruption: State Formation and Political Culture in Nigeria (Duke University Press, 2016):
Nigeria is famous for “419” e-mails asking recipients for bank account information and for scandals involving the disappearance of billions of dollars from government coffers. Corruption permeates even minor official interactions, from traffic control to university admissions. In Moral Economies of Corruption Steven Pierce provides a cultural history of the last 150 years of corruption in Nigeria as a case study for considering how corruption plays an important role in the processes of political change in all states. He suggests that corruption is best understood in Nigeria, as well as in all other nations, as a culturally contingent set of political discourses and historically embedded practices. The best solution to combating Nigerian government corruption, Pierce contends, is not through attempts to prevent officials from diverting public revenue to self-interested ends, but to ask how public ends can be served by accommodating Nigeria’s history of patronage as a fundamental political principle.
Josh Berson (CSSH 56-2, 2014, “The Dialectal Tribe and the Doctrine of Continuity“) has published Computable Bodies: Instrumented Life and the Human Somatic Niche (Bloomsbury, 2015). The book has won the 2016 PROSE Award in Language and Linguistics. Here is Bloomsbury’s overview of the book:
Data. Suddenly it is everywhere, and more and more of it is about us. The computing revolution has transformed our understanding of nature. Now it is transforming human behaviour. For some, pervasive computing offers a powerful vehicle of introspection and self-improvement. For others it signals the arrival of a dangerous ‘control society’ in which surveillance is no longer the prerogative of discrete institutions but a simple fact of life. In Computable Bodies, anthropologist Josh Berson asks how the data revolution is changing what it means to be human. Drawing on fieldwork in the Quantified Self and polyphasic sleeping communities and integrating perspectives from interaction design, the history and philosophy of science, and medical and linguistic anthropology, he probes a world where everyday life is mediated by a proliferating array of sensor montages, where we adjust our social signals to make them legible to algorithms, and where old rubrics for gauging which features of the world are animate no longer hold. Computable Bodies offers a vision of an anthropology for an age in which our capacity to generate data and share it over great distances is reconfiguring the body–world interface in ways scarcely imaginable a generation ago.
Rebecca Bryant (CSSH 43-3, 2001, “An Aesthetics of Self: Moral Remaking and Cypriot Education“; and 54-2,2012, “Partitions of Memory: Wounds and Witnessing in Cyprus“) has a new edited volume, Post-Ottoman Coexistence: Sharing Space in the Shadow of Conflict (Berghahn, 2016). Berghahn describes the book as follows:
In Southeast Europe, the Balkans, and Middle East, scholars often refer to the “peaceful coexistence” of various religious and ethnic groups under the Ottoman Empire before ethnonationalist conflicts dissolved that shared space and created legacies of division. Post-Ottoman Coexistence interrogates ways of living together and asks what practices enabled centuries of cooperation and sharing, as well as how and when such sharing was disrupted. Contributors discuss both historical and contemporary practices of coexistence within the context of ethnonational conflict and its aftermath.
Jeremy Menchik (CSSH 56-3, 2014, “Productive Intolerance: Godly Nationalism in Indonesia“) has a new book out: Islam and Democracy in Indonesia: Tolerance without Liberalism (Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics, 2016). Here is an overview of the book:
Indonesia’s Islamic organizations sustain the country’s thriving civil society, democracy, and reputation for tolerance amid diversity. Yet scholars poorly understand how these organizations envision the accommodation of religious difference. What does tolerance mean to the world’s largest Islamic organizations? What are the implications for democracy in Indonesia and the broader Muslim world? Jeremy Menchik argues that answering these questions requires decoupling tolerance from liberalism and investigating the historical and political conditions that engender democratic values. Drawing on archival documents, ethnographic observation, comparative political theory, and an original survey, Islam and Democracy in Indonesia demonstrates that Indonesia’s Muslim leaders favor a democracy in which individual rights and group-differentiated rights converge within a system of legal pluralism, a vision at odds with American-style secular government but common in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.
Nile Green (CSSH 53-3, 2011, “The Trans-Border Traffic of Afghan Modernism: Afghanistan and the Indian “Urdusphere”; and 58-2, 2016, “Fordist Connections: The Automotive Integration of the United States and Iran”) is the editor of Afghan History Through Afghan Eyes (Oxford University Press, 2016). The book is described as follows on the Oxford website:
Recent international intervention in Afghanistan has reproduced familiar versions of the Afghan national story, from repeatedly doomed invasions to perpetual fault lines of ethnic division. Yet almost no attention has been paid to the ways in which Afghans themselves have made sense of their history. Radically questioning received ideas about how to understand Afghanistan, Afghan History Through Afghan Eyes asks how Afghan intellectuals, ideologues and ordinary people have understood their collective past. The book brings together the leading international specialists to focus on case studies of the Dari, Pashto and Uzbek histories which Afghans have produced in abundance since the formation of the Afghan state in the mid-eighteenth century. As crucial sources on Afghans’ own conceptions of state, society and culture, their writings help us understand the dominant and marginal, conflicting and changing, ways in which Afghans have understood the emergence of their own society and its relationships with the wider world. Based on new research in Afghan languages, Afghan History Through Afghan Eyes opens up entirely fresh perspectives on Afghan political, social and cultural life, providing penetrating insights into the master narratives behind domestic and international conflict in Afghanistan.
Keith Hart (CSSH 49-2, 2007, “Marcel Mauss: In Pursuit of the Whole. A Review Essay“), has co-edited (with John Sharp) People, Money and Power in the Economic Crisis: Perspectives from the Global South (Berghahn, 2015): Here is an overview:
The Cold War was fought between “state socialism” and “the free market.” That fluctuating relationship between public power and private money continues today, unfolding in new and unforeseen ways during the economic crisis. Nine case studies — from Southern Africa, South Asia, Brazil, and Atlantic Africa – examine economic life from the perspective of ordinary people in places that are normally marginal to global discourse, covering a range of class positions from the bottom to the top of society. The authors of these case studies examine people’s concrete economic activities and aspirations. By looking at how people insert themselves into the actual, unequal economy, they seek to reflect human unity and diversity more fully than the narrow vision of conventional economics.
Chris Hann (CSSH 57-4, 2015, “Backwardness Revisited: Time, Space, and Civilization in Rural Eastern Europe“) is the co-editor (with Stephen Gudeman) of two volumes (both from Berghahn, 2015). The first, Economy and Ritual: Studies in Postsocialist Transformations, is described on the Berghahn website:
According to accepted wisdom, rational practices and ritual action are opposed. Rituals drain wealth from capital investment and draw on a mode of thought different from practical ideas. The studies in this volume contest this view. Comparative, historical, and contemporary, the six ethnographies extend from Macedonia to Kyrgyzstan. Each one illuminates the economic and ritual changes in an area as it emerged from socialism and (re-)entered market society. Cutting against the idea that economy only means markets and that market action exhausts the meaning of economy, the studies show that much of what is critical for a people’s economic life takes place outside markets and hinges on ritual, understood as the negation of the everyday world of economising.
The second, Oikos and Market: Explorations in Self-Sufficiency after Socialism, Berghahn summarizes as follows:
Self-sufficiency of the house is practiced in many parts of the world but ignored in economic theory, just as socialist collectivization is assumed to have brought household self-sufficiency to an end. The ideals of self-sufficiency, however, continue to shape economic activity in a wide range of postsocialist settings. This volume’s six comparative studies of postsocialist villages in Eastern Europe and Asia illuminate the enduring importance of the house economy, which is based not on the market but on the order of the house. These formations show that economies depend not only on the macro institutions of markets and states but also on the micro institutions of families, communities, and house economies, often in an uneasy relationship.
Rebecca Bryant (CSSH 54-2, 2012, “Partitions of Memory: Wounds and Witnessing in Cyprus“) is the editor of a new volume, Post-Ottoman Coexistence: Sharing Space in the Shadow of Conflict (Berghahn, 2016). A table of contents is on Berghahn’s website, where they write:
In Southeast Europe, the Balkans, and Middle East, scholars often refer to the “peaceful coexistence” of various religious and ethnic groups under the Ottoman Empire before ethnonationalist conflicts dissolved that shared space and created legacies of division. Post-Ottoman Coexistenceinterrogates ways of living together and asks what practices enabled centuries of cooperation and sharing, as well as how and when such sharing was disrupted. Contributors discuss both historical and contemporary practices of coexistence within the context of ethno-national conflict and its aftermath.
We don’t usually include book reviews on our Kudos page, but we want to make an exception for the new book by Nile Green (CSSH 53-3, 2011, “The Trans-Border Traffic of Afghan Modernism: Afghanistan and the Indian “Urdusphere”; and 58-2, 2016, “Fordist Connections: The Automotive Integration of the United States and Iran”). The Love of Strangers: What Six Muslim Students Learned in Jane Austen’s London (Princeton University Press, 2015) has received wide attention with a review in the New York Times this month, a note in the New Yorker in December, and also in December a review on the website of PRI’s The World. That same month Niles wrote and op-ed piece drawing on the book on the website Zócalo Public Square, “When Muslims Admired the West and Were Admired Back: Lessons on Coexistence from Jane Austen’s London.”
Deirdre de la Cruz (CSSH Editorial Committee) has a new book, Mother Figured: Marian Apparitions & the Making of a Filipino Universal (University of Chicago Press, 2015). The press website tells us the following about it:
There is no female religious figure so widely known and revered as the Virgin Mary. Mary has inspired in cultures around the world a deep devotion, a desire to emulate her virtue, and a strong belief in her power. Perhaps no population has been so deeply affected by this maternal figure as Filipino Catholics, whose apparitions of Mary have increased in response to recent events, drawing from a broad repertoire of the Catholic supernatural and pulling attention to new articulations of Christianity in the Global South. In Mother Figured, historical anthropologist Deirdre de la Cruz offers a detailed examination of several appearances and miracles of the Virgin Mary in the Philippines from materials and sites ranging from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. By analyzing the effects of the mass media on the perception and proliferation of apparition phenomena, de la Cruz charts the intriguing emergence of new voices in the Philippines that are broadcasting Marian discourse globally. Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork and hitherto unexplored archives in the Philippines, the United States, and Spain,Mother Figured documents the conditions of Marian devotion’s modern development and tracks how it has transformed Filipinos’ social and political role within the greater Catholic world.
Stigma and Culture: Last-Place Anxiety in Black America (University of Chicago Press, 2015) has just been published by J. Lorand Matory (CSSH 41-1, 1999, “The English Professors of Brazil: On the Diasporic Roots of the Yorùbá Nation“; and 50-4, 2008, “The Illusion of Isolation: The Gullah/Geechees and the Political Economy of African Culture in the Americas“). Here is Chicago’s overview:
In Stigma and Culture, J. Lorand Matory provocatively shows how ethnic identification in the United States—and around the globe—is a competitive and hierarchical process in which populations, especially of historically stigmatized races, seek status and income by dishonoring other stigmatized populations. And there is no better place to see this than among the African American elite in academia, where he explores the emergent ethnic identities of African and Caribbean immigrants and transmigrants, Gullah/Geechees, Louisiana Creoles, and even Native Americans of partly African ancestry. Matory describes the competitive process that hierarchically structures their self-definition as ethnic groups and the similar process by which middle-class African Americans seek distinction from their impoverished compatriots. Drawing on research at universities such as Howard, Harvard, and Duke and among their alumni networks, he details how university life—while facilitating individual upward mobility, touting human equality, and regaling cultural diversity—also perpetuates the cultural standards that historically justified the dominance of some groups over others. Combining his ethnographic findings with classic theoretical insights from Frantz Fanon, Fredrik Barth, Erving Goffman, Pierre Bourdieu and others—alongside stories from his own life in academia—Matory sketches the university as an institution that, particularly through the anthropological vocabulary of culture, encourages the stigmatized to stratify their own.
Rebecca Jean Emigh (CSSH 46-1, 2004, “[The] Transition(s) to Capitalism(s)? A Review Essay) and Dylan Riley (45-1, 2003, “Privilege and Property: The Political Foundations of Failed Class Formation in Eighteenth-Century Austrian Lombard”; and 49-4, 2007 [with Manali Desai], “The Passive Revolutionary Route to the Modern World: Italy and India in Comparative Perspective”) have co-authored a new book (with Patricia Ahmed), Changes in Censuses from Imperialist to Welfare States (vol. 2) (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016). Here is a description of the book from the press website:
Changes in Censuses from Imperialist to Welfare States, the second of two volumes, uses historical and comparative methods to analyze censuses or census-like information in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Italy, starting in England over one-thousand years ago. The authors argue that censuses arose from interactions between bureaucracies and social interests, and that censuses constituted public, official knowledge not where they were insulated from social pressures, but rather where there was intense social and political interaction around them.
Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey (Stanford University Press, 2015) is a new book by Lerna Ekmekcioglu (CSSH 55-3, 2013, “A Climate for Abduction, a Climate for Redemption: The Politics of Inclusion during and after the Armenian Genocide“): Here is Stanford UP’s overview:
Recovering Armenia offers the first in-depth study of the aftermath of the 1915 Armenian Genocide and the Armenians who remained in Turkey. Following World War I, as the victorious Allied powers occupied Ottoman territories, Armenian survivors returned to their hometowns optimistic that they might establish an independent Armenia. But Turkish resistance prevailed, and by 1923 the Allies withdrew, the Turkish Republic was established, and Armenians were left again to reconstruct their communities within a country that still considered them traitors. Lerna Ekmekcioglu investigates how Armenians recovered their identity within these drastically changing political conditions. Reading Armenian texts and images produced in Istanbul from the close of WWI through the early 1930s, Ekmekcioglu gives voice to the community’s most prominent public figures, notably Hayganush Mark, a renowned activist, feminist, and editor of the influential journal Hay Gin. These public figures articulated an Armenianess sustained through gendered differences, and women came to play a central role preserving traditions, memory, and the mother tongue within the home. But even as women were being celebrated for their traditional roles, a strong feminist movement found opportunity for leadership within the community. Ultimately, the book explores this paradox: how someone could be an Armenian and a feminist in post-genocide Turkey when, through its various laws and regulations, the key path for Armenians to maintain their identity was through traditionally gendered roles.
Lara Deeb (CSSH 50-2, 2008, “Exhibiting the “Just-Lived Past”: Hizbullah’s Nationalist Narratives in Transnational Political Context“) is co-author (with Jessica Winegar) of Anthropology’s Politics: Disciplining the Middle East (Stanford University Press, 2015):
U.S. involvement in the Middle East has brought the region into the media spotlight and made it a hot topic in American college classrooms. At the same time, anthropology—a discipline committed to on-the-ground research about everyday lives and social worlds—has increasingly been criticized as “useless” or “biased” by right-wing forces. What happens when the two concerns meet, when such accusations target the researchers and research of a region so central to U.S. military interests? This book is the first academic study to shed critical light on the political and economic pressures that shape how U.S. scholars research and teach about the Middle East. Lara Deeb and Jessica Winegar show how Middle East politics and U.S. gender and race hierarchies affect scholars across their careers—from the first decisions to conduct research in the tumultuous region, to ongoing politicized pressures from colleagues, students, and outside groups, to hurdles in sharing expertise with the public. They detail how academia, even within anthropology, an assumed “liberal” discipline, is infused with sexism, racism, Islamophobia, and Zionist obstruction of any criticism of the Israeli state. Anthropology’s Politics offers a complex portrait of how academic politics ultimately hinders the education of U.S. students and potentially limits the public’s access to critical knowledge about the Middle East.
Ilana Feldman (CSSH 47-4, 2005 “Everyday Government in Extraordinary Times: Persistence and Authority in Gaza’s Civil Service, 1917-1967“) has published Police Encounters: Security and Surveillance in Gaza under Egyptian Rule (Stanford University Press, 2015). Here is Stanford’s overview of the book:
Egypt came to govern Gaza as a result of a war, a failed effort to maintain Arab Palestine. Throughout the twenty years of its administration (1948–1967), Egyptian policing of Gaza concerned itself not only with crime and politics, but also with control of social and moral order. Through surveillance, interrogation, and a network of local informants, the police extended their reach across the public domain and into private life, seeing Palestinians as both security threats and vulnerable subjects who needed protection. Security practices produced suspicion and safety simultaneously. Police Encounters explores the paradox of Egyptian rule. Drawing on a rich and detailed archive of daily police records, the book describes an extensive security apparatus guided by intersecting concerns about national interest, social propriety, and everyday illegality. In pursuit of security, Egyptian policing established a relatively safe society, but also one that blocked independent political activity. The repressive aspects of the security society that developed in Gaza under Egyptian rule are beyond dispute. But repression does not tell the entire story about its impact on Gaza. Policing also provided opportunities for people to make claims of government, influence their neighbors, and protect their families.
Saba Mahmood (CSSH 54-2, 2012, “Religious Freedom, the Minority Question, and Geopolitics in the Middle East“) is co-editor (with Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, and Peter G. Danchin) of Politics of Religious Freedom (University of Chicago Press, 2015):
In a remarkably short period of time, the realization of religious freedom has achieved broad consensus as an indispensable condition for peace. Faced with widespread reports of religious persecution, public and private actors around the world have responded with laws and policies designed to promote freedom of religion. But what precisely is being promoted? What are the cultural and epistemological assumptions underlying this response, and what forms of politics are enabled in the process? The fruits of the three-year Politics of Religious Freedom research project, the contributions to this volume unsettle the assumption—ubiquitous in policy circles—that religious freedom is a singular achievement, an easily understood state of affairs, and that the problem lies in its incomplete accomplishment. Taking a global perspective, the more than two dozen contributors delineate the different conceptions of religious freedom predominant in the world today, as well as their histories and social and political contexts. Together, the contributions make clear that the reasons for persecution are more varied and complex than is widely acknowledged, and that the indiscriminate promotion of a single legal and cultural tool meant to address conflict across a wide variety of cultures can have the perverse effect of exacerbating the problems that plague the communities cited as falling short.
David M. Pomfret (CSSH 51-2, 2009, “Raising Eurasia: Race, Class, and Age in French and British Colonies“) has a new book, Youth and Empire: Trans-Colonial Childhoods in British and French Asia (Stanford University Press, 2015):
This is the first study of its kind to provide such a broadly comparative and in-depth analysis of children and empire.Youth and Empire brings to light new research and new interpretations on two relatively neglected fields of study: the history of imperialism in East and South East Asia and, more pointedly, the influence of childhood—and children’s voices—on modern empires. By utilizing a diverse range of unpublished source materials drawn from three different continents, David M. Pomfret examines the emergence of children and childhood as a central historical force in the global history of empire in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This book is unusual in its scope, extending across the two empires of Britain and France and to points of intense impact in “tropical” places where indigenous, immigrant, and foreign cultures mixed: Hong Kong, Singapore, Saigon, and Hanoi. It thereby shows how childhood was crucial to definitions of race, and thus European authority, in these parts of the world. By examining the various contradictory and overlapping meanings of childhood in colonial Asia, Pomfret is able to provide new and often surprising readings of a set of problems that continue to trouble our contemporary world.
Felipe Fernández-Armesto (CSSH 51-1, 2009, “History beyond History: New Adventures on the Frontiers of Traditional Historiography. A Review Essay“; and CSSH Consulting Editor) has just published A Foot in the River: Why Our Lives Change, and the Limits of Evolution (Oxford University Press, 2015). Here is how Oxford’s website presents the book:
We are a weird species. Like other species, we have a culture. But by comparison with other species, we are strangely unstable: human cultures self-transform, diverge, and multiply with bewildering speed. They vary, radically and rapidly, from time to time and place to place. And the way we live – our manners, morals, habits, experiences, relationships, technology, values – seems to be changing at an ever accelerating pace. The effects can be dislocating, baffling, sometimes terrifying. Why is this? In A Foot in the River, best-selling historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto sifts through the evidence and offers some radical answers to these very big questions about the human species and its history – and speculates on what these answers might mean for our future. Combining insights from a huge range of disciplines, including history, biology, anthropology, archaeology, philosophy, sociology, ethology, zoology, primatology, psychology, linguistics, the cognitive sciences, and even business studies, he argues that culture is exempt from evolution. Ultimately, no environmental conditions, no genetic legacy, no predictable patterns, no scientific laws determine our behaviour. We can consequently make and remake our world in the freedom of unconstrained imaginations. A revolutionary book which challenges scientistic assumptions about culture and how and why cultural change happens, A Foot in the River comes to conclusions which readers may well find by turns both daunting and also potentially hugely liberating.
Bill Maurer (CSSH 43-3, 2001, “Islands in the Net: Rewiring Technological and Financial Circuits in the “Offshore” Caribbean“), is the author of How Would You Like to Pay? How Technology is Changing the Future of Money (Duke University Press, 2015). Here is the description from Duke UP’s webpage:
From Bitcoin to Apple Pay, big changes seem to be afoot in the world of money. Yet the use of coins and paper bills has persisted for 3,000 years. InHow Would You Like to Pay?, leading anthropologist Bill Maurer narrates money’s history, considers its role in everyday life, and discusses the implications of how new technologies are changing how we pay. These changes are especially important in the developing world, where people who lack access to banks are using cell phones in creative ways to send and save money. To truly understand money, Maurer explains, is to understand and appreciate the complex infrastructures and social relationships it relies on. Engaging and straightforward, How Would You Like to Pay? rethinks something so familiar and fundamental in new and exciting ways. Ultimately, considering how we would like to pay gives insights into determining how we would like to live.
Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report (Princeton University Press, 2016) is a new book by Saba Mahmood (CSSH 54, 2, 2012, “Religious Freedom, the Minority Question, and Geopolitics in the Middle East“).
The plight of religious minorities in the Middle East is often attributed to the failure of secularism to take root in the region.Religious Difference in a Secular Age challenges this assessment by examining four cornerstones of secularism—political and civil equality, minority rights, religious freedom, and the legal separation of private and public domains. Drawing on her extensive fieldwork in Egypt with Coptic Orthodox Christians and Bahais—religious minorities in a predominantly Muslim country—Saba Mahmood shows how modern secular governance has exacerbated religious tensions and inequalities rather than reduced them. Tracing the historical career of secular legal concepts in the colonial and postcolonial Middle East, she explores how contradictions at the very heart of political secularism have aggravated and amplified existing forms of Islamic hierarchy, bringing minority relations in Egypt to a new historical impasse. Through a close examination of Egyptian court cases and constitutional debates about minority rights, conflicts around family law, and controversies over freedom of expression, Mahmood invites us to reflect on the entwined histories of secularism in the Middle East and Europe. A provocative work of scholarship, Religious Difference in a Secular Age challenges us to rethink the promise and limits of the secular ideal of religious equality.
Nile Green (CSSH 53-3, 2011, “The Trans-Border Traffic of Afghan Modernism: Afghanistan and the Indian “Urdusphere”), has a new book: The Love of Strangers: What Six Muslim Students Learned in Jane Austen’s London (Princeton University Press, 2015):
In July 1815, six Iranian students arrived in London under the escort of their chaperone, Captain Joseph D’Arcy. Their mission was to master the modern sciences behind the rapid rise of Europe. Over the next four years, they lived both the low life and high life of Regency London, from being down and out after their abandonment by D’Arcy to charming their way into society and landing on the gossip pages. The Love of Strangers tells the story of their search for love and learning in Jane Austen’s England. Drawing on the Persian diary of the student Mirza Salih and the letters of his companions, Nile Green vividly describes how these adaptable Muslim migrants learned to enjoy the opera and take the waters at Bath. But there was more than frivolity to their student years in London. Burdened with acquiring the technology to defend Iran against Russia, they talked their way into the observatories, hospitals, and steam-powered factories that placed England at the forefront of the scientific revolution. All the while, Salih dreamed of becoming the first Muslim to study at Oxford. The Love of Strangers chronicles the frustration and fellowship of six young men abroad to open a unique window onto the transformative encounter between an Evangelical England and an Islamic Iran at the dawn of the modern age. This is that rarest of books about the Middle East and the West: a story of friendships.
Thomas R. Trautmann (former CSSH editor) has published the book Elephants and Kings: An Environmental History (University of Chicago Press, 2015). Here is the UC Press overview of the book from their website:
Because of their enormous size, elephants have long been irresistible for kings as symbols of their eminence. In early civilizations—such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Indus Civilization, and China—kings used elephants for royal sacrifice, spectacular hunts, public display of live captives, or the conspicuous consumption of ivory—all of them tending toward the elephant’s extinction. The kings of India, however, as Thomas R. Trautmann shows in this study, found a use for elephants that actually helped preserve their habitat and numbers in the wild: war. Trautmann traces the history of the war elephant in India and the spread of the institution to the west—where elephants took part in some of the greatest wars of antiquity—and Southeast Asia (but not China, significantly), a history that spans 3,000 years and a considerable part of the globe, from Spain to Java. He shows that because elephants eat such massive quantities of food, it was uneconomic to raise them from birth. Rather, in a unique form of domestication, Indian kings captured wild adults and trained them, one by one, through millennia. Kings were thus compelled to protect wild elephants from hunters and elephant forests from being cut down. By taking a wide-angle view of human-elephant relations, Trautmann throws into relief the structure of India’s environmental history and the reasons for the persistence of wild elephants in its forests.
Bjørn Thomassen (CSSH 53-4, 2012, “Notes towards an Anthropology of Political Revolutions“) is co-editor (with Agnes Horvath and Harald Wydra) of a new book, Breaking Boundaries: Varieties of Liminality (Berghahn, 2015). Here is a summary of the book from the Berghahn website, where a table of contents can also be found:
Liminality has the potential to be a leading paradigm for understanding transformation in a globalizing world. As a fundamental human experience, liminality transmits cultural practices, codes, rituals, and meanings in situations that fall between defined structures and have uncertain outcomes. Based on case studies of some of the most important crises in history, society, and politics, this volume explores the methodological range and applicability of the concept to a variety of concrete social and political problems.
For the first time, this book provides the global history of labor in Central Eurasia, Russia, Europe, and the Indian Ocean between the sixteenth and the twentieth centuries. It contests common views on free and unfree labor, and compares the latter to many Western countries where wage conditions resembled those of domestic servants. This gave rise to extreme forms of dependency in the colonies, not only under slavery, but also afterwards in form of indentured labor in the Indian Ocean and obligatory labor in Africa. Stanziani shows that unfree labor and forms of economic coercion were perfectly compatible with market development and capitalism, proven by the consistent economic growth that took place all over Eurasia between the seventeenth and the nineteenth centuries. This growth was labor intensive: commercial expansion, transformations in agriculture, and the first industrial revolution required more labor, not less. Finally, Stanziani demonstrates that this world did not collapse after the French Revolution or the British industrial revolution, as is commonly assumed, but instead between 1870 and 1914, with the second industrial revolution and the rise of the welfare state.
Keith Hart (CSSH 49-2, 2007, “Marcel Mauss: In Pursuit of the Whole. A Review Essay“) has just published Economy for and Against Democracy (Berghahn, 2015). Here is a statement on the book from the Berghahn website:
Political constitutions alone do not guarantee democracy; a degree of economic equality is also essential. Yet contemporary economies, dominated as they are by global finance and political rent-seekers, often block the realization of democracy. The comparative essays and case studies of this volume examine the contradictory relationship between the economy and democracy and highlight the struggles and visions needed to make things more equitable. They explore how our collective aspirations for greater democracy might be informed by serious empirical research on the human economy today. If we want a better world, we must act on existing social realities.
Readers who enjoyed Ajantha Subramanian’s recent CSSH paper (57-2, 2015, “Making Merit: The Indian Institutes of Technology and the Social Life of Caste“) will want to read a piece she has just written for Counterpunch, “When Students Struggle, They Win,” about a recent controversy that links up with her IIT research.
Eric Tagliacozzo (CSSH 46-2, 2004, “Ambiguous Commodities, Unstable Frontiers: The Case of Burma, Siam, and Imperial Britain, 1800-1900“) and Helen F. Siu (32-4, 1990, “Recycling Tradition: Culture, History, and Political Economy in the Chrysanthemum Festivals of South China) are co-editors (with Peter C. Perdue) of Asia Inside Out: Connected Places (Harvard University Press, 2015). This is the second volume in a three-volume work. Here is Harvard UP’s overview of the book:
Asia Inside Out reveals the dynamic forces that have historically linked regions of the world’s largest continent, stretching from Japan and Korea to the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Middle East. Connected Places, the second installment in this pioneering three-volume survey, highlights the transregional flows of goods, ideas, and people across natural and political boundaries—sea routes, delta ecologies, and mountain passes, ports and oasis towns, imperial capitals and postmodern cities. It challenges the conventional idea that defines geopolitical regions as land-based, state-centered, and possessing linear histories. Exploring themes of maritime connections, mobile landscapes, and spatial movements, the authors examine significant sites of linkage and disjuncture from the early modern period to the present. Readers discover how eighteenth-century pirates shaped the interregional networks of Vietnam’s Tonkin Gulf, how Kashmiri merchants provided intelligence of remote Himalayan territories to competing empires, and how for centuries a vibrant trade in horses and elephants fueled the Indian Ocean economy. Other topics investigated include cultural formations in the Pearl River delta, global trade in Chittagong’s transformation, gendered homemaking among mobile Samurai families, border zones in Qing China and contemporary Burma, colonial spaces linking India and Mesopotamia, transnational marriages in Oman’s immigrant populations, new cultural spaces in Korean pop, and the unexpected adoption of the Latin script by ethnically Chinese Muslims in Central Asia. Connected Places shows the constant fluctuations over many centuries in the making of Asian territories and illustrates the confluence of factors in the historical construction of place and space.
Eric Lewis Beverley (CSSH 55-2, 2013, “Frontier as Resource: Law, Crime, and Sovereignty on the Margins of Empire“) has just published Hyderabad, British India, and the World: Muslim Networks and Minor Sovereignty, c. 1850-1950 (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Here is an overview of the book from the CUP website:
This examination of the formally autonomous state of Hyderabad in a global comparative framework challenges the idea of the dominant British Raj as the sole sovereign power in the late colonial period. Beverley argues that Hyderabad’s position as a subordinate yet sovereign ‘minor state’ was not just a legal formality, but that in exercising the right to internal self-government and acting as a conduit for the regeneration of transnational Muslim intellectual and political networks, Hyderabad was indicative of the fragmentation of sovereignty between multiple political entities amidst Empires. By exploring connections with the Muslim world beyond South Asia, law and policy administration along frontiers with the colonial state and urban planning in expanding Hyderabad City, Beverley presents Hyderabad as a locus for experimentation in global and regional forms of political modernity. This book recasts the political geography of late imperialism and historicises Muslim political modernity in South Asia and beyond.
Tamir Sorek (CSSH 50-2, 2008, “Cautious Commemoration: Localism, Communalism, and Nationalism in Palestinian Memorial Monuments in Israel“) has just published Palestinian Commemoration in Israel: Calendars & Martyrs (Stanford University Press, 2015). The book is summarized as follows on the Stanford website:
Collective memory transforms historical events into political myths. In this book, Tamir Sorek considers the development of collective memory and national commemoration among the Palestinian citizens of Israel. He charts the popular politicization of four key events—the Nakba, the 1956 Kafr Qasim Massacre, the 1976 Land Day, and the October 2000 killing of twelve Palestinian citizens in Israel—and investigates a range of commemorative sites, including memorial rallies, monuments, poetry, the education system, political summer camps, and individual historical remembrance. These sites have become battlefields between diverse social forces and actors—including Arab political parties, the Israeli government and security services, local authorities, grassroots organizations, journalists, and artists—over representations of the past. Palestinian commemorations are uniquely tied to Palestinian encounters with the Israeli state apparatus, with Jewish Israeli citizens of Israel, and by their position as Israeli citizens themselves. Reflecting longstanding tensions between Palestinian citizens and the Israeli state, as well as growing pressures across Palestinian societies within and beyond Israel, these moments of commemoration distinguish Palestinian citizens not only from Jewish citizens, but from Palestinians elsewhere. Ultimately, Sorek shows that Palestinian citizens have developed commemorations and a collective memory that offers both moments of protest and points of dialogue, that is both cautious and circuitous.
Wei-Ping Lin (CSSH 56-1, 2014, “Virtual Recentralization: Pilgrimage as Social Imaginary in the Demilitarized Islands between China and Taiwan”; and 50-2, 2008, “Conceptualizing Gods through Statues: A Study of Personification and Localization in Taiwan”) has just published the book Materializing Magic Power: Chinese Popular Religion in Villages and Cities (Harvard University Press, 2015). The book is described by Harvard UP:
Materializing Magic Power paints a broad picture of the dynamics of popular religion in Taiwan. The first book to explore contemporary Chinese popular religion from its cultural, social, and material perspectives, it analyzes these aspects of religious practice in a unified framework and traces their transformation as adherents move from villages to cities. In this groundbreaking study, Wei-Ping Lin offers a fresh perspective on the divine power of Chinese deities as revealed in two important material forms—god statues and spirit mediums. By examining the significance of these religious manifestations, Lin identifies personification and localization as the crucial cultural mechanisms that bestow efficacy on deity statues and spirit mediums. She further traces the social consequences of materialization and demonstrates how the different natures of materials mediate distinct kinds of divine power. The first part of the book provides a detailed account of popular religion in villages. This is followed by a discussion of how rural migrant workers cope with challenges in urban environments by inviting branch statues of village deities to the city, establishing an urban shrine, and selecting a new spirit medium. These practices show how traditional village religion is being reconfigured in cities today.
The Political Aesthetics of Global Protest: The Arab Spring and Beyond (Edinburgh University Press, 2014) is co-edited by Pnina Werbner (CSSH 56-2, 2014, “The Duty to Act Fairly”: Ethics, Legal Anthropology, and Labor Justice in the Manual Workers Union of Botswana”) and Martin Webb and Kathryn Spellman-Poots:
From Egypt to India, and from Botswana to London, worker, youth and middle class rebellions have taken on the political and bureaucratic status quo and the privilege of small, wealthy and often corrupt elites at a time when the majority can no longer earn a decent wage. A remarkable feature of the protests from the Arab Spring onwards has been the salience of images, songs, videos, humour, satire and dramatic performances. This book explores the central role the aesthetic played in energising the mass mobilisations of young people, the disaffected, the middle classes, the apolitical silent majority, as well as enabling solidarities and alliances among democrats, workers, trade unions, civil rights activists and opposition parties. Comparing the North African and Middle Eastern uprisings with protest movements such as Occupy, the authors bring to bear an anthropological and sociological approach from a variety of perspectives, illuminating the debate by drawing on a wide array of disciplinary expertise.
Joel Cabrita (CSSH 57-2, 2015 “People of Adam: Divine Healing and Racial Cosmopolitanism in the Early Twentieth-Century Transvaal, South Africa”) has published the book Text and Authority in the South African Nazaretha Church (International African Library, Cambridge University Press, 2014). Cambridge summarizes the book as follows:
Text and Authority in the South African Nazaretha Church tells the story of one of the largest African churches in South Africa, Ibandla lamaNazaretha, or Church of the Nazaretha. Founded in 1910 by charismatic faith-healer Isaiah Shembe, the Nazaretha church, with over four million members, has become an influential social and political player in the region. Deeply influenced by a transnational evangelical literary culture, Nazaretha believers have patterned their lives upon the Christian Bible. They cast themselves as actors who enact scriptural drama upon African soil. But Nazaretha believers also believe the existing Christian Bible to be in need of updating and revision. For this reason, they have written further scriptures – a new ‘Bible’ – which testify to the miraculous work of their founding prophet, Shembe. Joel Cabrita’s book charts the key role that these sacred texts play in making, breaking and contesting social power and authority, both within the church and more broadly in South African public life.
Rupert Stasch (CSSH 53-1, 2011, “The Camera and the House: The Semiotics of New Guinea “Treehouses” in Global Visual Culture”) is co-editor (with Giovanni da Col) of Classic Concepts in Anthropology, a collection of writings by Valerio Valeri (Hau Books, distributed by University of Chicago Press, 2015 ). Here is a description from the UC Press site:
The late anthropologist Valerio Valeri (1944–1998) was best known for his substantial writings on societies of Polynesia and eastern Indonesia. This volume, however, presents a lesser-known side of Valeri’s genius through a dazzlingly erudite set of comparative essays on core topics in the history of anthropological theory. Offering masterly discussions of anthropological thought about ritual, fetishism, cosmogonic myth, belief, caste, kingship, mourning, play, feasting, ceremony, and cultural relativism, Classic Concepts in Anthropology, presented here with a critical foreword by Rupert Stasch and Giovanni da Col, will be an eye-opening, essential resource for students and researchers not only in anthropology but throughout the humanities.
Tony Ballantyne (CSSH 53-2, 2011, “Paper, Pen and Print: The Transformation of the Kai Tahu Knowledge Order“) has a new book out, Entanglements of Empire: Missionaries, Māori, and the Question of the Body (Duke University Press, 2014). Duke summarizes the book as follows:
The first Protestant mission was established in New Zealand in 1814, initiating complex political, cultural, and economic entanglements with Maori. Tony Ballantyne shows how interest in missionary Christianity among influential Maori chiefs had far-reaching consequences for both groups. Deftly reconstructing cross-cultural translations and struggles over such concepts and practices as civilization, work, time and space, and gender, he identifies the physical body as the most contentious site of cultural engagement, with Maori and missionaries struggling over hygiene, tattooing, clothing, and sexual morality. Entanglements of Empire is particularly concerned with how, as a result of their encounters in the classroom, chapel, kitchen, and farmyard, Maori and the English mutually influenced each other’s worldviews. Concluding in 1840 with New Zealand’s formal colonization, this book offers an important contribution to debates over religion and empire.
Gregory Mann (CSSH 55-1, 2013, “Anti-Colonialism and Social Science: George Balandier, Madeira Keita, and the ‘Colonial Situation’ in French Africa“; and 45-2, 2003, “Immigrants and Arguments in France and West Africa“) has just published From Empires to NGOs in the West African Sahel: The Road to Nongovernmentality (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Here is how Cambridge describes the book:
This book looks beyond the familiar history of former empires and new nation-states to consider newly transnational communities of solidarity and aid, social science and activism. Shortly after independence from France in 1960, the people living along the Sahel – a long, thin stretch of land bordering the Sahara – became the subjects of human rights campaigns and humanitarian interventions. Just when its states were strongest and most ambitious, the postcolonial West African Sahel became fertile terrain for the production of novel forms of governmental rationality realized through NGOs. The roots of this “nongovernmentality” lay partly in Europe and North America, but it flowered, paradoxically, in the Sahel. This book is unique in that it questions not only how West African states exercised their new sovereignty but also how and why NGOs – ranging from CARE and Amnesty International to black internationalists – began to assume elements of sovereignty during a period in which it was so highly valued.
Eric Tagliacozzo (CSSH 46-2, 2004, “Ambiguous Commodities, Unstable Frontiers: The Case of Burma, Siam, and Imperial Britain, 1800-1900“) and Helen F. Siu (32-4, 1990, “Recycling Tradition: Culture, History, and Political Economy in the Chrysanthemum Festivals of South China) are co-editors (with Peter C. Perdue) of Asia Inside Out: Changing Times (Harvard University Press, 2015). Here is an overview of the book from Harvard:
The first of three volumes surveying the historical, spatial, and human dimensions of inter-Asian connections, Asia Inside Out: Changing Times brings into focus the diverse networks and dynamic developments that have linked peoples from Japan to Yemen over the past five centuries. Each author examines an unnoticed moment—a single year or decade—that redefined Asia in some important way. Heidi Walcher explores the founding of the Safavid dynasty in the crucial battle of 1501, while Peter C. Perdue investigates New World silver’s role in Sino-Portuguese and Sino-Mongolian relations after 1557. Victor Lieberman synthesizes imperial changes in Russia, Burma, Japan, and North India in the seventeenth century, Charles Wheeler focuses on Zen Buddhism in Vietnam to 1683, and Kerry Ward looks at trade in Pondicherry, India, in 1745. Nancy Um traces coffee exports from Yemen in 1636 and 1726, and Robert Hellyer follows tea exports from Japan to global markets in 1874. Anand Yang analyzes the diary of an Indian soldier who fought in China in 1900, and Eric Tagliacozzo portrays the fragility of Dutch colonialism in 1910. Andrew Willford delineates the erosion of cosmopolitan Bangalore in the mid-twentieth century, and Naomi Hosoda relates the problems faced by Filipino workers in Dubai in the twenty-first. Moving beyond traditional demarcations such as West, East, South, and Southeast Asia, this interdisciplinary study underscores the fluidity and contingency of trans-Asian social, cultural, economic, and political interactions. It also provides an analytically nuanced and empirically rich understanding of the legacies of Asian globalization.
Nils Bubandt (CSSH 57-1, 2009, with Rane Willerslev, “The Dark Side of Empathy: Mimesis, Deception, and the Magic of Alterity”) has just published The Empty Seashell: Witchcraft and Doubt on an Indonesian Island (Cornell University Press, 2014). (This book is reviewed in Peter Geschiere’s review essay in CSSH 58-1) Here is a summary from Cornell UP:
The Empty Seashell explores what it is like to live in a world where cannibal witches are undeniably real, yet too ephemeral and contradictory to be an object of belief. In a book based on more than three years of fieldwork between 1991 and 2011, Nils Bubandt argues that cannibal witches for people in the coastal, and predominantly Christian, community of Buli in the Indonesian province of North Maluku are both corporeally real and fundamentally unknowable. Witches (known as gua in the Buli language or as suanggi in regional Malay) appear to be ordinary humans but sometimes, especially at night, they take other forms and attack people in order to kill them and eat their livers. They are seemingly everywhere and nowhere at the same time. The reality of gua, therefore, can never be pinned down. The title of the book comes from the empty nautilus shells that regularly drift ashore around Buli village. Convention has it that if you find a live nautilus, you are a gua. Like the empty shells, witchcraft always seems to recede from experience. Bubandt begins the book by recounting his own confusion and frustration in coming to terms with the contradictory and inaccessible nature of witchcraft realities in Buli. A detailed ethnography of the encompassing inaccessibility of Buli witchcraft leads him to the conclusion that much of the anthropological literature, which views witchcraft as a system of beliefs with genuine explanatory power, is off the mark. Witchcraft for the Buli people doesn’t explain anything. In fact, it does the opposite: it confuses, obfuscates, and frustrates. Drawing upon Jacques Derrida’s concept of aporia—an interminable experience that remains continuously in doubt—Bubandt suggests the need to take seriously people’s experiential and epistemological doubts about witchcraft, and outlines, by extension, a novel way of thinking about witchcraft and its relation to modernity.
Esra Özyürek (CSSH 51-1, 2009, “Convert Alert: German Muslims and Turkish Christians as Threats to Security in the New Europe“) has a new book titled Being German, Becoming Muslim: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe (Princeton University Press, 2014). Princeton summarizes the book as follows:
Every year more and more Europeans, including Germans, are embracing Islam. It is estimated that there are now up to one hundred thousand German converts—a number similar to that in France and the United Kingdom. What stands out about recent conversions is that they take place at a time when Islam is increasingly seen as contrary to European values. Being German, Becoming Muslim explores how Germans come to Islam within this antagonistic climate, how they manage to balance their love for Islam with their society’s fear of it, how they relate to immigrant Muslims, and how they shape debates about race, religion, and belonging in today’s Europe. Esra Özyürek looks at how mainstream society marginalizes converts and questions their national loyalties. In turn, converts try to disassociate themselves from migrants of Muslim-majority countries and promote a denationalized Islam untainted by Turkish or Arab traditions. Some German Muslims believe that once cleansed of these accretions, the Islam that surfaces fits in well with German values and lifestyle. Others even argue that being a German Muslim is wholly compatible with the older values of the German Enlightenment. Being German, Becoming Muslim provides a fresh window into the connections and tensions stemming from a growing religious phenomenon in Germany and beyond.
Paul Christopher Johnson (CSSH Co-Editor; 53-2, 2011, ” An Atlantic Genealogy of ‘Spirit Possession’“) has published the edited volume Spirited Things: The Work of ‘Possession’ in Afro-Atlantic Religions (University of Chicago Press, 2014). Here is an overview from Chicago:
The word “possession” is anything but transparent, especially as it developed in the context of the African Americas. There it referred variously to spirits, material goods, and people. It served as a watershed term marking both transactions in which people were made into things—via slavery—and ritual events by which the thingification of people was revised. In Spirited Things, Paul Christopher Johnson gathers together essays by leading anthropologists in the Americas that reopen the concept of possession on these two fronts in order to examine the relationship between African religions in the Atlantic and the economies that have historically shaped—and continue to shape—the cultures that practice them. Exploring the way spirit possessions were framed both by material things—including plantations, the Catholic church, the sea, and the phonograph—as well as by the legacy of slavery, they offer a powerful new way of understanding the Atlantic world.
Mirjam Künkler (CSSH 56-2, 2014, “Regulation of ‘Religion’ and the ‘Religious': The Politics of Judicialization and Bureaucratization in India and Indonesia” [with Yüksel Sezgin]) has published an volume, co-edited with Alfred Stepan, titled Democracy and Islam in Indonesia (Columbia University Press, 2013). Here is the press description:
Indonesia’s military government collapsed in 1998, igniting fears that economic, religious, and political conflicts would complicate any democratic transition. Yet in every year since 2006, the world’s most populous Muslim country has received high marks from international democracy-ranking organizations. In this volume, political scientists, religious scholars, legal theorists, and anthropologists examine the theory and practice of Indonesia’s democratic transition and its ability to serve as a model for other Muslim countries. They compare the Indonesian example with similar scenarios in Chile, Spain, India, and Tunisia, as well as with the failed transitions of Yugoslavia, Egypt, and Iran. Essays explore the relationship between religion and politics and the ways in which Muslims became supportive of democracy even before change occurred, and they describe how innovative policies prevented dissident military groups, violent religious activists, and secessionists from disrupting Indonesia’s democratic evolution. The collection concludes with a discussion of Indonesia’s emerging “legal pluralism” and of which of its forms are rights-eroding and rights-protecting.
Ten Books That Shaped the British Empire: Creating an Imperial Commons (Duke University Press, 2014) is a new book co-edited by Antoinette Burton (CSSH 42-3, 2000, “Tongues Tied: Lord Salisbury’s ‘Black Man’ and the Boundaries of Imperial Democracy“) and Isabel Hofmeyr. Duke writes about it as follows:
Combining insights from imperial studies and transnational book history, this provocative collection opens new vistas on both fields through ten accessible essays, each devoted to a single book. Contributors revisit well-known works associated with the British Empire, including Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Thomas Macaulay’s History of England, Charles H. Pearson’s National Life and Character, and Robert Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys. They explore anticolonial texts in which authors such as C.L.R. James and Mohandas K. Gandhi chipped away at the foundations of imperial authority, and they introduce books that may be less familiar to students of empire. Taken together, the essays reveal the dynamics of what the editors call an “imperial commons,” a lively, empire-wide print culture. They show that neither empire nor book were stable, self-evident constructs; each helped to legitimize the other. Contributors: Tony Ballantyne, Elleke Boehmer, Catherine Hall, Isabel Hofmeyr, Aaron Kamugisha, Marilyn Lake, Charlotte Macdonald, Derek Peterson, Mrinalini Sinha, Tridip Suhrud, AndrÃ© du Toit”
Lucas Bessire (CSSH 54-3, 2012, “The Politics of Isolation: Refused Relation as an Emerging Regime of Indigenous Biolegitimacy”) has just published Behold the Black Caiman: A Chronicle of Ayoreo Life (University of Chicago Press, 2014). Chicago gives the following overview of the book:
In 2004, one of the world’s last bands of voluntarily isolated nomads left behind their ancestral life in the dwindling thorn forests of northern Paraguay, fleeing ranchers’ bulldozers. Behold the Black Caimanis Lucas Bessire’s intimate chronicle of the journey of this small group of Ayoreo people, the terrifying new world they now face, and the precarious lives they are piecing together against the backdrop of soul-collecting missionaries, humanitarian NGOs, late liberal economic policies, and the highest deforestation rate in the world. Drawing on ten years of fieldwork, Bessire highlights the stark disconnect between the desperate conditions of Ayoreo life for those out of the forest and the well-funded global efforts to preserve those Ayoreo still living in it. By showing how this disconnect reverberates within Ayoreo bodies and minds, his reflexive account takes aim at the devastating consequences of our society’s continued obsession with the primitive and raises important questions about anthropology’s potent capacity to further or impede indigenous struggles for sovereignty. The result is a timely update to the classic literary ethnographies of South America, a sustained critique of the so-called ontological turn—one of anthropology’s hottest trends—and, above all, an urgent call for scholars and activists alike to rethink their notions of difference.
Anastasia Piliavsky (CSSH 53-2, 2011, “A Secret in the Oxford Sense: Thieves and the Rhetoric of Mystification in Western India”; and 57-2, “The ‘Criminal Tribe’ in India before the British”) has just published the edited volume Patronage as Politics in South Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2014). The book has been nominated for the AAS SAC Coomaraswamy Book Prize. Here is a description of the book from the Cambridge UP website:
Western policymakers, political activists and academics alike see patronage as the chief enemy of open, democratic societies. Patronage, for them, is a corrupting force, a hallmark of failed and failing states, and the obverse of everything that good, modern governance ought to be. South Asia poses a frontal challenge for this consensus. Here the world’s most populous, pluralist and animated democracy is also a hotbed of corruption with persistently startling levels of inequality. Patronage as Politics in South Asia confronts this paradox with calm erudition: sixteen essays by anthropologists, historians and political scientists show, from a wide range of cultural and historical angles, that in South Asia patronage is no feudal residue or retrograde political pressure, but a political form vital in its own right. This volume suggests that patronage is no foe to South Asia’s burgeoning democratic cultures, but may in fact be their main driving force.
Formations of United States Colonialism (Duke University Press, 2014) is a new volume edited by Alyosha Goldstein (CSSH 50-1, 2008, “On the Internal Border: Colonial Difference, the Cold War, and the Locations of “Underdevelopment”). Duke describes the book as follows on its website:
Bridging the multiple histories and present-day iterations of U.S. settler colonialism in North America and its overseas imperialism in the Caribbean and the Pacific, the essays in this groundbreaking volume underscore the United States as a fluctuating constellation of geopolitical entities marked by overlapping and variable practices of colonization. By rethinking the intertwined experiences of Native Americans, Puerto Ricans, Chamorros, Filipinos, Hawaiians, Samoans, and others subjected to U.S. imperial rule, the contributors consider how the diversity of settler claims, territorial annexations, overseas occupations, and circuits of slavery and labor—along with their attendant forms of jurisprudence, racialization, and militarism—both facilitate and delimit the conditions of colonial dispossession. Drawing on the insights of critical indigenous and ethnic studies, postcolonial theory, critical geography, ethnography, and social history, this volume emphasizes the significance of U.S. colonialisms as a vital analytic framework for understanding how and why the United States is what it is today.
Robert J. Donia (CSSH Treasurer) has just published Radovan Karadžić: Architect of the Bosnian Genocide (Cambridge University Press, 2014). The book draws on the author’s personal experiences as a witness of Karadžić’s trial for genocide, and upon thousands of documents gathered by prosecutors for that trial. Here is an overview:
Radovan Karadžić, leader of the Bosnian Serb nationalists during the Bosnian War (1992–1995), stands accused of genocide and other crimes of war before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. This book traces the origins of the extreme violence of the war to the utopian national aspirations of the Serb Democratic Party and Karadžić’s personal transformation from an unremarkable family man to the powerful leader of the Bosnian Serb nationalists. Based on previously unused documents from the tribunal’s archives and many hours of Karadžić’s cross-examination at his trial, the author shows why and how the Bosnian Serb leader planned and directed the worst atrocities in Europe since the Second World War. This book provocatively argues that postcommunist democracy was a primary enabler of mass atrocities because it provided the means to mobilize large numbers of Bosnian Serbs for the campaign to eliminate non-Serbs from conquered land.
Alessandro Stanziani (CSSH 51-4, 2009, “The Traveling Panopticon: Labor Institutions and Labor Practices in Russia and Britain in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries“), has just published After Oriental Despotism: Eurasian Growth in a Global Perspective (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014). Here is a summary:
The concepts of economic backwardness, Asiatic despotism, and Orientalism have strongly influenced perceptions of modernization, democracy and economic growth over the last three centuries. This book provides an original view on Russian and Asian history that sees both in a global perspective. Via this analysis, Alessandro Stanziani opens new dimensions in the study of state formation, the global slave trade, warfare, and European and Asian growth. After Oriental Despotism questions conventional oppositions between Europe and Asia. By revisiting the history of Eurasia in this context, the book offers a serious challenge to existing ideas about the aims and goals of economic growth.
Brian A. Catlos (CSSH 56-4, 2014, “Accursed, Superior Men: Ethno-Religious Minorities and Politics in the Medieval Mediterranean”) has a new book: Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors: Faith, Power, and Violence in the Age of Crusade and Jihad (Farrar, Straus and Girouxs/Macmillan, 2014). The press describes it as “An in-depth portrait of the Crusades-era Mediterranean world, and a new understanding of the forces that shaped it.”
In Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors, the award-winning scholar Brian Catlos puts us on the ground in the Mediterranean world of 1050–1200. We experience the sights and sounds of the region just as enlightened Islamic empires and primitive Christendom began to contest it. We learn about the siege tactics, theological disputes, and poetry of this enthralling time. And we see that people of different faiths coexisted far more frequently than we are commonly told. Catlos’s meticulous reconstruction of the era allows him to stunningly overturn our most basic assumption about it: that it was defined by religious extremism. He brings to light many figures who were accepted as rulers by their ostensible foes. Samuel B. Naghrilla, a self-proclaimed Jewish messiah, became the force behind Muslim Granada. Bahram Pahlavuni, an Armenian Christian, wielded power in an Islamic caliphate. And Philip of Mahdia, a Muslim eunuch, rose to admiral in the service of Roger II, the Christian “King of Africa.” What their lives reveal is that, then as now, politics were driven by a mix of self-interest, personality, and ideology. Catlos draws a similar lesson from his stirring chapters on the early Crusades, arguing that the notions of crusade and jihad were not causes of war but justifications. He imparts a crucial insight: the violence of the past cannot be blamed primarily on religion.
The Age of the Efendiyya: Passages to Modernity in National-Colonial Egypt (Oxford University Press, 2014) is a new book by Lucie Ryzova (CSSH 56-4, 2014, “Mourning the Archive: Middle Eastern Photographic Heritage between Neoliberalism and Digital Reproduction”). Here is an overview:
In colonial-era Egypt, a new social category of “modern men” emerged, the efendiyya. Working as bureaucrats, teachers, journalists, free professionals, and public intellectuals, the efendiyya represented the new middle class elite. They were the experts who drafted and carried out the state’s modernisation policies, and the makers as well as majority consumers of modern forms of politics and national culture. As simultaneously “authentic” and “modern”, they assumed a key political role in the anti-colonial movement and in the building of a modern state both before and after the revolution of 1952. Lucie Ryzova explores where these self-consciously modern men came from, and how they came to be such major figures, by examining multiple social, cultural, and institutional contexts. These contexts include the social strategies pursued by “traditional” households responding to new opportunities for social mobility; modern schools as vehicles for new forms of knowledge dissemination, which had the potential to redefine social authority; but also include new forms of youth culture, student rituals, peer networks, and urban popular culture. The most common modes of self-expression among the effendiyya were through politics and writing (either literature or autobiography). This articulated an efendi culture imbued with a sense of mission, duty, and entitlement, and defined the ways in which their social experiences played into the making of modern Egyptian culture and politics.
Craig Jeffrey (CSSH 56-4, 2014, “‘I serve therefore I am': Youth and Generative Politics in India,” with Jane Dyson) has published Keywords for Modern India (Oxford University Press, 2014, with John Harriss). Here is a summary of the book from OUP:
What have English terms such as “civil society,” “democracy,” “development.” or “nationalism” come to mean in an Indian context and how have their meanings and uses changed over time? Why are they the subjects of so much debate – in their everyday uses as well as amongst scholars? How did a concept such as “Hinduism” come to be framed, and what does it mean now? What is “caste”? Does it have quite the same meaning now as in the past? Why is the idea of “faction” so significant in modern India? Why has the idea of “empowerment” come to be used so extensively? These are the sorts of questions that are addressed in this book. Keywords for Modern India is modelled after the classic exploration of English culture and society through the study of keywords – words that are “strong, important and persuasive” – by Raymond Williams. The book, like Williams’ Keywords, is not a dictionary or an encyclopaedia. Williams said that his was “an inquiry into a vocabulary,” and Keywords for Modern India presents just such an inquiry into the vocabulary deployed in writing in and about India in the English language – which has long been and is becoming ever more a critically important language in India’s culture and society. Exploring the changing uses and contested meanings of common but significant words is a powerful and illuminating way of understanding contemporary India, for scholars and for students, and for general readers.
Bjørn Thomassen (CSSH 55-3, 2012, “Notes toward an Anthropology of Political Revolutions”) has two new books out. One is Liminality and the Modern: Living Through the In-Between (Ashgate, 2014). Here is the press overview:
This book provides the history and genealogy of an increasingly important subject: liminality. Coming to the fore in recent years in social and political theory and extending beyond its original use as developed within anthropology, liminality has come to denote spaces and moments in which the taken-for-granted order of the world ceases to exist and novel forms emerge, often in unpredictable ways. Liminality and the Modern offers a comprehensive introduction to this concept, discussing its development and laying out a conceptual and experiential framework for thinking about change in terms of liminality. Applying this framework to questions surrounding the implosion of ‘non-spaces,’ the analysis of major historical periods and the study of political revolution, the book also explores its possible uses in social science research and its implications for our understanding of the uncertainty and contingency of the liquid structures of modern society. Shedding new light on a concept central to social thought, as well as its capacity for pushing social and political theory in new directions, this book will be of interest to scholars across the social sciences and philosophy working in fields such as social, political and anthropological theory, cultural studies, social and cultural geography, and historical anthropology and sociology.
Bjorn Thomassen also co-edited (with Isabella Clough Marinaro) Global Rome: Changing Faces of the Eternal City (Indiana University Press, 2014). Indiana introduces the book as follows:
Is 21st-century Rome a global city? Is it part of Europe’s core or periphery? This volume examines the “real city” beyond Rome’s historical center, exploring the diversity and challenges of life in neighborhoods affected by immigration, neoliberalism, formal urban planning, and grassroots social movements. The contributors engage with themes of contemporary urban studies–the global city, the self-made city, alternative modernities, capital cities and nations, urban change from below, and sustainability. Global Rome serves as a provocative introduction to the Eternal City and makes an original contribution to interdisciplinary scholarship.
C. J. Fuller and Haripriya Narasimhan (whose co-authored paper appeared in CSSH 50-1, 2008, “From Landlords to Software Engineers: Migration and Urbanization among Tamil Brahmans”) have a new co-authored book, Tamil Brahmans: The Making of a Middle-Class Caste (University of Chicago Press, 2014). Here is a precis of the book from the press:
A cruise along the streets of Chennai—or Silicon Valley—filled with professional young Indian men and women, reveals the new face of India. In the twenty-first century, Indians have acquired a new kind of global visibility, one of rapid economic advancement and, in the information technology industry, spectacular prowess. In this book, C. J. Fuller and Haripriya Narasimhan examine one particularly striking group who have taken part in this development: Tamil Brahmans—a formerly traditional, rural, high-caste elite who have transformed themselves into a new middle-class caste in India, the United States, and elsewhere. Fuller and Narasimhan offer one of the most comprehensive looks at Tamil Brahmans around the world to date. They examine Brahman migration from rural to urban areas, more recent transnational migration, and how the Brahman way of life has translated to both Indian cities and American suburbs. They look at modern education and the new employment opportunities afforded by engineering and IT. They examine how Sanskritic Hinduism and traditional music and dance have shaped Tamil Brahmans’ particular middle-class sensibilities and how middle-class status is related to the changing position of women. Above all, they explore the complex relationship between class and caste systems and the ways in which hierarchy has persisted in modernized India.
Histories of Health in Southeast Asia: Perspectives on the Long Twentieth Century (Indiana University Press, 2014) is a new collection co-edited (with Tim Harper) by Sunil S. Amrith (CSSH 50-4, 2008, “Food and Welfare in India, c. 1900–1950″).
Health patterns in Southeast Asia have changed profoundly over the past century. In that period, epidemic and chronic diseases, environmental transformations, and international health institutions have created new connections within the region and the increased interdependence of Southeast Asia with China and India. In this volume leading scholars provide a new approach to the history of health in Southeast Asia. Framed by a series of synoptic pieces on the “Landscapes of Health” in Southeast Asia in 1914, 1950, and 2014 the essays interweave local, national, and regional perspectives. They range from studies of long-term processes such as changing epidemics, mortality and aging, and environmental history to detailed accounts of particular episodes: the global cholera epidemic and the hajj, the influenza epidemic of 1918, World War II, and natural disasters. The writers also examine state policy on healthcare and the influence of organizations, from NGOs such as the China Medical Board and the Rockefeller Foundation to grassroots organizations in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines
Tania Murray Li (CSSH 42-1, 2000, “Articulating Indigenous Identity in Indonesia: Resource Politics and the Tribal Slot”) has just published Land’s End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier (Duke University Press, 2014). Here is a summary of the book from Duke’s website:
Drawing on two decades of ethnographic research in Sulawesi, Indonesia, Tania Murray Li offers an intimate account of the emergence of capitalist relations among indigenous highlanders who privatized their common land to plant a boom crop, cacao. Spurred by the hope of ending their poverty and isolation, some prospered, while others lost their land and struggled to sustain their families. Yet the winners and losers in this transition were not strangers—they were kin and neighbors. Li’s richly peopled account takes the reader into the highlanders’ world, exploring the dilemmas they faced as sharp inequalities emerged among them. The book challenges complacent, modernization narratives promoted by development agencies that assume inefficient farmers who lose out in the shift to high-value export crops can find jobs elsewhere. Decades of uneven and often jobless growth in Indonesia meant that for newly landless highlanders, land’s end was a dead end. The book also has implications for social movement activists, who seldom attend to instances where enclosure is initiated by farmers rather than coerced by the state or agribusiness corporations. Li’s attention to the historical, cultural, and ecological dimensions of this conjuncture demonstrates the power of the ethnographic method and its relevance to theory and practice today.
Rubble: The Afterlife of Destruction (Duke University Press, 2014) is a new book by Gastón R. Gordillo (CSSH 53-4, 2011, “Longing for Elsewhere: Guaraní Reterritorializations”). Here is how Duke describes the tome:
At the foot of the Argentine Andes, bulldozers are destroying forests and homes to create soy fields in an area already strewn with rubble from previous waves of destruction and violence. Based on ethnographic research in this region where the mountains give way to the Gran Chaco lowlands, Gastón R. Gordillo shows how geographic space is inseparable from the material, historical, and affective ruptures embodied in debris. His exploration of the significance of rubble encompasses lost cities, derelict train stations, overgrown Jesuit missions and Spanish forts, stranded steamships, mass graves, and razed forests. Examining the effects of these and other forms of debris on the people living on nearby ranches and farms, and in towns, Gordillo emphasizes that for the rural poor, the rubble left in the wake of capitalist and imperialist endeavors is not romanticized ruin but the material manifestation of the violence and dislocation that created it.
Joyce Dalsheim (CSSH 52-3, 2010, “On Demonized Muslims and Vilified Jews: Between Theory and Politics”) has just published Producing Spoilers: Peacemaking and the Production of Enmity in a Secular Age (Oxford University Press, 2014). Here is a summary of the book:
Supporters of Hamas and radical religious Israeli settlers seem to serve one purpose in the international peace process: to provide an excuse for its failure. High-level diplomatic negotiators and grassroots peace activists alike blame religious extremists for acting as spoilers of rational negotiation, and have often attempted to neutralize, co-opt, or marginalize them. In Producing Spoilers, Joyce Dalsheim explores the problem of stalled peacemaking by viewing spoilers not as the cause, but as a symptom of systemic malfunctions within the concept of the nation-state itself, and the secular constructs of historicism that support it. She argues that spoilers are generated as internal enemies in the course of conflict and used to explain why processes of peace and reconciliation fail. In other words, peacemaking efforts can work to produce enmity. Focusing on the case of Israel and Palestine, Dalsheim shows how processes of conflict resolution, diplomacy, dialogue, education, and social theorizing about liberation, peace, and social justice actually participate in constructing enemies, thus limiting the options for peaceful outcomes. Dalsheim examines the work of politicians and diplomats as well as scholars and grass-roots level peacemakers, drawing on her research and her own experience as an activist for peace. She identifies a number of common techniques and assumptions that help to produce spoilers, among them the constraints of the narrative form and how storytelling is employed in conflict resolution, and the idea of anachronism, which prevents theorists and activists from seeing creative possibilities for peaceful coexistence. Dalsheim also looks at the limits of territorial solutions and the consequences of nationalismthe context in which spoilers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are produced. She contrasts that nationalism with current theorizing on flexible citizenship and diasporic identity. The book culminates by moving beyond national enmity and outside conventional peacemaking to clear a space in which to think about alternative forms of negotiation, exchange, community, and coexistence.
CSSH Editorial Committee member Stuart Kirsch has a new book out: Mining Capitalism: The Relationship between Corporations and Their Critics (University of California Press, 2014). California gives the following summary on their website:
Corporations are among the most powerful institutions of our time, but they are also responsible for a wide range of harmful social and environmental impacts. Consequently, political movements and nongovernmental organizations increasingly contest the risks that corporations pose to people and nature. Mining Capitalism examines the strategies through which corporations manage their relationships with these critics and adversaries. By focusing on the conflict over the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea, Stuart Kirsch tells the story of a slow-moving environmental disaster and the international network of indigenous peoples, advocacy groups, and lawyers that sought to protect local rivers and rain forests. Along the way, he analyzes how corporations promote their interests by manipulating science and invoking the discourses of sustainability and social responsibility. Based on two decades of anthropological research, this book is comparative in scope, showing readers how similar dynamics operate in other industries around the world.
The Pariah Problem: Caste, Religion, and the Social in Modern India (Columbia University Press, 2014) is a new book by Rupa Viswanath (CSSH 55-1, 2013, “The Emergence of Authenticity Talk and the Giving of Accounts: Conversion as Movement of the Soul in South India, ca. 1900“). Columbia UP describes the book as follows:
Once known as “Pariahs,” Dalits are primarily descendants of unfree agrarian laborers. They belong to India’s most subordinated castes, face overwhelming poverty and discrimination, and provoke public anxiety. Drawing on a wealth of previously untapped sources, this book follows the conception and evolution of the “Pariah Problem” in public consciousness in the 1890s. It shows how high-caste landlords, state officials, and well-intentioned missionaries conceived of Dalit oppression, and effectively foreclosed the emergence of substantive solutions to the “Problem”—with consequences that continue to be felt today. Rupa Viswanath begins with a description of the everyday lives of Dalit laborers in the 1890s and highlights the systematic efforts made by the state and Indian elites to protect Indian slavery from public scrutiny. Protestant missionaries were the first non-Dalits to draw attention to their plight. The missionaries’ vision of the Pariahs’ suffering as being a result of Hindu religious prejudice, however, obscured the fact that the entire agrarian political–economic system depended on unfree Pariah labor. Both the Indian public and colonial officials came to share a view compatible with missionary explanations, which meant all subsequent welfare efforts directed at Dalits focused on religious and social transformation rather than on structural reform. Methodologically, theoretically, and empirically, this book breaks new ground to demonstrate how events in the early decades of state-sponsored welfare directed at Dalits laid the groundwork for the present day, where the postcolonial state and well-meaning social and religious reformers continue to downplay Dalits’ landlessness, violent suppression, and political subordination.
Sunil S. Amrith (CSSH 50-4, 2008, “Food and Welfare in India, c. 1900–1950″) is co-editor (with Tim Harper) of Sites of Asian Interaction: Ideas, Networks and Mobility (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Here is a summary of the collection:
A focus on the sites of Asian interaction enables this volume to shed new light on the growing field of diaspora studies. Research on Asia’s many diasporas has enriched the older literature on migration to illuminate the links of kinship, affect, trade, and information that connect locations across Asia, and beyond. But where many recent works on particular diasporas have tended to look inwards – at how distinctive diasporic cultures maintained a sense of ‘home’ while abroad – this volume’s focus is on how different diasporas have come into contact with each other in particular places, often for the first time. It also engages with research in the fields of urban studies and urban history. The articles develop the already rich historical literature on port cities across Asia – the quintessential sites of Asian cosmopolitanism – as well as more recent work on the ‘moving metropolises’ and ‘mobile cities’ of contemporary Asia.
Frederick Cooper (CSSH 46-2, 2004, “Empire Multiplied. A Review Essay”) has a new book: Citizenship between Empire and Nation: Remaking France and French Africa, 1945-1960 (Princeton University Press, 2014). Princeton summarizes the book on its website:
As the French public debates its present diversity and its colonial past, few remember that between 1946 and 1960 the inhabitants of French colonies possessed the rights of French citizens. Moreover, they did not have to conform to the French civil code that regulated marriage and inheritance. One could, in principle, be a citizen and different too. Citizenship between Empire and Nation examines momentous changes in notions of citizenship, sovereignty, nation, state, and empire in a time of acute uncertainty about the future of a world that had earlier been divided into colonial empires. Frederick Cooper explains how African political leaders at the end of World War II strove to abolish the entrenched distinction between colonial “subject” and “citizen.” They then used their new status to claim social, economic, and political equality with other French citizens, in the face of resistance from defenders of a colonial order. Africans balanced their quest for equality with a desire to express an African political personality. They hoped to combine a degree of autonomy with participation in a larger, Franco-African ensemble. French leaders, trying to hold on to a large French polity, debated how much autonomy and how much equality they could concede. Both sides looked to versions of federalism as alternatives to empire and the nation-state. The French government had to confront the high costs of an empire of citizens, while Africans could not agree with French leaders or among themselves on how to balance their contradictory imperatives. Cooper shows how both France and its former colonies backed into more “national” conceptions of the state than either had sought.
Tony Ballantyne (CSSH 53-2, 2011, “Paper, Pen, and Print: The Transformation of the Kai Tahu Knowledge Order“) has published Webs of Empire: Locating New Zealand’s Colonial Past (University of British Columbia Press, 2014). UBC’s website offers the following summary of the book:
Breaking open colonization to reveal tangled cultural and economic networks, Webs of Empire offers new paths into colonial history. Linking Gore and Chicago, Maori and Asia, India and newspapers, whalers and writing, empire building becomes a spreading web of connected places, people, ideas, and trade. These links question narrow, national stories, while broadening perspectives on the past and the legacies of colonialism that persist today. Bringing together essays from two decades of prolific publishing on international colonial history, Webs of Empire establishes Tony Ballantyne as one of the leading historians of the British Empire.
Performing Afro-Cuba: Image, Voice, Spectacle in the Making of Race and History (University of Chicago Press, 2014) is a new book by Kristina Wirtz (CSSH 55-4, 2013, “A “Brutology” of Bozal: Tracing a Discourse Genealogy from Nineteenth-Century Blackface Theater to Twenty-First-Century Spirit Possession in Cuba”). Chicago summarizes the volume as follows:
Visitors to Cuba will notice that Afro-Cuban figures and references are everywhere: in popular music and folklore shows, paintings and dolls of Santería saints in airport shops, and even restaurants with plantation themes. In Performing Afro-Cuba, Kristina Wirtz examines how the animation of Cuba’s colonial past and African heritage through such figures and performances not only reflects but also shapes the Cuban experience of Blackness. She also investigates how this process operates at different spatial and temporal scales—from the immediate present to the imagined past, from the barrio to the socialist state. Wirtz analyzes a variety of performances and the ways they construct Cuban racial and historical imaginations. She offers a sophisticated view of performance as enacting diverse revolutionary ideals, religious notions, and racial identity politics, and she outlines how these concepts play out in the ongoing institutionalization of folklore as an official, even state-sponsored, category. Employing Bakhtin’s concept of “chronotopes”—the semiotic construction of space-time—she examines the roles of voice, temporality, embodiment, imagery, and memory in the racializing process. The result is a deftly balanced study that marries racial studies, performance studies, anthropology, and semiotics to explore the nature of race as a cultural sign, one that is always in process, always shifting.
Krisztina Fehérváry (CSSH 51-2, 2009, “Goods and States: The Political Logic of State-Socialist Material Culture”) has a new book out: Politics in Color and Concrete: Socialist Materialities and the Middle Class in Hungary (Indiana University Press, New Anthropologies of Europe series, 2013). Here is a description from Indiana:
Material culture in Eastern Europe under state socialism is remembered as uniformly gray, shabby, and monotonous—the worst of postwar modernist architecture and design. Politics in Color and Concrete revisits this history by exploring domestic space in Hungary from the 1950s through the 1990s and reconstructs the multi-textured and politicized aesthetics of daily life through the objects, spaces, and colors that made up this lived environment. Krisztina Féherváry shows that contemporary standards of living and ideas about normalcy have roots in late socialist consumer culture and are not merely products of postsocialist transitions or neoliberalism. This engaging study decenters conventional perspectives on consumer capitalism, home ownership, and citizenship in the new Europe.
Ken MacLean (CSSH 50-4, 2008, “In Search of Kilometer Zero: Digital Archives, Technological Revisionism, and the Sino-Vietnamese Border“) has just published The Government of Mistrust: Illegibility and Bureaucratic Power in Socialist Vietnam (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013). Here is a summary from the press:
Focusing on the creation and misuse of government documents in Vietnam since the 1920s, The Government of Mistrust reveals how profoundly the dynamics of bureaucracy have affected Vietnamese efforts to build a socialist society. In examining the flurries of paperwork and directives that moved back and forth between high- and low-level officials, Ken MacLean underscores a paradox: in trying to gather accurate information about the realities of life in rural areas, and thus better govern from Hanoi, the Vietnamese central government employed strategies that actually made the state increasingly illegible to itself. MacLean exposes a falsified world existing largely on paper. As high-level officials attempted to execute centralized planning via decrees, procedures, questionnaires, and audits, low-level officials and peasants used their own strategies to solve local problems. To obtain hoped-for aid from the central government, locals overstated their needs and underreported the resources they actually possessed. Higher-ups attempted to re-establish centralized control and legibility by creating yet more bureaucratic procedures. Amidst the resulting mistrust and ambiguity, many low-level officials were able to engage in strategic action and tactical maneuvering that have shaped socialism in Vietnam in surprising ways.
Eric Tagliacozzo (CSSH 46-2, 2004, “Ambiguous Commodities, Unstable Frontiers: The Case of Burma, Siam, and Imperial Britain, 1800-1900″) is co-editor (with Wen-Chin Chang) of Burmese Lives: Ordinary Life Stories under the Burmese Regime (Oxford, 2014). Here is how Oxford describes the book:
This volume explores the life stories of ordinary Burmese by drawing on the narratives of individual subjects and using an array of interdisciplinary approaches, covering anthropology, history, literature, ethnomusicology, economics, and political science. Burma is one of the most diverse societies in Southeast Asia in terms of its ethnic composition. It has a long history of resistance from the public realm against colonial rule and post-independence regimes. However, its isolation for decades before 1988 deprived scholars of a close look into the many faces of this society. Looking into the life stories of members of several major ethnic communities, who hail from different occupations and are of different ages and genders, this book has a particular significance that would help reveal the multiplicities of Burma’s modern history. The authors of this volume write about stories of their long-term informants, close friends, family members, or even themselves to bring out a wide range of issues relating to migration, economy, politics, religion and culture. The constituted stories jointly highlight the protagonists’ survival strategies in everyday life that demonstrate their constant courage, pain and frustration in dealing with numerous social injustices and adversities. Through these stories, we see movement of lives as well as that of Burmese society.
Antoinette Burton (CSSH 42-3, 2000, “Tongues Untied: Lord Salisbury’s ‘Black Man’ and the Boundaries of Imperial Democracy“) has edited a new book of primary materials: The First Anglo-Afghan Wars: A Reader (Duke, 2014). Duke describes the collection as follows:
Designed for classroom use, The First Anglo-Afghan Wars gathers in one volume primary source materials related to the first two wars that Great Britain launched against native leaders of the Afghan region. From 1839 to 1842, and again from 1878 to 1880, Britain fought to expand its empire and prevent Russian expansion into the region’s northwest frontier, which was considered the gateway to India, the jewel in Victorian Britain’s imperial crown. Spanning from 1817 to 1919, the selections reflect the complex national, international, and anticolonial interests entangled in Central Asia at the time. The documents, each of which is preceded by a brief introduction, bring the nineteenth-century wars alive through the opinions of those who participated in or lived through the conflicts. They portray the struggle for control of the region from the perspectives of women and non-Westerners, as well as well-known figures including Kipling and Churchill. Filled with military and civilian voices, the collection clearly demonstrates the challenges that Central Asia posed to powers attempting to secure and claim the region. It is a cautionary tale, unheeded by Western powers in the post–9/11 era.
Sumit Guha (CSSH 45-1, 2003, The Politics of Identity and Enumeration in India, c. 1600-1990), has published Beyond Caste: Identity and Power in South Asia, Past and Present (Brill, 2013). Brill gives this summary of the book:
‘Caste’ is today almost universally perceived as an ancient and unchanging Hindu institution preserved solely by a deep-seated religious ideology. Yet the word itself is an importation from sixteenth-century Europe. This book tracks the long history of the practices amalgamated under this label and shows their connection to changing patterns of social and political power down to the present. It frames caste as an involuted and complex form of ethnicity and explains why it persisted under non-Hindu rulers and in non-Hindu communities across South Asia.
The Reckoning of Pluralism: Political Belonging and the Demands of History in Turkey (Stanford University Press, 2014) is a new book by Kabir Tambar (CSSH 52-3, 2010, “The Aesthetics of Public Visibility: Alevi Semah and the Paradoxes of Pluralism in Turkey“). Stanford describes the book:
The Turkish Republic was founded simultaneously on the ideal of universal citizenship and on acts of extraordinary exclusionary violence. Today, nearly a century later, the claims of minority communities and the politics of pluralism continue to ignite explosive debate. The Reckoning of Pluralism centers on the case of Turkey’s Alevi community, a sizeable Muslim minority in a Sunni majority state. Alevis have seen their loyalty to the state questioned and experienced sectarian hostility, and yet their community is also championed by state ideologues as bearers of the nation’s folkloric heritage. Kabir Tambar offers a critical appraisal of the tensions of democratic pluralism. Rather than portraying pluralism as a governing ideal that loosens restrictions on minorities, he focuses on the forms of social inequality that it perpetuates and on the political vulnerabilities to which minority communities are thereby exposed. Alevis today are often summoned by political officials to publicly display their religious traditions, but pluralist tolerance extends only so far as these performances will validate rather than disturb historical ideologies of national governance and identity. Focused on the inherent ambivalence of this form of political incorporation, Tambar ultimately explores the intimate coupling of modern political belonging and violence, of political inclusion and domination, contained within the practices of pluralism.
Pnina Werbner (CSSH 56-2, 2014, “The Duty to Act Fairly”: Ethics, Legal Anthropology, and Labor Justice in the Manual Workers Union of Botswana“) has co-edited (with Martin Webb and Kathryn Spellman-Poot) The Political Aesthetics of Global Protest: The Arab Spring and Beyond (2014, Edinburgh University Press). Here is a summary of the book:
This collection explores the aesthetic dimensions of the Arab Spring and the protest movements that followed. From Egypt to India, and from Botswana to London, worker, youth and middle class rebellions have taken on the political and bureaucratic status quo and the privilege of small, wealthy, and often corrupt elites at a time when the majority can no longer earn a decent wage. A remarkable feature of the protests from the Arab Spring onward has been the salience of images, songs, videos, humour, satire, and dramatic performances. This book explores the central role the aesthetic played in energising the mass mobilisations of young people, the disaffected, the middle classes, the apolitical silent majority, as well as enabling solidarities and alliances among democrats, workers, trade unions, civil rights activists and opposition parties. Comparing the North African and Middle Eastern uprisings with protest movements such as Occupy, the authors bring to bear an anthropological and sociological approach from a variety of perspectives, illuminating the debate by drawing on a wide array of disciplinary expertise.
Oscar Sanchez-Sibony (CSSH 56-2, 2014, “Capitalism’s Fellow Traveler: The Soviet Union, Bretton Woods, and the Cold War, 1944–1958“) has published Red Globalization: The Political Economy (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Cambridge UP describes the book as follows:
Was the Soviet Union a superpower? Red Globalization is a significant rereading of the Cold War as an economic struggle shaped by the global economy. Oscar Sanchez-Sibony challenges the idea that the Soviet Union represented a parallel socio-economic construct to the liberal world economy. Instead he shows that the USSR, a middle-income country more often than not at the mercy of global economic forces, tracked the same path as other countries in the world, moving from 1930s autarky to the globalizing processes of the postwar period. In examining the constraints and opportunities afforded the Soviets in their engagement of the capitalist world, he questions the very foundations of the Cold War narrative as a contest between superpowers in a bipolar world. Far from an economic force in the world, the Soviets managed only to become dependent providers of energy to the rich world, and second-best partners to the global South.
Matt Tomlinson (CSSH 51-1, 2009, “Efficacy, Truth, and Silence: Language Ideologies in Fijian Christian Conversions“) has a new book out: Ritual Textuality: Pattern and Motion in Performance (Oxford University Press, 2014). Oxford gives the following summary of the book on their website:
A classic question in studies of ritual is how ritual performances achieve-or fail to achieve-their effects. In this pathbreaking book, Matt Tomlinson argues that participants condition their own expectations of ritual success by interactively creating distinct textual patterns of sequence, conjunction, contrast, and substitution. Drawing on long-term research in Fiji, Ritual Textuality presents in-depth studies of each of these patterns, taken from a wide range of settings: a fiery, soul-saving Pentecostal crusade; relaxed gatherings at which people drink the narcotic beverage kava; deathbeds at which missionaries eagerly await the signs of good Christians’ “happy deaths”; and the monologic pronouncements of a military-led government determined to make the nation speak in a single voice. In each of these cases, Tomlinson also examines the broad ideologies of motion which frame participants’ ritual actions, such as Pentecostals’ beliefs that effective worship requires ecstatic movement like jumping, dancing, and clapping, and nineteenth-century missionaries’ insistence that the journeys of the soul in the afterlife should follow a new path. By approaching ritual as an act of “entextualization,” in which the flow of discourse is turned into object-like texts-while analyzing the ways people expect words, things, and selves to move in performance, this book presents a new and compelling way to understand the efficacy of ritual action.
A new book by Gerald M. Sider (CSSH 29-1, 1987, “When Parrots Learn to Talk, and Why They Can’t: Domination, Deception, and Self-Deception in Indian-White Relations“), Skin for Skin: Death and Life for Inuit and Innu, has just been published (Duke University Press, 2014). Duke gives the following summary on their website:
Since the 1960s, the Native peoples of northeastern Canada, both Inuit and Innu, have experienced epidemics of substance abuse, domestic violence, and youth suicide. Seeking to understand these transformations in the capacities of Native communities to resist cultural, economic, and political domination, Gerald M. Sider offers an ethnographic analysis of aboriginal Canadians’ changing experiences of historical violence. He relates acts of communal self-destruction to colonial and postcolonial policies and practices, as well as to the end of the fur and sealskin trades. Autonomy and dignity within Native communities have eroded as individuals have been deprived of their livelihoods and treated by the state and corporations as if they were disposable. Yet Native peoples’ possession of valuable resources provides them with some income and power to negotiate with state and business interests. Sider’s assessment of the health of Native communities in the Canadian province of Labrador is filled with potentially useful findings for Native peoples there and elsewhere. While harrowing, his account also suggests hope, which he finds in the expressiveness and power of Native peoples to struggle for a better tomorrow within and against domination
Ziad Fahmy (CSSH 55-2, 2013, “Jurisdictional Borderlands: Extraterritoriality and ‘Legal Chameleons’ in Precolonial Alexandria, 1840–1870“) has just published Ordinary Egyptians: Creating the Modern Nation through Popular Culture with Stanford University Press (2014). Here is how the press describes the book:
The popular culture of pre-revolution Egypt did more than entertain—it created a nation. Songs, jokes, and satire, comedic sketches, plays, and poetry, all provided an opportunity for discussion and debate about national identity and an outlet for resistance to British and elite authority. This book examines how, from the 1870s until the eve of the 1919 revolution, popular media and culture provided ordinary Egyptians with a framework to construct and negotiate a modern national identity. Ordinary Egyptians shifts the typical focus of study away from the intellectual elite to understand the rapid politicization of the growing literate middle classes and brings the semi-literate and illiterate urban masses more fully into the historical narrative. It introduces the concept of “media-capitalism,” which expands the analysis of nationalism beyond print alone to incorporate audiovisual and performance media. It was through these various media that a collective camaraderie crossing class lines was formed and, as this book uncovers, an Egyptian national identity emerged.
Alessandro Stanziani (CSSH 51-4, 2009, “The Traveling Panopticon: Labor Institutions and Labor Practices in Russia and Britain in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries“) has a new book, Bondage: Labor and Rights in Eurasia from the Sixteenth to the Early Twentieth Centuries (Berghahn Books, 2014). The following overview is on the Berghahn website:
For the first time, this book provides the global history of labor in Central Eurasia, Russia, Europe, and the Indian Ocean between the sixteenth and the twentieth centuries. It contests common views on free and unfree labor, and compares the latter to many Western countries where wage conditions resembled those of domestic servants. This gave rise to extreme forms of dependency in the colonies, not only under slavery, but also afterwards in form of indentured labor in the Indian Ocean and obligatory labor in Africa. Stanziani shows that unfree labor and forms of economic coercion were perfectly compatible with market development and capitalism, proven by the consistent economic growth that took place all over Eurasia between the seventeenth and the nineteenth centuries. This growth was labor intensive: commercial expansion, transformations in agriculture, and the first industrial revolution required more labor, not less. Finally, Stanziani demonstrates that this world did not collapse after the French Revolution or the British industrial revolution, as is commonly assumed, but instead between 1870 and 1914, with the second industrial revolution and the rise of the welfare state.
Sumathi Ramaswamy (CSSH 35-9, 1993, “En/gendering Language: The Poetics of Tamil Identity”; 49-4, 2007, “Conceit of the Globe in Mughal Visual Practice”) has published a co-edited volume (with Martin Jay), Empires of Vision: A Reader (Duke University Press, 2014). Contributors include CSSH authors Jordanna Bailkin, Natasha Eaton, and Nicholas Thomas. Here is a summary of the collection from the Duke website:
Empires of Vision brings together pieces by some of the most influential scholars working at the intersection of visual culture studies and the history of European imperialism. The essays and excerpts focus on the paintings, maps, geographical surveys, postcards, photographs, and other media that comprise the visual milieu of colonization, struggles for decolonization, and the lingering effects of empire. Taken together, they demonstrate that an appreciation of the role of visual experience is necessary for understanding the functioning of hegemonic imperial power and the ways that the colonized subjects spoke to, and looked back at, their imperial rulers. Empires of Vision also makes a vital point about the complexity of image culture in the modern world: We must comprehend how regimes of visuality emerged globally, not only in the metropole but also in relation to the putative margins of a world that increasingly came to question the very distinction between center and periphery.
Victor Lieberman (CSSH 29-1, 1987, “Reinterpreting Burmese History”; 35-3, 1993, “Abu-Lughod’s Egalitarian World Order: A Review Article”; and 50-2, 2008, “Protected Rimlands and Exposed Zones: Reconfiguring Premodern Eurasia”) has earned the University of Michigan’s 2014 Golden Apple Award, which recognizes excellence in teaching. He was selected from more than six hundred nominations. Vic will give a lecture at an Award Ceremony at UM’s Rackham Auditorium at 6:00 p.m. on 2 April.
Ethnographic Encounters in Israel: Poetics and Ethics of Fieldwork (Indiana University Press, 2013) is a collection edited by Fran Markowitz (CSSH 32-1. 1990, “Planting the Strands of Jewish Identity, A Review Article“; and 49-1, 2005, “Census and Sensibilities in Sarajevo“). Here is how the press webside describes the volume:
Israel is a place of paradoxes, a small country with a diverse population and complicated social terrain. Studying its culture and social life means confronting a multitude of ethical dilemmas and methodological challenges. The first-person accounts by anthropologists engage contradictions of religion, politics, identity, kinship, racialization, and globalization to reveal fascinating and often vexing dimensions of the Israeli experience. Caught up in pressing existential questions of war and peace, social justice, and national boundaries, the contributors explore the contours of Israeli society as insiders and outsiders, natives and strangers, as well as critics and friends.
Saba Mahmood (CSSH 54-2, 2012, “Religious Freedom, the Minority Question, and Geopolitics in the Middle East”) is, with Peter G. Danchin, special issue editor of South Atlantic Quarterly 113, 1 (Winter 2014), “Politics of Religious Freedom: Contested Genealogies.” The collection is a product of the project “Politics of Religious Freedom: Contested Norms & Local Practices, which its website describes as “an ambitious project that proposes to study how religious freedom is being transformed through legal and political contestations in the United States, the Middle East, South Asia, and the European Union. Departing from the assumption that there is a single and stable conception of religious liberty, enshrined in international law, the United Nations protocols and national constitutions, this project undertakes a comparative study of the multiple historical trajectories, concepts, and practices now organized under the rubric of religious freedom.”
David M. Pomfret (CSSH 51-2, 2009, “Raising Eurasia: Race, Class, and Age in French and British Colonies“) has published a volume, coedited with Julia Kuehn and Kam Louie, titled Diasporic Chineseness after the Rise of China: Communities and Cultural Production (University of British Columbia Press, 2013). Here is a summary from UBC’s website:
As China rose to its position of global superpower, Chinese groups in the West watched with anticipation and trepidation. For members of China’s diasporic community, the rise of China created ripples of change, influencing communities, culture, and communication, and even challenging the very concept of diaspora. Diasporic Chineseness after the Rise of China examines how artists, writers, filmmakers, and intellectuals from the Chinese diaspora responded to China’s ascendancy, presenting China to global audiences with a new-found vitality and self-assurance. The chapters, often personal in nature, focus on cultural struggles, experiences, and representations in locations as varied as Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, North America, and Tibet. They also consider the changing concepts of nation, identity, and diaspora in an era when deeply ingrained assumptions about moving to the West — and inevitably returning to China — began to change. A thoughtful examination of the nexus between the political and economic rise of China and the cultural products this period produced, this volume charts the profound changes in this nation’s global community.
Cultures in Motion (Princeton University Press, 2014) is a new collection co-edited by Bhavani Raman (CSSH 54, 2, 2012, “The Duplicity of Paper: Counterfeit, Discretion, and Bureaucratic Authority in Early Colonial Madras”) with Daniel T. Rodgers and Helmut Reimitz. Here is an over view of the book from Princeton:
In the wide-ranging and innovative essays of Cultures in Motion, a dozen distinguished historians offer new conceptual vocabularies for understanding how cultures have trespassed across geography and social space. From the transformations of the meanings and practices of charity during late antiquity and the transit of medical knowledge between early modern China and Europe, to the fusion of Irish and African dance forms in early nineteenth-century New York, these essays follow a wide array of cultural practices through the lens of motion, translation, itinerancy, and exchange, extending the insights of transnational and translocal history. Cultures in Motion challenges the premise of fixed, stable cultural systems by showing that cultural practices have always been moving, crossing borders and locations with often surprising effect. The essays offer striking examples from early to modern times of intrusion, translation, resistance, and adaptation. These are histories where nothing–dance rhythms, alchemical formulas, musical practices, feminist aspirations, sewing machines, streamlined metals, or labor networks–remains stationary. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Celia Applegate, Peter Brown, Harold Cook, April Masten, Mae Ngai, Jocelyn Olcott, Mimi Sheller, Pamela Smith, and Nira Wickramasinghe.
Craig Calhoun (CSSH 29, 3, 1987 “History and Sociology in Britain. A Review Article“; and 36, 2, 1996, “What Do We See in the Discourse of Vision?“) is co-editor (with Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen) of Habermas and Religion (Polity Press, 2013). Here is a summary of the book from the Polity website:
To the surprise of many readers, Jürgen Habermas has recently made religion a major theme of his work. Emphasizing both religion’s prominence in the contemporary public sphere and its potential contributions to critical thought, Habermas’s engagement with religion has been controversial and exciting, putting much of his own work in fresh perspective and engaging key themes in philosophy, politics and social theory. Habermas argues that the once widely accepted hypothesis of progressive secularization fails to account for the multiple trajectories of modernization in the contemporary world. He calls attention to the contemporary significance of “postmetaphysical” thought and “postsecular” consciousness – even in Western societies that have embraced a rationalistic understanding of public reason. Habermas and Religion presents a series of original and sustained engagements with Habermas’s writing on religion in the public sphere, featuring new work and critical reflections from leading philosophers, social and political theorists, and anthropologists. Contributors to the volume respond both to Habermas’s ambitious and well-developed philosophical project and to his most recent work on religion. The book closes with an extended response from Habermas – itself a major statement from one of today’s most important thinkers.
Tony Ballantyne (CSSH 53-2, 2011, “Paper, Pen, and Print: The Transformation of the Kai Tahu Knowledge Order“) and Antoinette Burton (CSSH 42-3, 2000, “Tongues Untied: Lord Salisbury’s ‘Black Man’ and the Boundaries of Imperial Democracy“) have co-authored Empires and the Reach of the Global, 1870-1945 (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2012). The press summarized the book as follows:
Empires and the Reach of the Global brings the history of empires into sharp focus by showing how imperialism has been a shaping force not just in international politics but in the economies and cultures of today’s world. Focusing on both the strengths and limits of imperial power, Tony Ballantyne and Antoinette Burton describe the creation and disintegration of the reigning world order in the period from 1870 to 1945. Using the British, Japanese, and Ottoman empires as case studies, the authors trace the communication, transportation, and economic networks that were instrumental to empire building. They highlight the role of empires as place-making regimes that organize geographic space as distinct territories. Militaries and missionaries, workplaces and households, all served as key domains of interaction within these territories, as colonial officials sought to manage the customs and lifeways of indigenous populations. Imperial connections contributed to the shrinking of time and space, but colonial encroachments also provoked opposition, which often played out in locations of everyday activity, from fields and factories to schools and prisons. Colonized territories sponsored a variety of forms of organized resistance, with full-fledged nationalist movements erupting onto the global scene in the interwar period. Ballantyne and Burton stress that empire was not something fabricated in European capitals and implemented “out there.” Rather, imperial systems, with their many racial, gendered, and economic forms, affected empires in all of their parts—the metropole as well as the farthest outpost.
Borderland Lives in Northern South Asia is a new collection edited by David N. Gellner (CSSH 47-4, 2006, “The Emergence of Conversion in a Hindu-Buddhist Polytropy: The Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, c. 1600-1995″). Contributors include CSSH author Anastasia Piliavsky. Duke provides the following summary of the collection:
Borderland Lives in Northern South Asia provides valuable new ethnographic insights into life along some of the most contentious borders in the world. The collected essays portray existence at different points across India’s northern frontiers and, in one instance, along borders within India. Whether discussing Shi’i Muslims striving to be patriotic Indians in the Kashmiri district of Kargil or Bangladeshis living uneasily in an enclave surrounded by Indian territory, the contributors show that state borders in Northern South Asia are complex sites of contestation. India’s borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma/Myanmar, China, and Nepal encompass radically different ways of life, a whole spectrum of relationships to the state, and many struggles with urgent identity issues. Taken together, the essays show how, by looking at state-making in diverse, border-related contexts, it is possible to comprehend Northern South Asia’s various nation-state projects without relapsing into conventional nationalist accounts.
Nile Green (CSSH 53-3, 2011, “The Trans-Border Traffic of Afghan Modernism: Afghanistan and the Indian ‘Urdusphere’”) has edited a book just released: Writing Travel in Central Asian History (Indiana University Press, 2014). Here is a summary of the collection from Duke University Press:
For centuries, travelers have made Central Asia known to the wider world through their writings. In this volume, scholars employ these little-known texts in a wide range of Asian and European languages to trace how Central Asia was gradually absorbed into global affairs. The representations of the region brought home to China and Japan, India and Persia, Russia and Great Britain, provide valuable evidence that helps map earlier periods of globalization and cultural interaction
Stephanie Cronin (CSSH 50-1, 2008, “Importing Modernity: European Military Missions to Qajar Iran”) has just published Armies and State-Building in the Modern Middle East: Politics, Nationalism and Military Reform (I. B. Tauris, 2013). The press gives the following summary on their webpage:
The uprisings of 2011, which erupted so unexpectedly and spread across the Middle East, once again propelled the armies of the region to the centre of the political stage. Throughout the region, the experience of the first decade of the twenty-first century provides ample reason to re-examine Middle Eastern armies and the historical context which produced them. By adding an historical understanding to a contemporary political analysis, Stephanie Cronin examines the structures and activities of Middle Eastern armies and their role in state- and empire-building. Focusing on Iran, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, Armies, Tribes and States in the Middle East presents a clear and concise analysis of the nature of armies and the differing guises military reform has taken throughout the region. Covering the region from the birth of modern armies there in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, to the military revolutions of the 1950s and 60s and on to the twenty-first century army-building exercises seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, Cronin provides a unique and vital presentation of the role of the military in the modern Middle East.
CSSH Managing Editor David Akin has published the book Colonialism, Maasina Rule, and the Origins of Malaitan Kastom (University of Hawai`i Press, 2013). Here is a description of the book from the press:
This book is a political history of the island of Malaita in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate from 1927, when the last violent resistance to colonial rule was crushed, to 1953 and the inauguration of the island’s first representative political body, the Malaita Council. At the book’s heart is a political movement known as Maasina Rule, which dominated political affairs in the southeastern Solomons for many years after World War II. The movement’s ideology, kastom, was grounded in the determination that only Malaitans themselves could properly chart their future through application of Malaitan sensibilities and methods, free from British interference. Kastom promoted a radical transformation of Malaitan lives by sweeping social engineering projects and alternative governing and legal structures. When the government tried to suppress Maasina Rule through force, its followers brought colonial administration on the island to a halt for several years through a labor strike and massive civil resistance actions that overflowed government prison camps. David Akin draws on extensive archival and field research to present a practice-based analysis of colonial officers’ interactions with Malaitans in the years leading up to and during Maasina Rule. A primary focus is the place of knowledge in the colonial administration. Many scholars have explored how various regimes deployed “colonial knowledge” of subject populations in Asia and Africa to reorder and rule them. The British imported to the Solomons models for “native administration” based on such an approach, particularly schemes of indirect rule developed in Africa. The concept of “custom” was basic to these schemes and to European understandings of Melanesians, and it was made the lynchpin of government policies that granted limited political roles to local ideas and practices. Officers knew very little about Malaitan cultures, however, and Malaitans seized the opportunity to transform custom into kastom, as the foundation for a new society. The book’s overarching topic is the dangerous road that colonial ignorance paved for policy makers, from young cadets in the field to high officials in distant Fiji and London. Today kastom remains a powerful concept on Malaita, but continued confusion regarding its origins, history, and meanings hampers understandings of contemporary Malaitan politics and of Malaitan people’s ongoing, problematic relations with the state.
Ronald Niezen (CSSH 42-1, 2000, “Recognizing Indigenism: Canadian Unity and the International Movement of Indigenous Peoples”; 47-3, 2005, “Digital Identity: The Construction of Virtual Selfhood in the Indigenous Peoples’ Movement”; 53-3, 2011, “The Social Study of Human Rights. A Review Essay“) has just published Truth and Indignation: Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools (University of Toronto Press, 2013). The book is described as follows on the cover:
Truth and Indignation offers the first close and critical assessment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as it is unfolding. Niezen uses interviews with survivors and oblate priests and nuns, as well as testimonies, texts, and visual materials produced by the Commission, to raise important questions: What makes Canada’s TRC different than others around the world? What kinds of narratives are emerging and what does that mean for reconciliation, transitional justice, and conceptions of traumatic memory? What happens to the ultimate goal of reconciliation when a large part of the testimony–that of nuns, priests, and government officials–is scarcely evident in the Commission’s proceedings? Thoughtful, provocative, and uncompromising in the need to tell the “truth” as he sees it, Niezen offers an important contribution to our understanding of TRC processes in general, and the Canadian experience in particular.
Nancy Foner (CSSH 52-4, 2010, “Immigration and the Legacies of the Past: The Impact of Slavery and the Holocaust on Contemporary Immigrants in the United States and Western Europe,” with Richard Alba) is co-editor (with Jan Rath, Jan Willem Duyvendak, and Rogier van Reekum) of New York and Amsterdam: Immigration and the New Urban Landscape (New York University Press, 2013). Here is how the press describes the collection:
Immigration is dramatically changing major cities throughout the world. Nowhere is this more so than in New York City and Amsterdam, which, after decades of large-scale immigration, now have populations that are more than a third foreign-born. These cities have had to deal with the challenge of incorporating hundreds of thousands of immigrants whose cultures, languages, religions, and racial backgrounds differ dramatically from those of many long-established residents. New York and Amsterdam brings together a distinguished and interdisciplinary group of American and Dutch scholars to examine and compare the impact of immigration on two of the world’s largest urban centers. The original essays in this volume discuss how immigration has affected social, political, and economic structures, cultural patterns, and intergroup relations in the two cities, investigating how the particular, and changing, urban contexts of New York City and Amsterdam have shaped immigrant and second generation experiences. Despite many parallels between New York and Amsterdam, the differences stand out, and juxtaposing essays on immigration in the two cities helps to illuminate the essential issues that today’s immigrants and their children confront. Organized around five main themes, this bookoffers an in-depth view of the impact of immigration as it affects particular places, with specific histories, institutions, and immigrant populations. New York and Amsterdam profoundly contributes to our broader understanding of the transformations wrought by immigration and the dynamics of urban change, providing new insights into how—and why— immigration’s effects differ on the two sides of the Atlantic.
Enrico dal Lago (CSSH 47-2, 2005, “States of Rebellion”: Civil War, Rural Unrest, and the Agrarian Question in the American South and the Italian Mezzogiorno, 1861-1865″) has a new book out: William Lloyd Garrison and Giuseppe Mazzini: Abolition, Democracy, and Radical Reform (Louisiana State University Press, 2013). Here is a summary from the LSU Press website:
William Lloyd Garrison and Giuseppe Mazzini, two of the foremost radicals of the nineteenth century, lived during a time of profound economic, social, and political transformation in America and Europe. Both born in 1805, but into dissimilar family backgrounds, the American Garrison and Italian Mazzini led entirely different lives—one as a citizen of a democratic republic, the other as an exile proscribed by most European monarchies. Using a comparative analysis, Enrico Dal Lago suggests that Garrison and Mazzini nonetheless represent a connection between the egalitarian ideologies of American abolitionism and Italian democratic nationalism. Focusing on Garrison’s and Mazzini’s activities and transnational links within their own milieus and in the wider international arena, Dal Lago shows why two nineteenth-century progressives and revolutionaries considered liberation from enslavement and liberation from national oppression as two sides of the same coin. At different points in their lives, both Garrison and Mazzini demonstrated this belief by concurrently supporting the abolition of slavery in the United States and the national revolutions in Italy. The two meetings Garrison and Mazzini had, in 1846 and in 1867, served to reinforce their sense that they somehow worked together toward the achievement of liberty not just in the United States and Italy, but also in the Atlantic and Euro-American world as a whole. In the end, the abolition of American slavery led to Garrison’s consecration, while the new Italian kingdom forced Mazzini into exile. Despite these different outcomes, Garrison and Mazzini both attracted legions of devoted followers who believed these men personified the radical causes of the nations to which they belonged.
Congratulations to Erik Mueggler (CSSH 41-3, 1999, “Spectral Subversions: Rival Tactics of Time and Agency in Southwest China”; 47-3, 2005 “‘The Lapponicum Sea': Matter, Sense, and Affect in the Botanical Exploration of Southwest China and Tibet”; and 53-1, 2011, “Bodies Real and Virtual: Joseph Rock and Enrico Caruso in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands”) on the receipt of the Michigan Humanities Award. This will free Erik from teaching for a term to work on completing his next book, “Making the Dead Modern: Practices and Poetics of Death in Southwest China.” As announced earlier, Erik’s last book, The Paper Road: Archive and Experience in the Exploration of West China and Tibet (University of California Press, 2012), recently won the Julian Steward Award from the Anthropology and Environment Society of the American Anthropological Association, for the best book in the field of environmental anthropology.
The Animal in Ottoman Egypt is a new book by Alan Mikhail (CSSH 54-4, 2012, “The Ottoman Empire and the Imperial Turn,” with Christine M. Philliou), just published by Oxford University Press. Here is a description from Oxford:
Since humans first emerged as a distinct species, they have eaten, fought, prayed, and moved with other animals. In this stunningly original and conceptually rich book, historian Alan Mikhail puts the history of human-animal relations at the center of transformations in the Ottoman Empire from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Mikhail uses the history of the empire’s most important province, Egypt, to explain how human interactions with livestock, dogs, and charismatic megafauna changed more in a few centuries than they had for millennia. The human world became one in which animals’ social and economic functions were diminished. Without animals, humans had to remake the societies they had built around intimate and cooperative interactions between species. The political and even evolutionary consequences of this separation of people and animals were wrenching and often violent. This book’s interspecies histories underscore continuities between the early modern period and the nineteenth century and help to reconcile Ottoman and Arab histories. Further, the book highlights the importance of integrating Ottoman history with issues in animal studies, economic history, early modern history, and environmental history. Carefully crafted and compellingly argued, The Animal in Ottoman Egypt tells the story of the high price humans and animals paid as they entered the modern world.
Nicholas Thomas (CSSH 32-1, 1990, “Sanitation and Seeing: The Creation of State Power in Early Colonial Fiji”; and 34-2, 1992, “Colonial Conversions: Difference, Hierarchy, and History in Early Twentieth-Century Evangelical Propaganda”) has published a co-edited volume (with Vanessa Smith), Mutiny and Aftermath: James Morrison’s Accout of the Mutiny on the Bounty and the Island of Tahiti (University of Hawai`i Press, 2013). Here is a summary from Hawai`i:
The mutiny on the Bounty was one of the most controversial events of eighteenth-century maritime history. This book publishes a full and absorbing narrative of the events by one of the participants, the boatswain’s mate James Morrison, who tells the story of the mounting tensions over the course of the voyage out to Tahiti, the fascinating encounter with Polynesian culture there, and the shocking drama of the event itself. In the aftermath, Morrison was among those who tried to make a new life on Tahiti. In doing so, he gained a deeper understanding of Polynesian culture than any European who went on to write about the people of the island and their way of life before it was changed forever by Christianity and colonial contact. Morrison was not a professional scientist but a keen observer with a lively sympathy for Islanders. This is the most insightful and wide-ranging of early European accounts of Tahitian life. Mutiny and Aftermath is the first scholarly edition of this classic of Pacific history and anthropology. It is based directly on a close study of Morrison’s original manuscript, one of the treasures of the Mitchell Library in Sydney, Australia. The editors assess and explain Morrison’s observations of Islander culture and social relations, both on Tubuai in the Austral Islands and on Tahiti itself. The book fully identifies the Tahitian people and places that Morrison refers to and makes this remarkable text accessible for the first time to all those interested in an extraordinary chapter of early Pacific history
Peter van der Veer (CSSH 50-3, 2008, “Embodiment, Materiality, and Power. A Review Essay“) has a new book: The Modern Spirit of Asia: The Spiritual and the Secular in China and India (Princeton University Press, 2013). Here is Princeton’s overview:
The Modern Spirit of Asia challenges the notion that modernity in China and India are derivative imitations of the West, arguing that these societies have transformed their ancient traditions in unique and distinctive ways. Peter van der Veer begins with nineteenth-century imperial history, exploring how Western concepts of spirituality, secularity, religion, and magic were used to translate the traditions of India and China. He traces how modern Western notions of religion and magic were incorporated into the respective nation-building projects of Chinese and Indian nationalist intellectuals, yet how modernity in China and India is by no means uniform. While religion is a centerpiece of Indian nationalism, it is viewed in China as an obstacle to progress that must be marginalized and controlled. The Modern Spirit of Asia moves deftly from Kandinsky’s understanding of spirituality in art to Indian yoga and Chinese qi gong, from modern theories of secularism to histories of Christian conversion, from Orientalist constructions of religion to Chinese campaigns against magic and superstition, and from Muslim Kashmir to Muslim Xinjiang. Van der Veer, an outspoken proponent of the importance of comparative studies of religion and society, eloquently makes his case in this groundbreaking examination of the spiritual and the secular in China and India.
Lara Deeb (CSSH 50-2, 2008, “Exhibiting the “Just-Lived Past”: Hizbullah’s Nationalist Narratives in Transnational Political Context”) has just published a book, co-authored with Mona Harb, Leisurely Islam: Negotiating Geography and Morality in Shi’ite South Beirut (Princeton University Press, 2013). The following summary comes from the Princeton UP website:
South Beirut has recently become a vibrant leisure destination with a plethora of cafés and restaurants that cater to the young, fashionable, and pious. What effects have these establishments had on the moral norms, spatial practices, and urban experiences of this Lebanese community? From the diverse voices of young Shi’i Muslims searching for places to hang out, to the Hezbollah officials who want this media-savvy generation to be more politically involved, to the religious leaders worried that Lebanese youth are losing their moral compasses, Leisurely Islam provides a sophisticated and original look at leisure in the Lebanese capital. What makes a café morally appropriate? How do people negotiate morality in relation to different places? And under what circumstances might a pious Muslim go to a café that serves alcohol? Lara Deeb and Mona Harb highlight tensions and complexities exacerbated by the presence of multiple religious authorities, a fraught sectarian political context, class mobility, and a generation that takes religion for granted but wants to have fun. The authors elucidate the political, economic, religious, and social changes that have taken place since 2000, and examine leisure’s influence on Lebanese sociopolitical and urban situations. Asserting that morality and geography cannot be fully understood in isolation from one another, Leisurely Islam offers a colorful new understanding of the most powerful community in Lebanon today.
Diane P. Koenker (CSSH 51-2. 2009, “Whose Right to Rest? Contesting the Family Vacation in the Postwar Soviet Union”) has published a co-edited volume (with Anne E. Gorsuch), The Socialist Sixties: Crossing Borders in the Second World (Indiana University Press, 2013). Here is how the press describes the book:
The 1960s have reemerged in scholarly and popular culture as a protean moment of cultural revolution and social transformation. In this volume socialist societies in the Second World (the Soviet Union, East European countries, and Cuba) are the springboard for exploring global interconnections and cultural cross-pollination between communist and capitalist countries and within the communist world. Themes explored include flows of people and media; the emergence of a flourishing youth culture; sharing of songs, films, and personal experiences through tourism and international festivals; and the rise of a socialist consumer culture and an esthetics of modernity. Challenging traditional categories of analysis and periodization, this book brings the sixties problematic to Soviet studies while introducing the socialist experience into scholarly conversations traditionally dominated by First World perspectives.
We congratulate Erik Mueggler (CSSH 41-3, 1999, “Spectral Subversions: Rival Tactics of Time and Agency in Southwest China”; 47-3, 2005 “‘The Lapponicum Sea': Matter, Sense, and Affect in the Botanical Exploration of Southwest China and Tibet”; and 53-1, 2011, “Bodies Real and Virtual: Joseph Rock and Enrico Caruso in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands”) for receiving this year’s Julian Steward Award for his book, The Paper Road: Archive and Experience in the Exploration of West China and Tibet (University of California Press, 2011; summarized earlier in CSSH Kudos). The award is given bi-annually by the Anthropology and Environment Society, a subsection of the American Anthropological Association, to the “best book published in environmental anthropology.” The book is partly about Joseph Rock, the subject of Eric’s 2011 CSSH paper.
Kyle Harper (CSSH 55-4, 2013, “Culture, Nature, and History: The Case of Ancient Sexuality”) has recently published From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity (Harvard University Press, 2013). Here is a description from the Harvard UP website:
When Rome was at its height, an emperor’s male beloved, victim of an untimely death, would be worshipped around the empire as a god. In this same society, the routine sexual exploitation of poor and enslaved women was abetted by public institutions. Four centuries later, a Roman emperor commanded the mutilation of men caught in same-sex affairs, even as he affirmed the moral dignity of women without any civic claim to honor. The gradual transformation of the Roman world from polytheistic to Christian marks one of the most sweeping ideological changes of premodern history. At the center of it all was sex. Exploring sources in literature, philosophy, and art, Kyle Harper examines the rise of Christianity as a turning point in the history of sexuality and helps us see how the roots of modern sexuality are grounded in an ancient religious revolution. While Roman sexual culture was frankly and freely erotic, it was not completely unmoored from constraint. Offending against sexual morality was cause for shame, experienced through social condemnation. The rise of Christianity fundamentally changed the ethics of sexual behavior. In matters of morality, divine judgment transcended that of mere mortals, and shame—a social concept—gave way to the theological notion of sin. This transformed understanding led to Christianity’s explicit prohibitions of homosexuality, extramarital love, and prostitution. Most profound, however, was the emergence of the idea of free will in Christian dogma, which made all human action, including sexual behavior, accountable to the spiritual, not the physical, world.
Anya Bernstein (CSSH 53-3, 2011, “The Post-Soviet Treasure Hunt: Time, Space, and Necropolitics in Siberian Buddhism”) has a new book out: Religious Bodies Politic: Rituals of Sovereignty in Buryat Buddhism (University of Chicago Press, 2013) is summarized as follows on the press website:
Religious Bodies Politic examines the complex relationship between transnational religion and politics through the lens of one cosmopolitan community in Siberia: Buryats, who live in a semiautonomous republic within Russia with a large Buddhist population. Looking at religious transformation among Buryats across changing political economies, Anya Bernstein argues that under conditions of rapid social change—such as those that accompanied the Russian Revolution, the Cold War, and the fall of the Soviet Union—Buryats have used Buddhist “body politics” to articulate their relationship not only with the Russian state, but also with the larger Buddhist world. During these periods, Bernstein shows, certain people and their bodies became key sites through which Buryats conformed to and challenged Russian political rule. She presents particular cases of these emblematic bodies—dead bodies of famous monks, temporary bodies of reincarnated lamas, ascetic and celibate bodies of Buddhist monastics, and dismembered bodies of lay disciples given as imaginary gifts to spirits—to investigate the specific ways in which religion and politics have intersected. Contributing to the growing literature on postsocialism and studies of sovereignty that focus on the body, Religious Bodies Politic is a fascinating illustration of how this community employed Buddhism to adapt to key moments of political change.
Politics in Color and Concrete: Socialist Materialities and the Middle Class in Hungary (Indiana University Press, 2013) is a new book by Krisztina Fehérváry (CSSH 51-2, 2009, “Goods and States: The Political Logic of State-Socialist Material Culture.”). The book is described as follows on the press website:
Material culture in Eastern Europe under state socialism is remembered as uniformly gray, shabby, and monotonous—the worst of postwar modernist architecture and design. Politics in Color and Concrete revisits this history by exploring domestic space in Hungary from the 1950s through the 1990s and reconstructs the multi-textured and politicized aesthetics of daily life through the objects, spaces, and colors that made up this lived environment. Krisztina Féherváry shows that contemporary standards of living and ideas about normalcy have roots in late socialist consumer culture and are not merely products of postsocialist transitions or neoliberalism. This engaging study decenters conventional perspectives on consumer capitalism, home ownership, and citizenship in the new Europe.
Philip S. Gorski (CSSH 43-4, 2001, “Beyond Marx and Hintz? Third-Wave Theories of Early Modern State Formation”) recently published a collection of essays titled The Protestant Ethic Revisited (Temple University Press, 2013). Here is a description of the book:
In The Protestant Ethic Revisited, the historical sociologist Philip Gorski returns to the overarching theme that animated Max Weber’s life work—namely, how the Christian West was reshaped by world-changing energies of the Calvinist movement. Gorski not only considers the perennial debate about religion and capitalism; he also devotes particular attention to the influence of Calvinism on the political development of the West—that is, the formation of strong states, the crystallization of national identities, the ignition of revolutions, and the advent of secularized politics. The Protestant Ethic Revisited is a masterful new collection of Gorski’s essays on religion and comparative historical sociology that includes both classic works and previously unpublished materials. Reflecting the aim of much of Gorski’s work, this anthology reveals what we think of as fixed ideas about nationalism, secularism, politics, and religion in public life as either older, or less stable, concepts than previously thought.
Sunil S. Amrith (CSSH 50-4, 2008, “Food and Welfare in India, c. 1900–1950″) has a new book out: Crossing the Bay of Bengal: The Furies of Nature and the Fortunes of Migrants (Harvard University Press, 2013). The press gives the following summary of the book:
The Indian Ocean was global long before the Atlantic, and today the countries bordering the Bay of Bengal—India, Bangladesh, Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Malaysia—are home to one in four people on Earth. Crossing the Bay of Bengal places this region at the heart of world history for the first time. Integrating human and environmental history, and mining a wealth of sources, Sunil Amrith gives a revelatory and stirring new account of the Bay and those who have inhabited it. For centuries the Bay of Bengal served as a maritime highway between India and China, and then as a battleground for European empires, all while being shaped by the monsoons and by human migration. Imperial powers in the nineteenth century, abetted by the force of capital and the power of steam, reconfigured the Bay in their quest for coffee, rice, and rubber. Millions of Indian migrants crossed the sea, bound by debt or spurred by drought, and filled with ambition. Booming port cities like Singapore and Penang became the most culturally diverse societies of their time. By the 1930s, however, economic, political, and environmental pressures began to erode the Bay’s centuries-old patterns of interconnection. Today, rising waters leave the Bay of Bengal’s shores especially vulnerable to climate change, at the same time that its location makes it central to struggles over Asia’s future. Amrith’s evocative and compelling narrative of the region’s pasts offers insights critical to understanding and confronting the many challenges facing Asia in the decades ahead.
Former CSSH Editorial Assistant Michael J. Hathaway has just published Environmental Winds: Making the Global in Southwest China (University of California Press, 2013). The book will be reviewed by Thomas Trautmann in CSSH 56-4 (October). Here is a press description of the book:
Environmental Winds challenges the notion that globalized social formations emerged solely in the Global North prior to impacting the Global South. Instead, such formations have been constituted, transformed, and propelled through diverse, site-specific social interactions that complicate and defy divisions between ‘global’ and ‘local.’ The book brings the reader into the lives of Chinese scientists, officials, villagers, and expatriate conservationists who were caught up in environmental trends over the past 25 years. Hathaway reveals how global environmentalism has been enacted and altered in China, often with unanticipated effects, such as the rise of indigenous rights, or the reconfiguration of human/animal relationships, fostering what rural villagers refer to as “the revenge of wild elephants.”
The American Institute of Pakistan Studies has awareded its 2012-2013 Book Prize to Naveeda Khan (CSSH 53-3, 2011, “The Acoustics of Muslim Striving: Loudspeaker Use in Ritual Practice in Pakistan“), for her book Muslim Becoming: Aspiration and Skepticism in Pakistan (Duke University Press, 2012).
H. Glenn Penny (CSSH 48-4, 2006, “Elusive Authenticity: The Quest for the Authentic Indian in German Public Culture”) has just published Kindred By Choice: Germans and American Indians since 1800 (University of North Carolina Press, 2013). The UNC websited gives the following summary of the book:
How do we explain the persistent preoccupation with American Indians in Germany and the staggering numbers of Germans one encounters as visitors to Indian country? As H. Glenn Penny demonstrates, that preoccupation is rooted in an affinity for American Indians that has permeated German cultures for two centuries. This affinity stems directly from German polycentrism, notions of tribalism, a devotion to resistance, a longing for freedom, and a melancholy sense of shared fate. Locating the origins of the fascination for Indian life in the transatlantic world of German cultures in the nineteenth century, Penny explores German settler colonialism in the American Midwest, the rise and fall of German America, and the transnational worlds of American Indian performers. As he traces this phenomenon through the twentieth century, Penny engages debates about race, masculinity, comparative genocides, and American Indians’ reactions to Germans’ interests in them. He also assesses what persists of the affinity across the political ruptures of modern German history and challenges readers to rethink how cultural history is made.
Lauren Benton (CSSH 41-3, 1999, “Colonial Law and Cultural Difference: Jurisdictional Politics and the Formation of the Colonial State”; and 47-4, 2005, “Legal Spaces of Empire: Piracy and the Origins of Ocean Regionalism”) is co-editor, with Richard J. Ross, of Legal Pluralism and Empires, 1500-1850 (New York University Press, 2013). Their publisher provides the following summary of the collection:
This wide-ranging volume advances our understanding of law and empire in the early modern world. Distinguished contributors expose new dimensions of legal pluralism in the British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Ottoman empires. In-depth analyses probe such topics as the shifting legal privileges of corporations, the intertwining of religious and legal thought, and the effects of clashing legal authorities on sovereignty and subjecthood. Case studies show how a variety of individuals engage with the law and shape the contours of imperial rule. The volume reaches from Peru to New Zealand to Europe to capture the varieties and continuities of legal pluralism and to probe the analytic power of the concept of legal pluralism in the comparative study of empires. For legal scholars, social scientists, and historians, Legal Pluralism and Empires, 1500-1850 maps new approaches to the study of empires and the global history of law.
Andrew Sartori (CSSH 47-4, 2005, “The Renosance of ‘Culture': Framing a Problem in Global Concept-History“) is co-editor (with Samuel Moyn) of the collection Global Intellectual History (Columbia Univeristy Press, 2013). Contributors include CSSH authors Janaki Bakhle, Frederick Cooper, and Sheldon Pollock. Here is a summary of the collection from the Columbia website:
Where do ideas fit into historical accounts that take an expansive, global view of human movements and events? Teaching scholars of intellectual history to incorporate transnational perspectives into their work, while also recommending how to confront the challenges and controversies that may arise, this original resource explains the concepts, concerns, practice, and promise of “global intellectual history,” featuring essays by leading scholars on various approaches that are taking shape across the discipline. The contributors to Global Intellectual History explore the different ways in which one can think about the production, dissemination, and circulation of “global” ideas and ask whether global intellectual history can indeed produce legitimate narratives. They discuss how intellectuals and ideas fit within current conceptions of global frames and processes of globalization and proto-globalization, and they distinguish between ideas of the global and those of the transnational, identifying what each contributes to intellectual history. A crucial guide, this collection sets conceptual coordinates for readers eager to map an emerging area of study.
The recent paper by Alan Mikhail and Christine M. Philliou (CSSH 54-4, 2012 “The Ottoman Empire and the Imperial Turn”) has now been translated and published as “Osmanlı İmparatorluğu ve Emperyal Dönüşüm,” in Toplumsal Tarih 234 (2013): 26-40. They wish to thank Emrah Safa Gürkan, “without whom this translation would not exist,” and that journal’s editor Oktay Özel , who was instrumental in its publication.
Sociology & Empire: The Imperial Entaglements of a Discipline (Duke University Press, 2013) is a new volume edited by George Steinmetz (CSSH 36-1, 1994, “Regulation Theory, Post-Marxism, and the New Social Movements“; 4o-1, 1998, “Critical Realism and Historical Sociology: A Review Article“; and 45-1, 2003, “‘The Devil’s Handwriting': Precolonial Discourse, Ethnographic Acuity, and Cross-Identification in German Colonialism”). Contributors include CSSH authors Julian Go, Daniel Goh, and Andrew Zimmerman. Duke describes the book as follows:
The revelation that the U.S. Department of Defense had hired anthropologists for its Human Terrain System project—assisting its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq—caused an uproar that has obscured the participation of sociologists in similar Pentagon-funded projects. As the contributors to Sociology and Empire show, such affiliations are not new. Sociologists have been active as advisers, theorists, and analysts of Western imperialism for more than a century. The collection has a threefold agenda: to trace an intellectual history of sociology as it pertains to empire; to offer empirical studies based around colonies and empires, both past and present; and to provide a theoretical basis for future sociological analyses that may take empire more fully into account. In the 1940s, the British Colonial Office began employing sociologists in its African colonies. In Nazi Germany, sociologists played a leading role in organizing the occupation of Eastern Europe. In the United States, sociology contributed to modernization theory, which served as an informal blueprint for the postwar American empire. This comprehensive anthology critiques sociology’s disciplinary engagement with colonialism in varied settings while also highlighting the lasting contributions that sociologists have made to the theory and history of imperialism.
Haidy Geismar (CSSH 48-3, 2006, “Malekula: A Photographic Collection; and 53-1, 2011, “’Material Culture Studies’” and other Ways to Theorize Objects: A Primer to a Regional Debate” has a new book out: Treasured Possessions: Indigenous Interventions into Cultural and Intellectual Property (Duke University Press, 2013). Here is a summary of the book from the Duke website:
What happens when ritual practitioners from a small Pacific nation make an intellectual property claim to bungee jumping? When a German company successfully sues to defend its trademark of a Māori name? Or when UNESCO deems ephemeral sand drawings to be “intangible cultural heritage”? In Treasured Possessions, Haidy Geismar examines how global forms of cultural and intellectual property are being redefined by everyday people and policymakers in two markedly different Pacific nations. The New Hebrides, a small archipelago in Melanesia managed jointly by Britain and France until 1980, is now the independent nation-state of Vanuatu, with a population that is more than 95 percent indigenous. New Zealand, by contrast, is a settler state and former British colony that engages with its entangled Polynesian and British heritage through an ethos of “biculturalism” that is meant to involve an indigenous population of just 15 percent. Alternative notions of property, resources, and heritage—informed by distinct national histories—are emerging in both countries. These property claims are advanced in national and international settings, but they emanate from specific communities and cultural landscapes, and they are grounded in an awareness of ancestral power and inheritance. They reveal intellectual and cultural property to be not only legal constructs but also powerful ways of asserting indigenous identities and sovereignties.
Diane P. Koenker (51-2, 2009, “Whose Right to Rest? Contesting the Family Vacation in the Postwar Soviet Union”) has just published the book Club Red: Vacation Travel and the Soviet Dream, with Cornell University Press (2013). The book deals with the same general topic that her CSSH paper addressed. Here is how the press describes the book on their website:
The Bolsheviks took power in Russia 1917 armed with an ideology centered on the power of the worker. From the beginning, however, Soviet leaders also realized the need for rest and leisure within the new proletarian society and over subsequent decades struggled to reconcile the concept of leisure with the doctrine of communism, addressing such fundamental concerns as what the purpose of leisure should be in a workers’ state and how socialist vacations should differ from those enjoyed by the capitalist bourgeoisie. In Club Red, Diane P. Koenker offers a sweeping and insightful history of Soviet vacationing and tourism from the Revolution through perestroika. She shows that from the outset, the regime insisted that the value of tourism and vacation time was strictly utilitarian. Throughout the 1920s and ’30s, the emphasis was on providing the workers access to the “repair shops” of the nation’s sanatoria or to the invigorating journeys by foot, bicycle, skis, or horseback that were the stuff of “proletarian tourism.” Both the sedentary vacation and tourism were part of the regime’s effort to transform the poor and often illiterate citizenry into new Soviet men and women. Koenker emphasizes a distinctive blend of purpose and pleasure in Soviet vacation policy and practice and explores a fundamental paradox: a state committed to the idea of the collective found itself promoting a vacation policy that increasingly encouraged and then had to respond to individual autonomy and selfhood. The history of Soviet tourism and vacations tells a story of freely chosen mobility that was enabled and subsidized by the state. While Koenker focuses primarily on Soviet domestic vacation travel, she also notes the decisive impact of travel abroad (mostly to other socialist countries), which shaped new worldviews, created new consumer desires, and transformed Soviet vacation practices.
Imperial Contagions:Medicine, Hygiene, and Cultures of Planning in Asia (Hong Kong University Press, 2013) is a new book edited by Robert Peckham and David M. Pomfret (CSSH 51-2, 2009, “Raising Eurasia: Race, Class, and Age in French and British Colonies“). The book has been summarized as follows:
Imperial Contagions argues that there was no straightforward shift from older, enclavist models of colonial medicine to a newer emphasis on prevention and treatment of disease among indigenous populations as well as European residents. It shows that colonial medicine was not at all homogeneous “on the ground” but was riven with tensions and contradictions. Indigenous elites contested and appropriated Western medical knowledge and practices for their own purposes. Colonial policies contained contradictory and cross-cutting impulses. This book challenges assumptions that colonial regimes were uniformly able to regulate indigenous bodies and that colonial medicine served as a “tool of empire.”
Enrico Dal Lago (CSSH 47-2, “States of Rebellion”: Civil War, Rural Unrest, and the Agrarian Question in the American South and the Italian Mezzgiorno. 1861-1865″) has just published American Slavery, Atlantic Slavery, and Beyond: The U.S. “Peculiar Institution” in International Perspective (Paradigm Publishers, 2013). Here is how the press describes the book:
American Slavery, Atlantic Slavery, and Beyond provides an up-to-date summary of past and present views of American slavery in international perspective and suggests new directions for current and future comparative scholarship. It argues that we can better understand the nature and meaning of American slavery and antislavery if we place them clearly within a Euro-American context. Current scholarship on American slavery acknowledges the importance of the continental and Atlantic dimensions of the historical phenomenon, comparing it often with slavery in the Caribbean and Latin America. However, since the 1980s, a handful of studies has looked further and has compared American slavery with European forms of unfree and nominally free labor. Building on this innovative scholarship, this book treats the U.S. “peculiar institution” as part of both an Atlantic and a wider Euro-American world. It shows how the Euro-American context is no less crucial than the Atlantic one in understanding colonial slavery and the American Revolution in an age of global enlightenment, reformism, and revolutionary upheavals; the Cotton Kingdom’s heyday in a world of systems of unfree labor; and the making of radical Abolitionism and the occurrence of the American Civil War at a time when nationalist ideologies and nation-building movements were widespread.
The Cooking of History: How Not to Study Afro-Cuban Religion (University of Chicago Press) is a new book by Stephan Palmié (CSSH 48-4, “Thinking with Ngangas: Reflections on Embodiment and the Limits of ‘Objectively Necessary Appearances”). Here is a summary of the book:
Over a lifetime of studying Cuban Santería and other religions related to Orisha worship—a practice also found among the Yoruba in West Africa—Stephan Palmié has grown progressively uneasy with the assumptions inherent in the very term Afro-Cuban religion. In The Cooking of History he provides a comprehensive analysis of these assumptions, in the process offering an incisive critique both of the anthropology of religion and of scholarship on the cultural history of the Afro-Atlantic World. Understood largely through its rituals and ceremonies, Santería and related religions have been a challenge for anthropologists to link to a hypothetical African past. But, Palmié argues, precisely by relying on the notion of an aboriginal African past, and by claiming to authenticate these religions via their findings, anthropologists—some of whom have converted to these religions—have exerted considerable influence upon contemporary practices. Critiquing widespread and damaging simplifications that posit religious practices as stable and self-contained, Palmié calls for a drastic new approach that properly situates cultural origins within the complex social environments and scholarly fields in which they are investigated.
The book Adoptive Migration: Raising Latinos in Spain, by Jessaca B. Leinaweaver (CSSH 54-1, “Little Strangers: International Adoption and American Kinship. A Review Essay“; and 55-3, “Toward an Anthropology of Ingratitude: Notes from Andean Kinship”), has just been published by Duke University Press. The book is summarized on the press’ website as follows:
Spain has one of the highest per capita international adoption rates in the world. Internationally adopted kids are coming from many of the same countries as do the many immigrants who are radically transforming Spain’s demographics. Based on interviews with adoptive families, migrant families, and adoption professionals, Jessaca B. Leinaweaver examines the experiences of Latin American children adopted into a rapidly multiculturalizing society. She focuses on Peruvian adoptees and immigrants in Madrid, but her conclusions apply more broadly, to any pairing of adoptees and migrants from the same country. Leinaweaver finds that international adoption, particularly in a context of high rates of transnational migration, is best understood as both a privileged and unusual form of migration, and a crucial and contested method of family formation. Adoptive Migration is a fascinating study of the implications for adopted children of growing up in a country that discriminates against their fellow immigrants.
David Arnold (CSSH 53-4, October 2011, “Cycles of Empowerment? The Bicycle and Everyday Technology in Colonial India and Vietnam,” with Erich DeWald) has published Everyday Technology: Machines and the Making of India’s Modernity (University of Chicago Press, 2013). Here is a description of the book from the press website:
In 1909 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, on his way back to South Africa from London, wrote his now celebrated tract Hind Swaraj, laying out his vision for the future of India and famously rejecting the technological innovations of Western civilization. Despite his protestations, Western technology endured and helped to make India one of the leading economies in our globalized world. Few would question the dominant role that technology plays in modern life, but to fully understand how India first advanced into technological modernity, argues David Arnold, we must consider the technology of the everyday. Everyday Technology is a pioneering account of how small machines and consumer goods that originated in Europe and North America became objects of everyday use in India in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Rather than investigate “big” technologies such as railways and irrigation projects, Arnold examines the assimilation and appropriation of bicycles, rice mills, sewing machines, and typewriters in India, and follows their impact on the ways in which people worked and traveled, the clothes they wore, and the kind of food they ate. But the effects of these machines were not limited to the daily rituals of Indian society, and Arnold demonstrates how such small-scale technologies became integral to new ways of thinking about class, race, and gender, as well as about the politics of colonial rule and Indian nationhood. Arnold’s fascinating book offers new perspectives on the globalization of modern technologies and shows us that to truly understand what modernity became, we need to look at the everyday experiences of people in all walks of life, taking stock of how they repurposed small technologies to reinvent their world and themselves.
A CSSH paper by Tom C. McCaskie, “‘As on a Darkling Plain': Practitioners, Publics, Propagandists, and Ancient Historiography” (CSSH 54-1, January 2012) has inspired a series of seminars to be held at University College and The Institute of Classical Studies, both in London, for Summer term 2013:
Ancient History seminar, “Ancient History Observed” (organizers: Lindsay Allen, Hugh Bowden, Amelie Kuhrt and John North): This series of seminars is triggered by an article, written by a distinguished historian from SOAS who normally works on African, more particularly on Ghanaian History, Professor Tom McCaskie. He decided to start his retirement by looking at the current position of the history of a quite different period and place, which resulted in the article on ancient history from Comparative Studies in Society and History…. Three important linked themes are raised here: the overall relation of current political preoccupations with the writing of history; the recent transformation in thinking about the Achaemenid Empire; and the intellectual reputation of the ancient history-writing of today. The article has drawn strong reactions, some favourable, some hostile: May 2, John North (ICS) and Tom McCaskie (SOAS), “Contemporary political issues and the writing of history”; May 9, Wouter Henkelman (Amsterdam), “Cyrus and Beyond: Contextualising Persian Identity”; May 16, Hugh Bowden (KCL), “‘Where ignorant armies clash by night': Alexander the Great in modern scholarship”; May 23, Eleanor Robson (Cambridge), “Publics, practitioners and politics: talking Babylonian history in southern Iraq”; May 30, Christopher Tuplin (Liverpool); “‘The Sea of Faith': a Greek perspective on the sunny uplands of Achaemenid historiography”; June 6, Lindsay Allen (KCL), “Any more light on the Darkling Plain?”
Jordanna Bailkin (CSSH 48-2, “The Boot and the Spleen: When Was Murder Possible inBritish India?”) recently published The Afterlife of Empire (University of California Press, 2012). The press describes the book like this:
The Afterlife of Empire investigates how decolonization transformed British society in the 1950s and 1960s. Although usually charted through its diplomatic details, the collapse of the British Empire was also a deeply personal process that altered everyday life, restructuring routines, individual relationships, and social interactions. The book traces a set of diverse yet interrelated and richly compelling stories: West Indian migrants repatriated for mental illness, young Britons volunteering in the former colonies, overseas students seeking higher education, polygamous husbands and wives facing invalidation of their marriages, West African children raised by white, working-class British families, and Irish deportees suspected of terrorism. Postwar welfare–from mental health to child care–was never simply a British story, but was shaped by global forces, from the experiences and expectations of individual migrants to the emergence of new legal regimes in Africa and Asia. The book thus recasts the genealogy and geography of welfare by charting its unseen dependence on the end of empire. Using a wealth of recently declassified files from the National Archives, oral histories, court cases, press reports, social science writings, and photographs, Jordanna Bailkin illuminates the relationship between the postwar and the postimperial.
Laleh Khalili (CSSH 49-2 “‘Standing with My Brother’: Hizbullah, Palestinians, and the Limits of Solidarity”) has just published Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies (Stanford University Press, 2013). Here is how the press describes the book:
Detention and confinement—of both combatants and large groups of civilians—have become fixtures of asymmetric wars over the course of the last century. Counterinsurgency theoreticians and practitioners explain this dizzying rise of detention camps, internment centers, and enclavisation by arguing that such actions “protect” populations. In this book, Laleh Khalili counters these arguments, telling the story of how this proliferation of concentration camps, strategic hamlets, “security walls,” and offshore prisons has come to be. Time in the Shadows investigates the two major liberal counterinsurgencies of our day: Israeli occupation of Palestine and the U.S. War on Terror. In rich detail, the book investigates Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay, CIA black sites, the Khiam Prison, and Gaza, among others, and links them to a history of colonial counterinsurgencies from the Boer War and the U.S. Indian wars, to Vietnam, the British small wars in Malaya, Kenya, Aden and Cyprus, and the French pacification of Indochina and Algeria. Khalili deftly demonstrates that whatever the form of incarceration—visible or invisible, offshore or inland, containing combatants or civilians—liberal states have consistently acted illiberally in their counterinsurgency confinements. As our tactics of war have shifted beyond slaughter to elaborate systems of detention, liberal states have warmed to the pursuit of asymmetric wars. Ultimately, Khalili confirms that as tactics of counterinsurgency have been rendered more “humane,” they have also increasingly encouraged policymakers to willingly choose to wage wars.
Water on Sand: Environmental Histories of the Middle East and North Africa (Oxford University Press, 2012) is a new collection edited by Alan Mikhail (CSSH 54-4, “The Ottoman Empire and the Imperial Turn,” with Christine Philliou). Oxford summarizes the book on their webpage:
From Morocco to Iran and the Black Sea to the Red, Water on Sand rewrites the history of the Middle East and North Africa from the Little Ice Age to the Cold War era. As the first holistic environmental history of the region, it shows the intimate connections between peoples and environments and how these relationships shaped political, economic, and social history in startling and unforeseen ways. Nearly all political powers in the region based their rule on the management and control of natural resources, and nearly all individuals were in constant communion with the natural world. To grasp how these multiple histories were central to the pasts of the Middle East and North Africa, the chapters in this book evidence the power of environmental history to open up new avenues of scholarly inquiry.
Liliana Riga (CSSH 48-4, “Ethnonationalism, Assimilation, and the Social Worlds of the Jewish Bolsheviks in Fin de Siècle Tsarist Russia“) has just published The Bolsheviks and the Russian Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2012). Cambridge University Press describes the book as follows:
This comparative historical sociology of the Bolshevik revolutionaries offers a reinterpretation of political radicalization in the last years of the Russian Empire. Finding that two-thirds of the Bolshevik leadership were ethnic minorities – Ukrainians, Latvians, Georgians, Jews and others – this book examines the shared experiences of assimilation and socioethnic exclusion that underlay their class universalism. It suggests that imperial policies toward the Empire’s diversity radicalized class and ethnicity as intersectional experiences, creating an assimilated but excluded elite: lower-class Russians and middle-class minorities universalized particular exclusions as they disproportionately sustained the economic and political burdens of maintaining the multiethnic Russian Empire. The Bolsheviks’ social identities and routes to revolutionary radicalism show especially how a class-universalist politics was appealing to those seeking secularism in response to religious tensions, a universalist politics where ethnic and geopolitical insecurities were exclusionary, and a tolerant ‘imperial’ imaginary where Russification and illiberal repressions were most keenly felt.
Unmasking the State: Making Guinea Modern (University of Chicago Press, 2012), is a new book by Mike McGovern (CSSH 55-1, ““History is stubborn”: Talk about Truth, Justice, and National Reconciliation in the Republic of Guinea” [with Alexis Arieff]). Here is a summary of the book from the UCP website:
When the Republic of Guinea gained independence in 1958, one of the first policies of the new state was a village-to-village eradication of masks and other ritual objects it deemed “fetishes.” The Demystification Program, as it was called, was so urgent it even preceded the building of a national road system. In Unmasking the State, Mike McGovern attempts to understand why this program was so important to the emerging state and examines the complex role it had in creating a unified national identity. In doing so, he tells a dramatic story of cat and mouse where minority groups cling desperately to their important— and outlawed—customs. Primarily focused on the communities in the country’s southeastern rainforest region—people known as Forestiers—the Demystification Program operated via a paradox. At the same time it banned rituals from Forestiers’ day-to-day lives, it appropriated them into a state-sponsored program of folklorization. McGovern points to an important purpose for this: by objectifying this polytheistic group’s rituals, the state created a viable counterexample against which the Muslim majority could define proper modernity. Describing the intertwined relationship between national and local identity making, McGovern showcases the coercive power and the unintended consequences involved when states attempt to engineer culture.
Matt Tomlinson (CSSH 51-1, “Efficacy, Truth, and Silence: Language Ideologies in Fijian Christian Conversions“) is co-editor, with Debra McDougall, of the volume Christian Politics in Oceania (Berghahn Book, ASAO Studies in Pacific Anthropology, 2012). In addition to Matt, the book includes contributions from CSSH alumni Webb Keane, Joel Robbins, and Michael Scott. Berghahn describes the book for us:
The phrase “Christian politics” evokes two meanings: political relations between denominations in one direction, and the contributions of Christian churches to debates about the governing of society. The contributors to this volume address Christian politics in both senses and argue that Christianity is always and inevitably political in the Pacific Islands. Drawing on ethnographic and historical research in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji, the authors argue that Christianity and politics have redefined each other in much of Oceania in ways that make the two categories inseparable at any level of analysis. The individual chapters vividly illuminate the ways in which Christian politics operate across a wide scale, from interpersonal relations to national and global interconnections.
Former CSSH Editor Thomas R. Trautmann (CSSH 50-1, “Being Editor”; 54-1, “Does India Have History? Does History Have India?”) and Peter M. Whiteley are co-editors of a collection just published by University of Arizona Press, titled Crow-Omaha: New Light on a Classic Problem of Kinship Analysis (Amerind Studies in Anthropology, 2012). The press describes the book:
The “Crow-Omaha problem” has perplexed anthropologists since it was first described by Lewis Henry Morgan in 1871. During his worldwide survey of kinship systems, Morgan learned with astonishment that some Native American Societies call some relatives of different generations by the same terms. Why? Intergenerational “skewing” in what came to be named “Crow” and “Omaha” systems has provoked a wealth of anthropological arguments, from Rivers to Radcliffe-Brown, from Lowie to Lévi-Strauss, and many more. Crow-Omaha systems, it turns out, are both uncommon and yet found distributed around the world. For anthropologists, cracking the Crow-Omaha problem is critical to understanding how social systems transform from one type into another, both historically in particular settings and evolutionarily in the broader sweep of human relations. This volume examines the Crow-Omaha problem from a variety of perspectives—historical, linguistic, formalist, structuralist, culturalist, evolutionary, and phylogenetic. It focuses on the regions where Crow-Omaha systems occur: Native North America, Amazonia, West Africa, Northeast and East Africa, aboriginal Australia, northeast India, and the Tibeto-Burman area. The international roster of authors includes leading experts in their fields. The book offers a state-of-the-art assessment of Crow-Omaha kinship and carries forward the work of the landmark volume Transformations of Kinship, published in 1998. Intended for students and scholars alike, it is composed of brief, accessible chapters that respect the complexity of the ideas while presenting them clearly. The work serves as both a new benchmark in the explanation of kinship systems and an introduction to kinship studies for a new generation of students.
Selim Deringil (CSSH 45-2, “‘They Live in a State of Nomadism and Savagery': The Late Ottoman Empire and the Post-Colonial Debate”; 51-2, “‘The Armenian Question Is Finally Closed': Mass Conversions of Armenians in Anatolia during the Hamidian Massacres of 1895–1897″ ) has just published a new book: Conversion and Apostasy in the Late Ottoman Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2012). Here is a description of it:
In the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire traditional religious structures crumbled as the empire itself began to fall apart. The state’s answer to schism was regulation and control, administered in the form of a number of edicts in the early part of the century. It is against this background that different religious communities and individuals negotiated survival by converting to Islam when their political interests or their lives were at stake. As the century progressed, however, conversion was no longer sufficient to guarantee citizenship and property rights as the state became increasingly paranoid about its apostates and what it perceived as their ‘denationalization’. The book tells the story of the struggle between the Ottoman State, the Great Powers and a multitude of evangelical organizations, shedding light on current flash-points in the Arab world and the Balkans, offering alternative perspectives on national and religious identity and the interconnection between the two.
A book edited by Alessandro Stanziani (CSSH 51-4, “The Traveling Panopticon: Labor Institutions and Labor Practices in Russia and Britain in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”) , titled Labour, Coercion, and Economic Growth in Eurasia, 17th-20th Centuries, has just been published by Brill (2012). The publisher summarizes the book:
The history of the forms of “free” labour is intimately linked to that of coerced labour. In this book, worldwide acknowledged specialists of Russia, China, Russia, Japan, India, the Indian Ocean, France and Britain show that between the seventeenth and the twentieth centuries, forms of labour and bondage were defined and practised in reference to each other. Labour relationships found their sources not only in the global circulation of models, peoples, goods and institutions, but also in market dynamics. Proto-industry, agriculture, trade and manufacturing experienced unprecedented growth throughout Eurasia. Mostly labour-intensive, this long-term growth put considerable pressure on labour resources and contributed to increased coercion and legal constraints on labour mobility in both Asia and Europe.
Rebecca J. Scott and Jean M. Hébrard have won two 2012 awards from the American Historical Association for their book Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation (Harvard University Press): the Albert J. Beveridge Award in American History, given “for a distinguished book on the history of the United States, Latin America, or Canada, from 1492 to the present,” and the James A. Rawley Prize in Atlantic History, awarded “for historical writing that explores the integration of Atlantic worlds before the 20th century.” Our original kudos announcement of their book’s publication can be found below.
E. Natalie Rothman’s Brokering Empire: Trans-Imperial Subjects between Venice and Istanbul (Cornell University Press) has won two awards. From the American Historical Association, she earned The Herbert Baxter Adams Prize, awarded “for a distinguished first book by a young scholar in the field of European history.” From the American Historical Association and The American Catholic Historical Association, Society for Italian Historical Studies, her book earned the Helen & Howard R. Marraro Prize, given for a book “which treats Italian history in any epoch, Italian cultural history, or Italian-American relations.” We congratulate her. The orginal kudos announcement of Natalie’s book’s publication is below.
Jun Uchida’s book Brokers of Empire: Japanese Settler Colonialism in Korea, 1876-1945 (Harvard University Press) has won the American Historical Association’s John K. Fairbank Prize in East Asian History, “awarded for the best work on the history of China proper, Vietnam, Chinese Central Asia, Mongolia, Manchuria, Korea, or Japan since the year 1800.” A description of Jun’s book can be found in the original kudos announcement, below.
The American Historical Association has awarded the Martin A. Klein Prize in African History to Gabrielle Hecht (CSSH 51-4, “Africa and the Nuclear World: Labor, Occupational Health, and the Transnational Production of Uranium“) for her book Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade (MIT Press). The prize is given to “recognize the most distinguished work of scholarship on African history published in English during the previous calendar year.” The book is described on the MIT press website as follows:
Uranium from Africa has long been a major source of fuel for nuclear power and atomic weapons, including the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. In 2002, George W. Bush claimed that Saddam Hussein had “sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa” (later specified as the infamous “yellowcake from Niger”). Africa suddenly became notorious as a source of uranium, a component of nuclear weapons. But did that admit Niger, or any of Africa’s other uranium-producing countries, to the select society of nuclear states? Does uranium itself count as a nuclear thing? In this book, Gabrielle Hecht lucidly probes the question of what it means for something–a state, an object, an industry, a workplace–to be “nuclear.” Hecht shows that questions about being nuclear–a state that she calls “nuclearity”–lie at the heart of today’s global nuclear order and the relationships between “developing nations” (often former colonies) and “nuclear powers” (often former colonizers). Nuclearity, she says, is not a straightforward scientific classification but a contested technopolitical one. Hecht follows uranium’s path out of Africa and describes the invention of the global uranium market. She then enters African nuclear worlds, focusing on miners and the occupational hazard of radiation exposure. Could a mine be a nuclear workplace if (as in some South African mines) its radiation levels went undetected and unmeasured? With this book, Hecht is the first to put Africa in the nuclear world, and the nuclear world in Africa. Doing so, she remakes our understanding of the nuclear age.
Bhavani Raman (CSSH 54-2, “The Duplicity of Paper: Counterfeit, Discretion, and Bureaucratic Authority in Early Colonial Madras”) has just published Document Raj: Writing and Scribes in Early Colonial South India (University of Chicago Press, 2012). The press website provides this description of the book:
Historians of British colonial rule in India have noted both the place of military might and the imposition of new cultural categories in the making of Empire, but Bhavani Raman, in Document Raj, uncovers a lesser-known story of power: the power of bureaucracy. Drawing on extensive archival research in the files of the East India Company’s administrative offices in Madras, she tells the story of a bureaucracy gone awry in a fever of documentation practices that grew ever more abstract—and the power, both economic and cultural, this created. In order to assert its legitimacy and value within the British Empire, the East India Company was diligent about record keeping. Raman shows, however, that the sheer volume of their document production allowed colonial managers to subtly but substantively manipulate records for their own ends, increasingly drawing the real and the recorded further apart. While this administrative sleight of hand increased the company’s reach and power within the Empire, it also bolstered profoundly new orientations to language, writing, memory, and pedagogy for the officers and Indian subordinates involved. Immersed in a subterranean world of delinquent scribes, translators, village accountants, and entrepreneurial fixers, Document Raj maps the shifting boundaries of the legible and illegible, the legal and illegitimate, that would usher India into the modern world.
Mahmood Mamdani (CSSH 43-4, “Beyond Settler and Native as Political Identities: Overcoming the Political Legacy of Colonialism”) has just published Define and Rule: Native as Political Identity (Harvard University Press, 2012). Here is an overview of the book from the press website:
Define and Rule focuses on the turn in late nineteenth-century colonial statecraft when Britain abandoned the attempt to eradicate difference between conqueror and conquered and introduced a new idea of governance, as the definition and management of difference. Mamdani explores how lines were drawn between settler and native as distinct political identities, and between natives according to tribe. Out of that colonial experience issued a modern language of pluralism and difference. A mid-nineteenth-century crisis of empire attracted the attention of British intellectuals and led to a reconception of the colonial mission, and to reforms in India, British Malaya, and the Dutch East Indies. The new politics, inspired by Sir Henry Maine, established that natives were bound by geography and custom, rather than history and law, and made this the basis of administrative practice. Maine’s theories were later translated into “native administration” in the African colonies. Mamdani takes the case of Sudan to demonstrate how colonial law established tribal identity as the basis for determining access to land and political power, and follows this law’s legacy to contemporary Darfur. He considers the intellectual and political dimensions of African movements toward decolonization by focusing on two key figures: the Nigerian historian Yusuf Bala Usman, who argued for an alternative to colonial historiography, and Tanzania’s first president, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who realized that colonialism’s political logic was legal and administrative, not military, and could be dismantled through nonviolent reforms.
Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer (CSSH 54-4, “The Nature of Sleep”) has a new book, The Slumbering Masses: Sleep, Medicine, and Modern American Life (University of Minnesota Press, 2012) that extends his analysis of the topic of his CSSH paper. Here is how the press website summarizes the book:
Americans spend billions of dollars every year on drugs, therapy, and other remedies trying to get a good night’s sleep. Anxieties about not getting enough sleep and the impact of sleeplessness on productivity, health, and happiness pervade medical opinion, the workplace, and popular culture. In The Slumbering Masses, Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer addresses the phenomenon of sleep and sleeplessness in the United States, tracing the influence of medicine and industrial capitalism on the sleeping habits of Americans from the nineteenth century to the present. Before the introduction of factory shift work, Americans enjoyed a range of sleeping practices, most commonly two nightly periods of rest supplemented by daytime naps. The new sleeping regimen—eight uninterrupted hours of sleep at night—led to the pathologization of other ways of sleeping. Arguing that the current model of sleep is rooted not in biology but in industrial capitalism’s relentless need for productivity, The Slumbering Masses examines so-called Z-drugs that promote sleep, the use of both legal and illicit stimulants to combat sleepiness, and the contemporary politics of time. Wolf-Meyer concludes by exploring the extremes of sleep, from cases of perpetual sleeplessness and the sleepwalking defense in criminal courts to military experiments with ultra-short periods of sleep. Drawing on untapped archival sources and long-term ethnographic research with people who both experience and treat sleep abnormalities, Wolf-Meyer analyzes and sharply critiques how sleep and its supposed disorders are understood and treated. By recognizing the variety and limits of sleep, he contends, we can establish more flexible expectations about sleep and, ultimately, subvert the damage of sleep pathology and industrial control on our lives.
Rebecca J. Scott (CSSH Editorial Committee; CSSH 44-4, “Property in Writing, Property on the Ground: Pigs, Horses, Land, and Citizenship in the Aftermath of Slavery, Cuba, 1880-1909″ [with Michael Zeuske]; CSSH 26-1, “Explaining Abolition: Contradiction, Adaptation, and Challenge in Cuban Slave Society, 1860–1886″) and Jean M. Hébrard (CSSH 44-2, “The Writings of Moïse (1898-1985): Birth, Life, and Death of a Narrative of the Great War”) have published Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation (Harvard University Press, 2012). The book is summarized as follows on the press website:
Around 1785, a woman was taken from her home in Senegambia and sent to Saint-Domingue in the Caribbean. Those who enslaved her there named her Rosalie. Her later efforts to escape slavery were the beginning of a family’s quest, across five generations and three continents, for lives of dignity and equality. Freedom Papers sets the saga of Rosalie and her descendants against the background of three great antiracist struggles of the nineteenth century: the Haitian Revolution, the French Revolution of 1848, and the Civil War and Reconstruction in the United States. Freed during the Haitian Revolution, Rosalie and her daughter Elisabeth fled to Cuba in 1803. A few years later, Elisabeth departed for New Orleans, where she married a carpenter, Jacques Tinchant. In the 1830s, with tension rising against free persons of color, they left for France. Subsequent generations of Tinchants fought in the Union Army, argued for equal rights at Louisiana’s state constitutional convention, and created a transatlantic tobacco network that turned their Creole past into a commercial asset. Yet the fragility of freedom and security became clear when, a century later, Rosalie’s great-great-granddaughter Marie-José was arrested by Nazi forces occupying Belgium. Freedom Papers follows the Tinchants as each generation tries to use the power and legitimacy of documents to help secure freedom and respect. The strategies they used to overcome the constraints of slavery, war, and colonialism suggest the contours of the lives of people of color across the Atlantic world during this turbulent epoch.
Former CSSH Editorial Assistant Daniel Bass, has a new book: Everyday Ethnicity in Sri Lanka: Up-country Tamil Identity Politics (Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series, 2012). Routledge describes the book as follows:
Focusing on notions of diaspora, identity and agency, this book examines ethnicity in war-torn Sri Lanka. It highlights the historical development and negotiation of a new identification of Up-country Tamil amidst Sri Lanka’s violent ethnic politics. Over the past thirty years, Up-country (Indian) Tamils generally have tried to secure their vision of living within a multi-ethnic Sri Lanka, not within Tamil Eelam, the separatist dream that ended with the civil war in 2009. Exploring Sri Lanka within the deep history of colonial-era South Asian plantation diasporas, the book argues Up-country Tamils form a “diaspora next-door” to their ancestral homeland. It moves beyond simplistic Sinhala-Tamil binaries and shows how Sri Lanka’s ethnic troubles actually have more in common with similar battles that diasporic Indians have faced in Fiji and Trinidad than with Hindu-Muslim communalism in neighboring India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Shedding new light on issues of agency, citizenship, displacement and re-placement within the formation of diasporic communities and identities, this book demonstrates the ways that culture workers, including politicians, trade union leaders, academics, and NGO workers, have facilitated the development of a new identity as Up-country Tamil. It is of interest to academics working in the fields of modern South Asia, diaspora, violence, post-conflict nations, religion, and ethnicity.
Khaled Furani (CSSH 52-3, “Said and the Religious Other”) has published a new book, Silencing the Sea: Secular Rhythms in Palestinian Poetry (Stanford University Press, 2012). Here is a summary of it:
Silencing the Sea follows Palestinian poets’ debates about their craft as they traverse multiple and competing realities of secularism and religion, expulsion and occupation, art, politics, immortality, death, fame, and obscurity. Khaled Furani takes his reader down ancient roads and across military checkpoints to join the poets’ worlds and engage with the rhythms of their lifelong journeys in Islamic and Arabic history, language, and verse. This excursion offers newfound understandings of how today’s secular age goes far beyond doctrine, to inhabit our very senses, imbuing all that we see, hear, feel, and say. Poetry, the traditional repository of Arab history, has become the preeminent medium of Palestinian memory in exile. In probing poets’ writings, this work investigates how struggles over poetic form can host larger struggles over authority, knowledge, language, and freedom. It reveals a very intimate and venerated world, entwining art, intellect, and politics, narrating previously untold stories of a highly stereotyped people.
Judith Scheele (CSSH 49-2, “Recycling Baraka: Knowledge, Politics, and Religion in Contemporary Algeria”; and CSSH 50-4, “A Taste for Law: Rule-Making in Kabylia (Algeria)”) has a new book: Smugglers and Saints of the Sahara: Regional Connectivity in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2012):
Smugglers and Saints of the Sahara describes life on and around the contemporary border between Algeria and Mali, exploring current developments in a broad historical and socioeconomic context. Basing her findings on long-term fieldwork with trading families, truckers, smugglers and scholars, Judith Scheele investigates the history of contemporary patterns of mobility from the late nineteenth century to the present. Through a careful analysis of family ties and local economic records, this book shows how long-standing mobility and interdependence have shaped not only local economies, but also notions of social hierarchy, morality and political legitimacy, creating patterns that endure today and that need to be taken into account in any empirically-grounded study of the region.
Simon Harrison (CSSH 42-3, “From Prestige Goods to Legacies: Property and the Objectification of Culture in Melanesia”; and CSSH 45-2, “Cultural Difference as Denied Resemblance: Reconsidering Nationalism and Ethnicity “) has published Dark Trophies: Hunting and the Enemy Body in Modern War (Berghahn, 2012):
Many anthropological accounts of warfare in indigenous societies have described the taking of heads or other body parts as trophies. But almost nothing is known of the prevalence of trophy-taking of this sort in the armed forces of contemporary nation-states. This book is a history of this type of misconduct among military personnel over the past two centuries, exploring its close connections with colonialism, scientific collecting and concepts of race, and how it is a model for violent power relationships between groups.
Alessandro Monsutti (CSSH 54-3, “Fuzzy Sovereignty: Rural Reconstruction in Afghanistan, between Democracy Promotion and Power Games”) recently gave the annual Elizabeth Colson Public Lecture at the Oxford Museum of Natural History. A podcast of the lecture, “States, Sovereignties and Refugees: A View from the Margins?” is available at this link. Here is a summary of the talk:
The lecture explored how refugees are defined as people who have lost the protection of their state origin and therefore fall under the responsibility of the international community, represented by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. They are situated at the interstice of national and international sovereignty. Building on the Afghan case, one of the most massive forced displacements of population since World War II, the lecture will examine the growth of a global bureaucracy linked to the action of international and non-governmental organizations, philanthropic foundations, think tanks, and even private security contractors. They promote new forms of transnational governmentality that involve benevolence and welfare programs but also coercion and repression; they may by turns support or challenge the more familiar territorialized expressions of state authority. Are we really, as is frequently announced, facing the ultimate crisis of the nation-state? Viewed from Afghanistan, the situation appears more complex and hardly novel. The state has probably never been the exclusive locus of legitimate power; a layered and divided national administration has always coexisted with alternative and segmented de facto sovereignties. But the general reinforcement of non-state forms of sovereignty does not prevent the pervasiveness of the state as the organizational entity of today’s international politics. Far from being situated at the margins of today’s world. Afghanistan may paradoxically appear as a laboratory to highlight social and political processes present in much of the colonial and postcolonial world, and increasingly in the West.
Naveeda Khan (CSSH 53-3, 2011, “The Acoustics of Muslim Striving: Loudspeaker Use in Ritual Practice in Pakistan“) has just published Muslim Becoming: Aspiration and Skepticism in Pakistan (Duke, 2012). The book is described as follows on the press website:
In Muslim Becoming, Naveeda Khan challenges the claim that Pakistan’s relation to Islam is fragmented and problematic. Offering a radically different interpretation, Khan contends that Pakistan inherited an aspirational, always-becoming Islam, one with an open future and a tendency toward experimentation. For the individual, this aspirational tendency manifests in a continual striving to be a better Muslim. It is grounded in the thought of Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938), the poet, philosopher, and politician considered the spiritual founder of Pakistan. Khan finds that Iqbal provided the philosophical basis for recasting Islam as an open religion with possible futures as yet unrealized, which he did in part through his engagement with the French philosopher Henri Bergson. Drawing on ethnographic research in the neighborhoods and mosques of Lahore and on readings of theological polemics, legal history, and Urdu literature, Khan points to striving throughout Pakistani society: in prayers and theological debates and in the building of mosques, readings of the Qur’an, and the undertaking of religious pilgrimages. At the same time, she emphasizes the streak of skepticism toward the practices of others that accompanies aspiration. She asks us to consider what is involved in affirming aspiration while acknowledging its capacity for violence.
Nile Green (CSSH 53-3, “The Trans-Border Traffic of Afghan Modernism: Afghanistan and the Indian ‘Urdusphere'”) has two new books. One is Making Space: Sufis and Settlers in Early Modern India (Oxford University Press, 2012).
This volume provides a comprehensive view of the social transformation in early modern India between 1500 and 1750 by studying various Sufi movements. It covers a wide range of topics from Sufism and polity in the Afghan frontier to north Indian context and further to Deccan and the southernmost points of influence of the Mughals. Weaving together investigations of architecture with texts, migration of people, and the ethnographies and local histories, the author investigates community formation and inter-community contact. He reveals the tensions between mobility and locality through the ways Sufi Islam responded to demands of settlement by preserving the migrant bodies of blessed men and the shrines, texts and rituals that surrounded them. The book explores how Afghan, Mughal and Hindustani Muslims constructed new homelands while remembering distant places of origin. Central to this process were migrant Sufis and the hagiographical texts and architectural territories through which they preserved memory over time and anchored it to new spaces of settlement. The book offers bold new insights into Indian, Islamic and comparative early modern history. This book will be an important reading for scholars, researchers, and students of early modern Indian history, Islamic studies, and religion particularly those interested in Sufism.
Nile’s second new book is Sufism: A Global History (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).
Since their beginnings in the ninth century, the shrines, brotherhoods and doctrines of the Sufis held vast influence in almost every corner of the Muslim world. Offering the first truly global account of the history of Sufism, this illuminating book traces the gradual spread and influence of Sufi Islam through the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and ultimately into Europe and the United States.
A book that Nile published last year, Bombay Islam: The Religious Economy of the West Indian Ocean, 1840–1915 (Cambridge University Press, 2011), won the Albert Hourani Award of the Middle East Studies Association for 2011:
As a thriving port city, nineteenth-century Bombay attracted migrants from across India and beyond. Nile Green’s Bombay Islam traces the ties between industrialization, imperialism and the production of religion to show how Muslim migration fueled demand for a wide range of religious suppliers, as Christian missionaries competed with Muslim religious entrepreneurs for a stake in the new market. Enabled by a colonial policy of non-intervention in religious affairs, and powered by steam travel and vernacular printing, Bombay’s Islamic productions were exported as far as South Africa and Iran. Connecting histories of religion, labour and globalization, the book examines the role of ordinary people – mill hands and merchants – in shaping the demand that drove the market. By drawing on hagiographies, travelogues, doctrinal works, and poems in Persian, Urdu and Arabic, Bombay Islam unravels a vernacular modernity that saw people from across the Indian Ocean drawn into Bombay’s industrial economy of enchantment.
Hussein Ali Agrama (CSSH 52-3, “Secularism, Sovereignty, Indeterminacy: Is Egypt a Secular or a Religious State?”) has recently published Questioning Secularism: Islam, Sovereignty, and the Rule of Law in Modern Egypt (University of Chicago Press, 2012). Here is the press description of the book:
The central question of the Arab Spring—what democracies should look like in the deeply religious countries of the Middle East—has developed into a vigorous debate over these nations’ secular identities. But what, exactly, is secularism? What has the West’s long familiarity with it inevitably obscured? In Questioning Secularism, Hussein Ali Agrama tackles these questions. Focusing on the fatwa councils and family law courts of Egypt just prior to the revolution, he delves deeply into the meaning of secularism itself and the ambiguities that lie at its heart. Drawing on a precedent-setting case arising from the family law courts —the last courts in Egypt to use Shari‘a law—Agrama shows that secularism is a historical phenomenon that works through a series of paradoxes that it creates. Digging beneath the perceived differences between the West and Middle East, he highlights secularism’s dependence on the law and the problems that arise from it: the necessary involvement of state sovereign power in managing the private spiritual lives of citizens and the irreducible set of legal ambiguities such a relationship creates. Navigating a complex landscape between private and public domains, Questioning Secularism lays important groundwork for understanding the real meaning of secularism as it affects the real freedoms of a citizenry, an understanding of the utmost importance for so many countries that are now urgently facing new political possibilities.
Jun Uchida (CSSH, 51-1 , “’A Scramble for Freight': The Politics of Collaboration along and across the Railway Tracks of Korea under Japanese Rule”) has published Brokers of Empire: Japanese Settler Colonialism in Korea, 1876-1945 (Harvard University Press, Harvard East Asian Monograph 337, 2011). The book is described as follows on the press website:
Between 1876 and 1945, thousands of Japanese civilians—merchants, traders, prostitutes, journalists, teachers, and adventurers—left their homeland for a new life on the Korean peninsula. Although most migrants were guided primarily by personal profit and only secondarily by national interest, their mundane lives and the state’s ambitions were inextricably entwined in the rise of imperial Japan. Despite having formed one of the largest colonial communities in the twentieth century, these settlers and their empire-building activities have all but vanished from the public memory of Japan’s presence in Korea. Drawing on previously unused materials in multi-language archives, Jun Uchida looks behind the official organs of state and military control to focus on the obscured history of these settlers, especially the first generation of “pioneers” between the 1910s and 1930s who actively mediated the colonial management of Korea as its grassroots movers and shakers. By uncovering the downplayed but dynamic role played by settler leaders who operated among multiple parties—between the settler community and the Government-General, Japanese colonizer and Korean colonized, and colony and metropole—this study examines how these “brokers of empire” advanced their commercial and political interests while contributing to the expansionist project of imperial Japan.
Alyosha Goldstein (CSSH 50-1, “On the Internal Border: Colonial Difference, the Cold War, and the Locations of ‘Underdevelopment’”) has a new book out: Poverty in Common: The Politics of Community Action during the American Century (Duke University Press, 2012):
In post–World War II America, the idea that local community action was indispensable for the alleviation of poverty was broadly embraced by policymakers, social scientists, international development specialists, and grassroots activists. Governmental efforts to mobilize community action in the name of democracy served as a volatile condition of possibility through which poor people and dispossessed groups negotiated the tension between calls for self-help and demands for self-determination in the context of the Cold War and global decolonization. Poverty in Common suggests new ways to think about the relationship between liberalism, government, and inequality with implications for popular debates over the “end of welfare” and neoliberalism in the United States. Drawing on oral histories, program records, community newspapers, policy documents, and records of public hearings, Alyosha Goldstein analyzes a compelling but often overlooked series of historical episodes: Progressive era reform as a precursor to community development during the Cold War; how the language of “underdevelopment” articulated ideas about poverty and foreignness; the use of poverty as a crucible of interest group politics; and how radical groups critically reframed the question of community action in anticolonial terms. He shows how approaches to poverty were linked to the racialized and gendered negotiation of boundaries—between foreign and domestic, empire and nation, violence and order, dependency and autonomy—in the mid-twentieth-century United States.
We congratulate Paul K. Eiss (CSSH 44-1, “Redemption’s Archive: Remembering the Future in a Revolutionary Past”) for winning the 2011 Mexican History Book Prize of the Conference on Latin American History, and also a book prize from the Mexico Section of the Latin American Studies association, for his book In the Name of El Pueblo: Place, Community, and the Politics of History in Yucatán (Duke University Press, 2010). Duke describes the book as follows:
The term “el pueblo” is used throughout Latin America, referring alternately to small towns, to community, or to “the people” as a political entity. In this vivid anthropological and historical analysis of Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, Paul K. Eiss explores the multiple meanings of el pueblo and the power of the concept to unite the diverse claims made in its name. Eiss focuses on working-class indigenous and mestizo populations, examining how those groups negotiated the meaning of el pueblo among themselves and in their interactions with outsiders, including landowners, activists, and government officials. Combining extensive archival and ethnographic research, he describes how residents of the region have laid claim to el pueblo in varied ways, as exemplified in communal narratives recorded in archival documents, in the performance of plays and religious processions, and in struggles over land, politics, and the built environment. Eiss demonstrates that while el pueblo is used throughout the hemisphere, the term is given meaning and power through the ways it is imagined and constructed in local contexts. Moreover, he reveals el pueblo to be a concept that is as historical as it is political. It is in the name of el pueblo—rather than class, race, or nation—that inhabitants of northwestern Yucatán stake their deepest claims not only to social or political rights, but over history itself.
Thomas R. Trautmann (former CSSH Editor; CSSH 54-2, “Does India Have History? Does History Have India?”) has just published Arthashastra: The Science of Wealth (Allen Lane and Penguin Books India, 2012). Here is a summary of the book from the Allen Lane website:
Ascribed to Kautilya (commonly identified as the prime minister of Chandragupta Maurya) and dating back more than 2,000 years, the Arthashastra is the world’s first manual in political economy. It has a pre-eminence in Indian thought that is akin to that of Machiavelli’s The Prince in Europe. Arthashastra (literally, ‘the science of wealth’) is a study of economic enterprise; specifically, Kautilya’s treatise advises the king on the business of creating prosperity. This ancient text provides a fascinating window into the social and economic structures of the time, and into the intricacies of statecraft—for the Arthashastra also addresses the question: what makes a good leader? This book is intended to be an introduction to the economic philosophy of the Arthashastra. Its goal is to analyse the relevance of this classic text in its own time—in a world in which kings were regulators of economic activities of their subjects, but also entrepreneurs themselves—in the conviction that it has much to teach us that has value in our own age. “
Damani J. Partridge (CSSH 52-4, “Holocaust Mahnmal (Memorial): Monumental Memory amidst Contemporary Race”) has just published Hypersexuality and Headscarves: Race, Sex, and Citizenship in the New Germany (New Anthropologies of Europe, 2012):
In this compelling study, Partridge explores citizenship and exclusion in Germany since the fall of the Berlin Wall. That event seemed to usher in a new era of universal freedom, but post-reunification transformations of German society have produced noncitizens: non-white and “foreign” Germans who are simultaneously portrayed as part of the nation and excluded from full citizenship. Partridge considers the situation of Vietnamese guest workers “left behind” in the former East Germany; images of hypersexualized black bodies reproduced in popular culture and intimate relationships; and debates about the use of the headscarf by Muslim students and teachers. Through these and other cases, which regularly provoke violence against those perceived to be different, he shows that German national and European projects are complicit in the production of distinctly European noncitizens.
We are pleased to congratulate Farina Mir (CSSH 48-3, “Genre and Devotion in Punjabi Popular Narratives: Rethinking Cultural and Religious Syncretism”), whose book The Social Space of Language: Vernacular Culture in British Colonial Punjab (University of California Press, 2010) has been awarded the Association for Asian Studies SAC Bernard S. Cohn Book Prize. The prize “honors outstanding and innovative scholarship across discipline and country of specialization for a first book on South Asia, published during the preceding year.” Last year the American Historical Association awarded this book their John F. Richards Prize in South Asian History (see below).
Julian Go (CSSH 49-1, “The Provinciality of American Empire: ‘Liberal Exceptionalism’ and U.S. Colonial Rule, 1898–1912″) has a new book out: Patterns of Empire: The British and American Empires, 1688 to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2011). The following is from the CUP website:
Patterns of Empire comprehensively examines the two most powerful empires in modern history: the United States and Britain. Challenging the popular theory that the American empire is unique, Patterns of Empire shows how the policies, practices, forms and historical dynamics of the American empire repeat those of the British, leading up to the present climate of economic decline, treacherous intervention in the Middle East and overextended imperial confidence. A critical exercise in revisionist history and comparative social science, this book also offers a challenging theory of empire that recognizes the agency of non-Western peoples, the impact of global fields and the limits of imperial power.
James McDougall (CSSH 53-3, “The Secular State’s Islamic Empire: Muslim Spaces and Subjects of Jurisdiction in Paris and Algiers, 1905–1957″) and Judith Scheele (CSSH 49-2, “Recycling Baraka: Knowledge, Politics, and Religion in Contemporary Algeria”; and CSSH 50-4, “A Taste for Law: Rule-Making in Kabylia (Algeria)”) have published a co-edited volume Saharan Frontiers: Space and Mobility in Northwest Africa (Indiana University Press, 2012). The book’s blurb describes it as follows:
The Sahara has long been portrayed as a barrier that divides the Mediterranean world from Africa proper and isolates the countries of the Maghrib from their southern and eastern neighbors. Rather than viewing the desert as an isolating barrier, this volume takes up historian Fernand Braudel’s description of the Sahara as “the second face of the Mediterranean.” The essays recast the history of the region with the Sahara at its center, uncovering a story of densely interdependent networks that span the desert’s vast expanse. They explore the relationship between the desert’s “islands” and “shores” and the connections and commonalities that unite the region. Contributors draw on extensive ethnographic and historical research to address topics such as trade and migration; local notions of place, territoriality, and movement; Saharan cities; and the links among ecological, regional, and world-historical approaches to understanding the Sahara.
E. Natalie Rothman (CSSH 51-4, “Interpreting Dragomans: Boundaries and Crossings in the Early Modern Mediterranean”) has just published Brokering Empire: Trans-Imperial Subjects between Venice and Istambul (Cornell University Press, 2011). The book is summarized on the press website:
In Brokering Empire, E. Natalie Rothman explores the intersecting worlds of those who regularly traversed the early modern Venetian-Ottoman frontier, including colonial migrants, redeemed slaves, merchants, commercial brokers, religious converts, and diplomatic interpreters. In their sustained interactions across linguistic, religious, and political lines these trans-imperial subjects helped to shape shifting imperial and cultural boundaries, including the emerging distinction between Europe and the Levant. Rothman argues that the period from 1570 to 1670 witnessed a gradual transformation in how Ottoman difference was conceived within Venetian institutions. Thanks in part to the activities of trans-imperial subjects, an early emphasis on juridical and commercial criteria gave way to conceptions of difference based on religion and language. Rothman begins her story in Venice’s bustling marketplaces, where commercial brokers often defied the state’s efforts both to tax foreign merchants and define Venetian citizenship. The story continues in a Venetian charitable institution where converts from Islam and Judaism and their Catholic Venetian patrons negotiated their mutual transformation. The story ends with Venice’s diplomatic interpreters, the dragomans, who not only produced and disseminated knowledge about the Ottomans but also created dense networks of kinship and patronage across imperial boundaries. Rothman’s new conceptual and empirical framework sheds light on institutional practices for managing juridical, religious, and ethnolinguistic difference in the Mediterranean and beyond.
Former CSSH Editorial Assistant Genese Marie Sodikoff has published Forest and Labor in Madagascar: From Colonial Concession to Global Biosphere (Indiana University Press, 2012). It is described as follows by the press:
Protecting the unique plants and animals that live on Madagascar while fueling economic growth has been a priority for the Malagasy state, international donors, and conservation NGOs since the late 1980s. Forest and Labor in Madagascar shows how poor rural workers who must make a living from the forest balance their needs with the desire of the state to earn foreign revenue from ecotourism and forest-based enterprises. Genese Marie Sodikoff examines how the appreciation and protection of Madagascar’s biodiversity depend on manual labor. She exposes the moral dilemmas workers face as both conservation representatives and peasant farmers by pointing to the hidden costs of ecological conservation.
Wilson Chacko Jacob (CSSH 49-3, “Eventful Transformations: Al-Futuwwa between History and the Everyday”) has published a new book, Working Out Egypt: Effendi Masculinity and Subject Formation in Colonial Modernity, 1870–1940 (Duke University Press, 2011). The press website describes the book as follows:
Working Out Egypt is both a rich cultural history of the formation of an Egyptian national subject in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth and a compelling critique of modern Middle Eastern historiography. Wilson Chacko Jacob describes how Egyptian men of a class akin to the cultural bourgeoisie (the effendiyya) struggled to escape from the long shadow cast by colonial depictions of the East as degenerate, feminine, and temporally behind an active and virile Europe. He argues that during British colonial rule (1882–1936), attempts to create a distinctively modern and Egyptian self free from the colonial gaze led to the formation of an ambivalent, performative subjectivity that he calls “effendi masculinity.” Jacob traces effendi masculinity as it took hold during the interwar years, in realms from scouting and competitive sports to sex talk and fashion, considering its gendered performativity in relation to a late-nineteenth-century British discourse on masculinity and empire and an explicitly nationalist discourse on Egyptian masculinity. He contends that as an assemblage of colonial modernity, effendi masculinity was simultaneously local and global, national and international, and particular and universal. Until recently, modern Egyptian history has not allowed for such paradoxes; instead, Egyptian modernity has been narrated in the temporal and spatial terms of a separate Western modernity.
Erik Mueggler (CSSH 53-1, “Bodies Real and Virtual: Joseph Rock and Enrico Caruso in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands”; CSSH Editorial Committee) has just published The Paper Road: Archive and Experience in the Botanical Exploration of West China and Tibet (University of California Press, 2011). As described on the UC Press website:
This exhilarating book interweaves the stories of two early twentieth-century botanists to explore the collaborative relationships each formed with Yunnan villagers in gathering botanical specimens from the borderlands between China, Tibet, and Burma. Erik Mueggler introduces Scottish botanist George Forrest, who employed Naxi adventurers in his fieldwork from 1906 until his death in 1932. We also meet American Joseph Francis Charles Rock, who, in 1924, undertook a dangerous expedition to Gansu and Tibet with the sons and nephews of Forrest’s workers. Mueggler describes how the Naxi workers and their Western employers rendered the earth into specimens, notes, maps, diaries, letters, books, photographs, and ritual manuscripts. Drawing on an ancient metaphor of the earth as a book, Mueggler provides a sustained meditation on what can be copied, translated, and revised and what can be folded back into the earth.
We were pleased to hear that the recent book by Farina Mir (CSSH 48-3, “Genre and Devotion in Punjabi Popular Narratives: Rethinking Cultural and Religious Syncretism”), titled The Social Space of Language: Vernacular Culture in British Colonial Punjab (University of California Press, 2010; see below for details), is the first winner of The American Historical Association’s John F. Richards Prize in South Asian History, which “recognizes the most distinguished work of scholarship on South Asian history published in English during the previous calendar year.”
We congratulate Nicolas Argenti, whose 2010 CSSH paper, “Things that Don`t Come by the Road: Folktales, Fosterage, and Memories of Slavery in the Cameroon Grassfields” (52-2), has won the American Society for Ethnohistory (ASE) 2010 Robert F. Heizer Article Award. The Heizer award began in 1980 to honor noted ethnohistorian and archaeologist Dr. Robert F. Heizer and is given yearly in recognition of the best article in the field of ethnohistory.
Andrew Bickford (CSSH 51-2, “Soldiers, Citizens, and the State: East German Army Officers in Post-Unification Germany”) has published Fallen Elites: The Military Other in Post-Unification Germany (Stanford University Press, 2011). The press describes the book as follows:
Military officers are often the first to be considered politically dangerous when a state loses its authority. Overnight, actions once considered courageous are deemed criminal, and men once praised as heroes are redefined as villains. In Fallen Elites, Andrew Bickford examines how states make soldiers and what happens to fallen military elites when they no longer fit into the political spectrum. Gaining unprecedented entry into the lives of former East German officers in unified Germany, Bickford relates how these men and their families have come to terms with the shock of unification, capitalism, and citizenship since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Often caricatured as unrepentant, hard-line communists, former officers recount how they have struggled with their identities and much-diminished roles. Their disillusionment speaks to global questions about the contentious relationship between the military, citizenship, masculinity, and state formation today. Casting a critical eye on Western triumphalism, they provide a new perspective on our own deep-seated assumptions about “soldier making,” both at home and abroad.
Warwick Anderson (CSSH 54-1, “Scientific Patriotism: Medical Science and National Self-Fashioning in Southeast Asia”) has just co-edited (with Deborah Jenson and Richard C. Keller) Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignties (Duke University Press, 2011). Contributors include Warwick’s CSSH co-author Hans Pols, as well as Anderson, Alice Bullard, John Cash, Joy Damousi, Didier Fassin, Christiane Hartnack, Deborah Jenson, Richard C. Keller, Ranjana Khanna, and Mariano Plotkin. As described on the press website:
By the 1920s, psychoanalysis was a technology of both the late-colonial state and anti-imperialism. Insights from psychoanalysis shaped European and North American ideas about the colonial world and the character and potential of native cultures. Psychoanalytic discourse, from Freud’s description of female sexuality as a “dark continent” to his conceptualization of primitive societies and the origins of civilization, became inextricable from the ideologies underlying European expansionism. But as it was adapted in the colonies and then the postcolonies, psychoanalysis proved surprisingly useful for theorizing anticolonialism and postcolonial trauma. Our understandings of culture, citizenship, and self have a history that is colonial and psychoanalytic, but, until now, this intersection has scarcely been explored, much less examined in comparative perspective. Taking on that project, Unconscious Dominions assembles essays based on research in Australia, Brazil, France, Haiti, and Indonesia, as well as India, North Africa, and West Africa. Even as they reveal the modern psychoanalytic subject as constitutively colonial, they shed new light on how that subject went global: how people around the world came to recognize the hybrid configuration of unconscious, ego, and superego in themselves and others.
Columbus and the Quest for Jerusalem (Free Press, 2011) is the title of a new book by Carol Delaney (CSSH 48-2: “Columbus’s Ultimate Goal: Jerusalem”). The following is extracted from a description on the press website:
Five hundred years after he set sail, the dominant understanding of Christopher Columbus holds him responsible for almost everything that went wrong in the New World. Here, finally, is a book that will radically change our interpretation of the man and his mission. Scholar Carol Delaney claims that the true motivation for Columbus’ voyages is very different from what is commonly accepted. She argues that he was inspired to find a western route to the Orient not only to obtain vast sums of gold for the Spanish Crown but primarily to help fund a new crusade to take Jerusalem from the Muslims—a goal that sustained him until the day he died. Rather than an avaricious glory hunter, Delaney reveals Columbus as a man of deep passion, patience, and religious conviction.
Graham M. Jones (CSSH 52-1: “Modern Magic and the War on Miracles in French Colonial Culture”) has just published Trade of the Tricks: Inside the Magician’s Craft (University of California Press, 2011):
From risqué cabaret performances to engrossing after-hours shop talk, Trade of the Tricks offers an unprecedented look inside the secretive subculture of modern magicians. Entering the flourishing Paris magic scene as an apprentice, Graham M. Jones gives a firsthand account of how magicians learn to perform their astonishing deceptions. He follows the day-to-day lives of some of France’s most renowned performers, revealing not only how secrets are created and shared, but also how they are stolen and destroyed. In a book brimming with humor and surprise, Jones shows how today’s magicians marshal creativity and passion in striving to elevate their amazing skill into high art. The book’s lively cast of characters includes female and queer performers whose work is changing the face of a historically masculine genre.
Arab Detroit 9/11: Life in the Terror Decade, edited by Nabeel Abraham, Sally Howell, and Andrew Shryock (CSSH Editor), was published in September (Wayne State University Press, 2011):
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Detroit’s large and nationally prominent Arab and Muslim communities have faced heightened prejudice, government surveillance, and political scapegoating, yet they have also enjoyed unexpected gains in economic, political, and cultural influence. Museums, festivals, and cultural events flourish alongside the construction of new mosques and churches, and more Arabs are being elected and appointed to public office. Detroit’s Arab population is growing even as the city’s non-Arab sectors, and the state of Michigan as a whole, have steadily lost population. This collection, a follow-up to their volume Arab Detroit: From Margin to Mainstream (Wayne State University Press, 2000), presents accounts of how life in post-9/11 Detroit has changed over the last ten years…. Readers interested in Arab studies, Detroit culture and history, transnational politics, and the changing dynamics of race and ethnicity in America will enjoy the personal reflection and analytical insight of Arab Detroit 9/11.” Contributors: Nabeel Abraham, Kristine J. Ajrouch, Khadigah Alasry, Hayan Charara, Yasmeen Hanoosh, Sally Howell, Amaney Jamal, Lawrence Joseph, Kim Schopmeyer, Mujan Seif, Andrew Shryock, Abdulkader H. Sinno, Matthew W. Stiffler, Eren Tatari, Rachel Yezbick, William Youmans.
A new collection includes contributions by several CSSH authors. Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present (University of California, 2011) is edited by Andrew Shryock (CSSH Editor) and Daniel Lord Smail (CSSH 54-1: “Violence and Predation in Late Medieval Mediterranean Europe”). Other Contributors are Gillian Feeley-Harnik (CSSH Editorial Committee), Felipe Fernández-Armesto (CSSH 51-1, “History beyond History: New Adventurers on the Frontiers of Traditional Historiography. A Review Essay”), Clive Gamble, April McMahon, John C. Mitani, Hendrik Poinar, Mary C. Stiner, and Thomas R. Trautmann (former CSSH Editor, and CSSH 54-1: “Does India Have History? Does History Have India?”).
Humans have always been interested in their origins, but historians have been reluctant to write about the long stretches of time before the invention of writing. In fact, the deep past was left out of most historical writing almost as soon as it was discovered. This breakthrough book, as important for readers interested in the present as in the past, brings science into history to offer a dazzling new vision of humanity across time. Team-written by leading experts in a variety of fields, it maps events, cultures, and eras across millions of years to present a new scale for understanding the human body, energy and ecosystems, language, food, kinship, migration, and more. Combining cutting-edge social and evolutionary theory with the latest discoveries about human genes, brains, and material culture, Deep History invites scholars and general readers alike to explore the dynamic of connectedness that spans all of human history.
Stanford University Press has just published a book by Tijana Krstić (CSSH 51-1: “Illuminated by the Light of Islam and the Glory of the Ottoman Sultanate: Self-Narratives of Conversion to Islam in the Age of Confessionalization”), titled, Contested Conversions to Islam Narratives of Religious Change in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (Stanford University Press, 2011):
This book explores how Ottoman Muslims and Christians understood the phenomenon of conversion to Islam from the 15th to the 17th centuries, when the Ottoman Empire was at the height of its power and conversions to Islam peaked. Because the Ottomans ruled over a large non-Muslim population and extended greater opportunities to converts than to native-born Muslims, conversion to Islam was a contentious subject for all communities, especially Muslims themselves. By producing narratives about conversion, Ottoman Muslim and Christian authors sought to define the boundaries and membership of their communities while promoting their own religious and political agendas. Krstic argues that the production and circulation of narratives about conversion to Islam was central to the articulation of Ottoman imperial identity and Sunni Muslim “orthodoxy” in the long 16th century. Placing the evolution of Ottoman attitudes toward conversion and converts in the broader context of Mediterranean-wide religious trends and the Ottoman rivalry with the Habsburgs and Safavids, Contested Conversions to Islam also introduces new sources, such as first-person conversion narratives and Orthodox Christian neomartyologies, to reveal the interplay of individual, (inter)communal, local, and imperial initiatives that influenced the process of conversion.
Andrew Zimmerman (CSSH 48-2: “’What Do You Really Want in German East Africa, Herr Professor?’ Counterinsurgency and the Science Effect in Colonial Tanzania) recently published Alabama in Africa: Booker T. Washington, the German Empire, and the Globalization of the New South (Princeton University Press, 2009):
In 1901, the Tuskegee Institute, founded by Booker T. Washington, sent an expedition to the German colony of Togo in West Africa, with the purpose of transforming the region into a cotton economy similar to that of the post-Reconstruction American South. Alabama in Africa explores the politics of labor, sexuality, and race behind this endeavor, and the economic, political, and intellectual links connecting Germany, Africa, and the southern United States. The cross-fertilization of histories and practices led to the emergence of a global South, reproduced social inequities on both sides of the Atlantic, and pushed the American South and the German Empire to the forefront of modern colonialism. Zimmerman shows how the people of Togo, rather than serving as a blank slate for American and German ideologies, helped shape their region’s place in the global South. He looks at the forms of resistance pioneered by African American freedpeople, Polish migrant laborers, African cotton cultivators, and other groups exploited by, but never passive victims of, the growing colonial political economy. Zimmerman reconstructs the social science of the global South formulated by such thinkers as Max Weber and W.E.B. Du Bois, and reveals how their theories continue to define contemporary race, class, and culture. Tracking the intertwined histories of Europe, Africa, and the Americas at the turn of the century, Alabama in Africa shows how the politics and economics of the segregated American South significantly reshaped other areas of the world.
A book by Douglas Rogers (CSSH 48-4: “How to Be a Khoziain in a Transforming State: State Formation and the Ethics of Governance in Post-Soviet Russia”; and 53-3 , “Fixers in Motion: A Conversation”), titled The Old Faith and the Russian Land: A Historical Ethnography of Ethics in the Urals (Cornell University Press, 2009), which includes a chapter originally published in CSSH, won Honorable Mention for the 2010 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion given by the Society for the Anthropology of Religion, and also for the 2010 Davis Center Prize in Social and Political Studies awarded by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. The press describes the book as follows:
The Old Faith and the Russian Land is a historical ethnography that charts the ebbs and flows of ethical practice in a small Russian town over three centuries. The town of Sepych was settled in the late seventeenth century by religious dissenters who fled to the forests of the Urals to escape a world they believed to be in the clutches of the Antichrist. Factions of Old Believers, as these dissenters later came to be known, have maintained a presence in the town ever since. The townspeople of Sepych have also been serfs, free peasants, collective farmers, and, now, shareholders in a post-Soviet cooperative. Douglas Rogers traces connections between the town and some of the major transformations of Russian history, showing how townspeople have responded to a long series of attempts to change them and their communities: tsarist-era efforts to regulate family life and stamp out Old Belief on the Stroganov estates, Soviet collectivization drives and antireligious campaigns, and the marketization, religious revival, and ongoing political transformations of post-Soviet times. Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork and extensive archival and manuscript sources, Rogers argues that religious, political, and economic practice are overlapping arenas in which the people of Sepych have striven to be ethical—in relation to labor and money, food and drink, prayers and rituals, religious books and manuscripts, and the surrounding material landscape. He tracks the ways in which ethical sensibilities—about work and prayer, hierarchy and inequality, gender and generation—have shifted and recombined over time. Rogers concludes that certain expectations about how to be an ethical person have continued to orient townspeople in Sepych over the course of nearly three centuries for specific, identifiable, and often unexpected reasons. Throughout, he demonstrates what a historical and ethnographic study of ethics might look like and uses this approach to ask new questions of Russian, Soviet, and post-Soviet history.
A 2009 book by Bruce Grant (CSSH 53-3, “Shrines and Sovereigns: Life, Death, and Religion in Rural Azerbaijan”), titled The Captive and the Gift: Cultural Histories of Sovereignty in Russia and the Caucasus (Cornell University Press) won Honorable Mention for the 2010 Davis Center Prize in Social and Political Studies awarded by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies. The announcement said the book is a “highly original case study, drawn from multi-media and interview sources and embedded in a rich intellectual discussion. It is a marvelously written and lyrical book.” The press website describes the book as follows:
The Caucasus region of Eurasia, wedged in between the Black and Caspian Seas, encompasses the modern territories of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, as well as the troubled republic of Chechnya in southern Russia. A site of invasion, conquest, and resistance since the onset of historical record, it has earned a reputation for fearsome violence and isolated mountain redoubts closed to outsiders. Over extended efforts to control the Caucasus area, Russians have long mythologized stories of their countrymen taken captive by bands of mountain brigands. In The Captive and the Gift, the anthropologist Bruce Grant explores the long relationship between Russia and the Caucasus and the means by which sovereignty has been exercised in this contested area. Taking his lead from Aleksandr Pushkin’s 1822 poem “Prisoner of the Caucasus,” Grant explores the extraordinary resonances of the themes of violence, captivity, and empire in the Caucasus through mythology, poetry, short stories, ballet, opera, and film. Grant argues that while the recurring Russian captivity narrative reflected a wide range of political positions, it most often and compellingly suggested a vision of Caucasus peoples as thankless, lawless subjects of empire who were unwilling to acknowledge and accept the gifts of civilization and protection extended by Russian leaders. Drawing on years of field and archival research, Grant moves beyond myth and mass culture to suggest how real-life Caucasus practices of exchange, by contrast, aimed to control and diminish rather than unleash and increase violence. The result is a historical anthropology of sovereign forms that underscores how enduring popular narratives and close readings of ritual practices can shed light on the management of pluralism in long-fraught world areas.
Christine M. Philliou (CSSH 51-1: “Communities on the Verge: Unraveling the Phanariot Ascendancy in Ottoman Governance”; and 53-3 , “Fixers in Motion: A Conversation”) has just published Biography of an Empire: Governing Ottomans in an Age of Revolution (University of California Press, 2011).
This vividly detailed revisionist history opens a new vista on the great Ottoman Empire in the early nineteenth century, a key period often seen as the eve of Tanzimat westernizing reforms and the beginning of three distinct histories—ethnic nationalism in the Balkans, imperial modernization from Istanbul, and European colonialism in the Middle East. Christine Philliou brilliantly shines a new light on imperial crisis and change in the 1820s and 1830s by unearthing the life of one man. Stephanos Vogorides (1780–1859) was part of a network of Christian elites known phanariots, institutionally excluded from power yet intimately bound up with Ottoman governance. By tracing the contours of the wide-ranging networks—crossing ethnic, religious, and institutional boundaries—in which the phanariots moved, Philliou provides a unique view of Ottoman power and, ultimately, of the Ottoman legacies in the Middle East and Balkans today. What emerges is a wide-angled analysis of governance as a lived experience at a moment in which there was no clear blueprint for power.
Niels Brimnes (CSSH 52-1: “Medical Modernization and Medical Nationalism: Resistance to Mass Tuberculosis Vaccination in Postcolonial India, 1948–1955,” with Christian W. McMillen) has co-edited a collection (with Christina Folke Ax, Niklas Thode Jensen, and Karen Oslund) titled Cultivating the Colonies: Colonial States and Their Environmental Legacies (Ohio University Press, Research in International Studies: Global and Comparative Studies No. 12, 2011).
The essays … demonstrate how the relationship between colonial power and nature reveals the nature of power. Each essay explores how colonial governments translated ideas about the management of exotic nature and foreign people into practice, and how they literally “got their hands dirty” in the business of empire…. The eleven essays include studies of animal husbandry in the Philippines, farming in Indochina, and indigenous medicine in India. They are global in scope, ranging from the Russian North to Mozambique, examining the consequences of colonialism on nature, including its impact on animals, fisheries, farmlands, medical practices, and even the diets of indigenous people.
Craig Jeffrey (CSSH 51-1: “Fixing Futures: Educated Unemployment through a North Indian Lens”; and 53-3 , “Fixers in Motion: A Conversation”) has published Timepass: Youth, Class, and the Politics of Waiting in India (Stanford University Press, 2010).
Social and economic changes around the globe have propelled increasing numbers of people into situations of chronic waiting, where promised access to political freedoms, social goods, or economic resources is delayed, often indefinitely. But there have been few efforts to reflect on the significance of “waiting” in the contemporary world. Timepass fills this gap by offering a captivating ethnography of the student politics and youth activism that lower middle class young men in India have undertaken in response to pervasive underemployment. It highlights the importance of waiting as a social experience and basis for political mobilization, the micro-politics of class power in north India, and the socio-economic strategies of lower middle classes. The book also explores how this north Indian story relates to practices of waiting occurring in multiple other contexts, making the book of interest to scholars and students of globalization, youth studies, and class across the social sciences.”
CSSH Editor Andrew Shryock recently published an edited volume, Islamophobia/ Islamophilia: Beyond the Politics of Enemy and Friend (Indiana University Press, 2010), which includes contributions by himself and four other CSSH authors: Lara Deeb (CSSH 50-2), Esra Özyürek (51-1), Mucahit Bilici (53-3), and Muhammad Qasim Zaman (41-2), along with Tomaž Mastnak, Naamah Paley, Moustafa Bayoumi, Paul Silverstein, and Sally Howell.
“Islamophobia” is a term that has been widely applied to anti-Muslim ideas and actions, especially since 9/11. The contributors to this provocative volume explore and critique the usefulness of the concept for understanding contexts ranging from the Middle Ages to the modern day. Moving beyond familiar explanations such as good Muslim/bad Muslim stereotypes or the “clash of civilizations,” they describe Islamophobia’s counterpart, Islamophilia, which deploys similar oppositions in the interest of fostering public acceptance of Islam. Contributors address topics such as conflicts over Islam outside and within Muslim communities in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia; the cultural politics of literature, humor, and urban renewal; and religious conversion to Islam.
Farina Mir (CSSH 48-3, “Genre and Devotion in Punjabi Popular Narratives: Rethinking Cultural and Religious Syncretism”) recently published The Social Space of Language: Vernacular Culture in British Colonial Punjab (University of California Press, 2010). [This book has since this posting been awarded The American Historical Association’s John F. Richards Prize in South Asian History; and the Association for Asian Studies SAC Bernard S. Cohn Book Prize (see above)].
This rich cultural history set in Punjab examines a little-studied body of popular literature to illustrate both the durability of a vernacular literary tradition and the limits of colonial dominance in British India. Farina Mir asks how qisse, a vibrant genre of epics and romances, flourished in colonial Punjab despite British efforts to marginalize the Punjabi language. She explores topics including Punjabi linguistic practices, print and performance, and the symbolic content of qisse. She finds that although the British denied Punjabi language and literature almost all forms of state patronage, the resilience of this popular genre came from its old but dynamic corpus of stories, their representations of place, and the moral sensibility that suffused them. Her multidisciplinary study reframes inquiry into cultural formations in late-colonial north India away from a focus on religious communal identities and nationalist politics and toward a widespread, ecumenical, and place-centered poetics of belonging in the region.
Carole McGranahan (CSSH 52-4, “Narrative Dispossession: Tibet and the Gendered Logics of Historical Possibility”) recently published Arrested Histories: Tibet, the CIA, and Memories of a Forgotten War (Duke University Press, 2010):
In the 1950s, thousands of ordinary Tibetans rose up to defend their country and religion against Chinese troops. Five decades later, their story is only beginning to be told and has not yet entered the annals of Tibetan national history. In Arrested Histories, the anthropologist and historian Carole McGranahan asks how and why histories of this citizens’ resistance army were “arrested” and what the ensuing repercussions are for the Tibetan refugee community. Drawing on rich ethnographic and historic research, McGranahan tells the story of the Tibetan resistance and the still unfolding social processes through which their history is made and unmade, lived and forgotten in the present. The resistance army fought through 1974 with covert support from the Tibetan exile government, the governments of India and Nepal, and the U.S. government including the CIA. Veterans’ desires for historical recognition hinge on the Dalai Lama and historical arrest, a practice in which the telling of certain pasts is prohibited until an undetermined time in the future. In this analysis, Tibetan cultural politics, regional identities, and religious commitments cannot be disentangled from imperial histories, contemporary geopolitics, and romanticized representations of Tibet and vice versa. Moving deftly from the military battlefield to nonviolent hunger strikes, from diplomatic offices to refugee camps, Arrested Histories provides powerful insights into the cultural contradictions of everyday life including struggles over history as one of the pains of belonging.
Katherine E. Hoffman (CSSH 52-4, “Berber Law by French Means: Customary Courts in the Moroccan Hinterlands, 1930–1956”) and Susan Gilson Miller recently published the edited volume Berbers and Others: Beyond Tribe and Nation in the Maghrib (Indiana University Press, 2010):
Berbers and Others offers fresh perspectives on new forms of social and political activism in today’s Maghrib. In recent years, the Amazigh (Berber) movement has become a focus of widespread political, social, and cultural attention in North Africa, Europe, and the United States. Berber groups have peacefully yet persistently laid claim to ownership over broad areas of creativity in the arts, politics, literature, education, and national memory. The contributors to this volume present some of the best new thinking in the emerging field of Berber studies, offering insight into historical antecedents, language usage, land rights, household economies, artistic production, and human rights. The scope, depth, and multidisciplinary approach will engage specialists on the Maghrib as well as students of ethnicity, social and political change, and cultural innovation.
Steffen Hertog (CSSH 52-2, “The Sociology of the Gulf Rentier Systems: Societies of Intermediaries”) is the author of Princes, Brokers, and Bureaucrats: Oil and the State in Saudi Arabia (Cornell University Press, 2010). The press website describes the book as,
the most thorough treatment of the political economy of Saudi Arabia to date, Steffen Hertog uncovers an untold history of how the elite rivalries and whims of half a century ago have shaped today’s Saudi state and are reflected in its policies. Starting in the late 1990s, Saudi Arabia embarked on an ambitious reform campaign to remedy its long-term economic stagnation. The results have been puzzling for both area specialists and political economists: Saudi institutions have not failed across the board, as theorists of the ‘rentier state’ would predict, nor have they achieved the all-encompassing modernization the regime has touted. Instead, the kingdom has witnessed a bewildering mélange of thorough failures and surprising successes. Hertog argues that it is traits peculiar to the Saudi state that make sense of its uneven capacities. Oil rents since World War II have shaped Saudi state institutions in ways that are far from uniform. Oil money has given regime elites unusual leeway for various institutional experiments in different parts of the state: in some cases creating massive rent-seeking networks deeply interwoven with local society; in others large but passive bureaucracies; in yet others insulated islands of remarkable efficiency. This process has fragmented the Saudi state into an uncoordinated set of vertically divided fiefdoms. Case studies of foreign investment reform, labor market nationalization and WTO accession reveal how this oil-funded apparatus enables swift and successful policy-making in some policy areas, but produces coordination and regulation failures in others.
Susanne E. Freidberg has won the 2008 Berkshire Article Prize for “The Triumph of the Egg,” (CSSH 50-2). The selection committee had this to say about Freidberg’s essay:
What is a “fresh” egg and how did Americans’ imaginings of what constituted a “naturally” fresh egg change over the twentieth century? Reminding us that eggs were once a seasonal crop available primarily in the spring from local family farmers, Susanne Freidberg historicizes the concept of freshness through a focus on changes in the production and marketing of eggs. From early twentieth-century cold storage techniques which allowed eggs to be sold as “fresh” months after they were laid to New Deal era electrification projects which modernized hen houses, altering the birds’ life cycles, Freidberg traces the efforts of producers and marketers to have a year round supply of eggs, and of consumers to ensure fair prices and healthier standards. Engineering “seasonless freshness,” Freidberg argues, increasingly came to depend not so much on manipulating the egg after it left the hen house and more on manipulating the hens who produced them. Tracing the technological changes that eventually made hens “full-time, year-round workers” and egg production big business, pushing out many small farmers, Freidberg deftly pulls together histories of food production, food commerce, food consumption, civic activism, and regulatory change. Freidberg tells a story of the chicken and the egg which entwines what is happening in hen houses and in family kitchens with developments in research labs, warehouses and retail markets, and legislative chambers. The result is both a history of scientific changes and a fine social and cultural analysis which encourages us to wonder about our own conceptions of freshness in the contemporary global food market and provides a model of history study both methodologically sophisticated and marvelously engaging.
Paul Gootenberg’s article, “A Forgotten Case of ‘Scientific Excellence on the Periphery': The Nationalist Cocaine Science of Alfredo Bignon, 1884–1887″ (CSSH 49-1), was awarded the 2008 Best Article Prize of the New England Council of Latin American Studies. Paul has since published a book that expands on material in his CSSH paper: Andean Cocaine: The Making of a Global Drug (University of North Carolina Press, 2009), which UNC Press described as follows:
Illuminating a hidden and fascinating chapter in the history of globalization, Paul Gootenberg chronicles the rise of one of the most spectacular and now illegal Latin American exports: cocaine. Gootenberg traces cocaine’s history from its origins as a medical commodity in the nineteenth century to its repression during the early twentieth century and its dramatic reemergence as an illicit good after World War II. Connecting the story of the drug’s transformations is a host of people, products, and processes: Sigmund Freud, Coca-Cola, and Pablo Escobar all make appearances, exemplifying the global influences that have shaped the history of cocaine. But Gootenberg decenters the familiar story to uncover the roles played by hitherto obscure but vital Andean actors as well—for example, the Peruvian pharmacist who developed the techniques for refining cocaine on an industrial scale and the creators of the original drug-smuggling networks that decades later would be taken over by Colombian traffickers. Andean Cocaine proves indispensable to understanding one of the most vexing social dilemmas of the late twentieth-century Americas: the American cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and, in its wake, the seemingly endless U.S. drug war in the Andes.
Andean Cocaine was designated a Choice “Outstanding Academic Title” for 2009. The book is reviewed by Mac Marshall in CSSH 51-4. In 2010, Paul published an expanded and revised Spanish-language edition of his CSSH essay as a small book, including an appendix of primary documents, entitled, La Invención de la cocaína: la historia de Alfredo Bignon y la ciencia nacional peruanua (1884–1890). It was published by the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos in Lima, Peru’s leading social science press, and was translated by Magally Alegre-Henderson. Paul has also recently co-edited a volume with Luis Reygadas, titled Indelible Inequalities in Latin America: Insights from History, Politics, and Culture (Duke University Press, 2010):
Since the earliest years of European colonialism, Latin America has been a region of seemingly intractable inequalities, marked by a stark divide between the haves and the have-nots. This collection illuminates the diverse processes that have combined to produce and reproduce inequalities in Latin America, as well as some of the implications of those processes for North Americans. Anthropologists, cultural critics, historians, and political scientists from North and South America offer new and varied perspectives, building on the sociologist Charles Tilly’s relational framework for understanding enduring inequalities. While one essay is a broad yet nuanced analysis of Latin American inequality and its persistence, another is a fine-grained ethnographic view of everyday life and aspirations among shantytown residents living on the outskirts of Lima. Other essays address topics such as the initial bifurcation of Peru’s healthcare system into one for urban workers and another for the rural poor, the asymmetrical distribution of political information in Brazil, and an evolving Cuban “aesthetics of inequality,” which incorporates hip-hop and other transnational cultural currents. Exploring the dilemmas of Latin American inequalities as they are playing out in the United States, a contributor looks at new immigrant Mexican farmworkers in upstate New York to show how undocumented workers become a vulnerable rural underclass. Taken together, the essays extend social inequality critiques in important new directions. Contributors: Jeanine Anderson, Javier Auyero, Odette Casamayor, Christina Ewig, Paul Gootenberg, Margaret Gray, Eric Hershberg, Lucio Renno, Luis Reygadas.
Sheilagh Ogilvie’s article, “‘So that Every Subject Knows How to Behave': Social Disciplining in Early Modern Bohemia” (CSSH 48-1), has been awarded the 2008 Stanely Z. Pech Prize by the Czechoslovak Studies Association. The judges present a summary of Ogilvie’s argument on the Association’s webpage: They conclude with the comments:
This brief summary can hardly do justice to the subtlety of her arguments and her thoughtful, creative analysis of an impressive cache of research materials. Her conclusions promise to generate vibrant debate and her approach has the potential to transform the discussion of social disciplining, compelling it to become more grounded in enforcement data and thus better contextualized. She shows how scholars in our field can remain sensitive to the peculiarities of our region while engaging with larger, European issues and debates.
Two CSSH authors, Ussama Makdisi and Marc David Baer, shared the 2008 Albert Hourani Book Award of the Middle East Studies Association. More information about their books, and further discussion of themes they have explored on the pages of CSSH and elsewhere, are available in the following exchange: “Tolerance and Conversion in the Ottoman Empire: A Conversation,” with Marc Baer, Ussama Makdisi, and Andrew Shryock (CSSH 51-4).