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Archive for August, 2010

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!

While its hard to imagine otherwise, Italians have not always embraced the tomato as part of their national cuisine. In a late summer love letter to the tomato the New York Post describes the history of the tomato in Italy as told by David Gentilcore in the book Pomodoro!

Here the Post details the turning point when the tomato went from a strange and horrible killer to a kitchen staple:

While Italian cuisine we think of today would be impossible to imagine without its tomatoes, the historical process of turning the maligned vegetable into a favored edible was slow. Gentilcore discovers that attitudes toward the tomato finally began to change by the mid-17th century when medical books were allowing that the acidity of the tomato could actually help digestion, and recipes from the New World for chopped tomatoes with fresh chiles were making their way to Italy. Italian food writers started paying more attention to flavors and using tomatoes in their cooking.

Elsewhere, the blog The Crispy Cook has a roundtable discussion of Pomodoro! going. They’ve even got recipes!

Monday, August 30th, 2010

The Velvet Lounge – Great Chicago Jazz Reads

The Velvet Lounge

The Chicago Tribune book blog Printers Row recently posted a round-up of the greatest books about the Chicago jazz scene. Printers Row called out for its jazz-like prose Gerald Majer’s The Velvet Lounge: On Late Chicago Jazz. The book is named for Fred Anderson’s famous Chicago jazz club, and features a unique hybrid of memoir, biography, and music theory.

Friday, August 27th, 2010

India’s Forced Labor — Siddharth Kara

Sex TraffickingSiddharth Kara, author of Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery, continues his extraordinary series on CNN.com with a look at forced labor in India.

Kara has been traveling in South Asia researching bonded labor and in his latest installment he describes the labor exploitation in the stone crushing and beddi rolling industries. He writes:

One of the forms of bonded labour I researched for the first time during this trip was stone crushing in Haryana. Try to imagine lifting an 18 kg metal hammer over your head, then flailing it down with all your strength into hard stone.

Now try to imagine doing this in 40 C heat, with minimal food and water, twelve to fourteen hours a day, for a wage of $0.02 per square foot of stone you manage to crush. Finally, imagine you may receive half this wage now and then, or half of it may be deducted for debt repayment.

(more…)

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Avner Cohen — Bringing Israel’s Bomb Out of the Basement

Avner Cohen, Worst-Kept SecretIn an op-ed from yesterday’s New York Times Avner Cohen, author of the forthcoming book The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain with the Bomb, and Marvin Miller argue for Israel to end its policy of opacity regarding its possession of nuclear weapons.

As Cohen and Miller explain, “Israel neither affirms nor denies its possession of nuclear weapons; indeed, the government refuses to say anything factual about its nuclear activities, and Israeli citizens are encouraged, both by law and by custom, to follow suit.” This policy has been in effect since Richard Nixon and Golda Meir brokered a secret pact in which the United States would tolerate and shield Israel’s nuclear program as long as Israel did not advertise possession of nuclear weapons.

However, Cohen and Miller contend this policy jeopardizes the Middle East peace process and Israel’s standing in the international community. Cohen and Miller write:

Israel needs to recognize, moreover, that the Middle East peace process is linked to the issue of nuclear weapons in the region. International support for Israel and its opaque bomb is being increasingly eroded by its continued occupation of Palestinian territory and the policies that support that occupation. Such criticism of these policies might well spill over into the nuclear domain, making Israel vulnerable to the charge that it is a nuclear-armed pariah state, and thus associating it to an uncomfortable degree with today’s rogue Iranian regime.

(more…)

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Back to School — A Questionnaire from What to Do When College Is Not the Best Time of Your Life

What to Do When College Is Not the Best TimeDavid Leibow’s new book What to Do When College Is Not the Best Time of Your Life comes just in time for those returning to school, particularly for those whose experience has been disappointing.

At the beginning of his book, Leibow presents a questionnaire designed “to help you clarify whether you’re having the college experience you hoped for—and that you still could have if you made a few changes.” Below are some questions from the questionnaire and you can download it in its entirety here :

General
1. Is college a disappointment? Is it less fulfilling or fun than youthought it would be?
2. Are you having more trouble fitting in or getting adjustedthan you expected?
3. Do you think about transferring or dropping out?
4. Do you feel you’re not ready to be in college or in this college?
5. Do you feel lost, confused, overwhelmed, stressed out, or sad a lot of the time?
6. Do you get anxious or depressed when you think of returning to college at the end of a vacation or visit home?
7. Does it seem as though everyone else is enjoying college more and adjusting to it better than you are?

(more…)

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Interview with James Fleming, Author of Fixing the Sky

Fleming

In an interview earlier this year with SciCom, James Rodger Fleming, author of Fixing the Sky: The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control, discussed his new book and some of the history and science associated with weather and climate control.

Fleming argues that we should be wary of geoengineering and the implications of altering the weather using technology. He also suggests that discussions about climate warming and climate control has become too technical and fails to incorporate social, cultural, and political factors. What is needed is a multidisciplinary approach that also incorporates the views of non-Westerners and women.

In responding to a question of his first exposure to attempts to control weather using weapons, Fleming responds:

When I was a student of atmospheric science, I became aware of weather control, but I wasn’t convinced about its usefulness. There was a military guy, a corporal. He was trying to get his master’s degree in atmospheric science as part of an Air Force rotation. His project was to shoot laser beams at clouds to see if he could make them get bigger and angrier. It never worked. But he had this mindset, well what do you do with a cloud? You shoot at it.

Fighting global warming, battling climate change. The language is full of that kind of metaphor. It’s a war against poverty, a war against drugs. A lot of technocrats and middle-aged males were deliberating this topic of weather control, a “boys with their toys” thing. You could use rockets, you could use high-altitude military balloons.

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Huffington Post on the 17 Most Innovative University Presses

The Huffington Post recently highlighted university presses, their distinctive lists, and what separates them from trade publishers.

Though the list of selected presses is somewhat idiosyncratic (some great presses were not included), the piece by Anis Shivani does nicely summarize what university presses have to offer: “They may not be into showmanship and high-stakes publicity maneuvers, but their steady, unrelenting focus on particular subject areas creates vast bodies of new knowledge….There are books here for everyone’s taste. Check out what these presses have to offer. You’ll often discover history, depth, seriousness, charm, and beautiful design–all at once.”

Here’s what the post had to say about Columbia titles.

If cutting-edge literary theory excites you, CUP is the place for you. Asian studies and literature, with a focus on core teaching courses, is another great specialization. In recent years CUP has published Theodor Adorno, Talal Asad, Peter Brown, Judith Butler, Eileen Chang, Arthur Danto, John Lewis Gaddis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Roald Hoffman, Donald Keene, Julia Kristeva, John Allen Paulos, John Rawls, Jeffrey Sachs, Edward Said, Joseph Stiglitz, Hervé This, and Kenneth Waltz. Film and media studies, Middle Eastern studies, and New York City history are other specialties. Intriguing new titles include Francois Dosse’s Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari: Intersecting Lives; David Foster Wallace’s Fate, Time, and Language; Roland Barthes’s The Preparation for the Novel; Giorgio Agamben et al.’s Democracy in What State?, David Omand’s Securing the State; Qian Zhongshu’s Humans, Beasts, and Ghosts; Xiaomei Chen’s The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Drama; Salma Khadra Jayyusi’s Classical Arabic Stories; and Steven D. Carter’s Haiku Before Haiku: From the Renga Masters to Basho.

Friday, August 20th, 2010

The Late Age of Print Coming to a Syllabus Near You

The Late Age of PrintThe Atlantic recently posted C. W. Anderson’s syllabus for his class at CUNY on the history of print culture. Anderson, who is also a a visiting fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project and a Knight Media Policy Fellow at the New America Foundation, describes the course:

The primary goal of this class is to teach students about the culture of “print media” in an era when that culture is being joined (and in some cases, overtaken) by a culture that we might variously call digital culture, online culture, or the culture of the web. What does “print” mean in our digital age? And what does “culture,” mean, for that matter? By culture I mean something that is not reducible to “economics,” “technology,” “politics,” or “organizations” — although culture emerges out of the nexus of these different factors, and others. In other words, I want to disabuse my students of the notion that new technologies or new economic arrangements can create digital or print culture in the same way that a cue ball hits a billiard ball on a pool table.

One of the books included on his list is Ted Striphas’s The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control. Anderson, writes “Striphas does a nice job of countering some of the techno-determinism present in many proclamations about the digital age, discussing how books and the book industry actually operate in the early 21st century. He’s also got a great blog, which I’m thinking will be just as valuable for the class as the book is.”

(more…)

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

The Rise of the Tomato — An Interview with David Gentilcore

Pomodoro!While some might say “tomato,” and others “tomahtoe,” the Italians say “Pomodoro!”

The tomato is, of course, a staple in Italian food but it was not always that way. As David Gentilcore explains in a recent Boston Globe interview regarding his new book, the aptly titled Pomodoro! A History of the Tomato in Italy, the popularity of the tomato in Italy is relatively recent. In fact such canonical dishes as pasta al pomodoro first became popular in Italian immigrant communities in Boston and New York City in the late nineteenth century.

When the tomato first came to Italy in the seventeenth century from the New World, it was regarded with suspicion. Gentilcore explains, “It’s a vine. Anything that grows along the ground was seen as a plant of low status, something you only give to peasants. And the tomato was thought to hinder digestion because it was cold and watery.”

So, what explains the rise of the tomato in Italy? According to Gentilcore:

Tomatoes took off in Italy because they became an industry, mostly for export. Italians were too poor to buy such things. Most of the country’s processed tomatoes are exported. In Italy, up until the 1950s, there was a large part of the country, even where they produce tomatoes, where they wouldn’t eat the stuff.

(more…)

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Hiroshima After Iraq — Rosalyn Deutsche on Political Art

In Hiroshima After Iraq: Three Studies in Art and War, Rosalyn Deutsche begins by citing a 2008 article in October that polled a group of “art world intellectuals” about artistic critiques of about the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. What emerged, she writes, “was a thinly disguised decline-and-fall jeremiad about opposition to war in which current antiwar activity appeared in an unfavorable light by contrast with that of the 1960s and seventies.”

In her introduction, Deutsche describes and critiques the responses in the October survey. Deutsche writes:

In my response to October’s survey, I argued that regression to heroic masculinism in the current situation of war isn’t confined to pro-war forces but extends to sectors of the left opposition, sectors that I have now identified as impatient and melancholic. Antiwar cultural criticism, that is, often uses the urgency of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to legitimize a return to a totalizing political analysis, and this return has a narcissistic dimension, not only because it idealizes an earlier political moment with which the left melancholic identifies himself but also because … this analysis once formed the basis of leftist self-love…. Predictably, then, today’s impatient criticism is impatient not only with the poetic or artistic … but also with feminist interrogations of the meaning of the political. For it was feminism, particularly psychoanalytic feminism, now often treated as a feminized luxury we can no longer afford, that explored the role played by totalizing images in producing and maintaining heroic, which is to say, warlike subjects.

In the book, Deutsche examines three contemporary videos that do critique the war in Iraq, and in which the thematic content of each “is an act of war: the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. One video—Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Hiroshima Projection of 1999—was made after the first Gulf War; the other two—Silvia Kolbowski’s After Hiroshima mon amour of 2005–2008 and Leslie Thornton’s Let Me Count the Ways —appeared after the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the launching of the ‘war on terror…. Each engages a Benjaminian type of memory that creates a constellation between past and present, in this case, past and present wars.”

For more information on the videos there is an interview with Krzysztof Wodiczko about Hiroshima Projection and information on Leslie Thornton’s Let Me Count the Ways.

And, below is a clip from Silvia Kolbowski’s After Hiroshima mon amour and you watch the full video here:

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Jonathan Soffer on Ed Koch’s Effort to Fight Corruption

Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York CityYesterday’s New York Times blog, the City Room, quoted Jonathan Soffer, author of the forthcoming Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York City, about Koch’s newly established organization New York Uprising. The group is dedicated to “to shame politicians who do not agree to a series of reforms, including tightening ethics rules and disclosing outside sources of income.”

Ed Koch is no stranger to political corruption and his own administration was not immune to it. However, Soffer argues that Koch himself is “is genuinely a reformer and wanted to have an honest city government. The lesson that Koch learned is that corruption is real — it isn’t just an exaggeration in the brains of reformers like himself.”

The article continues: “Dr. Soffer said the memory of those scandals might have encouraged the former mayor to fashion himself as an ‘elder statesman’ with a talent for taking on entrenched interests. ‘In a way, it’s a little bit of atoning for these deals that went bad during his administration,’ Dr. Soffer said.

In a related story, a recent feature in Crain’s New York Business asked Koch what he’s been reading lately. In addition to the proofs to Soffer’s book, he recently completed America’s Mayor: John Lindsay and the Reinvention of New York City. Though a fan of the book, here’s what Koch had to say about his predecssor, “I didn’t like Lindsay for political reasons. I forgive him now because I’m 85, and I’m forgiving everybody. It takes a lot of energy to hold a grudge, and I don’t want to waste any.”

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Charli Carpenter on WikiLeaks

Charli CarpenterIn a recent Foreign Policy article on the recent release by WikiLeaks of documents pertaining to the U.S. war in Afghanistan , Charli Carpenter, author of Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond, argues that WikiLeaks tools actually have enormous potential to save civilian lives in conflict zones — if standards can be created to use them properly.

Carpenter cites the release by WikiLeaks of video footage showing the apparent shooting of wounded non combatants by an Apache helicopter crew in Iraq. This, Carpenter suggests, “adds real value to the international regime governing the behavior of soldiers in wartime by promoting precisely the sort of accountability that the Geneva Conventions require but military culture tends to discourage.” She continues writing, “WikiLeaks could provide a solution — a reporting mechanism through which individual soldiers could report specific war crimes without fear of retribution.”

However, Carpenter also cautions that without any ethical or journalistic standards in place, WikiLeaks also risks not only undermining its mission but also risking further humiliation and pain for victims of war. Carpenter calls upon WikiLeaks to have more targeted release of documents, writing, “Imagine the potential of a more targeted approach — if WikiLeaks specialized only in receiving and publicizing reports of specific war crimes submitted by troops in the field. Instead of dumping 90,000 documents into the public domain and letting the chips fall where they may, the organization would serve as a conduit through which to reveal specific events that militaries might otherwise be tempted to cover up.”

Finally, WikiLeaks also needs to “place standards for how best to minimize collateral damage to the victims of war crimes.” The identities of Abu Ghraib torture victims or Bosnian women who had been raped were not carefully protected by journalists. Carpenter concludes by contending,

If WikiLeaks were to take the lead in developing best practices in this area, leveraging its information technology to balance truth-telling with the protection of victims and sources, it would set a standard that all journalists could follow.

Assange’s indiscriminate approach may have caused undue collateral damage this time around, the extent of which might never be known. But this doesn’t mean that the weapons of his trade should be banned or written off altogether. A more targeted whistle-blowing architecture of this type could save civilian lives in warfare — which is the whole point, after all.

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Test Your Knowledge of Herve This’s Kitchen Mysteries

Kitchen Mysteries by Herve ThisFrom the past to the cutting edge. Earlier this week we tested readers on the history of food with a quiz based on Cheese, Pears, and History in a Proverb. Today we offer a quiz based on Herve This’s: Kitchen Mysteries: Revealing the Science of Cooking , which is now available in paperback. Find out how well you know the scientific principles involved in cooking and storing food.

(Click here for the answers)

QUESTIONS

1. The microwave is least suited for preparing which food?
a) Chicken
b) Carmel
c) Soufflé
d) Fish

2. Which fruit yields the best jam?
a) Strawberries
b) Blackberries
c) Grapes
d) Apricots

3. What is the secret to combining tea and milk?
a) Add milk to hot water, then add tea
b) Add milk to tea after letting it steep for a few seconds
c) Pour milk first, then add hot tea
d) Add milk to tea after letting it steep for a few minutes

4. Where is the best place to store a banana?
a) On the counter
b) In the refrigerator
c) In the freezer
d) Outdoors if the temperature is below 50 degrees

5. In bread-making, flour how old makes the best bread?
a) A year
b) 2 months
c) 1 week
d) A couple days

(more…)

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Richard Bulliet on the Mosque at Ground Zero

NYC Mosque

An article from the new web site, Capital, recently interviewed Richard Bulliet, author of The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization, about the proposed Mosque at Ground Zero.

Bulliet admits that when he first heard about the project he thought it might not be the best idea but has been surprised by “the firestorm that has developed.” He goes on to describe the difficulty the Muslim community has in responding to such a controversy:

“Some [American Muslims] are so gun-shy that anything that creates this type of reaction they want to go away. The experience of recent years has taught Muslim-Americans that they cannot depend on their views being understood as they mean them…. Everything Muslim is absorbed into the 9/11 moment, just as two decades before everything about Iran was absorbed into the embassy hostage moment. People of good will, both Muslim and non-Muslim, offer earnest correctives. But the tide flows against them.”

Bulliet also commented on the recent decision of the Anti-Defamation League to oppose the mosque

“Rightly or wrongly, I see it as linked to the broad apprehension, both in this country and in Israel, that evil deeds perpetrated by Muslims, or suspected of being part of a Muslim master plan, pose an existential threat to the Jewish people. Persuading Americans that a Palestinian suicide bomber in Tel Aviv is indistinguishable from a terrorist pilot directing an airplane into the World Trade Center or an Iranian scientist working on a uranium enrichment program has been a major policy success for Israel. Consistency in this effort might persuade some people of basic liberal sentiment that opposition to any effort to associate Islam with peaceful enterprise is off-message. But rights take priority over message. Always.”

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Cheese, Pears & History in a Proverb — A Quiz

Massimon Montanari“Do not let the peasant know how good cheese is with pears.”– an Italian proverb

In Cheese, Pears, and History in a Proverb Massimo Montanari explores the background of this common Italian proverb still in use today. Along the way we discover why the diets of medieval monks were so influential in their time; who was allowed to eat pears, and who wasn’t; how cheese and pears came to be eaten together; when “rustic food” became fashionable; how your temperament of hot, cold, wet, or dry determined your meal choices; and when we first became connoisseurs of “good taste.”

The following is a quiz based on the history in Montanari’s book (Click here for the answers):

1. Until the seventeenth century, doctors believed that everything was reduced to the four elements of the universe–hot, cold, moist, and dry–and that medical ailments were cured by eating foods to counteract your out-of-balance elements. Who codified this system?
a. Dr. Spock
b. Hippocrates
c. Galen
d. Julius Caesar

2. In the middle ages certain foods were believed to dispose the stomach to receive the foods that came afterwards—hence aperitif from aprire, “to open” or to conclude a meal with foods noted for their sealing qualities to aid in digestion. Which of these foods was almost always served at the end of a meal to seal the stomach and prevent indigestion?
a. cherries
b. bread
c. chocolate
d. cheese

3. People were obsessed with social class in medieval culture and food was a primary way of distinguishing oneself. Cheese was to be eaten as a main dish only by the peasantry because, coming from beasts of the land, it was considered a low-status food. Pears, on the other hand, grow on trees. Following this logic, who was allowed to eat pears?
a. nobility
b. the king and queen
c. pilots
d. birds

4. Monks, and religious orders in general, were neither of the peasantry nor of the nobility. As a sort of mediating space between the two, foods forbidden to one class or the other could meet and intermingle in religious settings. As the Catholic Church became stricter about the renunciation of meat on holy days and Lent, what food came to replace meat in the monastic diet and then spread into other classes from there?
a. Fish
b. Eggs
c. Cheese
d. All of the above

(more…)

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Are E-books Good for Poetry? A Post by Siobhan Phillips

Siobhan PhillipsThe following post is by Siobhan Phillips, author of The Poetics of the Everyday: Creative Repetition in Modern American Verse.

Last month, an AP story about digital publication briefly focused poetry-lovers’ general despair at the future on a specific new problem.

Billy Collins had recently seen his work on a Kindle e-reader, and he didn’t like what he saw. The device broke up lines of his poems, altering stanzaic integrity at whim and changing the shape of the verse. Charting other instances of digital manipulation and other writers’ worries, the article concluded that poetry, as “the most precise and precious of literary forms, is also so far the least adaptable to the growing e-book market.” One more example, it seems, of how the digital age is leaving behind an antiquated habit of verse-reading, and one more way in which poetry needs to be defended from the onslaught of a twenty-first-century marketplace.

Or is it? Those are not the only lesson to take from the problem of Kindle presentation. Somewhere between the mangled lines of e-reader poetry, I would argue, lies a demonstration of how digital reading is moving ahead to places where verse has already been, and of how poetry scholarship could profitably contribute to theories of twenty-first century media.

(more…)

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Christopher Davidson on Blackberry Censorship in the UAE

Christopher Davidson, DubaiChristopher Davidson, whose book Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success was just reviewed in the New York Review of Books, recently contributed to the Index on Censorship on the UAE’s recent decision to ban Blackberry use.

Davidson argues that the UAE’s decision is motivated by mounting political opposition in the country. In recent months hundreds of Blackberry chain messages have been sent in the country criticizing ministers and other government officials associated with sexual and financial scandals. Users have also used Blackberries to organize public protests.

The recent ban is not the first time that the UAE has tried to curb Blackberry use. In the days immediately following the Iranian election, the government-owned telecom company Etisalat encouraged users to download a “performance enhancement.” After users complained of malfunctioning after downloading the patch, it was revealed that it was spyware that the government used to monitor transmissions on Blackberry.

Davidson speculates that the ban will lead other Arab countries to also curtail Blackberry use (Saudi Arabia has already done so.) It will also damage the UAE’s international reputation while internally it will once again deny to UAE citizens a “a safety valve for criticism and free expression, and this will likely have serious medium term consequences, as opponents inevitably seek out alternative outlets.”

Friday, August 6th, 2010

August 14-15, 1947

In honor of the recent publication in paperback of Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar’s book The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia, we re-post here an interview with the author on the 60th anniversary of the partition of the Indian subcontinent which took place August 14-15, 1947.

Here the author explains what the title of Long Partition means:

By the long partition my purpose is to emphasize that 1947 was only the beginning of what was necessarily a long, drawn-out process of dividing a territory and its people into two distinct nation-states. Although there has been a lot of argument over why partition took place, we have not paid enough attention to understanding the historical process of partitioning itself.

We’ve posted the introduction to the book here if you would like to read more.

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

And the Winner Is……

Those are words we are hoping to hear soon as a number of Columbia University Press books have made it to the final rounds of award competitions and we are waiting to hear if we are the lucky winner.

Yesterday Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition announced that Siddharth Kara’s book, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery is a finalist for the 2010 Frederick Douglass Book Prize.

We are especially proud of the strength of our translation program, which has produced two finalists in recent months.

Translated by Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton, Hwang Sunwon’s short story collection Lost Souls has made it to the final round of the American Literary Translators Association’s 2010 National Translation Award.

The French-American Foundation Translation Prize proudly choose Beverley Bie Brahic’s translation of Julia Kristeva’s This Incredible Need to Believe as a Finalist in the Non-Fiction category.

And last but not least, Chinese Shakespeares by Alexander C.Y. Huang won an Honorable Mention from the Joe A. Callaway Prize for 2008-09 for the best book on drama or theatre. The award is presented by New York University’s Department of English.

Congratulations to the authors and translators of these outstanding books. Keep your fingers crossed that we win!

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Living with a Rising Giant

In a recent interview posted on the Northwestern University website, Living with the Dragon: How the American Public Views the Rise of China co-author Benjamin I. Page, a professor at Northwestern, explains how Americans perceive the rise of China as a world power. Here he answers the question of what is the greatest threat to U.S.-China relations:

The greatest threat is Taiwan. The status quo is probably OK but that is the strange situation in which the U.S. claims that there is a one-China policy, but at the same time gives military aid to Taiwan. But as long as Taiwan doesn’t try to be independent, that’s stable. The biggest single danger is that at some point, which almost happened a short time ago, the Taiwanese might have a government that insists on independence and that could lead to a major struggle that the U.S. could get dragged into.

If you’d like to read more about this book, check out the excerpt from the first chapter posted on our website.