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April 20th, 2016

Harry Kassell: Kosher Meat Man



Roger Horowitz, Kosher USA

The following post from Roger Horowitz, author of Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food, was originally published on his blog. The post reveals the ways in which Kosher meat production was brought into the processes of the modern U.S. food industry.

I came across an amazing man while looking for information on kosher meat. A Harry Kassel came up in a New York Times search, appearing in a 1973 article about meat shortages and described as the largest wholesaler of kosher meat in the New York area. Other searches turned up nothing more; so I turned to one of the historian’s great resources—the telephone book—and found him living on Long Island just past the end of the Belt Parkway. Spry and sharp at 89, he told me about his remarkable life, and in so doing gave me the backbone of chapter seven in Kosher USA, which I called “Harry Kassel’s Meat.”

He was born in Racine, Wisconsin to a Jewish family that tried to keep kosher. He joined the military during World War II, and rather than trying to build up his military service, joked with me in his self-deprecating manner that since the US wanted to win the war, they kept him in the country. Recently demobilized in 1946, he agreed to a blind date with Zeena Levine, who was then a freshman at the University of Wisconsin. The two hit if off (even though she called him a “cheapskate” in our interview since he took her to a bar instead of a restaurant) and were soon married. Harry joked that since she wouldn’t go to work, he had to, and took the easy way out by joining his new father in law’s business.

Zeena’s father was a butcher—on a big scale. With his partner Sam Cohen, Joe Levine owned several large kosher butcher shops in Brooklyn and a small chain of non-kosher shops. Kosher meat was a thriving business after World War II, and Levine took in his son-in-law and taught him how to evaluate recently-slaughtered meat and decide which carcasses to buy for his butcher shops.

After a few years Kassel went into business for himself and established a meat wholesale company in the Brooklyn plant once operated by Swift & Co. His training made him acutely aware of the peculiar nature of kosher beef – that the same animal yielded kosher and non-kosher cuts. The Ashkenazi tradition was to only consume the forequarters, so even though these cattle yielded kosher briskets and rib roasts, the desirable loin cuts could not enter the kosher trade. Kassel made a name for himself by buying the hindquarters of prime, kosher-killed cattle and distributing the tenderloins and porterhouse steaks so prized in New York’s white tablecloth restaurants.

Read the rest of this entry »

April 19th, 2016

Kosher Coke, Kosher Science



Kosher USA

In the excerpt below from Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food, Roger Horowitz travels from his family’s Seder table to early twentieth-century Atlanta when Rabbi Geffen had to weigh in on the status of Coke. The excerpt exemplifies the challenge of balancing the laws of ancient religious texts with the demands of the modern food industry and consumer desires.

April 19th, 2016

New Book Tuesday: Black Gods of the Asphalt, Ranciere, Stiglitz, and More New Books!



Black Gods of the Asphalt

Black Gods of the Asphalt: Religion, Hip-Hop, and Street Basketball
Onaje X. O. Woodbine

Not So Different: Finding Human Nature in Animals
Nathan H. Lents

Recognition or Disagreement: A Critical Encounter on the Politics of Freedom, Equality, and Identity
Axel Honneth and Jacques Rancière

Too Little, Too Late: The Quest to Resolve Sovereign Debt Crises
Edited by Martin Guzman, José Antonio Ocampo, and Joseph E. Stiglitz

Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet
Edited by Ted Fendt
(Austrian Film Museum)

Ageing and Technology: Perspectives from the Social Sciences
Edited by Emma Domínguez-Rué and Linda Nierling
(Transcript-Verlag)

Enterprising Migrants in Berlin
Baris Ülker
(Transcript-Verlag)

Precarious Alliances: Cultures of Participation in Print and Other Media
Edited by Martin Butler, Albrecht Hausmann, and Anton Kirchhofer
(Transcript-Verlag)

ReClaiming Participation: Technology – Mediation – Collectivity
Edited by Mathias Denecke, Anne Ganzert, Isabell Otto, and Robert Stock
(Transcript-Verlag)

Spaces and Identities in Border Regions: Policies – Media – Subjects
Edited by Christian Wille, Rachel Reckinger, Sonja Kmec, and Markus Hesse
(Transcript-Verlag)

Urban Transformations in the U.S.A.: Spaces, Communities, Representations
Edited by Julia Sattler
(Transcript-Verlag)

Beckett, Lacan, and the Voice
Llewellyn Brown. Foreword by Jean-Michel Rabaté
(ibidem Press)

April 18th, 2016

Roy Harris on the Pulitzer Prize



Pulitzer's Gold, Roy Harris

With today’s announcement of the Pulitzer Prize winners, we are re-posting our interview with Roy Harris, author of Pulitzer’s Gold: A Century of Public Service Journalism. Recently Roy Harris previewed some of the possible winners and was interviewed by WBUR’s All Things Considered on the 100th anniversary of the awards.

Question: 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize. In looking over the winners for public service journalism, what struck you most about what has changed in journalism during this period and what has stayed the same?

Roy J. Harris: What’s very clear is how the quality of the Pulitzer winners—the depth of the reporting and the powerful change they brought about—increased sharply after the first few years the prizes began to be awarded. That suggests that the very creation of a system for honoring top-notch journalism encouraged more great reporting to be done around the country. But also, the variety of the top journalism projects—a diversity greater in public service than any other category—began to expand during that century: another major change. What’s stayed the same is that the predominant characteristic of the winning reporting has been tenacity on the part of the journalists to tell a story that others don’t want told.

Q: In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about how changes in the news industry are threatening the kind of journalism that the public service journalism prize highlights. What is your sense of the future for investigative journalism of this kind?

RJH: First the positive view: A surprising number of young journalists continue to enter the profession; they’re learning quickly, and doing great work. They also seem to value the tradition of great reporting, as I learn from the students I speak with regularly. While the digital world makes it harder to determine real news from the chaff, budding reporters also find that the Internet greatly broadens their access to valuable, verifiable resources. On the negative side, the news infrastructure to support reporters financially is seriously failing. New structures—like those created by new online sites and by privately supported programs like ProPublica and California Watch—aren’t coming online quickly enough to make up for the deterioration of traditional newspapers. New sources of financial support must be found for public service journalism, which is often the most expensive kind, if these young reporters are to be kept on the job.

Q: Much like the justly celebrated new movie, Spotlight, your book tells the story behind the story—about how journalists do their jobs. What is the value for general readers of understanding the ways in which journalists and the news industry work?

RJH: Before Spotlight, I argued that the behind-the-story approach of the Watergate movie All the President’s Men was a great model. Both that great movie and Spotlight are realistic, and take an inspirational look at what the media can do for our citizenry. And both concentrate on projects that won the Public Service Pulitzer—the subject of my book. I found in my research that less-well-known winners offer the same kind of excitement, though perhaps on a local level rather than a national or global level. That applies to non-journalists as much as to journalists, although the result of the journalism may be more local or regional than the ousting of a U.S. president or the exposure of a global Church scandal. From researching the stories in Pulitzer’s Gold I also found that to trace these Pulitzer winners through the years is to expose readers to the twists and turns of American history over the decades. What happened historically is important as is the role of the First Amendment, which keeps our system strong, and our citizenry informed.

Read the rest of this entry »

April 18th, 2016

Book Giveaway! Kosher USA, by Roger Horowitz



This week we are featuring Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food, by Roger Horowitz.

In addition to featuring the book and the author on the blog, we will also be posting about the book on twitter, and facebook.

We are also offering a FREE copy of Kosher USA to one winner. To enter the contest please e-mail pl2164@columbia.edu and include your name and address. The winner will be selected Friday, April 22 at 1:00 pm.

Here’s what Andrew Smith writes:

“You don’t have to be Jewish to love Roger Horowitz’s Kosher USA! It is three-stories in one: a family narrative within a history of kosher within the industrialization of the American food system. Well researched, insightful, and delightful–even for goyim.”

You can also read the chapter, “My Family’s Sturgeon”:

April 13th, 2016

“One of the Things We Need to Rethink Weirdly Is Time.” — Timothy Morton



Dark Ecology, Timothy Morton

“One of the things we need to rethink weirdly is time. If future coexistence includes nonhumans—and Dark Ecology is showing why this must be the case—it might be best to see history as a nested series of catastrophes that are still playing out rather than as a sequence of events based on a conception of time as a succession of atomic instants.”—Timothy Morton, Dark Ecology

We continue our week-long feature on Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence, by Timothy Morton, with an excerpt from the book’s “Second Thread”. In the excerpt below, Morton considers the necessity for rethinking our conceptions of time as we grapple with ecological concerns and the posthuman:

April 12th, 2016

Timothy Morton and Olafur Eliasson



The intellectual range of Timothy Morton, author of Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence, is rare among today’s academic. In addition to his important theoretical and philosophical work, he has also collaborated with visual artists and musicians, including Bjork. In the following video, Morton talks with noted contemporary artist Olafur Eliasson.

Morton and Eliasson’s interests intersect in many ways, ranging from man’s evolving relationship to nature to the role of art in such a society. In the following talk, Morton and Eliasson discuss these issues and more:

April 12th, 2016

New Book Tuesday! Judith Butler & Co, Abraham Lincoln’s Secret Life, The Five Horsemen, Economic Thought, & More!



Our weekly listing of new books now available:

What Is a People?

What Is a People?
Alain Badiou, Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler, Georges Didi-Huberman, Sadri Khiari, and Jacques Rancière

Your Friend Forever, A. Lincoln: The Enduring Friendship of Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed
Charles B. Strozier

The Five Horsemen of the Modern World: Climate, Food, Water, Disease, and Obesity
Daniel Callahan

Economic Thought: A Brief History
Heinz D. Kurz. Translated by Jeremiah Riemer

Political Responsibility: Responding to Predicaments of Power
Antonio Y. Vázquez-Arroyo

Light and Dark: A Novel (Now available in paper)
Natsume Soseki; Translated by John Nathan

The Star as Icon: Celebrity in the Age of Mass Consumption (Now available in paper)
Daniel Herwitz

Mediating Mobility: Visual Anthropology in the Age of Migration
Steffen Köhn
(Wallflower Press)

The Culmination of Conflict: The Ukrainian-Polish Civil War and the Expulsion of Ukrainians After the Second World War
Stephen Rapawy
(ibidem Press)

April 11th, 2016

This Week’s Author Events: Dogs, Kosher Food, Wall Street, and “None’s”



With Dogs at the Edge of Life

We have a great lineup of author events this week on a range of different subjects and stretching from coast to coast.

Colin Dayan will be in New York and Princeton on Monday and Tuesday to discuss her book With Dogs at the Edge of Life .

Tuesday also sees Roger Horowitz travel to the Brooklyn Historical Society to talk about Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food and Corinna Nicolaou, author of A None’s Story: Searching for Meaning Inside Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam, visit Kramer Books . Nicolau will then appear at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane on Wednesday.

Edward Morris comes to New York City for two events at the end of the week to speak about his very timely history, Wall Streeters: The Creators and Corruptors of American Finance.

April 11th, 2016

Book Giveaway! “Dark Ecology,” by Timothy Morton



Timothy Morton, Dark Ecology

This week our featured book is Dark Ecology
For a Logic of Future Coexistence
, by Timothy Morton.

In addition to featuring the book and the author on the blog, we will also be posting about the book on twitter, and facebook.

We are also offering a FREE copy of Dark Ecology to one winner. To enter the contest please e-mail pl2164@columbia.edu and include your name and address. The winner will be selected Friday, April 15th at 1:00 pm.

Imre Szeman writes, “Timothy Morton’s Dark Ecology is a brave, brilliant interrogation of the presumptions that have driven our approach to the ecological and environmental challenges of our era.”

For more on the book, here is the chapter “The First Thread”:

April 8th, 2016

University Press Roundup



Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments. (And look back at our University Press Roundup Manifesto to see why we do this post every Friday.)

At Yale University Press’ blog, James Q. Whitman reconsiders two pillars of the American criminal justice system—“due process” and “beyond reasonable doubt.” He argues that the “beyond reasonable doubt” principle was invented for Christian jurors who wanted to be ensured that if they wrongfully convicted someone as guilty, they would not be condemned. The principle encouraged swift decisions and even promoted convictions. “Due process,” while ostensibly protecting defendant’s rights, made bringing someone to court so time and cost-effective that 95% of criminal cases result in a plea conviction. Ultimately, says Whiteman, we must re-examine the aspects of our justice system that we consider so indispensable.

This week on the Stanford University Press blog, Charles O’Reilly and Michael Tushman discuss the rise of Amazon as the “Everything Store.” After founder Jeff Bezos incorporated Amazon in 1994, it began its rise, surpassing bookselling staples Barnes and Noble and Borders. Bezos leveraged consumer choice and also made sure to make reviews and customer feedback integral to the company. With a physical bookstore in the works, what will future innovation spurred by Amazon entail?

This week, University of Georgia Press’ Walter Biggins discusses the genesis of Charleston Syllabus. Almost a year ago, Dylann Roof walked into Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and after being invited in, opened fire. This tragedy reinvigorated national debates about white supremacy and, on June 19, three Professors decided to put it in conversation with America’s history with race by creating the #CharlestonSyllabus hashtag. Now, in book form, the Charleston Syllabus speaks to the necessity of scholarship in grappling with pressing societal issues.

Recently, The University of Pennsylvania Press featured a post by Robert Deam Tobin about the television show Transparent—in particular, its second season, in which the subplot of Maura’s mother and grandmother fleeing Nazi Germany is introduced by director Jill Solloway. Maura’s daughter, Ali, researches Berlin’s little-known history of homosexual and transsexual subculture. Touching on the notion of “epigenetics,” or how historical trauma is inherited across generations and the historical implications of queer Germany, Transparent reveals an important aspect of 20th century gender and sexuality studies.

The Panama Papers and the various shell companies (and other financial ploys) they reveal have been everywhere in the news lately. But what actually are shell companies? In a timely post, Sage House News, the Cornell University Press blog, has posted an excerpt from J. C. Sharman’s The Money Laundry, in which Sharman explains the concept, purpose, and uses of anonymous shell companies in a global economic context.

How much does it cost to publish a monograph, and where should that money come from? At the UNC Press Blog, Press Director John Sherer claims that, while the recently released Ithaka S&R study does an admirable job of estimating the answer to the first question, the way people are interpreting these estimates and answering the second worry him. Argues Sherer: “The danger with the numbers in this report is that they describe how much it costs presses to put a book into the marketplace using our conventional model. But in order to produce an edition that is openly available in digital format, our activities would look very different. Or they should look very different.”

At the Harvard University Press Blog, Nadia Urbinati (author of our forthcoming The Antiegalitarian Mutation!) looks closely at the idea of populism, which she does not see as the kind of necessarily positive, transformative political force that it’s often portrayed as in the U.S. media, particularly. She warns that “a populist movement that succeeds in securing an electoral majority of a democratic society tends to move toward institutional forms that change, and even shatter, constitutional democracy for the sake of a further, more intense majority.”

As November draws ever closer, the Princeton University Press Blog is running a series of posts on the presidential election: “PUP Authors on Election 2016 Hot Button Issues.” In the latest installment, George C. Edwards III examines what we actually want in a President. While it’s easy enough to come up with a laundry list of vague qualities that an ideal President would have, breaking down what specific knowledge and personality traits a President should have is much more difficult. In his post, Edwards delves into the potential effects of different decision-making styles, temperaments, and general worldviews in a POTUS.

Roger Ebert passed away three years ago on April 4, and in memory of the film critic, The Chicago Blog of the University of Chicago Press asked their film studies editor, Rodney Powell, to consider Ebert’s legacy. Powell hopes that, “as the celebrity status [Ebert] attained fades from memory, he will be recognized for the brilliant writer he was. Within the confines of the shorter forms in which he wrote, he was an absolute master.”

Who are Nones? As Elizabeth Drescher, writing at the OUPblog, puts it, they are “people who answer ‘none’ when asked with what religious group they most identify or to which they belong.” In her post, Drescher challenges three common misconceptions about Nones. She argues that most of them actually aren’t “unbelievers,” that many are looking for spiritual community, and that they are far from inarticulate about religion and spirituality. (For additional proof of all three of Drescher’s points, read A None’s Story: Searching for Meaning Inside Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam, by Corinna Nicolaou!)

Thanks for reading! As always, we hope that you enjoyed the links. Please let us know what you think in the comments!

April 7th, 2016

Lessons from Google and Columbia’s CMO Academy



The Digital Transformation Playbook

“As the media available to customers proliferates, effective targeting is absolutely critical. Your message matters; but increasingly, who you reach is the difference between success and failure. In the digital era, targeting is fundamentally different than the traditional world of media buying. Marketers must shift from the old thinking of audiences (based on demographic fictions, e.g. ‘fashion-savvy, 25-40 year old, urban mothers’) towards addressing specific customers based on their actual behaviors.” — David L. Rogers

This week, our featured book is The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age, by David L. Rogers. In today’s post, crossposted from David Rogers’s blog, Rogers details seven important lessons learned from Google/Columbia Business School’s recent “CMO Academy.”

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy!

Lessons from Google and Columbia’s CMO Academy
David L. Rogers

What are the challenges that today’s Chief Marketing Officers face as they manage a changing role and rising expectations in a world shaped by digital technologies? I got to discuss this question with a hundred CMOs of North American companies recently, while teaching a joint Google/Columbia Business School program, our first-ever “CMO Academy.” The invited executives from the US, Canada, and Mexico represented a diverse range of industries from fashion to financial services, and hospitality to healthcare.

Below are seven lessons that emerged through two days of case studies, interactive presentations, and hands-on problem solving with this group. Read the rest of this entry »

April 6th, 2016

Announcing the Addition of Harvard University Press to the Columbia University Press Sales Consortium



Harvard University Press

Columbia University Press is pleased to announce that Harvard University Press is joining the Columbia Sales Consortium for sales representation in the United States and Canada beginning September 1, 2016.

The Columbia Sales Consortium has represented the finest university and scholarly presses to the book trade in the United States for more than 25 years. With the inclusion of Harvard University Press, the group will expand its sales representation services into Canada. This move builds upon a relationship between the two publishers which began in 2011 when our sales force first started to represent Harvard University Press in only the Southeastern United States. Order fulfillment and customer service for Harvard University Press will remain with Triliteral.

The Columbia Sales Consortium team consists of Brad Hebel, Director of Operations and Sales for Columbia University Press; Catherine Hobbs, Consortium Sales Manager and Sales Representative for the Mid-Atlantic and Southern United States; Conor Broughan, Sales Representative for the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada; Kevin Kurtz, Sales Representative for the Midwestern United States and Central Canada; and William Gawronski, Sales Representative for the Western United States and Western Canada.

The Columbia Sales Consortium also includes: University of California Press, Duke University Press, Fernwood Publishing, Georgetown University Press, ISD, McGill-Queens University Press, NYU Press, University of Alabama Press, University of Massachusetts Press, University of South Carolina Press, University of Virginia Press, and University of Washington Press. Read the rest of this entry »

April 6th, 2016

Build Platforms, Not Just Products



The Digital Transformation Playbook

“Airbnb is an example of a platform—a class of businesses that are rethinking which competitive assets need to be owned by a firm (e.g., rental properties and trained service staff) and which can be managed through new kinds of external relationships. These platform businesses are part of a broad transformation of the domain of competition and the relationships between firms.” — David L. Rogers

This week, our featured book is The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age, by David L. Rogers. In today’s post, excerpted from the third chapter of The Digital Transformation Playbook, Rogers delves into the story of Airbnb to provide an introduction to the rise of “platform businesses” in the digital age.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy!

Build Platforms, Not Just Products
David L. Rogers

In 2007, two recent graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, were struggling to pay the rent on their apartment in San Francisco. When they heard that the city’s hotels were fully booked during an upcoming design conference, they had an entrepreneurial idea: Why not rent out a bit of their space? They bought three airbeds (inflatable mattresses), put up a website, and, within six days, found three guest lodgers. Each one paid $80 a night. “As we were waving these people goodbye, Joe and I looked at each other and thought, there’s got to be a bigger idea here,” Chesky said. By the following year, they had teamed up with another friend, computer science graduate Nathan Blecharczyk, and started a business that they later named Airbnb.

By 2015, Airbnb had served 25 million travelers, providing them with lodging in over 190 countries around the world. But it doesn’t look like a typical global corporation in the business of providing lodging and hospitality. Instead of building hotels and hiring employees to serve customers, the three founders built a platform that brings together two distinct types of people: hosts with homes to rent (whether a spare room or their whole home while they are away) and travelers who are looking for someplace to stay. The company has minimal assets. In fact, it doesn’t own a single rental property. Yet it can offer travelers their choice of more than 1 million listings, ranging from a sofa or tiny guest room up to an actual castle (more than 600 are available to rent). The company takes a cut of the rental fee on each transaction. Read the rest of this entry »

April 5th, 2016

New Book Tuesday: Central Park Trees and Landscapes, Classical Indian Aesthetics, Social Work Science, and More New Books!



Central Park Trees and Landscapes

Our weekly listing of new titles now available:

Central Park Trees and Landscapes: A Guide to New York City’s Masterpiece
Edward Sibley Barnard and Neil Calvanese

A Rasa Reader: Classical Indian Aesthetics
Translated and edited by Sheldon Pollock

Social Work Science
Ian Shaw

The Matchmaker, the Apprentice, and the Football Fan: More Stories of China
Zhu Wen. Translated by Julia Lovell

Grassroots Fascism: The War Experience of the Japanese People
Yoshimi Yoshiaki. Translated by Ethan Mark

A Korean War Captive in Japan, 1597–1600: The Writings of Kang Hang
Edited by JaHyun Kim Haboush and Kenneth R. Robinson

Cultures of Representation: Disability in World Cinema Contexts
Edited by Benjamin Fraser
(Wallflower Press)

April 5th, 2016

The Five Domains of Digital Transformation



The Digital Transformation Playbook

“[D]igital technologies are redefining many of the underlying principles of strategy and changing the rules by which companies must operate in order to succeed. Many old constraints have been lifted, and new possibilities are now available. Companies that were established before the Internet need to realize that many of their fundamental assumptions must now be updated.” — David L. Rogers

This week, our featured book is The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age, by David L. Rogers. Today, we are happy to present an excerpt from the first chapter, “The Five Domains of Digital Transformation,” in which Rogers introduces the five key domains of strategy that digital forces are reshaping.

Don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a free copy!

April 4th, 2016

Book Giveaway! The Digital Transformation Playbook, by David L. Rogers



The Digital Transformation Playbook

“In this indispensable (and highly readable) guide, Rogers shares what we can learn from today’s greatest digital innovators. Packed with illuminating case studies and practical tools, The Digital Transformation Playbook maps out clear strategies for thriving in the digital age. Don’t start a business without it.” — Neil Blumenthal, cofounder and co-CEO, Warby Parker

This week, our featured book is The Digital Transformation Playbook: Rethink Your Business for the Digital Age, by David L. Rogers. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of The Digital Transformation Playbook. To enter our book giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select our winners on Friday, April 8th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!

March 31st, 2016

University Press Roundup



Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments. (And look back at our University Press Roundup Manifesto to see why we do this post every Friday.)

This week on Cambridge University Press’ blog, Iris Berger wrote about the representation of women in political offices throughout Africa. While many are expecting Hillary’s Democratic nomination, if she were to win this year’s general election, she would be following in the footsteps of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of Liberia since 2006, who was the first elected female president in any African country and the first female leader awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Ellen’s position of leadership, as well as the high percentage of women in lower offices in places such as Rwanda, Senegal, and Mozambique, is a stark reminder of the under-representation of women in the U.S.’ Senate and House of Representatives.

At the Yale University Press blog, Jonathan H. Ebel explores how displays of devotion and awe towards the men and women who serve in the military are central to American civil religion. In short, as we gather up individual soldiers and pack them into a singular symbol of “the military,” which we then worship with narratives of triumphalism and sacrificial heroism, we are, in truth, glorifying American militarism. Ultimately, these symbolic soldiers are part and parcel of our national myth-making.

Recently at the University of Washington Press, Sylvanna M. Falcon was interviewed about her book Power Interrupted: Antiracist and Feminist Activism inside the United Nations. After attending the 1995 U.N. World Conference on Women in Beijing, Sylvanna became interested in transnational feminism and realized that if the U.N. was to advance women’s rights, its masculinized and racialized power had to be challenged. In her book as well as the interview, she discusses the importance of considering race and gender together in feminist activism.

At the University of Texas Press blog, Frederick Luis Aldama and Christopher Gonzalez explore the importance of Latin@ comic books as a way of crafting national literary imaginaries. The Latin@ comic landscape began in earnest with Los Bros Hernandez’ publication of Love & Rockets in the 1980’s, and has since expanded and become more inclusive. As Frederick and Christopher put it, Latin@s are the majority minority, and the form of comic books will only continue to grow as an expression and archive of Latin@ history and culture.

In the wake of Easter, Princeton University Press blog’s Eoghan Barry wrote about the formidable life of Countess Markievicz, née Constance Gore-Booth, who fought for Irish independence from Britain in the 1916 Rising. Although born into a family of landed gentry, she became a socialist and was eventually imprisoned for her role in the Rising. Although frequently hailed as a nationalist icon, her radical socialist past, including her work with the poor and her involvement in a militant woman’s organization, are often forgotten.

At Beacon Broadside, Fred Pearce examines who will deliver food to the world’s hungry in the age of climate change. El Niño inspired weather has led to severe droughts in places like India and South Africa, and it will only continue to threaten the food stability of nations around the globe. Yet, Fred warns against the pat assumption that large-scale and single-commodity commercial farming can feed the world and argues that it is many small family farms that have the potential to rescue us from the threat of hunger.

In the Blog of Harvard Education Publishing, Shayla Reese Griffin uses an anecdote of hearing her friend’s biracial daughter explain how she was excited that she will never have to experience segregation like Ruby Bridges did. Yet, when Shayla asked about the makeup of her classroom, she learned that it was racially homogeneous: there were only black students. While segregation was made illegal years ago, de facto segregation persists in education from an early age, perpetuating racial bias and failing to bring diversity to the social environment of children.

In From the Square, Tanya Golash-Boza evaluates the American deportation machine. With the precedent of large-scale deportations enacted under Bill Clinton and George Bush as backdrop, Obama has overseen record deportations since he first took office. Now, with 11 million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States, Republicans like Trump and Cruz want them all gone. Tanya argues how such “proposals” are nothing but fantasy.

Thanks for reading! As always, we hope that you enjoyed the links. Please let us know what you think in the comments!

March 30th, 2016

VIDEO: Jeffrey T. Kiehl on What Earth’s Past Tells Us About the Future of Climate Change



In the following video, Jeffrey T. Kiehl, author of Facing Climate Change: An Integrated Path to the Future, discusses how we can learn about future climate from Earth’s deep past. He offers a warning about the current trajectory we are on in terms of climate change:

“If we don’t start seriously working toward a reduction of carbon emissions, we are putting our planet on a trajectory that the human species has never experienced. We will have committed human civilization to living in a different world for multiple generations.”

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March 29th, 2016

New Book Tuesday: Altered States, A Political History of GDP, Jonas Mekas and More New Books!



Altered States

Our weekly listing of new titles now available:

Altered States: Buddhism and Psychedelic Spirituality in America
Douglas Osto

The Power of a Single Number: A Political History of GDP
Philipp Lepenies

Movie Journal: The Rise of the New American Cinema, 1959-1971
Jonas Mekas; Foreword by Peter Bogdanovich; Introduction by Gregory Smulewicz-Zucker; With a new afterword by the author

The Future of Evangelicalism in America
Edited by Candy Gunther Brown and Mark Silk

Edo Kabuki in Transition: From the Worlds of the Samurai to the Vengeful Female Ghost
Satoko Shimazaki

The End of the West and Other Cautionary Tales
Sean Meighoo

On the Difficulty of Living Together: Memory, Politics, and History
Manuel Cruz. Translated by Richard Jacques

An Annotated Bibliography for Taiwan Film Studies
Edited by Jim Cheng, James Wicks, and Sachie Noguchi

Erich Lessing: The Pulse of Time—Capturing Social Change in Post-War Europe
Johannes Rambarter and Florian Knothe
(University Museum and Art Gallery, Hong Kong University)