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In Conversation: An OUP Podcast
58 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
Colin Calloway, "The Chiefs Now in This City: Indians and the Urban Frontier in Early America" (Oxford UP, 2021)
During the years of the Early Republic, prominent Native leaders regularly traveled to American cities--Albany, Boston, Charleston, Philadelphia, Montreal, Quebec, New York, and New Orleans--primarily on diplomatic or trade business, but also from curiosity and adventurousness. They were frequently referred to as "the Chiefs now in this city" during their visits, which were sometimes for extended periods of time. Indian people spent a lot of time in town. Colin Calloway, National Book Award finalist and one of the foremost chroniclers of Native American history, has gathered together the accounts of these visits and from them created a new narrative of the country's formative years, redefining what has been understood as the "frontier."Calloway's The Chiefs Now in This City: Indians and the Urban Frontier in Early America (Oxford UP, 2021) captures what Native peoples observed as they walked the streets, sat in pews, attended plays, drank in taverns, and slept in hotels and lodging houses. In the Eastern cities they experienced an urban frontier, one in which the Indigenous world met the Atlantic world. Calloway's book reveals not just what Indians saw but how they were seen. Crowds gathered to see them, sometimes to gawk; people attended the theatre to watch “the Chiefs now in this city” watch a play.Their experience enriches and redefines standard narratives of contact between the First Americans and inhabitants of the American Republic, reminding us that Indian people dealt with non-Indians in multiple ways and in multiple places. The story of the country's beginnings was not only one of violent confrontation and betrayal, but one in which the nation's identity was being forged by interaction between and among cultures and traditions.Marshall Poe is the founder and editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
52 minutes | Jun 15, 2021
Jacob L. Nelson, "Imagined Audiences: How Journalists Perceive and Pursue the Public" (Oxford UP, 2021)
Many believe the solution to ongoing crises in the news industry — including profound financial instability and public distrust — is for journalists to improve connections to their audiences. Conversations about the proper relationship between the media and the public go back to Walter Lippmann and John Dewey and through the public journalism movement of the 1990s to today and what's come to be known as engaged journalism. In Imagined Audiences: How Journalists Perceive and Pursue the Public (Oxford UP, 2021), Jacob L. Nelson examines the role that audiences have traditionally played in journalism, how that role has changed, and what those changes mean for both the profession and the public. The result is a comprehensive study of both news production and reception at a moment when the relationship between the two has grown more important than ever before.Beyond the arguments in Imagined Audiences, Nelson talks with New Books in Journalism host Jenna Spinelle about how journalism researchers and practitioners can work more closely together, as well as how Nelson's students perceive engaged journalism in relationship to their own media habits. This conversation is also in many ways a companion to the recent episode with Andrea Wenzel on her book "Community-Centered Journalism." Nelson and Wenzel work together on the Engaged Journalism Exchange, a series of gatherings aiming to bridge the divide between journalism scholars and innovators.Nelson is an assistant professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Spinelle is an instructor in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State and host of the Democracy Works podcast.Jenna Spinelle is a journalism instructor at Penn State's Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. She's also the communications specialist for the university's McCourtney Institute for Democracy, where she hosts and produces the Democracy Works podcast.
28 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
William A. Callahan, "Sensible Politics: Visualizing International Relations" (Oxford UP, 2020)
How can we theorize international relations by looking at how nose sizes are depicted in Asian art and literature? Why are Vietnamese immigration officials furious about the maps that appear in Chinese passports? What do Japanese gardens tell us about how nation-states are constructed and defined? And how we could re-imagine border walls as sites of creative destruction, illuminating the sublime?Anyone who knows the work of William Callahan professor of international relations at the London School of Economics), will be familiar with his playful juxtapositions and his relentless determination to break down simplistic categories. In this animated conversation with NIAS Director Duncan McCargo, Bill explains how his latest book Sensible Politics expands the idea of visual politics to embrace a wider range of artifacts, while also challenging what he views as the Eurocentrism of the larger “visual turn” in IR.Bill also discusses the making of his own films including the recent Great Walls (2020) and the extremely popular Mearsheimer vs. Nye on the Rise of China (2015)This podcast is one of a series recorded with the keynote speakers from the Fourteen Annual Nordic NIAS Council Conference ‘China’s Rise/Asia’s Responses’ (https://www2.helsinki.fi/en/conferences/chinas-riseasias-responses) held on 10-11 June 2021 in collaboration with the Nordic Association for China Studies and the University of Helsinki.The Nordic Asia Podcast is a collaboration sharing expertise on Asia across the Nordic region, brought to you by the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) based at the University of Copenhagen, along with our academic partners: the Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Asianettverket at the University of Oslo, and the Stockholm Centre for Global Asia at Stockholm University.We aim to produce timely, topical and well-edited discussions of new research and developments about Asia.Transcripts of the Nordic Asia Podcasts: http://www.nias.ku.dk/nordic-asia-podcastAbout NIAS: www.nias.ku.dk
70 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
Douglas W. Shadle, "Antonín Dvořák's New World Symphony" (Oxford UP, 2021)
Most music students have been taught that the New World Symphony was the first piece of classical music written in an American national style which Antonín Dvorák invented when he utilized influences from Black music in the second movement. The impression most textbooks leave is that this innovation was instantly approved by composers and critics alike, and that American classical music was born through Dvorak’s intervention. Like most myths, this bears only a slight resemblance to the truth. Douglas W. Shadle sets the record straight in Antonin Dvorak’s New World Symphony (Oxford University Press 2021). He tells the story of the symphony’s genesis and the controversy among critics and listeners over Dvorák’s ideas. Most importantly he delves deeply into the complex interactions between race and music that define the New World symphony and American musical identity.Kristen M. Turner is a lecturer in the music and honors departments at North Carolina State University. Her research centers on race and class in American popular entertainment at the turn of the twentieth century.
70 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
Mona Simion, "Shifty Speech and Independent Thought: Epistemic Normativity in Context" (Oxford UP, 2021)
At the intersection of epistemology and philosophy of language is a puzzle. First, it seems we don’t need less evidence for a claim that we know something if the practical importance of the knowledge claim shifts. Second, it seems we shouldn’t assert that we know something if we don’t. Third, it seems that if the practical importance of a knowledge claim shifts, we should back up our claim with more evidence. So is knowledge really insensitive to shifts in practical stakes? Or should the knowledge norm of assertion be abandoned? In Shifty Speech and Independent Thought (Oxford University Press, 2021), Mona Simion critically considers various types of responses to the Shiftiness Dilemma before defending her own solution. On her view, assertions obey both epistemic and non-epistemic norms, and what is permissible to assert shifts depending on all-things-considered judgments that rely on a contextually determined mix of these norms. Simion, who is lecturer in philosophy at the University of Glasgow, generalizes her approach to other types of epistemically relevant speech acts, and argues that only moral assertion requires special treatment, due to differences in audience understanding.
39 minutes | Jun 10, 2021
Hugh McLeod and Todd Weir, "Defending the Faith: Global Histories of Apologetics and Politics in the Twentieth Century" (Oxford UP, 2020)
Todd H. Weir and Hugh McLeod, two leading historians of religion, have teamed up to edit a volume in the Proceedings of the British Academy that explores how conflicts between secular worldviews and religions shaped the history of the 20th century. With contributions considering case studies relating to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, atheism and communism, and from several continents, Defending the Faith: Global Histories of Apologetics and Politics in the Twentieth Century (Oxford UP, 2020) offers to re-shape the conceptual tools by which the history of religious politics and politicised religion will be shaped. What happens to the history of the "short 20th century" when the concept of apologetics is put at its centre? We discover that politics and religion are categories that overlap, and that actors in disputes between religions, and in disputes between religions and political entities, are constantly learning from each other.Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast.
89 minutes | Jun 9, 2021
George Szmukler, "Men in White Coats: Treatment Under Coercion" (Oxford UP, 2017)
The laws that govern psychiatric treatment under coercion have remain largely unchanged since the eighteenth century. But this is not because of their effectiveness, rather, these laws cling to outdated notions of disability, mental illness and mental disorder why deny the fundamental rights of this category of people on an equal basis with all others. In Men in White Coats: Treatment Under Coercion (Oxford University Press, 2017) Professor George Szmukler examines the violation of these rights, such as the right to autonomy, self-determination, liberty, and security and integrity of the person in the context of the domestic laws which themselves perpetuate ongoing discrimination against people with mental impairments.Tracing first the history of the medical coercion and involuntary treatment of people with mental illnesses and mental disorders, Professor Szmukler offers a potential path which he argues would end discrimination against this category of people. He puts forward a legal framework which is non-discriminatory and is based on a person's decision-making abilities and best interests, as opposed to a diagnosis. Crucially, he argues that this law is generic, and would not apply by reason of a person's mental disorder. His solution - Fusion Law - would better support people's autonomy, better engage with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and have significant social value by recognising the dignity and equality of people with mental health impairments. It would also have implications for the forensics system, in particular, with regards to defendants who have mental disorders. Professor George Szmukler is a psychiatrist who started practising in the field as a trainee in 1972. He retired from clinical work in 2012, and is now an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry and Society at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's college London. His major research now concerns methods of reducing compulsion and ’coercion’ in psychiatric care, for example, through the use of ’advance statements’. A related interest is mental health law, particularly the possibility of generic legislation centred on impaired decision-making capacity which would apply to all persons, regardless of the cause of the underlying disturbance of mental functioning. Jane Richards is a doctoral student at the University of Hong Kong. You can find her on twitter where she follows all things related to human rights and Hong Kong politics @JaneRichardsHK
27 minutes | Jun 9, 2021
David Skarbek, "The Puzzle of Prison Order: Why Life Behind Bars Varies Around the World" (Oxford UP, 2020)
Many people think prisons are all the same-rows of cells filled with violent men who officials rule with an iron fist. Yet, life behind bars varies in incredible ways. In some facilities, prison officials govern with care and attention to prisoners' needs. In others, officials have remarkably little influence on the everyday life of prisoners, sometimes not even providing necessities like food and clean water. Why does prison social order around the world look so remarkably different? In The Puzzle of Prison Order: Why Life Behind Bars Varies Around the World (Oxford UP, 2020), David Skarbek develops a theory of why prisons and prison life vary so much. He finds that how they're governed-sometimes by the state, and sometimes by the prisoners-matters the most. He investigates life in a wide array of prisons-in Brazil, Bolivia, Norway, a prisoner of war camp, England and Wales, women's prisons in California, and a gay and transgender housing unit in the Los Angeles County Jail-to understand the hierarchy of life on the inside. Drawing on economics and a vast empirical literature on legal systems, Skarbek offers a framework to not only understand why life on the inside varies in such fascinating and novel ways, but also how social order evolves and takes root behind bars.
55 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
Lamis Elmy Abdelaaty, "Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees" (Oxford UP, 2021)
States face choices when people forced to leave their states due to persecution or violence seek refuge. They may assert their sovereignty by either granting or denying entry or they may delegate refugee protection to an international organization. Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees (Oxford UP, 2021) asks “why do states sometimes assert their sovereignty vis-aá-vis refugee rights and at other times seemingly cede it? Dr. Abdelaaty develops a two-part theoretical framework in which policymakers in refugee-receiving countries weigh international and domestic concerts. At the international level, policymakers consider relations with the refugee-sending country. At the domestic level policymakers consider political competition among ethnic groups. When these international and domestic incentives conflict, shifting responsibility to the UN allows policymakers to placate both refugee-sending countries and domestic constituencies. In short, foreign policy and ethnic identity shapes states’ reactions to refugees.Dr. Lamis Abdelaaty is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, and Senior Research Associate at the Campbell Public Affairs Institute. Her interests include international relations, human rights and humanitarianism, and asylum and migration. In forthcoming research for the International Journal of Human Rights, she provides a statistical analysis on the relationship between government respect for human rights and treatment of refugees. Daniella Campos assisted with this podcast.Susan Liebell is an associate professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Why Diehard Originalists Aren’t Really Originalists appeared in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage and “Sensitive Places: Originalism, Gender, and the Myth Self-Defense in District of Columbia v. Heller” can be found in July 2021’s Polity. Email her comments at email@example.com or tweet to @SusanLiebell.
63 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
Samy Ayoub, "Law, Empire, and the Sultan: Ottoman Imperial Authority and Late Hanafi Jurisprudence" (Oxford UP, 2020)
In his majestic and magisterial new book Law, Empire, and the Sultan: Ottoman Imperial Authority and Late Hanafi Jurisprudence (Oxford UP, 2020), Samy Ayoub examines and demonstrates the entanglement of Islamic law and imperial political authority in the early modern period. Focused on the incorporation of Ottoman imperial authority and edicts in the late Hanafi jurisprudential tradition, this brilliant book interrupts and questions widely held assumptions about the separation between the domains of imperial politics and the Islamic legal tradition in the premodern period. The strength of this book lies in the way it provides a meticulous and dazzling intellectual history of the Hanafi legal tradition showing its internal dynamism and nuanced forms of reasoning while constantly connecting that intellectual history to broader theoretical questions about the interaction of law, juridical authority, and empire. Combining philological rigor with razor sharp conceptual dexterity, this book fundamentally reorients our understanding of the relationship between law and politics in Islamic thought and history. This lucidly written book, populated by a series of helpful tables and charts, will also be a delight to teach in advanced undergraduate and graduate seminars on a range of topics.SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His book Defending Muhammad in Modernity (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020) received the American Institute of Pakistan Studies 2020 Book Prize. His other academic publications are available here. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listener feedback is most welcome.
53 minutes | Jun 1, 2021
Julie Golia, "Newspaper Confessions: A History of Advice Columns in a Pre-Internet Age" (Oxford UP, 2021)
Julie Golia's new book Newspaper Confessions: A History of Advice Columns in a Pre-Internet Age (Oxford UP, 2021) chronicles the history of the newspaper advice column, a genre that has shaped Americans’ relationships with media, their experiences with popular therapy, and their virtual interactions across generations. Emerging in the 1890s, advice columns became unprecedented virtual forums where readers could debate the most resonant cultural crises of the day with strangers in an anonymous yet public forum. The columns are important—and overlooked—precursors to today’s digital culture: forums, social media groups, chat rooms, and other online communities that define how present-day American communicate with each other. This book charts the rise of the advice column and its impact on the newspaper industry. It analyzes the advice given in a diverse sample of columns across several decades, emphasizing the ways that advice columnists framed their counsel as modern, yet upheld the racial and gendered status quo of the day. It shows how advice columnists were forerunners to the modern celebrity journalist, while also serving as educators to audience of millions. This book includes in-depth case studies of specific columns, demonstrating how these forums transformed into active and participatory virtual communities of confession, advice, debate, and empathy.Julie Golia is a Curator of History, Social Sciences, and Government Information, New York Public Library. Marshall Poe is the founder and editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at email@example.com.
68 minutes | May 31, 2021
Ellen Peters, "Innumeracy in the Wild: Misunderstanding and Misusing Numbers" (Oxford UP, 2020)
To many mathematicians and math enthusiasts, the word "innumeracy" brings to mind popular writing like that of John Allen Paulos. But inequities in our quantitative reasoning skills have received considerable interest and attention from researchers lately, including in psychology, development, education, and public health. Innumeracy in the Wild: Misunderstanding and Misusing Numbers (Oxford University Press, 2020) is a unified treatment of these broad-ranging studies, from the ways more and less numerate people differ in our perceptions of risk and our number-based decisions to the roots of our numeric faculties and how we can make the best of them. Dr. Ellen Peters has made significant contributions to the subject and brings her expertise and an exceptional clarity to its presentation.Precious little of the research surveyed in her book could fit into this interview! We discussed the three components of numeric ability—objective numeracy, subjective numeracy, and the innate number sense—and how they vary within and across populations. We talked through some key lessons from this literature, such as the importance of calibrating our self-efficacy to our real ability and an awareness of how our cultural allegiances can drive even our mathematical reasoning. And we identified some of the essential personal habits and policy levers (early childhood education!!) available to us in our efforts to improve our individual numeracy and our collective numeric decision-making. For a firm grounding in the state of knowledge and urgent open questions, there may be no better resource for many years to come.Suggested companion works: Contributions from the labs of Isaac Lipkus, Angela Fagerlin, John Opfer, Edward Cokely, Rocio Garcia-Retamero, Jakub Traczyk, Agata Sobków, Wändi Bruine de Bruin, Keith Stanovich, and Valerie Reyna.Ellen Peters, Ph.D., is the Philip H. Knight Chair, and Director of the Center for Science Communication Research, in the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication. As a decision psychologist, she studies the basic building blocks of human judgment and decision making and their links with effective communication techniques and has published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers on these topics. She is former President of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association, and the Society for Experimental Social Psychology. She also works with federal agencies to advance decision and communication sciences in health and health policy, including having been Chair of FDA’s Risk Communication Advisory Committee and member of the NAS’s Science of Science Communication committee. She has been awarded the Jane Beattie Scientific Recognition Award and an NIH Group Merit Award. Finally, she has received extensive funding from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health. Cory Brunson is a Research Assistant Professor at the Laboratory for Systems Medicine at the University of Florida. His research focuses on geometric and topological approaches to the analysis of medical and healthcare data. He welcomes book suggestions, listener feedback, and transparent supply chains.
60 minutes | May 28, 2021
K. E. Goldschmitt, "Bossa Mundo: Brazilian Music in Transnational Media Industries" (Oxford UP, 2019)
Bossa Mundo: Brazilian Music in Transnational Media Industries (Oxford University Press, 2020) takes on the circulation of Brazilian music in the Global North since the 1960s. The challenge faced by Brazilian musicians who wish to break into Anglophone markets is formidable. They must deal with the demoralizing effects of the exoticization of the music and the performers, while also struggling with networks of distribution that create fads and just as quickly drop them. K. E. Goldschmitt focuses on watershed moments of Brazil's musical breakthrough, exploring what the music may have represented in a particular historical moment alongside its deeper cultural impact. Through a discussion of the political meaning of mass-mediated music, they argue for a shift in scholarly focus--from viewing music as simply a representation of Otherness to taking into account the broader media environment where listeners and intermediaries often have conflicting priorities. Throughout the book, Goldschmitt traces several lines of inquiry including the changes over time in the different kinds of tastemakers that introduce and mediate Brazilian music to Anglophone listeners, the role of significant films and film scores in shaping both the music that comes to the international marketplace and the framework by which Anglophones understand what they are hearing, as well as the influence of Brazil’s national branding priorities on the music industry. Featuring interviews with key figures in the transnational circulation of Brazilian music, and in-depth discussions of well-known Brazilian musicians alongside artists who redefine what it means to be a Brazilian musician in the twenty-first century, Bossa Mundo shows the pernicious effects of branding racial diversity on musicians and audiences alike.Kristen M. Turner is a lecturer in the music and honors departments at North Carolina State University. Her research centers on race and class in American popular entertainment at the turn of the twentieth century.
89 minutes | May 28, 2021
Kama Maclean, "A Revolutionary History of Interwar India: Violence, Image, Voice and Text" (Oxford UP, 2015)
Kama Maclean's book A Revolutionary History of Interwar India: Violence, Image, Voice and Text (Oxford University Press, 2015) draws on new evidence to deliver a fresh perspective on the ambitions, ideologies and practices of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association or Army (HSRA), the revolutionary party formed by Chandrashekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh, inspired by transnational anti-imperial dissent. The book offers an account of the activities of the north Indian revolutionaries who advocated the use of political violence against the British; and considers the impact of their actions on the mainstream nationalism of the Indian National Congress. The book contends that the presence of these revolutionaries on the political landscape during this crucial interwar period pressured Congress politics and tested the policy of non-violence. The book makes methodological contributions, analyzing images, memoirs, oral history accounts and rumours alongside colonial archives and recently declassified government files, to elaborate on the complex relationships between the Congress and the HSRA, which are far less antagonistic than is frequently imagined.Dr. Kama Maclean is Professor of South Asian History in the South Asia Institute (SAI) at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.Samee Siddiqui is a former journalist who is currently a PhD Candidate at the Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His dissertation explores discussions relating to religion, race, and empire between South Asian and Japanese figures in Tokyo from 1905 until 1945. You can find him on twitter @ssiddiqui83
53 minutes | May 27, 2021
Mark Storey, "Time and Antiquity in American Empire: Roma Redux" (Oxford UP, 2021)
This is Carrie Lynn, welcoming you back to New Books in Literary Studies, a podcast channel on the New Books Network. Today I’m looking forward to sharing with you Time and Antiquity in American Empire: Roma Redux (Oxford UP, 2021) by Dr. Mark Storey, a book about two empires—America and Rome—and, as Storey puts it, the forms of time we create when we think about these empires together. Ranging from the eighteenth century to the present day, through novels, journalism, film, and photography, Time and Antiquity in American Empire reconfigures our understanding of how cultural and political life has generated an analogy between Roman antiquity and the imperial US state—both to justify and perpetuate it, and to resist and critique it.The book takes in a wide scope, from theories of historical time and imperial culture, through the twin political pillars of American empire—republicanism and slavery—to the popular literary genres that have reimagined America's and Rome's sometimes strange orbit, specifically Christian fiction, travel writing, and science fiction. Through this conjunction of literary history, classical reception studies, and the philosophy of history, Storey builds a more fundamental inquiry into how we imagine both our politics and ourselves within historical time. He outlines a new relationship between text and context, and between history and culture. Offering a fresh reckoning with the historicist protocols of literary study, this book suggests that recognizing the shape of history we step into when we analogize with the past is also a way of thinking about how we have read—and how we might yet read.Mark Storey is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. He was a founding member of the British Association of Nineteenth-Century Americanists and has held fellowships at the University of Virginia and the Houghton Library at Harvard. His research and teaching interests lie broadly in American literature and culture, and he is currently working on projects in two areas: critical theory and historical time, and horror and the gothic.Carrie Lynn Evans is a PhD student at Université Laval in Quebec City.
42 minutes | May 26, 2021
Christiane Tietz, "Karl Barth: A Life in Conflict" (Oxford UP, 2021)
From the beginning of his career, Swiss theologian Karl Barth (1886-1968) was often in conflict with the spirit of his times. While during the First World War German poets and philosophers became intoxicated by the experience of community and transcendence, Barth fought against all attempts to locate the divine in culture or individual sentiment. This freed him for a deep worldly engagement: he was known as "the red pastor," was the primary author of the founding document of the Confessing Church, the Barmen Theological Declaration, and after 1945 protested the rearmament of the Federal Republic of Germany. In Karl Barth: A Life in Conflict (Oxford UP, 2021), Christiane Tietz compellingly explores the interactions between Barth's personal and political biography and his theology. Numerous newly-available documents offer insight into the lesser-known sides of Barth such as his long-term three-way relationship with his wife Nelly and his colleague Charlotte von Kirschbaum. This is an evocative portrait of a theologian who described himself as "God's cheerful partisan," who was honored as a prophet and a genial spirit, was feared as a critic, and shaped the theology of an entire century as no other thinker.Zach McCulley (@zamccull) is a historian of religion and literary cultures in early modern England and PhD candidate in History at Queen's University Belfast.
34 minutes | May 25, 2021
Nicholas Freudenberg, "At What Cost: Modern Capitalism and the Future of Health" (Oxford UP, 2021)
Freedom of choice lies at the heart of American society. Every day, individuals decide what to eat, which doctors to see, who to connect with online, and where to educate their children. Yet, many Americans don't realize that these choices are illusory at best. By the start of the 21st century, every major industrial sector in the global economy was controlled by no more than five transnational corporations, and in about a third of these sectors, a single company accounted for more than 40 percent of global sales. The available options in food, healthcare, education, transportation, and even online presence are largely constructed by corporations, whose sweeping influence have made them the public face and executive agents of 21st-century capitalism. At What Cost: Modern Capitalism and the Future of Health (Oxford UP, 2021) confronts how globalization, financial speculation, monopolies, and control of science and technology have enhanced the ability of corporations and their allies to overwhelm influences of government, family, community, and faith. As corporations manipulate demand through skillful marketing and veto the choices that undermine their bottom line, free consumer choice has all but disappeared, and with it, the personal protections guarding our collective health. At What Cost argues that the world created by 21st-century capitalism is simply not fit to solve our most serious public health problems, from climate change to opioid addiction. However, author and public health expert Nicholas Freudenberg also shows that though the road is steep, human and planetary well-being constitute a powerful mobilizing idea for a new social movement, one that will restore the power of individual voice to our democracy. With impeccably detailed research and an eye towards a better future, At What Cost arms ordinary citizens, activists, and health professionals with an understanding of how we've arrived at the precipice, and what we can do to ensure a healthier collective future.Claire Clark is a medical educator, historian of medicine, and associate professor in the University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine. She teaches and writes about health behavior in historical context.
70 minutes | May 25, 2021
Blake Scott Ball, "Charlie Brown's America: The Popular Politics of Peanuts" (Oxford UP, 2021)
Despite—or because of—its huge popular culture status, Peanuts enabled cartoonist Charles Schulz to offer political commentary on the most controversial topics of postwar American culture through the voices of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the Peanuts gang.In postwar America, there was no newspaper comic strip more recognizable than Charles Schulz's Peanuts. It was everywhere, not just in thousands of daily newspapers. For nearly fifty years, Peanuts was a mainstay of American popular culture in television, movies, and merchandising, from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to the White House to the breakfast table.Most people have come to associate Peanuts with the innocence of childhood, not the social and political turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s. Some have even argued that Peanuts was so beloved because it was apolitical. The truth, as Blake Scott Ball shows, is that Peanuts was very political. Whether it was the battles over the Vietnam War, racial integration, feminism, or the future of a nuclear world, Peanuts was a daily conversation about very real hopes and fears and the political realities of the Cold War world. As thousands of fan letters, interviews, and behind-the-scenes documents reveal, Charles Schulz used his comic strip to project his ideas to a mass audience and comment on the rapidly changing politics of America.Charlie Brown's America: The Popular Politics of Peanuts (Oxford UP, 2021) covers all of these debates and much more in a historical journey through the tumultuous decades of the Cold War as seen through the eyes of Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Peppermint Patty, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang.Blake Scott Ball is Assistant Professor of History at Huntingdon College.Alexandra Ortolja-Baird is Lecturer in Early Modern European History at King’s College London. She tweets at @timetravelallie.
72 minutes | May 24, 2021
Nadia E. Brown and Danielle Casarez Lemi, "Sister Style: The Politics of Appearance for Black Women Political Elites" (Oxford UP, 2021)
All political candidates make strategic choices about how to present themselves to voters but not all candidates have to “weigh decisions about their self-presentation alongside stereotypical tropes, culture norms that denigrate Blackness, and European beauty standards, in addition to the historical legacies of racism, colorism, sexism, and heteropatriarchy.” Sister Style: The Politics of Appearance for Black Women Political Elites (Oxford UP, 2021) interrogates the “everyday politicization of Black women’s bodies and its ramifications for politics.” Hair is not simply hair.Drs. Brown and Lemi use a wide-range of qualitative and quantitative methods, including focus groups with Black women candidates and elected officials to argue that “Black women's political experience and the way that voters evaluate them is shaped overtly by their skin tone and hair texture, with hair being a particular point of scrutiny.” Sister Style explores “what the politics of appearance for Black women means for Black women politicians and Black voters, and how expectations about self-presentation differ for Black women versus Black men, White men, and White women.” For many black women in politics, racist and sexist cultural ideas have been used to “demean and fetishize” them based on their physical appearance. They are oftentimes pressured into changing their appearance to look more like their white female counterparts. But Brown and Lemi highlight the agency of Black women candidates and the book reconceptualizes how “Black women political elites are thought about, assessed, measured, and evaluated.”The book is organized around several questions. What are the origins of the contemporary focus on Black women’s bodies in public life? How do Black women politicians make sense of the politics of appearance? Is there a phenotypic profile in who which most Black women politicians fit? How do voters process the appearances of Black women candidates?Dr. Nadia Brown is an Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at Purdue University. Beginning in July 2021, Dr. Brown will be a professor of Government and director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at Georgetown University. Dr. Brown is also the author of Sisters in the Statehouse: Black Women and Legislative Decision Making (Oxford, 2014) and editor of three books: Distinct Identities: Minority Women in U.S. Politics (Routledge, 2016), Body Politics (Routledge, 2019), and Me Too Political Science (Routledge, 2019). She edits Politics, Groups, and Identities and is a founding board member of @WomenAlsoKnowStuff. Her most recent public facing publication is “Here’s how to teach Black Lives Matter: We’ve developed a short course” Washington Post’s Monkey Cage with Ray Block, Jr. and Christopher Stout.Dr. Danielle Casarez Lemi is a Tower Center Fellow at the John G. Tower Center for Political Science at Southern Methodist University. Her specialization is representation in American politics with a focus on gender, race, and identity. Her research has appeared in Politics, Groups, and Identities, Du Bois Review, Journal of Race, Ethnicity and Politics, PS: Political Science and Politics, British Journal of Political Science, and Perspectives on Politics.Daniella Campos assisted with this podcast.Susan Liebell is an associate professor of political science at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Why Diehard Originalists Aren’t Really Originalists appeared in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage and “Sensitive Places: Originalism, Gender, and the Myth Self-Defense in District of Columbia v. Heller” can be found in July 2021’s Polity. Email her comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet to @SusanLiebell.
55 minutes | May 17, 2021
Michael D. Gordin, "On the Fringe: Where Science Meets Pseudoscience" (Oxford UP, 2021)
Everyone has heard of the term "pseudoscience", typically used to describe something that looks like science, but is somehow false, misleading, or unproven. Many would be able to agree on a list of things that fall under its umbrella-- astrology, phrenology, UFOlogy, creationism, and eugenics might come to mind. But defining what makes these fields "pseudo" is a far more complex issue. It has proved impossible to come up with a simple criterion that enables us to differentiate pseudoscience from genuine science. Given the virulence of contemporary disputes over the denial of climate change and anti-vaccination movements--both of which display allegations of "pseudoscience" on all sides-- there is a clear need to better understand issues of scientific demarcation.On the Fringe: Where Science Meets Pseudoscience (Oxford UP, 2021) explores the philosophical and historical attempts to address this problem of demarcation. This book argues that by understanding doctrines that are often seen as antithetical to science, we can learn a great deal about how science operated in the past and does today. This exploration raises several questions: How does a doctrine become demonized as pseudoscientific? Who has the authority to make these pronouncements? How is the status of science shaped by political or cultural contexts? How does pseudoscience differ from scientific fraud?Michael D. Gordin both answers these questions and guides readers along a bewildering array of marginalized doctrines, looking at parapsychology (ESP), Lysenkoism, scientific racism, and alchemy, among others, to better understand the struggle to define what science is and is not, and how the controversies have shifted over the centuries. On the Fringe provides a historical tour through many of these fringe fields in order to provide tools to think deeply about scientific controversies both in the past and in our present.Marshall Poe is the founder and editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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