New Books

How Democracies Die

By Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt

Image of book cover of How Democracies DieDonald Trump’s presidency has raised a question that many of us never thought we’d be asking: Is our democracy in danger? Professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we have already passed the first one. (Read more at Penguin Random House)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Steven Levitsky is a professor of government and Harvard College Professor at Harvard University. Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Daniel Ziblatt is a professor of government at Harvard University.

The Politics of Custom: Chiefship, Capital, and the State in Contemporary Africa

Edited by John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff

Image of book cover of The Politics of CustomHow are we to explain the resurgence of customary chiefs in contemporary Africa? Rather than disappearing with the tide of modernity, as many expected, indigenous sovereigns are instead a rising force, often wielding substantial power and legitimacy despite major changes in the workings of the global political economy in the post-Cold War era—changes in which they are themselves deeply implicated.

This pathbreaking volume, edited by anthropologists John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff, explores the reasons behind the increasingly assertive politics of custom in many corners of Africa. Chiefs come in countless guises—from university professors through cosmopolitan businessmen to subsistence farmers–but, whatever else they do, they are a critical key to understanding the tenacious hold that “traditional” authority enjoys in the late modern world. Together the contributors explore this counterintuitive chapter in Africa’s history and, in so doing, place it within the broader world-making processes of the twenty-first century. (Read more at University of Chicago Press)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Jean Comaroff is the Alfred North Whitehead Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology at Harvard University. Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate John L. Comaroff is the Hugh K. Foster Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology at Harvard University.

Oceanic Histories

Edited by David Armitage, Alison Bashford, and Sujit Sivasundaram

Image of book cover of Oceanic HistoriesOceanic Histories is the first comprehensive account of world history focused not on the land but viewed through the 70 percent of the Earth's surface covered by water. Leading historians trace the history of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans and seas, from the Arctic and the Baltic to the South China Sea and the Sea of Japan/Korea East Sea, over the longue durée. Individual chapters trace the histories and the historiographies of the various oceanic regions, with special attention given to the histories of circulation and particularity, the links between human and non-human history and the connections and comparisons between parts of the World Ocean. Showcasing oceanic history as a field with a long past and a vibrant future, these authoritative surveys, original arguments and guides to research make this volume an indispensable resource for students and scholars alike. (Read more at Cambridge University Press)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University.

Global History, Globally

By Sven Beckert and Dominic Sachsenmaier

Image of book cover of Global History, GloballyIn recent years historians in many different parts of the world have sought to transnationalize and globalize their perspectives on the past. Despite all these efforts to gain new global historical visions, however, the debates surrounding this movement have remained rather provincial in scope. Global History, Globally addresses this lacuna by surveying the state of global history in different world regions. 

Divided into three distinct but tightly interweaved sections, the book's chapters provide regional surveys of the practice of global history on all continents, review some of the research in four core fields of global history and consider a number of problems that global historians have contended with in their work. The authors hail from various world regions and are themselves leading global historians. Collectively, they provide an unprecedented survey of what today is the most dynamic field in the discipline of history. (Read more at Bloomsbury Academic Press)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Sven Beckert is the Laird Bell Professor of History at the Department of History at Harvard University.

Living Emergency: Israel’s Permit Regime in the Occupied West Bank

By Yael Berda

Image of book cover of Living EmergencyIn 1991, the Israeli government introduced emergency legislation canceling the general exit permit that allowed Palestinians to enter Israel. The directive, effective for one year, has been reissued annually ever since, turning the Occupied Territories into a closed military zone. Today, Israel's permit regime for Palestinians is one of the world's most extreme and complex apparatuses for population management. Yael Berda worked as a human rights lawyer in Jerusalem and represented more than two hundred Palestinian clients trying to obtain labor permits to enter Israel from the West Bank. With Living Emergency, she brings readers inside the permit regime, offering a first-hand account of how the Israeli secret service, government, and military civil administration control the Palestinian population.
   
Through interviews with Palestinian laborers and their families, conversations with Israeli clerks and officials, and research into the archives and correspondence of governmental organizations, Berda reconstructs the institutional framework of the labyrinthine permit regime, illuminating both its overarching principles and its administrative practices. In an age where terrorism, crime, and immigration are perceived as intertwined security threats, she reveals how the Israeli example informs global homeland security and border control practices, creating a living emergency for targeted populations worldwide. (Read more at Stanford University Press)

Academy Scholar Yael Berda is an assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at Hebrew University in Israel.

The Cuban Economy in a New Era: An Agenda for Change toward Durable Development

Edited by Jorge I. Domínguez, Omar Everleny Pérez Villanueva, and Lorena Barberia

Image of book cover of The Cuban EconomyCuba’s economy has grown hardly at all during Raúl Castro’s presidency (beginning in 2006), hit by the economic collapse of its Venezuelan partner and burdened by a legacy of decayed infrastructure, a bankrupt sugar industry, and stagnant agriculture.
   
The Cuban Economy in ​a New Era diagnoses the ills that afflict Cuba’s economy and examines possible economic policy changes in seven areas: macroeconomic policy, central planning, small and medium private enterprises, nonagricultural cooperatives, financing options for the new private sector, state enterprise management, and relations with international financial institutions. Cuban economists have contributed these seven chapters, and the combined import is further considered in introductory and concluding chapters. (Read more at Harvard University Press)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate (on administrative leave) Jorge I. Domínguez is the Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico at the Department of Government at Harvard University.

Red at Heart: How Chinese Communists Fell in Love with the Russian Revolution

By Elizabeth McGuire    

Image of book cover of Red at HeartRed at Heart conjures a tale of cross-cultural romance from a topic that is normally seen in geopolitical or ideological terms—and thereby offers a new interpretation of twentieth century communism's most crucial alliance.

This is the multigenerational history of people who experienced Sino-Soviet affairs most intimately: prominent Chinese revolutionaries who traveled to Russia in their youths to study, often falling in love and having children there. Their deeply personal memoirs, interviews with their children, and a vivid collection of documents from the Russian archives allow Elizabeth McGuire to reconstruct the sexually-charged, physically difficult, and politically dangerous lives of Chinese communists in the Soviet Union. The choices they made shaped not only the lives of their children, but also the postwar alliance between the People's Republic of China and Soviet Russia. (Read more at Oxford University Press)

Former Academy Scholar Elizabeth McGuire is an assistant professor of history at California State University, East Bay.

Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism

By Quinn Slobodian

Image of book cover of GlobalistsNeoliberals hate the state. Or do they? In the first intellectual history of neoliberal globalism, Quinn Slobodian follows a group of thinkers from the ashes of the Habsburg Empire to the creation of the World Trade Organization to show that neoliberalism emerged less to shrink government and abolish regulations than to redeploy them at a global level.

Slobodian begins in Austria in the 1920s. Empires were dissolving and nationalism, socialism, and democratic self-determination threatened the stability of the global capitalist system. In response, Austrian intellectuals called for a new way of organizing the world. But they and their successors in academia and government, from such famous economists as Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises to influential but lesser-known figures such as Wilhelm Röpke and Michael Heilperin, did not propose a regime of laissez-faire. Rather they used states and global institutions—the League of Nations, the European Court of Justice, the World Trade Organization, and international investment law—to insulate the markets against sovereign states, political change, and turbulent democratic demands for greater equality and social justice. (Read more at Harvard University Press)

Quinn Slobodian is a visiting fellow for the Weatherhead Research Cluster on Global Transformations (WIGH). He is an associate professor of history at Wellesley College.

American Capitalism

Edited by Sven Beckert and Christine Desan

Image of book cover of American CapitalismThe United States has long epitomized capitalism. From its enterprising shopkeepers, wildcat banks, violent slave plantations, huge industrial working class, and raucous commodities trade to its world-spanning multinationals, its massive factories, and the centripetal power of New York in the world of finance, America has come to symbolize capitalism for two centuries and more. But an understanding of the history of American capitalism is as elusive as it is urgent. What does it mean to make capitalism a subject of historical inquiry? What is its potential across multiple disciplines, alongside different methodologies, and in a range of geographic and chronological settings? And how does a focus on capitalism change our understanding of American history?

American Capitalism presents a sampling of cutting-edge research from prominent scholars. These broad-minded and rigorous essays venture new angles on finance, debt, and credit; women’s rights; slavery and political economy; the racialization of capitalism; labor beyond industrial wage workers; and the production of knowledge, including the idea of the economy, among other topics. Together, the essays suggest emerging themes in the field: a fascination with capitalism as it is made by political authority, how it is claimed and contested by participants, how it spreads across the globe, and how it can be reconceptualized without being universalized. A major statement for a wide-open field, this book demonstrates the breadth and scope of the work that the history of capitalism can provoke. (Read more at Columbia University Press)

Weatherhead Center Faculty Associate Sven Beckert is the Laird Bell Professor of History at the Department of History at Harvard University.

Party Systems in Latin America: Institutionalization, Decay, and Collapse

Edited by Scott Mainwaring

Image of book cover of Party Systems in Latin AmericaBased on contributions from leading scholars, this study generates a wealth of new empirical information about Latin American party systems. It also contributes richly to major theoretical and comparative debates about the effects of party systems on democratic politics, and about why some party systems are much more stable and predictable than others. Party Systems in Latin America builds on, challenges, and updates Mainwaring and Timothy Scully's seminal Building Democratic Institutions: Party Systems in Latin America (1995), which re-oriented the study of democratic party systems in the developing world. It is essential reading for scholars and students of comparative party systems, democracy, and Latin American politics. It shows that a stable and predictable party system facilitates important democratic processes and outcomes, but that building and maintaining such a party system has been the exception rather than the norm in contemporary Latin America. (Read more at Cambridge University Press)

Faculty Associate Scott Mainwaring is the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor for Brazil Studies at the Harvard Kennedy School.

The Greco-German Affair in the Euro Crisis: Mutual Recognition Lost?

By Claudia Sternberg, Kira Gartzou-Katsouyanni, and Kalypso Nicolaïdis

Image of book cover of The Greco-German Affair in the Euro CrisisThis book focuses on one of the most highly charged relationships of the Euro crisis, that between Greece and Germany, from 2009 to 2015. It explores the many ways in which Greeks and Germans represented and often insulted one another in the media, how their self-understanding shifted in the process, and how this in turn affected their respective appraisal of the EU and that which divides us or keeps us together as Europeans. These stories illustrate the book’s broader argument about mutual recognition, an idea and norm at the very heart of the European project. The book is constructed around a normative pivot. On one hand, the authors suggest that the tumultuous affair between the two peoples can be read as “mutual recognition lost” through a thousand cuts. On the other, they argue that the relationship has only bent rather than broken down, opening the potential for a renewed promise of mutual recognition and an ethos of “fair play” that may even re-source the EU as a whole. The book’s engaging story and original argument may appeal not only to experts of European politics and democracy, but also to interested or emotionally invested citizens, of whatever nationality. (Read more at Palgrave Macmillan) 

Weatherhead Center advisory committee member Kalypso Nicolaïdis is a professor of international relations at the University of Oxford, UK. 

Bernardo de Gálvez: Spanish Hero of the American Revolution

By Gonzalo M. Quintero Saravia

Image of book cover of Bernardo de GalvezAlthough Spain was never a formal ally of the United States during the American Revolution, its entry into the war definitively tipped the balance against Britain. Led by Bernardo de Gálvez, supreme commander of the Spanish forces in North America, their military campaigns against British settlements on the Mississippi River—and later against Mobile and Pensacola—were crucial in preventing Britain from concentrating all its North American military and naval forces on the fight against George Washington’s Continental army. In this first comprehensive biography of Gálvez (1746–86), Gonzalo M. Quintero Saravia assesses the commander’s considerable historical impact and expands our understanding of Spain’s contribution to the war.

A man of both empire and the Enlightenment, as viceroy of New Spain (1785–86), Gálvez was also pivotal in the design and implementation of Spanish colonial reforms, which included the reorganization of Spain’s Northern Frontier that brought peace to the region for the duration of the Spanish presence in North America. Extensively researched through Spanish, Mexican, and US archives, Quintero Saravia’s portrait of Gálvez reveals him as central to the histories of the Revolution and late eighteenth-century America and offers a reinterpretation of the international factors involved in the American War for Independence. (Read more at University of North Carolina Press)

Former Weatherhead Center Fellow Gonzalo M. Quintero Saravia is the author of several books on eighteenth-century Spanish American history. 

Illusions of Democracy: Malaysian Politics and People Volume II 

Edited by Sophie Lemière

Image of book cover of Illusions of DemocracyBringing together a group of both international and Malaysian scholars, Illusions of Democracy: Malaysian Politics and People Volume II offers an up-to-date and broad analysis of the contemporary state of Malaysian politics and society. Transcending disciplinary boundaries, it offers a look at Malaysian politics not only through the lens of political science but also anthropology, cultural studies, international relations, political economy and legal studies touching on both overlooked topics in Malaysian political life as well as the emerging trends which will shape Malaysia’s future. Covering silat martial arts, Malaysia’s constitutional identity, emergency legislation, the South China Sea dilemma, ISIS discourse, zakat payment, the fallout from the 1MDB scandal and Malaysia’s green movement, Illusions of Democracy charts the complex and multi-faceted nature of political life in a semi-authoritarian state, breaking down the illusions which keep it functioning, to uncover the mechanisms which really underlie the paradoxical longevity of Malaysia’s political, economic and social system. (Read more at Gerakbudaya) 

Sophie Lemière is a postdoctoral fellow with the Weatherhead Scholars Program. She is a Max Weber Postdoctoral Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute.

Managing Universities: Policy and Organizational Change from a Western European Comparative Perspective

Edited by Ivar Bleiklie, Jürgen Enders, and Benedetto Lepori

Image of book cover of Managing UniversitiesThis book asks how modern universities are organized and managed, and questions whether thirty years of university reforms have resulted in stronger managerial structures and leadership control. It further asks whether current organisational and decision-making structures can be explained by public reform policies. The book offers a coherent, empirically grounded and theoretically driven presentation of data and core ideas behind a large scale comparative study of twenty-six universities across eight European countries. It focuses on the strength of university managerial structures, the role of academics, and how universities relate to and depend on their environment: to governments and other actors; to funders; to evaluators; and to external stakeholders. It further explores how higher education policies are shaped by and affect universities. Written by a cross-disciplinary team of European scholars, this book is unique both in its wide coverage and the depth of its analyses. It will be of great interest to scholars, graduate students and advanced undergraduates in the fields of organisation theory and sociology, policy studies, comparative public policy and administration, and higher education studies. It will also be of interest to higher education policy makers and administrators. (Read more at Palgrave Macmillan)

Ivar Bleiklie is a visiting scholar with the SCANCOR-Weatherhead Partnership. He is a professor of social science at the University of Bergen, Norway.

Kissinger the Negotiator: Lessons from Dealmaking at the Highest Level

By James K. Sebenius, R. Nicholas Burns, Robert H. Mnookin

Image of book cover of Kissinger the NegotiatorPoliticians, world leaders, and business executives around the world—including every President from John F. Kennedy to Donald J. Trump—have sought the counsel of Henry Kissinger, a brilliant diplomat and historian whose unprecedented achievements as a negotiator have been universally acknowledged. Now, for the first time, Kissinger the Negotiator provides a clear analysis of Kissinger’s overall approach to making deals and resolving conflicts—expertise that holds powerful and enduring lessons.

James K. Sebenius (Harvard Business School), R. Nicholas Burns (Harvard Kennedy School of Government), and Robert H. Mnookin (Harvard Law School) crystallize the key elements of Kissinger’s approach, based on in-depth interviews with the former secretary of state himself about some of his most difficult negotiations, an extensive study of his record, and many independent sources. Taut and instructive, Kissinger the Negotiator mines the long and fruitful career of this elder statesman and shows how his strategies apply not only to contemporary diplomatic challenges but also to other realms of negotiation, including business, public policy, and law. (Read more at Harper Collins)

Faculty Associate R. Nicholas Burns is the Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at Harvard Kennedy School.

International Organizations and the Media in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Exorbitant Expectations

Edited by Jonas Brendebach, Martin Herzer, and Heidi J.S. Tworek

Image of book cover of International Organizations and the MediaInternational Organizations and the Media in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries is the first volume to explore the historical relationship between international organizations and the media. Beginning in the early nineteenth century and coming up to the 1990s, the volume shows how people around the globe largely learned about international organizations and their activities through the media and images created by journalists, publicists, and filmmakers in texts, sound bites, and pictures.

The book examines how interactions with the media are a formative component of international organizations. At the same time, it questions some of the basic assumptions about how media promoted or enabled international governance. Written by leading scholars in the field from Europe, North America, and Australasia, and including case studies from all regions of the world, it covers a wide range of issues from humanitarianism and environmentalism to Hollywood and debates about international information orders. (Read more at Routledge)

Heidi J.S. Tworek is a visiting fellow with the Center for History and Economics Program. She is also an assistant professor of history at the University of British Columbia.

The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World

By Michael Ignatieff

Image of book cover of The Ordinary VirtuesWhat moral values do human beings hold in common? As globalization draws us together economically, are our values converging or diverging? In particular, are human rights becoming a global ethic? These were the questions that led Michael Ignatieff to embark on a three-year, eight-nation journey in search of answers. The Ordinary Virtues presents Ignatieff’s discoveries and his interpretation of what globalization—and resistance to it—is doing to our conscience and our moral understanding.

Through dialogues with favela dwellers in Brazil, South Africans and Zimbabweans living in shacks, Japanese farmers, gang leaders in Los Angeles, and monks in Myanmar, Ignatieff found that while human rights may be the language of states and liberal elites, the moral language that resonates with most people is that of everyday virtues: tolerance, forgiveness, trust, and resilience. These ordinary virtues are the moral operating system in global cities and obscure shantytowns alike, the glue that makes the multicultural experiment work. Ignatieff seeks to understand the moral structure and psychology of these core values, which privilege the local over the universal, and citizens’ claims over those of strangers. (Read more at Harvard University Press)

Advisory committee member Michael Ignatieff is the president of Central European University in Hungary.

Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World

By Samuel Moyn

Image of book cover of Not EnoughThe age of human rights has been kindest to the rich. Even as state violations of political rights garnered unprecedented attention due to human rights campaigns, a commitment to material equality disappeared. In its place, market fundamentalism has emerged as the dominant force in national and global economies. In this provocative book, Samuel Moyn analyzes how and why we chose to make human rights our highest ideals while simultaneously neglecting the demands of a broader social and economic justice.

In a pioneering history of rights stretching back to the Bible, Not Enough charts how twentieth-century welfare states, concerned about both abject poverty and soaring wealth, resolved to fulfill their citizens’ most basic needs without forgetting to contain how much the rich could tower over the rest. In the wake of two world wars and the collapse of empires, new states tried to take welfare beyond its original European and American homelands and went so far as to challenge inequality on a global scale. But their plans were foiled as a neoliberal faith in markets triumphed instead. (Read more at Harvard University Press) 

Weatherhead Center alum Samuel Moyn is now a professor of law and history at Yale University.