Research Library

2017
Synthetic: How Life Got Made
Roosth, Sophia. 2017. Synthetic: How Life Got Made. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Publisher's Version Abstract
In the final years of the twentieth century, émigrés from engineering and computer science devoted themselves to biology and resolved that if the aim of biology is to understand life, then making life would yield better theories than experimentation. Armed with the latest biotechnology techniques, these scientists treated biological media as elements for design and manufacture: viruses named for computers, bacterial genomes encoding passages from James Joyce, chimeric yeast buckling under the metabolic strain of genes harvested from wormwood, petunias, and microbes from Icelandic thermal pools.
 
In Synthetic: How Life Got Made, cultural anthropologist Sophia Roosth reveals how synthetic biologists make new living things in order to understand better how life works. The first book-length ethnographic study of this discipline, Synthetic documents the social, cultural, rhetorical, economic, and imaginative transformations biology has undergone in the post-genomic age. Roosth traces this new science from its origins at MIT to start-ups, laboratories, conferences, and hackers’ garages across the United States—even to contemporary efforts to resurrect extinct species. Her careful research reveals that rather than opening up a limitless new field, these biologists’ own experimental tactics circularly determine the biological features, theories, and limits they fasten upon. Exploring the life sciences emblematic of our time, Synthetic tells the origin story of the astonishing claim that biological making fosters biological knowing.
The Truth about Crime: Sovereignty, Knowledge, Social Order
COmaroff, Jean, and John L. Comaroff. 2017. The Truth about Crime: Sovereignty, Knowledge, Social Order. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Publisher's Version Abstract
In this book, renowned anthropologists Jean and John L. Comaroff make a startling but absolutely convincing claim about our modern era: it is not by our arts, our politics, or our science that we understand ourselves—it is by our crimes. Surveying an astonishing range of forms of crime and policing—from petty thefts to the multibillion-dollar scams of too-big-to-fail financial institutions to the collateral damage of war—they take readers into the disorder of the late modern world. Looking at recent transformations in the triangulation of capital, the state, and governance that have led to an era where crime and policing are ever more complicit, they offer a powerful meditation on the new forms of sovereignty, citizenship, class, race, law, and political economy of representation that have arisen.
           
To do so, the Comaroffs draw on their vast knowledge of South Africa, especially, and its struggle to build a democracy founded on the rule of law out of the wreckage of long years of violence and oppression. There they explore everything from the fascination with the supernatural in policing to the extreme measures people take to prevent home invasion, drawing illuminating comparisons to the United States and United Kingdom. Going beyond South Africa, they offer a global criminal anthropology that attests to criminality as the constitutive fact of contemporary life, the vernacular by which politics are conducted, moral panics voiced, and populations ruled.  
           
The result is a disturbing but necessary portrait of the modern era, one that asks critical new questions about how we see ourselves, how we think about morality, and how we are going to proceed as a global society.
Herbert C. Kelman: A Pioneer in the Social Psychology of Conflict Analysis and Resolution
This edited volume presents selected papers capturing Herbert Kelman’s unique and seminal contributions to the social psychology of conflict analysis and resolution, with a special emphasis on the utility of concepts for understanding and constructively addressing violent and intractable conflicts. Central concepts covered include perceptual processes, basic human needs, group and normative processes, social identity, and intergroup trust, which form the basis for developing interactive methods of conflict resolution.
Social Policy Expansion in Latin America
Garay, Candelaria. 2017. Social Policy Expansion in Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's Version Abstract
Throughout the twentieth century, much of the population in Latin America lacked access to social protection. Since the 1990s, however, social policy for millions of outsiders - rural, informal, and unemployed workers and dependents - has been expanded dramatically. Social Policy Expansion in Latin America shows that the critical factors driving expansion are electoral competition for the vote of outsiders and social mobilization for policy change. The balance of partisan power and the involvement of social movements in policy design explain cross-national variation in policy models, in terms of benefit levels, coverage, and civil society participation in implementation. The book draws on in-depth case studies of policy making in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico over several administrations and across three policy areas: health care, pensions, and income support. Secondary case studies illustrate how the theory applies to other developing countries.
Paradoxes of Green: Landscapes of a City-State
Doherty, Gareth. 2017. Paradoxes of Green: Landscapes of a City-State. Oakland: University of California Press. Publisher's Version Abstract
This innovative multidisciplinary study considers the concept of green from multiple perspectives—aesthetic, architectural, environmental, political, and social—in the Kingdom of Bahrain, where green has a long and deep history of appearing cooling, productive, and prosperous—a radical contrast to the hot and hostile desert. Although green is often celebrated in cities as a counter to gray urban environments, green has not always been good for cities. Similarly, manifestation of the color green in arid urban environments is often in direct conflict with the practice of green from an environmental point of view. This paradox is at the heart of the book. In arid environments such as Bahrain, the contradiction becomes extreme and even unsustainable.

Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, Gareth Doherty explores the landscapes of Bahrain, where green represents a plethora of implicit human values and exists in dialectical tension with other culturally and environmentally significant colors and hues. Explicit in his book is the argument that concepts of color and object are mutually defining and thus a discussion about green becomes a discussion about the creation of space and place.
The Law of Nations in Global History
Armitage, David, and Jennifer Pitts, ed. 2017. The Law of Nations in Global History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Publisher's Version Abstract
The history and theory of international law have been transformed in recent years by post-colonial and post-imperial critiques of the universalistic claims of Western international law. The origins of those critiques lie in the often overlooked work of the remarkable Polish-British lawyer-historian C. H. Alexandrowicz (1902-75). This volume collects Alexandrowicz's shorter historical writings, on subjects from the law of nations in pre-colonial India to the New International Economic Order of the 1970s, and presents them as a challenging portrait of early modern and modern world history seen through the lens of the law of nations.

The book includes the first complete bibliography of Alexandrowicz's writings and the first biographical and critical introduction to his life and works. It reveals the formative influence of his Polish roots and early work on canon law for his later scholarship undertaken in Madras (1951-61) and Sydney (1961-67) and the development of his thought regarding sovereignty, statehood, self-determination, and legal personality, among many other topics still of urgent interest to international lawyers, political theorists, and global historians.
Realizing Roma Rights
Bhabha, Jacqueline, Andrzej Mirga, and Margareta Matache, ed. 2017. Realizing Roma Rights. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Publisher's Version Abstract
Realizing Roma Rights investigates anti-Roma racism and documents a growing Roma-led political movement engaged in building a more inclusive and just Europe. The book brings to the forefront voices of leading and emerging Romani scholars, from established human rights experts to policy and advocacy leaders with deep experience.

Realizing Roma Rights offers detailed accounts of anti-Roma racism, political and diplomatic narratives chronicling the development of European and American policy, and critical examination of Roma-related discourse and policies in contemporary Europe. It also investigates the complex role of the European Union as a driver of progressive change and a flawed implementer of fundamental rights.

This book will provide a useful source for those interested in the dynamics of contemporary stigma and discrimination, the enduring challenges of mobilizing within severely disempowered communities, and the complexities of regional and transnational human rights mechanisms. Spanning as it does a broad disciplinary range that encompasses law, history, sociology, political theory, critical race theory, human rights, organization theory, and education, Realizing Roma Rights is a useful teaching tool for interdisciplinary courses on human rights, racism and xenophobia, political theory, European studies, and minority issues.

The Chessboard and the Web
Slaughter, Anne-Marie. 2017. The Chessboard and the Web. New Haven: Yale University Press. Publisher's Version Abstract
In 1961, Thomas Schelling’s The Strategy of Conflict used game theory to radically reenvision the U.S.-Soviet relationship and establish the basis of international relations for the rest of the Cold War. Now, Anne-Marie Slaughter—one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers from 2009 to 2012, and the first woman to serve as director of the State Department Office of Policy Planning—applies network theory to develop a new set of strategies for the post-Cold War world. While chessboard-style competitive relationships still exist—U.S.-Iranian relations, for example—many other situations demand that we look not at individual entities but at their links to one another. We must learn to understand, shape, and build on those connections.
 
Concise and accessible, based on real-world situations, on a lucid understanding of network science, and on a clear taxonomy of strategies, this will be a go-to resource for anyone looking for a new way to think about strategy in politics or business.
Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy
Ziblatt, Daniel. 2017. Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Publisher's Version Abstract
How do democracies form and what makes them die? Daniel Ziblatt revisits this timely and classic question in a wide-ranging historical narrative that traces the evolution of modern political democracy in Europe from its modest beginnings in 1830s Britain to Adolf Hitler's 1933 seizure of power in Weimar Germany. Based on rich historical and quantitative evidence, the book offers a major reinterpretation of European history and the question of how stable political democracy is achieved. The barriers to inclusive political rule, Ziblatt finds, were not inevitably overcome by unstoppable tides of socioeconomic change, a simple triumph of a growing middle class, or even by working class collective action. Instead, political democracy's fate surprisingly hinged on how conservative political parties – the historical defenders of power, wealth, and privilege – recast themselves and coped with the rise of their own radical right. With striking modern parallels, the book has vital implications for today's new and old democracies under siege.
The Mediterranean Incarnate: Region Formation between Sicily and Tunisia since World War II
In The Mediterranean Incarnate, anthropologist Naor Ben-Yehoyada takes us aboard the Naumachos for a thirty-seven-day voyage in the fishing grounds between Sicily and Tunisia. He also takes us on a historical exploration of the past eighty years to show how the Mediterranean has reemerged as a modern transnational region. From Sicilian poaching in North African territory to the construction of the TransMediterranean gas pipeline, Ben-Yehoyada examines the transformation of political action, imaginaries, and relations in the central Mediterranean while detailing the remarkable bonds that have formed between the Sicilians and Tunisians who live on its waters.
           
The book centers on the town of Mazara del Vallo, located on the southwestern tip of Sicily some ninety nautical miles northeast of the African shore. Ben-Yehoyada intertwines the town’s recent turbulent history—which has been fraught with conflicts over fishing rights, development projects, and how the Mediterranean should figure in Italian politics at large—with deep accounts of life aboard the Naumacho, linking ethnography with historical anthropology and political-economic analysis. Through this sophisticated approach, he crafts a new viewpoint on the historical processes of transnational region formation, one offered by these moving ships as they weave together new social and political constellations.
The Cold War: A World History
Westad, Odd Arne. 2017. The Cold War: A World History. London: Penguin Random House. Publisher's Version Abstract

As Germany and then Japan surrendered in 1945 there was a tremendous hope that a new and much better world could be created from the moral and physical ruins of the conflict. Instead, the combination of the huge power of the USA and USSR and the near-total collapse of most of their rivals created a unique, grim new environment: the Cold War.

For over forty years the demands of the Cold War shaped the life of almost all of us. There was no part of the world where East and West did not, ultimately, demand a blind and absolute allegiance, and nowhere into which the West and East did not reach. Countries as remote from each other as Korea, Angola and Cuba were defined by their allegiances. Almost all civil wars became proxy conflicts for the superpowers. Europe was seemingly split in two indefinitely.

Arne Westad's remarkable new book is the first to have the distance from these events and the ambition to create a convincing, powerful narrative of the Cold War. The book is genuinely global in its reach and captures the dramas and agonies of a period always overshadowed by the horror of nuclear war and which, for millions of people, was not 'cold' at all: a time of relentless violence, squandered opportunities and moral failure.

This is a book of extraordinary scope and daring. It is conventional to see the first half of the 20th century as a nightmare and the second half as a reprieve. Westad shows that for much of the world the second half was by most measures even worse.

The Art and Science of Social Research
Waters, Mary C., Elizabeth Heger Boyle, Deborah Carr, Benjamin Cornwell, Shelley Correll, Robert Crosnoe, and Jeremy Freese. 2017. The Art and Science of Social Research. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Publisher's Version Abstract
Written by a team of internationally renowned sociologists with experience in both the field and the classroom, The Art and Science of Social Research offers authoritative and balanced coverage of the full range of methods used to study the social world. The authors highlight the challenges of investigating the unpredictable topic of human lives while providing insights into what really happens in the field, the laboratory, and the survey call center.
Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century
Sikkink, Kathryn. 2017. Evidence for Hope: Making Human Rights Work in the 21st Century. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Publisher's Version Abstract

Evidence for Hope makes the case that, yes, human rights work. Critics may counter that the movement is in serious jeopardy or even a questionable byproduct of Western imperialism. They point out that Guantánamo is still open, the Arab Spring protests have been crushed, and governments are cracking down on NGOs everywhere. But respected human rights expert Kathryn Sikkink draws on decades of research and fieldwork to provide a rigorous rebuttal to pessimistic doubts about human rights laws and institutions. She demonstrates that change comes slowly and as the result of struggle, but in the long term, human rights movements have been vastly effective.

Attacks on the human rights movement’s credibility are based on the faulty premise that human rights ideas emerged in North America and Europe and were imposed on developing southern nations. Starting in the 1940s, Latin American leaders and activists were actually early advocates for the international protection of human rights. Sikkink shows that activists and scholars disagree about the efficacy of human rights because they use different yardsticks to measure progress. Comparing the present to the past, she shows that genocide and violence against civilians have declined over time, while access to healthcare and education has increased dramatically. Cognitive and news biases contribute to pervasive cynicism, but Sikkink’s investigation into past and current trends indicates that human rights is not in its twilight. Instead, this is a period of vibrant activism that has made impressive improvements in human well-being.

Exploring the strategies that have led to real humanitarian gains since the middle of the twentieth century, Evidence for Hope looks at how these essential advances can be supported and sustained for decades to come.

Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy
Rodrik, Dani. 2017. Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Publisher's Version Abstract

Not so long ago the nation-state seemed to be on its deathbed, condemned to irrelevance by the forces of globalization and technology. Now it is back with a vengeance, propelled by a groundswell of populists around the world. In Straight Talk on Trade, Dani Rodrik, an early and outspoken critic of economic globalization taken too far, goes beyond the populist backlash and offers a more reasoned explanation for why our elites’ and technocrats’ obsession with hyper-globalization made it more difficult for nations to achieve legitimate economic and social objectives at home: economic prosperity, financial stability, and equity.

Rodrik takes globalization’s cheerleaders to task, not for emphasizing economics over other values, but for practicing bad economics and ignoring the discipline’s own nuances that should have called for caution. He makes a case for a pluralist world economy where nation-states retain sufficient autonomy to fashion their own social contracts and develop economic strategies tailored to their needs. Rather than calling for closed borders or defending protectionists, Rodrik shows how we can restore a sensible balance between national and global governance. Ranging over the recent experiences of advanced countries, the eurozone, and developing nations, Rodrik charts a way forward with new ideas about how to reconcile today’s inequitable economic and technological trends with liberal democracy and social inclusion.

Deftly navigating the tensions among globalization, national sovereignty, and democracy, Straight Talk on Trade presents an indispensable commentary on today’s world economy and its dilemmas, and offers a visionary framework at a critical time when we need it most.

One Student at a Time: Leading the Global Education Movement
Reimers, Fernando M. 2017. One Student at a Time: Leading the Global Education Movement. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Publisher's Version Abstract
This is a study of the challenges faced by education leaders who are working around the world to expand educational opportunities, with an analysis of the lessons they have learned in addressing these challenges.
Lost Kingdom: The Quest for Empire and the Making of the Russian Nation
In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimea and attempted to seize a portion of Ukraine. While the world watched in outrage, this blatant violation of national sovereignty was only the latest iteration of a centuries-long effort to expand Russian boundaries and create a pan-Russian nation.

In Lost Kingdom, award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues that we can only understand the confluence of Russian imperialism and nationalism today by delving into the nation’s history. Spanning over 500 years, from the end of the Mongol rule to the present day, Plokhy shows how leaders from Ivan the Terrible to Joseph Stalin to Vladimir Putin exploited existing forms of identity, warfare, and territorial expansion to achieve imperial supremacy.

An authoritative and masterful account of Russian nationalism, Lost Kingdom chronicles the story behind Russia’s belligerent empire-building quest.
Election Watchdogs: Transparency, Accountability and Integrity
Norris, Pippa, and Alessandro Nai, ed. 2017. Election Watchdogs: Transparency, Accountability and Integrity. New York: Oxford University Press. Publisher's Version Abstract
Recent decades have seen growing concern regarding problems of electoral integrity. The most overt malpractices used by rulers include imprisoning dissidents, harassing adversaries, coercing voters, vote-rigging counts, and even blatant disregard for the popular vote. Elsewhere minor irregularities are common, exemplified by inaccurate voter registers, maladministration of polling facilities, lack of security in absentee ballots, pro-government media bias, ballot miscounts, and gerrymandering. Serious violations of human rights that undermine electoral credibility are widely condemned by domestic observers and the international community. Recent protests about integrity have mobilized in countries as diverse as Russia, Mexico, and Egypt. However, long-standing democracies are far from immune to these ills; past problems include the notorious hanging chads in Florida in 2000 and more recent accusations of voter fraud and voter suppression during the Obama-Romney contest. When problems come to light, however, is anyone held to account and are effective remedies implemented?

In response to these developments, there have been growing attempts to analyze flaws in electoral integrity and transparency using systematic data from cross-national time-series, forensic analysis, field experiments, case studies, and new instruments monitoring mass and elite perceptions of malpractices. This volume collects essays from international experts who evaluate the robustness, conceptual validity, and reliability of the growing body of evidence. The essays compare alternative approaches and apply these methods to evaluate the quality of elections in several areas, including the United States, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. Election Watchdogs: Transparency, Accountability and Integrity presents new insights into the importance of diverse actors who promote electoral transparency, accountability, and ultimately the integrity of electoral governance.
Ethno-erotic Economies: Sexuality, Money, and Belonging in Kenya
Meiu, George Paul. 2017. Ethno-erotic Economies: Sexuality, Money, and Belonging in Kenya. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Publisher's Version Abstract
Ethno-erotic Economies explores a fascinating case of tourism focused on sex and culture in coastal Kenya, where young men deploy stereotypes of African warriors to help them establish transactional sexual relationships with European women. In bars and on beaches, young men deliberately cultivate their images as sexually potent African men to attract women, sometimes for a night, in other cases for long-term relationships.
 
George Paul Meiu uses his deep familiarity with the communities these men come from to explore the long-term effects of markets of ethnic culture and sexuality on a wide range of aspects of life in rural Kenya, including kinship, ritual, gender, intimate affection, and conceptions of aging. What happens to these communities when young men return with such surprising wealth? And how do they use it to improve their social standing locally? By answering these questions, Ethno-erotic Economies offers a complex look at how intimacy and ethnicity come together to shape the pathways of global and local trade in the postcolonial world.
The Contentious Public Sphere: Law, Media, and Authoritarian Rule in China

Since the mid-2000s, public opinion and debate in China have become increasingly common and consequential, despite the ongoing censorship of speech and regulation of civil society. How did this happen? In The Contentious Public Sphere, Ya-Wen Lei shows how the Chinese state drew on law, the media, and the Internet to further an authoritarian project of modernization, but in so doing, inadvertently created a nationwide public sphere in China—one the state must now endeavor to control. Lei examines the influence this unruly sphere has had on Chinese politics and the ways that the state has responded.

Using interviews, newspaper articles, online texts, official documents, and national surveys, Lei shows that the development of the public sphere in China has provided an unprecedented forum for citizens to influence the public agenda, demand accountability from the government, and organize around the concepts of law and rights. She demonstrates how citizens came to understand themselves as legal subjects, how legal and media professionals began to collaborate in unexpected ways, and how existing conditions of political and economic fragmentation created unintended opportunities for political critique, particularly with the rise of the Internet. The emergence of this public sphere—and its uncertain future—is a pressing issue with important implications for the political prospects of the Chinese people.

Investigating how individuals learn to use public discourse to influence politics, The Contentious Public Sphere offers new possibilities for thinking about the transformation of state-society relations.

The First Serious Optimist: A. C. Pigou and the Birth of Welfare Economics

The First Serious Optimist is an intellectual biography of the British economist A. C. Pigou (1877–1959), a founder of welfare economics and one of the twentieth century's most important and original thinkers. Though long overshadowed by his intellectual rival John Maynard Keynes, Pigou was instrumental in focusing economics on the public welfare. And his reputation is experiencing a renaissance today, in part because his idea of "externalities" or spillover costs is the basis of carbon taxes. Drawing from a wealth of archival sources, Ian Kumekawa tells how Pigou reshaped the way the public thinks about the economic role of government and the way economists think about the public good.

Setting Pigou's ideas in their personal, political, social, and ethical context, the book follows him as he evolved from a liberal Edwardian bon vivant to a reserved but reform-minded economics professor. With World War I, Pigou entered government service, but soon became disenchanted with the state he encountered. As his ideas were challenged in the interwar period, he found himself increasingly alienated from his profession. But with the rise of the Labour Party following World War II, the elderly Pigou re-embraced a mind-set that inspired a colleague to describe him as "the first serious optimist."

The story not just of Pigou but also of twentieth-century economics, The First Serious Optimist explores the biographical and historical origins of some of the most important economic ideas of the past hundred years. It is a timely reminder of the ethical roots of economics and the discipline's long history as an active intermediary between the state and the market.

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