Silk, Slaves, and Stupas - Susan Whitfield | Book Library

    Silk, Slaves, and Stupas - Susan Whitfield

    Silk, Slaves, and Stupas

    Material Culture of the Silk Road

    Susan Whitfield (Author)

    Paperback, 376 pages
    ISBN: 9780520281783
    March 2018
    Following her bestselling Life Along the Silk Road, Susan Whitfield widens her exploration of the great cultural highway with a new captivating portrait focusing on material things. Silk, Slaves, and Stupas tells the stories of ten very different objects, considering their interaction with the peoples and cultures of the Silk Road—those who made them, carried them, received them, used them, sold them, worshipped them, and, in more recent times, bought them, conserved them, and curated them. From a delicate pair of earrings from a steppe tomb to a massive stupa deep in Central Asia, a hoard of Kushan coins stored in an Ethiopian monastery to a Hellenistic glass bowl from a southern Chinese tomb, and a fragment of Byzantine silk wrapping the bones of a French saint to a Bactrian ewer depicting episodes from the Trojan War, these objects show us something of the cultural diversity and interaction along these trading routes of Afro-Eurasia.
    Exploring the labor, tools, materials, and rituals behind these various objects, Whitfield infuses her narrative with delightful details as the objects journey through time, space, and meaning. Silk, Slaves, and Stupas is a lively, visual, and tangible way to understand the Silk Road and the cultural, economic, and technical changes of the late antique and medieval worlds.   

    Author Bio:
    Susan Whitfield, author of Life Along the Silk Road, is a scholar, curator, writer, and traveler who has been exploring the history, art, religions, cultures, objects, exploration, and people of the Silk Road for the past three decades.

    "In the tradition of Neil MacGregor's History of the World in 100 Objects, but digging deeper, Susan Whitfield takes us on a tour of Silk Road culture and history via ten exemplary pieces (nine inanimate, one human). Each chapter's discussion spirals out from the object to take in history, technology, trade patterns, ancient and modern provenance, museology and other aspects, linking Silk Road past to globalizing present. Whitfield's micro-to-macro treatment of this handful of key Eurasian things is new to books on the Silk Road. Her expertise in art history, history, archaeology, museology, Dunhuangology, and other specialties is very much in evidence; few if any other scholars could do what she has done here. More than that, however, she manages to write for the student, the museum-goer, and the armchair traveler, as well as for the specialist."—James A. Millward, author of The Silk Road: A Very Short Introduction

    "No one knows more about the material culture of the Silk Road than Susan Whitfield. With this book it's now clear that no one tells the story of the early world through objects better than she does. Whitfield carries her readers to the far corners of the earth through her deep and vast research on Silk Road artifacts."—Xinru Liu, author of The Silk Road in World History

    "The fabled Silk Road springs to life in this engaging and erudite book. The author conjures up its rich history through a series of vignettes that take the form of biographical sketches of some of the fascinating things that moved in and out of many hands and many places across Asia, Europe, and Africa. This is a book of enthralling stories about familiar and unfamiliar objects, peoples, and landscapes in premodern times."—Anand A. Yang, author of Bazaar India: Markets, Society, and the Colonial State in Bihar
    Labels: History, World History

    Drift - Jeff Ferrell | Book Library

    Drift - Jeff Ferrell


    Illicit Mobility and Uncertain Knowledge

    Jeff Ferrell (Author)

    Paperback, 280 pages
    ISBN: 9780520295551
    March 2018
    “This book was written late in the North American night, with the rumbling thuds and booming train horns of the nearby rail yard echoing through my windows, reminding me of the train hoppers and gutter punks out there rolling through the darkness.”
    In Drift, Jeff Ferrell shows how dislocation and disorientation can become phenomena in their own right. Examining the history of drifting, he situates contemporary drift within today’s economic, legal, and cultural dynamics. He also highlights a distinctly North American form of drift—that of the train-hopping hobo—by tracing the hobo’s legal and political history and by detailing his own immersion in the world of contemporary train-hoppers. Along the way, Ferrell sheds light on the ephemeral intensity of drifting communities and explores the contested politics of drift: the strategies that legal authorities employ to control drifters in the interest of economic development, the social and spatial dislocations that these strategies ironically exacerbate, and the ways in which drifters create their own slippery forms of resistance. Ferrell concludes that drift constitutes a necessary subject of social inquiry and a way of revitalizing social inquiry itself, offering as it does new models for knowing and engaging with the contemporary world.

    Author Bio:
    Jeff Ferrell is Professor of Sociology at Texas Christian University and Visiting Professor of Criminology at the University of Kent. He is the author of Crimes of Style, Tearing Down the Streets, and Empire of Scrounge and the coauthor of Cultural Criminology: An Invitation.

    “Jeff Ferrell guides us through a way of thinking about drift that provides an impetus to an imaginative and emancipatory politics. This is a work that transforms despair into hope, dependency into autonomy, and separation into unity. As a catalyst for imagination, Drift is nothing short of brilliant.”—Simon Springer, author of The Anarchist Roots of Geography: Toward Spatial Emancipation 

    “Beautifully written and sensitively researched, Ferrell’s Drift represents the first socio-criminological attempt to capture the growing sense of emotional and existential precarity now confronting many young people as they attempt to negotiate the complex life worlds of late modernity. Another tour de force by one of criminology’s most engaging and enlightening scholars.”—Keith Hayward, Professor of Criminology, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

    “Beautifully interweaving sociology, biography, and criminology, Drift is Ferrell’s most visionary work to date, tracing the entanglement of motion with every trajectory of post-Fordist life at the horizons of modernity. An inquiry, meditation, analysis, and performance, all through the register of poetics, Drift is a volume in the shape of our times.”—Michelle Brown, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Tennessee

    “Making connections across decades, continents, and cultures, this compelling and evocative book attends to migration and movement, as social ‘problem’ and as revolutionary potential. Ferrell finds the commonalities between hobos, gutter punks, dumpster divers, and migrant workers, and argues for a way of thinking that embraces chance and expands the trajectories of criminological knowledge.”—Alison Young, Francine V. McNiff Professor of Criminology, University of Melbourne
    “Theoretically rich and beautifully evocative, Drift is a masterful analysis of contemporary dislocations. Ferrell deftly weaves strands of history, political economy, geography, sociology, and cultural studies to offer a deeply contemplative assessment of late modernity through the lens of drift. It’s a rare scholarly work that reads like a novel but packs such a powerful theoretical punch!”—Jody Miller, Distinguished Professor of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University
    Labels: Sociology, Criminology

    American Islamophobia - Khaled A. Beydoun - Hardcover - University of California Press | Book Library

    American Islamophobia - Khaled A. Beydoun - Hardcover - University of California Press

    American Islamophobia

    Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear

    Khaled A. Beydoun (Author)

    Hardcover, 264 pages
    ISBN: 9780520297791
    April 2018
    “I remember the four words that repeatedly scrolled across my mind after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. ‘Please don’t be Muslims, please don’t be Muslims.’ The four words I whispered to myself on 9/11 reverberated through the mind of every Muslim American that day and every day after.… Our fear, and the collective breath or brace for the hateful backlash that ensued, symbolize the existential tightrope that defines Muslim American identity today.”
    The term “Islamophobia” may be fairly new, but irrational fear and hatred of Islam and Muslims is anything but. Though many speak of Islamophobia’s roots in racism, have we considered how anti-Muslim rhetoric is rooted in our legal system?
    Using his unique lens as a critical race theorist and law professor, Khaled A. Beydoun captures the many ways in which law, policy, and official state rhetoric have fueled the frightening resurgence of Islamophobia in the United States. Beydoun charts its long and terrible history, from the plight of enslaved African Muslims in the antebellum South and the laws prohibiting Muslim immigrants from becoming citizens to the ways the war on terror assigns blame for any terrorist act to Islam and the myriad trials Muslim Americans face in the Trump era. He passionately argues that by failing to frame Islamophobia as a system of bigotry endorsed and emboldened by law and carried out by government actors, U.S. society ignores the injury it inflicts on both Muslims and non-Muslims. Through the stories of Muslim Americans who have experienced Islamophobia across various racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines, Beydoun shares how U.S. laws shatter lives, whether directly or inadvertently. And with an eye toward benefiting society as a whole, he recommends ways for Muslim Americans and their allies to build coalitions with other groups. Like no book before it, American Islamophobia offers a robust and genuine portrait of Muslim America then and now.

    Author Bio:
    Khaled A. Beydoun is Associate Professor of Law at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and Senior Affiliated Faculty at the University of California–Berkeley Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project. A critical race theorist, he examines Islamophobia, the war on terror, and the salience of race and racism in American law. His scholarship has appeared in top law journals, including the California Law Review, Columbia Law Review, and Harvard Civil Rights–Civil Liberties Law Review. In addition, he is an active public intellectual and advocate whose commentary has been featured in the New York Times and Washington Post as well as on the BBC, Al Jazeera English, ESPN, and more. He is a native of Detroit and has been named the 2017 American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Advocate of the Year and the Arab American Association of New York’s 2017 Community Champion of the Year.

    “Deftly pairing his deep legal expertise with a searching moral dialogue, Khaled A. Beydoun breaks down U.S. Islamophobia as the full-fledged system that it is—one with a very specific history, but tightly linked to other forms of white supremacy. This book meets the moment, but it is also packed with staying power. A crucial contribution to building the powerful, broad-based, and diverse movement that is our only hope.”—Naomi Klein, author of No Is Not Enough and This Changes Everything

    “This compelling book is an exquisite testament to what it means to subvert Islamophobia. Beydoun stands out as a brilliant scholar and advocate who gives voice and attention to the neglected stories of Black Muslims along with the poor, working class, and undocumented.”—Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School and UCLA School of Law

    “In this political climate, Beydoun is a much-needed and critical voice, analyst, commentator, and researcher. Unapologetically Muslim and Arab American, he speaks and writes truth to power, steering us away from comfort and forcing us to confront racism through our own relationships with it. Brilliant and witty, he tells it like it is.”—Linda Sarsour, cochair of the 2017 Women’s March 

    “At a time when casual hate-mongering emanates from the highest level of the U.S. government, American Islamophobia provides precisely what is necessary to understand the dark days we are living through. Beydoun brilliantly dissects the tropes that are central to the deliberate construction of Islam as the ultimate hostile other. He draws on his legal training and his experience in national security policing and civil liberties advocacy to draw a stark portrait of this ugly time of carefully curated xenophobia and mass hatred that Muslims, Hispanics, and many others are enduring. I can think of no book that could be more timely.”—Rashid Khalidi, author of Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East

    “A triumphant act of moral restitution. Written with bravura flair, academic authority, and panoramic scholarly panache, American Islamophobia declares the birth of an American Muslim intellectual who wholly claims the land and envisions a bold future for it. This is no simple diagnosis of a racist pathology in a nation. It announces the brave surfacing of a subterranean voice rooted in the moral imaginary of a liberated America.”—Hamid Dabashi, author of Iran Without Borders: Towards a Critique of the Postcolonial Nation

    “This is an urgent book for anyone seeking a comprehensive understanding of Islamophobia today.”—Evelyn Alsultany, author of Arabs and Muslims in the Media: Race and Representation after 9/11

    “This is a highly readable, deeply personal, and fiercely intellectual analysis of endemic social and structural Islamophobia throughout American history. This book is required reading for any thinking human being.”—Khaled Abou El Fadl, Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law

    “Political commentary, intellectual history, legal exegesis, and autobiography, this book is a powerful and moving articulation of how Islamophobia has shaped and been shaped by U.S. democracy.”—Devon W. Carbado, coauthor of Acting White? Rethinking Race in “Post-Racial” America and Harry Pregerson Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
    Labels: Sociology, Race & Class

    A Chinese Bestiary - Richard E. Strassberg | Book Library

    A Chinese Bestiary - Richard E. Strassberg

    A Chinese Bestiary

    Strange Creatures from the Guideways through Mountains and Seas

    Richard E. Strassberg (Editor),Richard E. Strassberg (Translator)

    Paperback, 336 pages
    ISBN: 9780520298514
    March 2018
    A Chinese Bestiary presents a fascinating pageant of mythical creatures from a unique and enduring cosmography written in ancient China. The Guideways through Mountains and Seas, compiled between the fourth and first centuries B.C.E., contains descriptions of hundreds of fantastic denizens of mountains, rivers, islands, and seas, along with minerals, flora, and medicine. The text also represents a wide range of beliefs held by the ancient Chinese. Richard Strassberg brings the Guideways to life for modern readers by weaving together translations from the work itself with information from other texts and recent archaeological finds to create a lavishly illustrated guide to the imaginative world of early China.

    Unlike the bestiaries of the late medieval period in Europe, the Guideways was not interpreted allegorically; the strange creatures described in it were regarded as actual entities found throughout the landscape. The work was originally used as a sacred geography, as a guidebook for travelers, and as a book of omens. Today, it is regarded as the richest repository of ancient Chinese mythology and shamanistic wisdom. The Guideways may have been illustrated from the start, but the earliest surviving illustrations are woodblock engravings from a rare 1597 edition. Seventy-six of those plates are reproduced here for the first time, and they provide a fine example of the Chinese engraver's art during the late Ming dynasty.

    This beautiful volume, compiled by a well-known specialist in the field, provides a fascinating window on the thoughts and beliefs of an ancient people, and will delight specialists and general readers alike.

    Author Bio:
    Richard E. Strassberg is Professor Emeritus of Chinese at UCLA.

    "At last! Richard Strassberg's stunning new work provides a lively introduction in words and pictures to one of China's best loved and least understood classics, the Shanhai jing or Guideways Through Mountains and Seas. This classic of mythical geography and fantastic ethnography, full of wondrous stories and creatures, contains a treasury of information about the Chinese worldview and has inspired Chinese writers and artists for over two millennia. But until now, its strange vocabulary together with patchy transmission of both text and illustrations, have made it difficult to present to English-speaking audiences. Relying on a rare 1597 edition of the classic, Strassberg has faithfully captured its combination of entertaining whimsy and deep religious intent. His new book, the product of years of study by one of the few people truly qualified to analyze both text and the images, is sure to delight specialist and nonspecialist alike."—Suzanne Cahill, author of Transcendence and Divine Passion: The Queen Mother of the West in Medieval China
    Labels: Art, Asian Art

    Cane Toad Wars - Rick Shine - Hardcover - University of California Press | Book Library

    Cane Toad Wars - Rick Shine - Hardcover - University of California Press

    Cane Toad Wars

    Rick Shine (Author),Harry W. Greene (Foreword)

    Hardcover, 288 pages
    ISBN: 9780520295100
    March 2018
    In 1935, an Australian government agency imported 101 specimens of the Central and South American Cane Toad in an attempt to manage insects that were decimating sugar-cane harvests. In Australia the Cane Toad adapted and evolved with abandon, voraciously consuming native wildlife and killing predators with its lethal skin toxin. Today, hundreds of millions of Cane Toads have spread across the northern part of Australia and continue to move westward. The humble Cane Toad has become a national villain.
    Cane Toad Wars chronicles the work of intrepid scientist Rick Shine, who has been documenting the toad’s ecological impact in Australia and seeking to buffer it. Despite predictions of devastation in the wake of advancing toad hordes, the author’s research reveals a more complex and nuanced story. A firsthand account of a perplexing ecological problem and an important exploration of how we measure evolutionary change and ecological resilience, this book makes an effective case for the value of long-term natural history research in informing conservation practice. 

    Author Bio:
    Rick Shine is Professor of Biology at the University of Sydney. He has published more than a thousand scientific papers on the ecology of reptiles and amphibians, and he has received a host of national and international awards for his research.

    Cane Toad Wars, the spellbinding story of the invasion of Cane Toads in Australia, provides a wealth of scientific information, chronicles interactions between scientists and ‘toad-busting citizens,’ and attests to the value of collaboration and long-term fieldwork. Shine’s book reads like a riveting mystery novel—except that it is based on compelling science.”—Marty Crump, author of Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog, Adder's Fork and Lizard's Leg: The Lore and Mythology of Amphibians and Reptiles

    “A remarkable tale of research discovery and ingenuity, Cane Toad Wars is the riveting story of how a star academic biologist learns to take on real-world problems. Rick Shine’s writing is engaging and occasionally hilarious, and the reader comes away with a newfound appreciation for the complexities of biodiversity conservation.”—Jonathan B. Losos, author of Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution

    “The 1935 arrival of Cane Toads in Australia marked the beginning of an astonishing story about the impact of alien species entering new environments. Cane Toad Wars is a captivating account of this infamous invasion. The tremendous achievements of Rick Shine’s research group in tackling every aspect of Cane-Toad biology is a testament to the power of natural history and the detailed understanding it yields.”—Scott Keogh, Head of Ecology and Evolution, The Australian National University

    “A brilliant and lucid work on how the toad took Australia—and how we can take the country back—by the master of toad warfare, Professor Shine.”—Tim Flannery, author of The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People

    “With clarity and charisma, Rick Shine weaves a wonderful narrative of Cane Toads in Australia—from their catastrophic introduction to new methods of toad control (eavesdropping on the tadpoles' own chemical communication). Along the way he reshapes Darwin’s theories. A must-read on why science should influence conservation, public opinion, and political decisions.”—Mats Olsson, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
    Labels: Natural Sciences, Organismal Biology, Zoology

    The Gender Effect - Kathryn Moeller | Book Library

    The Gender Effect - Kathryn Moeller

    The Gender Effect

    Capitalism, Feminism, and the Corporate Politics of Development

    Kathryn Moeller (Author)

    Paperback, 320 pages
    ISBN: 9780520286399
    February 2018
    How and why are U.S. transnational corporations investing in the lives, educations, and futures of poor, racialized girls and women in the Global South? Is it a solution to ending poverty? Or is it a pursuit of economic growth and corporate profit? Drawing on more than a decade of research in the United States and Brazil, this book focuses on how the philanthropic, social responsibility, and business practices of various corporations use a logic of development that positions girls and women as instruments of poverty alleviation and new frontiers for capitalist accumulation. Using the Girl Effect, the philanthropic brand of Nike, Inc., as a central case study, the book examines how these corporations seek to address the problems of gendered poverty and inequality, yet do so using an instrumental logic that shifts the burden of development onto girls and women without transforming the structural conditions that produce poverty. These practices, in turn, enable corporations to expand their legitimacy, authority, and reach while sidestepping contradictions in their business practices that often exacerbate conditions of vulnerability for girls and women. With a keen eye towards justice, author Kathryn Moeller concludes that these corporatized development practices de-politicize girls’ and women’s demands for fair labor practices and a just global economy.

    Author Bio:
    Kathryn Moeller is Assistant Professor of Educational Policy Studies and an affiliate of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

    "The Gender Effect offers a vivid portrayal of a world where poor girls are imagined to be the next billion-dollar solution to poverty. Through a superb and incisive ethnography, Kathryn Moeller reveals the limits of corporatized development and the poverty of its imagination."—Michael Goldman, author of Imperial Nature: The World Bank and Struggles for Social Justice in the Age of Globalization

    "This is a brilliantly researched, crisply written, and unflinchingly honest exposé of how investing in girls has become the preferred focus of twenty-first-century philanthrocapitalism. Kathryn Moeller reveals how corporations and the global development elite nimbly sidestep the radical dismantling of the current economic and political status quo, which would actually change the lives of all poor people, by elevating cosmetic improvements in the lives of girls as the silver-bullet solution for all our ills. Whether you are a philanthropist, a feminist, or a policy maker, this book will force you to open your eyes and challenge all your assumptions."—Kavita Ramdas, senior advisor to the Ford Foundation and former CEO of Global Fund for Women

    "Kathryn Moeller’s The Gender Effect is a groundbreaking historical and contemporary ethnographic study of the US transnational corporate investment in girls and women in the Global South, including particularly the widespread belief in the business case of investing in girls and women. While much of the current literature is based primarily on representations and discursive analysis, Moeller’s long-term fieldwork brings us successfully behind the doors of the decision-making of corporations about their investment in girls, and the actual on-the-ground practices of corporations, including their 'search' for girls in specific places, such as Rio de Janeiro. Hers is truly an extraordinary and exciting contribution to the existent scholarly literature."—Melissa Suzanne Fisher, author of Wall Street Women

    "This is an important read for any student or scholar of philanthropy and development in the twenty-first century. In rare ethnographic detail Kathryn Moeller not only sheds new light on relationships of philanthropic power, she also shows how hegemonic narratives about women and development are highly racialized and sexualized. She shows how the often unquestioned philanthropic promotion of girls as entrepreneurial engines of development more often enables corporate expansion than addresses the real structural causes of poverty and inequality."—Erica Kohl-Arenas, author of The Self-Help Myth: How Philanthropy Fails to Alleviate Poverty

    "This is the most important book on gender and development in a decade. Combining careful ethnographic research and sharp analytical insight, Kathryn Moeller unsettles common-sense approaches to corporate investment in girls’ empowerment while highlighting the sites of encounter between feminism, corporations, international institutions, and NGOs that gave rise to the Girl Effect. It is essential reading for understanding contemporary relations of power in development."—Suzanne Bergeron, author of Fragments of Development: Nation, Gender, and the Space of Modernity

    "As an important addition to the critical scholarship on NGOs and development, The Gender Effect examines the operations of what we call 'philanthrocapitalism.' Kathryn Moeller's transnational analysis of Nike, Inc.'s use of the agenda of 'empowerment' and development of the 'potential' of 'Third World girls' is essential reading for understanding imperialism and racial capitalism in our time."—Inderpal Grewal, author of Saving the Security State: Exceptional Citizens in Twenty-First-Century America

    "The Gender Effect is a powerful critical analysis of the contradictory relationships between the corporate sector and the realities of gender internationally. Kathryn Moeller raises exactly the right questions that need to be asked about the hidden effects of seemingly progressive alliances between corporate actors and feminist policies. And her answers to these questions demand our continued attention."—Michael W. Apple, author of Can Education Change Society?
    Labels: Sociology, Gender Studies

    Mock Classicism - Nilo Couret | Book Library

    Mock Classicism - Nilo Couret

    Mock Classicism

    Latin American Film Comedy, 1930–1960

    Nilo Couret (Author)

    Paperback, 296 pages
    ISBN: 9780520296855
    March 2018
    In Mock Classicism Nilo Couret presents an alternate history of Latin American cinema that traces the popularity and cultural significance of film comedies as responses to modernization and the forerunners to a more explicitly political New Latin American Cinema of the 1960s. By examining the linguistic play of comedians such as Cantinflas, Oscarito and Grande Otelo, Niní Marshall, and Luis Sandrini, the author demonstrates aspects of Latin American comedy that operate via embodiment on one hand and spatiotemporal emplacement on the other. Taken together, these parallel examples of comedic practice demonstrate how Latin American film comedies produce a "critically proximate" spectator who is capable of perceiving and organizing space and time differently. Combining close readings of films, archival research, film theory, and Latin American history, Mock Classicism rethinks classicism as a discourse that mediates and renders the world and argues that Latin American cinema became classical in distinct ways from Hollywood.

    Author Bio:
    Nilo Couret is Assistant Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan.

    "Comedy in classic Latin American cinema has long been neglected and undertheorized. In this lively written and brilliantly argued volume, Nilo Couret uses the untranslatability of comedy as a thread through which to unravel fundamental contemporary debates in film and cultural studies. Recovering and 'mocking' classicism, this volume makes a remarkable contribution to our understanding of Latin American cinema and culture."—Ana M. López, Professor of Communication, Tulane University

    "The book's theoretical insights have far reaching consequences for film studies as a discipline, engaging with central concerns such as spectatorship, embodiment, and the spatiotemporalities of film, television, and radio. Through the concept of 'critical proximity,' Nilo Couret offers an original discussion of comedy and suggestive frameworks for reconceptualizing irony and camp."—Neepa Majumdar, Professor of English and Film and Media Studies, University of Pittsburgh
    Labels: Cinema & Media, Cinema