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Today’s guests are Meredith Farmer and Jonathan D.S. Schroeder, the co-editors of a bracing new collection of essays about the figure of Ahab in Melville’s novel Moby-Dick. Meredith is the Assistant Teaching Professor of Core Literature at Wake Forest University. Her book Melville’s Leaks: Science, Materialism, and the Reconstitution of Persons is …
 
In this episode of New Books in Literary Studies, John Yargo spoke with Mahshid Mayar about how children’s puzzles and schoolbooks at the turn of the 20th century helped shape U.S. political relations with the world. Professor Mayar is an assistant professor of American Studies at Bielefeld University and research associate at the English Departmen…
 
In this episode of the New Books in Latin America Studies podcast, Kenneth Sánchez spoke with Dr Francesca Lessa about her interesting new book The Condor Trials: Transnational Repression and Human Rights in South America published in 2022 by the Yale University Press. Stories of transnational terror and justice illuminate the past and present of S…
 
Cannae and Agincourt, Waterloo and Gettysburg, Stalingrad and Midway, this compact volume, edited by master historian, Professor Jeremy Black, collects the most influential battles and conflicts in history. Covering the past twenty-five centuries, editor Jeremy Black analyzes the effects these events have had on the development of states and civili…
 
Hugo Marcus (1880–1966) was a man of many names and many identities. Born a German Jew, he converted to Islam and took the name Hamid, becoming one of the most prominent Muslims in Germany prior to World War II. He was renamed Israel by the Nazis and sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp before escaping to Switzerland. He was a gay man who n…
 
In Jerusalem, what you see and what is true are two different things. Maps divide the walled Old City into four quarters, yet that division doesn’t reflect the reality of mixed and diverse neighbourhoods. Beyond the crush and frenzy of its major religious sites, much of the Old City remains little known to visitors, its people overlooked and their …
 
Inequality is an urgent global concern, with pundits, politicians, academics, and best-selling books all taking up its causes and consequences. In Inequality: A Genetic History (MIT Press, 2022), Carles Lalueza-Fox offers an entirely new perspective on the subject, examining the genetic marks left by inequality on humans throughout history. Lalueza…
 
Srilata Raman's book The Transformation of Tamil Religion: Ramalinga Swamigal and Modern Dravidian Sainthood (Routledge, 2022) analyses the religious ideology of a Tamil reformer and saint, Ramalinga Swamigal of the 19th century and his posthumous reception in the Tamil country and sheds light on the transformation of Tamil religion that both his w…
 
Anne Gray Fischer speaks about her path to and through research, including how sex workers informed her analysis of policing and state violence, the role of law enforcement in struggles over economic development, and the intellectual and practical factors of research design. Men, especially Black men, often stand in as the ultimate symbol of the ma…
 
In the 1920s, Józef Piłsudski was a household name not just in Poland, but across Europe and across the Atlantic Ocean as well. Yet this complex and contradictory figure – a socialist and a nationalist, a clandestine agitator and a legendary military strategist, protector of Jews and other national minorities on Polish soil who was nonetheless ofte…
 
It can be hard to think of Everest as unknown anymore. While it’s certainly a challenge to climb the world’s tallest mountain, someone–with enough time and money–has a good chance of making it to the summit. A potential mountaineer can fly into Kathmandu, travel to a well-stocked base camp, be escorted up a well-trodden route by expert sherpas. The…
 
The history of small political parties and the history of the American left are closely intertwined, especially in the book Left in the Center: The Liberal Party of New York and the Rise and Fall of American Social Democracy (Cornell UP, 2021) by Daniel Soyer, professor of history at Fordham University. From its founding in 1944 until its fall in 2…
 
Peter Oborne’s The Fate of Abraham: Why the West is Wrong about Islam (Simon and Schuster 2022) is as much a history of US, British, and French attitudes towards Islam and Muslims as it is about a relationship that was almost doomed from the outset. Not because of inherent problems with either the essence of the West or the essence of Islam but due…
 
In Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace (Viking, 2022), Chris Blattman explains the five reasons why conflict (rarely) blooms into war, and how to interrupt that deadly process. It's easy to overlook the underlying strategic forces of war, to see it solely as a series of errors, accidents, and emotions gone awry. It's also easy to …
 
In Jewish Internationalism and Human Rights after the Holocaust (Cambridge UP, 2020), Nathan A. Kurz charts the fraught relationship between Jewish internationalism and international rights protection in the second half of the twentieth century. For nearly a century, Jewish lawyers and advocacy groups in Western Europe and the United States had pio…
 
Mirelsie Velázquez (Associate Professor & Rainbolt Family Endowed Presidential Professor, University of Oklahoma) speaks with Natalie Lira (Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) about Lira’s recent book, Laboratory of Deficiency: Sterilization and Confinement in California, 1900-1950s (University of California Press, 2021…
 
One of the largely untold stories of Orientalism is the degree to which the Middle East has been associated with "deviant" male homosexuality by scores of Western travelers, historians, writers, and artists for well over four hundred years. And this story stands to shatter our preconceptions of Orientalism. To illuminate why and how the Islamicate …
 
Niels Bohr was a central figure in quantum physics, well known for his work on atomic structure and his contributions to the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. In From Data to Quanta: Niels Bohr’s Vision of Physics (U Chicago Press, 2021), philosopher of science Slobodan Perović explores the way Bohr practiced and understood physics, a…
 
European Cultural Diplomacy and Arab Christians in Palestine (1918-1948) (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) investigates the transnationally connected history of Arab Christian communities in Palestine during the British Mandate (1918-1948) through the lens of the birth of cultural diplomacy. Relying predominantly on unpublished sources, it examines the re…
 
Politicians and corporations cannot only measure public opinion but also manipulate and create it. And they have been doing so since the 1930s when serious polling began. And as Professor Susan Herbst, author of Numbered Voices: How Opinion Polling Has Shaped American Politics, explains early public opinion research raised hopes for better democrat…
 
In Representing Magic in Modern Ireland: Belief, History, Culture (Cambridge UP, 2022), Andrew Sneddon argues that Ireland did not experience a disenchanted modernity, nor a decline in magic. It suggests that beliefs, practices and traditions concerning witchcraft and magic developed and adapted to modernity to retain cultural currency until the en…
 
In the midst of the ongoing war between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, it is vital that the lay-educated public understand the historical origins of the conflict. It is with this in mind, that this episode of ‘Arguing History’, takes a look at the subject of ‘Ukrainian Nationalism and the Russian / Soviet state’. To guide us in this intricate …
 
Rough Draft of History: A Century of US Social Movements in the News (Princeton UP, 2022) offers a new view of U.S. social movement history across the twentieth century by examining how movement organizations were covered in major national newspapers. The book analyzes U.S. social movements--ranging from temperance to women's suffrage to the Tea Pa…
 
Emirs in London: Subalteran Travel and Nigeria's Modernity (Indiana UP, 2022) recounts how Northern Nigerian Muslim aristocrats who traveled to Britain between 1920 and Nigerian independence in 1960 relayed that experience to the Northern Nigerian people. Moses E. Ochonu shows how rather than simply serving as puppets and mouthpieces of the British…
 
The story of India and Indians in World War II has been overshadowed by other historical events of the 1940s, a busy decade that included such historical watersheds as Indian independence (and the anti-colonial nationalist movement that led to it), as well as the partition of the Indian subcontinent. Indeed, many in Europe and North America, and ev…
 
During the Second World War, locals in Australia and Britain described American GIs as “overpaid, oversexed, and over here.” But this conflict between civilians and the military didn’t only take place abroad. Civil-military tensions could be seen at ‘home’ too. Nearly three-quarters of servicemen in the months leading up to D-Day were stationed dom…
 
Singing Like Germans: Black Musicians in the Land of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms by Kira Thurman (Cornell University Press, 2021) is a truly interdisciplinary study. Dr. Thurman’s work sits at the intersection of German Studies, History, and Musicology. Beginning in the 1870s with concerts given by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Singing Like Germans cov…
 
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