In this extended lyric essay, a poet mines her lifelong experience with migraines to deliver an idiosyncratic cultural history of pain — how we experience, express, treat and mistreat it. Eschewing simple epiphanies, Olstein gives us a new language to contemplate and empathize with a fundamental aspect of the human condition.
To most Americans, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. represent contrasting ideals: self-defense vs. nonviolence, black power vs. civil rights, the sword vs. the shield. The struggle for black freedom is wrought with the same contrasts. This revisionist biography reexamines the lives of these two civil rights leaders and the movement and era they came to define.
Two auditors for the U.S. egg industry go rogue and conceive a plot to steal a million chickens in the middle of the night ― an entire egg farm’s worth of animals. Janey and Cleveland ― a spirited former runaway and the officious head of audits ― assemble a precarious, quarrelsome team and descend on the farm on a dark spring evening. This wildly inventive novel is a heist story of a very unusual sort.
Defiant Geographies: Race and Urban Space in 1920s Rio de Janeiro
University of Pittsburgh Press, March 2020
By Lorraine Leu, associate professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese and the Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies
Defiant Geographies examines the destruction of a poor community in the center of Rio de Janeiro to make way for Brazil’s first international mega-event. As the country celebrated the centenary of its independence, its post-abolition whitening ideology took on material form in the urban development project that staged Latin America’s first World’s Fair.
This collection offers a unique perspective on everyday life in the South Indian cities of Coimbatore and Chennai, and center on a community of Gujarati Vaishnavas — transplants from the northwestern region of Kutch — who find themselves living usually at odds, and occasionally in harmony, with the Tamil-speaking majority.
The Rigveda: A Guide (Guides to Sacred Text)
Oxford University Press, March 2020
By Joel P. Brereton, professor, Departments of Asian Studies and Religious Studies; and Stephanie W. Jamison, professor, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at UCLA
The Rigveda is a monumental text in both world religion and literature and yet is comparatively little known. The oldest Sanskrit text, it is the foundational text of later Hinduism. This guide provides an overview of the text’s structure and composition, its religious functions and its reception in later periods.
The Roots of Verbal Meaning
Oxford University Press, March 2020
By John Beavers, associate professor, Department of Linguistics; and Andrew Koontz-Garboden, professor, Department of Linguistics and English Language at University of Manchester
Verbs fall into distinct grammatical classes based on broad, shared aspects of their meanings that recur across languages. Yet every verb meaning has its own idiosyncrasies. In this study the authors develop a theory of possible idiosyncratic meanings and explore whether there is any notion of an impossible verb meaning.
The Turnout Myth: Voting Rates and Partisan Outcomes in American National Elections
Oxford University Press, April 2020
By Daron Shaw, professor, Department of Government; and John Petrocik, professor emeritus, Political Science at the University of Missouri
When voter turnout is high, Democrats have an advantage — or so the truism goes. Instead, the authors find that less-engaged citizens’ responses to short-term forces — candidate appeal, issues and scandals — determine election turnout. This suggests that partisan conflict over eligibility, registration and voting rules is less important for election outcomes than both sides seem to believe.
The power of these first-hand recollections about a boyhood in occupied Holland lies in their extraordinary ordinariness. Touching and witty, the stories demonstrate how danger and domesticity go hand-in-hand during wartime. Each recollection introduces features of the occupation with a disarming matter-of-factness: bombardments, people forced to go into hiding, the constant search for food and secret radio programs.
Kwaito Bodies: Remastering Space and Subjectivity in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Duke University Press, April 2020
By Xavier Livermon, associate professor, Department of African and African Diaspora Studies
Livermon examines the cultural politics of the youthful black body in South Africa through the performance, representation and consumption of kwaito, a style of electronic dance music that emerged following the end of apartheid. He draws on fieldwork in Johannesburg’s nightclubs and analyses of musical performances and recordings.
Dante Alighieri, whose Divine Comedy gave the world its most vividly imagined story of the afterlife, endured an extraordinary afterlife of his own. Raffa narrates the poet’s adventurous physical afterlife — the theft, discovery, examinations and displacements of his dead body—and unravels its meaning at pivotal moments in Italian history from the late Middle Ages to the present.
Infowhelm explores how contemporary art and literature manage environmental knowledge in the age of climate crisis and informational overload. Analyzing how artists transform scientific data and techniques into aesthetic material, the book argues that the “infowhelm”— a state of abundant yet contested scientific information — is an unexpectedly resonant resource.
For the past nine years, H.W. Brands has been tweeting the history of the United States in the form of haiku. This book presents a selection of these smart, informative short poems. A history book like no other, Haiku History injects both fun and poetry into the story of America — three lines at a time.
Covey traces the origins of the Inca and Spanish empires, identifying how Andean and Iberian beliefs about the world’s end shaped the collision of the two civilizations. Rather than a decisive victory, the Spanish conquest was an uncertain, disruptive process that reshaped the worldviews of those on each side of the conflict.
Yale University Press, May 2020
By Gary Jeffrey Jacobsohn, professor, Department of Government and School of Law; and Yaniv Roznai, senior lecturer, Radzyner School of Law at IDC Herzliya
Prominent accounts of constitutional change, such as those of Hans Kelsen, Hannah Arendt and Bruce Ackerman, fail to explain radical constitutional transformations. Constructing a clarifying lens for comprehending the many ways in which constitutional revolutions occur, the authors seek to capture the essence of what happens when constitutional paradigms change.