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Digitizing Life in the United States
Imagine biology and medicine today without computers. What would laboratory work be like without electronic databases and statistical software? Would disciplines like genomics even be feasible without the means to manage and manipulate huge volumes of digital data? How would patients fare in a world without CT scans, programmable pacemakers, and computerized medical records? Today, computers are a critical component of almost all research in biology and medicine. Yet, just fifty years ago, the study of life was by far the least digitized field of science, its living subject matter thought too complex and dynamic to be meaningfully analyzed by logic-driven computers. In this long-overdue study, historian Joseph A. November explores the early attempts, in the 1950s and 1960s, to computerize biomedical research in the United States. Computers and biomedical research are now so intimately connected that it is difficult to imagine when such critical work was offline. Biomedical Computing transports readers back to such a time and investigates how computers first appeared in the research lab and doctor's office. November examines the conditions that made possible the computerization of biology—including strong technological, institutional, and political support from the National Institutes of Health—and shows not only how digital technology transformed the life sciences but also how the intersection of the two led to important developments in computer architecture and software design. The history of this phenomenon is only vaguely understood. November's thoroughly researched and lively study makes clear for readers the motives behind computerizing the study of life and how that technology profoundly affects biomedical research even today.
The Countercultural Origins of an Industry
The seemingly unlimited reach of powerful biotechnologies and the attendant growth of the multibillion-dollar industry have raised difficult questions about the scientific discoveries, political assumptions, and cultural patterns that gave rise to for-profit biological research. Given such extraordinary stakes, a history of the commercial biotechnology industry must inquire far beyond the predictable attention to scientists, discovery, and corporate sales. It must pursue how something so complex as the biotechnology industry was born, poised to become both a vanguard for contemporary world capitalism and a focal point for polemic ethical debate.
In Biotech, Eric J. Vettel chronicles the story behind genetic engineering, recombinant DNA, cloning, and stem-cell research. It is a story about the meteoric rise of government support for scientific research during the Cold War, about activists and student protesters in the Vietnam era pressing for a new purpose in science, about politicians creating policy that alters the course of science, and also about the release of powerful entrepreneurial energies in universities and in venture capital that few realized existed. Most of all, it is a story about people—not just biologists but also followers and opponents who knew nothing about the biological sciences yet cared deeply about how biological research was done and how the resulting knowledge was used.
Vettel weaves together these stories to illustrate how the biotechnology industry was born in the San Francisco Bay area, examining the anomalies, ironies, and paradoxes that contributed to its rise. Culled from oral histories, university records, and private corporate archives, including Cetus, the world's first biotechnology company, this compelling history shows how a cultural and political revolution in the 1960s resulted in a new scientific order: the practical application of biological knowledge supported by private investors expecting profitable returns eclipsed basic research supported by government agencies.
The Quest for Civil Rights in the Roosevelt Era
In the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration refused to endorse legislation that openly sought to improve political, economic, and social conditions for African Americans, but they did recognize and celebrate African Americans, says Sklaroff, by offering federal support to notable black intellectuals, celebrities, and artists. Sklaroff argues that these New Deal programs represent a key moment in the history of American race relations, as the cultural arena provided black men and women with unique employment opportunities and new outlets for political expression.
American Dreams and Racial Realities
“The book brings together the research interests of what Hunt describes as an ‘all‒star team’ of contributors, most but not all of them academics with strong California connections. Comprising 17 short to medium‒length essays, it pivots from data‒rich analyses of how the black community’s 20th century demographic center gradually has shifted from Central Avenue to Leimert Park, to interview‒driven, anecdotal accounts of the rise and decline of Venice’s Oakwood neighborhood and a revealing chronicle of the black‒owned SOLAR (Sounds of Los Angeles Records), a late ‘70s‒early ‘80s hit‒making machine for groups including the Whispers, Shalamar and Klymaxx.”
Historical treatments of race during the early twentieth century have generally focused on black women's activism. Leading books about the disenfranchisement era hint that black men withdrew from positions of community leadership until later in the century.
Angela Hornsby-Gutting argues that middle-class black men in North Carolina in fact actively responded to new manifestations of racism. Focusing on the localized, grassroots work of black men during this period, she offers new insights about rarely scrutinized interracial dynamics as well as the interactions between men and women in the black community.
Informed by feminist analysis, Hornsby-Gutting uses gender as the lens through which to view cooperation, tension, and negotiation between the sexes and among African American men during an era of heightened race oppression. Her work promotes improved understanding of the construct of gender during these years, and expands the vocabulary of black manhood beyond the "great man ideology" which has obfuscated alternate, localized meanings of politics, manhood, and leadership.
The Story of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association
In the early twentieth century, Marcus Garvey sowed the seeds of a new black pride and determination. Attacked by the black intelligentsia and ridiculed by the white press, this Jamaican immigrant astonished all with his black nationalist rhetoric. In just four years, he built the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), the largest and most powerful all-black organization the nation had ever seen. With hundreds of branches, throughout the United States, the UNIA represented Garvey’s greatest accomplishment and, ironically, the source of his public disgrace. Black Moses brings this controversial figure to life and recovers the significance of his life and work.
“Those who are interested in the revolutionary aspects of the twentieth century in America should not miss Cronon’s book. It makes exciting reading.”—The Nation
“A very readable, factual, and well-documented biography of Marcus Garvey.”—The Crisis, NAACP
“In a short, swiftly moving, penetrating biography, Mr. Cronon has made the first real attempt to narrate the Garvey story. From the Jamaican's traumatic race experiences on the West Indian island to dizzy success and inglorious failure on the mainland, the major outlines are here etched with sympathy, understanding, and insight.”—Mississippi Valley Historical Review (Now the Journal of American History).
“Good reading for all serious history students.”—Jet
“A vivid, detailed, and sound portrait of a man and his dreams.”—Political Science Quarterly
New Orleans Interracialism, 1947-1956
Most histories of the Civil Rights Movement start with all the players in place--among them organized groups of African Americans, White Citizens' Councils, nervous politicians, and religious leaders struggling to find the right course. Anderson, however, takes up the historical moment right before that, when small groups of black and white Catholics in the city of New Orleans began efforts to desegregate the archdiocese, and the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) began, in fits and starts, to integrate quietly the New Orleans Province. Anderson leads readers through the tumultuous years just after World War II when the Roman Catholic Church in the American South struggled to reconcile its commitment to social justice with the legal and social heritage of Jim Crow society. Though these early efforts at reform, by and large, failed, they did serve to galvanize Catholic supporters and opponents of the Civil Rights Movement and provided a model for more successful efforts at desegregation in the ’60s. As a Jesuit himself, Anderson has access to archives that remain off-limits to other scholars. His deep knowledge of the history of the Catholic Church also allows him to draw connections between this historical period and the present. In the resistance to desegregation, Anderson finds expression of a distinctly American form of Catholicism, in which lay people expect Church authorities to ratify their ideas and beliefs in an almost democratic fashion. The conflict he describes is as much between popular and hierarchical models of the Church as between segregation and integration.
An Intellectual History
Evans chronicles the stories of African American women who struggled for and won access to formal education, beginning in 1850, when Lucy Stanton, a student at Oberlin College, earned the first college diploma conferred on an African American woman. In the century between the Civil War and the civil rights movement, a critical increase in black women's educational attainment mirrored unprecedented national growth in American education. Evans reveals how black women demanded space as students and asserted their voices as educators--despite such barriers as violence, discrimination, and oppressive campus policies--contributing in significant ways to higher education in the United States. She argues that their experiences, ideas, and practices can inspire contemporary educators to create an intellectual democracy in which all people have a voice.
Among those Evans profiles are Anna Julia Cooper, who was born enslaved yet ultimately earned a doctoral degree from the Sorbonne, and Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of Bethune-Cookman College. Exposing the hypocrisy in American assertions of democracy and discrediting European notions of intellectual superiority, Cooper argued that all human beings had a right to grow. Bethune believed that education is the right of all citizens in a democracy. Both women's philosophies raised questions of how human and civil rights are intertwined with educational access, scholarly research, pedagogy, and community service. This first complete educational and intellectual history of black women carefully traces quantitative research, explores black women's collegiate memories, and identifies significant geographic patterns in America's institutional development. Evans reveals historic perspectives, patterns, and philosophies in academia that will be an important reference for scholars of gender, race, and education.
Sojourners in Search of the Soviet Promise
One of the most compelling, yet little known stories of race relations in the twentieth century is the account of blacks who chose to leave the United States to be involved in the Soviet Experiment in the 1920s and 1930s. In Blacks, Reds, and Russians, Joy Gleason Carew offers insight into the political strategies that often underlie relationships between different peoples and countries. Interviews with the descendents of figures such as Paul Robeson and Oliver Golden offer rare personal insights into the story of a group of emigrants who, confronted by the daunting challenges of making a life for themselves in a racist United States, found unprecedented opportunities in communist Russia.
The Photo Gap and the Missile Crisis
In the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, questions persisted about how the potential cataclysm had been allowed to develop. A subsequent congressional investigation focused on what came to be known as the “photo gap”: five weeks during which intelligence-gathering flights over Cuba had been attenuated. ?In Blind over Cuba, David M. Barrett and Max Holland challenge the popular perception of the Kennedy administration’s handling of the Soviet Union’s surreptitious deployment of missiles in the Western Hemisphere. Rather than epitomizing it as a masterpiece of crisis management by policy makers and the administration, Barrett and Holland make the case that the affair was, in fact, a close call stemming directly from decisions made in a climate of deep distrust between key administration officials and the intelligence community. ?Because of White House and State Department fears of “another U-2 incident” (the infamous 1960 Soviet downing of an American U-2 spy plane), the CIA was not permitted to send surveillance aircraft on prolonged flights over Cuban airspace for many weeks, from late August through early October. Events proved that this was precisely the time when the Soviets were secretly deploying missiles in Cuba. When Director of Central Intelligence John McCone forcefully pointed out that this decision had led to a dangerous void in intelligence collection, the president authorized one U-2 flight directly over western Cuba—thereby averting disaster, as the surveillance detected the Soviet missiles shortly before they became operational.? The Kennedy administration recognized that their failure to gather intelligence was politically explosive, and their subsequent efforts to influence the perception of events form the focus for this study. Using recently declassified documents, secondary materials, and interviews with several key participants, Barrett and Holland weave a story of intra-agency conflict, suspicion, and discord that undermined intelligence-gathering, adversely affected internal postmortems conducted after the crisis peaked, and resulted in keeping Congress and the public in the dark about what really happened.? Fifty years after the crisis that brought the superpowers to the brink, Blind over Cuba: The Photo Gap and the Missile Crisis offers a new chapter in our understanding of that pivotal event, the tensions inside the US government during the cold war, and the obstacles Congress faces when conducting an investigation of the executive branch.