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Ngo Dinh Diem, the United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam
In 1955, Ngo Dinh Diem organized an election to depose chief-of-state Bao Dai, after which he proclaimed himself the first president of the newly created Republic of Vietnam. The United States sanctioned the results of this election, which was widely condemned as fraudulent, and provided substantial economic aid and advice to the RVN. Because of this, Diem is often viewed as a mere puppet of the United States, in service of its Cold War geopolitical strategy. That narrative, Jessica M. Chapman contends in Cauldron of Resistance, grossly oversimplifies the complexity of South Vietnam's domestic politics and, indeed, Diem's own political savvy.
Based on extensive work in Vietnamese, French, and American archives, Chapman offers a detailed account of three crucial years, 1953-1956, during which a new Vietnamese political order was established in the south. It is, in large part, a history of Diem's political ascent as he managed to subdue the former Emperor Bao Dai, the armed Hoa Hao and Cao Dai religious organizations, and the Binh Xuyen crime organization. It is also an unparalleled account of these same outcast political powers, forces that would reemerge as destabilizing political and military actors in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Chapman shows Diem to be an engaged leader whose personalist ideology influenced his vision for the new South Vietnamese state, but also shaped the policies that would spell his demise. Washington's support for Diem because of his staunch anticommunism encouraged him to employ oppressive measures to suppress dissent, thereby contributing to the alienation of his constituency, and helped inspire the organized opposition to his government that would emerge by the late 1950s and eventually lead to the Vietnam War.
Francesc Eiximenis and the Court Culture of Medieval and Early Modern Iberia
In Chariots of Ladies, Nuria Silleras-Fernandez traces the development of devotion and female piety among the Iberian aristocracy from the late Middle Ages into the Golden Age, and from Catalonia to the rest of Iberia and Europe via the rise of the Franciscan Observant movement. A program of piety and morality devised by Francesc Eiximenis, a Franciscan theologian, royal counselor, and writer in Catalonia in the 1390s, came to characterize the feminine ideal in the highest circles of the Iberian aristocracy in the era of the Empire. As Eiximenis's work was adapted and translated into Castilian over the century and a half that followed, it became a model of devotion and conduct for queens and princesses, including Isabel the Catholic and her descendants, who ruled over Portugal and the Spanish Empire of the Hapsburgs.
Silleras-Fernandez uses archival documentation, letters, manuscripts, incunabula, and a wide range of published material to clarify how Eiximenis's ideas on gender and devotion were read by Countess Sanxa Ximenis d'Arenós and Queen Maria de Luna of Aragon and how they were then changed by his adaptors and translators in Castile for new readers (including Isabel the Catholic and Juana the Mad), and in sixteenth-century Portugal for new patronesses (Juana’s daughter, Catalina of Habsburg, and Catalina’s daughter, Maria Manuela, first wife of Philip II). Chariots of Ladies casts light on a neglected dimension of encounter and exchange in Iberia from the late fourteenth to the mid-sixteenth centuries.
An Essay on Troilus and Criseyde
In this sensitive reading of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, Winthrop Wetherbee redefines the nature of Chaucer’s poetic vision. Using as a starting point Chaucer’s profound admiration for the achievement of Dante and the classical poets, Wetherbee sees the Troilus as much more than a courtly treatment of an event in ancient history—it is, he asserts, a major statement about the poetic tradition from which it emerges. Wetherbee demonstrates the evolution of the poet-narrator of the Troilus, who begins as a poet of romance, bound by the characters’ limited worldview, but who in the end becomes a poet capable of realizing the tragic and ultimately the spiritual implications of his story.
The Pauper Apprentice System in Early America
The history of early America cannot be told without considering unfree labor. At the center of this history are African and Native American adults forced into slavery; the children born to these unfree persons usually inherited their parents' status. Immigrant indentured servants, many of whom were young people, are widely recognized as part of early American society. Less familiar is the idea of free children being taken from the homes where they were born and put into bondage.
As Children Bound to Labor makes clear, pauper apprenticeship was an important source of labor in early America. The economic, social, and political development of the colonies and then the states cannot be told properly without taking them into account. Binding out pauper apprentices was a widespread practice throughout the colonies from Massachusetts to South Carolina-poor, illegitimate, orphaned, abandoned, or abused children were raised to adulthood in a legal condition of indentured servitude. Most of these children were without resources and often without advocates. Local officials undertook the responsibility for putting such children in family situations where the child was expected to work, while the master provided education and basic living needs.
The authors of Children Bound to Labor show the various ways in which pauper apprentices were important to the economic, social, and political structure of early America, and how the practice shaped such key relations as master-servant, parent-child, and family-state in the young republic. In considering the practice in English, Dutch, and French communities in North America from the mid-seventeenth century to the mid-nineteenth century, Children Bound to Labor even suggests that this widespread practice was notable as a positive means of maintaining social stability and encouraging economic development.
Right-Bank Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation
In Children of Rus’, Faith Hillis recovers an all but forgotten chapter in the history of the tsarist empire and its southwestern borderlands. The right bank, or west side, of the Dnieper River—which today is located at the heart of the independent state of Ukraine—was one of the Russian empire’s last territorial acquisitions, annexed only in the late eighteenth century. Yet over the course of the long nineteenth century, this newly acquired region nearly a thousand miles from Moscow and St. Petersburg generated a powerful Russian nationalist movement. Claiming to restore the ancient customs of the East Slavs, the southwest’s Russian nationalists sought to empower the ordinary Orthodox residents of the borderlands and to diminish the influence of their non-Orthodox minorities.
Right-bank Ukraine would seem unlikely terrain to nourish a Russian nationalist imagination. It was among the empire’s most diverse corners, with few of its residents speaking Russian as their native language or identifying with the culture of the Great Russian interior. Nevertheless, as Hillis shows, by the late nineteenth century, Russian nationalists had established a strong foothold in the southwest’s culture and educated society; in the first decade of the twentieth, they secured a leading role in local mass politics. By 1910, with help from sympathetic officials in St. Petersburg, right-bank activists expanded their sights beyond the borderlands, hoping to spread their nationalizing agenda across the empire.
Exploring why and how the empire’s southwestern borderlands produced its most organized and politically successful Russian nationalist movement, Hillis puts forth a bold new interpretation of state-society relations under tsarism as she reconstructs the role that a peripheral region played in attempting to define the essential characteristics of the Russian people and their state.
How Western Business Can—and Should—Influence Social and Political Change in the Coming Decade
Chinese society is plagued by many problems that have a direct impact on its current and future business and political environment-worker rights, product safety, Internet freedom, and the rule of law. Drawing on knowledge gained through personal interviews, documentary sources, and almost two decades of visits to China, Michael A. Santoro offers a clear-eyed view of the various internal forces-such as regionalism, corruption, and growing inequality-that will determine the direction and pace of economic, social, and political change. Of special interest is Santoro's assessment of the role of multinational corporations in fostering or undermining social and political progress.
Santoro offers a fresh and innovative way of thinking about two questions that have preoccupied Western observers for decades. What will be the effect of economic reform and prosperity on political reform? How can companies operate with moral integrity and ethics in China? In China 2020, Santoro unifies these hitherto separate questions and demonstrates that moral integrity (or lack of it) by Western business will have a profound impact on whether economic privatization and growth usher in greater democracy and respect for human rights.
China 2020 also offers a novel vision of China's future economic and political development. Santoro rejects the conventional view that China will muddle through the next decade with incremental social and political changes. Instead he argues that China will follow one or two widely divergent potential outcomes. It might continue to progress steadily toward greater prosperity, democracy, and respect for human rights, but it is also highly likely that China will instead fall backward economically and into an ever more authoritarian regime. The next decade will be one of the most important in the history of China, and, owing to China's global impact, the history of the modern world.
China 2020 describes various tectonic social and political battles going on within China. The outcomes of these struggles will depend on a number of powerful indigenous forces as well as the decisions and actions of individual Chinese citizens. Santoro strongly believes that Western businesses can-and should-influence these developments.
Commercial Actors, Grand Strategy, and State Control
In Chinese Economic Statecraft, William J. Norris introduces an innovative theory that pinpoints how states employ economic tools of national power to pursue their strategic objectives. Norris shows what Chinese economic statecraft is, how it works, and why it is more or less effective. Norris provides an accessible tool kit to help us better understand important economic developments in the People's Republic of China. He links domestic Chinese political economy with the international ramifications of China’s economic power as a tool for realizing China’s strategic foreign policy interests. He presents a novel approach to studying economic statecraft that calls attention to the central challenge of how the state is (or is not) able to control and direct the behavior of economic actors.
Norris identifies key causes of Chinese state control through tightly structured, substate and crossnational comparisons of business-government relations. These cases range across three important arenas of China’s grand strategy that prominently feature a strategic role for economics: China’s efforts to secure access to vital raw materials located abroad, Mainland relations toward Taiwan, and China’s sovereign wealth funds. Norris spent more than two years conducting field research in China and Taiwan during which he interviewed current and former government officials, academics, bankers, journalists, advisors, lawyers, and businesspeople. The ideas in this book are applicable beyond China and help us to understand how states exercise international economic power in the twenty-first century.
For too long, the study of religious life in Late Antiquity has relied on the premise that Jews, pagans, and Christians were largely discrete groups divided by clear markers of belief, ritual, and social practice. More recently, however, a growing body of scholarship is revealing the degree to which identities in the late Roman world were fluid, blurred by ethnic, social, and gender differences. Christianness, for example, was only one of a plurality of identities available to Christians in this period.
In Christians and Their Many Identities in Late Antiquity, North Africa, 200-450 CE, Éric Rebillard explores how Christians in North Africa between the age of Tertullian and the age of Augustine were selective in identifying as Christian, giving salience to their religious identity only intermittently. By shifting the focus from groups to individuals, Rebillard more broadly questions the existence of bounded, stable, and homogeneous groups based on Christianness. In emphasizing that the intermittency of Christianness is structurally consistent in the everyday life of Christians from the end of the second to the middle of the fifth century, this book opens a whole range of new questions for the understanding of a crucial period in the history of Christianity.