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Why the World's Largest Public Health Initiative May Fail
The number of global polio cases has fallen dramatically and eradication is within sight, but despite extraordinary efforts, polio retains its grip in a few areas. Anthropologist Svea Closser follows the trajectory of the polio eradication effort in Pakistan, one of the last four countries in the world with endemic polio. Journeying from vaccination campaigns in rural Pakistan to the center of global health decision making at the World Health Organization in Geneva, the author explores the historical and cultural underpinnings of eradication as a public health strategy, and reveals the culture of optimism that characterizes--and sometimes cripples--global health institutions. With a keen ethnographic eye, Closser describes the complex power negotiations that underlie the eradication effort at every level, tracking techniques of resistance employed by district health workers and state governments alike. This book offers an analysis of local politics, social relations, and global political economy in the implementation of a worldwide public health effort, with broad implications for understanding what is possible in global health, now and for the future. This book is the recipient of the annual Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Prize for the best project in the area of medicine.
Fictions of the Past in U.S. Classrooms
For more than three decades, the same children’s historical novels have been taught across the United States. Honored for their literary quality and appreciated for their alignment with social studies curricula, the books have flourished as schools moved from whole-language to phonics and from student-centered learning to standardized testing. Books like Johnny Tremain, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and Roll of Thunder, Hear Me Cry stimulate children’s imagination, transporting them into the American past and projecting them into an American future. As works of historical interpretation, however, many are startlingly out of step with current historiography and social sensibilities, especially with regard to race. Unlike textbooks, which are replaced on regular cycles and subjected to public tugs-of-war between the left and right, historical novels have simply—and quietly—endured. Taken individually, many present troubling interpretations of the American past. But embraced collectively, this classroom canon provides a rare pedagogical opportunity: it captures a range of interpretive voices across time and place, a kind of “people’s history” far removed from today’s state-sanctioned textbooks. Teachers who employ historical novels in the classroom can help students recognize and interpret historical narrative as the product of research, analytical perspective, and the politics of the time. In doing so, they sensitize students to the ways in which the past is put to moral and ideological uses in the present. Featuring separate chapters on American Indians, war, and slavery, Child-Sized History tracks the changes in how young readers are taught to conceptualize history and the American nation.
A Guide for the Critical Reader
Noam Chomsky is a pioneering scholar in the field of linguistics, but he is better known as a public intellectual: an iconoclastic, radical critic of US politics and foreign policy. Chomsky's Challenge examines most of the major subjects Chomsky has dealt with in his nearly half century of intellectual activism--the Vietnam War, America's broader international role (especially its interventions in the Third World), the structure of power in American politics, the role of the media and of intellectuals in forming public opinion, and American foreign policy in the post-Cold War world.
Chomsky is as controversial as he is influential. Admirers see him as a courageous teller of unpleasant truths about political power and those who wield it in the United States. Critics view him as a propagandist and ideologue who sees only black and white where there are multiple shades of gray. While Chomsky's fans tend to view him uncritically, his critics often don't take him seriously. Unlike any previous work, this book takes Chomsky seriously while treating him critically. The author gives Chomsky credit for valuable contributions to our understanding of the contemporary political world, but spares no criticism of the serious deficiencies he sees in Chomsky's political analyses.
The essays commissioned for this book analyze the impact of city living on health, focusing primarily on conditions in the United States. With 16 chapters by 24 internationally recognized experts, the book introduces an ecological approach to the study of the health of urban populations. This book assesses the primary determinants of well-being in cities, including the social and physical environments, diet, and health care and social services. The book includes chapters on the history of public health in cities, the impact of urban sprawl and urban renewal on health, and the challenges facing cities in the developing world. It also examines conditions such as infectious diseases, violence and disasters, and mental illness.
The Constitution, Congress, and War Powers
"The Clinton Wars is a timely and significant examination of the war powers issue. I know of no other work that treats the major uses of force in the Clinton administration so thoroughly from the vantage point of legislative-executive interaction. Moreover, because there is a growing body of literature on congressional assertiveness of late, this book makes an important contribution to this debate." --James M. Scott, author of Deciding to Intervene: The Reagan Doctrine and American Foreign Policy Today the United States is fighting a "war" against terrorism, a military action whose definition will be a matter of controversy, particularly, if history is any guide, between Congress and the president. Throughout its history, the United States has grappled with the constitutional tension built into the conduct of its foreign affairs and the interpretation of the power to make war and use force abroad. Since the Cold War's end, the United States has had to navigate through a period of strategic ambiguity, where American national security interests are much less certain. Ryan Hendrickson examines the behavior of the Clinton administration and Congress in dealing with the range of American military operations that occurred during the Clinton presidency. He uses a case-study approach, laying out the foreign background and domestic political controversies in separate chapters on Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq. Of special interest after the World Trade Center attacks is the chapter "Terrorism: Usama Bin Laden." The author analyzes a number of factors that influence the domestic decision-making process. We see the president relying on congressional consultation and approval during periods of political or personal weakness, and, conversely, in better times we see a president with a freer hand. Also influential is the ability of the public to comprehend and support the reasons for a particular action, with troops in Bosnia requiring more explanation than cruise missiles over Baghdad. Consideration is given to the relevance and effectiveness of the War Powers Resolution of 1973, a Watergate-era attempt by Congress to restore what it perceived to be its legitimate constitutional role in the decision to use force abroad.
The Day the Democrats Ousted Their Governor, Put Republican Lamar Alexander in Office Early, and Stopped a Pardon Scandal
Coup is the behind-the-scenes story of an abrupt political transition, unprecedented in U.S. history. Based on 160 interviews, Hunt describes how collaborators came together from opposite sides of the political aisle and, in an extraordinary few hours, reached agreement that the corruption and madness of the sitting Governor of Tennessee, Ray Blanton, must be stopped. The sudden transfer of power that caught Blanton unawares was deemed necessary because of what one FBI agent called "the state's most heinous political crime in half a century"--a scheme of selling pardons for cash.
On January 17, 1979, driven by new information that some of the worst criminals in the state's penitentiaries were about to be released (and fears that James Earl Ray might be one of them), a small bipartisan group chose to take charge. Senior Democratic leaders, friends of the sitting governor, together with the Republican governor-elect Lamar Alexander (now U.S. Senator from Tennessee), agreed to oust Blanton from office before another night fell. It was a maneuver unique in American political history.
From the foreword by John L. Seigenthaler:
"The individual stories of those government officials involved in the coup--each account unique, but all of them intersecting--were scattered like disconnected pieces of a jigsaw puzzle on the table of history until the author conceived this book. Perhaps because it happened so quickly, and without major disagreement, protest, or dissent, this truly historic moment has been buried in the public mind. In unearthing the drama in gripping detail, Keel Hunt assures that the 'dark day' will be remembered as a bright one in which conflicted politicians came together in the public interest."
Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching among College and University Faculty
Interdisciplinarity, a favorite buzzword of faculty and administrators, has been appropriated to describe so many academic pursuits that it is virtually meaningless. With a writing style that is accessible, fluid, and engaging, Lisa Lattuca remedies this confusion with an original conceptualization of interdisciplinarity based on interviews with faculty who are engaged in its practice. Whether exploring the connections between apparently related disciplines, such as English and women's studies, or such seemingly disparate fields as economics and theology, Lattuca moves away from previous definitions based on the degrees of integration across disciplines and instead focuses on the nature of the inquiry behind the work. She organizes her findings around the processes through which faculty pursue interdisciplinarity, the contexts (institutional, departmental, and disciplinary) in which faculty are working, and the ways in which those contexts relate to and affect the interdisciplinary work. Her findings result in useful suggestions for individuals concerned with the meaning of faculty work, the role and impact of disciplines in academe today, and the kinds of issues that should guide the evaluation of faculty scholarship.
White Mothers, International Adoption, and the Negotiation of Family Difference
Since the early 1990s, close to 250,000 children born abroad have been adopted into the United States. Nearly half of these children have come from China or Russia. Culture Keeping: White Mothers, International Adoption, and the Negotiation of Family Difference offers the first comparative analysis of these two popular adoption programs. Heather Jacobson examines these adoptions by focusing on a relatively new social phenomenon, the practice by international adoptive parents, mothers in particular, of incorporating aspects of their children's cultures of origin into their families' lives. “Culture keeping” is now standard in the adoption world, though few adoptive parents, the majority of whom are white and native-born, have experience with the ethnic practices of their children's homelands prior to adopting. Jacobson follows white adoptive mothers as they navigate culture keeping: from their motivations, to the pressures and constraints they face, to the content of their actual practices concerning names, food, toys, travel, cultural events, and communities of belonging. Through her interviews, she explores how women think about their children, their families, and themselves as mothers as they labor to construct or resist ethnic identities for their children, who may be perceived as birth children (because they are white) or who may be perceived as adopted (because of racial difference). The choices these women make about culture, Jacobson argues, offer a window into dominant ideas of race and the “American Family,” and into how social differences are conceived and negotiated in the United States.
Transforming Public Will into Political Power
Vinny DeMarco might be a latter-day Don Quixote except that he tilts his lance at real obstacles to social justice: lobby-locked state legislatures and Congress, stonewalling the public will. And he makes impossible dreams come true. In twenty years of organizing campaigns in Maryland, he has led successful efforts to pass gun control laws (against National Rifle Association opposition), to hike cigarette taxes to prevent youth smoking, and to extend health care to hundreds of thousands of low-income workers. He has also built a unique alliance of mainstream and conservative faith groups, which helped secure rare bipartisan votes in Congress for the enactment in July 2009 of landmark FDA regulation of tobacco manufacture and marketing. DeMarco's unique strategic template, developed over two decades of serial campaigning, includes momentum-building stages over a multiyear campaign; unrelenting, skillful access to the media for engaging public support; coalitions of hundreds, even thousands, of faith, community, labor, public health, and business groups; and a hard press on candidates to support legislation before elections, rather than after they are comfortably in office. As an organizer/leader, Demarco also succeeds in his campaigns through force of personality: his unquenchable exuberance and idiosyncrasies delight and madden his opponents--sometimes his allies, too. Michael Pertschuk, himself a veteran advocate, here chronicles three of DeMarco's campaigns, each facing a different obstacle course. His deep analysis draws out strategic and leadership lessons that engaged citizens and advocates for popular causes stonewalled by powerful lobbies can put to immediate and practical use.