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Ethnography in Today's World

Color Full Before Color Blind

By Roger Sanjek

In Ethnography in Today's World, Roger Sanjek examines the genre and practice of ethnography from a historical perspective, from its nineteenth-century beginnings and early twentieth-century consolidation, through political reorientations during the 1960s and the impact of feminism and postmodernism in later decades, to its current outlook in an increasingly urban world. Drawing on a career of ethnographic research across Brazil, Ghana, New York City, and with the Gray Panthers, Sanjek probes politics and rituals in multiethnic New York, the dynamics of activist meetings, human migration through the ages, and shifting conceptions of race in the United States. He interrogates well-known works from Boas, Whyte, Fabian, Geertz, Marcus, and Clifford, as well as less celebrated researchers, addressing methodological concerns from ethnographers' reliance on assistants in the formative days of the discipline to contemporary comparative issues and fieldwork and writing strategies.

Ethnography in Today's World contributes to our understanding of culture and society in an age of globalization. These provocative examinations of the value of ethnographic research challenge conventional views as to how ethnographic fieldwork is and can be conceived, conducted, contextualized, and communicated to academic audiences and the twenty-first-century public.

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Exquisite Mixture

The Virtues of Impurity in Early Modern England

By Wolfram Schmidgen

The culture of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Britain is rarely credited with tolerance of diversity; this period saw a rising pride in national identity, the expansion of colonialism, and glorification of the Anglo-Saxon roots of the country. Yet at the same time, Wolfram Schmidgen observes, the concept of mixture became a critical element of Britons' belief in their own superiority. While the scientific, political, and religious establishment of the early 1600s could not imagine that anything truly formed, virtuous, or durable could be produced by mixing unlike kinds or merging absolute forms, intellectuals at the end of the century asserted that mixture could produce superior languages, new species, flawless ideas, and resilient civil societies.

Exquisite Mixture examines the writing of Robert Boyle, John Locke, Daniel Defoe, and others who challenged the primacy of the one over the many, the whole over the parts, and form over matter. Schmidgen traces the emergence of the valuation of mixture to the political and scientific revolutions of the seventeenth century. The recurrent threat of absolutism in this period helped foster alliances within a broad range of writers and fields of inquiry, from geo­graphy, embryology, and chemistry to political science and philosophy. By retrieving early modern arguments for the civilizing effects of mixture, Schmidgen invites us to rethink the stories we tell about the development of modern society. Not merely the fruit of postmodernism, the theorization and valuation of hybridity have their roots in centuries past.

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Family and Empire

The Fernandez de Cordoba and the Spanish Realm

By Yuen-Gen Liang

In the medieval and early modern periods, Spain shaped a global empire from scattered territories spanning Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Historians either have studied this empire piecemeal—one territory at a time—or have focused on monarchs endeavoring to mandate the allegiance of far-flung territories to the crown. For Yuen-Gen Liang, these approaches do not adequately explain the forces that connected the territories that the Spanish empire comprised. In Family and Empire, Liang investigates the horizontal ties created by noble family networks whose members fanned out to conquer and subsequently administer key territories in Spain's Mediterranean realm.

Liang focuses on the Fernández de Córdoba family, a clan based in Andalusia that set out on mobile careers in the Spanish empire at the end of the fifteenth century. Members of the family served as military officers, viceroys, royal councilors, and clerics in Algeria, Navarre, Toledo, Granada, and at the royal court. Liang shows how, over the course of four generations, their service vitally transformed the empire as well as the family. The Fernández de Córdoba established networks of kin and clients that horizontally connected disparate imperial territories, binding together religious communities—Christians, Muslims, and Jews—and political factions—Comunero rebels and French and Ottoman sympathizers—into an incorporated imperial polity. Liang explores how at the same time dedication to service shaped the personal lives of family members as they uprooted households, realigned patronage ties, and altered identities that for centuries had been deeply rooted in local communities in order to embark on imperial careers.

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Fateful Transitions

How Democracies Manage Rising Powers, from the Eve of World War I to China's Ascendance

By Daniel M. Kliman

As China emerges as a global force in the twenty-first century, questions of how existing great powers will navigate the geopolitical transition loom large. In Fateful Transitions, Daniel M. Kliman revisits historic power shifts to shed light on enduring patterns in international relations, demonstrating that the regime type of ascendant powers greatly influences global interactions.

Since the late nineteenth century, the world's major democracies have tended to accommodate or appease ascendant democratic states. Certain attributes of democracy, such as a free press and domestic checks and balances, encourage trust during power shifts, whereas closed and autocratic regimes on the ascent tend to produce a cycle of suspicion, competition, and confrontation. Drawing on democratic peace theory and power transition theory, Kliman compares Great Britain's embrace of U.S. ascendancy in the early twentieth century to its confrontational stance toward autocratic Germany and later U.S. mistrust of the Soviet Union. Within this geopolitical context, he evaluates the interactions between China and current great powers, the United States and Japan. Building on this analysis, Kliman offers new insights on the dynamics of power shifts and explores their implications for how today's established and emerging powers can successfully navigate fateful transitions.

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Holy War, Martyrdom, and Terror

Christianity, Violence, and the West

By Philippe Buc

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How Governors Built the Modern American Presidency

By Saladin M. Ambar

A governor's mansion is often the last stop for politicians who plan to move into the White House. Before Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, four of his last five predecessors had been governors. Executive experience at the state level informs individual presidencies, and, as Saladin M. Ambar argues, the actions of governors-turned-presidents changed the nature of the presidency itself long ago. How Governors Built the Modern American Presidency is the first book to explicitly credit governors with making the presidency what it is today.

By examining the governorships of such presidential stalwarts as Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, political scientist Ambar shows how gubernatorial experience made the difference in establishing modern presidential practice. The book also delves into the careers of Wisconsin's Bob La Follette and California's Hiram Johnson, demonstrating how these governors reshaped the presidency through their activism. As Ambar reminds readers, governors as far back as Samuel J. Tilden of New York, who ran against Rutherford Hayes in the controversial presidential election of 1876, paved the way for a more assertive national leadership. Ambar explodes the idea that the modern presidency began after 1945, instead placing its origins squarely in the Progressive Era.

This innovative study uncovers neglected aspects of the evolution of the nation's executive branch, placing American governors at the heart of what the presidency has become—for better or for worse.

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In the Shadow of the Gallows

Race, Crime, and American Civic Identity

By Jeannine Marie DeLombard

From Puritan Execution Day rituals to gangsta rap, the black criminal has been an enduring presence in American culture. To understand why, Jeannine Marie DeLombard insists, we must set aside the lenses of pathology and persecution and instead view the African American felon from the far more revealing perspectives of publicity and personhood. When the Supreme Court declared in Dred Scott that African Americans have "no rights which the white man was bound to respect," it overlooked the right to due process, which ensured that black offenders—even slaves—appeared as persons in the eyes of the law. In the familiar account of African Americans' historical shift "from plantation to prison," we have forgotten how, for a century before the Civil War, state punishment affirmed black political membership in the breach, while a thriving popular crime literature provided early America's best-known models of individual black selfhood. Before there was the slave narrative, there was the criminal confession.

Placing the black condemned at the forefront of the African American canon allows us to see how a later generation of enslaved activists—most notably, Frederick Douglass—could marshal the public presence and civic authority necessary to fashion themselves as eligible citizens. At the same time, in an era when abolitionists were charging Americans with the national crime of "manstealing," a racialized sense of culpability became equally central to white civic identity. What, for African Americans, is the legacy of a citizenship grounded in culpable personhood? For white Americans, must membership in a nation built on race slavery always betoken guilt? In the Shadow of the Gallows reads classics by J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, George Lippard, and Edward Everett Hale alongside execution sermons, criminal confessions, trial transcripts, philosophical treatises, and political polemics to address fundamental questions about race, responsibility, and American civic belonging.

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International Bohemia

Scenes of Nineteenth-Century Life

By Daniel Cottom

How did this vagabond word, bohemia, migrate across national borderlines over the course of the nineteenth century, and what happened to it as it traveled? In International Bohemia, Daniel Cottom studies how various individuals and groups appropriated this word to serve the identities, passions, cultural forms, politics, and histories they sought to animate. Beginning with the invention of bohemianism's modern sense in Paris during the 1830s and 1840s, Cottom traces the twists and turns of this phenomenon through the rest of the nineteenth century and into the early years of the twentieth century in the United States, England, Italy, Spain, and Germany.

Even when they traveled under the banner of l'art pour l'art, the bohemians of this era generally saw little reason to observe borderlines between their lives and their art. On the contrary, they were eager to mix up the one with the other, despite the fact that their critics often reproached them on this account by claiming that bohemians were all talk—do-nothings frittering away their lives in cafés and taverns. Cottom's study of bohemianism draws from the biographies of notable and influential figures of the time, including Thomas Chatterton, George Sand, George Eliot, Henry Murger, Alexandre Privat d'Anglemont, Walt Whitman, Ada Clare, Iginio Ugo Tarchetti, and Arthur Conan Doyle. Through a wide range of novels, memoirs, essays, plays, poems, letters, and articles, International Bohemia explores the many manifestations of this transnational counterculture, addressing topics such as anti-Semitism, the intersections of race and class, the representation of women, the politics of art and masquerade, the nature of community, and the value of nostalgia.

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Kafka's Jewish Languages

The Hidden Openness of Tradition

By David Suchoff

"In Kafka's Jewish Languages David Suchoff quite persuasively argues that the Germanic interplay between high and low (Yiddish) languages and the rise of modern Hebrew account for far more of the plays and innovations of Kafka's writing than has previously been acknowledged. Suchoff's diligent, innovative, and supremely intelligent work adds significantly to Kafka scholarship and Judaic studies."--Henry Sussman, Yale University After Franz Kafka died in 1924, his novels and short stories were published in ways that downplayed both their author's roots in Prague and his engagement with Jewish tradition and language, so as to secure their place in the German literary canon. Now, nearly a century after Kafka began to create his fictions, Germany, Israel, and the Czech Republic lay claim to his legacy. Kafka's Jewish Languages brings Kafka's stature as a specifically Jewish writer into focus. David Suchoff explores the Yiddish and modern Hebrew that inspired Kafka's vision of tradition. Citing the Jewish sources crucial to the development of Kafka's style, the book demonstrates the intimate relationship between the author's Jewish modes of expression and the larger literary significance of his works. Suchoff shows how "The Judgment" evokes Yiddish as a language of comic curse and examines how Yiddish, African American, and culturally Zionist voices appear in the unfinished novel, Amerika. In his reading of The Trial, Suchoff highlights the black humor Kafka learned from the Yiddish theater, and he interprets The Castle in light of Kafka's involvement with the renewal of the Hebrew language. Finally, he uncovers the Yiddish and Hebrew meanings behind Kafka's "Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse-Folk" and considers the recent legal case in Tel Aviv over the possession of Kafka's missing manuscripts as a parable of the transnational meanings of his writing. David Suchoff is Professor of English at Colby College.

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