Law

Carole Emberton on Paula Deen, SCOTUS, and the VRA

June 26, 2013
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Carole Emberton on Paula Deen, SCOTUS, and the VRA

In a recent piece for the History News Network, scholar Carole Emberton (whose Beyond Redemption: Race, Violence, and the American South published this month) takes on the Paula Deen controversy, both prior to and in light of SCOTUS’s recent decision on the Voting Rights Act:

For the past few days, there has been much ado about Paula Deen’s use of a certain racial epithet. It’s not much ado about nothing, however, as many of her defenders would like to us believe. This incident, along with a seemingly unrelated case now before the Supreme Court, challenge our understandings of what history is and what it means for the nation’s political life.

Both Deen and her defenders plead her case by arguing that she is old and southern and therefore cannot help using such language. Her great-grandfather owned slaves. She grew up under Jim Crow. “She’s just from another time,” concluded one patron of her popular restaurant. Perhaps it is ironic that the patron was of the race that bears the stigma of the racial epithet that the chef admitted using. Perhaps not. For both Deen and her unlikely defender, the past is like . . .

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Martha Nussbaum on Julius Caesar and political love

March 28, 2013
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Martha Nussbaum on Julius Caesar and political love

An excerpt from “‘Romans, Countrymen, and Lovers’: Political Love and the Rule of Law in Julius Caesar,” in Shakespeare and the Law: A Conversation among Disciplines and Professions

Julius Caesar shows us two different kinds of political love, in tragic opposition. Brutus is principled, but he is not cold. He loves the institutions of the Roman Republic, and he tells us that this abstract love has driven out his personal love of Caesar, as fire drives out fire. He appeals to the emotions he believes all Romans have for their threatened republican form of government. Addressing them as “countrymen and lovers” (3.2.13), he summons them to love of country and hatred of oppression. Suspicious of any particularistic attachment, Brutus prefers emotions resolutely fixed on an abstract object, which reason can justify and commend. He expects all Romans to be like him: deliberative citizens, who value liberty with both their judgment and their hearts.

Brutus’s antitype is Antony, who can understand no kind of love other than the personal, who cannot refrain from calling the dead man “Julius” even in the presence of the conspirators, and whose “Oh, . . .

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A reading list for marriage equality

March 28, 2013
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A reading list for marriage equality

To better understand the shift in activist politics and policy—from rejection of marriage as an institution to lobbying for same-sex couples’ right to marry—by gay and lesbian rights organizations, read The Nuptial Deal: Same-Sex Marriage and Neo-Liberal Governance by Jay Cee Whitehead.

Whitehead’s argument parallels the transformation that occurred in the minds of activists and ordinary citizens with the rise of neo-liberalism, ultimately arguing that the federal government’s resistance to same-sex marriage stems not from “traditional values” but from fear of exposing marriage as a form of governance rather than a natural expression of human intimacy.

 

 

 

To better grasp the pattern of waxing and waning same-sex marriage has faced in terms of public visibility—and to comprehend how policy cycles and political opportunity have characterized debates since the 1996 passing of the Defense of Marriage Act—read The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage, edited by Craig A. Rimmerman and Clyde Wilcox.

The Politics of Same-Sex Marriage brings together an esteemed list of scholars who consider how court rulings and local legislatures have kept the issue alive in the political sphere, and conservatives and gay rights advocates have made the issue a key battlefield in . . .

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Introducing Chicago Shorts

February 1, 2013
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Introducing Chicago Shorts

“Longer than a tweet and shorter than A River Runs Through It—”

INTRODUCING CHICAGO SHORTS

 The University of Chicago Press is pleased to announce the launch of Chicago Shorts—distinguished selections, including never-before-published material, off-the-radar reads culled from the University of Chicago Press’s commanding archive, and the best of our newest books, all priced for impulse buying and presented exclusively in DRM-free e-book format.

Aimed at the general reader and running the gamut from the latest in contemporary scholarship to can’t-miss chapters from classic publications, Chicago Shorts turn the page on the twenty-first-century reading experience.

Among the inaugural batch of nine Shorts, you’ll find:

What Every Novelist Needs to Know about Narrators by Wayne C. Booth Ebert’s Bests by Roger Ebert Nixon and the Silver Screen by Mark Feeney A Little History of Photography Criticism; or, Why Do Photography Critics Hate Photography? by Susie Linfield Custer’s Last Stand: The Unfinished Manuscript by Norman Maclean Shylock on Trial: The Appellate Briefs by Richard Posner and Charles Fried Erika and Klaus Mann in New York: Escape from the Magic Mountain by Andrea Weiss Bill Veeck’s Crosstown Classic by Bill Veeck with Ed Linn Rabbits with Horns and Other Astounding . . .

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Health Care for Some: Beatrix Hoffman on the PPACA ruling

June 29, 2012
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Health Care for Some: Beatrix Hoffman on the PPACA ruling

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock (under Iraq? Unforgiveable pun?), yesterday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold the majority of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), ruled in the National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius, likely caught your attention. Despite attempts to repeal the act by both the 111th and 112th Congresses, the Court determined that the government mandate for health care was a tax, and thus fell under Congress’s taxing authority, with the caveat that the federal government could not withhold Medicaid funds in their entirety to states that refused to comply with Medicaid expansion. The Washington Post has a helpful electronic cheat sheet that explains how the legislation will affect you directly in the months and year to come, based on the type of insurance you do or do not carry, your income, and household status. With that in mind, we asked scholar Beatrix Hoffman, author of Health Care for Some: Rights and Rationing in the United States since 1930, to weigh in on Court’s ruling in light of her own research on America’s long tradition of unequal access to health care. Her thoughts follow below.

***

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Failing Law Schools: What’s so funny?

June 28, 2012
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Failing Law Schools: What’s so funny?

Wait. I’ve got one—

“A lawyer walks into a bar”—oh, you’ve already heard it. “A one-legged lawyer walks into a bar”—no? That, too?

How about this one? I’m working on my timing. “What’s the difference between a good lawyer and a great lawyer?” Give up? “A good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the judge.” Is that funny?

n 1873, Robert Vischer coined the term Einfühlung in “On an Optical Sense of Form: A Contribution to Aesthetics” in order to designate a sort of personification—the projection of human feelings on the natural world. Vischer was concerned with our ability to feel ‘into’ nature and art, and Einfühlung picks up from the German Romantic tradition of Johann Gottfried Herder and Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardernberg (Novalis) as a process of poetic identification with the natural world and its underlying spiritual relationship with man. Part of Vischer’s interest laid in the fact his father Friedrich Theodor Vischer had, a generation earlier, written the monumental Aesthetik and attempted the use of Einfühlen in order to describe architectural form in congruence with German Idealist philosophy and the rebellions of 1848–49.

Vischer relegated empathy . . .

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All other persons

August 15, 2011
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All other persons

The Constitutional Convention took place from May 14th to September 17th, 1787. The delegates spent much of the early month of August adjourned as the Committee of Detail met to refine previously reached agreements, including the contentious role of slavery, before submitting what became an early draft of the U.S. Constitution. Though ten states had already outlawed the slave trade, three key Southern holdouts (Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina) threatened to leave the convention and stall progress if the trade were banned outright. Ultimately, delegates instead ratified the Three-Fifths compromise (Article 1, Section 2, Paragraph 3 of the Constitution), which created this federal ratio in order to assess slaves (“all other persons”) as three-fifths of their actual number for purposes of representation in the House and Senate.

In A Slaveholders’ Union: Slavery, Politics, and the Constitution in the Early American Republic, George W. Van Cleve judiciously demonstrates that this Constitution was pro-slavery in its politics, its economics, and its law. Framing the development of a strong federal republic around the allegiance of the Southern states, A Slaveholders’ Union establishes this long-term protection of slavery as the consequence of Southern participation in the fledgling Union.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Annette Gordon-Reed, in . . .

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Cultures of Border(less) Control

July 14, 2011
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Cultures of Border(less) Control

In a recent post for the Yale University Press blog, Eva Ledóchowicz (our shared sales representative for Eastern Europe) penned an article on the potential of the ebook as a “book without border,” linking the changing landscape of publishing (for better or worse) with developments in the European Union surrounding ID-free travel made possible by laws governing the Schengen area.

The Schengen area came to be on March 26, 1995, when five original signatories (Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands) implemented the Schengen Agreement (1985, named for Schengen, Luxembourg, where the document was first signed) into law, allowing for what approaches a single state for international travel, with no internal border controls (harkening back to pre-World War I days, when one could travel from Paris to St. Petersburg without a passport). Two years later, and twenty-five countries were onboard. In recent years, concerns over the pressure to provide shared security for the entire Schengen region, along with the preferences of individual nations over migration, has led to a new vulnerability for Schengen, its member nations, and those travelers who come and go within its amorphous borders.

In Cultures of Border Control: Schengen and the Evolution of European Frontiers, . . .

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Eggs and Agencies

August 31, 2010
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Eggs and Agencies

You might want to finish your bibimbap before reading this post. The salmonella outbreak that led to the largest egg recall in American history has now led to a disturbing Food and Drug Administration report about conditions on the Iowa farms where the eggs originated. The Chicago Tribune notes that the report’s grisly details include horrors such as “barns with dozens of holes chewed by rodents that mice, insects, and wild birds used to enter and live inside the barns.… manure built up in 4- to 8-foot-tall piles in pits below the hen houses, in such quantities that it pushed pit doors open, allowing rodents and other wild animals access to hen houses.”

The farms in question are among the largest in the nation, and nearly half a billion eggs have been recalled. Given the extent and nature of the problems the inspectors have documented, it is clear the facilities haven’t been visited by the FDA in a fairly long time. This kind of regulatory failure is the focus of Rena Steinzor and Sidney Shapiro’s The People’s Agents and the Battle to Protect the American Public: Special Interests, Government, and Threats to Health, Safety, and the Environment. Steinzor and . . .

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Interview with Robert K. Elder, author of Last Words of the Executed

August 5, 2010
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Interview with Robert K. Elder, author of Last Words of the Executed

Earlier today the New Yorker‘s Book Bench blog posted an interview with Robert K. Elder, author of Last Words of the Executed. In the interview Elder discusses how he came across the idea for his book and some of the fascinating historical and cultural insights it offers, including an interesting, albeit morbid, discussion of how various methods of execution—from the firing squad, to the gas chamber, to the electric chair, “a.k.a. Old Sparky”—influenced the final expressions of the prisoners. Read it online at the Book Bench blog.

Read excerpts from the book.

. . .

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