Excerpt: The Politics of Resentment

November 18, 2016
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Excerpt: The Politics of Resentment

An excerpt from Katherine J. Cramer’s The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker *** My Window Is Wisconsin My window to the way the politics of resentment works is Wisconsin. This is a state in which the debate over the appropriate role of government has played out prominently and over a sustained period. It has been central to the conservative response to the disarray of the Republican Party after the George W. Bush presidency and Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential victory. Wisconsin was a predominantly Republican state until the 1950s, but Democratic presidential candidates have repeatedly carried the state since 1988. Since 2000, however, it has been a partisan battleground, or swing state. You can see the push-and-pull of partisan fights here in multiple ways. Wisconsin scored highest on the number of “Bush-Obama counties”; no other state had as many counties that went for George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election and then for Barack Obama in 2008 (Achenbach 2012). Wisconsin went from having a Democratically controlled state legislature with a Democratic governor and two Democratic senators in 2009 to having a narrowly Republican-controlled state legislature, Republican governor, and a split U.S. senate . . .

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Staff Profile: Levi Stahl on community and the Parker novels

November 16, 2016
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Staff Profile: Levi Stahl on community and the Parker novels

It’s #UPWeek, and you can read more about it here. The theme—for year 38, the 79th university of the AAUP—is community, and with that in mind, we asked associate marketing director Levi Stahl to talk a bit about a series of crime noir qua boilerplate mystery novels written by Donald E. Westlake, under the pseudonym Richard Stark, and  Stahl’s effort to tap into the community surrounding the cult novelist, an unusual move by a university press:             Reading is a solitary activity. That’s one of its glories.  But for a lot of us, it’s also just the first step. After reading, we want to tell people about what we’ve read, recommend it, discuss it, argue about it. And that’s where community begins. We experienced that, powerfully, back in 2008, when we decided to bring back into print Richard Stark’s crime novels featuring Parker the heister. We knew they were brilliant crime novels and that people over the years had loved them. What we learned very quickly, however, was that by bringing these back, we were joining the crime fiction community—and those are readers who aren’t shy about sharing their enthusiasm. The excitement, seen everywhere from . . .

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Big Bosses: A Working Girl’s Memoir of Jazz Age America

November 14, 2016
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Big Bosses: A Working Girl’s Memoir of Jazz Age America

This illustration is everything. (Also: “As future secretary to a diamond merchant, my future reflected much light.”) To read more about Big Bosses, click here. . . .

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Ghosh and climate change in the Guardian

November 10, 2016
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Ghosh and climate change in the Guardian

Speaking of climate change. . . . Pankaj Mistra on Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement at the Guardian: How such “progress” changes the global environment is revealed, along with other true faces of easternisation, by Ghosh in his short but broad-ranging and consistently stimulating indictment of our era of the “great derangement”. It has been a time, he writes, when “most forms of art and literature were drawn into the modes of concealment that prevented people from recognising the realities of their plight.” Ghosh details the original damage inflicted by the west’s carbon-fuelled modes of economic and political imperialism. But it was, he adds, the “expanding industrialisation of Asia’s most populous nations, beginning in the 1980s, that brought the climate crisis to a head.” China’s carbon emissions per head of population have now surpassed the EU’s; India is not far behind. Briskly, Ghosh outlines the devastating consequences: the loss in India of “some of the country’s most fertile lands”; the disappearance of “many of the subcontinent’s low-lying islands, like the Lakshadweep chain”; the “migration of up to 50 million people in India and 75 million in Bangladesh”; not to mention that “if the glaciers continue to shrink at the present rate, the most . . .

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Doodling for Academics: A Neutral Election Day Post

November 8, 2016
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Doodling for Academics: A Neutral Election Day Post

You will probably want to color in the Therapy Dog, regardless. Also here’s another neutral election day plug: this time for George Lakoff’s Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think (Third Edition; updated to include some of the concerns taking you to the polls today, from climate change and the 2008 financial crisis to the war(s) in Afghanistan and the Affordable Care Act) And finally, to read more about Doodling for Academics, click here. . . .

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Microbes from Hell in Nature

November 7, 2016
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Microbes from Hell in Nature

From a sterling write-up of Patrick Forterre’s pursuit of the single-celled archaea, via a review of Microbes from Hell in Nature: Forterre was fascinated by the ideas of microbiologist Carl Woese. In the 1970s, Woese realized that ‘archaebacteria’ were distinct from bacteria, for instance in the sequences of their ribosomal RNA. In 1990, Woese and his colleagues proposed to divide life into three domains: bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes. The concept has gradually been accepted, but Forterre — with microbiologists Wolfram Zillig and Otto Kandler, among others — was an early ‘believer.’ As he relates, most of the archaea that had then been isolated were extremophiles. These include hyperthermophilic microbes that thrive above 80 °C and are typically found in habitats such as deep-ocean vents. Up to the 1970s, the consensus had been that most such habitats were hostile to life, but a handful of groundbreaking microbiologists changed that. Thomas Brock, for instance, began to isolate hyperthermophilic archaea, including the genus Sulfolobus, from hot springs in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Later, German microbiologist Karl Stetter showed that many surprising habitats, even oil fields, teemed with microbial life. In the 1980s, Forterre began to analyse the hyperthermophilic archaea isolated by Stetter and Zillig, looking . . .

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Free e-book for November: Carl H. Nightingale’s Segregation

November 3, 2016
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Free e-book for November: Carl H. Nightingale’s Segregation

Our free e-book for November is Carl H. Nightingale’s Segregation: A Global History of Divided Cities. Read more and download your copy below: When we think of segregation, what often comes to mind is apartheid South Africa, or the American South in the age of Jim Crow—two societies fundamentally premised on the concept of the separation of the races. But as Carl H. Nightingale shows us in this magisterial history, segregation is everywhere, deforming cities and societies worldwide. Starting with segregation’s ancient roots, and what the archaeological evidence reveals about humanity’s long-standing use of urban divisions to reinforce political and economic inequality, Nightingale then moves to the world of European colonialism. It was there, he shows, segregation based on color—and eventually on race—took hold; the British East India Company, for example, split Calcutta into “White Town” and “Black Town.” As we follow Nightingale’s story around the globe, we see that division replicated from Hong Kong to Nairobi, Baltimore to San Francisco, and more. The turn of the twentieth century saw the most aggressive segregation movements yet, as white communities almost everywhere set to rearranging whole cities along racial lines. Nightingale focuses closely on two striking examples: Johannesburg, with its state-sponsored separation, and . . .

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The Fixers on the Leonard Lopate Show

November 2, 2016
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The Fixers on the Leonard Lopate Show

  The Fixers: Devolution, Development, and Civil Society in Newark, 1960–1990 chronicles the sociocultural revelations behind three decades of change and tumult that manifested in Newark, New Jersey’s postwar decline—and the coalitions of residents, lay activists, public housing policy advocates, black nationalists, white Catholic priests, and other “fixers,” who fought to organize their communities as a form of resistance. Recently, the book was a topic on the Leonard Lopate Show, where author Julia Rabig expanded upon the roles of these individuals in transforming a limited welfare state into a series of collective causes. To listen to streaming audio from the broadcast, click below: To read more about The Fixers, click here. . . .

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Scott Esposito and Edmundo Paz Soldán in BOMB

November 1, 2016
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Scott Esposito and Edmundo Paz Soldán in BOMB

From an interview between Scott Esposito and Edmundo Paz Soldán, the author of Norte, in the most recent issue of BOMB Magazine: SE: One of the valuable things about Norte is its outsider’s perspective on the United States—I think this is one of the unique things foreign literature can give us. How did you develop your knowledge of the border regions and your opinions on the US in general? EPS: I’ve lived in the US since 1988, in Alabama, California, Texas, and upstate New York. It took me a while to dare to set my novels in the US because I saw it as an overwhelming enterprise; this is such a huge country, and I didn’t know where to start, how to tackle it. I started to think of the US as more of a narrative space after being here for a decade and realizing that a new identity was emerging. I’m very interested in political issues and especially in how these issues affect Latin America and Latinos in the US; however, I try to differentiate between what I think and what my characters think, since I don’t want to write novels with a clear, didactic message. I went to El Paso and . . .

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Molly Haskell: From Reverence to Rape

October 27, 2016
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Molly Haskell: From Reverence to Rape

In a piece for TCM’s blog Movie Morlocks, critic Susan Doll posted a tribute to the new edition of Molly Haskell’s classic feminist takedown of the female cinematic imaginary, From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women at the Movies (3rd edition; with a new foreword by Manohla Dargis), complete with outstanding captions, such as, ON ROSALIND RUSSELL: “NOT A FAVORITE WITH MEN.” Here’s a choice excerpt, which gives you a taste of Haskell’s contribution to writing film, a mix of ferociously idiosyncratic critical insight and bona fide enthusiasm that ran across taste, time, and genre: TCM viewers who are enjoying “Trailblazing Women” should check out the new, third edition of From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies by film historian Molly Haskell. Haskell, who sometimes cohosts on TCM, covers the silent era to the late 20th century, the same time frame as “Trailblazing Women.” While there is some overlap between the series and the book, Haskell’s focus is on the image of women in the movies, the stars who embodied these images, and the relationship of these images to women in society. Long ago, when I was in film school, I was introduced to feminist film theory, particularly the work . . .

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