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Racism in America: Suggested Readings

June 1, 2020
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As we grieve and seek a way forward for a more just, more equitable world, it’s important to understand what has brought us here and the obstacles we have yet to overcome. To get started, here are some suggestions for further reading. You can browse even more in our subject listings. The Torture Letters: Reckoning with Police Violence Laurence Ralph Citizen Brown: Race, Democracy, and Inequality in the St. Louis Suburbs Colin Gordon Tacit Racism Anne Warfield Rawls and Waverly Duck Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells Second Edition Edited by Alfreda M. Duster, With a New Foreword by Eve L. Ewing and a New Afterword by Michelle Duster Remembering Emmett Till Dave Tell Beyond the Usual Beating: The Jon Burge Police Torture Scandal and Social Movements for Police Accountability in Chicago Andrew S. Baer Murder in New Orleans: The Creation of Jim Crow Policing Jeffrey S. Adler Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side Eve L. Ewing The Color of Mind: Why the Origins of the Achievement Gap Matter for Justice Derrick Darby and John L. Rury Building the Prison State: Race and the Politics of Mass Incarceration Heather Schoenfeld The . . .

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A “Louder than Bombs” Playlist

September 28, 2020
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Ed Vulliamy’s memoir Louder than Bombs: A Life with War, Music, and Peace, tells the stories of the artists, songs, and concerts that influenced him most. In his career as a journalist and war correspondent, Vulliamy has traveled the globe, bearing witness to many of the most important political and musical moments of the past fifty years. This playlist plays tribute to just a few of the many songs mentioned in Louder than Bombs. It follows some of Vulliamy’s favorite musical memories: Buying blues records in Chicago, working as an extra in the Vienna State Opera’s production of Aida, drinking coffee with Joan Baez, listening to Jimi Hendrix playing “Machine Gun” at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, and seeing B. B. King perform live in his hometown of Indianola, Mississippi in 2013. Listen below or at Spotify Read an excerpt from Literary Hub: Everybody’s Here for Mr. B.B. King in Indianola, Mississippi: Ed Vulliamy Feels the Love for the King of the Blues Ed Vulliamy is a former reporter for the Guardian and Observer. He is the author of Amexica: War Along the Borderline and The War is Dead, Long Live the War—Bosnia: The Reckoning. Louder than Bombs is available now from our website or your . . .

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Town Hall: Political Scientists Look Toward the Presidential Debates

September 25, 2020
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With the first presidential debate rapidly approaching, many questions are zipping through voters’ minds. What is the most important topic for them this election? How will they even manage to vote safely during a pandemic? And, if they could, what question would they ask at a town hall debate? We reached out to three of our political science authors to find out which question they would like to ask the candidates. Hahrie Han, coauthor of Prisms of the People: Power and Organizing in the Twenty-First Century One of the greatest challenges in contemporary politics is the broken link between people and government. Even though democracy is supposed to be “of, by, and for” the people, what we find is that government is often unresponsive both to public opinion and people’s activism. How do the candidates think about their own accountability to the public? I would ask, “Elected officials often seem to use people as props instead of being willing to enter into a true relationship of mutual accountability. At best, elected officials treat the public merely as data points for information and input. What mechanisms would you create to ensure that the people affected by the policies you proposed had . . .

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Four Questions with Joshua Gunn, author of “Political Perversion”

September 23, 2020
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As election season progresses, we spoke with Joshua Gunn, author of Political Perversion: Rhetorical Aberration in the Time of Trumpeteering. Below, he discusses political rhetoric, structural perversion, public affect, and what Trump (and his Twitter) reveals about American culture. First of all, what got you started on writing this book? Political Perversion originally started as an essay I was writing on the television series, American Horror Story. For a couple of years after the show debuted, I was trying to make sense of why horror television series were turning to perverse scenarios (explicit S&M), perverse villains (Hannibal), and perverse anti-heroes in prime time (Dexter). We have long been used to perversity in cinema—right down to the basic voyeurism of staring at actors in the dark. As a fan of horror, however, this newer prime-time perversity, intended for viewing in more intimate spaces, says something about cultural shifts.   So, after researching the way perversion was discussed in various fields and in popular parlance, I started writing about horror TV around the same time that Trump announced his candidacy. I was watching one of the Republican presidential candidate debates (the one that ultimately orbited around a penis-size repartee), and then it . . .

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5 Questions with Alexander Wragge-Morley, author of “Aesthetic Science: Representing Nature in the Royal Society of London, 1650–1720”

September 10, 2020
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In his new book, Aesthetic Science, Alexander Wragge-Morley explores scientific representation in the early modern period and shows us how vital the role of subjective experience is to the communication of knowledge about nature. It’s a fascinating, groundbreaking reconsideration of the role of aesthetic experience in the history of the empirical sciences, and we sent him a few questions about it. In Aesthetic Science, you explore the relationship between sensory experience and the production of knowledge. What drew you to the topic? What do you like about it? I’d say that there’s a lot to like when you think about the relationship between sensory experience and the production of knowledge. To start, the issue is obviously fundamental—and I like fundamental issues. I don’t think you can give a good account of knowledge production unless you think hard about how the senses—with all the feelings they provoke—give us access to the external world. What’s more, that fundamental question allows you to think about the history of science in new ways. By focusing on how the scientists of seventeenth-century England related to sensory experience, I was able to pull a wide range of disciplines together—disciplines that are usually studied separately. In Aesthetic . . .

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Read an Excerpt from “Tacit Racism” by Anne Warfield Rawls and Waverly Duck

September 8, 2020
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As shown every time we read or watch the news, racism is ubiquitous in America. Yet racism is so insidious that it exists on a more micro, common level as well. Effecting all swaths of culture and society, it permeates aspects of day-to-day life, especially when it is unexpected. In Tacit Racism, Anne Warfield Rawls and Waverly Duck illustrate the many ways in which racism is coded into the everyday social expectations of Americans. The following is a slightly altered excerpt from the introduction to Tacit Racism.  Racism Is a Clear and Present Danger If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you. —Lyndon B. Johnson Since the 1670’s, fifty years after the first Africans were sold into slavery at Jamestown in 1619, racism has steadily and relentlessly wormed its way so deeply into the foundations of the American democratic experiment that we typically don’t even notice it. Racism does not usually take an obvious form that we can see and prevent, rather it masquerades as the most ordinary of daily actions: . . .

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Six Questions with Thomas Milan Konda, author of “Conspiracies of Conspiracies”

September 3, 2020
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The viral spread and increasing normalization of incendiary conspiracy theories have been one of the most dismaying and dangerous trends in recent American political life. The QAnon conspiracy is most prominent of today’s Internet-borne fringe theories: its influence has even reached the seats of national governmental power, with at least ten current Republican Congressional candidates expressing support for it. We spoke at length with Thomas Milan Konda, author of Conspiracies of Conspiracies: How Delusional Thinking Has Overrun America—called “the most detailed genealogy of American conspiracy theories yet written” by the American Historical Review—to gain some perspective on our current conspiracy crisis. The QAnon conspiracy is increasingly in the news these days—a formerly fringe phenomena that has now wormed its way into the mainstream. How does its rise fit in with what we know about how conspiracy theories work? How conspiracy theories “work” is really two questions: what is their appeal and how are they spread? Their appeal is always the same, and in this regard QAnon works the same way its predecessors did. Its three-part argument is the one that has always shored up conspiracy theories: (1) An insidious, powerful elite (2) secretly manipulates our various institutions from behind the . . .

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Read Excerpts from “The Province of Affliction” by Ben Mutschler

August 31, 2020
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The following are two excerpts from Ben Mutschler’s recent publication, The Province of Affliction: Illness and the Making of Early New England.  The book explores the place of illness in everyday life—the ways in which it shaped families and households and became bound up in governance at all levels. The passages below draw from the introduction to a chapter on smallpox and the politics of contagion, followed by a small portion of a case study based on the diary of Ashley Bowen.  The sailor, ship rigger, painter, poet, husband, and father chronicled the ravages of smallpox as it burned through his town of Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1773—an event at once terrifying and all-too-common in early New England. Perhaps no other affliction in eighteenth-century New England received the attention given to smallpox. Even the most laconic of diarists noted its presence and charted its approach; others devoted entire journals to its rages. Letters written from infected areas to relatives, friends, and business partners survive despite authors’ pleas to burn such material lest the virulent distemper spread further. Newspapers reported on outbreaks throughout the Atlantic world. Chronologies of significant events compiled at the end of almanacs memorialized serious epidemics. Legislative records reveal extensive . . .

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Talking political science with Assistant Editorial Director Charles Myers

August 28, 2020
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Acquiring Editor Chuck Myers

Alas, as in so many other ways, these are not normal times. The APSA will be virtual, as will our booth. But we didn’t want you all to miss getting to hobnob with Chuck, so our Marketing Director, Levi Stahl, conducted the following brief interview with him. Enjoy the interview, and then click through to our Virtual APSA to get the latest, best books in the field for 40% off with free shipping. And we’ll look forward to seeing you in person at next year’s APSA! You’ve been acquiring books in political science for . . . let’s just say that a goodly number of presidential administrations have come and gone and you’ve still had your shoulder to the wheel. But that doesn’t mean that everybody knows your background. Can you give us a rundown of your publishing career and how you ended up here at Chicago? I’ve had a couple of different careers including time in Washington working in the Senate and in the Justice Department in what now seems like a different country. I’ve been interested in politics since I was a child and used to go with my mother, who was our local judge of elections, to . . .

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Book Trailer: Hearing Happiness

August 21, 2020
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We're excited to share the book trailer for historian Jaipreet Virdi's new book, 'Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History'! . . .

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Read an Excerpt from “Blood Ties: A Story of Falconry and Fatherhood” by Ben Crane

August 20, 2020
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Spring and Summer of 2020 have been unlike any in our collective memory. But as we’ve spent these months in relative isolation, socially distanced from our loved ones, many of us have awakened to details of the changing seasons that we seemed somehow to have forgot in our normal daily lives. We’ve noticed the feel of cool, green moss; the hum of bees in city parks; the smell of blooming lindens. In the news, we’ve read about the return of wild boars, goats, fish, and dolphins to city streets, rivers, and ports. Something in this is comforting. Copublished with UK publisher Head of Zeus, Ben Crane’s Blood Ties is a potent reminder that if we open our senses to nature, we are never truly alone. It is also so much more. Both an uncannily brilliant evocation of the falconer’s art and a moving story of a man’s discovery of how to be a father, Blood Ties is a memoir as compelling and feathered with insights into the natural world and human heart as the beloved H Is for Hawk—and yet, it is a story wholly its own. At once deeply personal and soaring across the globe, bringing us eye to . . .

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