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Bookmarks: Recent Publications from A&S Faculty

By A&S News

Bookmarks: Recent Publications from A&S Faculty

By A&S News

Mark Rowlands
Philosophy
World on Fire (Oxford University Press). Rowlands presents a novel analysis of three epoch-defining environmental problems: climate, extinction, and pandemic. He establishes that all three problems are consequences of choices we have made about energy, which can be divided into two major forms: fuel and food. Focusing on food choices as far more central to the issue than commonly recognized, he argues that the solution is breaking our collective habit of eating animals. He explains that reversing the industrial farming of animals for food will first, substantially cut climate emissions, rapidly enough to allow sustainable energy technologies time to become viable alternatives; and most importantly, make vast areas of land available for the kind of aggressive afforestation policy that he shows as necessary to bring all three problems under control.

Nebil Husayn
Religious Studies
Opposing the Imam (Cambridge University Press). Islam’s fourth caliph, Ali, can be considered one of the most revered figures in Islamic history. His nearly universal portrayal in Muslim literature as a pious authority obscures the views of his opponents who considered him an illegitimate ruler and a centuries-long process that entailed the rehabilitation of his character. In his new book, Opposing the Imam, Nebil Husayn considers the diverse ways in which early Muslims remembered Ali and contextualizes the rise of both Sunnism and Shi'ism. 

Patricia Saunders
English
Buyers Beware: Insurgency and Consumption in Caribbean Popular Culture (Rutgers University Press). Buyers Beware offers a new perspective for critical inquiries about the practices of consumption in (and of) Caribbean popular culture. The book revisits commonly accepted representations of the Caribbean from “less respectable” segments of popular culture such as dancehall culture and ‘sistah lit’ that proudly jettison any aspirations toward middle-class respectability. Treating these pop-cultural texts and phenomena with the same critical attention as dominant mass cultural representations of the region allows Saunders to read them against the grain and consider whether and how their “pulp” preoccupation with contemporary fashion, music, sex, fast food, and television, is instructive for how race, class, gender, sexuality and national politics are constructed, performed, interpreted, disseminated and consumed from within the Caribbean.

John Murphy
Sociology & Criminology
Community-based Service Deliver: Theory and Implementation (Routledge). This book takes up the challenge of the failure of most initiatives in community-based service delivery to address the significant philosophical shift that is necessary to create, implement, and evaluate properly these sorts of projects. Challenging the tendency to focus mostly on practicalities, the authors emphasize the centrality of philosophy to any successful community-based undertaking. While fully acknowledging the importance of local knowledge and the guidance of projects by local persons, this volume shows that these principles are often at odds with the Cartesian mindset that underpins much of project planning, with its emphasis on objectivity in science and knowledge. A thorough rethinking of traditional service delivery, which takes into account issues of data, methodology, and bias together with questions of generalizability, community, power, and communication, this book will appeal to scholars of sociology, social policy, and social work with interests in community-based service delivery. 

Pamela Hammons
English
World-making Renaissance Women: Rethinking Early Modern Women’s Place in Literature and Culture (Cambridge University Press). This book answers three simple questions: First, what would students and scholars of early modern English literature—a scholar of Shakespeare or a student of Milton—get wrong about the period were they to ignore women’s literary contributions? Second, what would those same individuals need in order to appreciate not only women’s influence on the history of literature and culture but instances of outright pathbreaking mastery? Finally, is it possible to see some women writers as world-makers, individuals whose craft cut into cultural practice so incisively that their shaping authority can be traced well beyond their own moment? The essays in this volume pursue these questions by recourse to the archival investigation, close reading, and careful literary-historical tracking, thus tracing in concrete terms sixteen women and their world-shaping activities.

Edmund Abaka
History
Africa and the Second World War: Africa’s “Forgotten” Finest Hour (Africa World Press/Red Sea Press). Africans played critical roles in the Allied victory over Nazism and totalitarianism in the Second World War. However, a palpable silence on Africa’s role in the annual commemorations of the war's momentous events in North America and Europe speaks to a larger phenomenon of lack of recognition. This book moves Africa’s role from the margins to the center of the Second World War discussion. It asserts that the combat role of African soldiers was critical to the Allied victory in the war. Also, Africans’ non-combat role kept military and non-military supply lines open and whirring during the war and facilitated victory. Also of importance was Africa’s economic role in the form of voluntary financial contributions, tax revenues, food production, export crop, and mineral production that partly undergirded the war effort, and some African ports facilitated the movement of soldiers and war materials to disparate war theatres.

Henry Green
Religious Studies
Sephardi Voices: The Untold Expulsion of Jews from Arab Lands (Figure 1 Publishing, Inc.). In the decades following the founding of Israel, close to a million Jews were forced from their ancestral homelands in the Middle East, North Africa, and Iran. This book tells the story of state-sanctioned discrimination, violence, and political unrest through stunning photography and gripping firsthand accounts from survivors. It is a story of Jewish history, of a resilient people finding strength in the face of a terrible injustice.

Omar Vargas
Modern Languages and Literatures
Cantidades hechizadas y silogísticas del sobresalto: La secreta ciencia de José Lezama Lima (Purdue University Press). Arguably the most important Cuban writer of the 20th century, José Lezama Lima (1910-1976), is well known as a poet, essayist, cultural promoter and novelist, but not as a scientist. In fact, there is no evidence of any concrete relationship between him and any pure science discipline. How then it is possible to establish connections between Lezama’s literary works and the disciplines of science and how do those scientific discoveries and developments inform Lezama’s aesthetic production? Grounded in his disciplinary experience in both literary and mathematical studies, Vargas attempts to unearth the overlaps and connections between science and art, thus offering a new critical apparatus with which scholars can study Lezama’s works. He provides a close reading of Lezama´s narrative works, including his two novels —Paradiso and Oppiano Licario—as well as of his essays, press articles and interviews. The author also examines the catalogue of Lezama´s personal library, revealing that his poetics are based on an original and fascinating appropriation of concepts, problems, solutions and rhetorical devices in science.