Elizabeth LunbeckThe Americanization of Narcissism

June 20, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Science, Technology, and Society] “It is a commonplace of social criticism that America has become, over the past half century or so, a nation of narcissists.” From this opening, Elizabeth Lunbeck’s new book proceeds to offer a fascinating narrative of how this came to be, exploring the entwined histories of narcissism, psychoanalysis, [...]

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David C. Berliner, Gene V. Glass, and Associates50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education

June 18, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Education] David C. Berliner, Gene V. Glass, and associates are the authors of 50 Myths and Lies That Threaten America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education (Teachers College Press, 2014). Dr. Berliner is Regents’ Professor of Education Emeritus at Arizona State University. Gene V Glass is a senior researcher at the National Education [...]

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Austin SaratGruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America’s Death Penalty

June 18, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Law] When we discuss the death penalty we usually ask two questions: 1) should the state be in the business of killing criminals?; and 2) if so, how should the state put their lives to an end? As Austin Sarat shows in his fascinating book Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America’s Death Penalty (Stanford UP, [...]

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Douglas M. ThompsonThe Quest for the Golden Trout: Environmental Loss and America’s Iconic Fish

June 17, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Environmental Studies] Earlier this spring, I drove to a small beaver pond near my home in Colorado, snapped together my fishing rod, and cast a silver lure into the pond’s crystalline waters. Within twenty minutes, I’d caught dinner: a pair of glittering rainbow trout, olive backs spattered with a constellation of [...]

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Leilani NishimeUndercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture

June 16, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Asian American Studies] Leilani Nishime‘s Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture (University of Illinois Press, 2014) challenges the dominant U.S. cultural narrative that imagines multiracial people as symbols of a future United States where race has ceased to function as a viable category. Nishime considers how representations of mixed race people often [...]

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Olivier ZunzPhilanthropy in America: A History

June 16, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Political Science] Olivier Zunz is the author of Philanthropy in America: A History (Princeton University Press 2014). The paperback addition of the book has recently been published with a new preface from the author. Zunz is Commonwealth Professor of History at the University of Virginia. The book tracks the origins of philanthropy in America [...]

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Andrew CoeChop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States

June 13, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Food] Through some quirk of fate, the Hobbesian tag “filling, cheap, and familiar” is probably the defining phrase used when Americans think of Chinese food. Yet what could be less accurate a description of this cuisine, born halfway around the world, which had been evolving for well over a millennium before [...]

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Eric LeMayIn Praise of Nothing: Essays, Memoir, and Experiments

June 13, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Literature] Some people describe a lonesome highway or the middle of a desert town—even a state like Ohio—as “the middle of nowhere.”  But for others, like Eric LeMay, no such place exists. There is always a “there there.”  It’s the presence within the absence that draws LeMay.  Either because the absence offers [...]

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Omar Valerio-JiménezRiver of Hope: Forging Identity and Nation in the Rio Grande Borderlands

June 12, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in History]  Historically speaking, who you were depended on who your rulers were and the ethnic identity (including language, religion, and folkways) of “your” people. In the era of nation-states–that is, our era–these two characteristics have, for most people, been fused. Ethnic Germans live in Germany, ethnic Chinese live in China, [...]

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Isaac WeinerReligion Out Loud: Religious Sound, Public Space, and American Pluralism

June 8, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Religion] In 2004, the traditionally Polish-Catholic community of Hamtramck Michigan became the site of a debate over the Muslim call to prayer.  Members of the Hamtramck community engaged in a contest about the appropriateness of sound and its intrusion into public space. In Religion Out Loud: Religious Sound, Public Space, and American [...]

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