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Subject: Political Science and International Relations

Perplexing Patriarchies: Fatherhood Among Black Opponents and White Defenders of Slavery

Pierre Islam, Yale University

May 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-462-7
Availability: Forthcoming
190pp. ¦ $60 £45 €51

Perplexing Patriarchies examines the rhetorical usage (and lived experience) of fatherhood among three African American abolitionists and three of their white proslavery opponents in the United States during the nineteenth century. Both the prominent abolitionists (Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, and Henry Garnet), as well as the prominent proslavery advocates (Henry Hammond, George Fitzhugh, and Richard Dabney), appealed to the popular image of the father, husband, and head of household in order to attack or justify slavery. How and why could these opposing individuals rely on appeals to the same ideal of fatherhood to come to completely different and opposing conclusions? This book strives to find the answer by first acknowledging that both the abolitionists and the proslavery men shared similar concerns about the contested status of fatherhood in the nineteenth century. However, due to subtle differences in their starting assumptions, and different choices of what parts of a father’s responsibilities to emphasize, the black abolitionists conceived of an ideal father who protected the autonomy of his dependents, while the proslavery men conceived of one whose authority necessitated the subordination of those he protected. Finding that these differences arose from choices in starting assumptions and emphases rather than total disagreement on what the role of the father should be, this work reveals that black abolitionists were not radically critiquing the gender conventions of their day, but innovatively working within those conventions to turn them towards social reform. This discovery opens up a new way for historians to consider how oppressed peoples negotiated the intellectual boundaries of the societies which oppressed them: Not necessarily breaking entirely from those boundaries, nor passively accepting them, but ingeniously synthesizing a worldview from within their confines that still allowed for freedom and personal autonomy.

Political Corruption in a World in Transition

Edited by Jonathan Mendilow, Rider University and Éric Phélippeau, Université Paris Nanterre, France

April 2019 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-332-3
Availability: Forthcoming

This book argues that the mainstream definitions of corruption, and the key expectations they embed concerning the relationship between corruption, democracy, and the process of democratization, require reexamination. Even critics, who did not take the stable institutions and legal clarity of veteran democracies as a cure-all, assumed that the process of widening the influence on government decision making and implementation allows non-elites to defend their interests, define the acceptable sources and uses of wealth, and demand government accountability. This had proved correct, especially insofar as ‘petty corruption’ is involved. But the assumption that corruption necessarily involves the evasion of democratic principles and a ‘market approach’ in which the corrupt seek to maximize profit do not exhaust the possible incentives for corruption, the types of behaviors involved (for obvious reasons, the tendency in the literature is to focus on bribery), or the range of situations that ‘permit’ corruption in democracies. In the effort to identify some of the problems that require recognition, and to offer a more exhaustive alternative, the chapters in this book focus on corruption in democratic settings (including NGOs and the United Nations which were largely so far ignored), while focusing mainly on behaviors other than bribery.

Random Destiny: How the Vietnam War Draft Lottery Shaped a Generation

Wesley Abney

September 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-196-1
Availability: In stock
262pp. ¦ $60 £49 €56

This book provides a concise but thorough summary of how the selective service system worked from 1965 through 1973, and also demonstrates how this selective process, during a highly unpopular war, steered major life choices of millions of young men seeking deferrals based on education, occupation, marital and family status, sexual orientation, and more. This book explains each category of deferral and its resulting “ripple effect” across society. Putting a human face on these sociological trends, the book also includes a number of brief personal anecdotes from men in each category, told from a remove of 40 years or more, when the lifelong effects of youthful decisions prompted by the draft have become evident. There are few books which address the military draft of the Vietnam years, most notably CHANCE AND CIRCUMSTANCE: The Draft, the War and the Vietnam Generation, by Baskir and Strauss (1978). This early study of draft-age men discusses how they were socially channeled by the selective service system. RANDOM DESTINY follows up on this premise and draws from numerous later studies of men in the lottery pool, to create the definitive portrait of the draft and its long-term personal and social effects. RANDOM DESTINY presents an in-depth explanation of the selective service system in its final years. It also provides a comprehensive yet personal portrait of how the draft and the lottery steered a generation of young lives into many different paths, from combat to conscientious objection, from teaching to prison, from the pulpit to the Canadian border, from public health to gay liberation. It is the only recent book which demonstrates how American military conscription, in the time of an unpopular war, profoundly influenced a generation and a society over the decades that followed.

Political Routes to Starvation

Why Does Famine Kill?

Bas Dianda

April 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-309-5
Availability: In stock
432pp. ¦ $68 £49 €55

This book seeks to reclassify famine by offering an in-depth look at the phenomenon that continues to affect millions of people across the world every year. Defined as a widespread scarcity of food, Dr. Basilio Dianda argues that the causes of famine cannot be reduced exclusively to a shortfall in agricultural output or to economic dynamics. Instead, an analysis of famine must take into account political and economic factors as well as agricultural, climatologic and demographic data. ‘Political Routes to Starvation’ is the result of an all-encompassing analysis of eighty famines from across the globe. This extensive piece of research demonstrates that there are not only multiple factors at play in the genesis of a food crisis, but also in its evolution to starvation. Dianda contends that in order to fully understand the causes of famine it is necessary to reinstate a hierarchy between foundation and concomitant causes, especially when cross-comparing cases. Importantly, Dianda maintains that only a comprehensive approach to famine can appropriately answer the questions: What is famine? How does famine occur? Why does famine kill?

Making Strangers: Outsiders, Aliens and Foreigners

Edited by Abbes Maazaoui, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania

April 2018 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-324-8
Availability: In stock
188pp. ¦ $58 £43 €49

Studies on foreignness have increased substantially over the last two decades in response to what has been dubbed the migration/refugee crisis. Yet, they have focused on specific areas such as regions, periods, ethnic groups, and authors. Predicated on the belief that this so-called “twenty-first century problem” is in fact as old as humanity itself, this book analyzes cases based on both long-term historical perspectives and current occurrences from around the world. Bringing together an international group of scholars from Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America, it examines a variety of examples and strategies, mostly from world literatures, ranging from Spain’s failed experience with consolidation as a nation-state-type entity during the Golden Age of Castile, to Shakespeare’s rhetorical subversion of the language of fear and hate, to Mario Rigoni Stern’s random status at the unpredictable Italian-Austrian borders, to Lawrence Durrell’s ambivalent approach to noticing the physically visible other, to the French government’s ongoing criminalization of hospitality, to Sandra Cisneros’s attempt at straddling two countries and cultures while belonging to neither one, to the illusive legal limbo of the DREAMers in the United States. We are not born foreigners; we are made. The purpose of the book is to assert, as denoted by the title, this fundamental premise, that is, the making of strangers is the result of a deliberate and purposeful act that has social, political, and linguistic implications. The ultimate expression of this phenomenon is the compulsive labeling of people along artificial categories such as race, gender, religion, birthplace, or nationality. A corollary purpose of the book is to help shed light worldwide on one of the most pressing issues facing the world today: the place of “the other” amid fear-mongering and unabashedly contemptuous acts and rhetoric toward immigrants, refugees and all those excluded within because of race, gender, national origin, religion and ethnicity. As illustrated by the examples examined in this book, humans have certainly evolved in many areas; dealing with the “other” might not have been one of those. It is hoped that the book encourages reflection on how the arts, and especially world literatures, can help us navigate and think through the ever-present crisis: the place of the “stranger” among us.

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