Ronen Shamir, “Current Flow: The Electrification of Palestine”

[Cross-posted from New Books in Science, Technology, and Society] Ronen Shamir’s new book is a timely and thoughtful study of the electrification of Palestine in the early twentieth century. Current Flow: The Electrification of Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2013) makes use of Actor-Network Theory as a methodology to trace the processes involved in constructing a powerhouse and assembling an [...]

Kevin Schilbrack, “Philosophy and the Study of Religions: A Manifesto”

[Cross-posted from New Books in Religion] Very often evaluative questions about cultural phenomena are avoided for more descriptive or explanatory goals when approaching religions. Traditionally, this set of concerns has been left to philosophers of religion. In Philosophy and the Study of Religions: A Manifesto (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014), Kevin Schilbrack, professor of Religious Studies at Appalachian State University, argues that philosophical [...]

Darren Halpin, “The Organization of Political Interest Groups: Designing Advocacy”

[Cross-posted from New Books in Political Science] Darren Halpin is the author of The Organization of Political Interest Groups: Designing Advocacy (Routledge 2014). Halpin is associate professor and reader in Policy Studies, and the Head of School of Sociology, at the Research School of Social Sciences, the Australian National University. He is also co-editor of the journal Interest Groups [...]

Amit Prasad, “Imperial Technoscience: Transnational Histories of MRI in the United States, Britain, and India “

[Cross-posted from New Books in Technology] In his new book, Imperial Technoscience: Transnational Histories of MRI in the United States, Britain, and India (MIT Press, 2014), Amit Prasad, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Missouri, examines what he calls the “entangled histories of MRI” by studying the development of the technology in the United States, Britain and [...]

Ian Haney Lopez, “Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class”

[Cross-posted from New Books in Political Science] Ian Haney Lopez is the author of Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism & Wrecked the Middle Class (Oxford UP 2014). He is the John H. Boalt Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and on the Executive Committee of the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social [...]

Benjamin Lieberman, “Remaking Identities: God, Nation and Race in World History”

[Cross-posted from New Books in Genocide Studies] What do you say to someone who suggests that genocide is not just destructive, but constructive? This is the basic theme of Benjamin Lieberman‘s excellent new book Remaking Identities:  God, Nation and Race in World History (Rowman and Littlefield, 2013). The book surveys two thousand years of history to explain how people have used [...]

William Arnal and Russell T. McCutcheon, “The Sacred is the Profane: The Political Nature of “Religion””

[Cross-posted from New Books in Religion] What brings us together as scholars in Religious Studies? Are the various social phenomena commonly grouped together as religion really that similar? The Sacred Is the Profane: The Political Nature of “Religion” (Oxford University Press, 2012) adds to this ongoing debate over whether ‘religion’ is a useful explanatory term. In general, issues of [...]

David Hesmondhalgh, “Why Music Matters”

[Cross-posted from New Books in Critical Theory] What is the value of music and why does it matter? These are the core questions in David Hesmondhalgh‘s new book Why Music Matters (Wiley Blackwell, 2014). The book attempts a critical defence of music in the face of both uncritical populist post-modernism and more economistic neo-liberal understandings of music’s worth. Hesmondhalgh develops [...]

Leilani Nishime, “Undercover Asian: Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture”

[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 negate [...]

Sener Akturk, “Regimes and Ethnicity and Nationhood in Germany, Russia, and Turkey”

[Cross-posted from New Books in Russian and Eurasian Studies] What processes must take place in order for countries to radically redefine who is a citizen? Why was Russia able to finally remove ethnicity from internal passports after failing to do so during seven decades of Soviet rule? What led German leaders to finally grant guest workers from [...]