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In Water the Willow Tree: Memoirs of a Bethlehem Boyhood (Gorgias Press, 2022), George A. Kiraz tells the story of a young Palestinian boy growing up in Bethlehem, fascinated with understanding his Syriac roots even as he drew steadily nearer to the day when he would inevitably be transplanted to the United States. George first traces his ancestors…
 
The work of Ibram X. Kendi distinguishes between two forms of racism: segregationism and assimilationism. Segregationists argue that some groups are inferior by nature; assimilationists, on the other hand, argue that some groups are inferior by 'nurture,' but can overcome this inferiority if they conform to another group's cultural standards -- in …
 
Avi and Gita Manaktala discuss how researchers should approach the book publishing process, including determining whether research should be published as an article or book, how to make an impact on the acquisitions editors, the significance of the editorial process, and the importance and function of an 'author platform' to spread your book. Gita …
 
Menachem Brod's In Search of Truth: Three Yeshiva Students on a Spiritual Journey (BSD Publishers, 2022) describes the struggle of yeshiva students searching for a path in serving Hashem. Examining various paths within Torah tradition reveals challenging new concepts and exposes them to the fascination of Chassidism. Today I talked to the book's tr…
 
Patrick McCray, Professor of History at University of California, Santa Barbara, talks about his book, Making Art Work: How Cold War Engineers and Artists Forged a New Creative Culture, with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. The book shows how artists eagerly collaborated with engineers and scientists to explore new technologies and create visuall…
 
How do you see India? Fuelled by a surge of migration to cities, the country's growth appears to be defined by urbanisation and by its growing, prosperous middle class. It is also defined by progressive and liberal young Indians, who vote beyond the constraints of identity, and paradoxically, by an unchecked population explosion and rising crimes a…
 
Historian John Jeffries Martin traces narratives of the Apocalypse over the last 500 years in the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions in his new book, A Beautiful Ending. This discussion about the culture of Apocalypse follows (and is the second part of) an interview we began on the New Books in History Podcast which was a historical discussio…
 
Though we rarely see them at work, building inspectors have the power to significantly shape our lives through their discretionary decisions. The building inspectors of Chicago are at the heart of sociologist Robin Bartram’s analysis of how individuals impact—or attempt to impact—housing inequality. In Stacked Decks: Building Inspectors and the Rep…
 
Ellen O'Hara was a young immigrant from Ireland at the end of the nineteenth century who, with courage and resilience, made a life for herself in New York while financially supporting those at home. Hereafter: The Telling Life of Ellen O'Hara (NYU Press, 2022) is her story, told by Vona Groarke, her descendant, in a beautiful blend of poetry, prose…
 
What kind of country is America? Zachary Shore tackles this polarizing question by spotlighting some of the most morally muddled matters of WWII. Should Japanese Americans be moved from the west coast to prevent sabotage? Should the German people be made to starve as punishment for launching the war? Should America drop atomic bombs to break Japan'…
 
As I slowly settle into 2023 — reflecting on the blur that was 2022 — I can’t help but think about the complex problems (aka big messes!) we face at every turn: from increasingly devastating manifestations of the climate emergency, to the ubiquitous homelessness crisis, to the perplexing challenge of accessing a family physician in prosperous regio…
 
Persecution of Christians in the Middle East has been a recurring theme since the middle of the nineteenth century. The topic has experienced a resurgence in the last few years, especially during the Trump era. Middle Eastern Christians are often portrayed as a homogeneous, helpless group ever at the mercy of their Muslim enemies, a situation that …
 
Art has a long history of engaging with conflict and violence. From the antiquities, through Goya, to Guernica, our museums are filled with depictions of battles, pogroms, uprisings, and their suppression. Not all of these stories are told from the perspective of the victors. Many contemporary creatives have continued this tradition. While the posi…
 
Linking morality and science can conjure up disturbing histories around social Darwinism, eugenics, and genetically engineered humans. But scientists today are making discoveries that moral agents shouldn’t ignore: how to overcome aggression and tribalism, and how to sustain cooperation in a modern pluralist world. Guests: Diane Paul, professor eme…
 
The Holocaust in Romania: The Destruction of Jews and Roma Under the Antonescu Regime, 1940-1944 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022), Radu Ioanid explores in great detail the physical destruction of Romania's Jewish and Roma communities, including the pogroms of Bucharest and Iaşi as well as the deportations and the massacres from Bessarabia, Bukovina, an…
 
In Soundworks: Race, Sound, and Poetry in Production (Duke UP, 2020), Anthony Reed argues that studying sound requires conceiving it as process and as work. Since the long Black Arts era (ca. 1958–1974), intellectuals, poets, and musicians have defined black sound as radical aesthetic practice. Through their recorded collaborations as well as the a…
 
Philip Scranton, University Board of Governors Professor Emeritus of the history of industry and technology at Rutgers University-Camden, talks about his book, Business Practice In Socialist Hungary, Volume 1: Creating The Theft Economy, 1945-1957, with Peoples & Things host Lee Vinsel. Scranton’s book examines how leaders in socialist Hungary plan…
 
In Wild Music: Sound and Sovereignty in Ukraine (Wesleyan UP, 2019), Maria Sonevytsky tracks vernacular Ukrainian discourses of “wildness” as they manifested in popular music during a volatile decade of Ukrainian political history bracketed by two revolutions. From the Eurovision Song Contest to reality TV, from Indigenous radio to the revolution s…
 
Microchips are both important and in short supply. So how important? And what can be done to make them more plentiful? Also, what are the geopolitical implications of having the production of microchips concentrated in relatively few hands. Owen Bennett Jones talks microchips with Julian Kamasa of the Centre for Security Studies in Zurich. Owen Ben…
 
Beginning with the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry in spring 1951 and ending with its reversal following the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq in August 1953, the Iranian oil crisis was a crucial turning point in the global Cold War. The nationalization challenged Great Britain's preeminence in the Middle East and threatened…
 
Irish vegan studies are poised for increasing relevance as climate change threatens the legitimacy and longevity of animal agriculture and widespread health problems related to animal product consumption disrupt long held nutritional ideologies. Already a top producer of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union, Ireland has committed to expan…
 
Jesuit Colleges and Universities in the United States: A History (Catholic University of America Press, 2022) provides a comprehensive history of Jesuit higher education in the United States, weaving together the stories of the fifty-four colleges and universities that the Jesuits have operated (successfully and unsuccessfully) since 1789. It empha…
 
The China Nexus: Thirty Years In and Around the Chinese Communist Party's Tyranny (Optimum Publishing, 2022) brings together Benedict Rogers' 30 years of advocacy, research and work in and around China. Opening with his rollicking adventures as an 18 year old teaching English in Qingdao in 1992, the human element of this monograph, the real people …
 
The Vulgarity of Caste: Dalits, Sexuality, and Humanity in Modern India (Stanford UP, 2022) offers the first social and intellectual history of Dalit performance of Tamasha—a popular form of public, secular, traveling theater in Maharashtra—and places Dalit Tamasha women who represented the desire and disgust of the patriarchal society at the heart…
 
With In and Out of This World: Material and Extraterrestrial Bodies in the Nation of Islam (Duke University Press, 2022), Stephen C. Finley, Inaugural Chair, Department of African and African American Studies at Louisiana State University, examines the religious practices and discourses that have shaped the Nation of Islam (NOI) in America. Drawing…
 
In her detailed cultural history of technological change, Electrifying Mexico, Diana Montaño argues that ordinary Mexicans became electrifying agents who actively negotiated the extent and manner electricity entered their lives and lived spaces in Mexico City. An Assistant Professor of History at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Montaño's te…
 
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