Bookshelf: Social Sciences Division

The Right of Sovereignty: Jean Bodin on the Sovereign State and the Law of Nations

Daniel Lee

Sovereignty is the vital organizing principle of modern international law. Daniel Lee's book The Right of Sovereignty: Jean Bodin on the Sovereign State and the Law of Nations(link is external) (Oxford UP, 2021) examines the origins of that principle in the legal and political thought of its most influential theorist, Jean Bodin (1529/30-1596). As the author argues in this...

Turkey: A Past Against History

Christine M. Philliou

From its earliest days, the dominant history of the Turkish Republic has been one of national self-determination and secular democratic modernization. The story insisted on total rupture between the Ottoman Empire and the modern Turkish state and on the absolute unity of the Turkish nation. In recent years, this hermetic division has begun to erode, but as the old consensus collapses, new histories and accounts of political authority have been slow to take its place.

In this richly detailed alternative history, Christine M. Philliou focuses on the notion of political opposition and...

Genesis and Validity: The Theory and Practice of Intellectual History

Martin Jay

There is no more contentious and perennial issue in the history of modern Western thought than the vexed relationship between the genesis of an idea and its claim to validity beyond it. Can ideas or values transcend their temporal origins and overcome the sin of their original context, and in so doing earn abiding respect for their intrinsic merit? Or do they inevitably reflect them in ways that undermine their universal aspirations? Are discrete contexts so incommensurable and unique that the smooth passage of ideas from one to the other is impossible? Are we always trapped by the limits...

Internationalist Aesthetics: China and Early Soviet Culture

Edward Tyerman

Following the failure of communist revolutions in Europe, in the 1920s the Soviet Union turned its attention to fostering anticolonial uprisings in Asia. China, divided politically between rival military factions and dominated economically by imperial powers, emerged as the Comintern’s prime target. At the same time, a host of prominent figures in Soviet literature, film, and theater traveled to China, met with Chinese students in Moscow, and placed contemporary China on the new Soviet stage. They sought to reimagine the relationship with China in the terms of socialist internationalism—...

Holocaust Consciousness and Cold War Violence in Latin America

Estelle Tarica

This book proposes the existence of a recognizably distinct Holocaust consciousness in Latin America since the 1970s. Community leaders, intellectuals, writers, and political activists facing state repression have seen themselves reflected in Holocaust histories and have used Holocaust terms to describe human rights atrocities in their own countries. In so doing, they have developed a unique, controversial approach to the memory of the Holocaust that is little known outside the region. Estelle Tarica deepens our understanding of Holocaust awareness in a global context by examining diverse...

How the Clinic Made Gender: The Medical History of a Transformative Idea

Sandra Eder

Today, a world without “gender” is hard to imagine. Gender is at the center of contentious political and social debates, shapes policy decisions, and informs our everyday lives. Its formulation, however, is lesser known: Gender was first used in clinical practice. This book tells the story of the invention of gender in American medicine, detailing how it was shaped by mid-twentieth-century American notions of culture, personality, and social engineering.

Sandra Eder shows how the concept of gender transformed from a pragmatic tool in the sex assignment of...

The Substance of Fiction Literary Objects in China, 1550-1775

Sophie Volpp

Do the portrayals of objects in literary texts represent historical evidence about the material culture of the past? Or are things in books more than things in the world? Sophie Volpp considers fictional objects of the late Ming and Qing that defy being read as illustrative of historical things. Instead, she argues, fictional objects are often signs of fictionality themselves, calling attention to the nature of the relationship between literature and materiality.

Volpp examines a series of objects—a robe, a box and a shell, a telescope, a plate-glass mirror, and a...

The Week: A History of the Unnatural Rhythms That Made Us Who We Are

David M Henkin

We take the seven-day week for granted, rarely asking what anchors it or what it does to us. Yet weeks are not dictated by the natural order. They are, in fact, an artificial construction of the modern world.

With meticulous archival research that draws on a wide array of sources—including newspapers, restaurant menus, theater schedules, marriage records, school curricula, folklore, housekeeping guides, courtroom testimony, and diaries—David Henkin reveals how our current devotion to weekly rhythms emerged in the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century....

Women and Power in Africa: Aspiring, Campaigning, and Governing

Edited by Leonardo Arriola, Martha C Johnson and Melanie L Phillips

Women and Power in Africa: Aspiring, Campaigning, and Governing examines women's experiences in African politics as aspirants to public office, as candidates in election campaigns, and as elected representatives. Part I evaluates women's efforts to become party candidates in four African countries: Benin, Ghana, Malawi, and Zambia. The chapters draw on a variety of methods, including extensive interviews with women candidates, to describe and assess the barriers confronted when women seek to enter politics. The chapters help explain why women remain underrepresented as...

The Art of Witnessing: Francisco de Goya's Disasters of War

Michael Larocci

Widely acknowledged as a major turning point in the history of visual depictions of war, Francisco de Goya’s renowned print series The Disasters of War remains a touchstone for serious engagement with the violence of war and the questions raised by its artistic representation.

The Art of Witnessing provides a new account of Goya’s print series by taking readers through the forty-seven prints he dedicated to the violence of war. Drawing on facets of Goya’s artistry rarely considered together before, the book challenges the notion that documentary realism and...