Mar. 2022 | This Earthly Frame
“An essential book for understanding today’s culture wars. Sehat’s clear-eyed and elegant narrative will change how you think about our supposedly secular age.”—Molly Worthen, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
In This Earthly Frame, David Sehat narrates the making of American secularism through its most prominent proponents and most significant detractors. He shows how its foundations were laid in the U.S. Constitution and how it fully emerged only in the twentieth century. Religious and non-religious Jews, liberal Protestants, apocalyptic sects like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and antireligious activists all used the courts and the constitutional language of the First Amendment to create the secular order. Then, over the past fifty years, many religious conservatives turned against that order, emphasizing their religious freedom.
Avoiding both polemic and lament, Sehat offers a powerful reinterpretation of American secularism and a clear framework for understanding the religiously infused conflict of the present.
Jan. 2021 | “In Agrotropolis, historian J. T. Way traces the developments of Guatemalan urbanization and youth culture since 1983. In case studies that bring together political economy, popular music and everyday life, Way explores the rise of urban space in towns seen as quintessentially ‘rural’ and showcases grassroots cultural assertiveness. In a post-revolutionary era, young people coming of age on the globally inflected city street used popular culture as one means of creating a new national imaginary that rejects Guatemala’s racially coded system of castes. Drawing on local sources, deep ethnographies and the digital archive, Agrotropolis places working-class Maya and mestizo hometowns and creativity at the center of planetary urban history.”
Apr. 2020 | “In Brain Magnet, Alex Sayf Cummings reveals the significance of Research Triangle Park to the emergence of the high-tech economy in a postindustrial United States. She analyzes the use of ideas of culture and creativity to fuel economic development, how workers experienced life in the Triangle and the role of the federal government in bringing the modern technology industry into being. As Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill were transformed by high-tech development, the old South gave way to a distinctly new one, which welded the intellectual power of universities to a vision of the suburban good life. Cummings pinpoints how the story of the Research Triangle sheds new light on the origins of today’s urban landscape, in which innovation, as exemplified by the tech industry, is lauded as the engine of economic growth against a backdrop of gentrification and inequality. Placing the knowledge economy in a broader cultural and intellectual context, Brain Magnet offers vital insight into how tech-driven development occurs and the people and places left in its wake.”
Feb. 2020 | Dr. Alex Sayf Cummings is also an editor and contributor to East of East: The Making of Greater El Monte, an “edited collection of thirty-one essays that trace the experience of a California community over three centuries, from eighteenth-century Spanish colonization to twenty-first century globalization. Employing traditional historical scholarship, oral history, creative nonfiction and original art, the book provides a radical new history of El Monte and South El Monte, showing how interdisciplinary and community-engaged scholarship can break new ground in public history. East of East tells stories that have been excluded from dominant historical narratives—stories that long survived only in the popular memory of residents, as well as narratives that have been almost completely buried and all but forgotten. Its cast of characters includes white vigilantes, Mexican anarchists, Japanese farmers, labor organizers, civil rights pioneers, and punk rockers, as well as the ordinary and unnamed youth who generated a vibrant local culture at dances and dive bars.
Aug. 2017 | In Dr. Jared Poley’s Money in the German-speaking Lands, “Money is more than just a medium of financial exchange: across time and place, it has performed all sorts of cultural, political and social functions. This volume traces money in German-speaking Europe from the late Renaissance until the close of the twentieth century, exploring how people have used it and endowed it with multiple meanings. The fascinating studies gathered here collectively demonstrate money’s vast symbolic and practical significance, from its place in debates about religion and the natural world to its central role in statecraft and the formation of national identity.”
June 2017 | In “Qatar - A Modern History, Allen J. Fromherz analyzes the country’s crucial role in the Middle East and its growing regional influence within a broader historical context. Drawing on original sources in Arabic, English and French as well as his own fieldwork in the Middle East, the author deftly traces the influence of the Ottoman and British Empires and Qatar’s Gulf neighbors prior to Qatar’s meteoric rise in the post-independence era.”
2016 | Dr. Julia Gaffield’s The Haitian Declaration of Independence: Creation, Context and Legacy is a collection that “represents the first in-depth, interdisciplinary and integrated analysis by American, British and Haitian scholars of the creation and dissemination of the document, its content and reception and its legacy. Throughout, the contributors use newly discovered archival materials and innovative research methods to reframe the importance of Haiti within the Age of Revolution and to reinterpret the declaration as a founding document of the nineteenth-century Atlantic World.”
Dec. 2014 | Building the Ghanaian Nation-State: Kwame Nkrumah’s Symbolic Nationalism (African Histories and Modernities) - Harcourt Fuller’s book explores the complicated legacy of Kwame Nkrumah, the leader who shepherded Ghana to independence from European imperial control. Fuller’s innovative approach considers Nkrumah’s manipulation of symbols of Ghana’s national identity–the currency, postage stamps, monuments and other symbols used to intertwine the Ghanian nation with Nkrumah’s cult of personality.
Dec. 2014 | Galileo's Idol: Gianfrancesco Sagredo and the Politics of Knowledge - Nick Wilding’s book challenges traditional assumptions that early modern science was strictly a pious, serious-minded endeavor. Examining sources ranging from ornamental woodcuts to the files generated by murder investigations, Wilding offers a fresh perspective on Galileo while also raising important larger questions about the history of science.
Dec. 2014 | Kinship, Community and Self - Chair Jared Poley’s new book pays homage to his mentor David Sabean, a giant in the study of kinship and community in early modern and modern Europe. Poley and his co-editors have assembled essays that speak to Sabean’s influence over contemporary scholarship exploring these themes. In addition to co-editing the volume, Poley has contributed a chapter focusing on the controversial, pathbreaking medical innovator, Paracelsus.