The Burden of Choice examines how recommendations for products, media, news, romantic partners, and even cosmetic surgery operations are produced and experienced online. Fundamentally concerned with how the recommendation has come to serve as a form of control that frames a contemporary American as heteronormative, white, and well off, this book asserts that the industries that use these automated recommendations tend to ignore and obscure all other identities in the service of making the type of affluence they are selling appear commonplace. Focusing on the period from the mid-1990s to approximately 2010 (while this technology was still novel), Jonathan Cohn argues that automated recommendations and algorithms are far from natural, neutral, or benevolent. Instead, they shape and are shaped by changing conceptions of gender, sexuality, race, and class. With its cultural studies and humanities-driven methodologies focused on close readings, historical research, and qualitative analysis, The Burden of Choice models a promising avenue for the study of algorithms and culture.
"Thoroughly researched . . . [Hubbard’s] interpretation is solid, well supported, and touches all of the major aspects of Confederate diplomacy."—American Historical Review
"As the first examination of the topic since King Cotton Diplomacy (1931), this work deserves widespread attention. Hubbard offers a convincingly bleak portrayal of the limited skills and myopic vision of Rebel diplomacy at home and abroad."—Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
Of the many factors that contributed to the South’s loss of the Civil War, one of the most decisive was the failure of Southern diplomacy. In this penetrating work, Charles M. Hubbard reassesses the diplomatic efforts made by the Confederacy in its struggle to become an independent nation. Hubbard focuses both on the Confederacy’s attempts to negotiate a peaceful separation from the Union and Southern diplomats’ increasingly desperate pursuit of state recognition from the major European powers.
Drawing on a large body of sources, Hubbard offers an important reinterpretation of the problems facing Confederate diplomats. He demonstrates how the strategies and objectives of the South’s diplomatic program—themselves often poorly conceived—were then placed in the hands of inexperienced envoys who were ill-equipped to succeed in their roles as negotiators.
The Author: Charles M. Hubbard is associate professor of history at Lincoln Memorial University and executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Museum in Harrogate, Tennessee.
The Burden of Over-representation artfully explores three curious racial moments in sport: Jackie Robinson’s expletive at a Dodgers spring training game; the transformation of a formality into an event at the end of the 1995 rugby World Cup in South Africa; and a spectral moment at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Grant Farred examines the connotations at play in these moments through the lenses of race, politics, memory, inheritance and conciliation, deploying a surprising cast of figures in Western thought, ranging from Jacques Derrida and Friedrich Nietzsche to Judith Butler, William Shakespeare, and Jesus-the-Christ. Farred makes connection and creates meaning through the forces at play and the representational burdens of team, country and race.
Farred considers Robinson’s profane comments at black Dodgers fans, a post-match exchange of “thank yous” on the rugby pitch between white South African captain François Pienaar and Nelson Mandela, and being “haunted” by the ghost of Derrida on the occasion of the first FIFA World Cup on African soil. In doing so, The Burden of Over-representation provides a passionate, insightful analysis of the social, political, racial, and cultural consequences of conciliation at key sporting events.
Using the lives of the three outstanding French intellectuals of the twentieth century, renowned historian Tony Judt offers a unique look at how intellectuals can ignore political pressures and demonstrate a heroic commitment to personal integrity and moral responsibility unfettered by the difficult political exigencies of their time.
Through the prism of the lives of Leon Blum, Albert Camus, and Raymond Aron, Judt examines pivotal issues in the history of contemporary French society—antisemitism and the dilemma of Jewish identity, political and moral idealism in public life, the Marxist moment in French thought, the traumas of decolonization, the disaffection of the intelligentsia, and the insidious quarrels rending Right and Left. Judt focuses particularly on Blum's leadership of the Popular Front and his stern defiance of the Vichy governments, on Camus's part in the Resistance and Algerian War, and on Aron's cultural commentary and opposition to the facile acceptance by many French intellectuals of communism's utopian promise. Severely maligned by powerful critics and rivals, each of these exemplary figures stood fast in their principles and eventually won some measure of personal and public redemption.
Judt constructs a compelling portrait of modern French intellectual life and politics. He challenges the conventional account of the role of intellectuals precisely because they mattered in France, because they could shape public opinion and influence policy. In Blum, Camus, and Aron, Judt finds three very different men who did not simply play the role, but evinced a courage and a responsibility in public life that far outshone their contemporaries.
"An eloquent and instructive study of intellectual courage in the face of what the author persuasively describes as intellectual irresponsibility."—Richard Bernstein, New York Times
In Maya theology, everything from humans and crops to gods and the world itself passes through endless cycles of birth, maturation, dissolution, death, and rebirth. Traditional Maya believe that human beings perpetuate this cycle through ritual offerings and ceremonies that have the power to rebirth the world at critical points during the calendar year. The most elaborate ceremonies take place during Semana Santa (Holy Week), the days preceding Easter on the Christian calendar, during which traditionalist Maya replicate many of the most important world-renewing rituals that their ancient ancestors practiced at the end of the calendar year in anticipation of the New Year’s rites. Marshaling a wealth of evidence from Pre-Columbian texts, early colonial Spanish writings, and decades of fieldwork with present-day Maya, The Burden of the Ancients presents a masterfully detailed account of world-renewing ceremonies that spans the Pre-Columbian era through the crisis of the Conquest period and the subsequent colonial occupation all the way to the present. Allen J. Christenson focuses on Santiago Atitlán, a Tz’utujil Maya community in highland Guatemala, and offers the first systematic analysis of how the Maya preserved important elements of their ancient world renewal ceremonies by adopting similar elements of Roman Catholic observances and infusing them with traditional Maya meanings. His extensive description of Holy Week in Santiago Atitlán demonstrates that the community’s contemporary ritual practices and mythic stories bear a remarkable resemblance to similar cultural entities from its Pre-Columbian past.
The Burden of the Past reexamines the dispute over historical perception between Japan and South Korea, going beyond the descriptive emphasis of previous studies to clearly identify the many independent variables that have affected the situation. From the history textbook debates, to the Occupation-period exploitation of “comfort women,” to the Dokdo/Takeshima territory dispute and Yasukuni Shrine visits, Professor Kimura traces the rise and fall of popular, political, and international concerns underlying these complex and highly fraught issues.
Utilizing Japanese and South Korean newspaper databases to review discussion of the two countries’ disputed historical perceptions from the end of World War II to the present, The Burden of the Past provides readers with the historical framework and the major players involved, offering much-needed clarity on such polarizing issues. By seeing behind the public discourse and political rhetoric, this book offers a firmer footing for a discussion and the steps toward resolution.
Can a critical examination of Indigenous masculinities be an honor song—one that celebrates, rather than pathologizes; one that seeks diversity and strength; one that overturns heteropatriarchy without centering settler colonialism? Can a critical examination of Indigenous masculinities even be creative, inclusive, erotic?
Sam McKegney answers affirmatively. Countering the perception that masculinity has been so contaminated as to be irredeemable, the book explores Indigenous literary art for understandings of masculinity that exceed the impoverished inheritance of colonialism.
Carrying the Burden of Peace weaves together stories of Indigenous life, love, eroticism, pain, and joy to map the contours of diverse, empowered, and non-dominant Indigenous masculinities. It is from here that a more balanced world may be pursued.
"Deployed is an important and deeply moving book. Here, in this story, the heroic tradition of the American citizen-soldier lives on."
---Andrew J. Bacevich, Professor, Boston University, and author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War
"Whatever your feelings about Iraq, Deployed is an important and compelling work that illuminates the real human cost of the war, and gives voice to those compelled to fight it."
---Ken Wells, Senior Editor, Condé Nast Portfolio
"Currently, there are few to no books dealing with the sociology of Iraq, and even fewer have empirical data on the experiences of American soldiers. More important, this work provides a strong and needed voice for soldiers---their words are compelling, rich, and moving."
---Morten Ender, Professor of Sociology, United States Military Academy at West Point
"This is a unique book that weaves historical, ethnographic, and organizational approaches for a study of Iraq-War military reservists. . . . the authors' findings challenge the pervading wisdom on reservists' motivations for service; the chemistry between family, reserve duty, and relations with regular military; and the effect that service in Iraq had on them."
---Jerry Lembcke, Associate Professor of Sociology, Holy Cross College
What is it like to be one of the citizen-soldiers summoned to duty in Iraq and Afghanistan? The events of 9/11 were a call to arms for many reservists, as shock, anger, and fear propelled large numbers to volunteer for the opportunity to serve their country in the Middle East. Even the most patriotic, however, had not expected that the wars would last so long or that the Army Reserve would supply so much of the manpower.
Using the soldiers' own voices, Deployed draws upon the life stories of members of an Army Reserve MP Company, who were called to extraordinary service after September 11. The book explores how and why they joined the Army Reserve, how they dealt with the seismic changes in their lives during and after deployment, the evolution of their relationships inside and outside their military unit, and their perspectives on the U.S. Army.
Musheno and Ross uncover five pathways that led these citizens to join the reserves, showing how basic needs and cultural idioms combined to stimulate enlistments. Whatever path led to enlistment, the authors find that citizen-soldiers fall into three distinct categories: adaptive reservists who adjust quickly to the huge changes in their lives abroad and at home, struggling reservists whose troubles are more a product of homegrown circumstances than experiences specific to serving in a war zone, and reservists who are dismissive of military life while they live it and oppose the war even as they fight it. Perhaps most important, Deployed challenges the prevailing stereotype of returning soldiers as war-damaged citizens.
Jacket photograph: AP Photo/Hutchinson News, Travis Morisse.
In the late 1890s, at the dawn of the automobile era, steam, gasoline, and electric cars all competed to become the dominant automotive technology. By the early 1900s, the battle was over and internal combustion had won. Was the electric car ever a viable competitor? What characteristics of late nineteenth-century American society led to the choice of internal combustion over its steam and electric competitors? And might not other factors, under slightly differing initial conditions, have led to the adoption of one of the other motive powers as the technological standard for the American automobile?
David A. Kirsch examines the relationship of technology, society, and environment to choice, policy, and outcome in the history of American transportation. He takes the history of the Electric Vehicle Company as a starting point for a vision of an “alternative” automotive system in which gasoline and electric vehicles would have each been used to supply different kinds of transport services. Kirsch examines both the support—and lack thereof—for electric vehicles by the electric utility industry. Turning to the history of the electric truck, he explores the demise of the idea that different forms of transportation technology might coexist, each in its own distinct sphere of service.
A main argument throughout Kirsch’s book is that technological superiority cannot be determined devoid of social context. In the case of the automobile, technological superiority ultimately was located in the hearts and minds of engineers, consumers and drivers; it was not programmed inexorably into the chemical bonds of a gallon of refined petroleum. Finally, Kirsch connects the historic choice of internal combustion over electricity to current debates about the social and environmental impacts of the automobile, the introduction of new hybrid vehicles, and the continuing evolution of the American transportation system.
Since World War II, the corporate tax burden has, overall, decreased enormously as a percentage of the government's total revenue. Until now, however, no explanation of this phenomenon has accounted for the periodic reforms—such as the dramatic 1986 Tax Reform Act—which significantly increase some corporate taxes.
Remarkably accessible and rich in historical evidence, Shifting the Burden is the most compelling explanation to date of how our nation's tax policy is formulated. Cathie J. Martin shows how presidents' cultivation of allies within the business community and struggles within that community itself combine to shape tax policy.
An interdisciplinary study of Katherine Anne Porter’s troubled relationship to her Texas origins and southern roots, South by Southwest offers a fresh look at this ever-relevant author.
Today, more than thirty years after her death, Katherine Anne Porter remains a fascinating figure. Critics and biographers have portrayed her as a strikingly glamorous woman whose photographs appeared in society magazines. They have emphasized, of course, her writing— particularly the novel Ship of Fools, which was made into an award-winning film, and her collection Pale Horse, Pale Rider, which cemented her role as a significant and original literary modernist. They have highlighted her dramatic, sad, and fragmented personal life. Few, however, have addressed her uneasy relationship to her childhood in rural Texas.
Janis P. Stout argues that throughout Porter’s life she remained preoccupied with the twin conundrums of how she felt about being a woman and how she felt about her Texas origins. Her construction of herself as a beautiful but unhappy southerner sprung from a plantation aristocracy of reduced fortunes meant she construed Texas as the Old South. The Texas Porter knew and re-created in her fiction had been settled by southerners like her grandparents, who brought slaves with them. As she wrote of this Texas, she also enhanced and mythologized it, exaggerating its beauty, fertility, and gracious ways as much as the disaffection that drove her to leave. Her feelings toward Texas ran to both extremes, and she was never able to reconcile them.
Stout examines the author and her works within the historical and cultural context from which she emerged. In particular, Stout emphasizes four main themes in the history of Texas that she believes are of the greatest importance in understanding Porter: its geography and border location (expressed in Porter’s lifelong fascination with marginality, indeterminacy, and escape); its violence (the brutality of her first marriage as well as the lawlessness that pervaded her hometown); its racism (lynchings were prevalent throughout her upbringing); and its marginalization of women (Stout draws a connection between Porter’s references to the burning sun and oppressive heat of Texas and her life with her first husband).