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Jan LemnitzerPower, Law and the End of Privateering

Palgrave, 2014

by Shavana Musa on January 22, 2015

Jan Lemnitzer

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[Cross-posted from New Books in LawJan Lemnitzer’s new book Power, Law and the End of Privateering (Palgrave, 2014) offers an exciting new take on the relationship between law and power, exposing the delicate balance between great powers and small states that is necessary to create and enforce norms across the globe. The 1856 Declaration of Paris marks the precise moment when international law became universal, and is the template for creating new norms until today. Moreover, the treaty was an aggressive and successful British move to end privateering forever – then the United States’ main weapon in case of war with Britain. Based on previously untapped archival sources, Jan Lemnitzer shows why Britain granted generous neutral rights in the Crimean War, how the Europeans forced the United States to respect international law during the American Civil War, and why Bismarck threatened violent redemption during the Franco-German War of 1870/71. The powerful conclusion exposes the 19th century roots of our present international system, and why it is as fragile as before the First World War. A sample chapter of the book can be found on the publishers website here.

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Keith WailooPain: A Political History

January 20, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Medicine] Is pain real? Is pain relief a right? Who decides? In Pain: A Political History (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014), Keith Wailoo investigates how people have interpreted and judged the suffering of others in the US from the mid-1940s to the present. While doctors and patients figure in his story, the primary protagonists are politicians, [...]

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Michael KwassContraband: Louis Mandrin and the Making of a Global Underground

January 19, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in French Studies] Michael Kwass‘s new book, Contraband: Louis Mandrin and the Making of a Global Underground is much more than an exciting biography of the notorious eighteenth-century smuggler whose name remains legendary in contemporary France. Focusing on the rise and fall of a mythic, early-modern French bandit, Kwass’s study moves between the micro- and [...]

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Steven ShaviroThe Universe of Things: On Speculative Realism

January 16, 2015

[Cross-posted from the New Books Network Seminar] Steven Shaviro’s new book is a wonderfully engaging study of speculative realism, new materialism, and the ways in which those fields can speak to and be informed by the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. While The Universe of Things: On Speculative Realism (University of Minnesota Press, 2014) will satisfy even advanced scholars [...]

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Randy J. SparksWhere the Negroes Are Masters: An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade

January 1, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in American Studies] A kind of biography of the town of Annamaboe, a major slave trading port on Africa’s Gold Coast, Randy J. Sparks‘s book Where the Negroes Are Masters: An African Port in the Era of the Slave Trade (Harvard University Press, 2014) focuses on the African women and men who were the crucial middle figures [...]

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Rian ThumThe Sacred Routes of Uyghur History

December 22, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in East Asian Studies] In his fascinating new book, Rian Thum explores the craft, materiality, nature, and readership of Uyghur history over the past 300 years. The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History (Harvard University Press, 2014) argues that understanding Uyghur history in this way is crucial for understanding both Uyghur identity and continuing relationships with the Chinese [...]

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Daniel O. ProstermanDefining Democracy: Electoral Reform and the Struggle for Power in New York City

December 20, 2014

Daniel Prosterman‘s new book Defining Democracy: Electoral Reform and the Struggle for Power in New York City (Oxford University Press, 2013) investigates a neglected topic in U.S. history: the occasional efforts by reformers over the years to bring proportional representation to America. No democracy in the world today is less representative by the standard of “one person, [...]

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Jason SokolAll Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn

December 17, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in American Studies] When it came to race relations, the post-World War Two North was different — better — than the South. Or so white people in the northeast told themselves. While Jason Sokol argues that there was a real basis for what he calls the “northern mystique,” his new book All Eyes Are Upon Us: [...]

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Timothy Michael LawWhen God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible

December 10, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Religion] When a contemporary reader opens up their Bible they may be unaware of the long historical process that created the pages within. One of the key components in this history is the Septuagint, the Greek translation of Hebrew scriptures between the third century BCE and the second century CE. Timothy Michael Law, [...]

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Victor PickardAmerica’s Battle for Media Democracy: The Triumph of Corporate Libertarianism and the Future of Media Reform

December 3, 2014

[Cross-posted from New Books in Technology] The media system in the United States could have developed into something very different fr0m what it is today. In fact, there was an era in which significant media reform was considered. This was a time when media consumers were tired of constant advertising, bias, and control by corporate entities, [...]

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