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Trygve ThrontveitWilliam James and the Quest for an Ethical Republic

March 27, 2015

William James (1842-1910) is one of the United States’ most far-reaching thinkers. His impact on philosophy, psychology, and religious studies is well documented, yet few scholars have considered James’ impact on the area of ethics and political thought. Trygve Throntveit’s new book William James and the Quest for an Ethical Republic (Palgrave, 2014) is a […]

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Emily AndersonChristianity and Imperialism in Modern Japan: Empire for God

March 27, 2015

When one thinks of the connection of religion and imperialism in Japan, one automatically thinks first of Shint? and second of Buddhism. Christianity does not usually figure into that story. However, Emily Anderson, in her new book Christianity and Imperialism in Modern Japan: Empire for God (Bloomsbury, 2014), shows how and why it must be […]

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Emily Alice KatzBringing Zion Home: Israel in American Jewish Culture, 1948-1967

March 26, 2015

World War Two and the establishment of the State of Israel significantly altered American Jewish attitudes toward Zionism. American Jews supported Israel during times of conflict, like the 1948 war. However, it was not until 1967 that Israel rose to the top of the American Jewish political agenda. Emily Alice Katz, in her new book, […]

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Dhara AnjariaCurzon’s India: Networks of Colonial Governance, 1899-1905

March 25, 2015

I won't speak for you, but I find it utterly remarkable that the British were able to "rule" India. Britain, of course, is a small island off a small continent some significant distance from most of its colonies. India, in contrast, is essentially a continent unto itself and the home of an ancient, sophisticated civilization. How […]

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Elizabeth Maddock DillonNew World Drama: The Performative Commons in the Atlantic World, 1649-1849

March 23, 2015

Riots, audiences on stage, fabulous costumes, gripping stories. That's what theater was like in the Atlantic world in the age of slavery and colonialism. Elizabeth Maddock Dillon wonderful book New World Drama: The Performative Commons in the Atlantic World, 1649-1849 (Duke University Press, 2014) vividly invokes a transatlantic network of performances and their publics, and argues […]

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A. Mark SmithFrom Sight to Light: The Passage from Ancient to Modern Optics

March 21, 2015

A. Mark Smith’s new book is a magisterial history of optics over the course of two millennia. From Sight to Light: The Passage from Ancient to Modern Optics (University of Chicago Press, 2015) suggests that the transition from ancient toward modern optics was accompanied by a turn in optical studies from a concern with explaining […]

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Michelle NickersonMothers of Conservatism: Women and the Postwar Right

March 18, 2015

Recently, historians have shown that the modern conservative movement is older and more complex than has often been assumed by either liberals or historians. Michelle Nickerson’s book, Mothers of Conservatism: Women and the Postwar Right (Princeton University Press, 2012) expands that literature even further, demonstrating not only the longer roots of conservative interest in family issues, […]

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Katherine LebowUnfinished Utopia: Nowa Huta, Stalinism and Polish Society, 1949-1956

March 15, 2015

In the late 1940s, tens of thousands of people – mostly young male peasants – streamed to southeastern Poland to help build Nowa Huta, the largest and most ambitious of Stalinist “socialist cities” in the new People’s Democracies. The town, built to house workers at the Lenin Steelworks (also under construction), was designed to implement […]

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Eugene N. AndersonFood and Environment in Early and Medieval China

March 15, 2015

Eugene N. Anderson’s new book offers an expansive history of food, environment, and their relationships in China. From prehistory through the Ming and beyond, Food and Environment in Early and Medieval China (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) pays careful attention to a wide range of contexts of concern with nature and its resources. Readers of […]

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Nick WildingGalileo’s Idol: Gianfrancesco Sagredo and the Politics of Knowledge

March 15, 2015

Nick Wilding’s new book is brilliant, thoughtful, and an absolute pleasure to read. Galileo’s Idol: Gianfrancesco Sagredo and The Politics of Knowledge (University of Chicago Press, 2014) takes an unusual approach to understanding Galileo and his context by focusing its narrative on his closest friend, student, and patron, the Venetian Gianfrancesco Sagredo. Though most readers […]

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