Recent Faculty Publications

Uncertain Knowledge: Scepticism, Relativism, and Doubt in the Middle Ages, edited by Dallas Denery, Kantik Ghosh, and Nicolette Zeeman
(Turnhout: Brepols Publishers NV, 2014)Denery Book

This book undertakes an interdisciplinary investigation of ideas of uncertainty, relativism, and scepticism in the Middle Ages. What are the forms in which later medieval thinkers articulate epistemological scepticism, relativism, and doubt? Is it possible to voice different forms of uncertainty in different institutional contexts and languages? Bringing together specialists in philosophy, theology, history, and literature, this book undertakes an interdisciplinary investigation of some of the ways in which the problem of knowledge was explored in the Middle Ages. This is a topic of central intellectual importance and has large cultural consequences. The Middle Ages are often still treated by non-medievalists as a time of naive epistemological self-confidence, and we hope that ultimately this revisionist project will have impact beyond medieval studies, illustrating the extent to which this was a period in which many thinkers were intrigued by, and comfortable with, uncertainty.

Fighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings: The Congress of Racial Equality in Brooklyn, by Brian PurnellFighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings: The Congress of Racial Equality in Brooklyn, by Brian Purnell
(Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2013)

In Fighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings, historian Brian Purnell explores the chapter’s numerous direct-action protest campaigns for economic justice and social equality. The group’s tactics evolved from pickets and sit-ins for jobs and housing to more dramatic action, such as dumping trash on the steps of Borough Hall to protest inadequate garbage collection. The Brooklyn chapter’s lengthy record of activism, however, yielded only modest progress. Its members eventually resorted to desperate measures, such as targeting the opening day of the 1964 World’s Fair with a traffic-snarling “stall-in.” After that moment, its interracial, nonviolent phase was effectively over. By 1966, the group was more aligned with the black power movement, and a new Brooklyn CORE emerged.

Drawing from archival sources and interviews with individuals directly involved in the chapter, Purnell explores how people from diverse backgrounds joined together, solved internal problems, and earned one another’s trust before eventually becoming disillusioned and frustrated.Fighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings adds to our understanding of the broader civil rights movement by examining how it was implemented in an iconic northern city, where interracial activists mounted a heroic struggle against powerful local forms of racism.

Winner of the New York State Historical Association 2012 Dixon Ryan Fox Manuscript Prize


Invisible AgentsInvisible Agents: Spirits in a Central African History by David Gordon

This work shows how personal and deeply felt spiritual beliefs can inspire social movements and influence historical change. Conventional historiography concentrates on the secular, materialist, or moral sources of political agency, while instead Gordon argues that when people perceive spirits as exerting power in the visible world, these beliefs form the basis for individual and collective actions. Focusing on the history of Zambia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, his analysis invites reflection on political and religious realms of action in other parts of the world.
Ohio University Press, 2012


The Government of Social Life in Colonial India: Liberalism,The Government of Social Life in Colonial India
Religious Law, and Women's Rights by Rachel Sturman

This important new study analyses the system of personal law in colonial India through a re-examination of women's rights. Focusing on Hindu law in western India, it challenges existing scholarship, showing how – far from being a system based on traditional values – Hindu law was developed around ideas of liberalism, and that this framework encouraged questions about equality, women's rights, the significance of bodily difference, and more broadly the relationship between state and society.
Cambridge University Press, 2012


Indigenous KnowledgeTransnational Africa and Globalization and West African Migrations, Edited by Olufemi Vaughan
and Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome

Transnational Africa and Globalization looks at the dawn of neoliberal rationality in Africa in the 1980s and the coinciding massive exodus of skilled Africans to the global North. Moving beyond the 'push and pull' framework that has dominated studies of this phenomenon, the collection instead looks at African transnational migrations against the backdrop of rapid and intensifying globalization. West African Migrations explores how African migration to Western countries after the neo-liberal economic reforms of the 1980s transformed West African states and their new transnational populations in Western countries.
Palgrave Macmillan, 2012


Indigenous Knowledge and the Environment in Africa and North America
Indigenous Knowledge and the Environment in Africa and North America
,
Edited by David Gordon

Indigenous knowledge has become a catchphrase in global struggles for environmental justice. Yet indigenous knowledges are often viewed, incorrectly, as pure and primordial cultural artifacts. This collection draws from African and North American cases to argue that the forms of knowledge identified as “indigenous” resulted from strategies to control environmental resources during and after colonial encounters. Indigenous Knowledge and the Environment offers comparative and transnational insights that disturb romantic views of unchanging indigenous knowledges in harmony with the environment.
Ohio University Press, 2011


Wells Tropical Zion Tropical Zion: General Trujillo, FDR, and the Jews of Sosúa, by Allen Wells

Seven hundred and fifty Jewish refugees fled Nazi Germany and founded the agricultural settlement of Sosúa in the Dominican Republic, then ruled by one of Latin America’s most repressive dictators, General Rafael Trujillo. Wells tells the compelling story of General Trujillo, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the pioneers who founded a successful employee-owned dairy cooperative on the island.
Duke University Press, 2009


Chiang Shaping the ShorelineShaping the Shoreline: Fisheries and Tourism on the Monterey Coast, by Connie Chiang,

In this book, Chiang examines Monterey's development from a seaside resort to a working-class fishing town and, finally, to a tourist attraction again through the subjects of work, recreation, and environment--the intersections of which are applicable to communities across the United States and abroad.
University of Washington Press, 2008


Conlan, Samurai WarriorsWeapons and Fighting Techniques of the Samurai, 1200-1877, by Tom Conlan

Illustrated with over 300 line drawings and color photos, explores the samurai, their ideals, and techniques and instruments of war. Conlan also explores the impact of guns and cannon on the battlefield in the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Amber Books Ltd, 2008


Herrlinger Working SoulsWorking Souls: Russian Orthodoxy and Factory Labor in St. Petersburg, 1881-1917, by Page Herrlinger

In this work, Herrlinger addresses questions of religious (and irreligious) identity among workers in Russia’s most revolutionary and modern city, St. Petersburg/Petrograd. While documenting the remarkable vitality and diversity of urban religious life at the end of the Imperial era, it explores the various ways in which the components of workers’ religious identity – their practices, sensibilities, and beliefs about God, self and society – were transformed by the experience of modern factory life.
Slavica Publishers, 2007


Rael Activism African American Activism Before The Civil War: The Freedom Struggle in the Antebellum North, by Patrick Rael

This collection is the first work to gather together scholarly essays published from 1965 to the present on the role of African Americans and race in the struggle for equality in the northern states before the Civil War. Many of these essays are already known as classics in the field, and others are well on their way to becoming definitive in a still evolving field. Here, in one place, anchored by a comprehensive, analytical introduction discussing the historiography of antebellum black activism, the best scholarship on this crucial minority of African American activists can now be studied together.
Routledge, 2008


Klingle Emerald City

Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle, by Matthew Klingle

In this book, Klingle explores the role of nature in the development of the city of Seattle from the earliest days of its settlement to the present. Combining environmental history, urban history, and human geography, Klingle shows how attempts to reshape nature in and around Seattle have often ended not only in ecological disaster but also social inequality.
Yale University Press, 2007

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