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Interviews with Scholars of Intellectual History about their New Books

New Books in Intellectual History New Books Network

    • Society & Culture
    • 3.0 • 1 Rating

Interviews with Scholars of Intellectual History about their New Books

    Caroline H. Yang, "The Peculiar Afterlife of Slavery: The Chinese Worker and the Minstrel Form" (Stanford UP, 2020)

    Caroline H. Yang, "The Peculiar Afterlife of Slavery: The Chinese Worker and the Minstrel Form" (Stanford UP, 2020)

    The Peculiar Afterlife of Slavery: The Chinese Worker and the Minstrel Form (Stanford University Press, 2020) explores how antiblack racism lived on through the figure of the Chinese worker in US literature after emancipation. Drawing out the connections between this liminal figure and the formal aesthetics of blackface minstrelsy in literature of the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction eras, Caroline H. Yang reveals the ways antiblackness structured US cultural production during a crucial moment of reconstructing and re-narrating US empire after the Civil War.
    Ultimately, The Peculiar Afterlife of Slavery shows how the Chinese worker manifests the inextricable links between US literature, slavery, and empire, as well as the indispensable role of antiblackness as a cultural form in the United States.
    Dr. Caroline Yang is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
    Emily Ruth Allen (@emmyru91) is a PhD candidate in Musicology at Florida State University. She is currently working on a dissertation about parade musics in Mobile, Alabama’s Carnival celebrations. 
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    • 50 min
    E. Chemerinsky and H. Gillman, "The Religion Clauses: The Case for Separating Church and State" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    E. Chemerinsky and H. Gillman, "The Religion Clauses: The Case for Separating Church and State" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Throughout American history, views on the proper relationship between the state and religion have been deeply divided. And, with recent changes in the composition of the Supreme Court, First Amendment law concerning religion is likely to change dramatically in the years ahead.
    In The Religion Clauses: The Case for Separating Church and State (Oxford University Press, 2020), Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman, two of America's leading constitutional scholars, begin by explaining how freedom of religion is enshrined in the First Amendment through two provisions. 
    They defend a robust view of both clauses and work from the premise that that the establishment clause is best understood, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, as creating a wall separating church and state. After examining all the major approaches to the meaning of the Constitution's religion clauses, they contend that the best approaches are for the government to be strictly secular and for there to be no special exemptions for religious people from neutral and general laws that others must obey. In an America that is only becoming more diverse with respect to religion, this is not only the fairest approach, but the one most in tune with what the First Amendment actually prescribes.
    Both a pithy primer on the meaning of the religion clauses and a broad-ranging indictment of the Court's misinterpretation of them in recent years, The Religion Clauses shows how a separationist approach is most consistent with the concerns of the founders who drafted the Constitution and with the needs of a religiously pluralistic society in the 21st century.
    Kirk Meighoo is a TV and podcast host, former university lecturer, author and former Senator in Trinidad and Tobago. He hosts his own podcast, Independent Thought & Freedom, where he interviews some of the most interesting people from around the world who are shaking up politics, economics, society and ideas. You can find it in the iTunes Store or any of your favorite podcast providers. You can also subscribe to his YouTube channel. If you are an academic who wants to get heard nationally, please check out his free training at becomeapublicintellectual.com.
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    • 38 min
    Mark Somos, "American States of Nature: The Origins of Independence, 1761-1775" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    Mark Somos, "American States of Nature: The Origins of Independence, 1761-1775" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    In Federalist no. 2, John Jay considered the ‘wide spreading country’ of the American republic. It was, he argued, as if the land itself was fashioned by the hand of Providence, which ‘in a particular manner blessed it with a variety of soils and productions, and watered it with innumerable streams, for the delight and accommodation of its inhabitants. A succession of navigable waters forms a kind of chain round its borders, as if to bind it together’.
    When we think of early American political thought, we tend to overlook the powerful influence of the natural environment on the formation of settlement in both theory and practice. Seminal studies of the ideological origins of the American Revolution approached colonial political ideas as largely derivative from the deep wells of Anglophone ideas, and framed largely in opposition to Britain. Yet, as Jefferson reminded his British audience in the Declaration of Independence, it was important to consider the ‘circumstances of our emigration and settlement here’. Or, as a writer in 1620s Virginia explained, colonial law was a product of the ‘nature’ and ‘novelty’ of the place.
    In American States of Nature: The Origins of Independence, 1761-1775 (Oxford UP, 2019), Mark Somos recovers a powerful and coherent theme in colonial political thought, a ‘constitutive’ state of nature that identified the American colonies that would declare independence as a natural community in a ‘state of nature viewed as irreducibly and unexchangeably American'. 
    Mark Somos holds the Heisenberg Position at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law. 
    Charles Prior is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Hull, where he co-leads the Treatied Spaces Research Cluster. His latest publication is Settlers in Indian Country. 
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    • 26 min
    Glenn Sauer, "Points of Contact: Science, Religion, and the Search for Truth" (Orbis Books, 2020)

    Glenn Sauer, "Points of Contact: Science, Religion, and the Search for Truth" (Orbis Books, 2020)

    As a scientist and practicing Catholic, Dr. Sauer brings a unique perspective to several of the important issues related to finding a space for dialogue between the at times opposing fields of science and religion. Drawing on insights from Darwin, Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Kuhn, and many others, Dr. Sauer presents a powerful and important framework for reconciling the historically changing divide between science and religion. His take is that we need to encourage a stance of intellectual humility on all sides of the discussion as a means for finding common ground--or at least identifying points where we can have fruitful exchanges of ideas about how scientific and religious perspectives can coexist without ongoing conflict.  Points of Contact: Science, Religion, and the Search for Truth (Orbis Books, 2020) will be valuable to people who inhabit both sides of this divide and has the potential to generate more openness about what can be radically different ways of seeing the world.  
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    • 59 min
    Anjali Vats, "The Color of Creatorship: Intellectual Property, Race, and the Making of Americans" (Stanford UP, 2020)

    Anjali Vats, "The Color of Creatorship: Intellectual Property, Race, and the Making of Americans" (Stanford UP, 2020)

    The Color of Creatorship: Intellectual Property, Race, and the Making of Americans  (Stanford University Press, 2020) by Anjali Vats is an intricate and meticulously researched text on intellectual property history, race, and citizenship from the 1790s to the present. This is a complex narrative that engages multiple fields of knowledge including rhetoric, history, communication studies, law, and critical race theory. With a focus on race and neo-coloniality in American intellectual property law, Vats argues that intellectual property and citizenship “have evolved and continue to evolve—in deeply intertwined and raced ways” as demonstrated in racial scripts or narratives about creators and infringers (2).
    In her history of intellectual property, Vats focuses on copyright, patent, and trademark discourses in her intricate analysis of how ideas about creator, citizenship, race and nation unfold over time. The text includes an “Introduction” that discusses intellectual property as “a set of rhetorics” about citizenship and how “race and coloniality structure doctrinal practices in copyright, patent, and trademark law” (3). She uses the phrase “intellectual property citizen” to organize the text into four neat chapters that discuss how whiteness and property interests shape intellectual property law at times in the “guise of equality” and race neutral language.
    The first two chapters cover the development of ideas about intellectual property from the early Republic to the mid-twentieth century. Chapter One is titled “The Intellectual Property Citizen” and it focuses on how whiteness became more formally linked with citizenship in the 1700s including some analysis of how the production of knowledge marked the boundaries of American citizenship. This is the era in which creatorship is cast as “fundamentally white” according to the author. Chapter Two is titled “The Race Liberal Intellectual Property Citizen” and it concerns a discussion of how race liberal citizenship emerged in the post-World War II Era.
    In Chapter Three, “The Post Racial Intellectual Property Citizen” Vats notes that the administration of Barack H. Obama passed a series of laws that helped to maintain a notion of white creatorship ultimately producing a post racial intellectual property citizen. The color of creatorship essentially remained white during the Obama Era. Lastly, in the final Chapter “Rescripting Creatorship, Rescripting Citizenship” creators of color such as Prince Rogers Nelson pushed back against the racialist narratives in intellectual property law through performative acts of resistance and in the process contributed to the remaking of capitalism more generally.'
    Anjali Vats is Assistant Professor of Communication and African and African Diaspora Studies and Assistant Professor of Law (by courtesy) at Boston College.
    Hettie V. Williams Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of African American history in the Department of History and Anthropology at Monmouth University where she teaches courses in African American history and U.S. history. She has published book chapters, essays, and edited/authored five books. Her latest publications include Bury My Heart in a Free Land: Black Women Intellectuals in Modern U.S. History (Praeger, 2017) and, with Dr. G. Reginald Daniel, professor of historical sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Race and the Obama Phenomenon: The Vision of a More Perfect Multiracial Union (University Press of Mississippi 2014). Follow me on twitter: @DrHettie2017
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    • 52 min
    Kaius Tuori, "Empire of Law: Nazi Germany, Exile Scholars and the Battle for the Future of Europe" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    Kaius Tuori, "Empire of Law: Nazi Germany, Exile Scholars and the Battle for the Future of Europe" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    In his new book Empire of Law: Nazi Germany, Exile Scholars, and the Battle for the Future of Europe (Cambridge UP, 2020), Kaius Tuori examines the inherent unity of European legal traditions that extend to ancient Rome. This book explores the invention of this tradition, tracing it to a group of legal scholars divided by the onslaught of Nazi terror and totalitarianism in Europe. As exiles in Britain and the US, its formulators worked to build bridges between the Continental and the Atlantic legal traditions, incorporating ideas such as rule of law, liberty, and equality to the European heritage. Others joined the Nazi revolution, which promoted its own idea of European unity. At the end of World War Two, natural law and human rights were incorporated into the European project. The resulting narrative of Europe, one that outlined human rights, rule of law, and equality, became consequently a unifying factor during the Cold War as the self-definition against the challenge of communism.
    Kaius Tuori is Professor of European Intellectual History at the Centre for European Studies at the University of Helsinki. 
    Craig Sorvillo is a PhD candidate in modern European history at the University of Florida. He specializes in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. He can be reached at craig.sorvillo@gmail.com or on Twitter @craig_sorvillo.
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    • 51 min

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