1,102 episodes

Interviews with Political Scientists about their New Books

New Books in Political Science New Books Network

    • Social Sciences
    • 4.4 • 44 Ratings

Interviews with Political Scientists about their New Books

    Jonathan Padwe, "Disturbed Forests, Fragmented Memories: Jarai and Other Lives in the Cambodian Highlands" (U Washington Press, 2020)

    Jonathan Padwe, "Disturbed Forests, Fragmented Memories: Jarai and Other Lives in the Cambodian Highlands" (U Washington Press, 2020)

    Cambodia’s troubled history has often been depicted in terms of conflict, trauma and tussles between great powers. In Disturbed Forests, Fragmented Memories: Jarai and Other Lives in the Cambodian Highlands (U Washington Press, 2020), Jonathan Padwe assembles this history from narrative pieces by and of the Jarai, an ethnic minority living in the country’s highlands. Demonstrating how landscapes and social formations simultaneously changed each other, the book takes a reader through the various historical conjunctures - the Jarai’s agency in opening up pre-capitalist resources frontiers; the colonial state’s attempted rationalization of the landscape through rubber enterprises; trauma and displacement during the Vietnam War and the Khmer Rouge regime and re-diversification of the scarred land in recent years. In the process of accessing these histories, the book analyzes forest biota and agricultural practices, enabling a new approach to conceptualizing landscapes that melds representation, materiality and ecology.
    In this episode, we discuss how to approach ethnography in inaccessible places, conceptualizations of nature-culture, ecological de-diversification and re-diversification and how bombs could be remembered as flowers falling from the sky.
    Jonathan Padwe is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. His research interests center on social and environmental change in mainland Southeast Asian uplands, issues of equity and equality in development and indigenous identities.
    Faizah Zakaria is assistant professor of history at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. You can find her website at www.faizahzak.com or reach her on Twitter @laurelinarien.
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    • 51 min
    Matthew McManus, "A Critical Legal Examination of Liberalism and Liberal Rights" (Palgrave, 2020)

    Matthew McManus, "A Critical Legal Examination of Liberalism and Liberal Rights" (Palgrave, 2020)

    The tradition of political liberalism has a long and complicated history, filled with twists, turns, critiques and responses that have filled books, essays and lectures for several centuries now. Questions of the importance and limitations of individual rights and how to balance different interests have produced no shortage of theoretical conflict as different figures have attempted to make sense of the importance and limits of individuals and their rights. 
    Diving right into this debate is Matt McManus, returning again to the New Books Network to discuss his recent book A Critical Legal Examination of Liberalism and Liberal Rights (Palgrave, 2020). Going back as far as Burke, Hobbes, Kant and Locke, and then through critiques of liberalism from both radically progressive and reactionary orientations, the book traces the various ideas of liberalism up to the present in figures such as Habermas, Rawls and MacIntyre. It also posits it’s own understanding of liberalism, which emphasizes every individual's right to self-authorship as a central pillar for developing the liberal project. Crossing the fields of history, philosophy, political theory and law, the book offers a number of interventions across an array of fields, and will be of immense use to those seeking to understand some of the most pressing concerns of our time.
    Matt McManus is a professor of politics at Whitman College. He is the author of a number of books, including The Rise of Postmodern Conservatism, and is also one of the coauthors of Myth and Mayhem: A Leftist Critique of Jordan Peterson, both of which we discussed in previous episodes of this podcast.
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    • 1 hr 19 min
    M. R. Michelson and B. F. Harrison, "Transforming Prejudice: Identity, Fear, and Transgender Rights" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    M. R. Michelson and B. F. Harrison, "Transforming Prejudice: Identity, Fear, and Transgender Rights" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Melissa Michelson and Brian Harrison, co-authors of the book Listen, We Need to Talk: How to Change Attitudes about LGBT Rights (Oxford University Press, 2017), which focused on how people came to change their minds about same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, examine their thesis from the previous research to determine if it is applicable to transgender rights as well. What they find is that they need to look at a different kind of framework to engage individuals who are opposed to transgender rights in order to shift that thinking and provide an opening to changing hearts and minds (which is also part of the thrust of Brian Harrison’s 2020 book, A Change is Gonna Come: How to Have Effective Political Conversations in a Divided America, Oxford University Press, 2020). Transforming Prejudice: Identity, Fear, and Transgender Rights (Oxford UP, 2020) focuses on transgender and gender non-conforming rights and how American society has responded and is responding to this subsequent wave of advocacy for the rights of those within this community. Harrison and Michelson’s research indicates that people understand marriage and gender identity in very different ways, and this discrepancy is what led them to reconsider the kind of theoretical framework necessary to move towards rights advocacy for those in the gender non-conforming and transgender community. The book employed a number of different research methods to distinguish what might move people towards being more open to transgender rights. Transforming Prejudice develops the theory of gender identity reassurance as the optimal means to open up the space to changing minds, helping individuals become less afraid and more accepting of the gender non-conforming/transgender community. This is a fascinating and important analysis that also helps guide activism while contributing to political science and social movement scholarship.
    Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015).
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    • 47 min
    Gábor Scheiring, "The Retreat of Liberal Democracy: Authoritarian Capitalism and the Accumulative State in Hungary" (Palgrave, 2020)

    Gábor Scheiring, "The Retreat of Liberal Democracy: Authoritarian Capitalism and the Accumulative State in Hungary" (Palgrave, 2020)

    As Donald Trump's presidency draws to a close, his opponents give thanks that he never developed a strategy or learned to use his powers and agencies efficiently. If he had, like Hungary's four-term prime minister Viktor Orbán, Trump could have created an "illiberal democracy" - a country with democratic trappings but with a charismatic, nationalist leader in charge of a hegemonic party, politicised institutions, and facing a divided and hobbled opposition.
    “For two decades after the fall of socialism, Hungary was heralded as a champion of liberal reforms”, says Gábor Scheiring. "The country turned from a laboratory of neoliberalism into a laboratory of illiberalism”.
    Orbán is a skilful politician, he argues, but his success is built on fundamental economic and political mistakes made by governments of the left in the early days of the transition. The prime minister and his party used this environment to launch a "pre-meditated, systematic and aggressive” campaign to court national rather than transnational capital and replace the socialists as the representatives of "left-behind" working class communities. This is a formidable coalition.
    Today I talked to Scheiring about his book The Retreat of Liberal Democracy: Authoritarian Capitalism and the Accumulative State in Hungary (Palgrave, 2020). Scheiring is a sociologist and economist, a former Green member of the Hungarian parliament from 2010-2014, and is currently a Marie Curie Fellow at Bocconi University in Milan. 
    *His own book recommendation is Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism by Anne Case and Angus Deaton (Princeton University Press, 2020)
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    • 54 min
    M. Nestle and K. Trueman, "Let's Ask Marion: What You Need to Know about the Politics of Food, Nutrition, and Health" (U California Press, 2020)

    M. Nestle and K. Trueman, "Let's Ask Marion: What You Need to Know about the Politics of Food, Nutrition, and Health" (U California Press, 2020)

    Marion Nestle describes her new book as “a small, quick and dirty reader for the general audience” summarizing some of her biggest and most influential works. Let’s Ask Marion: What You Need to Know About the Politics of Food, Nutrition, and Health published September 2020 by University of California Press, was written in conversation with Kerry Trueman, a blogger and friend. Trueman’s questions served as prompts to organize Nestle’s 800-1000 word summaries in approachable and engaging prose. Readers familiar with Nestle’s groundbreaking Food Politics will recognize many of the ideas and information, but this new pocket-sized and affordable volume serves as an introduction for undergraduate students or readers new to Food Studies. However, Nestle does cover some new material in her explanation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, especially the campaign for Zero Hunger. Nestle also summarizes how nutrition advice has changed in the last few years by thinking about food in categories ranging from unprocessed (corn on the cob) to ultraprocessed (Nacho Cheese tortilla chips). This reevaluation makes it easier to identify foods that are acceptable to eat without excessive focus on micronutrients. In the conversation, Nestle addresses the ethics of marketing food to children, food as a human right and access in the Covid era, the possibility of a National Food Policy Agency, the politics of food banks, and the promise of regenerative agricultural practices. Nestle concludes by talking about the pleasures of food and eating and how to establish a “loving relationship” with food that doesn’t include fear, guilt, or anxiety about nutrition. 
     Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, at New York University, and the author of books about food politics, most recently Unsavory Truth.
    Carrie Helms Tippen is Assistant Professor of English at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she teaches courses in American Literature. Her 2018 book, Inventing Authenticity: How Cookbook Writers Redefine Southern Identity (University of Arkansas Press), examines the rhetorical strategies that writers use to prove the authenticity of their recipes in the narrative headnotes of contemporary cookbooks. Her academic work has been published in Gastronomica, Food and Foodways, American Studies, Southern Quarterly, and Food, Culture, and Society.
    Lindsay Herring is a first-year M.A. Food Studies Candidate at Chatham University. She loves historical cookbooks, food policy and activism through history, and vegan baking. Personally, she enjoys theatre, singing and traveling (someday again!).
    Archish Kashakar is a chef and culinary educator who is currently a second-year M.A. Food Studies Candidate at Chatham University. He works with the program’s research offshoot CRAFT as a Food Lab Graduate Consultant and also serves on the board of the Graduate Association of Food Studies as a Social Media Manager. He is currently working on his thesis that traces the history of Singaporean street food dishes and their development in a post-World War II era. Follow on Twitter @archishkash.
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    • 52 min
    Christoph Menke, "Critique of Rights" (Polity, 2019)

    Christoph Menke, "Critique of Rights" (Polity, 2019)

    Christoph Menke, who is professor of philosophy at the Goethe University in Frankfurt Germany and considered the most important representative of the third generation of the "Frankfurt School of Critical Theory", presents in Critique of Rights (Polity Press 2020) a critical reflection on modern normativity in the so-called "Western world". More specifically: He analyzes “subjective rights”. To have a right means to have a justified and binding claim. Now Menke exposes in his book – which is both a genealogy and an ontology of law – that these “subjective rights”, which mark the birth of bourgeois society, have ambivalent properties. They are not only expressions of individuality and freedom everybody of us enjoys today as the most important achievement that Enlightenment has transferred to us. They also create what Karl Marx called "the entitlement of the egoistic human being, set apart from his fellow human being and from the community”. Private interests become the new natural basis for politics. Contrary to what one might think “subjective rights” do not empower the citizens of a political community but disempower them.
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    • 1 hr 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
44 Ratings

44 Ratings

an Archy ,

Fascinating but flawed

The New Books podcasts do me a huge service by keeping me up to date on my field (American elections and public opinion) while introducing me to work is never have thought to read on my own. For example, I really enjoyed the recent episode on Buddhist politics in Myanmar.

However, they also occasionally remind me how much academics struggle to explain their work. Obviously these podcasts aren't aimed at a lay audience, but the interviewees often have trouble conveying why even another academic outside their subfield might care about their subject. And the interviewers sometimes seem indifferent when not talking about their own are; sometimes it feels like they're just skimming the chapter titles to guide their questions.

On the whole, though, very edifying podcasts and I'm extremely grateful to the people who volunteer their time to make them happen.

Concerned Political Scientist ,

John Yoo?

No.

A Syrian NoOne ,

Syrian

Big thank you Political Science.
To Blumenthal’s critics:
Keep your dirty petrodollars, your crazed Takfiri radical militants from China, Chechnya, and from all over the world, keep the mountains of media campaigns of deception, cynicism, and lies. Keep those maniac sectarian psychos who deny the river of blood shed at the hands of your “Moderate Rebels.”
But give us “Management of Savagery.”

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