1,997 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of America about their New Books
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New Books in American Studies New Books Network

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.5 • 30 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of America about their New Books
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    Paula Marie Seniors, "Mae Mallory, the Monroe Defense Committee, and World Revolutions: African American Women Radical Activists" (U Georgia Press, 2024)

    Paula Marie Seniors, "Mae Mallory, the Monroe Defense Committee, and World Revolutions: African American Women Radical Activists" (U Georgia Press, 2024)

    Mae Mallory, the Monroe Defense Committee, and World Revolutions: African American Women Radical Activists (U Georgia Press, 2024) explores the significant contributions of African American women radical activists from 1955 to 1995. It examines the 1961 case of African American working-class self-defense advocate Mae Mallory, who traveled from New York to Monroe, North Carolina, to provide support and weapons to the Negroes with Guns Movement. Accused of kidnapping a Ku Klux Klan couple, she spent thirteen months in a Cleveland jail, facing extradition. African American women radical activists Ethel Azalea Johnson of Negroes with Guns, Audrey Proctor Seniors of the banned New Orleans NAACP, the Trotskyist Workers World Party, Ruthie Stone, and Clarence Henry Seniors of Workers World founded the Monroe Defense Committee to support Mallory. Mae’s daughter, Pat, aged sixteen also participated, and they all bonded as family. When the case ended, they joined the Tanzanian, Grenadian, and Nicaraguan World Revolutions. Using her unique vantage point as Audrey Proctor Seniors’s daughter, Paula Marie Seniors blends personal accounts with theoretical frameworks of organic intellectual, community feminism, and several other theoretical frameworks in analyzing African American radical women’s activism in this era.
    Essential biographical and character narratives are combined with an analysis of the social and political movements of the era and their historical significance. Seniors examines the link between Mallory, Johnson, and Proctor Seniors’s radical activism and their connections to national and international leftist human rights movements and organizations. She asks the underlying question: Why did these women choose radical activism and align themselves with revolutionary governments, linking Black human rights to world revolutions?
    Seniors’s historical and personal account of the era aims to recover Black women radical activists’ place in history. Her innovative research and compelling storytelling broaden our knowledge of these activists and their political movements.
    Omari Averette-Phillips is a doctoral student in the Department of History at UC Davis. He can be reached at omariaverette@gmail.com.
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    • 46 min
    Allison Elias, "The Rise of Corporate Feminism: Women in the American Office, 1960-1990" (Columbia UP, 2022)

    Allison Elias, "The Rise of Corporate Feminism: Women in the American Office, 1960-1990" (Columbia UP, 2022)

    From the 1960s through the 1990s, the most common job for women in the United States was clerical work. Even as college-educated women obtained greater opportunities for career advancement, occupational segregation by gender remained entrenched. How did feminism in corporate America come to represent the individual success of the executive woman and not the collective success of the secretary?
    Allison Elias argues that feminist goals of advancing equal opportunity and promoting meritocracy unintentionally undercut the status and prospects of so-called "pink-collar" workers. In the 1960s, ideas about sex equality spurred some clerical workers to organize, demanding "raises and respect," while others pushed for professionalization through credentialing. This cross-class alliance pushed a feminist agenda that included unionizing some clerical workers and advancing others who had college degrees into management. But these efforts diverged in the 1980s, when corporations adopted measures to move qualified women into their upper ranks. By the 1990s, corporate support for professional women resulted in an individualistic feminism that focused on the needs of those at the top. Meanwhile, as many white, college-educated women advanced up the corporate ladder, clerical work became a job for lower-socioeconomic-status women of all races.
    The Rise of Corporate Feminism: Women in the American Office, 1960-1990 (Columbia UP, 2022) considers changes in the workplace surrounding affirmative action, human resource management, automation, and unionization by groups such as 9to5. At the intersection of history, gender, and management studies, this book spotlights the secretaries, clerks, receptionists, typists, and bookkeepers whose career trajectories remained remarkably similar despite sweeping social and legal change.
    Jane Scimeca is Professor of History at Brookdale Community College. @JaneScimeca1
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    • 49 min
    Jennifer S. Clark, "Producing Feminism: Television Work in the Age of Women's Liberation" (U California Press, 2024)

    Jennifer S. Clark, "Producing Feminism: Television Work in the Age of Women's Liberation" (U California Press, 2024)

    How have women resisted sexism in TV? In Producing Feminism: Television Work in the Age of Women’s Liberation (U California Press, 2024), Jennifer S. Clark, an Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, explores the people, organisations, TV shows and audiences who all shaped women in and on television during the 1970s. Drawing on a production studies perspective, the book ranges widely from organisational archives, through key programmes and personalities, to specific genres including sport on TV. The analysis also offers a challenge to both contemporary television’s approach to equity and diversity issues, as well as a significant contribution to the history of television too. The book is essential reading across the humanities and social sciences, as well as for anyone interested in television. The book is also available open access here.
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    • 48 min
    M. Girard Dorsey, "Holding Their Breath: How the Allies Confronted the Threat of Chemical Warfare in World War II" (Cornell UP, 2023)

    M. Girard Dorsey, "Holding Their Breath: How the Allies Confronted the Threat of Chemical Warfare in World War II" (Cornell UP, 2023)

    In Holding Their Breath: How the Allies Confronted the Threat of Chemical Warfare in World War II (Cornell UP, 2023), M. Girard Dorsey uncovers just how close Britain, the United States, and Canada came to crossing the red line that restrained poison gas during World War II.
    Unlike in World War I, belligerents did not release poison gas regularly during the Second World War. Yet, the looming threat of chemical warfare significantly affected the actions and attitudes of these three nations as they prepared their populations for war, mediated their diplomatic and military alliances, and attempted to defend their national identities and sovereignty.
    The story of chemical weapons and World War II begins in the interwar period as politicians and citizens alike advocated to ban, to resist, and eventually to prepare for gas use in the next war. Molly Dorsey reveals, through extensive research in multinational archives and historical literature, that although poison gas was rarely released on the battlefield in World War II, experts as well as lay people dedicated significant time and energy to the weapon's potential use; they did not view chemical warfare as obsolete or taboo.
    Poison gas was an influential weapon in World War II, even if not deployed in a traditional way, and arms control, for various reasons, worked. Thus, what did not happen is just as important as what did. Holding Their Breath provides insight into these potentialities by untangling World War II diplomacy and chemical weapons use in a new way.
    Andrew O. Pace is a historian of the US in the world who specializes in the moral fog of war. He is currently a DPAA Research Partner Fellow at the University of Southern Mississippi and a co-host of the Diplomatic History Channel on the New Books Network. He is also working on a book about the reversal in US foreign policy from victory at all costs in World War II to peace at any price in the Vietnam War. He can be reached at andrew.pace@usm.edu or via andrewopace.com. Andrew is not an employee of DPAA, he supports DPAA through a partnership. The views presented are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of DPAA, DoD or its components. 
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    • 57 min
    Kathleen DuVal, "Native Nations: A Millennium in North America" (Random House, 2024)

    Kathleen DuVal, "Native Nations: A Millennium in North America" (Random House, 2024)

    In this sweeping new history, esteemed University of North Carolina historian Kathleen DuVal makes the case for the ongoing, ancient, and dynamic history of Native nationhood as a critical component of global history. In Native Nations: A Millennium in North America (Random House, 2024), DuVal covers a thousand years of continental history, building on a new generation of scholars who have argued for the continued power and agency of Native people in the face of challenges, obstacles, and catastrophes.
    DuVal's history begins long before any European knew of continents across the Atlantic Ocean, and tracks the history of Native nationhood as an idea and practice up through the present day. Incorporating the use of of environmental history, global history, archaeology and oral history, among other diverse methods, DuVal presents a rich and complex history of a continent that has a history dating back far longer than many people might assume, and tells a story that, rather than a simple narrative of decline and conquest, is more intereseting and far more complex. It is impossible to come away from this book without believing that the story of Native nationhood is indeed, the story of North America itself.
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    • 58 min
    Postscript: The Supreme Court’s Decisions on Bump Stocks and Mifepristone

    Postscript: The Supreme Court’s Decisions on Bump Stocks and Mifepristone

    In this episode of our occasional series, Postscript, we focus on the Supreme Court’s recently published decisions in two cases, about guns and abortion, but more about how the Executive and Judicial branches of government function in the United States. Constitutional Law scholar (and New Books in Political Science co-host) Susan Liebell takes us through Garland v. Cargill, which focused on the Trump Administration’s implementation of a prohibition against bump stocks for rifles following the deadly shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2017. Liebell, a published expert on the Second Amendment and the long history of gun regulation in the United States, explains the thrust of the case, which is only tangentially connected to the Second Amendment, but calls into question the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearm’s (ATF) expertise, particularly in context of the majority opinion’s decision that the ATF was not using its administrative power correctly. The majority opinion, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, may signal the Supreme Court’s inclinations towards Chevron deference, which is also before the Court this term in the case of Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo.
    Liebell, also an expert on abortion access, reproductive health regulation, and citizenship, explains the Court’s unanimous decision in Food and Drug Administration v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine. The opinion, written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, focused solely on the question of standing, and whether the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine actually qualified to bring the case since there was no clear injury that had been sustained in the suit they brought before the District Court in Amarillo, Texas. Thus, the drug Mifepristone, which was to be banned nationwide in the initial court ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, was not banned as a result of this lawsuit brought by the Food and Drug Administration. This case, not dissimilar from Garland v. Cargill, focuses on procedural questions more than it focuses on other issues. And the unanimous decision is about that legal procedure, not about the FDA, or the process to through which drugs are brought to market in the United States, or about the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine’s indictment of the process for prescribing mifepristone. Our conversation threads through these cases, and others (like Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and District of Columbia v. Heller) that set the foundation for these cases to come forward.
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    • 36 min

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