100 episodes

Interviews with Historians about their New Books

New Books in History New Books Network

    • Society & Culture
    • 3.9 • 137 Ratings

Interviews with Historians about their New Books

    Bruce Haynes, "Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family" (Columbia UP, 2019)

    Bruce Haynes, "Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family" (Columbia UP, 2019)

    Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family (Columbia UP, 2019) tells the story of one Harlem family across three generations, connecting its journey to the historical and social forces that transformed Harlem over the past century. Bruce D. Haynes and Syma Solovitch capture the tides of change that pushed blacks forward through the twentieth century--the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, the early civil rights victories, the Black Power and Black Arts movements--as well as the many forces that ravaged black communities, including Haynes's own. As an authority on race and urban communities, Haynes brings unique sociological insights to the American mobility saga and the tenuous nature of status and success among the black middle class.
    In many ways, Haynes's family defied the odds. All four great-grandparents on his father's side owned land in the South as early as 1880. His grandfather, George Edmund Haynes, was the founder of the National Urban League and a protégé of eminent black sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois; his grandmother, Elizabeth Ross Haynes, was a noted children's author of the Harlem Renaissance and a prominent social scientist. Yet these early advances and gains provided little anchor to the succeeding generations. This story is told against the backdrop of a crumbling three-story brownstone in Sugar Hill that once hosted Harlem Renaissance elites and later became an embodiment of the family's rise and demise. Down the Up Staircase is a stirring portrait of this family, each generation walking a tightrope, one misstep from free fall.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Janis Tomlinson, "Goya: A Portrait of the Artist" (Princeton UP, 2020)

    Janis Tomlinson, "Goya: A Portrait of the Artist" (Princeton UP, 2020)

    The life of Francisco Goya (1746–1828) coincided with an age of transformation in Spanish history that brought upheavals in the country’s politics and at the court which Goya served, changes in society, the devastation of the Iberian Peninsula in the war against Napoleon, and an ensuing period of political instability. In this revelatory biography, Janis Tomlinson draws on a wide range of documents—including letters, court papers, and a sketchbook used by Goya in the early years of his career—to provide a nuanced portrait of a complex and multifaceted painter and printmaker, whose art is synonymous with compelling images of the people, events, and social revolution that defined his life and era.
    Tomlinson challenges the popular image of the artist as an isolated figure obsessed with darkness and death, showing how Goya’s likeability and ambition contributed to his success at court, and offering new perspectives on his youth, rich family life, extensive travels, and lifelong friendships. She explores the full breadth of his imagery—from scenes inspired by life in Madrid to visions of worlds without reason, from royal portraits to the atrocities of war. She sheds light on the artist’s personal trials, including the deaths of six children and the onset of deafness in middle age, but also reconsiders the conventional interpretation of Goya’s late years as a period of disillusion, viewing them instead as years of liberated artistic invention, most famously in the murals on the walls of his country house, popularly known as the “black” paintings.
    A monumental achievement, Goya: A Portrait of the Artist (Princeton UP, 2020) is the definitive biography of an artist whose faith in his art and his genius inspired paintings, drawings, prints, and frescoes that continue to captivate, challenge, and surprise us two centuries later.
    Marshall Poe is the editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at marshallpoe@newbooksnetwork.com.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 54 min
    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.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 51 min
    Rachel Berenson Perry, "The Life and Art of Felrath Hines: From Dark to Light" (Indiana UP, 2019)

    Rachel Berenson Perry, "The Life and Art of Felrath Hines: From Dark to Light" (Indiana UP, 2019)

    Today I talked to Rachel Berenson Perry about her book The Life and Art of Felrath Hines: From Dark to Light (Indiana University Press, 2019). Felrath Hines (1913–1993), the first African American man to become a professional conservator for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, was born and raised in the segregated Midwest. Leaving their home in the South, Hines's parents migrated to Indianapolis with hopes for a better life. While growing up, Hines was encouraged by his seamstress mother to pursue his early passion for art by taking Saturday classes at Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis. He moved to Chicago in 1937, where he attended the Art Institute of Chicago in pursuit of his dreams.
    Kirstin L. Ellsworth holds a Ph.D. in the History of Art from Indiana University and is Associate Professor of Art History at California State University Dominguez Hills.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 34 min
    Carol Rittner and John K. Roth, "Advancing Holocaust Studies" (Routledge, 2020)

    Carol Rittner and John K. Roth, "Advancing Holocaust Studies" (Routledge, 2020)

    I think this is the fifth time I've interviewed John K. Roth for the podcast (and the second for Carol Rittner). He has always been relentlessly realistic about the challenges, intellectual, practical and emotional, that Holocaust Studies poses.  
    Advancing Holocaust Studies (Routledge, 2020), however, reads differently. Published in a world wracked by political and ideological conflict, the essays here struggle to reconcile the time, energy and devotion Holocaust scholars have poured into their subject with the seeming failure to change real world behavior and attitudes. The essays are personal and honest. They ask hard questions about the value of Holocaust Studies about whether or how it needs to change to confront modern challenges.
    Rittner and Roth have done their usual wonderful job in finding and publishing an important group of essays. It says nothing about their work to suggest that the essays provide more questions than answers.  
    Kelly McFall is Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Newman University.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Guojun Wang, "Staging Personhood: Costuming in Early Qing Drama" (Columbia UP, 2020)

    Guojun Wang, "Staging Personhood: Costuming in Early Qing Drama" (Columbia UP, 2020)

    Much is known about the Qing sartorial regulations and how the Qing conquerors forced Han Chinese males to adopt Manchu hairstyle and clothing. But what happened on the stage? What did Qing performers wear, not only when they performed as characters in the Han past, but also when they appeared as subjects in the Manchu present? Reading dramatic works against Qing sartorial regulations, Staging Personhood: Costuming in Early Qing Drama (Columbia University Press, 2020) explores a two-sided question: how did the Ming-Qing transition influence costuming as theatrical practices and how, in turn, did costuming enable the production of different types of personhood in early Qing China?
    With readings of several early Qing theatrical works, from the canonical Peach Blossom Fan (Taohua shan) to the lesser-known A Ten-Thousand-Li Reunion (Wanli yuan), combined with visual and performance records and historical documents, Staging Personhood provides a new and interdisciplinary perspective on the cultural dynamics of early Qing China. Not only does this book turn an interdisciplinary lens to the entanglements between Chinese drama and nascent Manchu rule, it contains a plethora of fascinating moments from early Qing plays—from double-cross-dressers to fake queues—touching on issues of class, gender, ethnicity, and conceptions of time.
    Sarah Bramao-Ramos is a PhD candidate in History and East Asian Languages at Harvard. She works on Manchu language books and is interested in anything with a kesike.
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 5 min

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5
137 Ratings

137 Ratings

Nick Naque ,

Get better interviewers

The books and authors covered in the podcast are ver interesting. But the people conducting the interviews are adequate at best and not infrequently embarrassing.

jrm36 ,

Great job by Jana Byers on Sex and Gender book

I always appreciate the work that the interviewers put into this, knowing that they’re not professionals and they’re not paid, and I don’t expect a professional level of polish. Some of them however are unusually good, confident, engaged interviewers, like this one.

Poochman! ,

SOUND QUALITY IS HORRIFIC

Trying to listen to Alan Taylor's Thomas Jefferson’s Education which sounded fascinating but gave up given the astoundingly poor audio quality. It's 2020. There's absolutely no reason New Books in History can't make the effort to ensure its podcasts are listenable. Such a waste of a great opportunity.

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by New Books Network