New Titles/CUNY Authors: Global Issues and Individuals

July 8, 2012 | CUNY Matters, The University

University scholars weigh in on subjects from art to Zionism.

New Vision for Zionism

In his controversial new book The Crisis of Zionism, published by Times Books/Henry Holt & Company, Peter Beinart discusses threats to democracy in Israel and the failure of the American Jewish establishment to confront them. He makes a case for a vision of Zionism that encompasses ending the occupation of the West Bank. Beinart, who teaches Political Reporting and Opinion Writing at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, traces the history of Zionism to show how a once liberal movement came to be affiliated with conservative politics and antidemocratic policies, splitting the American Jewish community into two hostile camps. The book concludes with provocative proposals for how the relationship between American Jews and Israel must change.

Black Librarians’ Issues, Challenges

The 21st-Century Black Librarian in America: Issues and Challenges (Scarecrow Press), includes essays by library affiliates from educators and trustees to librarians at all stages of their careers. They cover topics from poorly equipped school libraries to the need to preserve the school library via innovative models of public education, advancement in information technology and library operations, special libraries, racism in the history of library and information science, and challenges that have plagued librarianship for decades. The volume is co-edited by Andrew P. Jackson, adjunct professor at York College‘s Department of History and Philosophy-Cultural Diversity Program and Queens College-Graduate School of Library and Information Studies as well as executive director at Queens Library’s Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center.

The Man Behind the Adjective

Machiavelli: A Life Beyond Ideology has been called the first scholarly biography in 30 years of the Italian Renaissance statesman, political theorist and reformer whose contributions to ideas of political power and to the history of modern drama remain pertinent.

Author Paul Oppenheimer, professor of comparative literature at CCNY and the Graduate Center, explores Niccolò Machiavelli’s radical theories of treachery and social transformation in terms of their originality in an atmosphere of violence.

All this unfolds in Oppenheimer’s compelling recreation of Machiavelli’s life as he actually lived it. Published by Continuum.

A Master of Bahamas Art

Celebrated for his meticulously finished watercolors, Stephen Scott Young is perhaps best known for his works painted in the Bahamas. In Once Upon an Island: Stephen Scott Young in the Bahamas, CUNY professor emeritus of art history William H. Gerdts looks back over the artist’s 25-year career painting there. The book, published by Adelson, covers the artist’s earliest depictions of Bahamian subjects to the present day — encompassing portraits, landscapes and still lifes, as well as his distinctive images of Bahamian children playing marbles in various island locales.

Why Immigrants Are Deported

In Banished to the Homeland: Dominican Deportees and Their Stories of Exile, coauthors David C. Brotherton and Luis Barrios isolate the forces that motivate emigrants to leave their homeland for the United States and then violate the terms of their stay. Housed in urban landscapes rife with gangs, drugs and tenuous working conditions, these individuals, the authors find, repeatedly play out a tragic scenario, influenced by long-standing historical injustices, punitive politics and conservative attitudes undermining basic human rights and freedoms. Brotherton and Barrios, professors at both John Jay College and the Graduate Center, conclude that a simultaneous process of cultural inclusion and socioeconomic exclusion best explains the trajectory of emigration, settlement and rejection. Published by Columbia University Press.

Home Remedy for Crime

Taking the same concepts and tools that have tracked epidemics from flu to AIDS, internationally recognized public health specialist Ernest Drucker, currently a scholar in residence and senior research associate at John Jay College, makes the case in his new book that our current unprecedented level of imprisonment has become an epidemic. In A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America, he argues that imprisonment — originally conceived as a response to individuals’ crimes — has become “mass incarceration”: a destabilizing force that undermines families and communities — the very social structures that prevent crime. Published by The New Press.

The Culture of Politics

In her book Performance, Politics, and the War on Terror: ‘Whatever It Takes,’ author Sara Brady offers a unique interdisciplinary approach to the study of culture and politics — discussing events in diverse contexts including conventional theater, political protest, popular entertainment, military training exercises and performance art. Brady, assistant professor of communication arts and sciences at Bronx Community College, argues that the reliance on performance by governments and media alike in the post-9/11 United States and abroad — particularly in the context of the war on terror — led not only to a culture of fear but also to a troubling blurring of fiction and reality. Published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Those Crafty Victorians

Talia Schaffer, a professor of English at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center, demonstrates the importance of domestic handicraft in Victorian culture and literature in Novel Craft: Victorian Domestic Handicraft and Nineteenth- Century Fiction (Oxford University Press). She uncovers how handicrafts from wax flower petals to needlework portraits of royal spaniels expressed anxieties about modernity and offered an alternative to conventional political and aesthetic ideas of the era. She reveals how this mindset evolves in four major Victorian novels, and closes with a coda on a current crafts movement as a fresh version of a Victorian sensibility.