From Coups to Tattoos

August 27, 2013 | CUNY Matters, The University

History, Reflections, Sociology and Fiction by University Scholars

A Century of Immigrants

booksOneOfThreeNANCY FONER has edited an absorbing anthology, One Out of Three: Immigrant New York in the Twenty-First Century, which features in-depth portraits of diverse ethnic populations, revealing surprising new realities of immigrant life in the 21st century. A Distinguished Professor at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, Foner’s contributors include experts, both in and outside the University, who have shown how nearly 50 years of massive inflows have transformed the city’s economic and cultural life, as well as the lives of immigrants themselves. In her introduction, Foner describes New York’s role as a special gateway to America, and subsequent essays focus on the Chinese, Dominicans, Jamaicans, Koreans, Liberians, Mexicans, and Jews from the former Soviet Union, who have now become part of the city’s permanent fabric and future growth.
Published by Columbia University Press

The Tattooed Ladies

bookTattooIN THIS NEW EDITION of Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo, 3rd Edition, Margot Mifflin has heavily updated and resplendently illustrated this edition of the work, first published in 1997. The new edition arrives at a time when, according to a 2012 Harris Poll, American women are more likely to be tattooed than men. No longer a rebel emblem, tattoos are a mainstream fashion statement, according to Mifflin, an assistant professor in the English department at Lehman College and director of the Art and Culture program at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she also teaches. Her research has unearthed some choice tidbits of social history: Following the upper-class social trend of the late 19th century, Winston Churchills’ mother had a tattoo of a snake eating its tail (the symbol of eternity) on her wrist.
Published by powerHouse Books

My Life as a Monk

bookSaffronIN THE FIRST PUBLICATION in English of a major work by this popular Thai author, A Man in Saffron Robes: A Rainy Season as a Buddhist Monk at a Hilltop Temple in Northern Thailand, by Maitree Limpichart, is now available. The translation by Steven Landau, who is project manager for CUNY’s Office of Computer Information, offers a unique Thai perspective on the tradition of entering the monkhood for the rainy season — called phansa — only to disrobe at the end and return to life as a layman. Limpichart’s memoir, which the Kirkus Review called a “remarkably candid, deeply fascinating account of Thailand and Buddhism,” documents his early preparation and ordination to monkhood.
Published by CreateSpace

Reflections of Vietnam Vets

booksVietnamVetsBRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME: An Oral History of New York City’s Vietnam Veterans, by Philip F. Napoli, assistant professor of history at Brooklyn College. Although the war in Vietnam ended four decades ago, it still weighs heavily on the men and women who served there, as well as for those who, for one reason or another, did not. Napoli has worked with Vietnam veterans for years as directors of the college’s Veterans Oral History Project. With his book, he has created a powerful reminder of the lifelong sacrifices made by these individuals. Bringing It All Back Home is a moving collection of New York City veterans’ voices — in their transcribed words, as varied as the men and women who shared their experiences with him.
Published by Hill and Wang

Hardhats and Hippies

bookHardhatsIN THE POPULAR IMAGINATION, opposition to the Vietnam War was driven largely by college students and elite intellectuals, while supposedly reactionary blue-collar workers largely supported the war effort. In Hardhats, Hippies, and Hawks: The Vietnam Antiwar Movement as Myth and Memory, Penny Lewis challenges the collective memory of class polarization. Through close readings of archival documents, popular culture, and media accounts at the time, she offers a more accurate, “counter-memory” of a diverse, cross-class opposition to the war in Southeast Asia that included the labor movement, working-class students, soldiers and veterans, Black Power, civil rights and Chicano activists. Lewis, an assistant professor of labor studies at the Joseph P. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, investigates why the image of antiwar class division gained such traction at the time and has maintained such a hold on popular memory ever since.
Published by ILR Press

Tale of Two Cities

booknyandlaTHIS NEW LOOK at old rivals, New York and Los Angeles: The Uncertain Future, offers a fresh perspective on the similarities and dissimilarities, as well as functions and dysfunctions between the two cities. Co-edited by Andrew Beveridge, professor of sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center, and David Halle, professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angles, the book provides in-depth comparative studies of the two largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Written by leading experts, the chapters discuss and compare a host of economic, social and political issues, while examining the achievements and challenges faced by both regions of the nation.
Published by Oxford University Press

Jumping Generations

booktransatlanticIN HIS FIRST NOVEL since the National Book Award-winning, Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann once again places real-life historical figures in the foreground, while deftly weaving his own fictional creations around them as he spans continents and leaps three centuries. His latest, TransAtlantic, opens with two pioneers in aviation — Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown — the first to complete a nonstop flight across the Atlantic in 1919; the story then time travels back to Dublin in 1845, as the former slave Frederick Douglass arrives in Ireland to raise funds for the abolitionist cause from a sympathetic people. The first part of the book ends in New York in 1998, as former Sen. George Mitchell prepares to depart for Belfast to help negotiate the peace agreement. And, through it all, beats the heart of the Irish housemaid Lily Duggan, a pivotal character, as well as her daughters and granddaughters. McCann, a Distinguished Lecturer in Hunter College’s MFA Creative Writing program, has garnered praise from the critics including a New York Times Book Review that called the novel “electric and profound.”
Published by Random House

Coup for a Despot

bookcoupIN AUGUST 1953, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency orchestrated the swift overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected leader and installed an unpopular Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, along with his secret police, in its place. In his new book, The Coup: 1953, The C.I.A. and The Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations, Ervand Abrahamian, Distinguished Professor of Iranian and Middle Eastern History and Politics at the Graduate Center and Baruch College, reveals some of the primary motivations behind the current Iranian hostility toward the U.S. and other Western governments, as well as the details behind the 1953 CIA-supported coup that ousted Iran’s prime minister, Muhammad Mossadeq, and backed the shah.
Published by New Press
CUNY Matters welcomes information about new books that have been written or edited by faculty and members of the University community. Contact: Sheila.McKenna@cuny.edu