An overview of the latest books and articles from UCSB historians.
(updated January 2011)
UCSB History faculty have been busy publishing new and innovative historical research. Here are the most recent titles, listed alphabetically by author. This year’s graduate student and alumni publications are listed below.
- Larry Badash, A Nuclear Winter’s Tale: Science and Politics in the 1980s (MIT Press, 2009) (amazon, google books, MIT Press with TOC and sample chapter)
The nuclear winter phenomenon burst upon the public’s consciousness in 1983. Added to the horror of a nuclear war’s immediate effects was the fear that the smoke from fires ignited by the explosions would block the sun, creating an extended "winter" that might kill more people worldwide than the initial nuclear strikes. In A Nuclear Winter’s Tale, Lawrence Badash maps the rise and fall of the science of nuclear winter, examining research activity, the popularization of the concept, and the Reagan-era politics that combined to influence policy and public opinion.
Badash traces the several sciences (including studies of volcanic eruptions, ozone depletion, and dinosaur extinction) that merged to allow computer modeling of nuclear winter and its development as a scientific specialty. He places this in the political context of the Reagan years, discussing congressional interest, media attention, the administration’s plans for a research program, and the Defense Department’s claims that the arms buildup underway would prevent nuclear war, and thus nuclear winter. [Note 8/23/10: Prof. Badash passed away suddenly today. See Badash faculty page for more information.]
- Debra Blumenthal, Enemies and Familiars: Slavery and Mastery in Fifteenth-Century Valencia (Cornell UP, 2009) (amazon, Cornell Univ. Press with TOC)
A prominent Mediterranean port located near Islamic territories, the city of Valencia in the late fifteenth century boasted a slave population of pronounced religious and ethnic diversity: captive Moors and penally enslaved Mudejars, Greeks, Tartars, Russians, Circassians, and a growing population of black Africans. By the end of the fifteenth century, black Africans comprised as much as 40 percent of the slave population of Valencia.
Whereas previous historians of medieval slavery have focused their efforts on defining the legal status of slaves, documenting the vagaries of the Mediterranean slave trade, or examining slavery within the context of Muslim-Christian relations, Debra Blumenthal explores the social and human dimensions of slavery in this religiously and ethnically pluralistic society. Enemies and Familiars traces the varied experiences of Muslim, Eastern, and black African slaves from capture to freedom. After describing how men, women, and children were enslaved and brought to the Valencian marketplace, this book examines the substance of slaves’ daily lives: how they were sold and who bought them; the positions ascribed to them within the household hierarchy; the sorts of labor they performed; and the ways in which some reclaimed their freedom. Scrutinizing a wide array of archival sources (including wills, contracts, as well as hundreds of civil and criminal court cases), Blumenthal investigates what it meant to be a slave and what it meant to be a master at a critical moment of transition. Arguing that the dynamics of the master-slave relationship both reflected and determined contemporary opinions regarding religious, ethnic, and gender differences, Blumenthal’s close study of the day-to-day interactions between masters and their slaves not only reveals that slavery played a central role in identity formation in late medieval Iberia but also offers clues to the development of “racialized” slavery in the early modern Atlantic world.
- Stephen Humphreys and twelve of his former students have published Historical Dimensions of Islam (The Darwin Press, 2009). This Festschrift comprises chapters first delivered as papers at a special conference in honor of Professor Humphreys which took place in October 2007 at the College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, Minnesota. These chapters were written as a tribute to Professor Humphreys by his former graduate students. They reflect the broad chronological and disciplinary scope of Professor Humphreys teaching and erudition. The final chapter, “Thoughts in Retrospect” by Professor Humphreys, stands as an eloquent commentary on the contributions by his former students. Read more about the volume on amazon.com.
Professor Humphreys’ book Between Memory and Desire: The Middle East in a Troubled Age (University of California Press, 2005) has now appeared in Spanish translation: Entre la memoria y el deseo. Oriente Medio en una epoca turbulenta (Legado Andalusi, 2009).
- Carol Lansing and Edward English (eds.), A Companion to the Medieval World (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)(amazon, google books)
The European Middle Ages are an extraordinarily rich field of interdisciplinary study. Cultural forms and institutions central to European identity took shape during this period. The rise of Europe from an obscure backwater to cultural and colonial expansion on the world stage found it origins in the Middle Ages.
In this volume 26 distinguished scholars examine major issues in the study of medieval Europe. Much recent scholarship has sought to identify and strip away later intellectual categories and seek a fresh understanding of medieval culture and society on its own terms. That approach is reflected in the articles in this volume on questions such as the end of late antiquity, reform, the crusades, the family, chivalric culture, Romanesque and Gothic architecture, Christianization and heresy. It addresses key themes such as sexuality, gender, and power and class. More traditional topics are also explored including economic and demographic expansion and change, urban politics, kingship, hospitals, education, and scholasticism. The volume is vital for European specialists and an important resource for comparative world history.
- Nelson Lichtenstein, The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business (Metropolitan Books, 2009)(amazon)
For more information, see this July 2009 UCSB History News item with links to reviews.
- John Majewski, Modernizing a Slave Economy: The Economic Vision of the Confederate Nation (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009). (amazon.com, google books, UNC Press with TOC and excerpt)
What would separate Union and Confederate countries look like if the South had won the Civil War? Southern secessionists actively debated the economic future of the Confederacy. Imagining themselves as nation builders, they understood the importance of a plan for the economic structure of the Confederacy.
The traditional view assumes that Confederate slave-based agrarianism went hand in hand with a natural hostility toward industry and commerce. Turning conventional wisdom on its head, John Majewski’s analysis finds that secessionists strongly believed in industrial development and state-led modernization. They blamed the South’s lack of development on Union policies of discriminatory taxes on southern commerce and unfair subsidies for northern industry.
Majewski argues that Confederates’ opposition to a strong central government was politically tied to their struggle against northern legislative dominance. Once the Confederacy was formed, those who had advocated states’ rights in the national legislature in order to defend against northern political dominance quickly came to support centralized power and a strong executive for war making and nation building.
- Harold Marcuse, “Holocaust Memorials: The Emergence of a Genre” American Historical Review forum essay, Feb. 2010, pp. 53-89. (25M pdf)
This richly illustrated article shows how a qualitatively new type of memorial emerged in the 1950s to express new meanings and commemorative practices. This new genre is characterized by expressing multiple meanings simultaneously to a diverse international audience through a new repertoire of forms, symbols and materials. Since the 1960s Holocaust memorials have evolved to complex experiential spaces that often incorporate museums and even research institutions.
- Gabriela Soto-Laveaga, Jungle Laboratories: Mexican Peasants, National Projects and the Making of the Pill (Duke UP, 2009). (amazon page, Duke Press)
In the 1940s chemists discovered that barbasco, a wild yam indigenous to Mexico, could be used to mass-produce synthetic steroid hormones. Barbasco spurred the development of new drugs, including cortisone and the first viable oral contraceptives, and positioned Mexico as a major player in the global pharmaceutical industry. Yet few people today are aware of Mexico’s role in achieving these advances in modern medicine. In Jungle Laboratories, Gabriela Soto Laveaga reconstructs the story of how rural yam pickers, international pharmaceutical companies, and the Mexican state collaborated and collided over the barbasco. By so doing, she sheds important light on a crucial period in Mexican history and challenges us to reconsider who can produce science.
Soto Laveaga traces the political, economic, and scientific development of the global barbasco industry from its emergence in the 1940s, through its appropriation by a populist Mexican state in 1970, to its obsolescence in the mid-1990s. She focuses primarily on the rural southern region of Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, where the yam grew most freely and where scientists relied on local, indigenous knowledge to cultivate and harvest the plant. Rural Mexicans, at first unaware of the pharmaceutical and financial value of barbasco, later acquired and deployed scientific knowledge to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, lobby the Mexican government, and ultimately transform how urban Mexicans perceived them. By illuminating how the yam made its way from the jungles of Mexico, to domestic and foreign scientific laboratories where it was transformed into pills, to the medicine cabinets of millions of women across the globe, Jungle Laboratories urges us to recognize the ways that Mexican peasants attained social and political legitimacy in the twentieth century, and positions Latin America as a major producer of scientific knowledge.
- Paul Spickard, Japanese Americans: The Formation and Transformations of an Ethnic Group (Rutgers UP, revised edition, 2009). (amazon page, google books, Rutgers Press)
Since 1855, nearly a half a million Japanese immigrants have settled in the United States, the majority arriving between 1890 and 1924 during the great wave of immigration to Hawai’i and the mainland. Today, more than one million Americans claim Japanese ancestry. They came to study and to work, and found jobs as farm laborers, cannery workers, and railroad workers. Many settled permanently, formed communities, and sent for family members in Japan. While they worked hard, established credit associations and other networks, and repeatedly distinguished themselves as entrepreneurs, they also encountered harsh discrimination. Nowhere was this more evident than on the West coast during World War II, when virtually the entire population of Japanese Americans was forced into internment camps solely on the basis of their ethnicity.
In this concise history, Paul R. Spickard traces the struggles and achievements of Japanese Americans in claiming their place in American society. He outlines three forces shaping ethnic groups in general: shared interests, shared institutions, and shared culture, and chronicles the Japanese American experience within this framework, showing how these factors created and nurtured solidarity.
- Toshi Aono (PhD 2007) , “1963 nen detanto no genkai: kyuba misairu kikigo no beiso kosho to domeiseiji, 1962-63nen,” [The Limit of Detente: US-Soviet Negotiations after the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Alliance Politics, 1962-63,” in Ikkyo Hogaku, vol. 8, no. 2, (2009): 533-580. Another article will be published in the April 2010 issue of Diplomatic History.
- Justin Bengry, "Courting the Pink Pound: Men Only and the Queer Consumer, 1935-39," History Workshop Journal 68, no. 1(2009):122-148.
The article traces deployments of homosexual codes and imagery in the first years of the early British men’s magazine Men Only to argue that it’s producers deliberately courted and spoke to a queer consumer segment a full half century before the marketplace explicitly and publicly identified interest in the "pink economy".
- Tom Cardoza (now Professor of Humanities at TMCC in Reno, NV), Intrepid Women: Cantinieres and Vivandieres of the French Army (Indiana UP, 2010). (Author’s website www.cantinieres.com [informative–check it out!], IUP book page, amazon.com page)
Cantinieres and vivandieres were women who served as official, uniformed combat auxiliaries of French army units from 1793 to the eve of World War I. Technically non-combatant spouses of active-duty soldiers, they fought and died in every conflict from the wars of the Revolution through colonial campaigns in Algeria, Mexico, West Africa, and Indochina. At a time when women were strictly controlled by the Napoleonic Code, cantinieres owned property, traveled widely, and exercised a fierce independence from their husbands. However, despite their actions, they passed largely under the radar of the growing feminist and anti-feminist movements that flourished in France from 1792 onward. Based on extensive archival research as well as published sources, Intrepid Women is the first serious book-length study of a previously ignored aspect of women’s and military history.
- Rick Fogarty (now at SUNY Albany), Race and War in France: Colonial Subjects in the French Army, 1914-1918 (Johns Hopkins UP, 2009). (amazon.com page)
- Robert Geraci (Ph.D. 2005, now at Manhattan College), Apocalyptic AI: Visions of Heaven in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality (Oxford UP, 2009). (amazon.com page/ also on google books)
This book explores artificial intelligence and the hope that we might one day upload our minds into machines or cyberspace and live forever. In Apocalyptic AI Geraci offers a serious account of this “cyber-theology” and the people who promote it. Drawing on interviews with roboticists and AI researchers and with devotees of the online game Second Life, among others, Geraci illuminates the ideas of such advocates of Apocalyptic AI as Hans Moravec and Ray Kurzweil. He reveals that the rhetoric of Apocalyptic AI is strikingly similar to that of the apocalyptic traditions of Judaism and Christianity. Equally important, Geraci shows how this worldview shapes our culture. In this volume, he shines a light on this belief system, revealing what it is and how it is changing society.
- Alison Rose Jefferson (MA Historic Preservation, USC 2007; BA Pomona College; Public History PhD program at UCSB since Fall 2009), “African American Leisure Space in Santa Monica: The Beach Sometimes Known as the ‘Inkwell,’ 1900s-1960s,” in: Southern California Quarterly Journal (Summer 2009).
Ms. Jefferson was a featured speaker at the Beach Culture events series at the Santa Monica Annenberg Community Beach House in July 2009, and an article about her career and research was published in the Fall 2009 issue of the Pomona College Alumni magazine, pp. 39-41: “A Place in the Sun” (article starts on p. 38 of this pdf).
- Andy Johns (Brigham Young University; Ph.D. Logevall, 2000), Vietnam’s Second Front: Domestic Politics, the Republican Party, and the War (University Press of Kentucky, 2010). (publisher’s webpage; amazon page)
In this book Johns assesses the influence of the Republican Party–its congressional leadership, politicians, grassroots organizations, and the Nixon administration–on the escalation, prosecution, and resolution of the Vietnam War. This groundbreaking work sheds new light on the relationship between Congress and the imperial presidency as they struggled for control over U.S. foreign policy.
Beginning his analysis in 1961 and continuing through the Paris Peace Accords of 1973, Johns argues that the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations failed to achieve victory on the military and political fronts of the Vietnam War because of their preoccupation with domestic politics. Johns details the machinations and political dexterity required of all three presidents and of members of Congress to maneuver between the countervailing forces of escalation and negotiation, offering a provocative account of the ramifications of their decisions.
- Jason Kelly, The Society of Dilettanti: Archaeology and Identity in the British Enlightenment (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and Yale University Press, 2010).
- Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, "Counter-Organizing the Sunbelt: Right-to-Work Campaigns and Anti-Union Conservatism, 1943-1958," Pacific Historical Review (2009).
This article is based on extensive archival work in Western Sunbelt states. It asserts that the political rhetoric pervasive in these early campaigns came to dominate national conversations about labor’s power and legitimacy, which suggests that a pro-development anti-unionism was a pillar of Western-Sunbelt conservatism and the modern Right.
Ellie’s essay “Archetypal and Atypical: Sunbelt Capitalism and Growth Politics in Phoenix, Arizona and the Developing South & Southwest, 1932-1969” will open the forthcoming book: Michelle Nickerson and Darren Dochuk (eds.), Sunbelt Rising. It describes the emergence of a unique, conservative Sunbelt politics out of the rapidly changing political economy that transformed the mid-20th century South and Southwest.
- Kurt Werthmuller (Humphries, assistant professor at Azusa Pacific University), Coptic Identity and Ayyubid Politics in Egypt, 1218-1250 (AUC Press, June 2010). AUC Press and International market pages.
From the archives
- News item about five 2007 faculty publications.
- News item about eight 2008 faculty books, as well as graduate student and alumni publications.
- News item about 2011-2012 faculty books, as well as graduate student and alumni publications.
hm 11/10/09, 11/19, 11/28/09, 1/4/10, 2/6, 2/23, 3/16, 7/15, 8/31, 12/16; 3/5/12