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New Books

June 15, 2022

EDWIN ACKERMAN, assistant professor of sociology, examines two nationalist insurrections that were largely composed of a peasant-base in Mexico in 1921 and Bolivia in 1952 in his book, "Origins of the Mass Party: Dispossession and the Party-Form in Mexico and Bolivia in Comparative Perspective" (University of Oxford Press, 2021). In both cases, insurrectionists triumphed over oligarchical regimes, and groups led by upper-middle class intelligentsia who adopted populist agrarian discourse attempted to incorporate the large pre- dominantly peasant base into their parties. Acker- man finds the insurrection in Mexico to have been radically different than the insurrection in Bolivia.  

SEAN J. DRAKE, assistant professor of sociology, looks at how race and class intersect, contributing to educational inequality and modern school segregation in his book, "Academic Apartheid: Race and the Criminalization of Failure in an American Suburb" (University of California Press, 2022). Drake focuses on two high schools in a racially diverse southern California suburb. He draws on over two years of ethnographic observations and dozens of interviews to highlight the ways in which hidden institutional mechanisms lead to both overt segregation and symbolic criminalization of Black, Latinx and lower-income students. He describes how conventional definitions of student success and failure are used to justify racial and socioeconomic segregation in the district, and how local immigrant groups leverage their resources to help their students succeed.  

DIMITAR GUEORGUIEV, associate professor of political science, investigates how the Chinese Communist Party has maintained power in the People’s Republic of China throughout reforms and rapid development in his book, "Retrofitting Leninism: Participation without Democracy in China" (Oxford University Press, 2021). Gueorguiev argues that the key to the Communist Party’s longevity is its ability to integrate authoritarian control with social inclusion through modern telecommunications technologies. Using statistical data, media reports and opinion polls, Gueorguiev explores how policy planning within the Chinese Communist Party incorporates public input to maintain its power.  

AMY LUTZ, associate professor of sociology, is the co-author of "Parenting in Privilege or Peril: How Social Inequality Enables or Derails the American Dream" (Teachers College Press, 2021). The book examines how social contexts and culture affect parenting decisions. Lutz cowrote it with Pamela R. Bennett, associate professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Lakshmi Jayaram, president of the Inquiry Research Group LLC and affiliate with the University of Central Florida. The authors analyze class differences in parents’ social contexts—neighborhoods, schools and networks. They demonstrate that cultural differences are no match for economic inequalities and call for a public policy shift away from trying to change how working-class parents raise their children toward improving their social contexts.  

MARK MONMONIER, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Geography and the Environment, tells the story of a farmer-turned-inventor in his new book, "Clock and Compass: How John Byron Plato Gave Farmers a Real Address" (University of Iowa Press, 2022). The title’s namesake attended a Denver vocational high school, became a farmer in his mid-30s, and patented several inventions including the “Clock System,” which assigned addresses to rural residences without house numbers. Plato invented the system after he encountered obstacles selling his cattle using the existing Rural Free Delivery number system for mail. His map-and-directory combination provided farmers a real address, just like people had in the city. Monmonier has authored more than 20 books, including the first general textbook on computer-assisted cartography and "How to Lie with Maps" which in December 2020 was named one of the “eight essential books for geographers” by Geographical Magazine, the National Geographic of the United Kingdom.  

TESSA MURPHY, associate professor of history, traces how generations of Indigenous Kalinagos, free and enslaved Africans and settlers from a variety of European nations, used maritime routes to forge connections that spanned the eastern Caribbean in her book, "The Creole Archipelago: Race and Borders in the Colonial Caribbean" (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021). Murphy explains how these islands are distinct from other Caribbean colonial plantation societies, a result of the powers that competed for influence in the region, such as the British and French, as well as the Kalinagos, who continued asserting their right to their lands. Research materials included parish records, an Indigenous language dictionary, historical maps and colonial correspondence from France, England, the United States and the Caribbean.  

ROBERT RUBINSTEIN AND SANDRA LANE are among the co-editors and contributors to a new social sciences book titled, "The SAGE Handbook of Social Studies in Health and Medicine" (SAGE Publications Ltd, 2022). Rubinstein, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and professor of international relations, wrote a chapter titled “Disaster and Health,” that examines the estimated 167.6 million people, including refugees, who were affected by disasters in 2020. Lane, professor of public health in Falk College and professor of anthropology by courtesy appointment, contributed two chapters, “Historical Trauma and Epigenetics” and “Gender and Health.” Sociology doctoral student Wencheng Zhang and anthropology graduate student Mariel Rivera co-wrote the chapters with Lane. In addition, Jok Madut Jok, professor of anthropology, co-wrote the chapter, “Refugees, Life in Host Communities, and the Health Challenges” with anthropology graduate student Julia McDaniel. Jay Jeong Hyun Park ’18 B.A. (Soc) is co-author of the chapter “Social and Geopolitical Factors Influencing Trends in Substance Use,” which explores the sociological factors shaping drug use trends.  

Published in the Summer 2022 issue of the Maxwell Perspective

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