Books

The following books were recently published by Buffett Institute affiliates.

2016

Rebelocracy: Social Order in the Colombian Civil War

Ana Arjona, Political Science

Rebelocracy: Social Order in the Colombian Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

Conventional wisdom portrays war zones as chaotic and anarchic. In reality, however, they are often orderly. This work introduces a new phenomenon in the study of civil war: wartime social order. It investigates the emergence and functioning of social order in conflict zones, delving into rebel behavior, civilian agency, and their impact on the conduct of war. Based on years of fieldwork in Colombia, the theory is tested with qualitative and quantitative evidence. The study shows how armed groups strive to rule civilians, and how the latter influence the terms of that rule. The theory and empirical results illuminate our understanding of civil war, institutions, local governance, non-violent resistance, and the emergence of political order.

The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain

Dario Fernández-Morera, Spanish & Portuguese

The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise Muslims, Christians, and Jews under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain (ISI Books, 2016)

Scholars, journalists, and politicians uphold Muslim-ruled medieval Spain—“al-Andalus”—as a multicultural paradise, a place where Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived in harmony. There is only one problem with this widely accepted account: it is a myth. In this groundbreaking book, Fernández-Morera tells the full story of Islamic Spain. The book shines light on hidden history by drawing on an abundance of primary sources that scholars have ignored, as well as archaeological evidence only recently unearthed.

Perspectives in Transnational Higher Education

Wendy Griswold, Sociology, et al. (Ed.)

Perspectives in Transnational Higher Education (Springer, 2016)

This volume brought together scholars from various parts of the world to provide the readers with the latest research in transnational higher education and transcultural learning and teaching theories, as well as findings, best practices, and emerging trends. Practitioners will find best practice cases that they can cross-culturally adapt to develop, implement, and assess their own courses and programs. This book can serve as a good companion for faculty, administrators, and leaders in postsecondary institutions to plan, develop, implement, and evaluate programs and courses related to transnational higher education and learning. The book includes conceptual and theoretical frameworks that can inform studies to provide leaders and administrators in colleges and universities with research-based support to make decisions related to transnational education in a systemic way.

Islamic Education in Africa: Writing Boards and Blackboards

Robert Launay, Anthropology and ISITA (Ed.).

Islamic Education in Africa: Writing Boards and Blackboards (Indiana University Press, 2016)

Writing boards and blackboards are emblematic of two radically different styles of education in Islam. The essays in this lively volume address various aspects of the expanding and evolving range of educational choices available to Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa. Contributors from the United States, Europe, and Africa evaluate classical Islamic education in Africa from colonial times to the present, including changes in pedagogical methods—from sitting to standing, from individual to collective learning, from recitation to analysis. A new view of the role of Islamic education, especially its politics and controversies in today’s age of terrorism, emerges from this broadly comparative volume.

The Making of Salafism: Islamic Reform in the Twentieth Century

Henri Lauzière, History

The Making of Salafism: Islamic Reform in the Twentieth Century (Columbia University Press, 2016).

Some scholars hold that Salafism is an innovative and rationalist effort at Islamic reform, while others argue the opposite. Introducing a third, empirically based genealogy, this book understands Salafism as a recent phenomenon projected back onto the past, and it sees its purist evolution as a direct result of decolonization. The author builds his history on the transnational networks of Moroccan Sufi Taqi al-Din al-Hilali (1894–1987). Today, Salafis tend to claim a monopoly on religious truth and freely confront other Muslims. Lauzière's pathbreaking history recognizes the social forces behind this purist turn, uncovering the origins of a global phenomenon.

A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy

Joel Mokyr, Economics

A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy (Princeton University Press, 2016)

During the late 18th century, innovations in Europe triggered the Industrial Revolution and the sustained economic progress that spread across the globe. While much has been made of the details of the Industrial Revolution, what remains a mystery is why it took place at all. Why did this revolution begin in the West and not elsewhere, and why did it continue, leading to today’s unprecedented prosperity? Joel Mokyr argues that a culture of growth specific to early modern Europe and the European Enlightenment laid the foundations for the scientific advances and pioneering inventions that would instigate explosive technological and economic development. Bringing together economics, the history of science and technology, and models of cultural evolution, Mokyr demonstrates that culture—the beliefs, values, and preferences in society that are capable of changing behavior—was a deciding factor in societal transformations.

2015

After the American Century: The Ends of U.S. Culture in the Middle East

Brian T. Edwards, Political Science and MENA

After the American Century: The Ends of U.S. Culture in the Middle East (Columbia University Press, 2015)

Building on a decade of fieldwork in Cairo, Casablanca, and Tehran, Brian T. Edwards maps new routes of cultural exchange that are innovative, accelerated, and full of diversions. Shaped by the digital revolution, these paths are entwined with the growing fragility of American "soft" power. They indicate an era after the American century, in which popular American products and phenomena—such as comic books, teen romances, social-networking sites, and ways of expressing sexuality—are stripped of their associations with the United States and recast in very different forms.

Captive Society: The Basij Militia and Social Control in Iran

Saeid Golkar, Buffett Institute & MENA Studies

Captive Society: The Basij Militia and Social Control in Iran (Columbia University Press, 2015)

Iran's Basij Resistance Force is a paramilitary organization used by the regime to suppress dissidents, vote as a bloc, and indoctrinate Iranian citizens. Captive Society surveys the Basij's history, structure, and sociology, as well as its influence on Iranian society, its economy, and its educational system. Golkar's account draws not only on published materials—including Basij and Revolutionary Guard publications, allied websites, and blogs—but also on his own informal communications with Basij members while studying and teaching in Iranian universities. In addition, he incorporates findings from surveys and interviews he conducted while in Iran.

Beyond Religious Freedom: The New Global Politics of Religion

Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Political Science

Beyond Religious Freedom: The New Global Politics of Religion (Princeton University Press, 2015)

In recent years, North American and European nations have sought to legally remake religion in other countries through an unprecedented array of international initiatives. Policymakers have rallied around the notion that the fostering of religious freedom, interfaith dialogue, religious tolerance, and protections for religious minorities are the keys to combating persecution and discrimination. Beyond Religious Freedom persuasively argues that these initiatives create the very social tensions and divisions they are meant to overcome.

Local Governance Innovation in China: Experimentation, Diffusion, and Defiance

William Hurst, Political Science, et al. (Ed.)

Local Governance Innovation in China: Experimentation, Diffusion, and Defiance (Routledge, 2015)

Despite a centralized formal structure, Chinese politics has long been marked by local variation and experimentation. Based on extensive fieldwork, this book explores how policies diffuse across China, the mechanisms through which local governments arrive at solutions, and the implications for China’s political development. The chapters examine how local-level institutions solve governance challenges, such as rural development, enterprise reform, and social service provision. Focusing on diverse policy areas, the contributors all address the question, how do local policymakers innovate in each issue area to address governance challenges, and how, if at all, do these innovations diffuse into national politics?

 Thinking Small: The United States and the Lure of Community Development

Daniel Immerwahr, History

Thinking Small: The United States and the Lure of Community Development  (Harvard University Press, 2015)

Historians commonly interpret the United States' postwar development campaigns as ill-advised attempts to impose modernity upon poorer nations. The small-scale projects that are popular today mark a retreat from that top-down, heavy-handed approach. But Daniel Immerwahr shows that community-based development is nothing new. Thinking Small tells the story of how the United States sought to rescue the world from poverty through small-scale, community-based approaches. And it also sounds a warning: such strategies, now again in vogue, have been tried before, with often disastrous consequences.

2014

From a Nation Torn: Decolonizing Art and Representation in France, 1945-1962

Hannah Feldman, Art History

From a Nation Torn: Decolonizing Art and Representation in France, 1945-1962 (Duke University Press, 2014)

This book provides a critique of art history's understanding of French modernism and the historical circumstances that shaped its production and reception. Within art history, the aesthetic practices and theories that emerged in France from the late 1940s into the 1960s are demarcated as postwar. Yet Feldman argues that it was during these very decades that France fought a protracted series of wars to maintain its far-flung colonial empire. Feldman asserts that the study of modernism must incorporate the tumultuous “decades of decolonization” and their profound influence on visual and public culture. 

Who’s asking? Native Science, Western Science and Science Education

Douglas Medin (Psychology) and Megan Bang

Who’s asking? Native Science, Western Science and Science Education (MIT Press, 2014)

In Who’s Asking?, Douglas Medin and Megan Bang argue that despite the widely held view that science is objective, value-neutral, and acultural, scientists do not shed their cultures at the laboratory or classroom door. The answers to scientific questions depend on who’s asking, because the questions asked and the answers sought reflect the cultural values and orientations of the questioner. These values and orientations are most often those of Western science; their practices reflect their values, belief systems, and worldviews. Medin and Bang argue further that scientist diversity—the participation of researchers and educators with different cultural orientations— provides new perspectives and leads to more effective science and better science education.

The Golden Age Shtetl: A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, History

The Golden Age Shtetl: A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe (Princeton University Press, 2014)

The shtetl was home to two-thirds of East Europe's Jews in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, yet it has long been one of the most neglected and misunderstood chapters of the Jewish experience. This book provides the first grassroots social, economic, and cultural history of the shtetl. Challenging popular misconceptions of the shtetl as an isolated, ramshackle Jewish village stricken by poverty and pogroms, Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern argues that, in its heyday from the 1790s to the 1840s, the shtetl was a thriving Jewish community as vibrant as any in Europe.

Authoritarian Origins of Democratic Party Systems in Africa

Rachel Beatty Riedl, Political Science

Authoritarian Origins of Democratic Party Systems in Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

Why have seemingly similar African countries developed very different forms of democratic party systems? Despite virtually ubiquitous conditions that are assumed to be challenging to democracy—low levels of economic development, high ethnic heterogeneity, and weak state capacity—nearly two dozen African countries have maintained democratic competition since the early 1990s. Yet the forms of party system competition vary greatly: from highly stable, nationally organized, well-institutionalized party systems to incredibly volatile, particularistic parties in systems with low institutionalization. To explain their divergent development, Riedl points to earlier authoritarian strategies to consolidate support and maintain power. The initial stages of democratic opening provides an opportunity for authoritarian incumbents to attempt to shape the rules of the new multiparty system in their own interests, but their power to do so depends on the extent of local support built up over time.

Adjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status: The Role of Witness, Expertise, and Testimony

Galya Ruffer (Political Science), and Benjamin Lawrance, editors

Adjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status: The Role of Witness, Expertise, and Testimony (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

In this book, an array of legal, biomedical, psychosocial, and social science scholars and practitioners offer the first comparative account of the increasing dependence on expertise in the asylum and refugee status determination process. The authors provide insights into the evidentiary burdens on asylum seekers and the expanding role of expertise in the forms of countryconditions reports, biomedical and psychiatric evaluations, and the emerging field of forensic linguistic analysis in response to emerging forms of persecution, such as gender-based or sexuality-based persecution. 

Blood Ties: Religion, Violence, and the Politics of Nationhood in Ottoman Macedonia

Ipek K. Yosmaoglu, History

Blood Ties: Religion, Violence, and the Politics of Nationhood in Ottoman Macedonia, 1878-1908 (Cornell University Press, 2014)

Yosmaoglu explains the origins of the shift from sporadic to systemic and pervasive violence in late nineteenth-century Ottoman Macedonia. In the final decades of the nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century, Macedonia was periodically racked by bitter conflict that was qualitatively different from previous outbreaks of violence. Focusing on the experience of the inhabitants of Ottoman Macedonia during this period, she shows how communal solidarities broke down and the immutable form of national identity replaced polyglot, fluid associations that had formerly defined people's sense of collective belonging.

2013

Standing on Common Ground: The Making of a Sunbelt Borderland

Geraldo Cadava, History

Standing on Common Ground: The Making of a Sunbelt Borderland (Harvard University Press, 2013)

Under constant surveillance and policed by increasingly militarized means, ARizona's border is portrayed in the media as a site of sharp political and ethnic divisions. But this view obscures the region's deeper history. Bringing to light the shared cultural and commercial ties through which businessmen and politicians forged a transnational Sunbelt, Cadava recovers the vibrant connections between Tuscon, Arizona, and the neighboring Mexican state of Sonora.

African Dress: Fashion, Agency, Performance

Karen Tranberg Hansen (Anthropology) and D. Soyini Madison (Performance Studies), co-editors

African Dress: Fashion, Agency, Performance (Bloomsbury, 2013)

Dress and fashion practices in African and the Diaspora are dynamic and diverse, whether on the street or on the fashion runway. African Dress explores how ideas and practices of dress contest or legitimize existing power structures through expressions of individual identity and the cultural and political order. Drawing on innovative, interdisciplinary research by established and up-and-coming scholars, the book examines real-life projects and social transformations that are deeply political, revolving around individual and public goals of dignity, respect, status, and morality.

What Changed When Everything Changed: 9/11 and the Making of National Identity

Joseph Margulies, Law

What Changed When Everything Changed: 9/11 and the Making of National Identity (Yale University Press, 2013)

Margulies reveals that for key elements of the post-9/11 landscape—especially support for for counterterror policies like torture and hostility to Islam—American identity is not only darker than it was before September 11, 2001, but substantially more repressive than it was immediately after the attacks. These repressive attitudes Margulies argues, have taken hold even as the terrorist theat has diminished significantly.

2012

Africans to Spanish America: Expanding the Diaspora

Sherwin K. Bryant (African American Studies), Rachel Sarah O'Toole, and Ben Vinson, editors

Africans to Spanish America: Expanding the Diaspora (University of Illinois Press 2012)

In their edited collection, Bryant and his colleagues expand the diaspora framework to include Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and Cuba, exploring the connections and disjunctures between colonial Latin America and the African diaspora in the Spanish empires.

 The Nanotechnology Challenge

David Dana (Law) editor

The Nanotechnology Challenge (Cambridge U. Press 2012)

Dana offers views on how new legal institutions should be formed to address the uncertain risks of nanotechnology. The book presents a synthesis of the science regarding health risks and a range of proposals for creative approaches to regulating nanotechnology.

Tiny Publics: A Theory of Group Action and Culture

Gary Fine, Sociology

Tiny Publics: A Theory of Group Action and Culture (Russell Sage Press, 2012)

Fine argues that the basic building blocks of society are forged within the boundaries of "tiny publics." Action, meaning, authority, inequality, organization, and institutions all have their roots in small groups. Yet for the past 25 years social scientists have tended to ignore the power of groups in favor of an emphasis on organizations, societies, or individuals. Based on over 35 years of his own ethnographic research, Fine presents a compelling new theory of the pivotal role of small groups in organizing social life.

After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Douglas Foster, Medill

After Mandela: The Struggle for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Liveright 2012)

Foster traces South Africa's post-apartheid arc, from its celebrated beginnings under "Madiba" to Thabo Mbeki's tumultuous rule to the ferocious battle between Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. He tells this story not only from the viewpoint of the emerging black elite but also from the perspectives of ordinary citizens, including an HIV-infected teenager living outside Johannesburg and a homeless orphan in Cape Town.

A Tale of Two Cultures: Qualitative and Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences

James Mahoney (Political Science/Sociology) and Gary Goertz

A Tale of Two Cultures: Qualitative and Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences (Princeton U. Press 2012)

Mahoney and Goertz demonstrate how the two paradigms of social science methods constitute different cultures, each internally coherent but marked by contrasting norms and practices. They discuss the two traditions while promoting exchange and toleration of the alternative methodologies.

Accelerating Democracy: Transforming Governance Through Technology

John McGinnis, Law

Accelerating Democracy: Transforming Governance Through Technology (Princeton University Press, 2012)

Successful democracies throughout history—from ancient Athens to Britain on the cusp of the industrial age—have used the technology of their time to gather information for better governance. The challenge is no different today, but it is more urgent because the accelerating pace of technology change creates potentially enormous dangers as well as benefits. Accelerating Democracy provides a blueprint for how to adapt democracy to new information technologies that can enhance political decision making and enable people to navigate the social rapids ahead.

The Hunt for KSM: Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Josh Meyer (Medill) and Terry McDermott

The Hunt for KSM: Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (Little, Brown and Company 2012)

Meyer and McDermott recount the US government's pursuit of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed through false leads and narrow escapes via investigative journalism and previously unseen sources.

The Invention of Enterprise: Entrepreneurship from Ancient Mesopotamia to Modern Times

Joel Mokyr, Economics

The Invention of Enterprise: Entrepreneurship from Ancient Mesopotamia to Modern Times (Princeton University Press, 2012)

Whether hailed as heroes or cast as threats to social order, entrepreneurs—and their innovations—have had an enormous influence on the growth and prosperity of nations. The Invention of Enterprise gathers together, for the first time, leading economic historians to explore the entrepreneur's role in society from antiquity to the present. Addressing social and institutional influences from antiquity to the present. Addressing social and institutional influences from a historical context, each chapter examines entrepreneurship during a particular period and in an important geographic location.

Performing Queer Latinidad: Dance, Sexuality, Politics

Ramón Rivera-Servera, Performance Studies

Performing Queer Latinidad: Dance, Sexuality, Politics (University of Michigan Press 2012)

Rivera-Servera highlights the critical role that performance played in the development of Latina/o queer public culture in the United States during the 1990s and early 2000s, a period when the size and influence of the Latina/o population was increasing alongside a growing scrutiny of the public spaces where latinidad could circulate.

Down to Earth: Satellite Technologies, Industries, and Cultures

James Schwoch (Communication Studies), co-editor

Down to Earth: Satellite Technologies, Industries, and Cultures (Rutgers University Press, 2012)

Down to Earth presents the first comprehensive overview of the geopolitical maneuvers, financial investments, technological innovations, and ideological struggles that take place behind the scenes of the satellite industry. Satellite projects that have not received extensive coverage—microsatellites in China, WorldSpace in South Africa, SiriusXM, the failures of USA 193 and Cosmos 954, and Iridium—are explored. This collection takes readers on a voyage through a truly global industry, from the sites where satellites are launched to the corporate clean rooms where they are designed, and along the orbits and paths that satellites traverse.

Public Opinion and International Intervention: Lessons from the Iraq War

Richard Sobel, et al, editors

Public Opinion and International Intervention: Lessons from the Iraq War (Potomac Books 2012)

In this edited volume, scholars debate the role of public opinion in countries' decisions to participate—or not—in an international conflict.

Selling Women: Prostitution, Markets, and the Household in Early Modern Japan

Amy Stanley, History

Selling Women: Prostitution, Markets, and the Household in Early Modern Japan (University of California Press 2012)

Stanley traces the social history of early modern Japan's sex trade from the seventeenth-century city to the nineteenth-century countryside. She describes how the work of "selling women" transformed communities across Japan.