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Advances in Spanish as a Heritage Language
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Advances in Spanish as a Heritage Language, edited by Diego Pascual y Cabo (John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2016).

Bringing together contributions from some of the leading experts in the field of Spanish as a Heritage Language, this volume aims to provide an in-depth understanding of current and emerging trends in research and praxis. To this end, the volume is divided into three thematic units. The first unit surveys the study of Spanish heritage speaker bilingualism from a formal/theoretical linguistic point of view. The second unit focuses on issues shaping the current state of affairs in heritage language education. Finally, the third unit maps out future lines of development within heritage language instruction. The wide topical scope within this single volume will undoubtedly provide a valuable resource for researchers, students, and professionals working in different areas of Spanish as a heritage language.

Beyond Constantinople
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Beyond Constantinople: The Memoirs of an Ottoman Jew, by Victor Eskenazi (I.B. Tauris, 2016).

“Constantinople in those days represented the bridge between East and West. The navel of the earth. A wondrous and fascinating place to live.” Victor Eskenazi, a Sephardic Jew from Constantinople, represented an ethnic and religious minority that thrived in the Ottoman Empire. The beginning of the twentieth century was a critical period in Ottoman history, which saw the end of the Empire, defeat in World War I but also a colourful influx of victorious allied armies and White Russians fleeing the Revolution, contributing to the already cosmopolitan nature of the city. Eskenazi breathed the complex air of this budding new Turkey, with its ideals, contradictions and hopes. His extraordinary memoir which begins in Constantinople and travels across Europe during and after World War II tells the remarkable story of a family, poignantly capturing a moment in time which now exists only in memory.

British Urban Trees
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British Urban Trees: A Social and Cultural History, c. 1800–1914 by Paul A. Elliott (The White Horse Press, 2016).

Whether we consider the great London Planes which are now the largest trees in many British urban streets, the exotic ornamentals from across the globe flourishing in numerous private gardens, the stately trees of public parks and squares or the dense colourful foliage of suburbia, the impact of trees and arboriculture upon modern towns and their ecosystems is clear. From the formal walks and squares of the Georgian town to Victorian tree-lined boulevards and commemorative oaks, trees are the organic statuary of modern urban society, providing continuity yet constantly changing through the day and over the seasons. Interfacing between humans and nature, connecting the continents and reaching back and forward through time to past and future generations, they have come to define urbanity while simultaneously evoking nature and the countryside. This book is the first major study of British urban arboriculture between 1800 and 1914 and draws upon fresh approaches in geographical, urban and environmental history. It makes a major contribution to our understanding of where, how and why trees grew in British towns in the period, the social and cultural impact of these and the attitudes taken towards them.

Ecuadorians in Madrid
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Ecuadorians in Madrid: Migrants’ Place in Urban History, by Araceli Masterson-Algar (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

In the decade preceding the recent financial crisis (1998-2008), Madrid became the city with the largest Ecuadorian population outside of Ecuador. This book addresses the interconnections between spatial practices, cultural production, and definitions of citizenship in migration dynamics between Ecuador and Spain.

Hitler’s Geographies
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Hitler’s Geographies: The Spatialities of the Third Reich, edited by Paolo Giaccaria and Claudio Minca (University of Chicago Press, 2016).

Lebensraum: the entitlement of “legitimate” Germans to living space. Entfernung: the expulsion of “undesirables” to create empty space for German resettlement. During his thirteen years leading Germany, Hitler developed and made use of a number of powerful geostrategical concepts such as these in order to justify his imperialist expansion, exploitation, and genocide. As his twisted manifestation of spatial theory grew in Nazi ideology, it created a new and violent relationship between people and space in Germany and beyond.

With Hitler’s Geographies, editors Paolo Giaccaria and Claudio Minca examine the variety of ways in which spatial theory evolved and was translated into real-world action under the Third Reich. They have gathered an outstanding collection by leading scholars, presenting key concepts and figures as well exploring the undeniable link between biopolitical power and spatial expansion and exclusion.

People and Places: ​A 21st-century atlas of the UK
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People and Places: A 21st-century atlas of the UK, by Danny Dorling and Bethan Thomas (Policy Press, 2016).

How can very recent UK trends in the years 2011-2015 be understood in the context of detailed maps of social change in the 10 years between 2001 and 2011? This unique atlas, the third in the series, uses a wealth of up-to-the minute data sources alongside 2011 Census data. It shows national and local trends and provides analysis of the implications of these for future policy.

Packed with at-a-glance data tracking the period from boom to bust and beyond to the new Conservative government of 2015, key features include the analysis of over 100,000 demographic statistics and the use of new cartographic projections and techniques, all laid out in an attractive and accessible format.

Put together, this is the most accessible guide to social change over the past 15 years, and is essential reading for all those working in local authorities, health authorities, and statutory and voluntary organisations, as well as for researchers, students, policy makers, journalists and politicians interested in social geography, social policy, social justice and social change. This is the only social atlas of the 2011 Census that explains so much about how all of the UK is changing.

Disrupted Landscapes
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Didisrupted Landscapes: State, Peasants and the Politics of Land in Postsocialist Romania, by Stefan Doronel (Berghahn Books, 2016).

The fall of the Soviet Union was a transformative event for the national political economies of Eastern Europe, leading not only to new regimes of ownership and development but to dramatic changes in the natural world itself. This painstakingly researched volume focuses on the emblematic case of post-socialist Romania, in which the transition from collectivization to privatization profoundly reshaped the nation’s forests, farmlands, and rivers. From bureaucrats abetting illegal deforestation to peasants opposing government agricultural policies, it reveals the social and political mechanisms by which neoliberalism was introduced into the Romanian landscape.

Art, Agency and Living Presence
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Art, Agency and Living Presence: From the Animated Image to the Excessive Object, by Caroline van Eck (Leiden University Press, 2016).

Throughout history, and all over the world,viewers have treated works of art as if they were living beings: speaking to them, falling in love with them, kissing or beating them. Although over the past twenty years the catalogue of individual cases of such behaviour towards art has increased immensely, there are few attempts at formulating a theoretical account of them, or writing the history of how such responses were considered, defined or understood. That is what this book sets out to do: to reconstruct some crucial chapters in the history of accounting for such behaviour in Western Europe. Drawing on classical rhetoric and the work of Aby Warburg and Alfred Gell and little known early modern sources it develops an historically grounded theory of the human tendency to endow images, in particular statues, with life.

The Importance of British Material Culture to Historical Archaeologies of the Nineteenth Century
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The Importance of British Material Culture to Historical Archaeologies of the Nineteenth Century, edited by Alasdair Brooks (University of Nebraska Press, 2016).

Britain was the industrial and political powerhouse of the nineteenth century—the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and the center of the largest empire of the time. With its broad imperial reach—and even broader indirect influence—Britain had a major impact on nineteenth-century material culture worldwide. Because British manufactured goods were widespread in British colonies and beyond, a more nuanced understanding of those goods can enhance the archaeological study of the people who used them far beyond Britain’s shores. However, until recently archaeologists have given relatively little attention to such goods in Britain itself, thereby missing what is often revealing and useful contextual information for historical archaeologists working in countries where British goods were consumed while also leaving significant portions of Britain’s own archaeological record poorly understood.
The Importance of British Material Culture to Historical Archaeologies of the Nineteenth Century helps fill these gaps, through case studies demonstrating the importance and meaning of mass-produced material culture in Britain from the birth of the Industrial Revolution (mid-1700s) to early World War II. By examining many disparate items—such as ceramics made for export, various goods related to food culture, Scottish land documents, and artifacts of death—these studies enrich both an understanding of Britain itself and the many places it influenced during the height of its international power.

Making Christian Landscapes in Atlantic Europe
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Making Christian Landscapes in Atlantic Europe: Conversion and Consolidation in the Early Middle Ages, edited by Tomas Carragain & Sam Turner (Cork University Press, 2016).

Landscapes across Europe were transformed, both physically and conceptually, during the early medieval period (c AD 400-1200), and these changes were bound up with the conversion to Christianity and the development of ecclesiastical power structures. While Christianity represented a more or less common set of beliefs and ideas, early medieval societies were characterized by vibrant diversity: much can potentially be learned about these societies by comparing and contrasting how they adapted Christianity to suit local circumstances. This is the first book to adopt a comparative landscape approach to this crucial subject.

It considers the imprint of early medieval Christianity on landscapes along the continent’s western shore from Galicia to Norway, and across the northern islands from Britain and Ireland to Iceland. The construction of new monuments clearly led to some major physical changes, but landscapes are not just affected by tangible, material alterations: they are also shaped by new types of knowledge and changing perceptions. Christianity was associated with many such changes including new ways of seeing the land that directly affected how landscapes were inhabited and managed. By examining how people chose to shape their landscapes, this book provides fresh perspectives on the Christianization of Atlantic Europe.

Mother Goose Refigured
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Mother Goose Refigured: A Critical Translation of Charles Perrault’s Fairy Tales, by Christine A. Jones (Wayne State University Press, 2016).

Charles Perrault published Histoires ou Contes du temps passé (“Stories or Tales of the Past”) in France in 1697 during what scholars call the first “vogue” of tales produced by learned French writers. The genre that we now know so well was new and an uncommon kind of literature in the epic world of Louis XIV’s court. This inaugural collection of French fairy tales features characters like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Puss-in-Boots that over the course of the eighteenth century became icons of social history in France and abroad. Translating the original Histoires ou Contes means grappling not only with the strangeness of seventeenth-century French but also with the ubiquity and familiarity of plots and heroines in their famous English personae.

From its very first translation in 1729, Histoires ou Contes has depended heavily on its English translations for the genesis of character names and enduring recognition. This dependability makes new, innovative translation challenging. For example, can Perrault’s invented name “Cendrillon” be retranslated into anything other than “Cinderella”? And what would happen to our understanding of the tale if it were? Is it possible to sidestep the Anglophone tradition and view the seventeenth-century French anew? Why not leave Cinderella alone, as she is deeply ingrained in cultural lore and beloved the way she is? Such questions inspired the translations of these tales in Mother Goose Refigured, which aim to generate new critical interest in heroines and heroes that seem frozen in time. The book offers introductory essays on the history of interpretation and translation, before retranslating each of the Histoires ou Contes with the aim to prove that if Perrault’s is a classical frame of reference, these tales nonetheless exhibit strikingly modern strategies.

Designed for scholars, their classrooms, and other adult readers of fairy tales, Mother Goose Refigured promises to inspire new academic interpretations of the Mother Goose tales, particularly among readers who do not have access to the original French and have relied for their critical inquiries on traditional renderings of the tales.

Europe Entrapped
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Europe Entrapped, by Claus Offe (Wiley Publishing, 2016).

Today Europe finds itself in a crisis that casts a dark shadow over an entire generation. The seriousness of the crisis stems from one core political contradiction at the heart of the European project: namely, that what urgently needs to be done is also extremely unpopular and therefore virtually impossible to do democratically. What must be done – and almost everyone agrees in principle on the measures that would be needed to deal with the financial crisis – cannot be sold to the voting public of the core member states, which so far have been less affected by the crisis than those on the periphery, nor can the conditions that core members try to impose be easily sold to voters in the deficit countries.

The European Union is therefore becoming increasingly disunited, with deepening divides between the German-dominated ‘core’ and the southern ‘periphery’, between the winners and the losers of the common currency, between the advocates of greater integration and the anti-Europeans, between the technocrats and the populists. Europe finds itself trapped by the deepening divisions that are opening up across the Continent, obstructing its ability to deal with a crisis that has already caused massive social suffering in the countries of the European periphery and is threatening to derail the very project of the European Union.

In this short book, Claus Offe brings into sharp focus the central political problem that lies at the heart of the EU and shackles its ability to deal with the most serious crisis of its short history.

Memories of Two Generations
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Memories of Two Generations: A Yiddish Life in Russia and Texas, by Alexander Z. Gurwitz (The University of Alabama Press, 2016).

In 1910, at the age of fifty-one, Alexander Ziskind Gurwitz made the bold decision to emigrate with his wife and four children from southeastern Ukraine in Tsarist Russia to begin a new life in Texas. In 1935, in his seventies, Gurwitz composed a retrospective autobiography, Memories of Two Generations, that recounts his personal story both of the rich history of the lost Jewish world of Eastern Europe and of the rambunctious development of frontier Jewish communities in the United States.

In both Europe and America, Gurwitz inhabited an almost exclusively Jewish world. As a boy, he studied in traditional yeshivas and earned a living as a Hebrew language teacher and kosher butcher. Widely travelled, Gurwitz recalls with wit and insight daily life in European shtetls, providing perceptive and informative comments about Jewish religion, history, politics, and social customs. Among the book’s most notable features is his first-hand, insider’s account of the yearly Jewish holiday cycle as it was observed in the nineteenth century, described as he experienced it as a child.

Gurwitz’s account of his arrival in Texas forms a cornerstone record of the Galveston Immigration Movement; this memoir represents the only complete narrative of that migration from an immigrant’s point of view. Gurwitz’s descriptions about the development of a thriving Orthodox community in San Antonio provide an important and unique primary source about a facet of American Jewish life that is not widely known.

Balkan Wars
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Balkan Wars: Habsburg Croatia, Ottoman Bosnia, and Venetian Dalmatia, 1499–1617, by James D. Tracy (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2016).

James D. Tracy shows how the Ottoman advance across Europe stalled in the western Balkans, where three great powers confronted one another in three adjoining provinces: Habsburg Croatia, Ottoman Bosnia, and Venetian Dalmatia. Until about 1580, Bosnia was a platform for Ottoman expansion, and Croatia steadily lost territory, while Venice focused on protecting the Dalmatian harbors vital for its trade with the Ottoman east. But as Habsburg-Austrian elites coalesced behind military reforms, they stabilized Croatia’s frontier, while Bosnia shifted its attention to trade, and Habsburg raiders crossing Dalmatia heightened tensions with Venice. The period ended with a long inconclusive war between Habsburgs and Ottomans, and a brief inconclusive war between Austria and Venice. Based on rich primary research and a masterful synthesis of key studies, this book is the first English-language history of the early modern Western Balkans. More broadly, it brings out how the Ottomans and their European rivals conducted their wars in fundamentally different ways. Asultan’s commands were not negotiable, and Ottoman generals were held to a time-tested strategy for conquest. Habsburg sovereigns had to bargain with their elites, and it took elaborate processes of consultation to rally provincial estates behind common goals. In the end, government-by-consensus was able to withstand government-by-command.

The Age of Milton and the Scientific Revolution
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The Age of Milton and the Scientific Revolution, by Angelica Duran (Duquesne University Press, 2016).

In The Age of Milton and the Scientific Revolution, Angelica Duran reveals the way in which Milton’s works interacted with the revolutionary work of his contemporaries in science to participate in the dynamic “advancement of learning” of the time period. Bringing together primary materials by early modern scientists, including Robert Boyle, William Gilbert, William Harvey, Isaac Newton, John Ray, and John Wilkins as well as educational reformers such as Samuel Hartlib and Henry Oldenburg, The Age of Milton and the Scientific Revolution positions Milton’s Literary Studies as a coequal partner with the new cosmological theories, mathematical developments, telescopes, and scientific tracts that so thoroughly affected every aspect of recorded life in seventeenth century England. Duran shows, for example, how new developments in ornithology worked to shape the Lady’s power in the young Milton’s celebratory A Mask, how mathematics informed the sexual relationship of Adam and Eve in his mature epic Paradise Lost, and how developments in optics transformed the blinded hero of the blind author’s moving tragedy Samson Agonistes. While this study is indebted to the work of historians of science⎯from C. P. Snow and Thomas Kuhn to Stephen Shapin and Stephen Jay Gould⎯it is not a history of science per se, but rather a cultural study that appreciates poetry as a unique lens through which early modern England’s large-scale developments in education and science are clarified and reflected. What emerges is an intimate sense of how the enormous changes of the English Scientific Revolution affected individual lives and found their ways into Milton’s enduring poetry and prose.