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Forced Marriage and ‘Honour’ Killings in Britain
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Forced Marriage and ‘Honour’ Killings in Britain: Private Lives, Community Crimes and Public Policy Perspectives, by Christina Julios (Ashgate, 2015).

This book explores the contemporary phenomenon of forced marriage and ‘honour’ killings in Britain. Set against a background of increasing ‘honour’-based violence within the country’s South Asian and Muslim Diasporas, the book traces the development of the ‘honour’ question over the past two decades. It accordingly witnesses unprecedented changes in public awareness and government policy including ground-breaking ‘honour’-specific legislation and the criminalisation of forced marriage. All of which makes Britain an important context for the study of this now indigenous and self-perpetuating social problem.

In considering the scale of the challenge and its underlying causes, attention is paid to the intersections of gendered power structures that disadvantage female members of ‘honour’ cultures as well as feminist theories that seek to explain them. The book features five key case-studies of ‘honour’ killings and draws from a wide range of narratives including those of ‘honour’ violence survivors, grassroots service providers and legislators. Such myriad of perspectives reveals the complexity of the ‘honour’ issue and the deep ideological divisions that characterise it. With the UK’s multiculturalist discourse unable to reconcile protecting patriarchal minority cultures with safeguarding gender equality and human rights, the book raises fundamental questions about the country’s future direction. Following a long trend of state-sponsored integrationist policies, the government’s response to the ‘honour’ question points decisively in the direction of a ‘post-multicultural’ British nation.

 

Engines for empire
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Engines for Empire: The Victorian military and its use of railways, by Edward M. Spiers (Manchester University Press, 2015).

Engines for empire examines the use of the railway by the British army from the 1830s to 1914, a period of domestic political strife and unprecedented imperial expansion. The book uses a wide array of sources and images to demonstrate how the Victorian army embraced this new technology, how it monitored foreign wars, and how it came to use the railway in both support and operational roles. The British army’s innovation is also revealed, through its design and use of armoured trains, the restructuring of hospital trains, and in its capacity to build and repair railway track, bridges, and signals under field conditions.

This volume provides insights on the role of railways in imperial development, as a focus of social interaction between adversaries, and as a means of projecting imperial power. It will make fascinating reading for students, academics and enthusiasts in military and imperial history, Victorian studies, railway history and colonial warfare.

Final Sale in Berlin
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Final Sale in Berlin: The Destruction of Jewish Commercial Activity, 1930-1945, by Christoph Kreutzmüller (Berghahn Books, 2015).

Before the Great Depression Jewish businesspeople in Berlin thrived alongside their non-Jewish neighbors. But Nazi racism changed that, gradually destroying Jewish businesses before murdering the Jews themselves. Reconstructing the fate of more than 8,000 companies, this bookoffers the first comprehensive analysis of Jewish economic activity and its destruction in Berlin. Rather than just examining violent and bureaucratic steps taken by the persecutors, it also tells the stories of Jewish strategies in countering the effects of persecution. In doing so, this book exposes a fascinating paradox where Berlin, serving as the administrative heart of the Third Reich, was also the site of a dense network for Jewish self-help and assertion.

 

Powering Europe
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Powering Europe: Russia, Ukraine, and the Energy Squeeze, by Rafael Kandiyoti (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

The crisis in Ukraine and the Russian annexation of Crimea have prompted the United States and the European Union to examine their energy options. While Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas supplies looms large as a major liability for Europe, Russia’s dependence on the $100 billion income from gas exports may deal Europe a stronger hand.

Seeking clarity about the current conflict and its energy implications – and responding to the urgent need to critically analyze Europe’s short-to-medium term prospects for safely and reliably sourcing future energy imports from sources other than Russia – this book examines the major elements of the European energy equation, contextualizing them within the disorderly breakup of the Soviet Union, post-Soviet developments in Eastern Europe, and the current geopolitical topography of the continent. Accessible and jargon-free, this book asks how and why Ukraine has emerged as the cockpit of a geopolitical contest that has been festering for nearly two decades, and offers insight into the view from Moscow. Finally, it examines Europe’s energy options outside of Russia, assessing each not only in terms of technical feasibility and possible lead-time, but also, crucially, in terms of the added costs and geopolitical implications of altering supplies and suppliers, ranging from the continental United States to West Africa to the Eastern Mediterranean to Turkmenistan and possibly even Iran.

The Show Must Go On!
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The Show Must Go On! Popular Song in Britain During the First World War, by John Mullen (Ashgate, 2015).

Using a collection of over one thousand popular songs from the war years, as well as around 150 soldiers’ songs, John Mullen provides a fascinating insight into the world of popular entertainment during the First World War. Mullen considers the position of songs of this time within the history of popular music, and the needs, tastes and experiences of working-class audiences who loved this music. To do this, he dispels some of the nostalgic, rose-tinted myths about music hall. At a time when recording companies and record sales were marginal, the book shows the centrality of the live show and of the sale of sheet music to the economy of the entertainment industry. Mullen assesses the popularity and significance of the different genres of musical entertainment which were common in the war years and the previous decades, including music hall, revue, pantomime, musical comedy, blackface minstrelsy, army entertainment and amateur entertainment in prisoner of war camps. He also considers non-commercial songs, such as hymns, folk songs and soldiers’ songs and weaves them into a subtle and nuanced approach to the nature of popular song, the ways in which audiences related to the music and the effects of the competing pressures of commerce, propaganda, patriotism, social attitudes and the progress of the war.

Inventing English
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Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language, by Seth Lerer (Columbia University Press, 2015).

Seth Lerer tells a masterful history of the English language from the age of Beowulf to the rap of Eminem. Many have written about the evolution of grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary, but only Lerer situates these developments within the larger history of English, America, and literature. This edition features a new chapter on the influence of biblical translation and an epilogue on the relationship of English speech to writing. A unique blend of historical and personal narrative, Inventing English is the surprising tale of a language that is as dynamic as the people to whom it belongs.

Islamic Education in Britain
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Islamic Education in Britain: New Pluralist Paradigms, by Alison Scott-Baumann and Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor (Bloomsbury, 2015).

The Western world often fears many aspects of Islam, without the knowledge to move forward. On the other hand, there are sustained and complex debates within Islam about how to live in the modern world with faith. Alison Scott-Baumann and Sariya Contractor-Cheruvallil here propose solutions to both dilemmas, with a particular emphasis on the role of women.

Challenging existing beliefs about Islam in Britain, this book offers a paradigm shift based on research conducted over 15 years. The educational needs within several groups of British Muslims were explored, resulting in the need to offer critical analysis of the provision for the study of classical Islamic Theology in Britain. Islamic Education in Britain responds to the dissatisfaction among many young Muslim men and women with the theological/secular split, and their desire for courses that provide combinations of these two strands of their lived experience as Muslim British citizens.

Grounded in empirical research, the authors reach beyond the meta-narratives of secularization and orientalism to demonstrate the importance of the teaching and learning of classical Islamic studies for the promotion of reasoned dialogue, interfaith and intercultural understanding in pluralist British society.

Nazi Hunger Politics
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Nazi Hunger Politics: A History of Food in the Third Reich, by Gesine Gerhard (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015).

During World War II, millions of Soviet soldiers in German captivity died of hunger and starvation. Their fate was not the unexpected consequence of a war that took longer than anticipated. It was the calculated strategy of a small group of economic planners around Herbert Backe, the second Reich Minister for Food and Agriculture. The mass murder of Soviet soldiers and civilians by Nazi food policy has not yet received much attention, but this book is about to change that.

Food played a central political role for the Nazi regime and served as the foundation of a racial ideology that justified the murder of millions of Jews, prisoners of war, and Slavs. This book is the first to vividly and comprehensively address the topic of food during the Third Reich. It examines the economics of food production and consumption in Nazi Germany, as well as its use as a justification for war and as a tool for genocide. Offering another perspective on the Nazi regime’s desire for domination, Gesine Gerhard sheds light on an often-overlooked part of their scheme and brings into focus the very important role food played in the course of the Second World War.

Rule-Makers or Rule-Takers?
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Rule-Makers or Rule-Takers? Exploring the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, edited by Jacques Pelkmans and Daniel S. Hamilton (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015).

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is an effort by the United States and the European Union to reposition themselves for a world of diffuse economic power and intensified global competition. It is a next-generation economic negotiation that breaks the mould of traditional trade agreements. At the heart of the ongoing talks is the question whether and in which areas the two major democratic actors in the global economy can address costly frictions generated by their deep commercial integration by aligning rules and other instruments. The aim is to reduce duplication in various ways in areas where levels of regulatory protection are equivalent as well as to foster wide-ranging regulatory cooperation and set a benchmark for high-quality global norms. In this volume, European and American experts explain the economic context of TTIP and its geopolitical implications, and then explore the challenges and consequences of US-EU negotiations across numerous sensitive areas, ranging from food safety and public procurement to economic and regulatory assessments of technical barriers to trade, automotive, chemicals, energy, services, investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms and regulatory cooperation. Their insights cut through the confusion and tremendous public controversies now swirling around TTIP, and help decision-makers understand how the United States and the European Union can remain rule-makers rather than rule-takers in a globalising world in which their relative influence is waning.

The Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s
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The Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, by Catherine Baker (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

The Yugoslav wars of the 1990s involved the violent destruction of a society in the midst of the collapse of state socialism. The moment war broke out, academic and public debates began, concerning the long- and short-term causes of the wars and where responsibility should lie. Not only do these controversies continue – even coming up against each other in courts of law – but fresh areas of debate have emerged, which historians must take into account.

Catherine Baker brings together the major arguments of the most up-to-date scholarship on the Yugoslav wars. This book provides a clear introduction to the topic and demonstrates how debates have evolved, and where more research is required. Alongside this, Baker also exposes the politics and complexities of narrating and interpreting the very recent past.

Anti-Imperial Metropolis
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Anti-Imperial Metropolis: Interwar Paris and the Seeds of Third World Nationalism, by Michael Goebel (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

This book traces the spread of a global anti-imperialism from the vantage point of Paris between the two World Wars, where countless future leaders of Third World countries spent formative stints. Exploring the local social context in which these emergent activists moved, the study delves into assassination plots allegedly hatched by Chinese students, demonstrations by Latin American nationalists, and the everyday lives of Algerian, Senegalese, and Vietnamese workers. On the basis of police reports and other primary sources, the book foregrounds the role of migration and interaction as driving forces enabling challenges to the imperial world order, weaving together the stories of peoples of three continents. Drawing on the scholarship of twentieth-century imperial, international, and global history as well as migration, race, and ethnicity in France, it ultimately proposes a new understanding of the roots of the Third World idea.

 

Germans Against Nazism
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Germans Against Nazism: Nonconformity, Opposition and Resistance in the Third Reich: Essays in Honour of Peter Hoffmann, edited by Francis R. Nicosia and Lawrence D. Stokes (Berghahn, 2015).

Rather than being accepted by all of German society, the Nazi regime was resisted in both passive and active forms. This re-issued volume examines opposition to National Socialism by Germans during the Third Reich in its broadest sense. It considers individual and organized nonconformity, opposition, and resistance ranging from symbolic acts of disobedience to organized assassination attempts, and looks at how disparate groups such as the Jewish community, churches, conservatives, communists, socialists, and the military all defied the regime in their own ways.

Ossianic Unconformities
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Ossianic Unconformities: Bardic Poetry in the Industrial Age, by Eric Gidal (University of Virginia Press, 2015).

In a sequence of publications in the 1760s, James Macpherson, a Scottish schoolteacher in the central Highlands, created fantastic epics of ancient heroes and presented them as genuine translations of the poetry of Ossian, a fictionalized Caledonian bard of the third century. In Ossianic Unconformities Eric Gidal introduces the idiosyncratic publications of a group of nineteenth-century Scottish eccentrics who used statistics, cartography, and geomorphology to map and thereby vindicate Macpherson’s controversial eighteenth-century renderings of Gaelic oral traditions. Although these writers primarily sought to establish the authenticity of Macpherson’s “translations,” they came to record, through promotion, evasion, and confrontation, the massive changes being wrought upon Scottish and Irish lands by British industrialization. Their obsessive and elaborate attempts to fix both the poetry and the land into a stable set of coordinates developed what we can now perceive as a nascent ecological perspective on literature in a changing world.

Gidal examines the details of these imaginary geographies in conjunction with the social and spatial histories of Belfast and the River Lagan valley, Glasgow and the Firth of Clyde, and the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland, regions that form both the sixth-century kingdom of Dál Riata and the fabled terrain of the Ossianic poems. Combining environmental and industrial histories with the reception of the poems of Ossian, Ossianic Unconformities unites literary history and book studies with geography, cartography, and geology to present and consider imaginative responses to environmental catastrophe.

On Schmitt and Space
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On Schmitt and Space, by Claudio Minca and Rory Rowan (Routledge, 2015).

This book represents the first comprehensive study of the influential German legal and political thinker Carl Schmitt’s spatial thought, offering the first systematic examination from a Geographic perspective of one of the most important political thinkers of the twentieth century.

It charts the development of Schmitt’s spatial thinking from his early work on secularization and the emergence of the modern European state to his post war analysis of the spatial basis of global order and international law, whilst situating his thought in relation to his changing biographical and intellectual context, controversial involvement in Weimar politics and disastrous support for the Nazi regime. It argues that spatial concepts play a crucial structural role throughout Schmitt’s work, from his well-known analyses of sovereign power and states of exception to his often overlooked spatial history of modernity. Locating a fundamental relationship between space and ‘the political’ lies at the core of his thought.

The book explores the critical insight that Schmitt’s spatial thought bears on some of the key political questions of the twentieth century whilst tracking his profound and enduring influence on key debates on sovereignty, international relations, war and the nature of world order at the start of the twenty first century.

Arts and a Nation
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Arts and a Nation: The Role of Visual Arts and Artists in the Making of the Latvian Identity, 1905-1940, by Suzanne Pourchier-Plasseraud (Brill, 2015).

Focusing on the role of arts in the construction of national identity, Suzanne Pourchier-Plasseraud has chosen to study the case of a country lacking an ancient state history of its own, Latvia. This book analyses the part played by the visual arts in transmuting the cultural concept of a nation, advocated by a small intelligentsia, into a widespread claim for independence. By the end of the 19th century, fretting under Russian political domination and German economic and cultural supremacy, the Latvians turned back to their own language, culture and folklore, with a special interest for their dainas, their timeless common heritage rooted into a mythical golden age. Latvian artists thus found themselves entrusted with the mission of creating a national iconographic representation and a specifically Latvian art, freed from Russian and German influences. The author shows how the links between the cultural and political spheres evolved between 1905 and 1940, including during the period of authoritarian government preceding WWII. An enlightening contribution to understanding how art and history can be turned into social and political instruments, this book reaches far beyond the Latvian case to a European and even global scope.