Spring/Summer 2017

Alumni Books


LOUIS KAPLAN, PhD'88 (History)

Photography and Humour

Some photos are haunting, some breathtaking; some are illuminating, and some are beautiful. And some photos—as those of us who have ever been on the internet know—are downright hilarious. But humor has often been on the sidelines of photography scholarship. With this book, Kaplan remedies this, gathering together over one hundred images in a revealing look at the way photographers—from the very beginning of photography in the nineteenth century—have found so much amusement at the ends of their lenses.

CAROLYN PURNELL, AM'07, PhD'13 (History)

The Sensational Past: How the Enlightenment Changed the Way We Use Our Senses

As often as we use our senses, we rarely stop to think about their place in history. But perception is not dependent on the body alone. Carolyn Purnell persuasively shows that, while our bodies may not change dramatically, the way we think about the senses and put them to use has been rather different over the ages. Journeying through the past three hundred years, Purnell explores how people used their senses in ways that might shock us now. And perhaps more surprisingly, she shows how many of our own ways of life are a legacy of this earlier time.

Faculty Books



ANDREW ABBOT (Editor), AM’75, PhD’82 (Sociology), Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor, Sociology

Varieties of Social Imagination, by Barbara Celarent

Abbott’s book collects a series of essays by Barbara Celarent, a prolific but ontologically unstable professor at the University of Atlantis. Celarent’s essays are concise reviews of important thinkers in the history of social science, which together provide a sweeping survey of disparate and overlooked global perspectives.


PAUL CHENEY, Associate Professor, History

Cul de Sac: Patrimony, Capitalism, and Slavery in French Saint-Domingue

In the 18th century, the Cul de Sac plain in Saint-Domingue was a vast open-air workhouse of sugar plantations. This microhistory of one plantation owned by the Ferron de la Ferronnayses, a family of Breton nobles, draws on remarkable archival finds to show that despite the wealth such plantations produced, they operated in a context of social, political, and environmental fragility that left them weak and crisis prone. In recovering the lost world of the French Antillean plantation, Cul de Sac ultimately reveals how the capitalism of the plantation complex persisted not as a dynamic source of progress, but from the inertia of a degenerate system headed down an economic and ideological dead end.


JENNIFER COLE (Editor), Professor, Comparative Human Development

Affective Circuits: African Migrations to Europe and the Pursuit of Social Regeneration

An influx of African migrants into Europe in recent years has raised important issues about changing labor economies, new technologies of border control, and the effects of armed conflict. But attention to such broad questions often obscures a fundamental fact of migration: its effects on ordinary life. Affective Circuits brings together essays by an international group of well-known anthropologists to place the migrant family front and center. Together these essays paint an especially vivid portrait of new forms of kinship at a time of intense mobility and ever-tightening borders.


LORRAINE DASTON (Editor), Visiting Professor, Social Thought & History

Science in the Archives: Pasts, Presents, Futures

Archives bring to mind rooms filled with old papers and dusty artifacts. But for scientists, the detritus of the past can be a treasure trove of material vital to present and future research: fossils collected by geologists; data banks assembled by geneticists; weather diaries trawled by climate scientists; libraries visited by historians. These are the vital collections, assembled and maintained over decades, centuries, and even millennia, which define the sciences of the archives. With Science in the Archives, Daston and co-authors offer the first study of the important role that these archives play in the natural and human sciences. 


SHEILA FITZPATRICK, Bernadotte E. Schmitt Distinguished Service Professor Emerita, History

On Stalin's Team: The Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics

Stalin was the unchallenged dictator of the Soviet Union for so long that most historians have dismissed the officials surrounding him as mere yes-men and political window dressing. On Stalin's Team overturns this view, revealing that behind Stalin was a group of loyal men who formed a remarkably effective team with him from the late 1920s until his death in 1953. Drawing on extensive original research, Fitzpatrick paints an entirely new picture of Stalin within his milieu.


JOHN LEVI MARTIN, Florence Borchert Bartling Professor, Sociology

Thinking Through Methods: A Social Science Primer

For novice social scientists as well as those looking for a refresher, Martin provides a starting point on practical decisions researchers must make: considering the source of data, how it’s used in relation to other data, and the marriage between good ethics and good research. Martin uses wit and insight to guide the reader to acknowledge and compensate for human limitations found in both researchers and their subjects.


ELIZABETH MCGHEE HASSRICK, STEPHEN W. RAUDENBUSH (Lewis-Sebring Professor, Sociology), & LISA ROSEN (Science of Learning Center)

The Ambitious Elementary School: Its Conception, Design, and Implications for Educational Equality

The challenge of overcoming educational inequality in the United States can sometimes appear overwhelming, and great controversy exists as to whether or not elementary schools are up to the task. This book shows what can happen when you rethink schools from the ground up with precisely these goals in mind, approaching educational inequality and its entrenched causes head on, student by student.


JOHANNA S. RANSMEIER, Assistant Professor, History

Sold People: Traffickers and Family Life in North China

Despite its prohibition, trade in human lives thrived throughout North China in the early 20th century. Whether to acquire servants, slaves, concubines, or children—or to dispose of unwanted household members—families at all levels of society addressed domestic needs by participating in this market, facilitated by industrialization, urbanization, and modern transportation systems. Using previously untapped archives, Ransmeier brings to life the experience of human trafficking, illustrating how the transaction not only destroyed families but rebuilt them as well.


MAURICIO TENORIO-TRILLO, Samuel N. Harper Professor, History & Romance Languages and Literatures

Latin America: The Allure and Power of an Idea

"Latin America" is a concept firmly entrenched in its philosophical, moral, and historical meanings. And yet, Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo argues in this landmark book, it is an obsolescent racial-cultural idea that ought to have vanished long ago with the banishment of racial theory. Latin America: The Allure and Power of an Idea makes this case persuasively.