“Hot off the Presses” features talks by CHASS faculty on the books they have just published – those published during the current academic year or the summer before it. Each talk is followed by a question and answer session and a reception. Writing a scholarly book requires years of sustained effort the effects of which on family, friends and psyche should not be minimized. So let’s celebrate!
While each talk in the “Hot off the Presses” series focuses on an individual book and its author, we also celebrate all CHASS books together at our annual spring book party co-hosted with the College.
November 18, 2015
‘Much has been written about commedia dell’arte travel, but not nearly enough has been said about the transnational and multicultural work of this theater. Professor Jaffe-Berg’s important study reads the performance texts (most especially the scenarios) historically and culturally. To connect the many Greeks, Armenians and Jews mentioned in the commedia documents with the commercial and cultural mediatio ns performed by these groups in the Mediterranean is extremely exciting.’ Robert Henke, Washington University, St. Louis, USA.
December 1, 2015
A year after the death of James I in 1625, a sensational pamphlet accused the Duke of Buckingham of murdering the king. It was an allegation that would haunt English politics for nearly forty years. In this exhaustively researched new book, two leading scholars of the era, Alastair Bellany and Thomas Cogswell, uncover the untold story of how a secret history of courtly poisoning shaped and reflected the political conflicts that would eventually plunge the British Isles into civil war and revolution. Illuminating many hitherto obscure aspects of early modern political culture, this eagerly anticipated work is both a fascinating story of political intrigue and a major exploration of the forces that destroyed the Stuart monarchy.
January 21, 2016
In the 1940s and 1950s, Soviet musicians and ensembles were acclaimed across the globe. They toured the world, wowing critics and audiences, projecting an image of the USSR as a sophisticated promoter of cultural and artistic excellence. In Virtuosi Abroad, Kiril Tomoff focuses on music and the Soviet Union’s star musicians to explore the dynamics of the cultural Cold War. He views the competition in the cultural sphere as part of the ongoing U.S. and Soviet efforts to integrate the rest of the world into their respective imperial projects.
Piotr S Górecki
February 25, 2016
Professor Górecki’s new book, The Text and the World (Oxford U.P., 2015), is a study of an exceptionally interesting primary source—the history of the Cistercian monastery at Henryków in Silesia, produced in 1268 and 1310, and known as the Henryków Book—and of the local and regional world which that source reflected and helped shape. The Book offers an exceptionally rich introduction to a number of subjects currently of major interest to medievalists, regardless of their geographical specialization. It is interesting as a literary work, an instance of forensic rhetoric, a type of legal argument, and an example of medieval biography and (implicit) autobiography.
March 2, 2016
“The neighboring north Indian districts of Jaipur and Ajmer are identical in language, geography, and religious and caste demography. But, when the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya was destroyed in 1992, Jaipur burned while Ajmer remained peaceful. When state clashes occurred over low-caste affirmative action quotas in 2008, Ajmer’s residents rioted while Jaipur’s citizens stayed calm. What explains these divergent patterns of ethnic conflict across multiethnic states? Using archival research and interviews in five case studies spanning north, south, and east India, as well as a quantitative analysis of 589 districts, Ajay Verghese shows that British colonial legacies drive contemporary conflict.”
Michelle E. Bloom
April 14, 2016
Transnational cinemas are eclipsing national cinemas in the contemporary world, and Sino-French films exemplify this phenomenon through the cinematic coupling of the Sinophone and the Francophone, linking France not just with the Chinese mainland but also with the rest of the Chinese-speaking world. Sinophone directors most often reach out to French cinema by referencing and adapting it. They set their films in Paris and metropolitan France, cast French actors, and sometimes use French dialogue, even when the directors themselves don’t understand it. They tend to view France as mysterious, sexy, and sophisticated, just as the French see China and Taiwan as exotic. As Michelle E. Bloom makes clear, many films move past a simplistic opposition between East and West and beyond Orientalist and Occidentalist cross-cultural interplay.
May 4, 2016
Choreographing Copyright is a new historical and cultural analysis of US–based dance-makers’ investment in intellectual property rights. Although federal copyright law in the United States did not recognize choreography as a protectable class prior to the 1976 Copyright Act, efforts to win copyright protection for dance began eight decades earlier. In a series of case studies stretching from the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first, the book reconstructs those efforts and teases out their raced and gendered politics. Rather than chart a narrative of progress, the book shows how dancers working in a range of genres have embraced intellectual property rights as a means to both consolidate and contest racial and gendered power.