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New Books: June 2012
A selection from the most recent titles added to the SMCM Library
Wegenstein traces the cosmetic gaze from eighteenth-century ideas about physiognomy through television makeover shows and facial-recognition software to cinema--which, like our other screens, never ceases to show us our bodies as they could be, drawing life from the very cosmetic gaze it transmits.
Despite this rich tradition and growing popularity, historians have engaged in little discussion about the specific methodological, political, and ethical issues related to writing about the recent past. The twelve essays in this collection explore the challenges of writing histories of recent events where visibility is inherently imperfect, hindsight and perspective are lacking, and historiography is underdeveloped.
Economists make confident assertions in op-ed columns and on cable news—so why are their explanations at odds with equally confident assertions from other economists? And why are all economic predictions so rarely borne out? Harnessing his frustration with this contradiction, Schlefer set out to investigate how economists arrive at their opinions.
Reveals that PowerPoint’s celebrated ease and efficiency can actually lead to a disturbing transformation in human communication, with implications not only for individuals but also for the culture at large.
Americans have long cherished romantic images of the frontier and its colorful cast of characters, where the cowboys are always rugged and the ladies always fragile. But in this book, Peter Boag opens an extraordinary window onto the real Old West. Delving into countless primary sources and surveying sexological and literary sources, Boag paints a vivid picture of a West where cross-dressing--for both men and women--was pervasive, and where easterners as well as Mexicans and even Indians could redefine their gender and sexual identities. Boag asks, why has this history been forgotten and erased?
This is a book about what propels the Middle East’s rage, loss of home, and what it must examine and re-find, the sense of shared community. Far surpassing the usual reporter’s "tour of duty," books, House of Stone is more humane and compelling and will please students of the region, those whose families have emigrated from other nations, and all readers engaged by engrossing storytelling.
A year in Paris . . . since World War II, countless American students have been lured by that vision and been transformed by their sojourn in the City of Light. Dreaming in French tells three stories of that experience, and how it changed the lives of three extraordinary American women.
"How a Bedroom Arrest Decriminalized Gay Americans"
Provides a detailed legal history and examines the motives of all players involved with the landmark Supreme Court gay rights case that protected consenting adults’ rights, regardless of sexual preference, in the bedroom.
In 2009, the Good News Club came to the public elementary school where journalist Katherine Stewart sent her children. The Club, sponsored by the Child Evangelism Fellowship, bills itself as an after-school program of "Bible study." But Stewart soon discovered that the Club's real mission is to convert children to fundamentalist Christianity and encourage them to proselytize to their "unchurched" peers, all the while promoting the false impression that its activities are endorsed by the school. Astonished to discover that the U.S. Supreme Court has deemed this legal, Stewart set off on an investigative journey across the nation to document the impact.
Wood was one of America’s most famous regionalist painters; to love his work was the equivalent of loving America itself. In his time, he was an “almost mythical figure,” recognized most supremely for his hard-boiled farm scene, American Gothic, a painting that has come to reflect the essence of America’s traditional values—a simple, decent, homespun tribute to our lost agrarian age.
In this major new biography of America’s most acclaimed, and misunderstood, regionalist painter, Grant Wood is revealed to have been anything but plain, or simple . . .
In Haints, Arthur Redding examines the work of contemporary American authors who draw on the Gothic tradition in their fiction, not as frivolous or supernatural entertainments, but to explore and memorialize the ghosts of their heritage. Ghosts, Redding argues, serve as lasting witnesses to the legacies of slaves and indigenous peoples whose stories were lost in the remembrance or mistranslation of history. No matter how much Americans willingly or unwillingly repress the true history of their ancestry; their ghosts remain unburied and restless.
Shepherd connects his research to trends in nutrition, dieting, and obesity, especially the challenges that many face in eating healthily. He concludes with human perceptions of smell and flavor and their relationship to the neural basis of consciousness. Everyone from casual diners and ardent foodies to wine critics, chefs, scholars, and researchers will delight in Shepherd's fascinating, scientific-gastronomic adventures.