Originally Posted: December 19, 2014
Books published in 2014 by SMU’s faculty, alumni, libraries and museums can complete your holiday gift list with volumes ranging from historical to fiction to inspirational. Some selections are available at the SMU bookstore, but all are available via online booksellers unless otherwise noted. Authors are listed alphabetically.
Books by Faculty:
Cultural anthropologists can be an intellectually adventurous crowd, eager to cross disciplines to gain greater understanding of human behavior and experience. In Anthropological Conversations: Talking Culture across Disciplines (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2014) Caroline B. Brettell, Ruth Collins Altshuler Professor and director of SMU’s Interdisciplinary Institute, highlights conversations of anthropologists among scholars of history, geography, literature, biology, psychology and demography. Brettell shows how these scholarship exchanges deepen understanding of culture by anthropologists.
Migration as an issue has risen in global prominence in the last decade, causing controversy among host countries around the world. The third edition of Migration Theory: Talking across Disciplines (Routledge 2014), co-edited by Caroline B. Brettell and James F. Hollifield, political science professor and director of the Tower Center for Political Studies at SMU, is an updated collection of essays by scholars of anthropology, demography, economics, geography, history, law, political science and sociology, each addressing the concepts and theoretical issues of international migration.
Throughout our nation’s history Americans have grappled with such issues as how the U.S. should wield power beyond its borders, whether it should adhere to grand principles or act on narrow self-interest and whether it should partner with other nations or avoid entangling alliances. These questions have come to the fore especially since the emergence of the U.S. as a major world power in the late 19th century. America in the World: A History in Documents from the War with Spain to the War on Terror (Princeton University Press 2014) illuminates this history by capturing the diverse voices and viewpoints of some of the most colorful and eloquent people who participated in these momentous debates. Jeffrey A. Engel, director of SMU’s Center for Presidential History, with fellow historians Andrew Preston and Mark Atwood Lawrence, collect more than 200 documents, including presidential addresses, diplomatic cables, political cartoons and song lyrics. The perspectives presented run the gamut from elite policymakers, newspaper columnists and clergymen, to songwriters, poets and novelists
The U.S. Census predicts that by 2050 nearly one in three U.S. residents will be Latino, with the overwhelming majority of these being of Mexican descent. Such a dramatic demographic shift reshapes politics, culture, and even fundamental ideas about American identity. In Mexicans in the Making of America (Harvard University Press 2014) Neil Foley, the Robert H. and Nancy Dedman Chair in History and a leading scholar of Mexican-American history, offers a sweeping view of the evolution of Mexican America, from a colonial outpost on Mexico’s northern frontier to a 21st-century people integral to the nation they helped to build. This book demonstrates how America was never a purely white Anglo-Protestant nation, but instead a composite of racially blended peoples.
In William Wells Brown: An African American Life (W. W. Norton & Company 2014), Ezra Greenspan, the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Chair in Humanities, has written a groundbreaking biography of the most pioneering and accomplished African-American writer of the 19th century. Born to slavery in Kentucky, raised on the Western frontier, and rented out in adolescence to a succession of steamboat captains on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, the young man known as Sandy reinvented himself as William Wells Brown after escaping to freedom. Brown lifted himself out of illiteracy. He became an admired and popular speaker on both American and British antislavery circuits, and a writer of the earliest African-American works including a travelogue, a novel, a printed play and historical accounts. In this masterful work, Greenspan expertly frames Brown’s life in the context of his times, creating a fascinating portrait of an extraordinary figure who challenged the racial orthodoxies and complexities of 19th century America. Brown also practiced medicine, ran for office and campaigned for black elevation, temperance and civil rights.
William Wells Brown: Clotel & Other Writings (The Library of America 2014) by Ezra Greenspan the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Chair in Humanities, brings together for the first time all Brown’s groundbreaking works, including the memoirs “Narrative of William W. Brown” and “My Southern Home,” recounting his childhood as a slave, his flight to freedom, and his experience of the contradictions of Reconstruction; “Clotel or, the President’s Daughter,” a controversial novel depicting the fate of Thomas Jefferson’s black daughters and granddaughters; “The American Fugitive in Europe,” Brown’s pioneering travelogue about his years abroad; and “The Escape, or A Leap for Freedom and The Black Man, His Antecedents, His Genius, and His Achievements,” the first published play and first work of history, by an African American. The volume also includes 18 speeches and public letters from Brown’s career as an antislavery activist, a detailed chronology of Brown’s life, and helpful notes.
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