Listed below are books received for review over the last two months. Entries include publishing information as well as a description of the book. Unless otherwise stated, the book description is taken from the publisher’s website or the book jacket. Selected titles from this list will be chosen for a full review in forthcoming issues of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books. Previous books received are available from the links below.
|Abusive Policies: How the American Child Welfare System Lost Its Way, by Mical Raz. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2020.
“In the early 1970s, a new wave of public service announcements urged parents to “help end an American tradition” of child abuse. The message, relayed repeatedly over television and radio, urged abusive parents to seek help. Support groups for parents, including Parents Anonymous, proliferated across the country to deal with the seemingly burgeoning crisis. At the same time, an ever-increasing number of abused children were reported to child welfare agencies, due in part to an expansion of mandatory reporting laws and the creation of reporting hotlines across the nation. Here, Mical Raz examines this history of child abuse policy and charts how it changed since the late 1960s, specifically taking into account the frequency with which agencies removed African American children from their homes and placed them in foster care. Highlighting the rise of Parents Anonymous and connecting their activism to the sexual abuse moral panic that swept the country in the 1980s, Raz argues that these panics and policies—as well as biased viewpoints regarding race, class, and gender—played a powerful role shaping perceptions of child abuse. These perceptions were often directly at odds with the available data and disproportionately targeted poor African American families above others.” From Publisher’s Website.
|African Americans and the First Amendment: The Case for Liberty and Equality, by Timothy C. Shiell. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2019.
“African Americans and the First Amendment is the first book to explore in detail the relationship between African Americans and our “first freedoms,” especially freedom of speech. Timothy C. Shiell utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to demonstrate that a strong commitment to civil liberty and to racial equality are mutually supportive, as they share an opposition to orthodoxy and a commitment to greater inclusion and participation. This crucial connection is evidenced throughout US history, from the days of colonial and antebellum slavery to Jim Crow: in the landmark US Supreme Court decision in 1937 freeing the black communist Angelo Herndon; in the struggles and victories of the civil rights movement, from the late 1930s to the late ’60s; and in the historical and modern debates over hate speech restrictions. Liberty and equality can conflict in individual cases, Shiell argues, but there is no fundamental conflict between them. Robust First Amendment values protect and encourage demands for racial equality while weak First Amendment values, in contrast, lead to censorship and a chilling of demands for racial equality.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Against the Death Penalty: Writings from the First Abolitionists – Giuseppe Pelli and Cecare Beccaria. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020.
“In 1764, a Milanese aristocrat named Cesare Beccaria created a sensation when he published On Crimes and Punishments. At its centre is a rejection of the death penalty as excessive, unnecessary, and pointless. Beccaria is deservedly regarded as the founding father of modern criminal-law reform, yet he was not the first to argue for the abolition of the death penalty. Against the Death Penalty presents the first English translation of the Florentine aristocrat Giuseppe Pelli’s critique of capital punishment, written three years before Beccaria’s treatise, but lost for more than two centuries in the Pelli family archives.
Peter Garnsey examines the contrasting arguments of the two abolitionists, who drew from different intellectual traditions. Pelli was a devout Catholic influenced by the writings of natural jurists such as Hugo Grotius, whereas Beccaria was inspired by the French Enlightenment philosophers. While Beccaria attacked the criminal justice system as a whole, Pelli focused on the death penalty, composing a critique of considerable depth and sophistication. Garnsey explores how Beccaria’s alternative penalty of forced labour, and its conceptualisation as servitude, were embraced in Britain and America, and delves into Pelli’s voluminous diaries, shedding light on Pelli’s intellectual development and painting a vivid portrait of an Enlightenment man of letters and of conscience.
With translations of letters exchanged by the two abolitionists and selections from Beccaria’s writings, Against the Death Penalty provides new insights into eighteenth-century debates about capital punishment and offers vital historical perspectives on one of the most pressing questions of our own time.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Aging Behind Prison Walls: Studies in Trauma and Resilience, by Tina Maschi and Keith Morgen. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020.
“Today, more than 200,000 men and women over age fifty are languishing in prisons around the United States. It is projected that by 2030, one-third of all incarcerated individuals will be older adults. An already overcrowded and underserved prison system is straining to manage the needs of incarcerated older adults with growing frailty and health concerns. Separated from their families and communities despite a low risk of recidivism, incarcerated older adults represent a major social-justice issue that reveals the intersectional factors at play in their imprisonment. How do the people aging in prison understand their life experiences?
In Aging Behind Prison Walls, Tina Maschi and Keith Morgen offer a data-driven and compassionate analysis of the lives of incarcerated older people. They explore the transferable resiliencies and coping strategies used by incarcerated aging adults to make meaning of their lives before, during, and after imprisonment. The book draws on extensive quantitative and qualitative research as well as national datasets. It features rich narrative case studies that present stories of trauma, coping, and well-being. Based on the data, Maschi and Morgen present a solution-focused caring-justice framework in order to understand and transform the individual- and community-level structural factors that have led to and perpetuate the aging-in-prison crisis. They offer concrete proposals—at the community and national policy levels—to address the pressing issues of incarcerated elders.” From Publisher’s Website.
|American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI, by Kate Winkler Dawson. New York: Penguin Random House, 2021.
“Berkeley, California, 1933. In a lab filled with curiosities–beakers, microscopes, Bunsen burners, and hundreds upon hundreds of books–sat an investigator who would go on to crack at least two thousand cases in his forty-year career. Known as the “American Sherlock Holmes,” Edward Oscar Heinrich was one of America’s greatest–and first–forensic scientists, with an uncanny knack for finding clues, establishing evidence, and deducing answers with a skill that seemed almost supernatural.
Heinrich was one of the nation’s first expert witnesses, working in a time when the turmoil of Prohibition led to sensationalized crime reporting and only a small, systematic study of evidence. However with his brilliance, and commanding presence in both the courtroom and at crime scenes, Heinrich spearheaded the invention of a myriad of new forensic tools that police still use today, including blood spatter analysis, ballistics, lie-detector tests, and the use of fingerprints as courtroom evidence. His work, though not without its serious–some would say fatal–flaws, changed the course of American criminal investigation.” From Publisher’s Website.
|American Zealots: Inside Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism, by Arie Perliger. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020.
“In an unsettling time in American history, the outbreak of right-wing violence is among the most disturbing developments. In recent years, attacks originating from the far right of American politics have targeted religious and ethnic minorities, with a series of antigovernment militants, religious extremists, and lone-wolf mass shooters inspired by right-wing ideologies. The need to understand the nature and danger of far-right violence is greater than ever.
In American Zealots, Arie Perliger provides a wide-ranging and rigorously researched overview of right-wing domestic terrorism. He analyzes its historical roots, characteristics, tactics, rhetoric, and organization, assessing the current and future trajectory of the use of violence by the far right. Perliger draws on a comprehensive dataset of more than 5,000 attacks and their perpetrators from 1990 through 2017 in order to explore key trends in American right-wing terrorism. He describes the entire ideological spectrum of the American far right, including today’s white supremacists, antigovernment groups, and antiabortion fundamentalists, as well as the histories of the KKK, skinheads, and neo-Nazis. Based on these findings, Perliger suggests counterterrorism policies that can respond effectively to the far-right threat. A groundbreaking examination of violence spawned from right-wing ideologies, American Zealots is essential reading for everyone seeking to understand the transformation of domestic terrorism.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Assassins’ Deeds: A History of Assassination from Ancient Egypt to the Present Day, by John Withington. Chicago: Reaktion Books, 2020.
“Assassins have been murdering the powerful and famous for at least 4,000 years. At first, the most common reason was personal ambition, and the perpetrators were often close family, like the Turkish sultan who had nineteen of his brothers strangled. More recent motives include religion and political ideology.
For centuries, methods changed little – stabbing, poison, strangling. All required getting right up to the target, and even when firearms appeared, assassins usually preferred the handgun at close quarters to the sniper’s rifle. And many victims were surprisingly careless: Abraham Lincoln had let his bodyguard go for a drink.
So does assassination work? Assassins’ Deeds delves into some of history’s most notorious acts, unveiling an intriguing cast of characters, nail-biting drama and many unintended consequences.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Authoritarian Police in Democracy: Contested Security in Latin America, by Yanilda Maria Gonzalez. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020.
“In countries around the world, from the United States to the Philippines to Chile, police forces are at the center of social unrest and debates about democracy and rule of law. This book examines the persistence of authoritarian policing in Latin America to explain why police violence and malfeasance remain pervasive decades after democratization. It also examines the conditions under which reform can occur. Drawing on rich comparative analysis and evidence from Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia, the book opens up the ‘black box’ of police bureaucracies to show how police forces exert power and cultivate relationships with politicians, as well as how social inequality impedes change. González shows that authoritarian policing persists not in spite of democracy but in part because of democratic processes and public demand. When societal preferences over the distribution of security and coercion are fragmented along existing social cleavages, politicians possess few incentives to enact reform.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Black Widows of the Eternal City: The True Story of Rome’s Most Infamous Poisoners, by Craig A. Monson. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2020.
“The Black Widows of the Eternal City offers, for the first time, a book-length study of an infamous cause célèbre in seventeenth-century Rome, how it resonated then and has continued to resonate: the 1659 investigation and prosecution of Gironima Spana and dozens of Roman widows, who shared a particularly effective poison to murder their husbands. This notorious case has been frequently discussed over 350 years, but the earliest writers concentrated more on fortifying their reading constituency’s shared attitudes than accurately narrating facts. Subsequent authors remained largely content to follow their predecessors or keen to improve upon them. Most recent writers and bloggers were unaware that their earlier sources were generally unconcerned with a correct portrayal of real events.
In the present study, Craig A. Monson takes advantage of a recent discovery—the 1,450-page notary’s transcript of the 1659 investigation. It is supplemented here by many ancillary archival sources, unknown to all previous writers. Since the story of Gironima Spana and the would-be widows is partially about what people believed to be true, however, this investigation also juxtaposes some of the “alternative facts” from earlier, sensational accounts with what the notary’s transcript and other, more reliable archival documents reveal.
Written in a style that avoids arcane idioms and specialist jargon, the book can potentially speak to students and general readers interested in seventeenth-century social history and gender issues. It rewrites the life story of Gironima Spana (largely unknown until now), who has dominated all earlier accounts, usually in caricatures that reiterate the tropes of witchcraft. It also concentrates on the dozen other widows whose stories could be the most recovered from archival sources and whom Spana had totally eclipsed in earlier accounts. Most were women “of a very ordinary sort” (prostitutes; beggars; wives of butchers, barbers, dyers, lineners, innkeepers), the kinds of women commonly lost to history. The book seeks to explain why some women were hanged (only six, in fact, most of whom may not have directly poisoned anyone), while dozens of others who did poison their husbands escaped the gallows and, in some cases, were not even interrogated. It also reveals what happened to these other alleged perpetrators, whose fates have remained unknown until now. Other purported culprits, about whom less complete pictures emerge, are briefly discussed in an appendix.
The study incorporates illustrations of archival manuscripts to demonstrate the challenges of deciphering them and illustrates “scenes of the crime” and other important locations, identified on seventeenth-century, bird’s eye-perspective views of Rome and in modern photographs. It also includes GPS coordinates for any who might wish to revisit the sites.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Blood, Powder, and Residue: How Crime Labs Translate Evidence into Proof, by Beth A. Cechky. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2021.
“The findings of forensic science—from DNA profiles and chemical identifications of illegal drugs to comparisons of bullets, fingerprints, and shoeprints—are widely used in police investigations and courtroom proceedings. While we recognize the significance of this evidence for criminal justice, the actual work of forensic scientists is rarely examined and largely misunderstood. Blood, Powder, and Residue goes inside a metropolitan crime laboratory to shed light on the complex social forces that underlie the analysis of forensic evidence.
Drawing on eighteen months of rigorous fieldwork in a crime lab of a major metro area, Beth Bechky tells the stories of the forensic scientists who struggle to deliver unbiased science while under intense pressure from adversarial lawyers, escalating standards of evidence, and critical public scrutiny. Bechky brings to life the daily challenges these scientists face, from the painstaking screening and testing of evidence to making communal decisions about writing up the lab report, all while worrying about attorneys asking them uninformed questions in court. She shows how the work of forensic scientists is fraught with the tensions of serving justice—constantly having to anticipate the expectations of the world of law and the assumptions of the public—while also staying true to their scientific ideals.
Blood, Powder, and Residue offers a vivid and sometimes harrowing picture of the lives of highly trained experts tasked with translating their knowledge for others who depend on it to deliver justice.”: From Publisher’s Website.
|A Brotherhood Betrayed: The Man Behind the Rise and Fall of Murder, Inc., by Michael Cannell. New York: Minotaur Books, 2020.
“In the fall of 1941, a momentous trial was underway that threatened to end the careers and lives of New York’s most brutal mob kingpins. The lead witness, Abe Reles, had been a trusted executioner for Murder, Inc., the enforcement arm of a coast-to-coast mob network known as the Commission. But the man responsible for coolly silencing hundreds of informants was about to become the most talkative snitch of all. In exchange for police protection, Reles was prepared to rat out his murderous friends, from Albert Anastasia to Bugsy Siegel―but before he could testify, his shattered body was discovered on a rooftop outside his heavily-guarded hotel room. Was it a botched escape, or punishment for betraying the loyalty of the country’s most powerful mobsters?
Michael Cannell’s A Brotherhood Betrayed traces the history of Murder, Inc. through Reles’ rise from street punk to murder chieftain to stool pigeon, ending with his fateful death on a Coney Island rooftop. It resurrects a time when crime became organized crime: a world of money and power, depravity and corruption, street corner ambushes and elaborately choreographed hits by wise-cracking foot soldiers with names like Buggsy Goldstein and Tick Tock Tannenbaum.
For a brief moment before World War II erupted, America fixated on the delicate balance of trust and betrayal on the Brooklyn streets. This is the story of the one man who tipped the balance.” From Published Website.
|Carving Out a Humanity: Race, Rights, and Redemption: The Derrick Bell Lectures on Race in American Society, edited by Janel Dewart Bell and Vincent M. Southerrland. New York: The New Press, 2020.
“Carving Out a Humanity gathers some of our country’s brightest progressive legal stars in a volume of essays that illuminates the facets of the law that have continued to perpetuate racial inequality and to confound our nation at the start of a new millennium.
“To what extent does equal protection protect?” asks Ian Haney López in a penetrating analysis of the gaps that remain in our civil rights legal codes. President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Sherrilyn Ifill describes the hypersegregation of our cities and the limits of the law’s ability to change deep-seated attitudes about race. Patricia Williams explores the legacy of slavery in the law’s current constructions of sanity. Anita Allen discusses competing privacy and accountability interests in the lives of African American celebrities. Chuck Lawrence interrogates the judicial backlash against affirmative action. And Michelle Alexander describes what caused her to break ranks with the civil rights community and take up the cause of those our legal system has labeled unworthy.
Originally delivered as Derrick Bell Lectures in a series at NYU School of Law, begun in 1995 and running up through 2019, Carving Out a Humanity offers an unprecedented array of today’s most creative and brilliant thinking on race and the law.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Combating Money Laundering in Africa: Dealing with the Problem of PEPs, by John Hatchard. Cheltenham, UK: Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2020.
“This insightful book critically explores the political, constitutional, legal, and economic challenges of effectively combating the laundering of the proceeds of crime by politically exposed persons (PEPs) in Africa.
Professor John Hatchard draws on numerous recent examples from Africa and beyond, arguing that a three-pronged approach is required to address the issues surrounding money laundering by PEPs; there must be action at the national, transnational, and corporate levels. Taking a forward-thinking perspective, he reviews the strategies which would make this approach effective and offers suggestions for their further enhancement. Professor Hatchard also provides an in-depth analysis of the different money laundering techniques used in African countries and suggests how constitutions, financial intelligence units, asset recovery mechanisms, and the African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights can be utilised to tackle the problem. The book concludes that while challenges remain, there is cause for optimism that money laundering by African PEPs can be addressed successfully.
This book will be of interest to academics and students of law, particularly those focusing on financial law, corruption, and economic crime. Containing a wealth of practical case studies, it will also be beneficial for legal practitioners, policymakers, public officials, and civil society organisations.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Criminalizing Sex: A Unified Liberal Theory, by Stuart P. Green. Oxford, UK; New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.
“Starting in the latter part of the 20th century, the law of sexual offenses, especially in the West, began to reflect a striking divergence. On the one hand, the law became significantly more punitive in its approach to sexual conduct that is nonconsensual, as evidenced by a major expansion in the definition of rape and sexual assault, and the creation of new offenses like sex trafficking, child grooming, and revenge porn. On the other hand, it became markedly more permissive in how it dealt with conduct that is consensual, a trend that can be seen, for example, in the legalization or decriminalization of sodomy, adultery, and adult pornography. This book explores the conceptual and normative implications of this divergence.
At the heart of the book is a consideration of a deeply contested question: How should a liberal system of criminal law adequately protect individuals in their right not to be subjected to sexual contact against their will, while also safeguarding their right to engage in (private consensual) sexual conduct in which they do wish to participate? The book develops a framework for harmonizing these goals in the context of a wide range of nonconsensual, consensual, and aconsensual sexual offenses (hence, the “unified” nature of the theory) — including rape and sexual assault in a variety of forms, sexual harassment, voyeurism, indecent exposure, incest, sadomasochistic assault, prostitution, bestiality, and necrophilia. Intellectually rigorous, fair-minded, and deeply humane, Criminalizing Sex offers a fascinating discussion of a wide range of moral and legal puzzles, arising out of real-world cases of alleged sexual misconduct – a discussion that is all the more urgent in the age of #MeToo.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Defender: The Battle to Protect the Rights of the Accused in Philadelphia, by Edward W. Madeira Jr. and Michael D. Schaffer. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2020.
“Long before the Supreme Court ruled that impoverished defendants in criminal cases have a right to free counsel, Philadelphia’s public defenders were working to ensure fair trials for all. In 1934, when penniless defendants were routinely railroaded through the courts without ever seeing a lawyer, Philadelphia attorney Francis Fisher Kane helped create the Voluntary Defender Association, supported by charity and free from political interference, to represent poor people accused of crime.
When the Supreme Court’s 1963 decision Gideon v. Wainwright mandated free counsel for indigent defendants, the Defender (as it is now known) became more essential than ever, representing at least 70 percent of those caught in the machinery of justice in the city. Its groundbreaking work in juvenile advocacy, homicide representation, death-row habeas corpus petitions, parole issues, and alternative sentencing has earned a national reputation.
In The Defender, Edward Madeira, past president of the Defender’s Board of Directors, and former Philadelphia Inquirer journalist Michael Schaffer chart the 80-plus-year history of the organization as it grew from two lawyers in 1934 to a staff of nearly 500 in 2015.
This is a compelling story about securing justice for those who need it most.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Deviant Opera: Sex, Power, and Perversion on Stage, by Axel Englund. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2020.
“Imagine Armida, Handel’s Saracen sorceress, performing her breakneck coloraturas in a black figure-hugging rubber dress, beating her insubordinate furies into submission with a cane, suspending a captive Rinaldo in chains from the ceiling of her dungeon. Mozart’s peasant girl Zerlina, meanwhile, is tying up and blindfolding her fiancé to seduce him out of his jealousy of Don Giovanni. And how about Wagner’s wizard, Klingsor, ensnaring his choir of flower maidens in elaborate Japanese rope bondage?
Opera, it would appear, has developed a taste for sadomasochism. For decades now, radical stage directors have repeatedly dressed canonical operas—from Handel and Mozart to Wagner and Puccini, and beyond—in whips, chains, leather, and other regalia of SM and fetishism. Deviant Opera seeks to understand this phenomenon, approaching the contemporary visual code of perversion as a lens through which opera focuses and scrutinizes its own configurations of sex, gender, power, and violence. The emerging image is that of an art form that habitually plays with an eroticization of cruelty and humiliation, inviting its devotees to take sensual pleasure in the suffering of others. Ultimately, Deviant Opera argues that this species of opera fantasizes about breaking the boundaries of its own role-playing, and pushing its erotic power exchanges from the enacted to the actual.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Drugs and Thugs: The History and Future of America’s War on Drugs, by Russell Crandall. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2020.
“How can the United States chart a path forward in the war on drugs? In Drugs and Thugs, Russell Crandall uncovers the full history of this war that has lasted more than a century. As a scholar and a high-level national security advisor to both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, he provides an essential view of the economic, political, and human impacts of U.S. drug policies. Backed by extensive research, lucid and unbiased analysis of policy, and his own personal experiences, Crandall takes readers from Afghanistan to Colombia, to Peru and Mexico, to Miami International Airport and the border crossing between El Paso and Juarez to trace the complex social networks that make up the drug trade and drug consumption. Through historically driven stories, Crandall reveals how the war on drugs has evolved to address mass incarceration, the opioid epidemic, the legalization and medical use of marijuana, and America’s shifting foreign policy.” From Publisher’s Website.
|FBI Surveillance of Mexicans and Chicanos, 1920-1980, by Jose Angel Gutierrez. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2021.
“A multi-chapter book that examines the FBI files on two well known persons of Mexican origin, Luisa Moreno and Ernesto Galarza; four Chicanos, Ambassador Raymond Telles and his wife Delfina Navarro, Francisco “Pancho” Medrano, Freddy Fender; two organizations, the Texas Farm Workers Union and the American G.I. Forum; and, one event, the Zoot Suit police riots in Los Angeles, California during the 1940s.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Fencing in Democracy: Border Walls, Necrocitizenship, and the Security State, by Miguel Diaz-Barriga and Margaret E. Dorsey. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020.
“Border walls permeate our world, with more than thirty nation-states constructing them. Anthropologists Margaret E. Dorsey and Miguel Díaz-Barriga argue that border wall construction manifests transformations in citizenship practices that are aimed not only at keeping migrants out but also at enmeshing citizens into a wider politics of exclusion. For a decade, the authors studied the U.S.-Mexico border wall constructed by the Department of Homeland Security and observed the political protests and legal challenges that residents mounted in opposition to the wall. In Fencing in Democracy Dorsey and Díaz-Barriga take us to those border communities most affected by the wall and often ignored in national discussions about border security to highlight how the state diminishes citizens’ rights. That dynamic speaks to the citizenship experiences of border residents that is indicative of how walls imprison the populations they are built to protect. Dorsey and Díaz-Barriga brilliantly expand conversations about citizenship, the operation of U.S. power, and the implications of border walls for the future of democracy.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines, by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2018.
“In Fighting Corruption Is Dangerous, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has written a primer for those working to root out corruption and disrupt vested interests. Drawing on her experience as Nigeria’s finance minister and that of her team, she describes dangers, pitfalls, and successes in fighting corruption. She provides practical lessons learned and tells how anti-corruption advocates need to equip themselves. Okonjo-Iweala details the numerous ways in which corruption can divert resources away from development, rewarding the unscrupulous and depriving poor people of services.
Okonjo-Iweala discovered just how dangerous fighting corruption could be when her 83-year-old mother was kidnapped in 2012 by forces who objected to some of the government’s efforts at reforms led by Okonjo-Iweala—in particular a crackdown on fraudulent claims for oil subsidy payments, a huge drain on the country’s finances. The kidnappers’ first demand was that Okonjo-Iweala resign from her position on live television and leave the country. Okonjo-Iweala did not resign, her mother escaped, and the program of economic reforms continued. “Telling my story is risky,” Okonjo-Iweala writes. “But not telling it is also dangerous.” Her book ultimately leaves us with hope, showing that victories are possible in the fight against corruption.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Forever Prisoners: How the United States Made the World’s Largest Immigrant Detention System, by Elliott Young. Oxford, UK: New York: Oxford University Press, 2021.
“Stories of non-US citizens caught in the jaws of the immigration bureaucracy and subject to indefinite detention are in the headlines daily. These men, women, and children remain almost completely without rights, unprotected by law and the Constitution, and their status as outsiders, even though many of have lived and worked in this country for years, has left them vulnerable to the most extreme forms of state power. Although the rhetoric surrounding these individuals is extreme, the US government has been locking up immigrants since the late nineteenth century, often for indefinite periods and with limited ability to challenge their confinement.
Forever Prisoners offers the first broad history of immigrant detention in the United States. Elliott Young focuses on five stories, including Chinese detained off the coast of Washington in the late 1880s, an “insane” Russian-Brazilian Jew caught on a ship shuttling between New York and South America during World War I, Japanese Peruvians kidnapped and locked up in a Texas jail during World War II, a prison uprising by Mariel Cuban refugees in 1987, and a Salvadoran mother who grew up in the United States and has spent years incarcerated while fighting deportation. Young shows how foreigners have been caged not just for immigration violations, but also held in state and federal prisons for criminal offenses, in insane asylums for mental illness, as enemy aliens in INS facilities, and in refugee camps. Since the 1980s, the conflation of criminality with undocumented migrants has given rise to the most extensive system of immigrant incarceration in the nation’s history. Today over half a million immigrants are caged each year, some serving indefinite terms in what has become the world’s most extensive immigrant detention system. And yet, Young finds, the rate of all forms of incarceration for immigrants was as high in the early twentieth century as it is today, demonstrating a return to past carceral practices.
Providing critical historical context for today’s news cycle, Forever Prisoners focuses on the sites of limbo where America’s immigration population have been and continue to be held.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Free Speech Law and the Pornography Debate: A Gender-Based Approach to Regulating Inegalitarian Pornography, by Lynn Mills Eckert. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020.
“By examining the highly contested legal debate about the regulation of pornography through an epistemic lens, this book analyzes competing claims about the proper role of speech in our society, pornography’s harm, the relationship between speech and equality, and whether law should regulate and, if so, upon what grounds. In maintaining that inegalitarian pornography generates discursive effects, the book contends that law cannot simply adopt a libertarian approach to free speech. While inegalitarian pornography may not be determinative of gender inequality, it does contribute, reinforce, reflect and help maintain such unfairness. As a result, we can place reasonable gender-based regulations on inegalitarian pornography while upholding our most treasured commitments to dissident speech just as other liberal democracies with strong free speech traditions have done.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Gangs of the El Paso-Juarez Borderland: A History, by Mike Tapia. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press,2020.
“This thought-provoking book examines gang history in the region encompassing West Texas, Southern New Mexico, and Northern Chihuahua, Mexico. Known as the El Paso-Juárez borderland region, the area contains more than three million people spanning 130 miles from east to west. From the badlands–the historically notorious eastern Valle de Juárez–to the Puerto Palomas port of entry at Columbus, New Mexico, this area has become more militarized and politicized than ever before. Mike Tapia examines this region by exploring a century of historical developments through a criminological lens and by studying the diverse subcultures on both sides of the law.
Tapia looks extensively at the role of history and geography on criminal subculture formation in the binational urban setting of El Paso-Juárez, demonstrating the region’s unique context for criminogenic processes. He provides a poignant case study of Homeland Security and the apparent lack of drug-war spillover in communities on the US-Mexico border.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Gangsters and Other Statesmen: Mafias, Separatists, and Torn States in a Globalized World, by Danilo Mandic. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020.
“Separatism has been on the rise across the world since the end of the Cold War, dividing countries through political strife, ethnic conflict, and civil war, and redrawing the political map. Gangsters and Other Statesmen examines the role transnational mafias play in the success and failure of separatist movements, challenging conventional wisdom about the interrelation of organized crime with peacebuilding, nationalism, and state making.
Danilo Mandić conducted fieldwork in the disputed territories of Kosovo and South Ossetia, talking to mobsters, separatists, and policymakers in war zones and along major smuggling routes. In this timely and provocative book, he demonstrates how globalized mafias shape the politics of borders in torn states, shedding critical light on an autonomous nonstate actor that has been largely sidelined by considerations of geopolitics, state-centered agency, and ethnonationalism. Blending extensive archival sleuthing and original ethnographic data with insights from sociology and other disciplines, Mandić argues that organized crime can be a fateful determinant of state capacity, separatist success, and ethnic conflict.
Putting mafias at the center of global processes of separatism and territorial consolidation, Gangsters and Other Statesmen raises vital questions and urges reconsideration of a host of separatist cases in West Africa, the Middle East, and East Europe.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Great Kosher Meat War of 1902: Immigrant Housewives and the Riots that Shook New York City, by Scott D. Seligman. Lincoln, NE: Potomac Books, 2020.
“In the wee hours of May 15, 1902, three thousand Jewish women quietly took up positions on the streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Convinced by the latest jump in the price of kosher meat that they were being gouged, they assembled in squads of five, intent on shutting down every kosher butcher shop in New York’s Jewish quarter.
What was conceived as a nonviolent effort did not remain so for long. Customers who crossed the picket lines were heckled and assaulted, their parcels of meat hurled into the gutters. Butchers who remained open were attacked, their windows smashed, stocks ruined, equipment destroyed. Brutal blows from police nightsticks sent women to local hospitals and to court. But soon Jewish housewives throughout the area took to the streets in solidarity, while the butchers either shut their doors or had them shut for them. The newspapers called it a modern Jewish Boston Tea Party.
The Great Kosher Meat War of 1902 tells the twin stories of mostly uneducated female immigrants who discovered their collective consumer power and of the Beef Trust, the midwestern cartel that conspired to keep meat prices high despite efforts by the U.S. government to curtail its nefarious practices. With few resources and little experience but a great deal of steely determination, this group of women organized themselves into a potent fighting force and, in their first foray into the political arena in their adopted country, successfully challenged powerful vested corporate interests and set a pattern for future generations to follow.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Guilty Acts, Guilty Minds, by Stephen P. Garvey. Oxford, UK: New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.
“When someone commits a crime, what are the limits on a state’s authority to define them as worthy of blame, and thus liable to punishment? This book answers that question, building on two ideas familiar to criminal lawyers: actus reus and mens rea, usually translated as “guilty act” and “guilty mind.”
In Guilty Acts, Guilty Minds, Stephen P. Garvey proposes an understanding of actus reus and mens rea as limits on the authority of a state, and in particular the authority of a democratic state, to ascribe guilt to those accused of crime. Garvey argues that actus reus and mens rea are necessary conditions for legitimate state punishment. Drawing on the work of political philosophers, moral philosophers, and criminal law theorists, Garvey provides clear explanations of how these concepts apply to a wide variety of cases. The book charges readers to consider practical examples and ask: whatever you believe regarding the justice of the rules, did the state act within the scope of its legitimate authority when it enacted those rules into law?
Based on extensive research, this book presents a new theory in which the concepts of actus reus and mens rea mark the limits of state power rather than simply describe the elements of a crime. Making the compelling distinction between legitimacy and justice, Guilty Acts, Guilty Minds provides an important perspective on the limits of state authority.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Hamilton and the Law: Reading Today’s Most Contentious Legal Issues through the Hit Musical, edited by Lisa A. Tucker. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020.
“Since its Broadway debut, Hamilton: An American Musical has infused itself into the American experience: who shapes it, who owns it, who can rap it best. Lawyers and legal scholars, recognizing the way the musical speaks to some of our most complicated constitutional issues, have embraced Alexander Hamilton as the trendiest historical face in American civics. Hamilton and the Law offers a revealing look into the legal community’s response to the musical, which continues to resonate in a country still deeply divided about the reach of the law.
A star-powered cast of legal minds―from two former U.S. solicitors general to leading commentators on culture and society―contribute brief and engaging magazine-style articles to this lively book. Intellectual property scholars share their thoughts on Hamilton‘s inventive use of other sources, while family law scholars explore domestic violence. Critical race experts consider how Hamilton furthers our understanding of law and race, while authorities on the Second Amendment discuss the language of the Constitution’s most contested passage. Legal scholars moonlighting as musicians discuss how the musical lifts history and law out of dusty archives and onto the public stage. This collection of minds, inspired by the phenomenon of the musical and the Constitutional Convention of 1787, urges us to heed Lin-Manuel Miranda and the Founding Fathers and to create something new, daring, and different.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Hardhat Riot: Nixon, New York City, and the Dawn of the White Working-Class Revolution, by David Paul Kuhn. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.
“In May 1970, four days after Kent State, construction workers chased students through downtown Manhattan, beating scores of protesters bloody. As hardhats clashed with hippies, it soon became clear that something larger was underway–Democrats were at war with themselves. In The Hardhat Riot, David Paul Kuhn tells the fateful story of when the white working class first turned against liberalism, when Richard Nixon seized the breach, and America was forever changed. It was unthinkable one generation before: FDR’s “forgotten man” siding with the party of Big Business and, ultimately, paving the way for presidencies from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump.
This is the story of the schism that tore liberalism apart. In the shadow of the half-built Twin Towers, on the same day the Knicks rallied against the odds and won their first championship, we experience the tumult of Nixon’s America and John Lindsay’s New York City, as festering division explodes into violence and Nixon’s advisors realize that the Democratic coalition has collapsed, that this is their chance, because “these, quite candidly, are our people now.”
In this riveting story–rooted in meticulous research, including thousands of pages of never-before-seen records–we go back to a harrowing day that explains the politics of today. We experience an emerging class conflict between two newly polarized Americas, and how it all boiled over on one brutal day, when the Democratic Party’s future was bludgeoned by its past.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right, by Cynthia Miller-Idriss. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020.
“Hate crimes. Misinformation and conspiracy theories. Foiled white-supremacist plots. The signs of growing far-right extremism are all around us, and communities across America and around the globe are struggling to understand how so many people are being radicalized and why they are increasingly attracted to violent movements. Hate in the Homeland shows how tomorrow’s far-right nationalists are being recruited in surprising places, from college campuses and mixed martial arts gyms to clothing stores, online gaming chat rooms, and YouTube cooking channels.
Instead of focusing on the how and why of far-right radicalization, Cynthia Miller-Idriss seeks answers in the physical and virtual spaces where hate is cultivated. Where does the far right do its recruiting? When do young people encounter extremist messaging in their everyday lives? Miller-Idriss shows how far-right groups are swelling their ranks and developing their cultural, intellectual, and financial capacities in a variety of mainstream settings. She demonstrates how young people on the margins of our communities are targeted in these settings, and how the path to radicalization is a nuanced process of moving in and out of far-right scenes throughout adolescence and adulthood.
Hate in the Homeland is essential for understanding the tactics and underlying ideas of modern far-right extremism. This eye-opening book takes readers into the mainstream places and spaces where today’s far right is engaging and ensnaring young people, and reveals innovative strategies we can use to combat extremist radicalization.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Heroes of the Borderlands: The Western in Mexican Film, Comics and Music, by Christopher Conway. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2019.
“Few genres were as popular and as enduring in twentieth-century Mexico as the Western. Christopher Conway’s lavishly illustrated Heroes of the Borderlands tells the surprising story of the Mexican Western for the first time, exploring how Mexican authors and artists reimagined US film and comic book Westerns to address Mexican politics and culture. Broad in scope, accessible in style, and multidisciplinary in approach, this study examines a variety of Western films and comics, defines their political messaging, and shows how popular Mexican music reinforced their themes. Conway shows how the Mexican Western responds to historical and cultural topics like the trauma of the Conquest, mestizaje, misogyny, the Cult of Santa Muerte, and anti-Americanism. Full of memorable movie stills, posters, lobby cards, comic book covers, and period advertising, Heroes of the Borderlands redefines our understanding of Mexican popular culture by uncovering a vibrant genre that has been hiding in plain sight.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Hollywood Kid: The Violent Life and Violent Death of an MS-13 Hitman, by Oscar Martinez and Juan Jose Martinez. New York: Verso, 2019.
“As a boy, Miguel Ángel Tobar’s small town in El Salvador was torn apart by guerrillas and US- backed death squads. Still a preteen, he joined a different kind of death squad—the Hollywood Locos Salvatrucha—a clique of the Mara Salvatruchas, better known as MS-13. This international criminal organization began on the streets of Los Angeles in the 1980s, as Salvadoran children, whose families had fled their country’s civil war, banded together to defend themselves from LA gangs. Denied refugee status, the Salvadorans found themselves pushed into the shadows and besieged by violence, and MS-13 itself mutated into a gang. When large-scale US deportations began, violence was exported from the United States to El Salvador, helping make it one of the world’s deadliest countries and in turn propelling new waves of refugees northward.
The Salvadoran journalist Óscar Martinez and his anthropologist brother Juan José Martínez got to know the Hollywood Kid when he informed on MS-13. In his hideaway shack, he recounted a life of killing—a death toll of more than fifty rival gang members—until his own murder ended the story. Vivid and violent, The Hollywood Kid brings a brutal world to life, illustrating the geopolitical forces propelling a country toward ever more vicious extremes.” From Publisher’s Website.
|In Defense of Looting: A Riotous History of Uncivil Action, by Vicky Osterweil. New York: Bold Type Books, 2018.
“Looting — a crowd of people publicly, openly, and directly seizing goods — is one of the more extreme actions that can take place in the midst of social unrest. Even self-identified radicals distance themselves from looters, fearing that violent tactics reflect badly on the broader movement.
But Vicky Osterweil argues that stealing goods and destroying property are direct, pragmatic strategies of wealth redistribution and improving life for the working class — not to mention the brazen messages these methods send to the police and the state. All our beliefs about the innate righteousness of property and ownership, Osterweil explains, are built on the history of anti-Black, anti-Indigenous oppression.
From slave revolts to labor strikes to the modern-day movements for climate change, Black lives, and police abolition, Osterweil makes a convincing case for rioting and looting as weapons that bludgeon the status quo while uplifting the poor and marginalized. In Defense of Looting is a history of violent protest sparking social change, a compelling reframing of revolutionary activism, and a practical vision for a dramatically restructured society.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Insidious Momentum of American Mass Incarceration, by Franklin E. Zimring. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.
“The phenomenal growth of penal confinement in the United States in the last quarter of the twentieth century is still a public policy mystery. While there is unanimous condemnation of the practice, there is no consensus on the causes nor any persuasive analysis of what is likely to happen in the coming decades.
In The Insidious Momentum of American Mass Incarceration, Franklin E. Zimring seeks a comprehensive understanding of when, how, and why the United States became the world leader in incarceration to further determine how the use of confinement can realistically be reduced. To do this, Zimring first profiles the growth of imprisonment after 1970, emphasizing the important roles of both the federal system and the distribution of power and fiscal responsibility among the levels of government in American states. He also examines the changes in law enforcement, prosecution and criminal sentencing that ignited the 400% increase in rates of imprisonment in the single generation after 1975. Finally, Zimring then proposes a range of strategies that can reduce prison population and promote rational policies of criminal punishment.
Arguing that the most powerful enemy to reducing excess incarceration is simply the mundane features of state and local government, such as elections of prosecutors and state support for prison budgets, this book challenges the conventional ways we consider the issue of mass incarceration in the United States and how we can combat the rising numbers.” From Publisher’s Website.
|A Journey to Freedom: Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement, by Kent Blansett. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2020.
“A revealing portrait of Richard Oakes, the brilliant, charismatic Native American leader who was instrumental in the takeovers of Alcatraz, Fort Lawton, and Pit River and whose assassination in 1972 galvanized the Trail of Broken Treaties march on Washington, D.C. The life of this pivotal Akwesasne Mohawk activist is explored in an important new biography based on extensive archival research and interviews with key activists and family members.
Historian Kent Blansett offers a transformative and new perspective on the Red Power movement of the turbulent 1960s and the dynamic figure who helped to organize and champion it, telling the full story of Oakes’s life, his fight for Native American self-determination, and his tragic, untimely death. This invaluable history chronicles the mid-twentieth-century rise of Intertribalism, Indian Cities, and a national political awakening that continues to shape Indigenous politics and activism to this day.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Law Enforcement–Perpetrated Homicides: Accidents to Murder, by Tom Barker. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. 2020.
“Police violence of all types receives much attention from the media, and this is especially true for police homicides that often lead to demonstrations and protests. Police violence is a volatile, recurring social justice issue that often receives media attention, leads to demonstrations or protests and increases the tension between law enforcement agencies and the community they serve. Tom Barker examines police homicide and the different behavior patterns that lead to it, ranging from misadventure to intent. To better understand this complex issue, Barker has created 3 main categories: accidental homicides, justifiable homicides and criminal homicides. Barker includes a variety of cases from accidental deaths involving careless, reckless or negligent law enforcement officers to murders committed by LEOs engaged in organized crime or serial sexual homicides. This book will be of interest to those studying criminology, criminal justice, sociology, political science, etc.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Let’s Talk About Your Wall: Mexican Writers Respond to the Immigration Crisis, edited by Carmen Boullosa and Alberto Quintero. New York: The New Press, 2020.
”Despite the extensive coverage in the U.S. media of the southern border and Donald Trump’s proposed wall, most English speakers have had little access to the multitude of perspectives from Mexico on the ongoing crisis. Celebrated novelist Carmen Boullosa (author of Texas and Before) and Alberto Quintero redress this imbalance with this collection of essays—translated into English for the first time—drawing on writing by journalists, novelists, and documentary-makers who are Mexican or based in Mexico. Contributors include the award-winning author Valeria Luiselli, whose Tell Me How It Ends is the go-to book on the child migrant crisis, and the novelist Yuri Herrera, author of the highly acclaimed Signs Preceding the End of the World.
Let’s Talk About Your Wall uses Trump’s wall as a starting point to discuss important questions, including the history of U.S.-Mexican relations, and questions of sovereignty, citizenship, and borders. An essential resource for anyone seeking to form a well-grounded opinion on one of the central issues of our day, Let’s Talk About Your Wall provides a fierce and compelling counterpoint to the racist bigotry and irrational fear that consumes the debate over immigration, and a powerful symbol of opposition to exclusion and hate.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Male Survivors of Wartime Sexual Violence: Perspectives from Northern Uganda, by Philipp Schulz. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2020.
“Although wartime sexual violence against men occurs more frequently than is commonly assumed, its dynamics are remarkably underexplored, and male survivors’ experiences remain particularly overlooked. This reality is poignant in northern Uganda, where sexual violence against men during the early stages of the conflict was geographically widespread, yet now accounts of those incidents are not just silenced and neglected locally but also widely absent from analyses of the war. Based on rare empirical data, this book seeks to remedy this marginalization and to illuminate the seldom-heard voices of male sexual violence survivors in northern Uganda, bringing to light their experiences of gendered harms, agency, and justice.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Mobilized by Injustice: Criminal Justice Contact, Political Participation, and Race, by Hannah L. Walker. Oxford, UK; New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.
“Activated by injustice, members of over-policed communities lead the current movement for civil rights in the United States. Responding to decades of abuse by law enforcement and an excessive criminal justice system, activists protested police brutality in Ferguson, organized against stop-and-frisk in New York City, and fueled the rise of Black Lives Matter. Yet, scholars did not anticipate this resistance, instead anticipating the political withdrawal of marginalized citizens. In Mobilized by Injustice, Hannah L. Walker excavates the power of criminal justice to inspire political action. Mobilization results from the belief that one’s experiences are a consequence of policies that target people like one’s self on the basis of group affiliation like race, ethnicity and class. In order to identify how individuals connect their experiences to a collective struggle, Walker centralizes the voices of those most impacted by criminal justice, pairing personal narratives with analysis of several surveys. She finds that the mobilizing power of the criminal justice system is broad, crosses racial boundaries and extends to the loved ones of custodial citizens. Mobilized by Injustice offers a compelling account of the criminal justice system as a spark for the formation of a movement with the potential to remake American politics.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Monsters, Law, Crime: Explorations in Gothic Criminology, edited by Caroline Joan “Kay” S. Picart. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2020.
“Monsters, Law, Crime, an edited collection composed of essays written by prominent U.S. and international experts in Law, Criminology, Sociology, Anthropology, Communication and Film, constitutes a rigorous attempt to explore fertile interdisciplinary inquiries into “monsters” and “monster-talk,” and law and crime. This edited collection explores and updates contemporary discussions of the emergent and evolving frontiers of monster theory in relation to cutting-edge research on law and crime as extensions of a Gothic Criminology. This theoretical framework was initially developed by Caroline Joan “Kay” S. Picart, a Philosophy and Film professor turned Attorney and Law professor, and Cecil Greek, a Sociologist (Picart and Greek 2008). Picart and Greek proposed a Gothic Criminology to analyze the fertile synapses connecting the “real” and the “reel” in the flow of Gothic metaphors and narratives that abound around criminological phenomena that populate not only popular culture but also academic and public policy discourses. Picart’s edited collection adapts the framework to focus predominantly on law and the social sciences.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Multiple Marginality and Gangs: Through a Prism Darkly, by James Diego Vigil. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2020.
“Multiple Marginality and Gangs: Through a Prism Darkly unravels the youth gang problem in a multidimensional approach that encompasses the place, status, social control, subcultural, and identity facets of urban street gangs. The power of place and the status of persons and groups are the major forces that generate the many situations and conditions that give rise to gangs. In its simplest trajectory, Multiple Marginality can be modeled as follows: place/status to street socialization to street subculture to street identity. It is the actions and reactions among them that we fathom. As we witness detrimental or absent family influence, we also observe weaker, underfunded schools that limit educators’ reach. At the same time, there has been an increase in the militarization of law enforcement to deal with the youth street populations, the heaviest hand is that of the police. There is a causal relationship between social marginalization factors and gang membership. A psychological analysis also entails how street socialization leads to a street identity. In a place and status group, the cascading effects of marginalization have certainly affected—and mostly thwarted—social control institutions.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Necropolitics: The Religious Crisis of Mass Incarceration in America, by Christophe D. Ringer. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. 2020.
“Necropolitics: The Religious Crisis of Mass Incarceration in America explores the pernicious and persistent presence of mass incarceration in American public life. Christophe D. Ringer argues that mass incarceration persists largely because the othering and criminalization of Black people in times of crisis is a significant part of the religious meaning of America. This book traces representations from the Puritan era to the beginning of the War on Drugs in the 1980s to demonstrate their centrality in this issue, revealing how these images have become accepted as fact and used by various aspects of governance to wield the power to punish indiscriminately. Ringer demonstrates how these vilifying images contribute to racism and political economy, creating a politics of death that uses jails and prisons to conceal social inequalities and political exclusion.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The People’s Porn: A History of Handmade Pornography in America, by Lisa Z. Sigel. Chicago: Reaktion Books, 2020.
“Critics tend to focus on mass-produced materials and make claims about pornography as plasticized or commodified. In contrast, eminent historian Lisa Z. Sigel looks at what people made, rather than what they bought, revealing how people thought about sexuality for themselves. She also explores periods when these sexual artifacts were pilloried, ransacked, and destroyed, providing a unique document of rare nineteenth- and twentieth-century objects. Whalers and craftsmen, prisoners and activists, African Americans and feminists—all made their own pornography. Ranging across the full sweep of this output, The People’s Porn challenges preconceptions as it tells a new and fascinating story about American sexual history.”
|The Perilous Public Square: Structural Threats to Free Expression Today, edited by David E. Pozen. New York: Columbia University Press, 2020.
“Americans of all political persuasions fear that “free speech” is under attack. This may seem strange at a time when legal protections for free expression remain strong and overt government censorship minimal. Yet a range of political, economic, social, and technological developments have raised profound challenges for how we manage speech. New threats to political discourse are mounting—from the rise of authoritarian populism and national security secrecy to the decline of print journalism and public trust in experts to the “fake news,” trolling, and increasingly subtle modes of surveillance made possible by digital technologies.
The Perilous Public Square brings together leading thinkers to identify and investigate today’s multifaceted threats to free expression. They go beyond the campus and the courthouse to pinpoint key structural changes in the means of mass communication and forms of global capitalism. Beginning with Tim Wu’s inquiry into whether the First Amendment is obsolete, Matthew Connelly, Jack Goldsmith, Kate Klonick, Frederick Schauer, Olivier Sylvain, and Heather Whitney explore ways to address these dangers and preserve the essential features of a healthy democracy. Their conversations with other leading thinkers, including Danielle Keats Citron, Jelani Cobb, Frank Pasquale, Geoffrey R. Stone, Rebecca Tushnet, and Kirsten Weld, cross the disciplinary boundaries of First Amendment law, internet law, media policy, journalism, legal history, and legal theory, offering fresh perspectives on fortifying the speech system and reinvigorating the public square.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Policing the Frontier: An Ethnography of Two Worlds in Niger, by Mirco Gopfert. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020.
“In Policing the Frontier, the second book in the Police/Worlds series Mirco Göpfert explores what it means to be a gendarme investigating cases, writing reports, and settling disputes in rural Niger. At the same time, he looks at the larger bureaucracy and the irresolvable tension between bureaucratic structures and procedures and peoples’ lives. The world of facts and files exists on one side, and the chaotic and messy human world exists on the other.
Throughout Policing the Frontier, Göpfert contends that bureaucracy and police work emerge in a sphere of constant and ambivalent connection and separation. Göpfert’s frontier in Niger (and beyond) is seen through ideas of space, condition, and project, packed with constraints and possibilities, riddled with ambiguities, and brutally destructive yet profoundly empowering. As he demonstrates, the tragedy of the frontier becomes as palpable as the true impossibility of police work and bureaucracy.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Predict and Surveil: Data, Discretion, and the Future of Policing, by Sarah Brayne. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.
“The scope of criminal justice surveillance has expanded rapidly in recent decades. At the same time, the use of big data has spread across a range of fields, including finance, politics, healthcare, and marketing. While law enforcement’s use of big data is hotly contested, very little is known about how the police actually use it in daily operations and with what consequences.
In Predict and Surveil, Sarah Brayne offers an unprecedented, inside look at how police use big data and new surveillance technologies, leveraging on-the-ground fieldwork with one of the most technologically advanced law enforcement agencies in the world-the Los Angeles Police Department. Drawing on original interviews and ethnographic observations, Brayne examines the causes and consequences of algorithmic control. She reveals how the police use predictive analytics to deploy resources, identify suspects, and conduct investigations; how the adoption of big data analytics transforms police organizational practices; and how the police themselves respond to these new data-intensive practices. Although big data analytics holds potential to reduce bias and increase efficiency, Brayne argues that it also reproduces and deepens existing patterns of social inequality, threatens privacy, and challenges civil liberties.
A groundbreaking examination of the growing role of the private sector in public policing, this book challenges the way we think about the data-heavy supervision law enforcement increasingly imposes upon civilians in the name of objectivity, efficiency, and public safety.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Privilege and Punishment: How Race and Class Matter in Criminal Court, by Matthew Clair. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020.
“The number of Americans arrested, brought to court, and incarcerated has skyrocketed in recent decades. Criminal defendants come from all races and economic walks of life, but they experience punishment in vastly different ways. Privilege and Punishment examines how racial and class inequalities are embedded in the attorney-client relationship, providing a devastating portrait of inequality and injustice within and beyond the criminal courts.
Matthew Clair conducted extensive fieldwork in the Boston court system, attending criminal hearings and interviewing defendants, lawyers, judges, police officers, and probation officers. In this eye-opening book, he uncovers how privilege and inequality play out in criminal court interactions. When disadvantaged defendants try to learn their legal rights and advocate for themselves, lawyers and judges often silence, coerce, and punish them. Privileged defendants, who are more likely to trust their defense attorneys, delegate authority to their lawyers, defer to judges, and are rewarded for their compliance. Clair shows how attempts to exercise legal rights often backfire on the poor and on working-class people of color, and how effective legal representation alone is no guarantee of justice.
Superbly written and powerfully argued, Privilege and Punishment draws needed attention to the injustices that are perpetuated by the attorney-client relationship in today’s criminal courts, and describes the reforms needed to correct them.” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Punitive Turn in American Life: How the United States Learned to Fight Crime Like a War, by Michael S. Sherry. Durham, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2020.
“In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson insisted that “the policeman is the frontline soldier in our war against crime,” and police forces, arms makers, policy makers, and crime experts heeded this call to arms, bringing weapons and practices from the arena of war back home. The Punitive Turn in American Life offers a political and cultural history of the ways in which punishment and surveillance have moved to the center of American life and become imbued with militarized language and policies. Michael S. Sherry argues that, by the 1990s, the “war on crime” had been successfully broadcast to millions of Americans at an enormous cost–to those arrested, imprisoned, or killed and to the social fabric of the nation–and that the currents of vengeance that ran through the punitive turn, underwriting torture at home and abroad, found a new voice with the election of Donald J. Trump. By 2020, the connections between war-fighting and crime-fighting remained powerful, evident in campaigns against undocumented immigrants and the militarized police response to the nationwide uprisings after George Floyd’s murder. Stoked by “forever war,” the punitive turn endured even as it met fiercer resistance.
From the racist system of mass incarceration and the militarization of criminal justice to gated communities, public schools patrolled by police, and armies of private security, Sherry chronicles the United States’ slide into becoming a meaner, punishment-obsessed nation” From Publisher’s Website.
|The Puzzle of Prison Order: Why Life Behind Bars Varies Around the World, by David Skarbek. Oxford, UK: New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.
“Many people think prisons are all the same-rows of cells filled with violent men who officials rule with an iron fist. Yet, life behind bars varies in incredible ways. In some facilities, prison officials govern with care and attention to prisoners’ needs. In others, officials have remarkably little influence on the everyday life of prisoners, sometimes not even providing necessities like food and clean water. Why does prison social order around the world look so remarkably different? In The Puzzle of Prison Order, David Skarbek develops a theory of why prisons and prison life vary so much. He finds that how they’re governed-sometimes by the state, and sometimes by the prisoners-matters the most. He investigates life in a wide array of prisons-in Brazil, Bolivia, Norway, a prisoner of war camp, England and Wales, women’s prisons in California, and a gay and transgender housing unit in the Los Angeles County Jail-to understand the hierarchy of life on the inside. Drawing on economics and a vast empirical literature on legal systems, Skarbek offers a framework to not only understand why life on the inside varies in such fascinating and novel ways, but also how social order evolves and takes root behind bars.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Queer and Trans Migrations: Dynamics of Illegalization, Detention, and Deportation, edited by Eithne Luibheid and Karma R. Chavez. Bloomington, IL: University Illinois Press, 2020.
“More than a quarter of a million LGBTQ-identified migrants in the United States lack documentation and constantly risk detention and deportation. LGBTQ migrants around the world endure similarly precarious situations. Eithne Luibhéid and Karma R. Chávez’s edited collection provides a first-of-its-kind look at LGBTQ migrants and communities. The academics, activists, and artists in the volume center illegalization, detention, and deportation in national and transnational contexts, and examine how migrants and allies negotiate, resist, refuse, and critique these processes. The works contribute to the fields of gender and sexuality studies, critical race and ethnic studies, borders and migration studies, and decolonial studies.
Bridging voices and works from inside and outside of the academy, and international in scope, Queer and Trans Migrations illuminates new perspectives in the field of queer and trans migration studies.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Scammer’s Yard: The Crime of Black Repair in Jamaica, by Jovan Scott Lewis. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2020.
“There is romance in stealing from the rich to give to the poor, but how does that change when those perceived rich are elderly white North Americans and the poor are young Black Jamaicans? In this innovative ethnography, Jovan Scott Lewis tells the story of Omar, Junior, and Dwayne. Young and poor, they strive to make a living in Montego Bay, where call centers and tourism are the two main industries in the struggling economy. Their experience of grinding poverty and drastically limited opportunity leads them to conclude that scamming is the best means of gaining wealth and advancement. Otherwise, they are doomed to live in “sufferation”-an inescapable poverty that breeds misery, frustration, and vexation.
In the Jamaican lottery scam run by these men, targets are told they have qualified for a large loan or award if they pay taxes or transfer fees. When the fees are paid, the award never arrives, netting the scammers tens of thousands of U.S. dollars. Through interviews, historical sources, song lyrics, and court testimonies, Lewis examines how these scammers justify their deceit, discovering an ethical narrative that reformulates ideas of crime and transgression and their relationship to race, justice, and debt.
Scammer’s Yard describes how these young men, seeking to overcome inequality and achieve autonomy, come to view crime as a form of liberation. Their logic raises unsettling questions about a world economy that relegates postcolonial populations to deprivation even while expecting them to follow the rules of capitalism that exacerbate their dispossession. In this groundbreaking account, Lewis asks whether true reparation for the legacy of colonialism is to be found only through radical-even criminal-means.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Silent Witness: Forensic CAN Analysis in Criminal Investigations and Humanitarian Disasters, edited by Henry Erlich, Eric Stover, and Thomas J. White. Oxford, UK; New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.
“Since its introduction in the late 1980s, DNA analysis has revolutionized the forensic sciences: it has helped to convict the guilty, exonerate the wrongfully convicted, identify victims of mass atrocities, and reunite families whose members have been separated by war and repressive regimes. Yet, many of the scientific, legal, societal, and ethical concepts that underpin forensic DNA analysis remain poorly understood, and their application often controversial.
Told by over twenty experts in genetics, law, and social science, Silent Witness relates the history and development of modern DNA forensics and its application in both the courtroom and humanitarian settings. Across three thematic sections, Silent Witness tracks the scientific advances in DNA analysis and how these developments have affected criminal and social justice, whether through the arrests of new suspects, as in the case of the Golden State Killer, or through the ability to identify victims of war, terrorism, and human rights abuses, as in the cases of the disappeared in Argentina and the former Yugoslavia and those who perished during the 9/11 attacks.
By providing a critical inquiry into modern forensic DNA science, Silent Witness underscores the need to balance the benefits of using forensic genetics to solve crime with the democratic right to safeguard against privacy invasion and unwarranted government scrutiny, and raises the question of what it means to be an autonomous individual in a world where the most personal elements of one’s identity are now publicly accessible.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Trafficking: Narcoculture in Mexico and the United States, by Hector Amaya. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020.
“In Trafficking Hector Amaya examines how the dramatic escalation of drug violence in Mexico in 2008 prompted new forms of participation in public culture in Mexico and the United States. He contends that, by becoming a site of national and transnational debate about the role of the state, this violence altered the modes publicness could take, transforming assumptions about freedom of expression and the rules of public participation. Amaya examines the practices of narcocorrido musicians who take advantage of digital production and distribution technologies to escape Mexican censors and to share music across the US-Mexico border, as well as anonymous bloggers whose coverage of trafficking and violence from a place of relative safety made them public heroes. These new forms of being in the public sphere, Amaya demonstrates, evolved to exceed the bounds of the state and traditional media sources, signaling the inadequacy of democratic theories of freedom and publicness to understand how violence shapes public discourse.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Transgender Intimate Partner Violence: A Comprehensive Introduction, edited by Adam M. Messinger and Xavier L. Guadalupe-Diaz. New York: New York University Press, 2020.
“In the course of their lives, around fifty percent of transgender people will experience intimate partner violence in their relationships—including psychological, physical, or sexual abuse. In Transgender Intimate Partner Violence, Adam M. Messinger and Xavier L. Guadalupe-Diaz bring together a diverse group of scholars, service providers, activists, and others to examine this widespread problem, shedding light on the often-hidden experiences of transgender survivors.
Drawing on two decades of research, contributors explore transgender intimate partner violence in all of its complexities, offering an overview of this emerging body of policy, research, and practice. They offer best practices to enhance research, services, and healing for transgender survivors.
A revolutionary volume, Transgender Intimate Partner Violence offers insight into how to create a compassionate and inclusive world for transgender communities.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Transnational Organized Crime and Gangs: Intervention Prevention, and Suppression of Cybersecurity, by Robert M. Brzenchek. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2020.
“Transnational Organized Crime and Gangs: Intervention, Prevention, and Suppression of Cybersecurity provides several first-person examples of the mind set and mentality present in today’s transnational organized crime groups combined with a holistic approach towards prevention and intervention in the cybersecurity space.
Transnational organized crime groups have tremendous power and money, which means they have the ability to pay hackers to defeat cybersecurity measures. The dangers posed by organized crime groups are nothing new. For decades, these groups have launched sophisticated attacks against individuals as well as major corporations. Billions of dollars have been stolen every year, and large, continuous hacks of our highly sensitive computer systems. What is new, is the acknowledgement that cybersecurity should be high priority for every individual, company, and government entity.
While Department of Homeland Security’s involvement in cybersecurity is a step in the right direction, more measures need to be put in place that facilitates collaboration across industries and government entities. Transnational organized criminal elements will continue to find creative and effective ways to use technology for illegal activity. They will continue doing so unless law enforcement works closer with policymakers to enact uniform laws, regulations, and policies beyond current practices.
Transnational Organized Crime and Gangs explores effective programs, policies, technologies and builds a body of knowledge to guide future regulations and resources for our criminal justice leaders of tomorrow.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Transnational Torture: Law, Violence and State Power in the United States and India, by Jinee Lokaneeta. New York: New York University Press, 2020.
“Evidence of torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and harsh interrogation techniques at Guantánamo Bay beg the question: has the “war on terror” forced liberal democracies to rethink their policies and laws against torture? Transnational Torture focuses on the legal and political discourses on torture in India and the United States—two common-law based constitutional democracies—to theorize the relationship between law, violence, and state power in liberal democracies.
Analyzing about one hundred landmark Supreme Court cases on torture in India and the United States, memos and popular imagery of torture, Jinee Lokaneeta compellingly demonstrates that even before recent debates on the use of torture in the war on terror, the laws of interrogation were much more ambivalent about the infliction of excess pain and suffering than most political and legal theorists have acknowledged. Rather than viewing the recent policies on interrogation as anomalous or exceptional, Lokaneeta effectively argues that efforts to accommodate excess violence—a constantly negotiated process—are long standing features of routine interrogations in both the United States and India, concluding that the infliction of excess violence is more central to democratic governance than is acknowledged in western jurisprudence.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Unlivable Lives: Violence and Identity in Transgender Activism, by Laurel Westbrook. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2020.
“Anti-violence movements rooted in identity politics are commonplace, including those to stop violence against people of color, women, and LGBT people. Unlivable Lives reveals the unintended consequences of this approach within the transgender rights movement in the United States. It illustrates how this form of activism obscures the causes of and lasting solutions to violence and exacerbates fear among members of the identity group, running counter to the goal of making lives more livable. Analyzing over a thousand documents produced by thirteen national organizations, Westbrook charts both a history of the movement and a path forward that relies less on identity-based tactics and more on intersectionality and coalition building. Provocative and galvanizing, this book envisions new strategies for anti-violence and social justice movements and will revolutionize the way we think about this form of activism.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System, by Alec Karakatsanis. New York: The New Press, 2019
“Alec Karakatsanis is interested in what we choose to punish. For example, it is a crime in most of America for poor people to wager in the streets over dice; dice-wagerers can be seized, searched, have their assets forfeited, and be locked in cages. It’s perfectly fine, by contrast, for people to wager over international currencies, mortgages, or the global supply of wheat; wheat-wagerers become names on the wings of hospitals and museums.
He is also troubled by how the legal system works when it is trying to punish people. The bail system, for example, is meant to ensure that people return for court dates. But it has morphed into a way to lock up poor people who have not been convicted of anything. He’s so concerned about this that he has personally sued court systems across the country, resulting in literally tens of thousands of people being released from jail when their money bail was found to be unconstitutional.
Karakatsanis doesn’t think people who have gone to law school, passed the bar, and sworn to uphold the Constitution should be complicit in the mass caging of human beings—an everyday brutality inflicted disproportionately on the bodies and minds of poor people and people of color and for which the legal system has never offered sufficient justification. Usual Cruelty is a profoundly radical reconsideration of the American “injustice system” by someone who is actively, wildly successfully, challenging it.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Violence as Usual: Policing and the Colonial State in German Southwest Africa, by Marie Muschalek. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2019.
“Slaps in the face, kicks, beatings, and other forms of run-of-the-mill violence were a quotidian part of life in German Southwest Africa at the beginning of the twentieth century. Unearthing this culture of normalized violence in a settler colony, Violence as Usual uncovers the workings of a powerful state that was built in an improvised fashion by low-level state representatives.
Marie A. Muschalek’s fascinating portrayal of the daily deeds of African and German men enrolled in the colonial police force called the Landespolizei is a historical anthropology of police practice and the normalization of imperial power. Replete with anecdotes of everyday experiences both of the policemen and of colonized people and settlers, Violence as Usual re-examines fundamental questions about the relationship between power and violence. Muschalek gives us a new perspective on violence beyond the solely destructive and the instrumental. She overcomes, too, the notion that modern states operate exclusively according to modes of rationalized functionality. Violence as Usual offers an unusual assessment of the history of rule in settler colonialism and an alternative to dominant narratives of an ostensibly weak colonial state.” From Publisher’s Website.
|We Keep Us Safe: Building Secure, Just, and Inclusive Communities, by Zach Norris. Boston: Beacon Press, 2020.
“As the effects of aggressive policing and mass incarceration harm historically marginalized communities and tear families apart, how do we define safety? In a time when the most powerful institutions in the United States are embracing the repressive and racist systems that keep many communities struggling and in fear, we need to reimagine what safety means. Community leader and lawyer Zach Norris lays out a radical way to shift the conversation about public safety away from fear and punishment and toward growth and support systems for our families and communities. In order to truly be safe, we are going to have to dismantle our mentality of Us vs. Them. By bridging the divides and building relationships with one another, we can dedicate ourselves to strategic, smart investments—meaning resources directed toward our stability and well-being, like healthcare and housing, education and living-wage jobs. This is where real safety begins.
We Keep Us Safe is a blueprint of how to hold people accountable while still holding them in community. The result reinstates full humanity and agency for everyone who has been dehumanized and traumatized, so they can participate fully in life, in society, and in the fabric of our democracy.”
|What We Know: Solutions from Our Experiences in the Justice System, edited by Vivian Nixon and Daryl V. Atkinson. New York: The New Press, 2020.
“When The New Press, the Center for American Progress, and the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted Peoples and Family Movement issued a call for innovative reform ideas, over three hundred currently and formerly incarcerated individuals responded. What We Know collects two dozen of their best suggestions, each of which proposes a policy solution derived from their own lived experience.
Ideas run the gamut: A man serving time in Indiana argues for a Prison Labor Standards Act, calling for us to reject prison slavery. A Nebraska man who served a federal prison term for white-collar crimes suggests offering courses in entrepreneurship as a way to break down barriers to employment for people returning from incarceration. A woman serving a life sentence in Georgia spells out a system of earned privileges that could increase safety and decrease stress inside prison. And a man serving a twenty-five-year term for a crime he committed at age fifteen advocates powerfully for eliminating existing financial incentives to charge youths as adults.
With contributors including nationally known formerly incarcerated leaders in justice reform, twenty-three justice-involved individuals add a perspective that is too often left out of national reform conversations.” From Publisher’s Website.
|White Market Drugs: Big Pharma and the Hidden History of Addiction in America, by David Herzberg. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020.
“The contemporary opioid crisis is widely seen as new and unprecedented. Not so. It is merely the latest in a long series of drug crises stretching back over a century. In White Market Drugs, David Herzberg explores these crises and the drugs that fueled them, from Bayer’s Heroin to Purdue’s OxyContin and all the drugs in between: barbiturate “goof balls,” amphetamine “thrill pills,” the “love drug” Quaalude, and more. As Herzberg argues, the vast majority of American experiences with drugs and addiction have taken place within what he calls “white markets,” where legal drugs called medicines are sold to a largely white clientele.
These markets are widely acknowledged but no one has explained how they became so central to the medical system in a nation famous for its “drug wars”—until now. Drawing from federal, state, industry, and medical archives alongside a wealth of published sources, Herzberg re-connects America’s divided drug history, telling the whole story for the first time. He reveals that the driving question for policymakers has never been how to prohibit the use of addictive drugs, but how to ensure their availability in medical contexts, where profitability often outweighs public safety. Access to white markets was thus a double-edged sword for socially privileged consumers, even as communities of color faced exclusion and punitive drug prohibition. To counter this no-win setup, Herzberg advocates for a consumer protection approach that robustly regulates all drug markets to minimize risks while maintaining safe, reliable access (and treatment) for people with addiction.
Accomplishing this requires rethinking a drug/medicine divide born a century ago that, unlike most policies of that racially segregated era, has somehow survived relatively unscathed into the twenty-first century.
By showing how the twenty-first-century opioid crisis is only the most recent in a long history of similar crises of addiction to pharmaceuticals, Herzberg forces us to rethink our most basic ideas about drug policy and addiction itself—ideas that have been failing us catastrophically for over a century.” From Publisher’s Website.
|Women in American Prisons: Sex, Social Life, and Families, by Mark S. Fleisher with Ruth Matinko-Wald. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2020.
“A fascinating look at the social life of women in prison. Intended to shine the light on prison social life in the face of allegations of all sorts of misconduct and deviant behaviors.” From Publisher’s Website.