LAS Library

Briefings on 2011 publications by faculty in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Sweatshops at Sea
Leon Fink

Leon Fink

Leon Fink, distinguished professor in the Department of History, is a specialist in American labor, immigration history and the Gilded Age/Progressive Era. Two works published this year focus on issues in labor history.

Sweatshops at Sea: Merchant Seamen in the World’s First Globalized Industry, from 1812 to the Present was published in February by the University of North Carolina Press. In this volume, Fink examines the evolution of laws and labor relations governing ordinary seamen over the past two centuries. The merchant marine was the world’s first globalized industry and Fink explores how both political and economic ends are reflected in maritime labor regulations. This history of exploitation, reform and evolving international governance offers food for thought as contemporary globalization of production and service continues to increase.

Workers Across the Americas

Workers Across the Americas: The Transnational Turn in Labor History was published in April by Oxford University Press USA. Fink served as editor for this gathering of new historical scholarship by Canadianist, Caribbeanist, Latin American and U.S. specialists who ask: “What does the transnational turn encompass?” and “What are its likely perils and promises as a framework for research and analysis?” Essays examine themes of labor and empire, indigenous peoples and labor systems, international feminism and reproductive labor, labor recruitment and immigration control, transnational labor politics, and labor internationalism. Topics range from military labor in the British Empire and coffee workers on the Guatemalan/Mexican border to the role of the International Labor Organization in attempting to set common labor standards.

View a full list of articles and authors included in Workers Across the Americas.

Various Men Who Knew Us as Girls
Cris Mazza

Cris Mazza

Cris Mazza is director of the graduate-level Program for Writers and professor of fiction in the Department of English. Spectrum Reviews has called her “one of the most impressive American novelists of our contemporary age.”

Mazza’s latest work of fiction, Various Men Who Knew Us as Girls, was published by Emergency Press in January. The provocative novel addresses the questions of sexual desire, harassment and enslavement, examining the stories of three contemporary women. The central character, Hester Smith, decides to rescue a teenage Mexican prostitute and comes up against drug cartels, corrupt law enforcement agencies and complacent citizens. Preparing for the rescue, Hester discovers that her former professional mentor and almost-lover is having an affair with his 16-year-old student. While confronting human trafficking and the sex-slave trade, Hester ultimately takes ownership of her decisions and regrets.

Read an excerpt from Various Men Who Knew Us as Girls on Cris Mazza’s website.

Beyond Privatopia
Evan McKenzie

Evan McKenzie

Evan McKenzie is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science. The specialist in urban politics, law and public policy also holds a JD from UCLA.

McKenzie has received quite a bit of media coverage for his book Beyond Privatopia: Rethinking Residential Private Government, published in May by the Urban Institute. McKenzie argues that the system of private communities, otherwise known as private interest developments, is in a state of collapse affecting nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population. Many localities have mandated that all new development be encompassed in a community improvement district governed by a homeowners association, but McKenzie maintains that while citizens may like the close control of neighborhood services, the situation can result in intrusion in personal freedoms, such as owning a pet or yard decoration aesthetics. In Beyond Privatopia, McKenzie explores emerging trends and possible repercussions of private residential government.

Read the preface of Beyond Privatopia

Read Professor McKenzie’s blog, The Privatopia Papers or visit his website.

From the Jewish Heartland: Two Centuries of Midwest Foodways
Jack Prost

Jack Prost

Jack Prost is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology where he researches and teaches on the topics of human evolution, physical anthropology and kinesics.

Prost recently teamed up with co-author and fellow anthropologist Ellen Steinberg on From the Jewish Heartland: Two Centuries of Midwest Foodways published by Heartland Foodways/University of Illinois Press in June. The book, which includes dozens of recipes, reveals that that the heritage and culinary delights of Jewish cooking are not limited to New York. During the influx of European immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many Jewish families settled into urban and rural communities across the Midwest. They incorporated local produce and other foodstuffs into their traditional recipes, creating a distinctively Midwestern Jewish cuisine. The authors include an examination of the effects of advances in food preservation techniques and the efforts of social and culinary reformers to modify traditional Jewish food preparation and ingredients.

Read the introduction to Jewish Heartland.

Listen to an Eight-Forty Eight WBEZ interview about Jewish Foodways with Jack Prost and Ellen Steinberg.

Tri-Faith America: How Catholics and Jews Held Postwar America to Its Protestant Promise
Kevin Schultz

Kevin Schultz

Kevin Schultz, assistant professor in the Department of History and the Program in Catholic Studies, has special interests in religion, ethnoracial history and American intellectual and cultural life.

Schultz’s latest scholarly work on twentieth century American history was published in April by Oxford University Press USA. In Tri-Faith America: How Catholics and Jews Held Postwar America to Its Protestant Promise, he maps the history of the U.S. as a “Protestant nation” to a new national image based on the idea that the country was composed of three separate but equal faiths: Protestantism, Catholicism and Judaism. Schultz traces the origins of this attitude shift to early twentieth century Catholic and Jewish immigration, through public relations campaigns and interfaith efforts, and toward acceptance of this tri-faith idea in the early days of the Cold War. Schultz argues that as far back as the 1950s Americans were debating the merits of pluralism and paving the way for the civil rights movement.

Review the table of contents of Tri-Faith America.

Read an interview with Kevin Schultz.

Managing the Body: Beauty, Health and Fitness in Britain 1880-1939
Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska

Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska

Professor Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska is the director of graduate studies in the Department of History. Her research focuses on twentieth century British history and she has worked on a range of topics including industrial relations in the coal mining industry, electoral politics and the Conservative Party, rationing and austerity policies in the Second World War, and female consumers.

Most recently, Zweiniger-Bargielowska has focused on the body, lifestyle and public health. In Managing the Body: Beauty, Health and Fitness in Britain 1880-1939, published in January by Oxford University Press USA, she explores the emergence of modern male and female bodies within the context of debates about racial fitness and active citizenship during that period. Against a background of urbanization and fears about racial degeneration, body disciplines and hygienic regimens were promoted by doctors and public health campaigners. She demonstrates that physical fitness was an integral part of Edwardian welfare reform as well as a national military priority in the post-World War I era. Culminating in the National Government's 'National Fitness Campaign' of the late 1930s, these policies led to the mainstreaming of health and fitness in British culture.

Review the table of contents of Managing the Body.