New Books by Faculty
Professor Saul Friedlander’s stimulating book investigates some of the sources of Franz Kafka’s personal anguish and its complex reflections in his imaginary world. In his query, Saul Friedländer probes major aspects of Kafka’s life (family, Judaism, love and sex, writing, illness, and despair) that until now have been skewed by posthumous censorship. Contrary to Kafka’s dying request that all his papers be burned, Max Brod, Kafka’s closest friend and literary executor, edited and published the author’s novels and other works soon after his death in 1924. Friedländer shows that, when reinserted in Kafka’s letters and diaries, deleted segments lift the mask of “sainthood” frequently attached to the writer and thus restore previously hidden aspects of his individuality.
Published by Yale University press: http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300136616
Sanjay Subrahmanyam has just published Is Indian Civilization a Myth: Fictions and Histories? (Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2013).
In the title essay of this enthralling collection, Sanjay Subrahmanyam sets a provocative ball rolling: At the heart of the matter , he says, is the notion that at some distant point in the past, say about AD 500, the concept of Indian civilization had already been perfected. Everything of any importance was in place: social structure, philosophy, the major literary works ... The central idea here is of India-as-civilization, and it very soon becomes the same as a notion of closed India. Demolishing some of the myths which sustain the notion of the wonder that was India , he shows us a region that was always more a crossroads, a rendezvous for concepts, cultures, and worldviews. Subrahmanyam s book is itself a meeting point for a dazzling variety of ideas. It provides the cosmopolitan perspective of a multilingual world scholar who, having begun life in New Delhi, has gone on to live in several thought-provoking cities, including Paris, Lisbon, and Oxford. He is witty, debunking, iconoclastic, and polemically entertaining in all that he anatomizes here Indian history and fiction, South Asian cultural forms, imperialism and imperialists, secularism and Hindu nationalism, travel writing, and the central conceits in Hemingway, Rushdie, Naipaul, and Marquez.
William Marotti has just published Money, Trains, and Guillotines: Art and Revolution in 1960s Japan (Duke University Press, 2013)
During the 1960s a group of young artists in Japan challenged official forms of politics and daily life through interventionist art practices. William Marotti situates this phenomenon in the historical and political contexts of Japan after the Second World War and the international activism of the 1960s. The Japanese government renewed its Cold War partnership with the United States in 1960, defeating protests against a new security treaty through parliamentary action and the use of riot police. Afterward, the government promoted a depoliticized everyday world of high growth and consumption, creating a sanitized national image to present in the Tokyo Olympics of 1964. Artists were first to challenge this new political mythology. Marotti examines their political art, and the state's aggressive response to it. He reveals the challenge mounted in projects such as Akasegawa Genpei's 1,000-yen prints, a group performance on the busy Yamanote train line, and a plan for a giant guillotine in the Imperial Plaza. Focusing on the annual Yomiuri Indépendant exhibition, he demonstrates how artists came together in a playful but powerful critical art, triggering judicial and police response. Money, Trains, and Guillotines expands our understanding of the role of art in the international 1960s, and of the dynamics of art and policing in Japan.
Ivan Berend has just published An Economic History of Nineteenth-Century Europe (Cambridge, 2013)
Why did some countries and regions of Europe reach high levels of economic advancement in the nineteenth century, while others were left behind? This new transnational survey of the continent's economic development highlights the role of regional differences in shaping each country's economic path and outcome. Presenting a clear and cogent explanation of the historical causes of advancement and backwardness, Ivan Berend integrates social, political, institutional and cultural factors as well as engaging in debates about the relative roles of knowledge, the state and institutions. Featuring boxed essays on key personalities including Adam Smith, Friedrich List, Gustave Eiffel and the Krupp family, as well as brief histories of innovations such as the steam engine, vaccinations and the co-operative system, the book helps to explain the theories and macro-economic trends that dominated the century and their impact on the subsequent development of the European economy right up to the present day.
Andrea S. Goldman has just published Opera and the City: The Politics of Culture in Beijing, 1770-1900 (Stanford University Press, 2012).
Opera and the City: The Politics of Culture in Beijing, 1770-1900 uses opera as a lens through which to examine urban cultural history. The study offers a new approach to Chinese opera history; it contributes to our understanding of Qing urban culture; and it employs gender as a critical category of analysis in examining state-society relations under Qing rule. Commercial opera in the Qing capital from circa 1770 to 1900 was poised at the intersection of state power and commercial interests; it refracted literati discontent and ethnic tensions; it blurred the lines between public and private life; and it offered a stage (literally and figuratively) upon which to act out gender and class transgressions. The urban opera theater thus reveals itself as vitally important to understanding state-society relations and the mechanisms by which ideas and values were shaped, shared, disseminated, and contested. Through an examination of the context and content of opera in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Beijing, Opera and the City illuminates relationships between culture and power in the Qing dynasty capital, offering insight into how the state and various urban constituencies (officials, scholars, merchants, and petty urbanites) partook of opera and the stories played out on stage and manipulated them to their own ends. The opera theater was a key site of public discourse in the Qing metropolis; and in fulfilling that role, Goldman argues, it was also a site of competition, conflict, and controversy.
Sanjay Subrahmanyam has published a new book, Courtly Encounters: Translating Courtliness and Violence in Early Modern Eurasia (Harvard University Press, 2012).
Cross-cultural encounters in Europe and Asia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries brought the potential for bafflement, hostility, and admiration. The court was the crucial site where expanding Eurasian states and empires met and were forced to make sense of one another. By looking at these interactions, Courtly Encounters provides a fresh cross-cultural perspective on the worlds of early modern Islam, Counter-Reformation Catholicism, Protestantism, and a newly emergent Hindu sphere.
Both individual agents and objects such as texts and paintings helped mediate encounters between courts, which possessed rules and conventions that required decipherment and translation, whether in words or in pictures. Sanjay Subrahmanyam gives special attention to the depiction of South Asian empires in European visual representations, finding a complex history of cultural exchange: the Mughal paintings that influenced Rembrandt and other seventeenth-century Dutch painters had themselves been earlier influenced by Dutch naturalism. Courtly Encounters provides a rich array of images from Europe, the Islamic world, India, and Southeast Asia as aids for understanding the reciprocal nature of cross-cultural exchanges. It also looks closely at how insults and strategic use of martyrdom figured in courtly encounters.
As he sifts through the historical record, Subrahmanyam finds little evidence for the cultural incommensurability many ethnohistorians have insisted on. Most often, he discovers negotiated ways of understanding one another that led to mutual improvisation, borrowing, and eventually change.
Robin Kelley has published a new book, Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times (Harvard University Press, 2012).
During the 1950s and early 1960s, the global map changed dramatically. The old European empires were crumbling and former colonies were becoming new nations. To much of the world, independent Africa held promise for a new future, a democratic, spiritual and decidedly post-Western modernity. An expression of this new modernity was music, notably jazz. Africa Speaks, America Answers examines how African independence shaped jazz and African American identities, how jazz influenced modern African identities, and how various musical convergences and crossings affected the political and cultural landscape on both continents. The story is told through the lives and works of four artists: Ghanaian-born drummer Guy Warren, pianist Randy Weston, bassist/oudist Ahmed Abdul-Malik (both U.S. born), and South African vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin. Each artist was profoundly shaped by these “revolutionary times”—the moment inspired Weston’s powerful musical tributes to the New African nations, Ahmed Abdul-Malik’s dream to make sacred Arab music swing, Guy Warren’s efforts to meld the hippest African rhythms with modern jazz, and Sathima Bea Benjamin’s struggle to give beauty voice amid the ugliness of apartheid and the struggle for human dignity.
Professor Kelley talks about his book in this UCLA Newsroom article.
Nile Green has published a new book, Making Space: Sufis and Settlers in Early Modern India (Oxford, 2012).
This volume provides a comprehensive view of the social transformation in early modern India between 1500 and 1750 by studying various Sufi movements. It covers a wide range of topics from Sufism and polity in the Afghan frontier to north Indian context and further to Deccan and the southernmost points of influence of the Mughals. Weaving together investigations of architecture with texts, migration of people, and the ethnographies and local histories, the author investigates community formation and inter-community contact. He reveals the tensions between mobility and locality through the ways Sufi Islam responded to demands of settlement by preserving the migrant bodies of blessed men and the shrines, texts and rituals that surrounded them. The book explores how Afghan, Mughal and Hindustani Muslims constructed new homelands while remembering distant places of origin. Central to this process were migrant Sufis and the hagiographical texts and architectural territories through which they preserved memory over time and anchored it to new spaces of settlement. The book offers bold new insights into Indian, Islamic and comparative early modern history.
This book will be an important reading for scholars, researchers, and students of early modern Indian history, Islamic studies, and religion particularly those interested in Sufism.
Nile Green has published a new book, Sufism: A Global History (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012).
Since their beginnings in the ninth century, the shrines, brotherhoods and doctrines of the Sufis held vast influence in almost every corner of the Muslim world. Offering the first truly global account of the history of Sufism, this illuminating book traces the gradual spread and influence of Sufi Islam through the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and ultimately into Europe and the United States.