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New Books in Political Science

Author: Marshall Poe

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Interviews with Political Scientists about their New Books
697 Episodes
This episode is the first in a new series, New Books in Interpretive Social Science, which will feature works on interpretive research design and practice alongside recently published exemplary interpretive social scientific studies. To get the ball rolling, the editors of the Routledge Series on Interpretive Methods, and co-authors of the first book published in that series, Interpretive Research Design: Concepts and Processes (Routledge, 2012), discuss what interpretive methods are, why they matter, and how they became authors and editors of works on interpretive social science. They are Peregrine Schwartz-Shea, professor of political science at the University of Utah, and Dvora Yanow, professor of social science at Wageningen University. Renowned interpretive scholars of politics and public policy respectively, Peri and Dvora bring their wealth of experience as researchers, educators and writers to the microphone for a lively exchange about the what, how and wherefore of interpretive research. Wherever you stand on interpretive modes of inquiry, this is an episode not to be missed: it sets the agenda for interpretive social science and the tone for the series of interviews to follow.Nick Cheesman is a fellow in the Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University, and currently a visiting research scholar at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University. He co-hosts the New Books in Southeast Asian Studies channel.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Reflecting on his fifty-year effort to steer the Grand Old Party toward black voters, Memphis power broker George W. Lee declared, "Somebody had to stay in the Republican Party and fight." As Joshua D. Farrington, Instructor in African & African-American Studies at Eastern Kentucky University, recounts in Black Republicans and the Transformation of the GOP (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), Lee was one of many black Republican leaders who remained loyal after the New Deal inspired black voters to switch their allegiance from the "party of Lincoln" to the Democrats. Ideologically and demographically diverse, the ranks of twentieth-century black Republicans included Southern patronage dispensers like Lee and Robert Church, Northern critics of corrupt Democratic urban machines like Jackie Robinson and Archibald Carey, civil rights agitators like Grant Reynolds and T. R. M. Howard, elected politicians like U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke and Kentucky state legislator Charles W. Anderson, black nationalists like Floyd McKissick and Nathan Wright, and scores of grassroots organizers from Atlanta to Los Angeles. Black Republicans believed that a two-party system in which both parties were forced to compete for the African American vote was the best way to obtain stronger civil rights legislation. Though they were often pushed to the sidelines by their party's white leadership, their continuous and vocal inner-party dissent helped moderate the GOP's message and platform through the 1970s. And though often excluded from traditional narratives of U.S. politics, black Republicans left an indelible mark on the history of their party, the civil rights movement, and twentieth-century political development. Farrington marshals an impressive amount of archival material at the national, state, and municipal levels in the South, Midwest, and West, as well as in the better-known Northeast, to open up new avenues in African American political history.Ryan Tripp is part-time and full-time adjunct history faculty for Los Medanos Community College as well as the College of Online and Continuing Education at Southern New Hampshire University.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
How can this happen? If there's any question that people interested in genocide ask, it's this one. How can people do this to each other? How can this be possible? What is wrong with this world that this can happen?Maureen Hiebert's book Constructing Genocide and Mass Violence: Society, Crisis, Identity (Routledge, 2017) offers an answer to this question. Hiebert is a political scientist and approaches the subject through that lens. She reminds us that societies engage in genocide because it offers the most plausible answer to their dilemma, but that many others in the same situation have opted for different solutions. The question, then, is to understand why some governments opt for genocide. Hiebert lays out a framework in which elites reimagine an already existing minority as both fundamentally alien and existentially threatening. It is this sense of existential danger, where the minority group threatens the state by the very fact of its existence, that leads elites to choose genocide.Hiebert is refreshingly honest in the interview about questions her theory can't answer. And she has important insights about how genocide scholars might help policy makers understand how academic theories apply to them. As such, she is participating in a long discussion amongst scholars and citizens about how to understand genocide.Kelly McFall is Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Newman University. He’s the author of four modules in the Reacting to the Past series, including The Needs of Others: Human Rights, International Organizations and Intervention in Rwanda, 1994, published by W. W. Norton Press.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Kevin Baron’s new book, Presidential Privilege and the Freedom of Information Act (Edinburgh University Press, 2019), is a fascinating analysis of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and how this act, passed in the 1960s and signed by President Lyndon Johnson, has changed the ways that both the Executive Branch and the Legislature operate and engage with each other. Baron dives into the history of information and the role that access to information plays in supporting democracy. He explains much of the debate over freedom of information from the time of the Founding to the contemporary disputes about executive privilege and Congress’s right to information. By tracing the evolution of presidential privilege through the post-World War II period, the Cold War, the Red Scare, and the Watergate scandal, Baron examines the ways in which presidents and administrations have protected information, often in the name of national security, and the ways in which the Legislative branch has pursued access to that same information. This book explores the ongoing debates about transparency and secrecy in the government, how FOIA has become a tool for Congress to get relevant information from the Executive, and how the understanding and use of presidential privilege has grown and expanded within this same context. Through deep research, Presidential Privilege and the Freedom of Information Act provides the reader with institutional understandings, policy shifts and reactions, the political dynamics of many of the post-WWII administrations and congresses, all ultimately focusing on the idea of governmental information and the health of democracy.Lilly J. Goren is professor of Political Science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She co-edited the award-winning Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012).Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Nazia Kazi’s Islamophobia, Race, and Global Politics (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) is a brilliant and powerful meditation on the intersection and interaction of Islamophobia, racism, and U.S. imperial state power. This book seeks to reorient our understanding of Islamophobia from a phenomenon centered on individual attitudes and perceptions of hate, to one which is indelibly entrenched to the structural logics of modern state sovereignty, and to the long-running history of racism in the U.S. Another distinctive feature of this book lies in its sustained and nuanced analysis of liberal Islamophobia in varied social and political domains, that tethers the promise of being categorized as “good Muslim” to the endorsement and celebration of American exceptionalism. Combining methods and perspectives from anthropology, visual studies, race studies, and political studies, this thoroughly interdisciplinary book is also eminently accessible and written beautifully, rendering it particularly suitable for courses on modern Islam, Race and Religion, Islam in America, among many other topics.SherAli Tareen is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin and Marshall College. His research focuses on Muslim intellectual traditions and debates in early modern and modern South Asia. His academic publications are available here. He can be reached at Listener feedback is most welcome.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In his book, De-Moralizing Gay Rights: Some Queer Remarks on LGBT+ Rights Politics in the US(Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), Cyril Ghosh interrogates three arenas of debate over LGBT+ rights in the contemporary American landscape—debates over and critiques of pinkwashing, the recent US Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), and Kenji Yoshino’s concept of gay covering. Ghosh is associate professor of political science at Wagner College and was the original host of the New Books in Political Science podcast.In each case, Ghosh identifies a tension in the promotion of LGBT+ rights, from both liberal and radical perspectives, demonstrating that these discourses often (re/)produce their own assimilationist logics. Drawing on queer theoretical frameworks, Ghosh ultimately argues for an approach to theorizing rights that takes seriously the project of resisting and dismantling assimilationist demands.The podcast is co-hosted by Heath Brown and Emily Crandall.Heath Brown is associate professor of public policy at the City University of New York, John Jay College and The Graduate Center. You can follow him on Twitter @heathbrownEmily K. Crandall holds a PhD in Political Science from the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is a fellow at the Center for Global Ethics and Politics in the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Kaitlin Sidorsky’s new book, All Roads Lead to Power: The Appointed and Elected Paths to Public Office for US Women (University Press of Kansas, 2019), is an extremely well written and important analysis of women in public life and public service. This book combines qualitative and quantitative research to examine appointed and elected state positions, particularly in regard to gender, and concludes that there are quite a few women in appointed positions, an area not usually the focus of research and analysis of women and power. Sidorsky notes that women in appointed positions on boards and commissions at the state and local level see themselves not in political positions but instead working in capacities to accomplish goals, serve the public, and continue along their career paths. In the way many of these women conceptualize their work in these positions, this is not necessarily about political ambition, as Sidorsky’s research discovers, but because this public work is usually connected to the individual office holder’s personal or professional life. This research will be of particular interest to those who study women and politics, political representation, and questions of politics and power. This is an excellent study and analysis, enlightening in both the data compiled and the assessment of the data within our understanding of appointed and elected positions, politics, and power.Lilly J. Goren is Professor of Political Science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012). You can follow her on twitter @gorenljLearn more about your ad choices. Visit
The United States has been the world's dominant power for more than a century. Now many analysts and commentators believe that other countries such as China are rising and the United States is in decline. Is the era of American hegemony over? Is America finished as a superpower?In his superb and learned book, Unrivaled: Why America Will remain the World's Sole Superpower(Cornell University Press, 2018), Michael Beckley, Professor in the Department of Political Science at Tufts University cogently argues that the United States has unique advantages over other nations that, if used wisely, will allow it to remain the world's sole superpower throughout this century. We are not living in a transitional, post-hegemonic, pluralist era. Instead, we are in the midst of what he calls the unipolar era―a period as singular and important as any epoch in modern history. This era, Beckley contends, will endure because the US has a much larger economic and military lead over its closest rival, China, than most people think and the best prospects of any nation to amass wealth and power in the decades ahead.Deeply researched and brilliantly argued, Professor Beckley’s book covers hundreds of years of great power politics and develops new methods for measuring power and predicting the rise and fall of nations. According to Chatham House’s International Affairs, Unrivaled, “is by far the most comprehensive analysis to date on the power dynamics of the international system and clearly debunks the established narrative on US decline”. By documenting long-term trends in the global balance of power and explaining their implications for world politics, the book provides guidance for policymakers, businesspeople, and scholars alike.Charles Coutinho has a doctorate in history from New York University. Where he studied with Tony Judt, Stewart Stehlin and McGeorge Bundy. His Ph. D. dissertation was on Anglo-American relations in the run-up to the Suez Crisis of 1956. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for the Journal of Intelligence History and Chatham House’s International Affairs. It you have a recent title to suggest for a podcast, please send an e-mail to more about your ad choices. Visit
In 1970s America, politicians began "getting tough" on drugs, crime, and welfare. These campaigns helped expand the nation's penal system, discredit welfare programs, and cast blame for the era's social upheaval on racialized deviants that the state was not accountable to serve or represent. Getting Tough: Welfare and Imprisonment in 1970s America (Princeton University Press, 2017) sheds light on how this unprecedented growth of the penal system and the evisceration of the nation's welfare programs developed hand in hand. Julilly Kohler-Hausmann shows that these historical events were animated by struggles over how to interpret and respond to the inequality and disorder that crested during this period.When social movements and the slowing economy destabilized the U.S. welfare state, politicians reacted by repudiating the commitment to individual rehabilitation that had governed penal and social programs for decades. In its place, they championed strategies of punishment, surveillance, and containment. The architects of these tough strategies insisted they were necessary, given the failure of liberal social programs and the supposed pathological culture within poor African American and Latino communities. Kohler-Hausmann rejects this explanation and describes how the spectacle of enacting punitive policies convinced many Americans that social investment was counterproductive and the "underclass" could be managed only through coercion and force.Getting Tough illuminates this narrative through three legislative cases: New York's adoption of the 1973 Rockefeller drug laws, Illinois's and California's attempts to reform welfare through criminalization and work mandates, and California's passing of a 1976 sentencing law that abandoned rehabilitation as an aim of incarceration. Spanning diverse institutions and weaving together the perspectives of opponents, supporters, and targets of punitive policies, Getting Tough offers new interpretations of dramatic transformations in the modern American state.Stephen Colbrook is a graduate student at University College London, where he is researching a dissertation on the interaction between HIV/AIDS and state policy-making. This work will focus on the political and policy-making side of the epidemic and aims to compare the different contexts of individual states, such as California, Florida, and Illinois. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Are ethnic conflicts in Africa the product of age-old ancient hatreds? Tsega Etefa’s new book, The Origins of Ethnic Conflict in Africa: Politics and Violence in Darfur, Oromia, and the Tana Delta (Palgrave MacMillan, 2019), provides an answer, arguing that elites mobilize their co-ethnics for political gain. To do so, Etefa analyzed the historical roots of three different cases of ethnic conflict in Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya.  Not only does his new book tell us why elites mobilize ethnically, Etefa also provides a series of recommendations to escape colonial legacies of identity politics.   He also recommends two books for listeners keen to learn more. McCauley’s The Logic of Ethnic and Religious Conflict in Africa (Cambridge, 2017) and Fujii’s Killing Neighbors (Cornell, 2009).Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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