Columbia Ink: Winter 2016

December 30, 2015

From Empires to NGOs in the West African Sahel: The Road to Nongovernmentality
By Gregory Mann
Cambridge University Press

Mann has written the first historical account of the rise of NGO power in West Africa. The history professor explores why, in the years following independence from French colonial rule in 1960, when state sovereignty was highly valued, international NGOs took on some of the functions of government in the West African Sahel, a stretch of land bordering the Sahara. Mann highlights the rise of ambitious and aggressive African governments, the effects of drought and famine and the emergence of human rights campaigns that built on older anti-colonial and labor movements, to explain how and why NGOs—from CARE and Amnesty International to black internationalists— began to assume elements of sovereignty.

 

Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice
By Carla Shedd
Russell Sage Foundation

Shedd, an assistant professor of sociology, focuses on four public high schools in Chicago with differing student bodies to examine the ways in which schools can either reinforce or ameliorate social inequalities. Drawing on an array of data and in-depth interviews with Chicago youth, Shedd reveals how predominantly low-income African American students encounter obstacles their more affluent, white counterparts on the other side of the city do not face. She discovers that the disadvantaged teens who traverse these boundaries daily develop a keen “perception of injustice” that young people whose schools and neighborhoods are highly segregated and highly policed are less likely to understand.

 

Dark Space: Architecture, Representation, Black Identity
By Mario Gooden
Columbia University Press

This collection of essays by Gooden, an associate professor of professional practice at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, investigates the construction of African American identity and representation through the medium of architecture. Gooden (GSAAP’90), an architect whose firm Huff + Gooden Architects is currently designing the expansion of the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, explores how African American cultural institutions designed and constructed in recent years often rely on cultural stereotypes, metaphors and clichés to communicate significance. Here he presents a series of questions that examine other narratives of African American architecture and reveal new ways of thinking about how the African diaspora’s experience can be translated into space.

 

Bernard E. Harcourt Exposed Desire, Disobedience in the Digital Age Book Cover

Bridging the Gap: How Community Health Workers Promote the Health of Immigrants
By Sally E. Findley and Sergio E. Matos
Oxford University Press

Findley, a professor of population and family health and sociomedical sciences at Columbia University Medical Center and her co-author and research partner Matos, executive director of the Community Health Worker Network of New York City, detail the role of community health workers in bringing health care to underserved immigrant communities. Based on a decade of in-depth evaluations of several immigrant health programs and complementary interviews with dozens of immigrants and health workers, the authors offers insights into how these trusted community members help immigrants overcome the obstacles to health care. The book carefully distills firsthand lessons into best practices for using and developing effective programs.

 

It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!
By Chelsea Clinton
Philomel Books

Clinton, an adjunct assistant professor of health policy and management at the Mailman School of Public Health, has written a book for readers ages 10-14 that tackles some of the major challenges facing the world today, including poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, access to education, gender equality and more. Charts, graphs and photos accompany stories about children and teens who have made real changes, big and small, in their families, their communities here in the United States and around the world. Clinton, who offers suggestions and ideas for action, aims to show readers that the world belongs to everyone, that everyone counts, and that everyone can make a difference.

 

Wedlocked: The Perils of Marriage Equality
By Katherine Franke
NYU Press

Franke, the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, compares today’s same-sex marriage movement to the experiences of newly emancipated African Americans in the mid-19th century, when blacks were able to legally marry for the first time. The stunning string of victories by the campaign for marriage equality raises questions about how gays were able to successfully deploy marriage to elevate their social and legal reputation, and what kind of freedom and equality the ability to marry can mobilize. Franke, director of Columbia’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, suggests the experiences of freed blacks can teach us about the potential and peril of being subject to legal regulation.

 

The Paradox of Ukrainian Lviv
By Tarik Cyril Amar
Cornell University Press

Cyril Amar, an assistant professor of history, reveals the local and transnational forces behind the 20th century transformation of one of eastcentral Europe’s most important multiethnic borderland cities into a Soviet and Ukrainian urban center, offering a lens through which we can understand present-day tensions within Ukraine. He shows how Lviv changed over the last three centuries from a predominantly Polish city with one of Europe’s major centers of Jewish life into a center of Ukrainian national identity. Paradoxically, it was half a century of Soviet rule after World War II that led to its becoming the most Ukrainian version of the city in history.

 

Toward a More Perfect University
By Jonathan R. Cole
PublicAffairs

Cole, the John Mitchell Mason Professor of the University and emeritus provost and dean of faculties, identifies potential fault lines that threaten the future of universities and the strategic changes that successful colleges must make in order to preserve their intellectual relevance, economic viability and social mission. Using his deep knowledge of U.S. higher education, Cole examines everything from admissions policies, exams and costs to the role of humanities, legal threats and academic freedom. He concludes that higher education is a vital national resource—the bedrock of American business and society—and must adapt to remain globally competitive and intellectually valuable.