Columbia Ink

Dec. 17, 2012Bookmark and Share

New books by faculty tackle creativity, democracy, Islam, Jewish Diaspora and more.

Traditional Japanese Literature, An Anthology, Beginnings to 1600 BY HARUO SHIRANE
Traditional Japanese Literature, An Anthology, Beginnings to 1600
Columbia University Press
Stretching from ancient times to the late medieval period, this abridged volume presents key examples of Japanese poetry, drama, fiction and essays. Shirane, the Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature and Culture, provides substantial excerpts from such masterworks as The Tale of Genji, a robust selection of the secular and religious anecdotes called setsuwa, as well as examples of classical poetry, Noh drama and influential war epics. The anthology is divided by period, genre and topic and features a comprehensive bibliography. Shirane’s other works include Japan and the Culture of the Four Seasons: Nature, Literature, and the Arts.
Conflict, Conquest, and Conversion BY ELEANOR H. TEJIRIAN and REEVA SPECTOR SIMON Conflict, Conquest, and Conversion: Two Thousand Years of Christian Missions in the Middle East
Columbia University Press
Tejirian, an associate research scholar at the Middle East Institute, surveys Christian missions, both Protestant and Catholic, in the Middle East, emphasizing their respective roles in the political and economic imperialism of the 19th and 20th centuries. Along with Simon, with whom she has collaborated on other works about the Mideast, Tejirian zeroes in on the ongoing tension between conversion and good works within the missionary movement and examines the relationship of missionary work to the development of nongovernmental organizations.
Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora BY REBECCA KOBRIN Jewish Bialystok and Its Diaspora
Indiana University Press
Kobrin, the Russell and Bettina Knapp Assistant Professor of American Jewish History, explores the dispersal of Jews from Bialystok, Poland to demonstrate how the act of migration set in motion a wide range of transformations that led the migrants to imagine themselves as exiles not only from the mythic Land of Israel but most immediately from their Eastern European homeland. She explores the organizations, institutions, newspapers and philanthropies that the Bialystokers created around the world that reshaped their perceptions of exile and diaspora.
Empire’s Children BY EMMANUELLE SAADA Empire’s Children: Race, Filiation, and Citizenship in the French Colonies
University of Chicago Press
Empire’s Children explores the unacknowledged but central role of race in the definition of French nationality. Originally published in French in 2007, the book grew out of Saada’s discovery of a 1928 decree defining the status of persons of mixed parentage born in French Indochina, which introduced race into French law for the first time. The decree was the culmination of a decades-long effort to resolve the “métis question”—the educational, social and civil issues surrounding the mixed population. Saada, an associate professor of French and Romance Philology, specializes in the history and sociology of immigration and colonization.
Creative Strategy: A Guide for Innovation BY WILLIAM R. DUGGAN Creative Strategy: A Guide for Innovation
Columbia University Press
In his new book, Duggan, a senior lecturer in business, offers a step-by-step guide to explain how innovation happens. He shows how creative strategy follows a natural three-step method in the brain: It breaks down a problem into parts and then searches for past examples in memory to come up with a new combination to solve it. He explains how to follow these three steps to innovate in business or any other field as an individual, team or company. Duggan illustrates creative strategy with real-world cases of innovation from Netflix to Edison, and from Google to Henry Ford.
The Impossible State BY WAEL B. HALLAQ The Impossible State
Columbia University Press
Hallaq, the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, argues that the Islamic state, judged by any standard definition of the modern state, is an impossible concept. By Islamic standards, modern statehood is inconsistent with what it means to live as a Muslim. Yet Muslim leaders have done little to advance an acceptable form of genuine Shari’a governance. Seeking to provide a blueprint for a successful Muslim state, Hallaq turns to the resources of Islamic history. He shows that Islam’s political crises are not unique to the Islamic world but are integral to both East and West, and recognizing such parallels enables Muslims to engage more productively with their Western counterparts.
With God on Our Side BY ADAM REICH With God on Our Side: The Struggle for Workers’ Rights in a Catholic Hospital
Cornell University Press: ILR Press
Reich’s book is based on his work as a community organizer during a long unionization campaign at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, a Catholic hospital in Northern California. It explores broad questions about organized labor and workers in the hospital industry. Reich, an assistant professor of sociology, says that in order for unions to succeed in such settings, they must acknowledge that both sides will try to appeal to the values of caring and compassion. He argues that unions as a whole need to pay attention to moral and social issues and “see themselves less as interest-based organizations and more as values-based organizations.”
Reforming Democracies BY DOUGLAS A. CHALMERS Reforming Democracies: Six Facts About Politics That Demand a New Agenda
Columbia University Press
Even well-established democracies need reform, argues Political Science Professor Emeritus Douglas A. Chalmers, and any successful effort to reform democracies must look beyond conventional institutions—elections, political parties, special interests, legislatures and their relations with chief executives—to do so. Chalmers examines six aspects of political practice and concludes with recommendations for successful reform. Among other things, he says, it’s necessary to recognize the crucial role of information in deliberation and to incorporate noncitizens and foreigners into the political system, even when they are not the principal beneficiaries.