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Interviews with Scholars of Public Policy about their New Books

Interviews with Scholars of Public Policy about their New Books


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Interviews with Scholars of Public Policy about their New Books




Phillipa Chong, “Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times” (Princeton UP, 2020)

How does the world of book reviews work? In Inside the Critics’ Circle: Book Reviewing in Uncertain Times (Princeton University Press, 2020), Phillipa Chong, assistant professor in sociology at McMaster University, provides a unique sociological analysis of how critics confront the different types of uncertainty associated with their practice. The book explores how reviewers get matched to books, the ethics and etiquette of negative reviews and ‘punching up’, along with professional...


Daniel Skinner, "Medical Necessity: Health Care Access and the Politics of Decision Making" (U Minnesota Press, 2019)

The definition of medical necessity has morphed over the years, from a singular physician’s determination to a complex and dynamic political contest involving patients, medical companies, insurance companies, and government agencies. In Medical Necessity: Health Care Access and the Politics of Decision Making (University of Minnesota Press, 2019), Daniel Skinner constructs a comprehensive understanding of the politics of defining this concept, arguing that sustained political engagement with...


Steve Suitts, "Overturning Brown: The Segregationist Legacy of the Modern School Choice Movement" (NewSouth Books, 2020)

School choice, widely touted as a system that would ensure underprivileged youth have an equal opportunity in education, has grown in popularity in the past fifteen years. The strategies and rhetoric of school choice, however, resemble those of segregationists who closed public schools and funded private institutions to block African American students from integrating with their white peers in the wake of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision. In Overturning...


Virginia Eubanks, "Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor" (St. Martin's, 2018)

The State of Indiana denies one million applications for healthcare, foodstamps and cash benefits in three years―because a new computer system interprets any mistake as “failure to cooperate.” In Los Angeles, an algorithm calculates the comparative vulnerability of tens of thousands of homeless people in order to prioritize them for an inadequate pool of housing resources. In Pittsburgh, a child welfare agency uses a statistical model to try to predict which children might be future victims...


Caitlin Frances Bruce, "Painting Publics: Transnational Legal Graffiti Scenes as Spaces for Encounter" (Temple UP, 2019)

Public art is a form of communication that enables spaces for encounters across difference. These encounters may be routine, repeated, or rare, but all take place in urban spaces infused with emotion, creativity, and experimentation. In Painting Publics: Transnational Legal Graffiti Scenes as Spaces for Encounter (Temple University Press, 2019), Caitlin Frances Bruce explores how various legal graffiti scenes across the United States, Mexico, and Europe provide diverse ways for artists to...


Robert Frank, "Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work" (Princeton UP, 2020)

Psychologists have long understood that social environments profoundly shape our behavior, sometimes for the better, often for the worse. But social influence is a two-way street―our environments are themselves products of our behavior. Under the Influence explains how to unlock the latent power of social context. It reveals how our environments encourage smoking, bullying, tax cheating, sexual predation, problem drinking, and wasteful energy use. We are building bigger houses, driving...


Jodie Adams Kirshner, "Broke: Hardship and Resilience in a City of Broken Promise" (St. Martin's Press, 2019)

In her new book Broke: Hardship and Resilience in a City of Broken Promise (St. Martin's Press, 2019), Jodie Adams Kirshner tells the story of the people of Detroit before, during, and after its bankruptcy, offering lessons about urban governance, post-industrial economics, development, and the usefulness of bankruptcy itself as a tool to aid U.S. cities. Join us to hear the fascinating, infuriating, and heartbreaking stories of Detroiters struggling to build better lives for themselves and...


Kate Lockwood Harris, "Beyond the Rapist: Title IX and Sexual Violence on US Campuses" (Oxford UP, 2019)

On this episode of the New Books Network, Dr. Lee Pierce (she/they)--Asst. Prof. of Rhetoric and Communication at the State University of New York at Geneseo--interviews Dr. Kate Lockwood Harris (she/they)--Department of Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota -on the courageous new book Beyond the Rapist: Title IX and Sexual Violence on US Campuses (Oxford University Press, 2019). Beyond the Rapists asks how and to what end scholars of communication and the public at large...


David S. Cohen and Carole Joffe, "Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America" (UC Press, 2020)

It seems unthinkable that citizens of one of the most powerful nations in the world must risk their lives and livelihoods in the search for access to necessary health care. And yet it is no surprise that in many places throughout the United States, getting an abortion can be a monumental challenge. Anti-choice politicians and activists have worked tirelessly to impose needless restrictions on this straightforward medical procedure that, at best, delay it and, at worst, create medical risks...


T. Mose "The Playdate" (NYU Press, 2016) and L. Crehan "Cleverlands" (Random House, 2017)

In this episode we consider vital role of play, and what it does to expand a child’s creativity and resilience. Urban sociologist Tamara Mose is an Associate Professor at Brooklyn College, and author of The Playdate: Parents, Children and the New Expectations of Play (NYU Press, 2016). She tells us about the strengths and perils of playdates, and the need for children to have unstructured play. Educational consultant and teacher, Lucy Crehan, is the author of Cleverlands: The Secrets Behind...


Russell A. Newman, "The Paradoxes of Network Neutralities" (MIT Press, 2019)

Three years after the withdrawal of the Open Internet Order – then-President Barack Obama’s attempt at codifying network neutrality by prohibiting internet service providers from discriminating between content – by the Federal Communications Commission, a need to holistically understand the net neutrality debates still exists. How can we make sense of the intensification of controversy, the advocacy and protests, and the political and corporate wrangling? In his new book, The Paradoxes of...


SpearIt, “American Prisons: A Critical Primer on Culture and Conversion to Islam” (First Edition Design, 2017)

America has the largest incarcerated population in the world. This staggering and troubling fact has driven a great deal of scholarship. Much of this research has shown that mass incarceration in America is facilitated by systemic racial discrimination, which disproportionately affects African-American and Latinx communities. Only recently have scholars focused on the role of religion in American prisons. In American Prisons: A Critical Primer on Culture and Conversion to Islam (First...


K. Linder et al., "Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers" (Stylus Publishing, 2020)

If you’re a grad student facing the ugly reality of finding a tenure-track job, you could easily be forgiven for thinking about a career change. However, if you’ve spent the last several years working on a PhD, or if you’re a faculty member whose career has basically consisted of higher ed, switching isn’t so easy. PhD holders are mostly trained to work as professors, and making easy connections to other careers is no mean feat. Because the people you know were generally trained to do the...


Michael Menser, "We Decide!: Theories and Cases in Participatory Democracy" (Temple UP, 2018)

Participatory democracy calls for the creation and proliferation of practices and institutions that enable individuals and groups to better determine the conditions in which they act and relate to others. Michael Menser’s timely book We Decide!: Theories and Cases in Participatory Democracy (Temple University Press, 2018) is a comprehensive treatment of participatory democracy, in which he delves into the history of democracy and offers an optimistic vision of the future of democratic...


Leah Stokes, "Short Circuiting Policy: Interest Groups and the Battle Over Clean Energy" (Oxford UP, 2020)

Why do even successful clean energy policies fail to create momentum for more renewable energy? In her new book Short Circuiting Policy: Interest Groups and the Battle Over Clean Energy and Climate Policy in the American States (Oxford University Press, 2020), Leah Stokes analyzes policy-making in Texas, Kansas, Arizona, and Ohio to understand the dynamics of clean energy policy. This remarkably ambitious work urges political scientists to refocus on the manner in which interest groups...


Daniel Denvir, "All-American Nativism: How the Bipartisan War on Immigrants Explains Politics as We Know It" (Verso, 2020)

It is often said that with the election of Donald Trump nativism was raised from the dead. After all, here was a president who organized his campaign around a rhetoric of unvarnished racism and xenophobia. Among his first acts on taking office was to issue an executive order blocking Muslim immigrants from entering the United States. But although his actions may often seem unprecedented, they are not as unusual as many people believe. This story doesn’t begin with Trump. For decades,...


Nancy D. Campbell, "OD: Naloxone and the Politics of Overdose" (MIT Press, 2020)

For years, drug overdose was unmentionable in polite society. OD was understood to be something that took place in dark alleys―an ugly death awaiting social deviants―neither scientifically nor clinically interesting. But over the last several years, overdose prevention has become the unlikely object of a social movement, powered by the miracle drug naloxone. In OD: Naloxone and the Politics of Overdose (MIT Press, 2020), Nancy D. Campbell charts the emergence of naloxone as a technological...


Ian Wray, "No Little Plans: How Government Built America’s Wealth and Infrastructure" (Routledge, 2019)

Is planning for America anathema to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness? Is it true, as thinkers such as Friedrich Von Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Ayn Rand have claimed, that planning leads to dictatorship, that the state is economically inefficient, and that prosperity is owed primarily to the workings of a free market? To answer these questions Ian Wray’s book goes in search of an America shaped by government, plans and bureaucrats, not by businesses, bankers and shareholders. He...


Nicci Gerrard, "The Last Ocean: A Journey Through Memory and Forgetting" (Penguin, 2019)

Dementia provokes profound moral questions about our society and the meaning of life itself. How much are we connected to one another? In what ways are we distant and separated? What does it mean to have a self? How can we offer dignity to those who suffer from Alzheimer's and other forms of this terrible disease? Worldwide around 50 million people have dementia. The US Centers for Disease Control estimates that the U.S. total is more than five million. The numbers are growing with the aging...


Maria Dimova-Cookson, "Rethinking Positive and Negative Liberty" (Routledge, 2019)

Maria Dimova-Cookson's new book Rethinking Positive and Negative Liberty (Routledge, 2019) offers an analysis of the distinction between positive and negative freedom building on the work of Constant, Green and Berlin. The author proposes a new reading of this distinction for the twenty-first century. The author defends the idea that freedom is a dynamic interaction between two inseparable, yet sometimes fundamentally, opposed positive and negative concepts – the yin and yang of freedom....