The Colgate Scene
July 2003

Bookshelf
 
African American Humor cover Machiavelli's Children cover Progressive Muslims cover Barricades cover
Edited by Mel Watkins '62
(Lawrence Hill Books)

The black view of America has always been most vividly expressed in humor. This collection of anecdotes, tales, jokes, toast, rhymes, satire, riffs, poems, stand-up sketches and snaps documents the evolution of that humor over the past two centuries. Unlike previous humor collections, this anthology boasts a broader scope and includes classic stage routines, literary examples and witty quotations from famous African Americans; and unlike joke or gag books, it presents longer selections in their entirety. Not only is African American Humor a documentary sourcebook that will long be recognized as an essential resource, it's a joyous celebration of African American laughter, ideal for casual enjoyment by both black and white readers.

Mel Watkins '62 is a former editor at the New York Times Book Review. He is the author of On the Real Side: A History of African American Comedy and Dancing with Strangers: A Memoir
Richard J. Samuels '73
(Cornell University Press)

Two late-developing nations, Japan and Italy, similarly obsessed with achieving modernity and with joining the ranks of the great powers, have traveled parallel courses with very different national identities. In this audacious book about leadership and historical choices, Richard J. Samuels emphasizes the role of human ingenuity in political change. He draws on interviews and archival research in a fascinating series of paired biographies of political and business leaders in Italy and Japan.

Beginning with the founding of modern nation-states after the Meiji Restoration and the Risorgimento, Samuels traces the developmental dynamic in both countries through the failure of early liberalism, the coming of fascism, imperial adventures, defeat in wartime and reconstruction as American allies. Highlights of Machiavelli's Children include new accounts of the making of postwar Japanese politics -- using American money and Manchukuo connections -- and of the collapse of Italian political parties in the Clean Hands (Mani Pulite) scandal. The author also tells the more recent stories of Umberto Bossi's regional experiment, the Lega Nord, the different choices made by Italian and Japanese communist party leaders after the collapse of the [Soviet Union] and the leadership of Silvio Berlusconi and Ishihara Shintaro on the contemporary right in each country.

Richard J. Samuels '73 is Ford International Professor of political science and director of the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also chairman of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and founding director of the MIT Japan Program.
Edited by Omid Safi
(Oneworld Publications)

A probing, frank and intellectually refreshing testament to the capacity of Islam for renewal, change and growth, these articles from 15 Muslim scholars and activists address the challenging and complex issues that confront Muslims today. Avoiding fundamentalist and apologetic approaches, the book concentrates on the key areas of debate in progressive Islamic thought: "Contemporary Islam," "Gender Justice" and "Pluralism." Articles featured include: Khaled Abou El Fadl on reclaiming the beautiful in Islam; Farid Esack on how to define "Progressive Islam" in the wake of September 11; Ebrahim Moosa on the debts and burdens of critical Islamic thought; [and] Amina Wadud on issues of race and class in North American Muslim identity.

With further contributions on subjects as diverse and controversial as the alienation of Muslim youth; Islamic law, marriage and feminism; and the role of democracy in Islam, this volume will prove thought-provoking for all those interested in the challenges of justice and pluralism facing the Muslim world as it confronts the 21st century.

Omid Safi is assistant professor of philosophy and religion at Colgate.
Jill Harsin
(Palgrave Macmillan)

From 1830 through 1848, Paris was rocked by two successful revolutions, three unsuccessful rebellions and seven assassination attempts against King Louis-Philippe and his sons. Charles X was overthrown, Louis-Philippe restored order and a revolutionary Republicanism emerged to challenge the status quo. Inspired by the Reign of Terror, the montagnard movement (as it came to be known) was characterized by violence, honor and a romantic vision of heroism. But who were the men behind these rebellions? Using court records, newspapers and memoirs, Jill Harsin introduces us to republican Parisians with astonishing tales of strife, massacre and financial woes. She illuminates their hopes, dreams, fears and pain. These working class men gathered together and joined forces in an extraordinary battle for the security of their families and for their own dignity. The July Monarchy was an unparalleled, turbulent era, a period of both triumph and defeat. Barricades is a vigorous, spirited narrative that brings the fascinating heyday of the revolution to life in vivid detail. It is destined to stand as an enduring work on 19th century France.

Jill Harsin is professor of history at Colgate and the author of Policing Prostitution in Nineteenth-Century Paris.
Also of interest:
Leading by Heart: Through the World of Quantum Civics
by Richard D. Cheshire '58, Ph.D.
(Fithian Press)
Imagine Otherwise: On Asian Americanist critique
by Kandice Chuh '89
(Duke University Press)
The New Deal
by Justus D. Doenecke '60
The Trading Athlete: Winning the Mental Game of Online Trading
coauthored by Doug Hirschhorn '94
(John Wiley & Sons)
Blood Matters: The Five Civilized Tribes and the Search for Unity in the 20th Century
by Erik M. Zissu '87
(Routledge)
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