Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Booknotes

The Amish and the Media, edited by Diane Zimmerman Umble and David L Weaver-Zercher (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008). Explores how a group with profound reservations toward the media use their own media networks to sustain their culture.

The Anti-Intellectual Presidency: The Decline of Presidential Rhetoric From George Washington to George W. Bush, by Elvin T. Lim (Oxford University Press, 2008). Traces a simplification of presidential rhetoric over history and describes anti-intellectualism as a deliberate choice; draws on interviews with more than 40 speechwriters.

Beijing Opera Costumes: The Visual Communication of Character and Culture, by Alexandra B. Bonds (University of Hawai'i Press, 2008). Examines the past and present history of costume for traditional Jingju, Chinese opera.

The Changing Portrayal of Adolescents in the Media Since 1950, edited by Patrick Jamieson and Daniel Romer (Oxford University Press, 2008). “Leading scholars analyze the emergence of youth culture in music and powerful trends in gender and ethnic-racial representation, sexuality, substance use, violence, and suicide portrayed in the media” –back cover

The Child at Risk: Paedophiles, Media Responses and Public Opinion, by Anneke Meyer (University of Manchester Press, 2007). Critical discourse analysis of media representations of paedophilia in two British newspapers, The News of the World and The Guardian.

Conspiracy Panics: Political Rationality and Popular Culture, by Jack Z. Bratich (State University of New York Press, 2008). Analyzes the cultural anxiety created by the existence of conspiracy theories.

Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole, by Benjamin R. Barber (W.W. Norton, 2007). “As an extremely well written tour de force with plenty of examples, Consumed clearly is designed to communicate to non-academics the expansive nature of consumer capitalism and the anti democratic effects such expansion triggers….Barber is a public intellectual and should be commended as such. Targeted to a broad readership, Consumed is a “big idea” book that is critical of antidemocratic corporate and commercial trends.” –Mathew McAllister, Penn State University

Culture and Power: A History of Cultural Studies, by Mark Gibson (University of New South Whales Press, 2007). “A critical analysis of the nature and purpose of Cultural Studies, the book assesses the development of the discipline from the work of Michel Foucault in post-war France and the Birmingham Centre for Cultural Studies in the 1970s to the expansion of the field in the United States and present day concerns with culture, politics and ethics.” –Publisher’s website

The Flash Press: Sporting Male Weeklies in 1840s New York (University of Chicago Press, 2008) Denounced as offensive and obscene by their many detractors, the weeklies self-righteously purported to expose the city's seedy underbelly by reveling in scandal. Although immensely popular, they were not a durable commodity, so it wasn't until 1985, when the American Antiquarian Society acquired nearly 100 issues, that scholars began to study them. The Flash Press traces the papers' brief but turbulent run through the litigation and public outcry that eventually shut them down.

Gin Before Breakfast: The Dilemma of the Poet in the Newsroom, by Phyllis Asdruf (Syracuse University, 2007). The author, a poet-journalist herself, traces the lives of 13 nineteenth and twentieth century poet-journalists.

Inside the Presidential Deabates: Their Improbable and Past and Promising Future, by Newton N. Minow and Craig L. LaMay. (University of Chigaco, 2008).
“He [Minow] has stood in the center of the ‘debate over the debates,’ casting a cool eye on the medium and on the democratic process he has done so much to shape.” –Jonathan Alter, columnist and senior editor, Newsweek

Mass Culture and Italian Society From Fascism to the Cold War, by David Forgacs and Stephen Gundle (Indiana University Press, 2008). Examines the complex role of film, radio, and other mass media in Italy's modernization

The Mass Media and Latino Politics: Studies of U.S. Media Content, Campaign Strategies and Survey Research: 1984-2004, by Federico Subervi-Velez. (Routledge, 2008) . "This volume is a must read for scholars, teachers and civic office holders who seek to understand the interrelationships between Latinos, media and politics. It is a concentrated text with insights on audiences and media content that all political communication faculty and students should read. Particularly in today’s charged campaign atmosphere this volume holds a special value because it addresses issues of ethnicity/race, language and culture in ways in which other books cannot. Few political communication specialists can tackle the past, present and future of the mass media as it pertains to Latinos and politics.” —Diana I. Rios, Ph.D., Department of Communication Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs

The Meaning of Video Games: Gaming and Textual Studies, by Steven E. Jones (Routledge, 2008). The first book to examine video games through lens of textual studies.

The Media and the Rwanda Genocide, edited by Allan Thompson (Pluto Press, 2007). Volume draws on over 30 contributors who attended a symposium hosted by the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University, Ottawa in March of 2004.
Medium Cool: Music Videos From Soundies to Cellphones, edited by Roger Bebe and Jason Middleton (Duke, 2007). Wide ranging essays on how music videos are thriving in their post-MTV incarnations via the internet and mobile devices.

Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics, by Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais (Rutgers University Press, 2008). “Building on the seminal work of previous generational theorists, [the authors] demonstrate and describe, for the first time, the two types of realignments-"idealist" and "civic"-that have alternated with one another throughout the nation's history. Based on these patterns, Winograd and Hais predict that the next realignment will be very different from the last one that occurred in 1968. "Idealist" realignments, like the one put into motion forty years ago by the Baby Boomer Generation, produce, among other things, a political emphasis on divisive social issues and governmental gridlock. "Civic" realignments, like the one that is coming, and the one produced by the famous GI or "Greatest" Generation in the 1930s, by contrast, tend to produce societal unity, increased attention to and successful resolution of basic economic and foreign policy issues, and institution-building.” –Publisher’s website

New Tech, New Ties, by Rich Ling (The MIT Press, 2008). “Ling argues that mobile communication helps to engender and develop social cohesion within the family and the peer group. Drawing on the work of Emile Durkheim, Erving Goffman, and Randall Collins, Ling shows that ritual interaction is a catalyst for the development of social bonding. From this perspective, he examines how mobile communication affects face-to-face ritual situations and how ritual is used in interaction mediated by mobile communication. He looks at the evidence, including interviews and observations from around the world, that documents the effect of mobile communication on social bonding and also examines some of the other possibly problematic issues raised by tighter social cohesion in small groups.”—Publisher’s website

A Political History of Journalism, by Geraldine Muhlmann (Polity, 2008). Comparative history of the rise of modern journalism, from the revolution of the late nineteenth century to the present day.

Representing the Unpresentable: Historical Images of National Reform From the Qajars to the Islamic Republic of Iran (Gender, Culture and Politics in the Middle East), by Negar Mottahedeh (Syracuse University Press, 2007). Draws on literary, historical, cinematic, and other texts in a study of cultural representations of the Babi, or followers of the religious movement, Babism.

The Spectacle of Accumulation: Essays in Culture, Media, & Politics, by Sut Jhally (Peter Lang, 2006). Focus on how the media influences gender and race relations, politics, sports and advertising.

Women for President, Media Bias in Eight Campaigns, by Erika Falk (University of Illinois, 2008). ASC grad’s research on eight female presidential candidates argues that the United State’s press privileges male candidates by perpetrating gender stereotypes and has had a discouraging effect on women’s decisions to run for office.

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