Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Fall Booknotes

All the Presidents’ Spokesmen: Spinning the News—White House Press Secretaries from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush (Praeger, 2008). A survey of 26 press secretaries over the years; instead of a chronological approach, the book is arranged around recurring themes that Presidents and their “spin masters” have had to deal with.

Asian Americans and the Media, by Kent A. Ono and Vincent Pham (Polity, 2008). U.S. media representation of Asian Americans, including newer internet-situated media.

Certain Victory: Images of World War II in the Japanese Media, by David C. Earhart (M. E. Sharpe, 2008). Gathered for the analysis are over 800 images selected from 2,500 newspapers and magazines published between 1937 and 1945.

Common Sense: Intelligence as Presented on Popular Television, by Lisa Holderman (Lexington Books, 2008). “Examines the constructions of intelligence and intellectuality in popular television and the social/cultural implications of those constructions. It considers the complexity of popular television images, the influences of these images as they both verify and vilify intelligence, and explores the representations of inteeligence on television by looking at a variety of TV genres and through a range of theoretical perspectives and methods.” –Publisher’s website

Frames of Mind: A Post-Jungian Look at Cinema, Television and Technology, by Luke Hockley (Intellect, 2008). Explores the roles and uses of analytical psychology in film and television criticism.

The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, by Jonathan Zittrain (Yale, 2008). “The Internet’s current trajectory is one of lost opportunity. Its salvation, Zittrain argues, lies in the hands of its millions of users. Drawing on generative technologies like Wikipedia that have so far survived their own successes, this book shows how to develop new technologies and social structures that allow users to work creatively and collaboratively, participate in solutions, and become true “netizens.”—from The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It blog

Global Capital, Local Culture: Transnational Media Corporations in China, by Anthony Y.H. Fung (Peter Lang Publishing, 2008). Uses interview and other data to examine the China strategies of such companies as Warner Bros. Pictures and Viacoms MTV Channel among others as they adapt to the political and economic constraints of working in China.

Global TV: Exploring Television and Culture in the World Market, by Denise D. Bielby and C. Lee Harrington (New York University, 2008). “Explores the cultural significance of global television trade and asks how it is so remarkably successful despite the inherent cultural differences between shows and local audiences. How do culture-specific genres like American soap operas and Latin telenovelas so easily cross borders and adapt to new cultural surroundings? Why is "The Nanny," whose gum-chewing star is from Queens, New York, a smash in Italy? Importantly, Bielby and Harrington also ask which kinds of shows fail. What is lost in translation? Considering such factors as censorship and other such state-specific policies, what are the inevitable constraints of crossing over?” –Publisher’s website

Handbook on Communicating and Disseminating Behavioral Science, by Melissa K. Welch-Ross and Laren G. Fasig (Sage, 2007). An over 400-page guide for researchers, professionals, graduate students, and policy makers who want to learn more about communicating behavioral research to other professionals, policy makers, or the general public; includes communicating through traditional media--television, public radio, magazines and newspapers.

Hate on the Net: Extremist Sites, Neo-Fascism On-line, Electronic Jihad,
by Antonio Roversi (Ashgate, 2008). A detailed study of websites that incite violence, whether real or symbolic. Four types are focused on: football hooligans, neo-fascists, neo-Nazies, and Middle-Eastern militant Islamists.

Here Comes Everybody : The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, by Clay Shirky (Penguin Press, 2008). "How do trends emerge and opinions form? The answer used to be something vague about word of mouth, but now it's a highly measurable science, and nobody understands it better than Clay Shirky. In this delightfully readable book, practically every page has an insight that will change the way you think about the new era of social media.” -Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and author of The Long Tail

The Idea of Nature in Disney Animation, by David Whitley (Ashgate, 2008). Focuses on the ways in which the natural world has been portrayed by Disney animation over the years, from Snow White to Finding Nemo, including how ambiguities and tensions underlie dominant values.

The Internet and American Business, edited by William Aspray and Paul E. Ceruzzi (MIT Press, 2008). Historical anthology explores the multiple impacts of the Internet on business practices since 1992.

Internet Alley: High Technology in Tyson’s Corner, 1945-2005, by Paul E. Ceruzzi. (MIT, 2008). This study combines “elements of economic geography, sociology, business history, regional planning, and political science as [Ceruzzi] explores how one of the nation’s most important centers of information technology developed.” --Chris Sterling, George Washington University.

Jewish Identity in Western Pop Culture: The Holocaust and Trauma Through Modernity, by Jon Stratton (Palgrave Macmillan). The post-Holocaust experience with emphasis on aspects of its impact on popular culture.

Making Online News: The Ethnography of News Media Production, edited by Chris Paterson and David Domingo (Peter Lang, 2008). Chapters written by a wide range of scholars from many different countries provide observational research on journalists in their natural habitats, i.e. newsrooms.

The Meaning of Video Games: Gaming and Textual Strategies, by Steven E. Jones (Routledge, 2008). First book to apply textual theories to understanding video games such as Myst, Lost, Halo, Nintendo, and Spore as forms of cultural expression.

Media and Communication, by Paddy Scannell (Sage, 2008). Traces the historical development of media and communication studies; the author maps the fields many antecedents in North American and Europe.

Media and Values: Intimate Transgressions in a Changing Moral and Cultural Landscape, by David E. Morrison, Matthew Kieran, Michael Svnnevig and Sarah Ventress (Intellect, 2008). “…Illuminates citizens’ moral reasoning about the media, culture, and government. A tour de force of nuanced interdisciplinary scholarship…offers wised-ranging insights into the responsibilities of the communication industry, the justifications and consequences of telecoms regulation—and the nature of the good society itself” –Robert M. Entman, George Washington University

Media Violence and Agression: Science and Ideoloy, by Tom Grimes, James Anderson, and Lori Bergen (Thousand Oaks, CA, 2008). Provides overview of the research to date, poses interesting questions about the science of it all, how the child as variable-ridden subject fits into the equation, and what should be done with such research in terms of public policy.

Medicines’s Moving Pictures: Medicine, Health, and Bodies in American Film and Television, edited by Leslie J. Reagan, Nancy Tomes, and Paula A. Treichler (University of Rochester Press, 2007). A mix of media scholars, gender scholars, and historians of medicine and science weigh in on the symbiotic relationship between the mass media and medicine in the United States in the 20th century. In addition to Hollywood film and television, analysis includes educational films, newsreels and videos. Professor Joseph Turow, of Playing Doctor fame, is one of the essayist.

Moral Spectatorship: Technologies of Voice and Affect in Postwar Representations of the Child, by Lisa Cartwright (Duke, 2008). "Uncovering alternative traditions in the psychoanalytic study of affect and object relations, while pairing them with deep explorations of American and continental moral philosophy, Lisa Cartwright proposes a series of arguments that will radically remap our understanding of spectatorship and identification…a path-breaking book and perhaps the first entirely new approach to subject, empathy, and affect in visual cultural studies to have appeared in the new millennium."--D. N. Rodowick, Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University

No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy, by Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites (University of Chicago, 2007). Provides rhetorical analyses of nine famously iconic photographs from the past 65 years, exploring what makes
them standout artifacts of public culture.

On Scandal: Moral Disturbances in Society, Politics, and Art, by Viviana A. Zelizer (Cambridge University Press, 2008). "The popular way of treating scandals in the media is partisan or prurient and sensationalist. Ari Adut's book... cuts in another direction. He is analytical and comparative, showing the conditions under which various kinds of scandals occur or do not occur. Adut's work will illuminate the reader in the advance of sociological understanding. It is both an intellectual pleasure and a pleasure to read. It opens contentious events to the sociological eye with great clarity. The book will make its readers scandal-sophisticates." -- Randall Collins, University of Pennsylvania

Presenting America’s World: Strategies of Innocence in National Geographic Magazine, 1888-1945, by Tamar Y. Rothenberg (Ashgate, 2007). An institutional analysis of the writers, photographers and editors of National Geographic as well as a critical analysis of the world they created

Production Culture: Industrial Reflexivity and Critical Practice in Film and Television,
by John Thornton Caldwell (Duke University Press, 2008). Combines ethnographic and other perspectives in a study of Los Angeles-based film and television production workers, from directors and producers to such crew members as gaffers and camera operators.

Science on the Air: Popularizers and Personalities on Radio and Early Television,
by Marcel Chotkowski LaFollette (University of Chicago, 2008). “Offering a new perspective on the collision between science’s idealistic and elitist view of public communication and the unbending economics of broadcasting, LaFollette rewrites the history of the public reception of science in the twentieth century and the role that scientists and their institutions have played in both encouraging and inhibiting popularization. By looking at the broadcasting of the past, Science on the Air raises issues of concern to all those who scientifically literate society today.”—Publisher’s website

The Television Will Be Revolutionized, by Amanda Lotz (New York University, 2008). “…Definitive guidebook to the medium in transition, offering a road map to where we’ve been, where we’re going, and why it matters. American television is undergoing profound transitions in the digital age, transforming both the television industry and our viewing experiences.” –Jason Mittell, Middlebury College

This Is Not a President, by Diane Rubenstein (New York University Press, 2008). “Looks at the postmodern presidency — from Reagan and George H. W. Bush, through the current administration, and including Hillary. Focusing on those seemingly inexplicable gaps or blind spots in recent American presidential politics, Rubenstein interrogates symptomatic moments in political rhetoric, popular culture, and presidential behavior to elucidate profound and disturbing changes in the American presidency and the way it embodies a national imaginary….Rubenstein traces the vernacular use of the American presidency (as currency, as grist for popular biography, as fictional TV material) to explore the ways in which the American presidency functions as a “transitional object” that allows the American citizen to meet or discover the president while going about her everyday life. The book argues that it is French theory — primarily Lacanian psychoanalysis and the radical semiotic theories of Jean Baudrillard — that best accounts for American political life today. Through episodes as diverse as Iran Contra, George H. W. Bush vomiting in Japan, the 1992 Republican convention, the failed nomination of Lani Guinier, and the Iraq War [the book] situates our collective investment in American political culture.” –Publisher’s website

Weapons of Mass Persuasion: Strategic Communication to Combat Violent Extremism, edited by Steven R. Corman, Angela Tretheway, and H.L. Goodall, Jr. (Peter Lang, 2008). Applies human communication concepts and theories to communication problems encountered by nations, communities, and individuals, specifically the war on terror.

When the Press Fails, by W. Lance Bennett, Regina G. Lawrence, and Steven Livingston (University of Chicago, 2008). Relationship between the White House and the U.S. media which the authors show marched in lock step at a time when critical independence of the later could have provided crucial checks.

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