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New faculty books examine sustainability, time, and more

May 16, 2017

dandelion inside an open book with the words NEW READS

Each academic year, Rochester faculty members publish books that advance scholarship and investigate questions of broad interest. New Reads offers a selection of some of their most recent work.

book cover for Deterritorializing/ReterritorializingDeterritorializing/Reterritorializing: Critical Geography of Educational Reform

Edited by Nancy Ares, Eduard Buendía, and Robert Helfenbein

Sense Publishers, 2017

Focused on the changing landscape of educational reform and land-use policies, Ares, an associate professor of education at the Warner School of Education, and her coeditors reveal how social, political, and historical dimensions of social spaces—especially racial, ethnic, and other markers of difference—shape and are shaped by school reforms. The book, whose contributors are from a range of fields, situates itself in contemporary public education policies that are pushing responsibility for economic and social welfare, as well as education policy and practice, out of federal entities and into local ones.

book cover for Time: A Vocabulary of the PresentTime: A Vocabulary of the Present

Edited by Joel Burges and Amy Elias

New York University Press, 2016

Burges, an assistant professor of English, and Elias present essays from an assortment of scholars in the new field of time studies. The volume focuses on the decades since World War II—a period “animated by certain kinds of time consciousness”—and considers time as history, as calculation, and as culture. Among the essayists included is Rachel Haidu, an associate professor of art and art history and director of the graduate program in visual and cultural studies.

book cover for Mothers, Comrades, and Outcasts in East German Women’s FilmMothers, Comrades, and Outcasts in East German Women’s Film

By Jennifer Creech

Indiana University Press, 2016

Drawing together feminist film theory and cultural history, Creech, an associate professor of German, investigates “women’s films” in the last two decades of the former East Germany to see how they functioned as an alternative public sphere and an expression of covert politics. The book is part of an emerging reconsideration of Eastern Bloc culture from a post-unification perspective. The politics of gender, Creech argues, “are both at the center of the films’ social critique and their exclusion from contemporary research.”

Living Well Now and in the Future: Why Sustainability Matters

By Randall Curren and Ellen Metzger

MIT Press, 2017

Curren, a professor of philosophy and chair of the philosophy department, and Metzger, a geologist, formulate an ethics of sustainability with lessons for government, organizations, and individuals. They examine the nature and value of sustainability, proposing that sustainability can be understood as the art of living well together without diminishing the opportunity to live well in the future. The authors also catalog the problems and obstacles confronting sustainability and identify the kinds of efforts that can overcome them.

book cover for The Ethics of Theory: Philosophy, History, LiteratureThe Ethics of Theory: Philosophy, History, Literature

By Robert Doran

Bloomsbury, 2017

Doran, an associate professor of French and comparative literature, offers the first broad assessment of the ethical challenges posed by critical theory across the humanities and social sciences. Focusing on figures central to the history of critical theory—including Claude Lévi-Strauss, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida—he expands the concept by including thinkers whose work is in some ways antagonistic to theory, such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Eric Auerbach, and Edward Said. Doran examines the apparent contradiction of how theory, once “denounced as amoral, quietist, and nihilistic…could also be the source of a ‘political turn’ in the humanities and a wellspring for liberal activists.”

book cover for Institutions on the Edge: The Origins and Consequences of Inter-Branch Crises in Latin America

Institutions on the Edge: The Origins and Consequences of Inter-Branch Crises in Latin America

By Gretchen Helmke

Cambridge University Press, 2017

A professor and chair of political science, Helmke examines the institutional instability pervading contemporary Latin America. Contributing to this instability are inter-branch crises, “the attempt by one branch of government to remove or otherwise take control over another branch.” Drawing on an original dataset for 18 Latin American countries over the last three decades, she finds evidence that granting extensive constitutional powers to the president—particularly when the government is divided—makes all three branches of government more prone to instability.

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Category: University News