This week, we feature a trio of recent reviews of Temple University Press titles.
Lori Peek’s Behind the Backlash was reviewed in the March 2012 issue of Perspectives on Politics. The review read, “Behind the Backlash is distinctive in the careful attention Peek gives to the voices of her 140 interviewees and in her effort to explain the development of the backlash itself from the framework of disaster studies…. The author does an excellent job of documenting the experiences of Muslim Americans in the immediate post-9/11 environment, especially those from New York City, whose exposure to the backlash was frequently more intense than that experienced at a greater distance from Ground Zero. The two most effective chapters…detail the climate of fear that descended on Muslim Americans after the attacks and the initial strategies pursued by Muslims as they sought to deflect hostility, largely through efforts to educate Americans about Islam and to protect Muslim claims on public space. Peek’s subjects articulate a wide array of experiences, both positive and negative, illustrating the frenzy and the creativity that shaped Muslim life in 2002 and 2003 as people sought to make sense of their new status…. Behind the Backlash will be of greatest value to readers who want to understand the 9/11 attacks as a disaster with distinctly negative effects, an approach ideally suited to the early years of the so-called War on Terror…. Peek’s study provides an excellent point of entry into the rich body of scholarship now available on this topic.”
Andrew Hurley’s Beyond Preservation was reviewed in the January 2012 issue of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. The review read, “Beyond Preservation emphasizes the role of public history and public archeology in preserving inner-city landscapes and cultivating a shared sense of purpose and belonging. Author Andrew Hurley offers a blueprint for interpreting elements of historic preservation in a manner that directly advances community objectives. Hurley’s argument is that historic preservation can be employed more constructively in America’s inner cities. Despite the prevalence of innovative practices and perspectives of historical preservation, there is a distinguishable tradeoff between community building and economic development. Although in recent decades preservation made gains in admiration measured according to economic criteria, preservation’s capacity to harmonize past and present to unify people around a broad civic vision should also be brought into the agenda…. Hurley has made an important contribution to historic preservation theory and practice. The book provides valuable principles to guide the economic revitalization in our cities by harnessing the power of history through historic preservation. Hurley wants preservationists to be more aware of public engagement with history as a winning political tool to enhance a community’s potential to direct change that honors the history that shapes us. Hurley’s theme is outside the normal narrative of historic preservation, but he should not ignore these insights on understanding the vital importance of historic preservation as a whole.”
Ladies and Gents, edited by Olga Gershenson and Barbara Penner, was reviewed in the April 2012 issue of Gender & Society. The review read, “While public toilets are a necessity of public life, their association with human waste, germs, gender performance, and sexuality render them a treacherous subject for public discussion as well as academic discourse. However, the history, design, and social policies surrounding public toilets provide distinct insights into patterns of gender and cultural inequality. With their edited volume Ladies and Gents: Public Toilets and Gender, Olga Gershenson and Barbara Penner make an essential contribution to this burgeoning area of inquiry…. [T]his collection includes contributions from the fields of art, architecture, urban planning, graphic design, history, film, cultural studies, women’s studies, and queer studies. It also addresses specific locales in North America, Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia. Gershenson and Penner begin this volume with a deft and thorough introduction to existing sociological, anthropological, psychoanalytic, architectural, and queer theoretical approaches to public toilets and gender as well as a succinct discussion of their representation in art, film, and literature…. Ladies and Gents forms an important, remarkably diverse, and at times divergent collection of scholarship on a long neglected topic essential to gender studies. It clearly demonstrates that finding ways to engage in public discourse about public toilets will allow us a more nuanced and rigorous discussion of gender hegemony and inequality. Toward that end, this volume would be useful in graduate seminars, advanced undergraduate course work, or as an addition to any gender researcher’s library.”
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