Book Briefs: New University of Nebraska Press Books at the Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse

The Nebraska Publications Clearinghouse receives documents every month from all Nebraska state agencies, including the University of Nebraska Press (UNP).  Each month we will be showcasing the UNP books that the Clearinghouse receives.  UNP books, as well as all Nebraska state documents, are available for checkout by libraries and librarians for their patrons.

Here are the UNP books the Clearinghouse received in July and August 2020:

DEZA AND ITS MORISCOS : RELIGION AND COMMUNITY IN EARLY MODERN SPAIN. Patrick J. O’Banion (Series: Early Modern Cultural Studies)

Deza and Its Moriscos addresses an incongruity in early modern Spanish historiography: a growing awareness of the importance played by Moriscos in Spanish society and culture alongside a dearth of knowledge about individuals or local communities. By reassessing key elements in the religious and social history of early modern Spain through the experience of the small Castilian town of Deza, Patrick J. O’Banion asserts the importance of local history in understanding large-scale historical events and challenges scholars to rethink how marginalized people of the past exerted their agency.

Moriscos, baptized Muslims and their descendants, were pressured to convert to Christianity at the end of the Middle Ages but their mass baptisms led to fears about lingering crypto-Islamic activities. Many political and religious authorities, and many of the Moriscos’ neighbors as well, concluded that the conversions had produced false Christians. Between 1609 and 1614 nearly all of Spain’s Moriscos—some three hundred thousand individuals—were thus expelled from their homeland.

Contrary to the assumptions of many modern scholars, rich source materials show the town’s Morisco minority wielded remarkable social, economic, and political power. Drawing deeply on a diverse collection of archival material as well as early printed works, this study illuminates internal conflicts, external pressures brought to bear by the Inquisition, the episcopacy, and the crown, and the possibilities and limitations of negotiated communal life at the dawn of modernity.

Millennial Cervantes : New Currents in Cervantes Studies Edited by Bruce R. Burningham (Series: New Hispanisms)

Millennial Cervantes explores some of the most important recent trends in Cervantes scholarship in the twenty-first century. It brings together leading Cervantes scholars of the United States in order to showcase their cutting-edge work within a cultural studies frame that encompasses everything from ekphrasis to philosophy, from sexuality to Cold War political satire, and from the culinary arts to the digital humanities.

Millennial Cervantes is divided into three sets of essays—conceptually organized around thematic and methodological lines that move outward in a series of concentric circles. The first group, focused on the concept of “Cervantes in his original contexts,” features essays that bring new insights to these texts within the primary context of early modern Iberian culture. The second group, focused on the concept of “Cervantes in comparative contexts,” features essays that examine Cervantes’s works in conjunction with those of the English-speaking world, both seventeenth- and twentieth-century. The third group, focused on the concept of “Cervantes in wider cultural contexts,” examines Cervantes’s works—principally Don Quixote—as points of departure for other cultural products and wider intellectual debates.

This collection articulates the state of Cervantes studies in the first two decades of the new millennium as we move further into a century that promises both unimagined technological advances and the concomitant cultural changes that will naturally adhere to this new technology, whatever it may be.

ON DISTANT SERVICE : THE LIFE OF THE FIRST U.S. FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER TO BE ASSASSINATED. Susan M. Stein

On July 18, 1924, a mob in Tehran killed U.S. foreign service officer Robert Whitney Imbrie. His violent death, the first political murder in the history of the service, outraged the American people. Though Imbrie’s loss briefly made him a cause célèbre, subsequent events quickly obscured his extraordinary life and career.

Susan M. Stein tells the story of a figure steeped in adventure and history. Imbrie rejected a legal career to volunteer as an ambulance driver during World War I and joined the State Department when the United States entered the war. Assigned to Russia, he witnessed the October Revolution, fled ahead of a Bolshevik arrest order, and continued to track communist activity in Turkey even as the country’s war of independence unfolded around him. His fateful assignment to Persia led to his death at age forty-one and set off political repercussions that cloud relations between the United States and Iran to this day.

Drawing on a wealth of untapped materials, On Distant Service returns readers to an era when dash and diplomacy went hand-in-hand.

SILVER VEIN, DUSTY LUNGS : MONING, WATER, AND PUBLIC HEALTH IN ZACATECAS, 1835-1946. Rocio Gomez (Series: The Mexican Experience)

In Mexico environmental struggles have been fought since the nineteenth century in such places as Zacatecas, where United States and European mining interests have come into open conflict with rural and city residents over water access, environmental health concerns, and disease compensation.

In Silver Veins, Dusty Lungs, Rocio Gomez examines the detrimental effects of the silver mining industry on water resources and public health in the city of Zacatecas and argues that the human labor necessary to the mining industry made the worker and the mine inseparable through the land, water, and air. Tensions arose between farmers and the mining industry over water access while the city struggled with mudslides, droughts, and water source contamination. Silicosis-tuberculosis, along with accidents caused by mining technologies like jackhammers and ore-crushers, debilitated scores of miners. By emphasizing the perspective of water and public health, Gomez illustrates that the human body and the environment are not separate entities but rather in a state of constant interaction.

Teaching Western American Literature Edited by Brady Harrison and Randi Lynn Tanglen (Series: Postwestern Horizons)

In this volume experienced and new college- and university-level teachers will find practical, adaptable strategies for designing or updating courses in western American literature and western studies. Teaching Western American Literature features the latest developments in western literary research and cultural studies as well as pedagogical best practices in course development. Contributors provide practical models and suggestions for courses and assignments while presenting concrete strategies for teaching works both inside and outside the canon. In addition, Brady Harrison and Randi Lynn Tanglen have assembled insights from pioneering western studies instructors with workable strategies and practical advice for translating this often complex material for classrooms from freshman writing courses to graduate seminars.

Teaching Western American Literature reflects the cutting edge of western American literary study, featuring diverse approaches allied with women’s, gender, queer, environmental, disability, and Indigenous studies and providing instructors with entrée into classrooms of leading scholars in the field.

THINKING ABOUT GOD : JEWISH VIEWS. Rabbi Kari H. Tuling (Series: JPS Essential Judaism)

Who—or what—is God? Is God like a person? Does God have a gender? Does God have a special relationship with the Jewish people? Does God intervene in our lives? Is God good—and, if yes, why does evil persist in the world? In investigating how Jewish thinkers have approached these and other questions, Rabbi Kari H. Tuling elucidates many compelling—and contrasting—ways of thinking about God in Jewish tradition.

Thinking about God addresses the genuinely intertextual nature of evolving Jewish God concepts. Just as in Jewish thought the Bible and other historical texts are living documents, still present and relevant to the conversation unfolding now, and just as a Jewish theologian examining a core concept responds to the full tapestry of Jewish thought on the subject all at once, this book is organized topically, covers Jewish sources (including liturgy) from the biblical to the postmodern era, and highlights the interplay between texts over time, up through our own era.

A highly accessible resource for introductory students, Thinking about God also makes important yet challenging theological texts understandable. By breaking down each selected text into its core components, Tuling helps the reader absorb it both on its own terms and in the context of essential theological questions of the ages. Readers of all backgrounds will discover new ways to contemplate God.


  **All book covers and synopses courtesy of University of Nebraska Press  (https://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/)

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