Faculty Books

From the history of race and caste in Latin America to the role of music in religion around the world, Columbian College faculty publish numerous thought-provoking and timely titles every year. Their work has topped bestseller lists, inspired debate and dialogue and received positive reviews from high-profile outlets like the Los Angeles Review of Books and The New York Times.

Before Mestizaje: The Frontiers of Race and Caste in Colonial Mexico

Before Mestizaje: The Frontiers of Race and Caste in Colonial Mexico

December 07, 2017

Columbian College Dean Ben Vinson, III opens new dimensions on the history of race and caste in Latin America in this examination of the extreme caste groups of Mexico. Focusing on lobos, moriscos and coyotes, he details the experiences of different races and castes while tracing the implications of their lives in the colonial world—exposing the connection between mestizaje (Latin America's modern ideology of racial mixture) and the colonial caste system.

Joel Blecher Said the Prophet of God cover

Said the Prophet of God: Hadith Commentary across a Millennium

November 07, 2017

Joel Blecher, assistant professor of history, breaks open a brand new field in Islamic studies: how hadith (Muhammad’s sayings and practices) were debated and understood over the past millennium. It offers a window into how communities from classical Muslim Spain to Medieval Egypt to modern India interpreted and re-interpreted the hadith in different ways for their own context, weaving together tales of high court rivalries, public furors and colonial politics.

Crip Times by Robert McRuer

Crip Times: Disability, Globalization, and Resistance

November 07, 2017

Professor of English Robert McRuer asks how disability activists, artists and social movements generate change and resist the dominant forms of globalization in an age of austerity, or “crip times.” Broadly attentive to the political and economic shifts of the last several decades, he considers how transnational queer disability theory and culture—activism, blogs, art, photography, literature and performance—provide important and generative sites for both contesting austerity politics and imagining alternatives.

Money for Votes: The Causes and Consequences of Electoral Clientelism in Africa

Money for Votes: The Causes and Consequences of Electoral Clientelism in Africa

November 02, 2017

Eric Kramon, assistant professor of political science and international affairs, looks at examples of politicians distributing money to voters during campaigns in low-income democracies and develops an alternative theory of electoral clientelism beyond “vote buying.” Instead, he emphasizes the role of monetary handouts in conveying information to voters, helping politicians enhance the credibility of their promises to deliver development resources and particularistic benefits to their constituents.

The Fight for Fair Housing Causes, Consequences and Future Implications of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act

The Fight for Fair Housing Causes, Consequences and Future Implications of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act

October 20, 2017

Gregory D. Squires, professor of sociology and public policy and public administration, edited this collection that explores the impact of the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968. The book brings together the nation’s leading fair housing activists and scholars to tell the stories that led to the passage of the act; its dual mandate to end discrimination and dismantle the segregated living patterns; its consequences; and its implications.

Some Say the Lark by Jennifer Chang

Some Say the Lark

October 10, 2017

Jennifer Chang, assistant professor of English, presents a collection of poems that narrate grief and loss, and intertwines them with hope for a fresh start in the midst of new beginnings. With topics such as frustration with our social and natural world, her poems openly question the self and place and how private experiences like motherhood and sorrow necessitate a deeper engagement with public life and history.

We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories of Passing in America by Lisa Page

We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories of Passing in America

October 10, 2017

Lisa Page, assistant professor of English and director of creative writing, coedited with former GW Writer-in-Residence Brando Skyhorse, a timely anthology that examines the complex reality of passing in America. Page shares how her white mother didn’t tell friends about her black ex-husband or that her children were, in fact, biracial.

Religious Zionism, Jewish Law, and the Morality of War by Robert Eisen cover

Religious Zionism, Jewish Law, and the Morality of War

October 02, 2017

Robert Eisen, professor of religion and Judaic studies, examines a dilemma within modern Jewish thought: Although the state of Israel has been plagued by war for much of its existence, Jewish law includes little material on moral issues in times of conflict. He features five prominent rabbis with insight into the key moral questions in war as they create an entire new body of law.

Writing Hollywood Cover

Writing Hollywood: The Work and Professional Culture of Television Writers

September 07, 2017

Patricia Phalen, associate professor of media and public affairs, highlights the writing process in the production of television drama and comedy series in the U.S. Using data from personal interviews and participant observation at a prime time drama, she analyzes the relationships among writers in series television, describes the interactions between writers and studio/network executives and explains how endogenous and exogenous pressures affect the occupational culture of the television writing profession.

The evolution of Black Women

The Evolution of Black Women in Television: Mammies, Matriarchs and Mistresses

July 21, 2017

Imani M. Cheers, assistant professor of media and public affairs, examines the representation of Black women in television. She shows how the increase of Black women in media ownership and creative executive roles (producers, showrunners, directors, writers) over the last 30 years has affected the fundamental cultural shift in Black women on TV, which in turn parallels the political, social, economic and cultural advancements of Black women in America from 1950 to 2016.

Ippolita Maria Sforza: Duchess and Hostage in Renaissance Naples: Letters and Orations

Ippolita Maria Sforza: Duchess and Hostage in Renaissance Naples: Letters and Orations

July 11, 2017

Lynn Westwater, associate professor of Italian, edited this volume which presents in translation 100 previously unknown letters of Ippolita Maria Sforza (1445–1488), daughter of the Duke of Milan, who was sent at age 20 to marry the son of the infamously brutal King Ferrante of Naples. Her letters display the adroit diplomacy she used to strengthen the alliance between Milan and Naples, then the two most powerful states in Italy.

William Youmans

An Unlikely Audience: Al Jazeera's Struggle in America

June 14, 2017

William Youmans, assistant professor of media and public affairs, investigates the inner workings of the Al Jazeera Media Network, a complex news organization fighting to overcome deep obstacles, foster strategic alliances and build its identity in a country notoriously disinterested in international news. He reveals the network's appeal to American audiences based on locales, arguing that place is critical to the formation and evolution of multi-national media organizations.

Set in Stone: America's Embrace of the Ten Commandments

Set in Stone: America's Embrace of the Ten Commandments

May 01, 2017

Jenna Weissman Joselit, Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies and professor of history, situates the Ten Commandments within the fabric of American history and reveals the influence of the scriptural directives on the formation of our national identity—from the 1860 archaeologists who claimed to have discovered pieces of the tablets in Ohio to politicians who proposed them as citizenship tests to psychotherapists who touted them as psychotherapeutic tool.

Victorian Photography, Literature, and the Invention of Modern Memory: Already the Past

Victorian Photography, Literature, and the Invention of Modern Memory: Already the Past

April 20, 2017

Jennifer Green-Lewis, associate professor of English, examines the ways photography not only changed how the Victorians saw the world, but also provided them with a new sense of connection with the past. Analyzing a broad range of texts by inventors, cultural critics, photographers, and novelists, she argues that Victorian photography ultimately defined the concept of memory for generations to come.

Multilingual Subjects: On Standard English, Its Speakers, and Others in the Long Eighteenth Century by Daniel DeWispelare

Multilingual Subjects: On Standard English, Its Speakers, and Others in the Long Eighteenth Century

April 13, 2017

Daniel DeWispelare, assistant professor of English, documents how different varieties of English became sidelined as “dialects” as the 18th century British Empire spread a notion of “Standard English” across the globe. He maintains that nonstandard speakers and writers—from slaves and indentured servants to translators and rural dialect speakers—were valuable to the development of Anglophone literary aesthetics even as Standard English became dominant throughout the English-speaking world.

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