Published Books

Columbian College faculty are filling the bookshelves with prolific scholarly publications on an array of fascinating topics. The following is a sampling of our faculty’s recently published books.



Said the Prophet of God: Hadith Commentary across a Millennium by Joel Blecher book 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.

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.

Imani M. Cheers

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.

French Cultural Studies for the Twenty-First Century book cover

French Cultural Studies for the Twenty-First Century

March 30, 2017

Masha Belenky, associate professor of French, and Kathryn Kleppinger, assistant professor of French and Francophone studies, co-edited this volume that brings together current scholarship on a diverse range of topics—from French postcards and Third Republic menus to Haitian literary magazines and representation of race in vaudeville theater—in order to provide methodological insight into the current practice of French cultural studies.

Earth by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen

Earth (Object Lessons)

March 09, 2017

Professor of English Jeffrey Jerome Cohen teams with planetary scientist Linda T. Elkins-Tanton to explore what happens when we think of the Earth as an object viewable from space. Viewing the Earth from space invites a dive into the abyss of scale: how can humans apprehend the distances, the temperatures, and the time scale on which planets are born, evolve, and die?

Three Stones Make a Wall: The Story of Archaeology by Eric Cline

Three Stones Make a Wall: The Story of Archaeology

March 07, 2017

Eric Cline, professor of classics, anthropology and history, traces the history of archaeology from an amateur pursuit to the cutting-edge science it is today by taking the reader on a tour of major archaeological sites and discoveries, from Pompeii to Petra, Troy to the Terracotta Warriors, and Mycenae to Megiddo and Masada.

Harvest of Skulls by Abdourahman A. Waberi

Harvest of Skulls

February 20, 2017

Professor of French Language and Literature Abdourahman A. Waberi wrote about the Rwandan Genocide twenty years after the event, providing an indisputable resource for discussions on testimony and witnessing, the complex relationship between victims and perpetrators, the power of the moral imagination, and how survivors can rebuild a society haunted by the ghost of its history.

The Mathematics of Politics, Second Edition 2nd Edition

The Mathematics of Politics, Second Edition 2nd Edition

November 16, 2016

E. Arthur Robinson, professor of mathematics, and Daniel H. Ullman, professor of mathematics counter the impression that mathematics is only the study of numbers and has no relevance to politics. They examine the Electoral College system and address political questions such as: Is there a good way to choose winners of elections? Is there a good way to apportion congressional seats? Is there a good way to make decisions in situations of conflict and uncertainty?

City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York

City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York

October 18, 2016

Tyler Anbinder, professor of history, chronicles the American immigrant story by focusing on New York City as the nation’s defining port of entry for nearly four centuries and a magnet for transplants from all over the globe. He profiles migrants who brought their hundreds of languages and distinct cultures to the city—and from there to the entire country.

Interactive Journalism: Hackers, Data and Code

Interactive Journalism: Hackers, Data and Code

October 15, 2016

Nikki Usher, assistant professor of media and public affairs, presents comprehensive portrait of how interactive journalism has transformed the newsroom by using a visual presentation of storytelling that allows users to interact with the reporting of information. She provides a history of the impact of digital technology on reporting, photojournalism, graphics and other disciplines that define interactive journalism.