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In Print: Faculty Books
In The Soviet Dream World of Retail Trade and Consumption in the 1930s (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), Assistant Professor of History Amy E. Randall captures a fascinating moment in Soviet history: when Soviet leaders turned the corner on economic policy and launched a campaign to create “socialist” (as opposed to bourgeois) retailing. While the campaign wasn’t entirely an illusion—stores were built and renovated, the retail sector modernized— the reality never came close to the dream, and instead it fed discontent and disillusionment with the grand Soviet experiment.
Make me an offer!
One perception folks have of Detroit automakers is that the car companies have failed to keep pace with changing times. In Horse Trading in the Age of Cars: Men in the Marketplace (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), Professor of History Steven M. Gelber looks at one particularly old-fashioned aspect of the auto business: the buying of cars through the dark art of the haggle, a system he calls “technically rational but culturally exotic.” But hasn’t the Internet Age changed the system radically? Not really.
Wisdom for the couch
Professor of Psychology Thomas G. Plante finds a disconnect for practitioners in his field: While most Americans profess a belief in God—increasingly defining themselves as spiritual if not also religious—only a minority of mental health professionals have any training in spiritual or religious matters. Enter Spiritual Practices in Psychotherapy: Thirteen Tools for Enhancing Psychological Health (American Psychological Association, 2009), which includes guidance in how psychologists can better understand the role that prayer, meditation, ritual, and concepts such as sacredness and social justice can be integrated in therapy for clients of particular faith traditions.
For researchers in fields such as ethnography, there are insights revealed by patterns and conceptual analysis. And there are truths revealed only in the evocative details of personal narratives, poetry, and art. Put the approaches together—telling and showing—and a more meaningful picture emerges. “In postmodernist mixed-genre texts, we do not triangulate, we crystallize,” writes Associate Professor of Communication Laura L. Ellingson. In Engaging Crystallization in Qualitative Research: An Introduction (Sage, 2009), she maps the three-dimensional terrain she’d like to see other scholars join her in exploring—and how.
Pieces of eight
It was June 1748 when a British warship captained by Sir Francis Drake’s brother captured a Spanish galleon carrying 60,000 pieces of eight. But the treasure never made it back to England; both ships ran aground a few weeks later. That’s only the beginning of the story Associate Professor of Anthropology Russell K. Skowronek tells in HMS Fowey Lost and Found: Being the Discovery, Excavation, and Identification of a British Man-of-War Lost Off the Cape of Florida in 1748 (University Press of Florida, 2009). The book is co-written by George R. Fischer, founder of the underwater archaeology program for the National Park Service. After the wreck of the Fowey was discovered in 1978 by a treasure hunter in the waters of Biscayne National Park, the ensuing court battle determined that the wreck was public property, and both Fischer and Skowronek were involved in the excavation.
Law and order: Bourbon Madrid
Assistant Professor of History Fabio T. López-Lázaro has analyzed more than 3,000 cases from Spain’s civil and criminal courts in the 18th century and explored representations of crime in popular culture, from theater to prose to ballads sung by Madrid’s Confraternity of Blind Men. The result, Crime in Early Bourbon Madrid (1708-1808): An Analysis of the Royal Judicial Court’s Casebook (Edwin Mellen Press, 2008), gives new understanding to broader social structures as well as judicial processes of the period.
Living in two nations
More than a century after Chinese immigrants began to build enclave communities throughout the borderlands of the Southwest, NAFTA brought a new wave of immigrants from China and Taiwan to staff scores of Taiwanese-owned maquiladoras. In Culturing Interface: Identity, Communication, and Chinese Transnationalism (Peter Lang Publishing, 2008), Assistant Professor of Communication Hsin-I Cheng explores the lives of four women who inhabit the El Paso-Juárez border. She looks at how they craft identities through the economic, political, and social aspects of their cross-border lives.
Last fall, Gerald L. Alexanderson, Valeriote Professor of Science, celebrated 50 years teaching at SCU—and he published the second edition of Mathematical People: Profiles and Interviews (AK Peters, 2008), co-edited with Donald J. Albers. The collection of in-depth interviews with mathematicians who have shaped the field of mathematics in the past century—from Garret Birkhoff to Stanislaw M. Ulam to SCU’s own Paul R. Halmos. Interviews and biographies have been updated with notes to cover events since 1985, when the first edition was published. Alexanderson was chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science for 35 years, is past president of the Mathematical Association of America, and is a former editor of Mathematics Magazine.
Compiled by Alicia K. Gonzales and Steven Boyd Saum