Don’t miss our latest batch of new titles, including a fascinating history of paper money in the U.S., an exploration of indigenous rights in the Americas, a study of seventeenth-century farming practices from a literary perspective, and much more. Take a look below!
To receive subject-specific announcements about new books, update your subscription preferences.
Bank Notes and Shinplasters: The Rage for Paper Money in the Early Republic
“Prior to the Civil War, thousands of different, ornately engraved bank notes supplied most of the money in circulation. In marvelous detail, Joshua R. Greenberg takes us back to the anxieties of that era. He deftly examines how every single cash transaction was shot through with uncertainty and arbitrage, as ordinary citizens struggled with the perils of counterfeit notes, fluctuating exchange rates, and worthless paper. In his revealing reconstruction of a monetary world long lost to us, Greenberg ultimately explains how these mundane exchanges shaped the seismic political events of the day, from the Bank War to the Civil War. A splendid book.”—Stephen Mihm, author of A Nation of Counterfeiters
In Bank Notes and Shinplasters, Joshua R. Greenberg shows how Americans accumulated and wielded monetary information in order to navigate the early republic’s chaotic bank note system. He demonstrates that the shift to federally authorized paper money in the Civil War era eliminated the public’s need for detailed financial knowledge.
264 pages | 6 x 9 | 28 illus.
“Rachel Klein’s compelling, beautifully written, and insightful study adds importantly to our understanding of the complex historical relationship between art, nation-building, and the rise of individual-oriented consumer culture in nineteenth-century America. A smart, nuanced work that is also highly engaging and readable, Art Wars shows us that ideas of art and democracy have long been intertwined.”—Alice Fahs, University of California, Irvine
From the Antebellum Era through the Gilded Age, New York City’s leading art institutions were lightning rods for conflict. Art Wars examines three protracted battles that linked art institutions and disputes about taste to major social and political struggles of the nineteenth century.
312 pages | 6 x 9 | 40 illus.
In dozens of slave conspiracy scares in North American and the Caribbean, colonists terrorized and killed slaves whom they accused of planning to take over the colony. Jason T. Sharples explains the deep origins and historical triggers of these incidents and argues that conspiracy scares bound society together through shared fear.
365 pages | 6 x 9 | 27 illus.
Sovereignty Suspended: Building the So-Called State
“In a world in which such ambivalent, state-like entities seem to have proliferated, the case of northern Cyprus offers many useful lessons for understanding what statehood actually does—lessons that the authors of this insightful and original book artfully extract from a wonderful array of personal experience, documentary evidence, and ethnographic observation.”—Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University
Rebecca Bryant and Mete Hatay develop the concept of the aporetic state to describe an entity that acts like a state even as nonrecognition renders it unrealizable. They argue that only by rethinking the de facto state as a realm of practice will we be able to understand the longevity of such states and what it means to live in them.
360 pages | 6 x 9 | 15 illus.
“Through an anthropological reading of landmark indigenous rights cases in the Americas, Jonas Bens illuminates central features of indigenous identity and clarifies central contradictions of indigenous political engagement, providing a sense of what is at stake regarding aboriginal rights today.”—David Dinwoodie, University of New Mexico
Indigeneity contains a paradox: indigenous communities are incorporated into and separated from the legal system of the postcolonial nation state. The Indigenous Paradox explores indigenous rights cases from north and south America in order to shed light on issues of shared sovereignty, multiculturalism, and legal pluralism.
280 pages | 6 x 9 | 3 illus.
“The Rule of ‘Peshat’ is an enormously useful and brilliantly insightful work whose time has certainly come. Mordechai Z. Cohen’s important contribution to the study of medieval Jewish biblical exegesis reflects his unsurpassed expertise in this area.”—Baruch J. Schwartz, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Adopting a comparative approach that explores Jewish interactions with Muslim and Christian learning, Mordechai Z. Cohen sheds new light on the key turns in the vibrant medieval tradition of Jewish Bible interpretation, which yielded a conception of peshat exegesis that remains a gold standard in Jewish hermeneutics to this day.
496 pages | 6 x 9 | 1 illus.
LITERATURE AND CULTURE
“Frances E. Dolan shows not only how and why seventeenth-century agriculture worked or was imagined but how and why we should concern ourselves with such historical studies in the face of pressing current issues. Her writing is memorably wry and witty, eloquent and passionate, and always marked by clarity. She makes us welcome the difficult task of thinking harder about everything from plows to manure—and not as odd or quaint digressions, but as things surprisingly central to early modern and current conceptions of culture.”—Leah Knight, author of Reading Green in Early Modern England
Through in-depth studies of composting and soil amendment, local food, winemaking, and hedgerows, Digging the Past illuminates how the seventeenth century continues to shape both material practices and popular ways of imagining and describing what farming should be and do.
280 pages | 6 x 9 | 11 illus.
Electoral Capitalism: The Party System in New York’s Gilded Age
“Jeffrey D. Broxmeyer makes a timely and important contribution to our understanding of electoral systems. In his bold and illuminating study, he challenges historical and empirical accounts of the electoral system through a meticulously researched analysis of politics in Gilded Age New York.”—Jeffrey Selinger, Bowdoin College
Electoral Capitalism brings new perspective to the crisis of inequality during the Gilded Age. Examining how party leaders governed by accumulating wealth through the spoils system, Broxmeyer places in historical context debates over capitalism and democracy that continue to resonate today.
240 pages | 6 x 9 | 19 illus.
Landscapes of Law: Practicing Sovereignty in Transnational Terrain
“Landscapes of Law offers fresh interrogations of the concept and dynamics of culture, illuminating the mutually reinforcing dynamics of state sovereignty, populism, and transnationalism. It is an important and entirely original contribution to the social sciences, political theory, legal studies, and the interdisciplinary study of law.”—Jothie Rajah, The American Bar Foundation
Landscapes of Law shows that assertions of national culture are not always a retreat from globalism but a way of managing the contested zone between borderless capital and bordered states. A roster of international, interdisciplinary contributors offer innovative, ethnographic analyses of the ways culture works through transnational law.
352 pages | 6 x 9 | 1 illus.
How Ideas Shape Urban Political Development
“Richardson Dilworth and Timothy P. R. Weaver are absolutely right to call for greater attention to the role of ideas in urban political development, and they present their argument effectively. The essays in this volume illustrate convincingly that we cannot understand key episodes in urban political development without attention to ideas.”—Jack Lucas, University of Calgary
The essays in How Ideas Shape Urban Political Development argue that ideas have been the real drivers behind urban political development and offer as evidence national and international case studies.
328 pages | 6 x 9
Life Among Urban Planners: Practice, Professionalism, and Expertise in the Making of the City
“Raising important questions about the complex web of relationships among technocrats, administrators, and residents in the making of urban space, Life Among Urban Planners will initiate productive conversations about cities as fluid social, cultural, and political artifacts. Urban anthropologists as well as planners and architects will find it interesting and provocative.”—Emanuela Guano, Georgia State University
Life Among Urban Planners explores the practices of professional city-making in a variety of global contexts. Contributors emphasize planners’ cultural values and personal assumptions and examine what their commitment to thinking about the future means for the ways in which people live in the present and preserve the past.
296 pages | 6 x 9 | 15 illus.
“Nadia R. Altschul traces the mutating ways in which medieval and oriental temporalizations are used by Latin American thinkers from the late eighteenth through the nineteenth centuries to establish hegemonic understandings of their societies, particularly their inequalities and unevennesses. In so doing, Altschul makes an original and substantial contribution to Latin American and transatlantic studies. Politics of Temporalization is exceptional.”—Mary Louise Pratt, New York University
In Politics of Temporalization, Nadia R. Altschul examines why, by whom, and to what ends certain populations, objects, and practices in nineteenth-century Ibero-America were named as living residues of the premodern Moorish past—and argues against this colonial temporalizing of “the now” as belonging to a constructed and othered “past.”
288 pages | 6 x 9
Book reviewers: To request a press copy of a Penn Press book, send your name, shipping address, and the title of your publication to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Educators: To request an exam copy for course use consideration, click here.