Hot Off Penn Press: September’s New Books

It may be midway through October, but before Halloween overwhelms us, let's look back at September's new books from Penn Press.

Jump to: Featured Titles | American History | Art and Landscape Architecture | Literature and Culture | Manuscript Studies | Medieval and Early Modern Studies | Politics and Human Rights

To receive subject-specific announcements about new books, sign up for our mailing list. Email subscribers save 30%!


American Justice 2015American Justice 2015: The Dramatic Tenth Term of the Roberts Court
Steven V. Mazie

"Steven Mazie is one of the most acute observers of the Supreme Court around. He writes clearly, concisely, and is a pleasure to read."—John Prideaux, The Economist

"The Supreme Court term that ended in June 2015 will go down in the history books—and Steven Mazie has written the first draft. In this balanced, detailed, yet accessible book he tells you what you need to know about the court's momentous health care and gay rights decisions, as well as about many more of great importance. Required reading for anyone who wants to understand the court's year from beginning to end."—Noah Feldman, Harvard Law School

"American Justice 2015 is a 'can't miss' for anyone interested in the Supreme Court. Steven Mazie deftly weaves the major decisions of the 2014-15 term into an eminently readable narrative that looks beyond the 'liberal/conservative' stereotypes to focus on how the court operates as an institution."—Amy Howe, SCOTUSblog

"Critical yet not cynical, aware of its many flaws but not blind to its considerable virtues, Steven Mazie describes a Supreme Court that seeks to be and often is an 'exemplar of public reason.' Written with clarity and insight by a gifted teacher, scholar, and journalist, American Justice 2015 should be of great interest to citizens and specialists alike."—Stephen Macedo, author of Just Married: Same-Sex Couples, Monogamy, and the Future of Marriage

American Justice 2015 is the indispensable guide to the fourteen most controversial and divisive cases decided by the Supreme Court during the past year, touching on issues such as as free speech, race and equality, religious freedom, privacy, the fate of Obamacare, and gay marriage.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

180 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-4806-7 | $24.95t | £16.50
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9227-5 | $19.95t | £13.00



Liberty's PrisonersLiberty's Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America
Jen Manion

"Jen Manion's absorbing and important book adds many new layers to our understanding of the penitentiary system as it emerged in the early American republic. Manion shows the central roles played by gender and sexuality in the project of containing liberty through incarceration, as well as the close association between African Americans and criminality in this early phase of the prison system's history. Liberty's Prisoners reminds us how impossible it is to understand the history of freedom and its negation without placing gender, sex, and race at the center of that story."—Richard Godbeer, Virginia Commonwealth University

Liberty's Prisoners chronicles how the penitentiary, though initially designed as an alternative to corporal punishment for the most egregious of offenders, quickly became a holding tank for those who attempted to lay claim to the new nation's promise of liberty.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

296 pages | 6 x 9 | 10 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-4757-2 | $45.00s | £29.50
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9242-8 | $45.00s | £29.50
A volume in the Early American Studies series


The 4-H HarvestThe 4-H Harvest: Sexuality and the State in Rural America
Gabriel N. Rosenberg

"Eureka! Who would have thought that a history of the 4-H club could brilliantly illuminate so many far corners of knowledge: state projects of masculinity and reproduction, patriotism, modernity, imperialism, race, eugenics and more. Gabriel N. Rosenberg's bio-political view is original, surprising, deeply-sourced, convincing, and a delightful read."—James C. Scott, Yale University

"This beautifully crafted study offers a braided history of the state, the body, and the countryside. At its center is the 4-H club, which Rosenberg brilliantly reveals not as a nostalgic relic of an agrarian past but as an active engine of modern bio-politics. Whether or not you have ever set foot at the county fair, The 4-H Harvest is an absorbing and utterly original read."—Margot Canaday, Princeton University

With rigorous archival research, Gabriel N. Rosenberg provocatively argues that public acceptance of the political economy of agribusiness hinged on federal efforts to establish a modern rural society through effective farming technology and techniques as well as through carefully managed gender roles, procreation, and sexuality. The 4-H Harvest shows how 4-H, like the countryside it often symbolizes, is the product of the modernist ambition to efficiently govern rural economies, landscapes, and populations.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

304 pages | 6 x 9 | 10 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-4753-4 | $55.00s | £36.00
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9189-6 | $55.00s | £36.00
A volume in the Politics and Culture in Modern America series


Sunbelt CapitalismNOW IN PAPERBACK
Sunbelt Capitalism: Phoenix and the Transformation of American Politics

Elizabeth Tandy Shermer

"A remarkably wide-ranging and masterful analysis of the political economy of the mid-twentieth-century United States."—Shane Hamilton, American Historical Review

"With meticulous research, interregional comparisons, and stand-out prose, Shermer makes a convincing case for the centrality of the booster class to the conservative counterrevolution."—Bethany Moreton, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas

"Sunbelt Capitalism, a local study of conservatism with sweeping ambitions, . . . has done the historiography a great service. In her telling, much of the Goldwater mythology is shed."—Robert Self, Reviews in American History

"This richly documented and subtly argued book [is a] fresh perspective on modern U.S. politics."—William Link, Journal of American History

Historian Elizabeth Tandy Shermer examines how Barry Goldwater and elite Phoenix businessmen used policy and federal funds to fashion a postwar "business climate," setting off an interstate competition for investment that transformed American politics.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

432 pages | 6 x 9 | 18 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-4470-0 | $49.95s | £32.50
Paperback | ISBN 978-0-8122-2347-7 | $26.50t | £17.50
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-0760-6 | $26.50t | £17.50
A volume in the Politics and Culture in Modern America series


The Sphinx That Traveled to PhiladelphiaThe Sphinx That Traveled to Philadelphia: The Story of the Colossal Sphinx in the Penn Museum
Josef Wegner and Jennifer Houser Wegner

"Exhaustively researched and filled with original documentation, the Wegners' new book invites the reader into the fascinating journey of the largest Egyptian sphinx in North America from its original home in the ancient capital of Memphis to its final destination in Philadelphia. Along the way, it tells the story of Egyptology at the turn of the twentieth century and introduces colorful characters and events that shaped the history of the University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Museum. It's clear that the authors have enjoyed their detective work; the result is an informative, engaging, and often amusing study that will appeal to Egyptophiles and non-Egyptophiles alike."—Denise Doxey, Curator, Ancient Egyptian, Nubian, and Near Eastern Art, Boston Museum of Fine Arts

"The full tale of the journey of the Penn Museum sphinx from Egypt to Philadelphia, detailing its discovery, voyages by sea and river, publicity for the general public and even the sphinx at the world series. Everything that one might wish to know about this iconic monument and its fame across continents can be found here. Sphinxtastic!"—Robert K. Ritner, Professor of Egyptology, The Oriental Institute, The University of Chicago

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

256 pages | 9 x 12 | 455 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-1-934536-76-6 | $29.95t | £19.50
Ebook | ISBN 978-1-934536-77-3 | $29.95t | £19.50
Distributed for the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology



The Monster in the GardenThe Monster in the Garden: The Grotesque and the Gigantic in Renaissance Landscape Design
Luke Morgan

Monsters, grotesque creatures, and giants were frequently depicted in Italian Renaissance landscape design, yet they have rarely been studied. Their ubiquity indicates that gardens of the period conveyed darker, more disturbing themes than has been acknowledged.

In The Monster in the Garden, Luke Morgan argues that the monster is a key figure in Renaissance culture. Monsters were ciphers for contemporary anxieties about normative social life and identity. Drawing on sixteenth-century medical, legal, and scientific texts, as well as recent scholarship on monstrosity, abnormality, and difference in early modern Europe, he considers the garden within a broader framework of inquiry. Developing a new conceptual model of Renaissance landscape design, Morgan argues that the presence of monsters was not incidental but an essential feature of the experience of gardens.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

256 pages | 6 x 9 | 48 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-4755-8 | $65.00s | £42.50
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9187-2 | $65.00s | £42.50
A volume in the Penn Studies in Landscape Architecture series



Peripheral DesiresPeripheral Desires: The German Discovery of Sex
Robert Deam Tobin

"This is a major contribution to both gay and German studies. Tobin's work is exemplary."—Sander Gilman, Emory University

"Peripheral Desires will set a new standard for the kind of cultural studies that the history of sexuality has always needed. Readers of this book will be newly edified in areas which they already thought they knew."—George E. Haggerty, University of California, Riverside

As Germany—and German-speaking Europe—became a fertile ground for homosexual subcultures in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, what factors helped construct the sexuality that emerged? Peripheral Desires examines how and why the political, scientific and literary culture of the region produced the modern vocabulary of sexuality.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

328 pages | 6 x 9 | 9 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-4742-8 | $69.95s | £45.50
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9186-5 | $69.95s | £45.50
A volume in the Haney Foundation Series



From Mulberry Leaves to Silk ScrollsFrom Mulberry Leaves to Silk Scrolls: New Approaches to the Study of Asian Manuscript Traditions
Justin Thomas McDaniel and Lynn Ransom, Editors

From Mulberry Leaves to Silk Scrolls looks closely at a wide variety of Asian manuscript traditions with a special focus on both their history and the ways in which scholars have employed digital technology to make their cataloguing, comparative study, and aesthetic appreciation more accessible to scholars and students.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

304 pages | 6 x 9 | 58 color, 4 b/w illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-4736-7 | $49.95s | £32.50
Distributed for the University of Pennsylvania Libraries


Taxonomies of KnowledgeTaxonomies of Knowledge: Information and Order in Medieval Manuscripts
Emily Steiner and Lynn Ransom, Editors

Taxonomies of Knowledge: Information and Order in Medieval Manuscripts examines the role of the manuscript book in organizing and classifying knowledge. The essays demonstrate how the technologies of the book allow scholars to determine what medieval readers and writers thought information was and how it could be transmitted to others.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

176 pages | 6 x 9 | 18 color, 9 b/w illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-4759-6 | $45.00s | £29.50
Distributed for the University of Pennsylvania Libraries



DisknowledgeDisknowledge: Literature, Alchemy, and the End of Humanism in Renaissance England
Katherine Eggert

"An unusually wide-ranging and original book, written with real stylistic flair. Eggert shows how alchemy, as both a discourse and a set of knowledge-practices, illuminates problems in many different domains, from transubstantiation to Kabbalah to debates over anatomy and reproduction. By using alchemy as a guiding thread, she reveals how each domain points up the limits of humanism in the early modern period. A delicately balanced, timely study that will be widely of interest to scholars of literature, science, medicine, and intellectual history more broadly."—Henry S. Turner, Rutgers University

Katherine Eggert explores the crumbling state of humanistic learning in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the benefits of relying on alchemy despite its recognized flaws.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

368 pages | 6 x 9 | 11 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-4751-0 | $55.00s | £36.00
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9188-9 | $55.00s | £36.00
Published in Cooperation with the Folger Shakespeare Library



Medical HumanitarianismMedical Humanitarianism: Ethnographies of Practice
Edited by Sharon Abramowitz and Catherine Panter-Brick. Foreword by Peter Piot

"This volume brings the intersections between humanitarian and global health interventions into relief. It offers detail, nuance, and complexity to debates that are out there, probing difficult situations and asking tough questions."—Miriam Ticktin, Professor of Anthropology, The New School for Social Research

Medical Humanitarianism provides comparative ethnographies of the moral, practical, and policy implications of modern medical humanitarian practice. It offers twelve vivid case studies that challenge readers to reach a more critical and compassionate understanding of humanitarian assistance.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

288 pages | 6 x 9 | 3 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-4732-9 | $65.00s | £42.50
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9169-8 | $65.00s | £42.50
A volume in the Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights series


International Responses to Mass Atrocities in AfricaInternational Responses to Mass Atrocities in Africa: Responsibility to Protect, Prosecute, and Palliate
Kurt Mills

"International Responses to Mass Atrocities in Africa is an unusually thoughtful and nuanced contribution to the growing literature on mass atrocity prevention. Its detailed case studies and innovative protect, prosecute, and palliate framework offer fresh insights into why the implementation of R2P principles has lagged behind their normative development. Kurt Mills has proven, once again, that he belongs in the ranks of the world's leading human rights and humanitarian scholars."—Edward Luck, first United Nations Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect

In International Responses to Mass Atrocities in Africa, Kurt Mills develops a typology of responses to mass atrocities, investigates the limitations of these responses, and calls for such responses to be implemented in a more timely and thoughtful manner.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

320 pages | 6 x 9 | 11 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-4737-4 | $69.95s | £45.50
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9160-5 | $69.95s | £45.50
A volume in the Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights series


Responding to Human TraffickingResponding to Human Trafficking: Sex, Gender, and Culture in the Law
Alicia W. Peters

"Alicia Peter's ethnography provides the most lucid analysis of the immensely contested operations of human trafficking response that I have ever read. It illuminates how cultural beliefs and values about gender, sexuality, and victimization have fractured the interpretation and implementation of the law in different sites."—Sealing Cheng, author of On the Move for Love: Migrant Entertainers and the U.S. Military in South Korea

"Responding to Human Trafficking is an important contribution to the literature on human trafficking. Alicia W. Peters successfully takes us inside the maze of the anti-trafficking regime, illustrating conflicts in priorities, challenges in advocacy work, and the continued need to design a victim-centered system."—Rhacel Parrenas, University of Southern California

Responding to Human Trafficking explores how cultural and symbolic frameworks of sex, gender, and prostitution dominate the interpretation and implementation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and provides a detailed ethnography of its ramifications for the persons it is designed to protect.

Full Description, Table of Contents, and More

256 pages | 6 x 9 | 4 illus.
Hardcover | ISBN 978-0-8122-4733-6 | $59.95s | £39.00
Ebook | ISBN 978-0-8122-9161-2 | $59.95s | £39.00
A volume in the Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights series


Book reviewers: To request a press copy of a Penn Press book, send your name, shipping address, and the title of your publication to

Educators: To request an exam copy for course use consideration, click here.

Forthcoming Events