Fall 2011 Booknotes

Al Weiwei’s Blog: Writings, Interviews, and Digital Rants, 2006-2009 (MIT, 2011). “Blogging produces reality rather than simply representing it. Ai Weiwei is among our very best guides to this new terrain: one of the greatest living international artists and a fighter for more freedom. Ai Weiwei’s daily blog entries, gathered here, will make the reader see the world in a different and startlingly original light.” —Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Serpentine Gallery, London

Bookwork: Medium to Object to Concept Art, by Garrett Stewart (University of Chicago Press, 2011). “Bookwork takes our passion for books to its logical extreme – by studying artists who employ found or simulated books as a sculptural medium and investigating the conceptual labor behind this proliferating international art practice. Garrett Stewart looks at hundreds of book-like objects, alone or as part of gallery installations, in this original account of works that force attention upon a book’s material identity and cultural resonance. Less an inquiry into the artist’s book than an exploration of the book’s contemporary objecthood, Stewart’s stimulating blend of visual theory and bibliophilia traces the lineage of these aggressive artifacts from the 1919 Unhappy Readymade of Marcel Duchamp down to the current crisis of paper-based media in the digital era. Ranging from appropriated to fabricated book forms, from hacksawed discards to the giant lead folios of Anselm Kiefer, the unreadable books illustrated and discussed in Bookwork offer timely lessons in the history of reading, writing, and art making.” –Publisher’s description

Communicating and Organizing in Context, by Beth Bonniwell Haslett (Routledge, 2011). Integrates Giddens’ structuration theory with Goffman’s interaction order and develops a new theoretical base—the theory of structurational interaction—for the analysis of communicating and organizing. Both theorists emphasize tacit knowledge, social routines, context, social practices, materiality, frames, agency, and view communication as constitutive of social life and of organizing. Thus their integration in structurational interaction provides a coherent, communication-centric approach to analyzing communicating, organizing and their interrelationships.” –Publisher’s description

Dangerous Curves: Action Heroines, Gender, Fetishism, and Popular Culture, by Jeffrey A. Brown (University of Press of Mississippi, 2011). Explores how action figures are depicted in movies, comic books, television, video games, and literature.

Digital Jesus: The Making of a New Christian Fundamentalist Community on the Internet, by Robert Glenn Howard (New York University, 2011) “One of the best current scholarly contributions to be found on the complex, creative, inventive, evocative world of Internet religion. Howard offers new and exciting insights on the power of non-institutional Christian Fundamentalism.…Mandatory reading for any scholar working to understand contemporary vernacular religion, as well as the ever-changing culture of religious communication. It is equally compelling for general readers trying to perceive the direction of Christianity in post–9/11 America.”—Leonard Primiano, Cabrini College

Front Page Economics, by Gerald D. Suttles (University of Chicago, 2011). “News stories are called ‘stories’ for a reason: they have plots and characters, scenes and metaphors—just like works of fiction… a splendid evocation of the stories that journalists have told during economic crises. In a painstaking comparative analysis of economic news in the crashes of 1929 and 1987, Suttles reveals how popular economic storytelling was transformed in twentieth-century America.”—David Paul Nord, Indiana University

Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood: Celebrity Gossip and American Conservatism (New York University, 2011) “A major contribution to our understanding the political importance of gossip. During the 20th century, few gossip columnists had more influence in shaping the ways in which millions of Americans thought about film and politics than this sharp-tongued conservative loyalist. Jennifer Frost reveals the role Hopper played in furthering the power of the Hollywood Right and undercutting that of the emerging Hollywood Left. She offers us an important glimpse into the the power of gossip to influence popular thinking about race, class, gender, and politics in America.” –Steven J. Ross, author of Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics

Helvetica and the New York Subway System, by Paul Shaw (MIT, 2010). There is a common belief, reinforced by Gary Hustwit’s documentary film Helvetica, that Helvetica is the signage typeface of the New York City subway system. But it is not true – or rather, it is only somewhat true. Helvetica is the official typeface of the MTA today, but it was not the typeface specified by Unimark International when they created the signage system at the end of the 1960s. Why was Helvetica not chosen originally? what was chosen in its place? why is Helvetica now used? when did the changeover occur? Paul Shaw answers these questions and then goes beyond them to look at how the subway’s signage system has evolved over the past forty years. The resulting story is more than a tale of a typeface. It is a look at the forces that have molded a signage system.” –Publisher’sdescription

The Hollywood Sign: Fantasy and Reality of an American Icon, by Leo Braudy (Yale, 2011). Bruady “uses the sign’s history to offer an intriguing look at the rise of the movie business from its earliest, silent days through the development of the studio system that helped define modern Hollywood. Mixing social history, urban studies, literature, and film, along with forays into such topics as the lure of Hollywood for utopian communities and the development of domestic architecture in Los Angeles, The Hollywood Sign is a fascinating account of how a temporary structure has become a permanent icon of American culture.” Publisher’s description

How to Do Things with Videogames, by Ian Bogost (University of Minnesota Press, 2011). “Gamers often beg for a critic with the persuasive power and range of a Lester Bangs or a Pauline Kael. With this book, Ian Bogost demonstrates his capacity to take up their mantle and explain to a larger public why games matter in modern culture. The book’s goals are simple, straight forward, and utterly, desperately needed. How to Do Things with Videogames may do for games what Understanding Comics did for comics—at once consolidate existing theoretical gains while also expanding dramatically the range of people who felt able to meaningfully engage in those discussions.” —Henry Jenkins, University of Southern California

Idolized: Music, Media and Identity in American Idol, by Katherine Meizel (Indiana, 2011). “Through interviews with audience members and participants, and careful analyses of television broadcasts, commercial recordings, and print and online media, Meizel demonstrates that commercial music and the music industry are not simply forces to be criticized or resisted, but critical sites for redefining American culture.” –Publisher’s description

Imprisoned in a Luminous Glare: Photography and the African American Freedom Struggle by Leigh Raiford (University of North Carolina Press, 2011). Analyzes the uses of photography in the anti-lynching, civil-rights, and black-power movements.

The Internet of Elsewhere: The Emergent Effects of a Wired World, by Cyrus Farivar (Rutgers, 2011). “Through the lens of culture, [this book] looks at the role of the Internet as a catalyst in transforming communications, politics, and economics. Cyrus Farivar explores the Internet’s history and effects in four distinct and, to some, surprising societies–Iran, Estonia, South Korea, and Senegal. He profiles Web pioneers in these countries and, at the same time, surveys the environments in which they each work. ‘After all,’ contends Farivar, ‘despite California’s great success in creating the Internet and spawning companies like Apple and Google, in some areas the United States is still years behind other nations.’ Surprised? You won’t be for long as Farivar proves there are reasons that: Skype was invented in Estonia–the same country that developed a digital ID system and e-voting; Iran was the first country in the world to arrest a blogger, in 2003; South Korea is the most wired country on the planet, with faster and less expensive broadband than anywhere in the United States; Senegal may be one of sub-Saharan Africa’s best chances for greater Internet access. .” –Publisher’s description

Monsters of the Gevaudan: The Making of a Beast, by Jay M. Smith (Harvard, 2011) “Aberrations–the collective kind composed of panic and delusions–cannot simply happen in a causeless void, but as happenings they are a challenge to historians. Jay M. Smith has taken up the challenge in a book about the beast of the Gévaudan, a wolf-like monster that haunted imaginations everywhere in Europe and spread apocalyptic fear throughout the population of the Gévaudan, a remote, mountainous region in southern France in 1764 and 1765…Smith demonstrates that the noblemen and educated clerics of the region outdid the peasants in their fanciful accounts of the killings. Crudely illustrated broadsheets featuring horrific scenes of the monster mauling helpless maids hardly serve as evidence of a culture peculiar to the common people. They circulated among all social classes…What to make of it all–a passing episode or a revealing segment of sociocultural history? Jay Smith makes a convincing case for the latter. By carefully examining every aspect of the events, he demonstrates how disparate elements came together to create a spectacular case of collective false consciousness. The beast, he shows, was something people were drawn to think about, and the trains of thought led through a rich and varied mental landscape. In the end, the crucial factor may have been the media–word of mouth at first, then letters, newspaper articles, and a flood of engravings and broadsheets…” –Robert Darnton (New York Review of Books )

Moscow Prime Time: How the Soviet Union Built the Media Empire That Lost the Cultural Cold War, by Kristin Roth-Ey (Cornell, 2011). “A smart, ambitious, original, and engagingly written contribution to our understanding of late socialism in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The reader learns about changes and continuities between Stalinism and post-Stalinism, stodgy bureaucratic responses to technological change, Soviet mass culture, and the increasing privatization of previously public and collective forms of Soviet life. This is a 3-D history of Soviet media, with attention to the political, cultural, and social factors at play in the development and expansion of film, radio, and television.” –Anne E. Gorsuch, University of British Columbia

Murder, the Media, and the Politics of Public Feelings: Remembering Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr., by Jennifer Petersen (University of Illinois, 2011). Role of the media in shaping the collective emotional response toward two famous crimes taking into account the role of affect in the political and legal public sphere.

Muslims and New Media in West Africa: Pathways to God, by Dorothea E. Schulz (University of Illinois, 2011). How new media have helped to create religious communities that are far more publicly engaged than they were in the past.

No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy, by Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites (University of Chicago Press, 2011). “This authoritative, thought-provoking book analyzes the genesis and reception of key American images from Dorothea Lange’s ‘Migrant Mother’ to pictures of the Challenger disaster and 9/11. Drawing extensively on the recent scholarly literature, it demonstrates the pivotal position of the still photograph in modern visual culture. It will be essential reading for students of 20th-century photojournalism, propaganda and mass media. Highly recommended.”—Robin Lenman, general editor, The Oxford Companion to the Photograph

Places of the Imagination: Media, Tourism, Culture, by Stijn Reijnders (Ashgate, 2011). “I had no idea the media (fictional literature, television, film) inspired so much tourism; now I have been introduced to some wonderful illustrations. Informed by a strong theoretical framework, employing the concept of lieux d”imagination, Reijnders nevertheless recognizes the physical reality of places.” –Karen O”Reilly, Loughborough, UK

The Secret War between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine, by Peter Lunenfeld (MIT, 2011). “’Cultural diabetes,’ ‘plutopian meliorism,’ and ‘Teflon objects’ are only a few of the extraordinarily vivid concepts Peter Lunenfeld points out in this journey of the key cultural and technological events—from the atomic bomb to the ubiquity of Google—that have landed us in our brave new networked, searchable, and data-filled world.” —Judith Donath, Faculty Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University

Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of alternative media in America, by John McMillian (Oxford, 2011). “Well-informed recollection of the rebellious young journalists whose voices and views breached the high walls of Mainstream Media long before the current Internet-savvy generation rushed in to finish off to what remains of Conventional-Wisdom-based reporting.” –Richard Parker, Harvard University

The Star as Icon: Celebrity in the Age of Mass Consumption, by Daniel Herwitz (Columbia University Press, 2011). “Can be compared with Stanley Cavell’s Pursuits of Happiness, but is more contemporary and less optimistic. The book studies significant movies (Rear Window, The Philadelphia Story), is culturally literate, and is very good on the idea of aura and popular culture as it has evolved since Walter Benjamin. Required reading for any course in film studies.” –Arthur Danto, Columbia University

Surveillance or Security? The Risks Posed by New Wiretapping Technologies, by Susan Landau (MIT, 2011). “The ability of a citizen to securely communicate with her peers lies at the heart of the rule of law. Landau demonstrates the necessity of protecting that right amidst the technological changes that can greatly alter the balance of power between citizens and governments.” —Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law and Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University

Techno Politics in Presidential Campaigning: New Voices, New Technologies, and New Voters edited by John Allen Hendricks and Lynda Lee Kaid (Routledge, 2011). Writings on the use of Twitter, FaceBook, texting, and other new media in the 2008 campaigns.

Town and Communication, Volume One: Communication in Towns, edited by Neven Budak, Finn-Einar Eliassen, and Katalin Szende, (University of Akron Press, 2011). Topics include “Lines of Communication in Medieval Dublin,” “Places of Power: The Spreading of Official Information and the Social Uses of Space in Fifteenth-Century Paris,” ”Ferry Services and Social Life in Early Modern Norwegian Towns,” “Harbor, Rail and Telegraph: The Post Office and Communication in Nineteenth-Century Dublin,” “The Tramway and the Urban Development of Zagreb in the Period of Modernization,” and “Migrant Development of Communication Space in Sydney.”

The Tribal Imagination: Civilization and the Savage Mind, by Robin Fox (Harvard, 2011).”A landmark in evolutionary social science, an original contribution to literary history and analysis.” –Roger Sandall, writer, author of The Culture Cult

 

We Must Not Be Afraid to Be Free: Stories of Free Expression in America, by Ronald K. L. Collins and Sam Chaltain (Oxford University, 2011). “A well written and loving tribute to our First Amendment tradition and to the people who have given it life. The book is packed with original history and a deep understanding of the tensions internal to our commitments to freedom of speech. It is a major contribution to the First Amendment literature.”–Steven H. Shiffrin, Charles Frank Reavis, Sr., Professor of Law, Cornell University

Why Stories Matter: The Political Grammar of Feminist Theory, by Clare Hemmings (Duke University Press). Analyzes Signs, Feminist Review, and other texts in a study of the stories of progress, loss, and return feminists tell about the past four decades of feminist theory.

Health and Poli-Comm Reference Books


Two solid reference volumes from Routledge published this year are The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication and Sourcebook for Political Communication Research: Methods Measures, and Analytical Techniques.

The Handbook (edited by Teresa L Thompson, Roxanne Parrott, and Jon F. Nussbaurm, 2001) is in its second edition but revamped to “emphasize work in such areas as barriers to disclosure in family conversations and medical interactions, access to popular media and advertising, and individual searches online for information and support to guide decisions and behaviors with health consequences.” You can also find overviews on methods.

The Sourcebook, (edited by Erik P. Brucy and R. Lance Holbert, 2011) is a benchmark resource covering “the major analytical techniques used in political communication research, including surveys, experiments, content analysis, discourse analysis (focus groups and textual analysis), network and deliberation analysis, comparative study designs, statistical analysis, and measurement issues. It also includes such innovations as the use of advanced statistical techniques, and addresses digital media as a means through which to disseminate as well as study political communication.”

Both volumes are available in the Annenberg Library Reference (just ask if you want to take them home) at JA 86 s68 2011 (Sourcebook) and R 118 H26 2011 (Handbook).

Communication-Related Mental Measures

The National Communication Association has published a reference source on communication-related mental measures titled Directory of Communication Related Mental Measures: A Comprehensive Index of Research Scales, Questionnaires, Indices, Measures, and Instruments. Edited by Jason Wrench, Doreen Jowi, and Alan Goodboy, it features over 500 mental measures that have been published in communication journals. This volume will be useful to communication scholars including graduate students, applied researchers, and communication instructors. Divided into 27 chapters that cover a wide range of mental measures in various communication contexts and featuring a comprehensive index, this collection brings together important mental measures published in peer-reviewed academic journals in a singular volume.

More information and a table of contents can be found here.

The book is available in the Annenberg Library Reference, at P 91.3 D574 2010.

2011 Winter/Spring Booknotes

African Americans in Television: Behind the Scenes, by Gregory Adamo (Peter Lang, 2010). Much has been written about African Americans on the little screen, but this book takes a look at their roles as producers, directors, writers, and executives.

Art for the Middle Classes: America’s Illustrated Magazines of the 1840s, edited by Cynthia Lee Patterson (University Press of Mississippi). Traces the history of a group of mass-circulation magazines known as the Philadelphia pictorials, which brought fine-art reproductions to the attention of the middle class.

Audience Evolution: New Technologies and the Transformation of Media Audiences, by Philip M. Napoli (Columbia University Press; 248 pages; $82.50 hardcover, $27.50 paperback). Topics include new technologies for evaluating audience demographics and response beyond traditional metrics.

Audience Evolution: New Technologies and the Transformation of Media Audiences, by Philip Napoli (Columbia, 2010). “Offers a rich and original synthesis of the many factors that help construct the audience, as well as the social, economic, and legal consequences of that process, and he has a real talent for creating a cohesive, interesting, and important story. Expansive and important, Audience Evolution is grounded in the relevant bodies of theory and ultimately enlightening.”– James G. Webster, Northwestern University

The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting Over New Media, by Ilana Gershon (Cornell, 2010). “A fascinating and thoroughly researched anthropological account of how Facebook, instant messaging, and texting reformat the media ecologies within which todays friendships and romantic relationships function and fracture. There is nothing virtual, Ilana Gershon shows, about these online arenas. Across a wide range of human relations, the form of interaction turns out to be just as crucial as its content. –Stefan Helmreich, MIT

The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence, by Susie Linfield (University of Chicago, 2010). “A profoundly thoughtful account of the role of photojournalism in an irremediably violent world, Linfield’s book is as much about conscience and empathy as it is about photography. Examining images from the Spanish Civil War to Rwanda, she accepts no easy, sweeping answers. Rather, with vivid common sense and with painstaking, often abashed humanity, she guides us through the moral minefield where horror meets art, and helps us to see.”—Claudia Roth Pierpont

Entertaining Politics: Satiric Television and Political Engagement, 2nd edition, by Jeffrey P. Jones (Roman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010). This is a second edition but it’s completely revised and updated, including eight new chapters.

History of the Internet and the Digital Future, by Johnny Ryan (University of Chicago, 2010). “Tells the story of the development of the Internet from the 1950s to the present, and examines how the balance of power has shifted between the individual and the state in the areas of censorship, copyright infringement, intellectual freedom and terrorism and warfare.” –Publisher’s website

Images of Black Modernism: Verbal and Visual Strategies of the Harlem Renaissance, by Miriam Thaggert (University of Massachusetts, 2010). Considers how visual elements were used in poems, novels, and photography to undermine stereotypes; focuses on the years 1922 to 1938.

Imagining Illness: Public Health and Visual Culture, edited by David Serlin (University of Minnesota, 2010). Contributors examine historical and contemporary visual practices—Chinese health fairs, documentary films produced by the World Health Organization, illness maps, fashions for nurses, and live surgery on the Internet—in order to delve into the political and epidemiological contexts underlying their creation and dissemination.

Insect Media: An Anthology of Animals and Technology, by Jussi Parikka (University of Minnesota Press, 2010). “Offers a theory of media that challenges our traditional views of the natural and the artificial. Parikka not only understands insects through the lens of media and mediation, he also unearths an insect logic at the heart of our contemporary fascination with networks, swarming, and intelligent agents. Such a project requires the ability to interweave cultural theory with a deep understanding of the sciences—something for which Parikka is well-suited. Most importantly, Insect Media reminds us of the non-human aspect of media, communication, intelligence. Insect Media is a book that is sure to create a buzz.” —Eugene Thacker

Invasion of the Mind Snatchers: Television’s Conquest of American in the Fifties, by Eric Burns (Temple, 2010). Charts the rise of television in the Fifties and its cultural context.

Mass Appeal: The Formative Age of Movies, Radio, and TV, by Edward D. Berkowitz (Cambridge, 2010). This book takes a biographical approach to understanding the development of the American mass media with a series of profiles/vignettes of influential players.

Media Events in a Global Age, edited by Nick Couldry, Andreas Hepp, and Frederich Krotz (Routledge, 2010). “In this extremely useful and deeply thoughtful collection of essays, the ‘media events’ model developed by Katz and Dayan in the early 1990s is recovered, critically rethought and then thoroughly recontextualised for a new media environment: one that is post-broadcast, increasingly digital, both global and fragmented, and shaped by entertainment and celebrity cultures as much as by news and information. This is an excellent collection, that will enable new kinds of argument about, and hopefully research into, the spectacular functions of the contemporary media.” – Graeme Turner, University of Queensland, Australia

Media, Power, and Politics in the Digital Age: The 2009 Presidential Election Uprising in Iran, edited by Yahya R. Kamalipour (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010). Writings on internal and external media coverage of the election and the mass demonstrations that followed; topics include Iranian dissidents’ use of Twitter and other media and how U.S. sanctions are harming the online opposition to the Islamic regime.

Militainment, Inc: War, Media, and Popular Culture, by Roger Stahl (Routledge, 2010). “Examines a wide range of historical and contemporary media examples to demonstrate the ways that war now invites audiences to enter the spectacle as an interactive participant through a variety of channels—from news coverage to online video games to reality television. Simply put, rather than presenting war as something to be watched, the new interactive militainment presents war as something to be played and experienced vicariously. Stahl examines the challenges that this new mode of militarized entertainment poses for democracy, and explores the controversies and resistant practices that it has inspired.”—Publisher’s website

News at Work: Imitation in an Age of Information Abundance, by Pablo J. Boczkowski (University of Chicago Press, 2010). Considers how new organizations’ ability to keep close tabs on competition via constantly updated Websites is contributing to a sameness in coverage; focuses on the Argentine newspapers Clarin and La Nacion with discussion of similar developments in the United States.

Newsgames: Journalism at Play, by Ian Bogost, Simon Ferrari, and Bobby Schweizer (MIT, 2010). “Posits an essential upgrade to the historical relationship between games and news—far beyond digitization of your morning crossword puzzle. This book is critical reading for those interested in emerging journalistic forms wherein the power of playful systems is harnessed to explicate the events of the day.”—Tracy Fullerton, University of Southern California

Old and New Media After Katrina, edited by Diane Negra (Palgrave Macmillan,2010). Essays on the experience and public memory of the 2005 disaster, including representations in television, documentary film, and National Public Radio.

Reel Power: Hollywood Cinema and American Supremacy, by Matthew Alford (Pluto Press, 2010). Examines links between Hollywood and the Defense Department, CIA, and weapons contractors; finds that most films have an uncritical view of U.S. power.

Selling War in a Media Age: The Presidency and Public Opinion in the American Century, edited by Kenneth Osgood and Andrew K. Frank (University Press of Florida, 2010). “From the Spanish-American War to the War on Terror, each chapter in Selling War in a Media Age explains how modern presidents have influenced, coerced, directed, and led public opinion over matters of war and peace since 1898. While some essays highlight the systematic efforts by American presidents to gain public support for war and international conflict, many more reveal that there were limits to what presidential persuasion could accomplish.”—Publisher’s website

Starring Mandela and Cosby, by Ron Krabill (University of Chicago, 2010) “Ron Krabill has provided students of race, television, and cultural exchange with a new landmark that we all must read–and will all enjoy. In an era when we are told that race should not matter, TV is finished, and cultural exchange has been eased through YouTube, he brings us back to reality. Bravo!”—Toby Miller, University of California, Riverside.

Television and Presidential Power in Putin’s Russia, by Tina Burrett (Routledge, 2010). Describes how increased control of the media figured in Putin’s expansion of presidential and state power.

Trauma and Media: Theories, Histories, and Images, by Allen Meek (Routledge , 2010). “Provides the first comprehensive account of trauma as a critical concept in the study of modern visual media, from Freud to the present day, explaining how contemporary trauma studies emerged from research on Holocaust representation in which the audiovisual testimony of survivors was posed as an authentic alternative to popular television and film dramatizations. It argues that the media coverage of 9/11 and the subsequent ‘war on terror,’ however, has revealed how the formation of communities of witness and commemoration around ‘traumatic events’ can perpetuate violence and inequality.” –Publisher’s website

The Tube Has Spoken: Reality TV & History, edited by Julie Anne Taddeo and Ken Dvorak (The University Press of Kentucky, 2010). “Offers a wide range of essays from the top names in the field…A must-read for students, professionals, and the general public;it is the single best volume available on the topic to date.” –Wheeler Winston Dixon, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

VOICE: Vocal Aesthetics in Digital Arts and Media, edited by Norie Neumark, Ross Gibson, and Theo Van Leeuwen (MIT, 2010). “Voice has returned to both theoretical and artistic agendas. In the digital era, techniques and technologies of voice have provoked insistent questioning of the distinction between the human voice and the voice of the machine, between genuine and synthetic affect, between the uniqueness of an individual voice and the social and cultural forces that shape it. This volume offers interdisciplinary perspectives on these topics from history, philosophy, cultural theory, film, dance, poetry, media arts, and computer games. Many chapters demonstrate Lewis Mumford’s idea of the “cultural preparation” that precedes technological innovation—that socially important new technologies are foreshadowed in philosophy, the arts, and everyday pastimes.”—Publisher’s website

Watching TV is Not Required: Thinking About Media and Thinking About Thinking, by Bernard McGrane and John Gunderson (Routledge, 2010). “McGrane and Gunderson have put together an extraordinarily provocative stream of sociologically inspired responses to television [and] give new life to sociological thinking.”—Jack Katz, University of California

Fall 2010 Booknotes

 

American Science Fiction Film and Television, edited by Lincoln Geraghty (Oxford, 2009). “Using both film and television, Geraghty deftly explores the ways science fiction has debated US ideologies and ideals over recent decades. This book examines science fiction as American, charting changes in the social and political ‘real’ and in the entertainment industry right up to the twenty-first century.” –Lorna Jowett, University of Northampton

Baroque Horrors: Roots of the Fantastic in the Age of Curiosities, by David R. Castillo (University of Michigan, 2010). “Turns the current cultural and political conversation from the familiar narrative patterns and self-justifying allegories of abjection to a dialogue on the history of our modern fears and their monstrous offspring. When life and death are severed from nature and history, “reality” and “authenticity” may be experienced as spectator sports and staged attractions, as in the “real lives” captured by reality TV and the “authentic cadavers” displayed around the world in the Body Worlds exhibitions. Rather than thinking of virtual reality and staged authenticity as recent developments of the postmodern age, Castillo looks back to the Spanish baroque period in search for the roots of the commodification of nature and the horror vacui that accompanies it.” –Publisher’s description

Bitten by Twilight: Youth Culture, Media, and the Vampire Franchise, edited by Melissa A. Click, Jennifer Stevens Aubrey, and Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz (Peter Lang Publishing, 2010). Essays on the novels, films, and fan culture of the Twilight saga; topics include race and ethnicity in the series, and fans’ responses to romantic elements.

Black Dogs and Blue Words, by Kimberly K. Emmons (Rutgers, 2010). “Through finely nuanced rhetorical analysis, Emmons reveals and dissects the mechanisms and social performances by which women suffering from depression are identified, constrained, and constructed by their physicians, their drug companies, the media, and even by women’s own discourses. ..Provides [to the medical humanities communities] a remarkable set of tools for examining the discursive practices of medicine and of medical humanities itself, and to sufferers of depression, Emmons’ work may provide considerable relief.”–Charles M. Anderson, executive editor, Literature and Medicine

The Culture of Diagram, by John Bender and Michael Marrinan (Stanford University Press, 2010). “In what its authors call an ‘archaeology of diagram,’ this…book offers a radical reinterpretation of the processes through which modern vision emerged. Taking as its principal topic the remarkable plates of the Encyclopédie of Diderot and d’Alembert, the analysis shows convincingly that these were working objects artfully designed to offer their users many different pathways and opportunities for making sense of their world. Against traditions that stress the classical power of singular perspective and the analytic gaze, the book urges that it was the startling and often disturbing juxtaposition of heterogeneous components, of description, delineation, and text, that allowed for and eventually compelled the possibility of simultaneous but conflicted patterns of vision and sense…Concluding discussions carry the narrative through the probabilistic physics and the photographic iconography of nineteenth-century culture to the reorganization of vision and experience involved in the establishment of quantum theory and associated innovations of high modernity.”—Simon Schaffer, University of Cambridge

Daring to Feel: Violence, the News Media, and their Emotions, edited by Jody Santos (Lexington Books, 2009). “…challenges the entrenched doctrine that journalists are neutral, dispassionate observers of “fact.” Santos demonstrates how journalists themselves and society as a whole benefit from emotionally nuanced and emotionally engaged reporting.” —Rebecca Campbell, Michigan State University

Diasporas in the New Media Age: Identity, Politics, and Community, edited by Andoni Alonso and Pedro J. Oiarzabal (University of Nevada, 2010) “The first book-length examination of the social use of these technologies by emigrants and diasporas around the world. The eighteen original essays in the book explore the personal, familial, and social impact of modern communication technology on populations of European, Asian, African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Latin American emigrants. It also looks at the role and transformation of such concepts as identity, nation, culture, and community in the era of information technology and economic globalization. The contributors, who represent a number of disciplines and national origins, also take a range of approaches–empirical, theoretical, and rhetorical–and combine case studies with thoughtful analysis.” –Publisher’s description

Disney, Pixar, and the Hidden Messages of Children’s Films, edited by M. Keith Booker (Praeger 2010). “Recaps the entire history of movies for young viewers—from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to this year’s Up—then focuses on the extraordinary output of children’s films in the last two decades. What Booker finds is that by and large, their lessons are decidedly, comfortably mainstream and any political subtext more often than not is inadvertent. Booker also offers some advice to parents for helping children read films in a more sophisticated way.” –Publisher’s description

Doing News Framing Analysis: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives, edited by Paul D’ Angelo and Jim A. Kuypers (Routeledge, 2010). “Presents original, ‘big picture’ articles about news framing. The editors’ goals are to acknowledge the integrationist impulses that propel the use of different theoretical and methodological approaches and to provide interpretive guides to the community of news framing scholars and interested readers regarding what news frames are, how they can be observed in news texts.” –Publisher’s description

Education and the Culture of Print in Modern America, edited by Adam R. Nelson and John L. Rudolph (University of Wisconsin, 2010). “The nine essays examine ‘how print educates’ in settings as diverse as depression-era work camps, religious training, and broadcast television—all the while revealing the enduring tensions that exist among the controlling interests of print producers and consumers. This volume exposes what counts as education in American society and the many contexts in which education and print intersect.” –Publisher’s description

Feminist Research Methodology: Making Meanings of Meaning-making, edited by Maithree Wickramasinghe (London, New York, Routledge, 2010). “Using this South Asian country as a case study, the author looks at the means by which researchers in this field inhabit, engage with and represent the multiple realities of women and society in Sri Lanka. In analysing what constitutes feminist research methodology in a transitional country, the book links local research practices with Western feminist approaches, taking into account the commonalities, distinctions and specificities of working in a South Asian context.” –Publisher’s description

Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, and the Social Sciences, by Peter Baehr (Stanford University Press, 2010). Explores the German-born philosopher’s critique of the social sciences, which she argued had misunderstood totalitarianism.

Media and Identity in Africa, by Kimani Njogu and John Middleton (Indiana, 2010). Focused on Sub-Saharan Africa, this book discusses the construction of old and new social entities defined by class, gender, ethnicity, political and economic differences, wealth, poverty, cultural behavior, language, and religion, addresses the tensions between the global and the local that have inspired creative control and use of traditional and modern forms of media.

Media Houses: Architecture, Media, and the Production of Centrality (Peter Lang, 2010). “In much recent theory, the media are described as ephemeral, ubiquitous, and de-localized. Yet the activity of modern media can be traced to spatial centers that are tangible enough some even monumental. This book offers multidisciplinary and historical perspectives on the buildings of some of the worlds major media institutions. Paradoxically, as material and aesthetic manifestations of mediated centers of power, they provide sites to the siteless and solidity to the immaterial. The authors analyse the ways that architectural form and organization reflect different eras, media technologies, ideologies, and relations with the public in media houses from New York and Silicon Valley to London, Moscow, and Beijing.” –Publisher’s description

Music and Media in the Arab World, edited by Michael Frishkopf. (American University in Cairo Press, 2010). “Authors address the key issues of contemporary Arab society—gender and sexuality, Islam, class, economy, power, and nation—as refracted through the culture of mediated music.” –Publisher’s description

Negotiating in the Press: American Journalism and Diplomacy, 1918-1919, edited by Joseph R. Hayden (Louisiana State University Press, 2010). “Negotiating in the Press offers a new interpretation of an otherwise dark moment in American journalism. Rather than emphasize the familiar story of lost journalistic freedom during World War I, Joseph R. Hayden describes the press’s newfound power in the war’s aftermath—that seminal moment when journalists discovered their ability to help broker peace talks. He examines the role of the American press at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, looking at journalists’ influence on the peace process and their relationship to heads of state and other delegation members. Challenging prevailing historical accounts that assume the press was peripheral to the quest for peace, Hayden demonstrates that journalists instead played an integral part in the talks, by serving’s ‘public ambassadors.’ –Publisher’s description

Networked Wilderness: Communicating in Early New England, edited by Matte Cohen (University of Minnesota Press, 2010). “Examines communications systems in early New England and finds that, surprisingly, struggles over information technology were as important as theology, guns, germs, or steel in shaping the early colonization of North America. Colonists in New England have generally been viewed as immersed in a Protestant culture of piety and alphabetic literacy. At the same time, many scholars have insisted that the culture of the indigenous peoples of the region was a predominantly oral culture. But what if, Cohen posits, we thought about media and technology beyond the terms of orality and literacy?” –Publisher’s description

Painting the City Red: Chinese Cinema and the Urban Contract, by Yomi Braester (Duke University Press, 2010. Analyzes links between visual media and urban development in China and Taiwan.

Pen and the Sword: Press, War, and Terror in the 21st Century, edited by Calvin F. Exoo (Sage, 2010). How the media has covered post-9/11 terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Piracy: the Intellectual Property Wars from Guttenberg to Gates, edited by Adrian Johns (University of Chicago Press, 2009). “Argues that piracy is a cultural force that has driven the development of intellectual-property law, politics, and practices. As copying technologies have advanced, from the invention of printing in the sixteenth century to the present, acts of piracy have shaped endeavors from scientific publishing to pharmaceuticals and software. . . . Johns suggests, counter-intuitively, that piracy can promote the development of technology. The resulting competition forces legitimate innovators to maneuver for advantage—by moving quickly, using technical countermeasures or banding together and promoting reputation as an indicator of quality, such as through trademarks. . . . The exclusive rights granted by intellectual-property laws are always being reshaped by public opinion, and accused pirates have lobbied against these laws for centuries.” —Michael Gollin, Nature

Refiguring Mass Communication: A History, by Peter Simonson (University of Illinois, 2010). “Compares his own vision of mass communication with distinct views articulated throughout history by Paul of Tarsus, Walt Whitman, Charles Horton Cooley, David Sarnoff, and Robert K. Merton, utilizing a collection of texts and tenets from a variety of time periods and perspectives. Drawing on textual and archival research as well as access to Merton’s personal papers, Simonson broadly reconceives a sense of communication theory and what social processes might be considered species of mass communication.” –Publisher’s description

Segregating Sound: Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow, by Karl Hagstrom Miller (Duke University Press, 2010). Describes how folklorists and the music industry created a “color line” in what were once overlapping forms played by black and white musicians alike.

The Shock of the News: Media Coverage and the Making of 9/11 by Brian A. Monahan (New York University Press, 2010). A study of how the mass media processed and packaged the terrorist attacks.

Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and other Media Paratexts, edited by Jonathan Gray (New York University Press, 2010). “…will rewrite the rules of what we look at when we want to understand how audiences make meaning of media franchises. Gray, who has long established himself in the top ranks of contemporary scholars of popular culture, writes with particularity about these varied media properties and their paratexts, yet also writes with a theoretical sophistication which feels effortless.” –Henry Jenkins, University of Southern California

Social Marketing for Public Health: Global Trends and Success Stories, edited by Hong Cheng, Philip Kotler and Nancy R. Lee (Jones and Bartlett, 2011). “Explores how traditional marketing principles and techniques are being used to increase the effectiveness of public health programs around the world. While addressing the global issues and trends in social marketing, the book highlights successful health behavior change campaigns launched by governments, by a combination of governments, NGOs, and businesses, or by citizens themselves in 15 countries of five continents. Each chapter examines a unique, current success story, ranging from anti-smoking campaigns to HIV-AIDS prevention; from promotions for health lifestyle to battles against obesity; and from public educational campaigns on hepatitis B to contraceptive social marketing.” –Publisher’s description

Television and the Legal System, edited by Barbara Villez (Routledge, 2010). “Examines the American television legal series from its development as a genre in the 1940s to the present day. Villez demonstrates how the genre has been a rich source of legal information and understanding for Americans. These series have both informed and put myths in place about the legal system in the US. Villez also contrasts the US to France, which has seen a similar interest in legal series during this period.”—Publisher’s description

Telling Stories: Language Narrative and Social Life edited by Deborah Schiffrin, Anna de Fina, and Anastasia Nylund (Georgetown University Press, 2010). Essays on how narrative, including life stories, figure in people’s everyday interactions; topics include storytelling in family “ceremonial” dinners.

The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World, by William Sims Bainbridge (MIT, 2010). “Bainbridge provides the best analysis to date of the way WoW and similar new media forms, with their millions and millions of users, are reshaping central aspects of our culture: groups, religion, economy, education, and more.” —Edward Castronova, Professor of Telecommunications, Indiana University

Watching YouTube: Extraordinary Videos by Ordinary People, by Michael Strangelove (University of Toronto, 2010). The author “provides a broad overview of the world of amateur online videos and the people who make them. Dr. Strangelove, the Governor General Literary Award-nominated author that Wired Magazine called a ‘guru of Internet advertising,’ describes how online digital video is both similar to and different from traditional home-movie-making and argues that we are moving into a post-television era characterized by mass participation. Strangelove draws from television, film, cultural, and media studies to help define an entirely new field of research.” –Publisher’s description

Winning the Silicon Sweepstakes: Can the United States Compete in Global Telecommunications? by Rob Frieden (Yale University Press, 2010). Argues that unlike its peers, the U.S. government has favored policies and a regulatory regime that has hindered innovation and tipped the scales in favor of established companies.

Wire: Urban Decay and American Television, edited by Tiffany Potter and C.W. Marshall (Continuum, 2009). “By focusing on four main topics (Crime, Law Enforcement, America, and Television), The Wire: Urban Decay and American Television examines the series’ place within popular culture and its representation of the realities of inner city life, social institutions, and politics in contemporary American society.” –Publisher’s description

Women as Weapons of War: Iraq, Sex, and Media, by Kelly Oliver (Columbia, 2010). “Offers a … feminist critique of the recent ways in which ‘women’ have been used, once again, as the terrain and flesh over which to fight yet another war. At stake in this war is also the future of feminism. Challenging the bunker rhetoric coming out of Washington that combines a noxious mixture of anti-Arab racism with the latest version of the white men’s burden to save women from pre-modern cultures, Oliver offers an eloquent plea for the continuing relevance of feminist ways of interpreting the world.” — Eduardo Mendieta, Stony Brook University

Encyclopedia of Communication Theory Online

Just added to the ASC Penn Library Homepage, is Sage Publication’s Encyclopedia of Communication Theory, the online version of the 2009 publication featuring summaries of key theories and traditions in the field. The volumes of over 300 entries, written by nearly 200 contributors from ten countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom and the US, are easily searchable. Say you want to get up to speed on where Paul Lazarsfield fits into the field; a quick search on his last name pulls up 10 entries on broadcasting theories, public opinion theories, Two-step and Multi-step flow, as well as political communication, journalism, audience, grounded and mass media theories and lastly, spiral models of media effects!

Keep your eye on the the Other E-Resources section of the ASC page as new resources are added to be right there at your fingertips.

Spring 2010 Booknotes

 

Best Years: Going to the Movies, 1945-1946, by Charles Affron and Mirella Jona Affron (Rutgers, 2009). “A panoramic study, shining light on this critical juncture in American historyand the history of American cinema—the end of World War II (1945) and a year of unprecedented success in Hollywood’s “Golden Age” (1946). This unique time, the last year of war and the first full year of peace, provides a rich blend of cinema genres and types—from the battlefront to the home front, the peace film to the woman’s film.

Casual Revolution: Reinventing Video Games and Their Players, by Jesper Juul (MIT, 2009) Author shows “that it is only by understanding what a game requires of players, what players bring to a game, how the game industry works, and how video games have developed historically that we can understand what makes video games fun and why we choose to play (or not to play) them.” –publisher’s description

Climate Change and the Media, edited by Tammy Boyce and Justin Lewis (Peter Lang, 2009). Examines the changing nature of media coverage on climate change around the world, including the developing world.

Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate, by Diego Gambetta (Princeton University Press, 2009). A nuanced application of signaling theory. “Criminals are in constant fear of being duped, says Oxford sociologist Diego Gambetta, even as they are busy duping others. Yet hoodlums often seek a literal partner in crime. This, he notes, creates a need for both identification and verification of trust in what is generally an untrustworthy milieu. Lacking a miscreants’ yellow page, the question becomes, well, how to find an honest crook?”–Nina Ayoub, Chronicle of Higher Education

Communities of Play, by Celia Pearc and Artemesia (MIT, 2009). “A rich and thoughtful study that gives us a rare peek into something seldom discussed in online spaces—what happens when the site you love closes down. Celia Pearce provides fascinating insights as she traces these virtual communities, making a journey across a variety of software platforms, collaborating to rebuild play spaces, and keeping groups together. This is a unique and valuable contribution to not only the study of multiplayer worlds, but network life in general.” —T.L. Taylor, Associate Professor, IT University of Copenhagen

Convergence Media History, edited by Janet Staiger and Sabine Hake. ( Routledge, 2009). “Explores the ways that digital convergence has radically changed the field of media history. Writing media history is no longer a matter of charting the historical development of an individual medium such as film or television. Instead, now that various media from blockbuster films to everyday computer use intersect regularly via convergence, scholars must find new ways to write media history across multiple media formats. This collection of eighteen new essays by leading media historians and scholars examines the issues today in writing media history and histories. Each essay addresses a single medium—including film, television, advertising, sound recording, new media, and more—and connects that specific medium’s history to larger issues for the field in writing multi-media or convergent histories. Among the volume’s topics are new media technologies and their impact on traditional approaches to media history; alternative accounts of film production and exhibition, with a special emphasis on film across multiple media platforms; the changing relationships between audiences, fans, and consumers within media culture; and the globalization of our media culture.” –publisher’s description

Cosmopolitan Communications, by Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart (Cambridge, 2009). “Norris and Inglehart’s comprehensive and highly commendable book is not only empirically very rich but also breaks new ground theoretically…provides a new roadmap for the study of transnational communication and culture.” -Daya Thussu, University of Westminster, London

Cultural Hybridity, by Peter Burke (Polity, 2009). “A wide-ranging survey of the different forms and practices of cultural interaction in human history, and of the concepts that we now use to try to understand them. Whether we embrace these influences or resist them, globalization, Burke argues, is leading to the emergence of a new cultural order. This book offers us an indispensible guide to the cultural transformations of our times.” —Robert J.C. Young, New York University

Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger. (Princeton, 2009). “If the gathering, storage, and processing of information puts us all in the center of a digital panopticon, the failure to forget creates a panopticon crossbred with a time-travel machine. Mayer-Schönberger catalogs the range of social concerns that are arising as technology favors remembering over forgetting, and offers some approaches that might give forgetting a respected place in the digital world. Read this book. Don’t forget about forgetting.”–David Clark, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Digital War Reporting, by Donald Matheson and Stuart Allan (Polity, 2009). Examines how new technologies open up innovative ways for journalists to convey the horrors of warfare while, at the same time, creating opportunities for propaganda, censorship and control.

Ecology and Popular Film, by Robin L Murray and Joseph K. Heumann (State University of New York, 2009) ”Examines representations of nature in mainstream film while also looking at film itself as a form of nature writing. Considering a selection of mainstream movies that embrace a wide variety of environmental themes, from the Lumières’ Oil Wells of Baku (1896) to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (2006), Murray and Heumann explore such themes as environmental politics, eco-terrorism, ecology and home, tragic and comic eco-heroes, the spectacular, and evolutionary narrative, in a manner that is both accessible and fun. Other films discussed include The River (1937), Soylent Green (1971), Pale Rider (1985), 28 Days Later (2002), and The Day After Tomorrow (2004)… also includes a comprehensive filmography of films that deal with environmental themes and issues.” –publisher’s website

eTrust: Forming Relationships in the Online World, by Karen S. Cook, Chris Snijders, Vincent Buskens, and Coye Cheshire (Russell Sage Foundation, 2009). Authors “use experimental studies and field research to examine how trust in anonymous online exchanges can create or diminish cooperation between people.” –publisher’s description

Fanatical Schemes: Proslavery Rhetoric and the Tragedy of Consensus, by Patricia Roberts-Miller (University of Alabama, 2009). The author shows how abolitionism was constructed in the South and the influence of this construction in bringing on the war more than Northern abolitionist actions themselves. According to Roberts-Miller, “ the Civil War was not economically, militarily , or even politically inevitable, but was the consequence of rhetoric.”

From Cronkite to Colbert: The Evolution of Broadcast News, by Geoffrey Baym (Paradigm Publishers). Topics include programming such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report as new and reinvigorating forms of journalism.

Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games, by Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig De Peuter. (University of Minnesota, 2009). “Offers a radical political critique of such video games and virtual environments as Second Life, World of Warcraft, and Grand Theft Auto, analyzing them as the exemplary media of Empire, the twenty-first-century hypercapitalist complex theorized by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. The authors trace the ascent of virtual gaming, assess its impact on creators and players alike, and delineate the relationships between games and reality, body and avatar, screen and street.” –publisher’s description

Global Technography: Ethnography in the Age of Mobility, by Grant Klein (Peter Lang, 2009). “Provides ground zero–the starting place for the next generation of scholars who study the self and its technologies, the post-global citizen, ethnography in the mobilized field, humanizing technology in a world without boundaries. A path breaking accomplishment by a major new social theorist. In these pages McLuhan meets James Carey in a new performative space. “ –Norman K. Denzin, University of Illionois at Urbana-Champagne

God and the Editor: My Search for Meaning at The New York Times, by Robert Phelps (Syracuse, 2009). Insider account of The New York Times’ handling of major stories as well as first-hand recollections of office politics for the 20 years (1954-1965) the author worked there.

Identity Games: Globalization and the Transformation of Media Cultures in the New Europe, by Aniko Imre (MIT, 2009). “ A bracing account of a New Europe anchored in the postcommunist East, on the platform of new media. Imre’s essays remain alive to mass culture’s ludic (as well as hegemonic) potential. Janus-faced, Identity Games shows how media shaped Communist subjects and continues to remake post-Communist consumers, anchoring critical nostalgia and drawing new maps of gender, ethnicity, and regional memory.” —Katie Trumpener, Yale University

Makover TV: Selfhood, Citizenship, and Celebrity, by Brenda R. Weber (Duke, 2009) ”Based on her analysis of more than 2,500 hours of makeover TV, Weber argues that the much-desired After-body speaks to and makes legible broader cultural narratives about selfhood, citizenship, celebrity, and Americanness. Although makeovers are directed at both male and female viewers, their gendered logic requires that feminized subjects submit to the controlling expertise wielded by authorities. The genre does not tolerate ambiguity. Conventional (middle-class, white, ethnically anonymous, heterosexual) femininity is the goal of makeovers for women.” –publisher’s description

Media Events in a Global Age, edited by Nick Couldry, Andreas Hepp, and Friedrich Krotz (Routledge, 2009). Essays are arranged into the following categories: Media Events Rethought, History and Future of the Media Event, Media Events in the Frame of Contemporary Social and Cultural Media Theory, Media Events and Everyday Identities, and Media Events and Global Politics.

Media, NASA, and America’s Quest for the Moon, by Harlen Makemson (Peter Lang, 2009). “Tells the behind-the-scenes story of how NASA and the U.S. media were often at odds, but ultimately showed extraordinary cooperation in bringing the story of lunar conquest to the world. Drawing upon rich historical sources from NASA, journalists, and television networks, this book sheds new light on how media shaped how we saw Americas great adventure in space, and raises contemporary questions about the role of information in a free society.”—publisher’s website

Optical Media, by Friedrich Kittler (Polity, 2010). “Kittler is the preeminent thinker of time-based media and what it means to edit the flow of time with technical means. Brilliant and remarkably original, he offers a kind of media analysis whose method is dialectically acute and philosophically deep. No one interested in what it means to live in a media-saturated age can neglect his vital and controversial work.” –John Durham Peters, University of Iowa

Out of the Dark: A History of Radio and Rural America, by Steve Craig (University of Alabama, 2009). “Study of radio’s impact on rural America in the three decades between its inception and the arrival of television. The coming of radio broadcasting had a profound impact on the lives of many Americans, but none more so than those who lived in rural America. Radio provided isolated families with something they had never known before–an instantaneous connection with news, entertainment, and the rapidly evolving lifestyles and mores of the entire nation.” –publisher’s description

Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda: Constructing the War on Drugs, Andrew B. Whitford and Jeff Yates. (Johns Hopkins, 2009). “President Nixon announced the war on drugs forty years ago, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof recently wrote that ‘it appears that drugs have won.’ In their careful analysis in this important book, Whitford and Yates demonstrate that the rhetoric of presidents can influence the course of public policy, particularly including implementation. Words matter, even in the supposedly technical aspects of policy implementation, and they do so in a way that frames and, yes, ‘constructs’ the policy itself.” — Bryan D. Jones, University of Texas at Austin

Prime Time Prison on U.S. TV, by Bill Yousman (Peter Lang, 2009). Examines portrayal of prisoners and prison issues in local and national television news, crime dramas and the cable television prison drama, Oz.

Queer Politics of Television, by Samuel A. Chambers (McMillan, 2009). A “radical book, which brings together the fields of political theory and television studies…exposes and explores the cultural politics of television by treating television shows–including Six Feet Under, Buffy, Desperate Housewives, The L Word, and Big Love–as serious, important texts and reading them in detail through the lens of queer theory…argues for queer theory’s essential contribution to any understanding of the political, and initiates a larger project of queer television studies…an important and fresh contribution to queer theory and to the understanding of television as politics.” –publisher’s description

Radio’s Hidden Voice: The Origins of Public Broadcasitng in the United States, by Slotten, Hugh Richard (University of Illinois Press, 2009). “Thoroughly researched and engaging. An important contribution to scholarship on public radio, early radio history, and on questions of how the ‘public interest’ has been defined in broadcast and communication policy in the twentieth century.” Jason Loviglio, author of Radio’s Intimate Public: Network Broadcasting and Mass-Mediated Democracy

Rave Culture: The Alteration and Decline of a Philadelphia Music Scene, by Tammy L. Anderson (Temple University Press). An ethnographic study of the Philadelphia rave scene, with comparative discussion of London and Ibiza.

Sexual Sports Rhetoric: Historical and Media Contexts of Violence, edited by Linda K. Fuller (Peter Lang, 2010). ” Deals with controversies surrounding the notion of sport violence in relation to gender and language. Topics include hooliganism, spousal abuse, race and gender issues in literary, televised, filmic, and photographic depictions of sport violence. Sports range from pool and body building to ice approaches to media history; alternative accounts of film production and exhibition…; the changing relationships between audiences, fans, and consumers within media culture; and the globalization of our media culture.” –publisher’s description

Shimmering Literacies: Poular Culture and Reading and Writing Online, by Bronwyn T. Williams (Peter Lang, 2009). “Examines the powerful role of popular culture in the daily online literacy practices of young people. Whether as subject matter, discourse, or through rhetorical patterns, popular culture dominates both the form and the content of online reading and writing. In order to understand not only how but why online technologies have changed literacy and popular culture practices, this book looks at online participatory popular culture from MySpace and Facebook pages to fan forums to fan fiction.” –Publisher’s description

Ugly War, Pretty Package: How CNN and Fox News Made the Invasion of Iraq High Concept, by Deborah L. Jaramillo (Indiana U press, 2009). Compares the two network’s coverage of the 2003 invasion of Iraq to the marketing of high-concept Hollywood filmmaking.

Wikipedia: A New Community of Practice? by Dan O’Sullivan (Ashgate, 2009). The most interesting section of the book looks at the collaborative on-line encyclopaedia in the context of earlier historical attempts to gather the world’s knowledge into one place. The author discusses five historical groups or communities of practice, all of which had similar ambitions to Wikipedia to make an impact on the society of their time through the dissemination of information.

Women As Weapons of War: Iraq, Sex, and the Media (Columbia, 2010). A feminist critique of the ways women have been used in the war in Iraq.

The World Says NO to War: Demonstrations Against the War on Iraq, edited by Stefaan Walgrave and Dieter Rucht (University of Minnesota, 2010). Using surveys conducted by researchers from eight countries contributors analyze how the new tools of the Internet were combined with more conventional means of mobilization.

Booknotes: Remembering Dr. Fishbein

The Annenberg community is deeply saddened by the passing of Martin Fishbein, the Harry C. Coles, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication.

Dr. Fishbein is best known for his landmark theories in the field of social psychology, namely the expectancy-value theory which he developed in the early 1970s, and later, the theory of reasoned-action. The concepts of the former theory can be found in the monograph, Belief, Attitude, Intention, and Behavior: An Introduction to Theory and Research (1975), which he co-authored with Icek Ajzen. It is out of print but can be found at Dr. Ajzen’s website in its entirety (broken up into chapters).

Later, in the 1970’s and early 80’s, EVT was expanded into the theory of reasoned action (TRA), credited to Drs. Fishbein and Ajzen. Their work could not be more contemporary however, as the the two had just published Predicting and changing behavior: The reasoned action approach (2010, Psychology Press,Taylor & Francis). Copies of the book can be found in Van Pelt and ASC Reserve.

These 1975 and 2010 titles bookend a prolific and astonishingly influential career that nourished the diverse fields of health communication, marketing, child psychology, consumer psychology, organizational communication and audience studies. Dr. Fishbein will be sorely missed around the School and University, but his work is here to stay.

New Reference Books

New Reference books available at the ASC Library:

 

African Telecommunication/ICT Indicators 2008: At a Crossroads (International Telecommunication Union, 2008). “African Telecommunication Indicators has been published eight times spanning a period of 18 years. At the time the first edition was published, there were only 8.6 million telephone subscribers in Africa, mostly located in the North African countries and South Africa. At that time, Norway had more telephone subscribers than all of Sub-Saharan Africa. Mobile communications were virtually non-existent, with only six networks in operation, and beyond Mauritius and South Africa, there were none in Sub-Saharan Africa. Not one African country was connected to the Internet in 1990….Today, the situation is radically different, with all African countries having mobile networks in operation and connections to the Internet. Growth has defied predictions. For example, the 2004 edition of African Telecommunication Indicators forecast three different scenarios for the number of mobile subscribers in Africa by 2010. The most optimistic scenario of 200 million by 2010 was almost reached in 2006 and exceeded by over 60 million subscribers at the end of 2007. Although it is tempting to get excited about the ICT growth in Africa, the stakes have risen. The milestones by which success is measured are changing. Two decades ago, achieving a teledensity of one per one hundred inhabitants represented a major milestone, but today’s benchmarks of achievement are much higher. The rest of the world has forged ahead with technologies. While Africa has made impressive gains, it remains far behind other regions in ICT access.” –from the Introduction REF HE8461 A373 2008

The Book of Codes: Understanding the World of Hidden Messages, edited by Paul Lunde (University of California Press, 2009). “Lavishly illustrated encyclopedia surveys the history and development of code making and code breaking in all areas of culture and society-from hieroglyphs and runes to DNA, the Zodiac Killer, The Da Vinci Code, graffiti, and beyond. Beginning with the first codes, including those found in the natural world and among ancient peoples, the book casts a wide net, exploring secret societies, codes of war, codes of the underworld, commerce, human behavior, and civilization itself. Editor Paul Lunde and group of specialists have compiled the most comprehensive and complete collection of codes available. Visually stunning and packed with fascinating details…”(Publisher’s description) REF Z 103 B66 2009

Distinctive Qualities in Communication Research, edited by Donal Carbaugh and Patrice M. Buzzanell (Routledge, 2010). The editors ask contributing scholars to respond to the question, “What makes your research distinctively communication research?” Among the scholars to address this question are our own Drs. Joseph Cappella and Robert Hornik, “The Importance of Communication Science in Addressing Core Problems in Public Health.” REF P91.3 D57 2010

Encyclopedia of Journalism, edited by Christopher H. Sterling (SAGE Publications, Inc., 2009). Presents “a current and comprehensive analysis on all aspects of journalism—including the trends, issues, concepts, individuals, institutions, media outlets, and events that go into making journalism a pivotal part of contemporary media. While emphasizing American journalism, a significant amount of space will be devoted to discussing print, broadcast and additional modes of journalism in other countries as well, including their impact on America and vice versa. Coverage will ranges from country essays surveying the development and current state of journalism, to entries focused on specific types of print publications and broadcast programs (offering specific examples), as well as specific media markets, to entries that survey important people and programs within historical and analytical treatments of such familiar journalistic types as the television anchor, or television news magazine programs. Especially important are the encyclopedia’s attention to the changing technologies of journalism, legal and ethical issues, education and training for journalism, the processes and routines of journalism, ownership and industry economics, and the audiences for news. The first four volumes contain entries ranging in length from 800 to 3,500 words, arranged by topic from A to Z…The fifth volume provides reprinted documents of importance to journalism past and present…The sixth volume contains an extensive annotated bibliography on all aspects of journalism, as well as multiple indexes.”–Publisher’s description PN4728.E48 2009

Encyclopedia of Television Law Shows: Factual and Fictional Series about Judges, Lawyers and the Courtroom, 1948-2008, by Hal Erickson (McFarland, 2009). PN1992.8 J87E53

Food in the Movies, by Steve Zimmerman (McFarland, 2009). “This expanded and revised edition details 400 food scenes, in addition to the 400 films reviewed for the first edition, and an introduction tracing the technical, artistic and cultural forces that contributed to the emergence of food films as a new genre—originated by such films as Tampopo, Babette’s Feast and more recently by films like Mostly Martha, No Reservations and Ratatouille. A filmography is included as an appendix.” –Publishers description PN1995.9F65Z56 2010

Internet Inquiry: Conversations about Method, edited by Annette N. Markham and Nancy K. Baym (SAGE Publications, Inc., 2009). Presents distinctive and divergent viewpoints on how to think about and conduct qualitative Internet research. “Some of the most basic principles of qualitative research are clearly and soberly examined in light of Internet research.” –Steve Jones, University of Illinois at Chicago ZA4228 I57 2009

Terrorism in American Cinema: An Analytical Filmography, 1960-2008, by Robert Cettl (McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2009). “Analytical filmography of American terrorist films establishes terrorist cinema as a unique subgenre with distinct thematic narrative and stylistic trends. It covers all major American films dealing with terrorism, from Otto Preminger’s “Exodus” (1960) to Ridley Scott’s “Body of Lies” (2008).” –Publisher’s website PN1995.9 T46C48 2009

Fall Booknotes (2009)

Abolition and the Press: the Moral Struggle Against Slavery, by Ford Risley (Northwestern University, 2008). This examination of nineteenth-century journalism explores the specific actions and practices of the publications that provided a true picture of slavery to the general public. From Boston’s strident Liberator to Frederick Douglass’ North Star, the decades before the Civil War saw more than forty newspapers founded with the specific aim of promoting emancipation. The reach of the abolitionist press only grew as the fiery publications became objects of controversy and targets of violence in both South and North. These works kept the issue of slavery in the public eye as the nation went to war, up to the end of slavery.

The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation, by Thomas Lamarre (University of Minnesota, 2009). Presents a foundational theory of animation and what it reveals about our relationship to technology.”

Children and the Internet: Great Expectations, Challenging Realities, by Sonia Livingstone (Polity, 2009). “Looking beyond exaggerated hype and panic, Sonia Livingstone offers a balanced and comprehensive assessment of the role of the internet in children’s lives. Combining rigorous quantitative and qualitative research with a critical awareness of broader theoretical questions, this is a definitive work that takes the debate to a new level.”–David Buckingham, Institute of Education, University of London

Communication Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming, edited by Yasmin B. Kafai et al. (MIT, 2008). Collection of 18 essays and five interviews that revisit, update, and extend the earlier book’s exploration of still-relevant issues relating to gender and digital gaming. This book recognizes the increasing number of female gamers and game designers, adopts a complex approach to gender’s social and cultural constructions and constraints, and acknowledges evolutions such as increasingly user-driven, multiplayer gaming communities and the growing importance of transmediation. The editors divide these scholarly essays into four main sections: “Reflections on a Decade of Gender and Gaming,” “Gaming Communities: Girls and Women as Players,” “Girls and Women as Game Designers,” and “Changing Girls, Changing Games.” A fifth section, “Industry Voices,” rounds out the critical perspectives with anecdotal interviews featuring women who directly participate in video-game design and game-related businesses.

Electric Sounds: Technological Change and the Rise of Corporate Mass Media, by Steve J. Wurtzler (Columbia, 2009). Discusses the changing atmosphere of social interaction brought about by a revolution in sound and delivery, which changed not only the radio world but the cinema and more. The 1920s and 30s represented some of the most important developments in American mass media, offering new roles for those who saw in it opportunity for education and cultural expression, and bringing with it fears for changes in public standards and social mores. –Diane C. Donovan, Bookwatch

Electronic Elsewheres: Media, Technology, and the Experience of Social Space, edited by Chris Berry, Soyoung Kim, and Lynn Spigel (University of Pennsylvania, 2009). “In exploring how world populations experience “place” through media technologies, the essays included here examine how media construct the meanings of home, community, work, and nation. Tracing how media reconfigure the boundaries between public and private—and global and local—to create “electronic elsewheres,” the essays investigate such spaces and identities as the avatars that women are creating on Web sites, analyze the role of satellite television in transforming Algerian neighborhoods, and take a skeptical look at the purported novelty of the “new media home.”

Family Violence: Communication Processes, edited by Dudley D. Cahn (State University of New York, 2009). “Focuses on the communication processes that occur before, during, and after episodes [of domestic violence]. Contributors to the volume include both established scholars and newcomers to the communication field who use quantitative and qualitative approaches to unravel the complexities of the communication processes that are at the center of violence in families.”

Fanatical Schemes: Proslavery Rhetoric and the Tragedy of Consensus, by Patricia Roberts-Miller (Alabama, 2009). “Analyses, firmly based in theory, of the communication of southern proslavery rhetorics during the 30 years prior to the Civil War…extensive examples of a variety of forms of communication to support conclusion that the South became trapped in its own extremist rhetoric. Systematic suppression of any discussion of slavery both in the South and, thanks to gag rules, in Congress magnified the difficulty; as a result, decisions were made without deliberation. The author points out that an underlying feeling of moral ambiguity about slavery may have led to the alarmist, hyperbolic, and irrational pronouncements about (nonexistent) threats to the “Southern way of life.”

Finding the Right Place on the Map: Central and Eastern European Media Change in a Global Perspective, edited by Karol Jabubowicz and Miklos Sukosd (University of Chicago, 2009). “An international comparison of the media systems and democratic performance of the media in post-communist countries. From a comparative east-west perspective…analyzes issues of commercial media, social exclusion, and consumer capitalism. With topics ranging from the civil society approach, public service broadcasting, fandom, and the representation of poverty, each chapter considers a different aspect of the trends and problems surrounding the international media. This volume is an up-to-date overview of what media transformation has meant for post-communist countries in the past two decades.”

Friendlyvision: Fred Friendly and the Rise and Fall of Television Journalism, by Ralph Engelman (Columbia, 2009). Complex portrait of one of television’s most dynamic figures.

Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games, by Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig De Peuter (University of Minnesota, 2009). “The authors trace the ascent of virtual gaming, assess its impact on creators and players alike, and delineate the relationship between games and reality, body and avatar, screen and street. Games of Empire forcefully connects video games to real-world concerns about globalization, militarism, and exploitation.”

Global Technography: Ethnography in the Age of Mobility, by Grant Kien (Peter Lang, 2009). Develops an ethnographic method for studying people’s use of cellphones and other wireless technologies.

Global TV: Exporting Television and Culture in the World Market, by Denise D. Bielby and C. Lee Harrington (New York University, 2008). “That television shows are a global phenomenon is beyond question. However, while research has been devoted to the content, reach, and cultural impact of television programming, less work has been done on the question of how that content becomes available in the first place. Sociologists Bielby (Univ. of California, Santa Barbara) and Harrington (Miami Univ.) attempt to fill that gap by examining the global television marketplace. In other words, their book is on the business of television around the world. The speculation about the spreading of cultural frameworks through programming has created a cultural hegemonic order based in the West, or more specifically, the US. But as the authors indicate, there has not been research to examine the underlying mechanisms that drive the spread of television media. Through an ethnographic examination of the social organization of the global television marketplace, Bielby and Harrington make an important contribution that furthers understanding of the nature of global television business.”

The Grid Book, by Hannah B. Higgins (MIT, 2009). Emblematic of modernity, the grid gives form to everything from skyscrapers and office cubicles to Mondrian paintings and bits of computer code. And yet, as Hannah Higgins makes clear in this wide-ranging and revelatory book, the grid has a history that long predates modernity; it is the most prominent visual structure in Western culture. In The Grid Book, Higgins examines the history of ten grids that changed the world: the brick, the tablet, the gridiron city plan, the map, musical notation, the ledger, the screen, moveable type, the manufactured box, and the net. Charting the evolution of each grid, from the Paleolithic brick of ancient Mesopotamia through the virtual connections of the Internet, Higgins demonstrates that once a grid is invented, it may bend, crumble, or shatter, but its organizing principle never disappears. “Precisely identifies the grid as a tool of human cognitions, which has happened to have a profound effect on our visual culture throughout history” –Lorraine Wild, California Institute of the Arts

Image Bite Politics: News and the Visual Framing of Elections, by Maria Elizabeth Grabe and Erik Page Bucy (Oxford, 2009). “This smoothly-written, data-rich book is a powerful reminder of the importance of visual images in politics. The authors’ research taps into multiple literatures including communication, psychology, political science and biology to present an extraordinarily well-rounded analysis of visual framing of elections. This unique study is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how political communication actually works during major electoral contests.”–Doris Graber, Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago

iMuslims: Rewriting the House of Islam, by Gary R. Bunt (University of North Carolina, 2009). “Picture of the Internet as a vehicle for transformation of mainstream Islam as well as a propaganda and recruitment tool for militants.”

Jews, God, and Videotape: Religion and Media in America, by Jeffrey Shandler (New York University, 2009). “Explores the impact of media and new communications technologies on Jewish religious life from early recordings of cantors to Hasidic outreach on the Internet.”

Journalism—1908, edited by Betty Houchin Winfield (University of Missouri, 2008). “Opens a window on mass communication a century ago… tells how the news media in the United States were fundamentally changed by the creation of academic departments and schools of journalism, by the founding of the National Press Club, and by exciting advances that included early newsreels, the introduction of halftones to print, and even changes in newspaper design….a team of well-known media scholars, all specialists in particular areas of journalism history… examine the status of their profession in 1908: news organizations, business practices, media law, advertising, forms of coverage from sports to arts, and more. Various facets of journalism are explored and situated within the country’s history and the movement toward reform and professionalism—not only formalized standards and ethics but also labor issues concerning pay, hours, and job differentiation that came with the emergence of new technologies.”

Living Virtually: Researching New Worlds, edited by Don Heider (Peter Lang, 2009). Communications scholars and sociologists weigh in on the study of online environments such as Second Life and Warcraft.

The Lure of Illustration in the Nineteenth Century: Picture and Press, edited by Laurel Brake and Marysa Demoor (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). “Tackles the subject of illustration, technically, metaphorically and historically in nineteenth-century periodicals, displaying the ubiquity of the visual in the press: the articles cover material illustration, graphics, and design and metaphorical use of images in the letterpress, offering specific examples and theoretical approaches.”

Making a Difference: A Comparative View of the Role of the Internet in Election Politics, edited by Richard Davis et al (Lexington Books, 2008). Cross national analysis of the role of the Internet in elections.

Mosh the Polls: Youth Voters, Popular Culture, and Democratic Engagement, edited by Tony Kelso and Brian Cogan (Lexington Books, 2008). “Analysis from a variety of scholarly standpoints of the innovative ways in which both the political process and the entertainment industry appeal to voters under 30 and how these endeavors are received by the intended audience.”

The Networked Wilderness: Communicating in Early New England, by Matt Cohen (University of Minnesota, 2009). “Reconceptualizing aural and inscribed communication as a spectrum, The Networked Wilderness bridges the gap between the history of the book and Native American systems of communication. Cohen reveals that books, paths, recipes, totems, and animals and their sounds all took on new interactive powers as the English negotiated the well-developed information trails of the Algonquian East Coast and reported their experiences back to Europe. Native and English encounters forced all parties to think of each other as audiences for any event that might become a kind of “publication.”

Political Affect: Connecting the Social and the Somatic, by John Protevi (University of Minnesota, 2009). “Investigates the relationship between the social and the somatic: how our bodies, minds, and social settings are intricately and intimately linked…applies Protevi’s concept of political affect to show how unconscious emotional valuing shaped three recent, emotionally charged events: the cold rage of the Columbine High School slayings, the racialized panic that delayed rescue efforts in Hurricane Katrina, and the twists and turns of empathy occasioned by the Terry Schiavo case.”

Positioning in Media Dialogue: Negotiating Roles in the News Interview, by Elda Weizman (John Benjamins, 2008). This book proposes a socio-pragmatic exploration of the discursive practices used to construe and dynamically negotiate positions in news interviews. It starts with a discursive interpretation of ‘positioning’, ‘role’ and ‘challenge’, puts forward the relevance of a distinction between social and interactional roles, demonstrates how challenges bring to the fore the relevant roles and role-components of the participants, and shows that in news interviews speakers constantly position and re-position themselves and each other through discourse.

Punched-Card Systems and the Early Information Explosion, 1880-1945, by Lars Heide (Johns Hopkins, 2009). “The technology of the punch-card system and its impact on business, government and social control.”

Queer TV: Theories, Histories, Politics, edited by Glyn Davis and Gary Needham (Routledge, 2009). “Calling to mind Gil Scott-Heron’s inspirational composition “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” this volume fills a significant gap in the literature by addressing queer studies and media studies. Davis (Glasgow School of Art) and Needham (Nottingham Trent Univ., UK) divide the volume into three sections. The first, “Theories and Approaches,” comprises essays that draw queerness and television together by discussing changes in the industry, applications of film theory, and the politics of representation. The second section, “Histories and Genres,” interrogates particular genres, e.g., the gay magazine show and particular epochs from the 1970s through the 1990s, and sexual fluidity in contemporary television. The final section, “Television Itself,” applies philosophy to the medium through queer investigations of timing, sound, and channel surfing (linked to the flaneur and to cruising). Thorough notes and references follow each essay. This book can be read in conjunction with Televising Queer Women, ed. by Rebecca Beirne (CH, Jun’08, 45-5405); The New Queer Aesthetic in Television, ed. by James Keller and Leslie Stratyner (2006); and Stephen Tropiano’s The Prime Time Closet (2002).”

The Real Hiphop: Battling for Knowledge, Power, and Respect in the LA Underground, by Marcyliena Morgan (Duke University, 2009). “ Executive director of The Hip Hop Archive and one of the leading scholars of hip-hop culture, Morgan (Harvard) has written a thorough, inspiring ethnographic study that looks at West Coast hip-hop culture through the lens of the underground venue known as Project Blowed. In a series of interdisciplinary chapters (on African American studies, art, culture, politics, history, ethnography, ethnomusicology, and women’s studies), the author addresses what she sees as the three intersecting areas of hip-hop culture: language, symbolism, identity; the cultural and social aspects of hip-hop; and the way hip-hop discourse styles affect spiritual, political, and international thinking and movements. The book’s strengths are the numerous fascinating primary sources, especially the excerpts of rhymes recited during battles at Project Blowed …and its introductory chapter, in which Morgan offers the best concise scholarly history to date of hip-hop.”

Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism, by Richard Tofel (St. Martin’s Press, 2009). From modest midwestern roots, fresh out of college in 1929, Kilgore went to work for the tiny, fledgling New York financial paper the Wall Street Journal. Plainspoken and analytical, Kilgore loved his job, writing his parents frequently with news of the financial world. Tofel draws on that correspondence and Kilgore’s work at the Journal to offer an engaging look at the long career of the man who helped shape the newspaper as it grew in stature and circulation. On the eve of the Great Depression, Kilgore pioneered a more reader-friendly financial journalism, educating the reader and himself as he developed a distinctive voice and created the “What’s News” feature, among others. During Roosevelt’s first two terms, Kilgore gained a reputation as the leading financial journalist in the nation, switching attention from Wall Street to Washington, D.C., where government policy on the economic recovery held sway. Tofel traces Kilgore’s career—columnist, Washington bureau chief, general manager—through World War II, the 1954 showdown that fortified the separation of editorial and advertising, and the creation of the highly innovative National Observer, which failed after Kilgore’s death at age 56 in 1965. The current financial crisis adds to the timeliness of this fascinating look at a pioneer in journalism. –Vanessa Bush, Booklist

Satire TV: Politics and Comedy in the Post Network Era, by Jonathan Gray, Jeffrey Jones, Ethan Thompson (New York University, 2009). “Examines what happens when comedy becomes political, and politics become funny. A series of original essays focus on a range of programs, from The Daily Show to South Park, Da Ali G Show to The Colbert Report, The Boondocks to Saturday Night Live, Lil’ Bush to Chappelle’s Show, along with Internet D.I.Y. satire and essays on British and Canadian satire. They all offer insights into what today’s class of satire tells us about the current state of politics, of television, of citizenship, all the while suggesting what satire adds to the political realm that news and documentaries cannot.”

The Sopranos, by Dana Polan (Duke, 2009). Dana Polan proves that close, careful narrative analysis can provide prescient insights about television’s increasingly sophisticated practices to which broader cultural and industrial accounts are blind.”—John Thornton Caldwell, author of Production Culture: Industrial Reflexivity and Critical Practice in Film and Television

Street Dreams and Hip Hop Barbershops: Global Fantasy in Urban Tanzania, by Brad Weiss (Indiana University, 2009). “Ethnography of barbershops as centers for popular culture in Tanzania.”

Susanne Langer in Focus: The Symbolic Mind, by Robert Innis (Indiana University, 2009). “Study of the American philosopher who explored memory construction through symbolic forms.”

Toward a Sociological Theory of Information, by Harold Garfinkel (Paradigm, 2008). In 1952 at Princeton University, Harold Garfinkel developed a sociological theory of information. Other prominent theories then being worked out at Princeton, including game theory, neglected the social elements of information, modeling a rational individual whose success depends on completeness of both reason and information. In real life these conditions are not possible and these approaches therefore have always had limited and problematic practical application. Garfinkel s sociological theory treats information as a thoroughly organized social phenomenon in a way that addresses these shortcomings comprehensively. Although famous as a sociologist of everyday life, Garfinkel focuses in this new book never before published on the concerns of large-scale organization and decision making. In the fifty years since Garfinkel wrote this treatise, there has been no systematic treatment of the problems and issues he raises. Nor has anyone proposed a theory of information like the one he proposed. Many of the same problems that troubled theorists of information and predictable order in 1952 are still problematic today.

TV By Design: Modern Art and the Rise of Network Television, by Lynn Spigel (University of Chicago, 2009). “TV by Design is an extraordinary examination of television in specific cultural contexts. As in her earlier book, Make Room for TV, Lynn Spigel has uncovered—or recovered—details that alter our histories of the medium, especially as related to other arts. For those who experienced it in the years she examines, the rush of memory and the re-placement of images, scenes, and personalities are sharp reminders of why TV became and remains so important.”–Horace Newcomb, editor of Encyclopedia of Television.

TV China, edited by Ying Zhu and Chris Berry (Indiana, 2009). If radio and film were the emblematic media of the Maoist era, television has rapidly established itself as the medium of the “marketized” China and in the diaspora. In less than two decades, television has become the dominant medium across the Chinese cultural world. TV China is the first anthology in English on this phenomenon. Covering the People’s Republic, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Chinese diaspora, these 12 original essays introduce and analyze the Chinese television industry, its programming, the policies shaping it, and its audiences.

World at Risk, by Ulrich Beck (Polity, 2009). “Beck deploys the concept of risk as a sharply focused flashlight that allows him to see what is typically obscured by dominant notions and explanations. This becomes a process of discovery, rare in the social sciences today, concerned as they are with proof. He brilliantly conceptualizes these discoveries in terms of categories not usually used in risk analysis, such as cosmopolitanism. A must-read book.” Saskia Sassen, Columbia University

Youtube, by Jean Burgess, and Joshua Green (Polity, 2009). “An important and timely contribution to the literature on participatory culture and media.” –Nancy Baym, University of Kansas