New books by RAI fellows past and present

RAI Visiting Research Fellows often use their time at the Institute to produce or revise book manuscripts for publication. The list of titles supported by RAI fellowships continues to grow, with books by four current and former fellows recently published or forthcoming as of January 2019. The RAI congratulates the authors on their latest publications.

Tristan Stubbs, Masters of Violence: Plantation Overseers of Eighteenth-Century Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia (University of South Carolina Press, 2018). In Masters of Violence, Tristan Stubbs offers the first book-length examination of eighteenth-century overseers: from their recruitment and dismissal to their relationships with landowners and enslaved people, as well as their changing reputations, which devolved from reliable to untrustworthy and incompetent. Stubbs argues that this shift in opinion grew out of far-reaching ideological and structural transformations to slave societies in Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia throughout the Revolutionary era. Seeking to portray their own actions as positive and yet simultaneously distance themselves from slavery, plantation owners blamed overseers as incompetent managers and vilified them as violent brutalizers of enslaved people. Tristan Stubbs is a former Vacation Visiting Research Fellow.

Steffen Rimner, Opium’s Long Shadow: From Asian Revolt to Global Drug Control (Harvard UP, 2018). Opium’s Long Shadow traces the far-flung itineraries and trenchant arguments of the reformers whose protests against the opium trade crossed imperial, national, and colonial boundaries to gain traction globally. These activists targeted the international reputation of drug-trading governments, first and foremost Great Britain, British India, and Japan, becoming pioneers of the political tactic now called naming and shaming. But instead of taking sole responsibility for their own behaviour, states in turn used anti-drug criticism to shame fellow sovereigns around the globe. Consequently, participation in drug control became a prerequisite for membership in the twentieth-century international community. An aggressive embrace of anti-drug politics earned China and other Asian states new influence on the world stage. Steffen Rimner is a former Postdoctoral Visiting Research Fellow.

Sarah Knott, Mother: An Unconventional History (Penguin, forthcoming March 2019). In Mother Is a Verb, Sarah Knott blends history and memoir, beginning with her own story as she grapples with whether to have a child, before expanding into maternity in other places and times. The book mirrors the phases of pregnancy and early mothering, covering everything from miscarriage to late-night feedings, from morning sickness to evolving terminologies. Knott builds a trellis of tiny scenes of mothering, using diaries, letters, reports, court records, conduct guides, clothing, and objects, as well as her own experiences. In so doing, she creates a moving and visceral depiction of mothering, past and present, as both a shared and an endlessly various human experience. In the U.S., the book will appear as Mother is a Verb: An Unconventional History (Macmillan, February 2019). Sarah Knott is a Senior Visiting Research Fellow for 2018-19.

Jon Herbert, Trevor McCrisken, and Andrew Wroe, The Ordinary Presidency of Donald J. Trump (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming February 2019). The Ordinary Presidency of Donald J. Trump explores the discrepancy between Trump’s approach to the presidency and the nature of his achievements. Trump himself may be the most unusual and unconventional president the U.S. has ever had, but even with his extraordinary personality and approach to the job, his presidency is proving quite ordinary in its accomplishments and outcomes. As with most modern U.S. presidents, Trump’s achievements are rather meagre. His few policy achievements are also mostly mainstream Republican ones rather than the radical, anti-establishment, swamp-draining changes promised on the campaign trail. The populist insurgent has followed a policy agenda largely in tune with conservative Republican traditions. Trevor McCrisken is an Associate Visiting Research Fellow for 2018-19.



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