May 2008


Tapping the Power

by Kiran Cunningham & Hannah McKinney Published through a grant from the Kellogg Foundation, Tapping the Power of City Hall to Build Equitable Communities: 10 City Profiles (National League of Cities, 2007) looks at ten cities across the country and the actions their leaders took to increase employment, reduce blight, improve living standards, and create more equitable allocation of city resources in low-income neighborhoods. Kalamazoo College professors Kiran Cunningham (anthropology) and Hannah McKinney (economics and business) teamed with Phyllis Furdell of the NLC to research and write about cities ranging from Burien, Wash., population 32,000, to San Jose, Calif., with nearly 900,000 people. Others include Baltimore, Indianapolis, and Kalamazoo. The authors interviewed mayors, city council members and staff, neighborhood leaders, and other civic leaders in each city. Many extolled the importance of leadership and the involvement of residents, neighborhood groups, nonprofits, and business groups to combat poverty. Available through the NLC, Tapping the Power has attracted a readership among city leaders nationwide. McKinney (who has served as Kalamazoo mayor or vice mayor since 1997) and Cunningham hope they will be inspired and encouraged to increase public understanding of effective poverty-reduction strategies.
Women Were Leaving

by Andy Mozina Associate Professor of English Andy Mozina's first book of short fiction, The Women Were Leaving the Men (Wayne State University Press, 2007), has attracted a lot of attention. The title story received special mention in The Pushcart Prize (2006) and was named a distinguished story in The Best American Short Stories 2005. The entire collection was a finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, and won the Great Lakes College Association's 2008 New Writers Award for fiction. Many stories in Women appeared in literary magazines such as Tin House, The Massachusetts Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Fence, West Branch, Beloit Fiction Journal, and the Florida Review. "The Women Were Leaving the Men heralds a new and deeply original voice," wrote Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto, in a back-cover note for the book. "Andy Mozina brings great innovation and energy to the short story." Added Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl and Equal Love: "Andy Mozina is able to transport us from hilarity to pathos in a breathtaking heart-breaking moment." Women is part of the "Made in Michigan Writers Series" that includes poetry, creative nonfiction, short fiction, and essays by Michigan writers.
Sexual Equality

by Amy Elman Professor of Political Science R. Amy Elman's third book, Sexual Equality in an Integrated Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) had its genesis in a series of lectures in her Kalamazoo College course, "The European Union: Institutions, Actors, Aliens, and Outcomes," and it has generated considerable praise. "Elman offers a much needed critical appraisal of the European Union's gender equality initiatives," wrote Myra Max Ferree, professor of sociology and director of the Center for German and European Studies at the University of Wisconsin. "With a sharp eye for the gap between rhetoric and reality, she exposes how the language and politics of integration increase expectations of equality, but actually allow member avoid responsibility for implementation In Sexual Inequality, Elman investigates the origins, institutions, and policies associated with the European Union, and its recent efforts to stem violence against women, sex trafficking, racism and heterosexism. She also examines Europe's role in defining, maintaining, constructing, and remedying sex discrimination. "Elman reveals how women of color, lesbians, and immigrants fall through the cracks of 'gender' policy-making in Europe," said Ferree. "[It's] a failure that has implications for all women who place their hopes for equality in the modernization of gender regimes that the EU exemplifies."
Complexity Explained

by Peter Erdi Finally! For those of us who know that chaos, catastrophes, cooperation and competition are facts, not just empty theory; Professor Peter Erdi has written Complexity Explained (Springer-Verlag, 2008). Erdi is Henry R. Luce Professor of Complex System Studies at Kalamazoo. Complexity is his fifth book, and it cuts across numerous disciplines including physics, chemistry, life sciences, math, economics, sociology and more, even fine art. The book explains why complex systems research is important in understanding the structure, function and dynamics of complex natural and social phenomena. He presents models of love and war, (turns out that they are not very different), studies the dynamics of urban segregation, opinion formations and drug propagation. According to Erdi, seemingly complex and disparate phenomena such as earthquakes, stock market crashes and epileptic seizures, have similar architecture and are predictive...or at least the limits of their predictability can be understood and widened. Still sound too complex? Relax, says Professor Erdi. Complexity Explained is accessible to both science majors and lay audiences.
Convergence of Civilizations

by Guoqi Xu Convergence of the Civilizations: Chinese Laborers in France during the First World War (Inter-Continental Press, 2007), was recently published in both Chinese and French editions. It is the third book by Professor Guoqi Xu, Wen Chao Chen chair of history and East Asian affairs at Kalamazoo College. With help from members of the Chinese elite and the Chinese government, about 140,000 Chinese laborers were recruited by the British and French governments to support their fighting against the Germans in "The Great War" from 1914 through 1918. Convergence focuses on this rarely studied group of Chinese who became directly involved with the war and Western civilization, addressing questions such as why China wanted to send its laborers to help the British and French governments; who those laborers were; what happened to them when they arrived in Europe; what kind of treatment they received in the West, what role they played in the Chinese search for a new national identity and internationalization, and what contributions these largely illiterate Chinese made in the fusion of Chinese and Western civilizations. Both editions include about 200 rare photos. Professor Xu plans to publish an English-language edition with an expanded focus and additional research, in 2009.
Olympic Dreams

by Guoqi Xu Professor of History Guoqi Xu's fourth book is Olympic Dreams: China and Sports, 1895-2008 (Harvard University Press, 2008). Because of increasing interest in the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing, the book has made Professor Xu a sought-after expert by journalists worldwide. Expect to see him quoted often in the popular press over the coming months. Drawing on newly available archival sources, Olympic Dreams explores why China became obsessed with Western sports at the turn of the 20th century, how it relates to China's continuing search for a national and international identity, and how sports, especially Olympic Games, as a focus of popular interest, has the capacity to bring about major social changes. Through case studies of China's involvements in the previous Olympic Games, the book offers unexpected insight into China's interactions with the rest of the world, such as why the newly established Communist regime wanted so badly to take part in the 1952 Helsinki Games, how the two-China issue nearly stopped the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, and why the 2008 Olympics present Beijing with unprecedented dangers and opportunities. A Chinese version will be published in 2008 by Dong Fang Chubanshe in Beijing.
Man of Mars

by David Strauss David Strauss, professor emeritus of history, has published a Japanese language edition of his biography, Percival Lowell: The Culture and Science of a Boston Brahmin (Harvard University Press, 2001). Strauss also edited and introduced Percival Lowell-Collected Writings on Japan and Asia, Including Letters to Amy Lowell and Lafcadio Hearn (Editions Synapse, 2006). Strauss first encountered the writings of Lowell in 1983, when he taught a course on U.S.-Japanese relations at Waseda University (Tokyo). Lowell had traveled to Japan in the 19th century and was fascinated by the country. Strauss found Lowell's "liberal arts" character a subject worthy of further investigation. Lowell was a popular travel writer and public speaker, a skilled photographer, successful financier, and leading disciple of the English philosopher Herbert Spencer. He also was a controversial astronomer (he founded the Lowell Observatory in Arizona) who claimed that intelligent beings living on Mars had built the planet's famous network of canals. "I admired his adventurous spirit and his willingness to take on new projects and to cut across disciplinary lines," said Strauss. "I wondered how he did it all."
Color and Money

by Peter Schmidt Who should get into highly selective colleges and universities? Who actually does? Peter Schmidt '86 explores these and other politically charged questions in Color and Money: How Rich White Kids Are Winning the War Over College Affirmative Action (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). Schmidt, a veteran journalist who has covered education for two decades, is a senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education, where he covers affirmative action, state and federal higher-education policy, education research, historically black colleges and universities, and connections between schools and colleges. In Color and Money, he touches on a host of subjects that include race, class, immigration, free speech, economic opportunity, equal rights, the purpose of public education, and how our economic and political leaders should rise to their positions of power. Peter is a frequent speaker on college and university campuses, and a nationally recognized source for journalists covering affirmative action. His work has won numerous awards including a 2007 Education Writers Association award for an essay published in The Boston Globe based on his book. A native of Birmingham, Mich., Peter earned B.A. degrees in English and political science from Kalamazoo. He lives in Washington D.C.
Federal Standards of Review

by Harry T. Edwards and Linda A. Elliott Federal Standards of Review (Thomson-West 2007) offers a sophisticated, but easy to understand exposition of the review standards controlling how the U.S. Courts of Appeals review district court decisions and actions by federal agencies. When they undertook this project, the goal of co-authors Harry T. Edwards, Chief Judge Emeritus of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and Linda Elliott ('81), a former staff attorney with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, was to write an informative text that would make accessible even the most complex doctrines of review. The positive responses of leading academics and prominent practitioners attest to their success. Typical is the reaction of former Solicitor General Seth Waxman: "This thoughtful, informative book . . . brings clarity to a topic that is often misunderstood. Among the first questions any appellate lawyer or judge should ask is: 'What standard of review applies?' A proper appreciation of the correct standard can make all the difference. This volume provides invaluable assistance in addressing a paramount appellate issue." Linda Elliott, Class of 1981, is presently Special Counsel to Judge Edwards and an adjunct professor at NYU School of Law, where she has taught since 2001. Before being appointed to the bench in 1980, Judge Edwards, who is a visiting professor of law at NYU, practiced in Chicago and was a tenured professor at the University of Michigan and Harvard law schools.

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