Books From A Dynamic Faculty
The following titles are among the most recently authored across a spectrum of disciplines in the College of Arts & Sciences.
Arts & Sciences faculty are encouraged to send book announcements to Senior Editor Toni Salama, Office of the Dean, College of Arts & Sciences.
"ANCIENT MAYA CITIES OF THE EASTERN LOWLANDS"
Brett A. Houk, Associate Professor of Archaeology and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, rights something of an injustice in the study of the Maya world in his "Ancient Maya Cities of the Eastern Lowlands." For more than a century, researchers have studied Maya ruins, primarily at sites like Tikal, Palenque, Copán, and Chichén Itzá, which have shaped current understanding of the Maya. Yet cities of the eastern lowlands of Belize, an area that was home to a rich urban tradition that persisted and evolved for almost 2,000 years, have, until now, been treated as peripheral to these great Classic period sites. The hot and humid climate and dense forests of Belize are inhospitable and make preservation of the ruins difficult, but this oft-ignored area reveals much about Maya urbanism and culture. Using data collected from different sites throughout the lowlands, including the Vaca Plateau and the Belize River Valley, Houk presents the first synthesis of these unique ruins and discusses methods for mapping and excavating them. Considering the sites through the analytical lenses of the built environment and ancient urban planning, Houk vividly reconstructs their political history, considers how they fit into the larger political landscape of the Classic Maya, and examines what they tell us about Maya city building. (University Press of Florida, 2015)
"HUMAN SCENT EVIDENCE"
Paola A. Prada, Research Assistant Professor at TTU's Institute for Forensic Science, explores novel concepts and applications of the use of human scent evidence in criminal investigations in this co-authored book. During the last decade, a significant number of scientific studies have supported the use of human scent as a biometric tool and indicator of the presence, or absence, of an individual at a crime scene. These findings even extend to conducting scent identification line-ups with suspects. "Human Scent Evidence" focuses on some of these recent advances in the use of human scent as forensic evidence and as an identifier. With examples from North and South America and Europe, this book draws upon an extensive literature review of past and current research and is enhanced with findings from the authors' own research. It concludes with a glimpse of the future direction of human scent evidence in the forensic field and its application as a biometric and diagnostic tool. (CRC Press, 2015)
"BORN TO BE WILD: THE RISE OF THE AMERICAN MOTORCYCLIST"
Randy D. McBee, Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Associate Professor in the Department of History, traces the growth of an American subculture—and the alarm it sparked—when the stereotypical leather-clad biker emerged after World War II. And yet, in more recent years, the once-menacing motorcyclist became mainstream. McBee narrates the arc of motorcycle culture since World War II. Along the way he examines the rebelliousness of early riders of the 1940s and 1950s, riders' increasing connection to violence and the counterculture in the 1960s and 1970s, the rich urban bikers of the 1990s and 2000s, and the factors that gave rise to a motorcycle rights movement. McBee's fascinating narrative of motorcycling's past and present reveals the biker as a crucial character in 20th-century American life. (University of North Carolina Press, July 2015)
"INHERIT THE HOLY MOUNTAIN: RELIGION AND THE RISE OF AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM"
Mark Stoll, Associate Professor and Director of Environmental Studies in the Department of History, explains how religion has profoundly influenced the origins, evolution, and future of American environmentalism. Born of the house of Calvin, environmentalism took its program and acquired its moral power from the (originally) Calvinist denominations Congregationalism and Presbyterianism. Virtually all its founders in the 19th century were within a generation of a Congregationalist church. Presbyterian Progressives made conservation, parks, and forests into national causes. Lapsed Presbyterians led environmentalism's postwar rise. In recent decades other denominations, notably Baptists, Catholics, and Jews, have taken over environmental leadership. As each denomination strut its hour upon the environmental stage and exited to make room for the next, environmentalism's character and goals changed. Stoll explains why this is so, and what it means. Using biography and the histories of religion, environmentalism, art, and culture as tools, the book re-creates the mental and moral world that gave birth to the movements to conserve, preserve, and enjoy nature and to protect the environment. Finally, the book examines the contemporary religious scene and its implications for a future environmentalism.
"FURTHER STUDIES IN THE LESSER-KNOWN VARIETIES OF ENGLISH"
Jeffrey P Williams, Professor of Ethnology and Linguistics in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, is the lead editor in this volume that follows "The Lesser-Known Varieties of English" (Cambridge University Press, 2010) by documenting a further range of English varieties that have been overlooked and understudied. It explores varieties spoken by small groups of people in remote regions as diverse as Malta, Bermuda, the Netherlands Antilles, Brazil, the Cook Islands, and Palau. The varieties explored are as much a part of the big picture as major varieties, and it is the intention of this collection to spark further interest in the sociolinguistic documentation of minority Englishes in a postcolonial world. Language endangerment is a very real factor for the vast majority of lesser known varieties of English, and this book holds that documentation and archiving are key initial steps in revitalization and reclamation efforts. (Cambridge University Press, 2015)
"A COMPARATIVE DOXASTIC-PRACTICE EPISTEMOLOGY OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE"
Mark Webb, Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, takes a theoretical enterprise in Christian philosophy of religion and applies it to Buddhism in this second volume in the Springer Briefs in Religious Studies series. Webb contends that mystical experiences can be fruitfully thought of as perceptual in kind and that they are therefore good prima facie grounds for religious belief, in the absence of defeating conditions. Webb’s work goes on to explore Christian and Buddhist testimony and how the likelihood of self-deception, self-delusion, imaginative elaboration and the like constitutes a defeating condition, which is shown to have less scope for operation in the Buddhist case than in the Christian case. (Springer 2015)
"COMPETING VISIONS OF EMPIRE: LABOR, SLAVERY AND THE ORIGINS OF THE BRITISH ATLANTIC EMPIRE"
Abigail Swingen, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, provides a new framework for understanding the origins of the British Empire in this insightful study. Swingen explores how England’s original imperial designs influenced contemporary English politics and debates about labor, economy, and overseas trade. Further, by focusing on the ideological connections between the growth of unfree labor in the English colonies, particularly the use of enslaved Africans, and the development of British imperialism during the early modern period, Swingen examines the overlapping, often competing agendas of planters, merchants, privateers, colonial officials, and imperial authorities in the 17th and 18th centuries. (Yale University Press, February 2015)
George Cole, Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of the Division of Spanish & Portuguese in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, sets this Spanish-language book in Los Angeles, exploring illegal immigration and racial/class tensions as it follows two young lovers who face a society trying to tear them apart.
La indocumentada es la historia de dos jóvenes, Charles y Julia, que se enamoran perdidamente pero tendrán que enfrentarse a una sociedad que tratará de separarlos. Ambientada en Los Ángeles, la pieza explora el tema de la inmigración ilegal, la falta de comprensión del lado humano de la misma, así como las tensiones raciales y de clases que se ven tanto en esta zona como en otras regiones de los Estados Unidos. (Editorial GC; December 2014)
"MEXICAN AMERICAN BASEBALL IN THE ALAMO REGION"
Jorge Iber, Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor in the Department of History, celebrates baseball as it was played in the Tejano and Tejana communities throughout Texas in this co-authored book. This forthcoming regional focus explores the importance of the game at a time when Spanish-speaking people were demanding cultural acceptance and civil rights in cities like San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and New Braunfels—All of which had thriving Mexican-American communities that found comfort in the game and pride in their abilities on the playing field. (Arcadia Publishing, forthcoming)
"ESTELAS EN LA MAR: CANTOS SENTIMENTALES"
Genaro Pérez, Professor of Spanish in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, published a book titled: "Estelas En La Mar: Cantos Sentimentales." Written in Spanish, this is Pérez's 13th book—his fifth of poetry—and covers topics of love, aging, and dementia. (iUniverse; 2014)
"NEOCYBERNETICS AND NARRATIVE"
Bruce Clarke, Professor and Chair of the Department of English, declares the era of the cyborg officially over and demonstrates the potential of second-order systems theory to provide fresh insights into the familiar topics of media studies and narrative theory in his latest book. Clarke is considered a pioneer of systems narratology, and here he opens a new chapter in rethinking narrative and media through systems theory. Reconceiving interrelations among subjects, media, significations, and the social, Clarke offers readers a synthesis of the neocybernetic theories of cognition formulated by biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, incubated by cyberneticist Heinz von Foerster, and cultivated in Niklas Luhmann's social systems theory. His purview includes examinations of novels ("Mrs. Dalloway" and "Mind of My Mind"), movies ("Avatar," "Memento," and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"), and even "Aramis," Bruno Latour's idiosyncratic meditation on a failed plan for an automated subway. (University of Minnesota Press, October, 2014)
"A CONCEPTUAL GUIDE TO THERMODYNAMICS"
Bill Poirier, Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, introduces a new concept in interdisciplinary pedagogy. Providing clear explanations for core topics such as entropy, and working in conjunction with over 70 standard thermodynamics textbooks used in various science and engineering fields, the book has consistently remained one of the best-selling thermodynamics titles since its release. (John Wiley & Sons, September 2014)
UPDATE: Since its release, this title garnered a rave review in the April 1, 2015, issue of Choice magazine. Choice magazine is the premier book review publication for academic librarians, published by the American Library Association.
"GULAG TOWN, COMPANY TOWN: FORCED LABOR AND ITS LEGACY IN VORKUTA"
Alan Barenberg, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, offers a radical reassessment of the infamous "Gulag Archipelago" by exploring the history of Vorkuta, an arctic coal-mining outpost originally established in the 1930s as a prison camp complex. Hiss eye-opening study reveals Vorkuta as an active urban center with a substantial non-prisoner population. It was a place where the borders separating camp and city were contested and permeable, enabling prisoners to establish social connections that would eventually aid them in their transitions to civilian life. With this book, Barenberg makes an important historical contribution to our understanding of forced labor in the Soviet Union. (Yale University Press, August 2014)
"REVISITING CONVIVENCIA IN MEDIEVAL AND EARLY MODERN IBERIA"
Connie Scarborough, Professor of Spanish in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, edited this collection of articles by 18 prominent Hispanists who explore the centuries in the Iberian Peninsula when Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived in harmony with one another. The term convivencia has been applied, both inside and outside academic circles, to imply a "golden age" of multi-religious, amicable harmony. (Juan de la Cuesta-Hispanic Monographs; June 2014)
"LATINO AMERICAN WRESTLING EXPERIENCE: OVER 100 YEARS OF WRESTLING HERITAGE IN THE UNITED STATES"
Jorge Iber, Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor in the Department of History, brings a century's worth of Spanish-speaking student wrestlers and coaches--high school, collegiate, and post-graduate--into the spotlight through 60-plus stories of individual accomplishment and triumph. (National Wrestling Hall of Fame, e-book, March 2014)
"MEMORY OF BLUE"
Jacqueline Kolosov, Professor in the Department of English, contemplates our inner lives, the connections that bind us to each other, and the joy to be found in the everyday, in "Memory of Blue." Kolosov dedicates this third poetry collection to the late Margaret Sheffield Lutherer, who served Texas Tech for many years. Kolosov will donate 50 percent of book-sale proceeds to a local charity that rescues horses. (Salmon Poetry, February 2014)