Princeton UP Ideas Podcast podcast

Gábor Ágoston, "The Last Muslim Conquest: The Ottoman Empire and Its Wars in Europe" (Princeton UP, 2021)

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The image of the Ottoman Turks and their interaction with the Christian West, has undergone many changes in the past: from William Gladstone's famous comment that: “[The Turks] one and all, bag and baggage, shall, I hope, clear out from the province they have desolated and profaned.” To the more recent revisionist views of the 'cultural exchange' school, who de-emphasize the military conquest, endemic violence and proto-ethnic cleansing that were in fact part and parcel of Ottoman rule in the Balkans and elsewhere. And, instead emphasize cultural interaction between the Christian West and the Muslim East.  In his new book The Last Muslim Conquest: The Ottoman Empire and Its Wars in Europe (Princeton UP, 2021), Ottoman specialist, Professor Gabor Agoston, of Georgetown University, goes beyond both of the above schools, in a post-revisionist treatment which while not ignoring some aspects of the 'cultural exchange' school, retains the correct emphasize on Ottoman Turk policies of military conquest, violence and expansionism in the Balkans and elsewhere. In a treatment which depends upon rich stream of research in Ottoman Turkish archives as well as elsewhere, Professor Agoston provides the reader with an in depth analysis of the military structure that made the Ottoman Turks one of the great, military and imperial powers of the 16th and 17th centuries. And why that power's failure to adapt, eventually resulted in its long decline and eventual fall. In short, Professor Agoston's treatment is a splendid work, aimed at both the academic and the lay educated audience. A sheet delight to read. Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.

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    Hate crimes. Misinformation and conspiracy theories. Foiled white-supremacist plots. The signs of growing far-right extremism are all around us, and communities across America and around the globe are struggling to understand how so many people are being radicalized and why they are increasingly attracted to violent movements. Hate in the Homeland shows how tomorrow’s far-right nationalists are being recruited in surprising places, from college campuses and mixed martial arts gyms to clothing stores, online gaming chat rooms, and YouTube cooking channels. Instead of focusing on the how and why of far-right radicalization, Cynthia Miller-Idriss seeks answers in the physical and virtual spaces where hate is cultivated. Where does the far right do its recruiting? When do young people encounter extremist messaging in their everyday lives? Miller-Idriss shows how far-right groups are swelling their ranks and developing their cultural, intellectual, and financial capacities in a variety of mainstream settings. She demonstrates how young people on the margins of our communities are targeted in these settings, and how the path to radicalization is a nuanced process of moving in and out of far-right scenes throughout adolescence and adulthood. Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right (Princeton UP, 2020) is essential for understanding the tactics and underlying ideas of modern far-right extremism. This eye-opening book takes readers into the mainstream places and spaces where today’s far right is engaging and ensnaring young people, and reveals innovative strategies we can use to combat extremist radicalization.
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    Ross Carroll, "Uncivil Mirth: Ridicule in Enlightenment Britain" (Princeton UP, 2021)


    Political Theorist Ross Carroll takes the reader through Enlightenment conversations about the use of ridicule and laughter in politics and political engagement in his new book, Uncivil Mirth: Ridicule in Enlightenment Britain (Princeton UP, 2021) explores, as a framework, two schools of thought on the place of ridicule in political engagement, Thomas Hobbes and those who took their approach to understanding human nature from Hobbes, and the Third Earl of Shaftsbury, and those who followed his arguments. Carroll dives into these two approaches to the use of ridicule, unpacking not only the ideas around how ridicule can be used in politics, but also how it might be managed appropriately, noting the dichotomous approach to ridicule as part of the Age of Enlightenment and Reason. The Hobbesian school was concerned with the corrosive impact of the use of ridicule since it can communicate contempt. The Shaftsbury school thought that ridicule could be used in an emancipatory way, as another means of engaging with political opponents while also undercutting the political claims of those opponents. Carroll traces these debates and those involved in them, while also providing a fascinating “case study” of the use of ridicule by Scottish Abolitionists. This particular chapter, focusing on the work of these polemicists, explores their use of ridicule “to expose defenders of African slavery as not merely mistaken but contemptable, and their arguments as absurd.” (Carroll, Uncivil Mirth, p. 152) This was an ambitious political project that took ridicule as the weapon or tool to attack the Atlantic slave trade and the immorality of slavery. Uncivil Mirth concludes with Mary Wollstonecraft’s commentary on the use of ridicule in terms of political education, and her own use of it in deconstructing sentimental teachings to women. There is a tension at the heart of the argument about ridicule and politics, namely that it can and often does make the political personal and the personal political. Thus, long before Second Wave Feminism would coin the adage that the “personal is political,” the British and Scottish Enlightenment thinkers and political activists were wrestling with how to manage the personal and the political, especially through the use of ridicule and laughter in politics. Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at [email protected] or tweet to @gorenlj.
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